Living The Journey - Everyday Heroes Tell Their Story
Author: Bridget McKern

Chapter 3
Lost Child, Lost Man.

FRED’S STORY

 

 

Lost Boy – Lost Man

 

 

Cameo

 

Sitting under the stars of a desert night, Fred poked at the dying embers of his camp fire and listened to the emerging sounds of the darkening night world around him.

 

Somewhere over to his left was the call of a dingo – a lonely howl which was answered by another across the vast tracts of landscape.  His dog, Diggety, fidgeted and moaned in his dreams, one leg moving involuntarily as he chased some dream rabbit into its burrow. 

           

This landscape always got to Fred.  Miles from the nearest habitation there was no getting away from his innermost thoughts. 

            “Where did I bloody come from?” he asked into the cooling night air.   A small breeze moved his dark forelock like an earliest memory of his mother’s touch …

            “This Earth … my mother,” he mused sadly.  “Anyway who was my mother?”

 

He knew that his ‘parents’ back in Adelaide were not his biological mother and father.  They had told him, when he was about fourteen, that he was an adopted kid from the bush.  It was no real surprise to him really as he had always felt different and now he knew why.

 

He patted Diggety and said into the night sky:  “OK Mum.  I’m coming to find you wherever you are.  I’m on my way home … wherever that is.”

 

Contented with this utterance, he stoked the embers of his fire once more, rolled out his swag on the cold sandy ground and lay down beside his already sleeping dog.

 

            “It’s a One-Dog night, Diggety,” he said.  “Just you and me against the whole bloody world.”

 

 

Who am I?

 

 

 

Profile

Fred is an actor, director, playwright and teacher of dramatic arts.  With long dark wavy hair and kindly dark eyes, he has the looks of a classical Greek God.  I first met him at a writers’ course when he was working on a theatrical representation of how he found out about his birth.  He had just met his mother for the first time in forty years.

            This story is dramatic, to say the least, and gives a profound insight into the stolen generation of people with Aboriginal heritage who have been separated from their parents at a young age.  

             He is passionate about giving a voice to those who cannot speak.  His story is an archetypal one of indigenous peoples the world over.

We started our conversation with a Mantra that Fred likes:

 

ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT I EXPOSE MYSELF OVER AND OVER TO ANNIHILATION,  CAN THAT WHICH IS INDESTRUCTIBLE BE AWAKENED WITHIN ME.

 

I asked him what it means to him and this is what he said:

I can explain what this Mantra means for me by using our meeting here today as an example.  I have come here today to talk with you and I know you’re going to interview me and ask me some questions that could be quite personal and confronting. 

            So I can choose to put up a wall around myself and resist your questions, or I can choose to simply let go of my resistance, let go of myself and just be with the experience. Just be open to this present moment that we have together, answer your questions with goodwill as honestly as I can and see what comes out of that openness.

            I can try to let go of myself,  (expose myself to the ‘annihilation’ of myself), to soften into the moment and allow the softness in my heart, which is what is indestructible, to come forth and simply guide me through this interview.  If I let go of protecting myself and just expose myself to this moment of experience, I will pass through it and perhaps get closer to my  true nature.  That process hopefully awakens in us both a deeply powerful and gentle strength which can withstand anything.

            So what I discover is that this sort of softness is indestructible. (‘Selflessness’ in Buddhist thought)  … The whole is greater than the part … The more I let go of who I think I am and melt into not knowing – the more I find out about who I really am.

*          *          *

 

So Fred, what have been the most significant experiences that have shaped your life?

Three things: having my own children and raising them;  the death of my Grandfather … and meeting my Mother for the first time.

My children with their freshness and their openness have changed my life. The biggest thing they’ve done is taught me about the impermanence and the preciousness of life and the newness of things ... not to take life for granted but to appreciate change. They’ve taught me that I have a huge responsibility towards them as people, and to myself and other people. They have taught me about the importance of being present in all my relationships.  Before they came along, I didn’t have that awareness.  I was more focused on myself.  Yes, they have made me less self-absorbed in a very profound way.

            As babies, they are vulnerable so you have to look after them.  Straight away there’s the physical connection of supervision … feeding them, changing them, playing with them, talking to them, watching them constantly, getting up in the night and early in the morning.  All of this constant care is about them, and not about you.  The need to look after them takes you out of yourself and your world becomes bigger than yourself.         

            So my philosophy regarding children is that I need to spend time with them.  That’s the most important part of child rearing … to spend as much time as you can … and I’m talking about simple, ordinary, every day, mundane time.

Being there with them?

Yes.  Being, rather than doing.  Getting to know them and understand them.  Being able to talk to them about what is going on in their lives … knowing that they want to be around you and they want you to be around them.  It might seem obvious, but it gets missed by a lot of parents.

            I think that when parents and children don’t spend time together, there is a big opportunity for a distancing to occur … a fracturing … so that gradually the parents and the kids drift apart.  A sense of closeness is lost.  Kids feel like parents don’t care about them and that creates an impression in the kids that they are not important, that their parents don’t understand them and that perhaps they don’t love them.  That can create a dysfunction.

            So I think it is healthy and nurturing if parents and kids can share being open and present in the moment with each other.  This connectedness can then be applied to all other relationships.

So it’s about the quality of relationship rather than the amount of things you do together?

It doesn’t matter what you do.  It’s being part of the relationship that counts.  I want my kids to have a relationship with me and vice versa.  I want them to feel that I am interested in their lives and that I support them.  I may not agree with them, and at times I will have to discipline them which they may not like, but I want them to know that I will always support them and love them.  

            Like all relationships, we have to work at it, but to do that in a deep way, we have to get to know each other and maintain openness and a strong sense of trust.  They need to live their own private lives too, but we are still part of each other’s lives. 

            I didn’t have this kind of relationship with my family, as I am aware that certainly a lot of my friends didn’t have an easy relationship with their parents.  For some of them, as adults, they still have torrid relationship problems with their parents and as a consequence, there is a lack of connection and a sense of estrangement. 

            If the connection is broken, it seems to stop people from getting on with their lives … it goes on into all of their adult relationships and maybe with their own kids as well.

It’s a hard thing to heal and I am well aware of my own history speaking here. 

 

*          *          *

 

Another significant experience was the death of my Grandfather.

            I was brought up by my father’s parents.  My grandfather was a very old-fashioned, strict, authoritarian sort of person.  He was intensely independent and self–reliant.  There was nothing he couldn’t do.  He could strip a car, build a house from scratch and cook a beautiful meal with food from his own garden.  He loved gardening, he was a fantastic cook, and he loved the sea.

            He was largely self taught and found it impossible to work with, or even get on with other people.  He had an unbelievably high expectation of himself and others and as a result, he was a nightmare to work with because nothing that anyone ever did was good enough for him! 

            But he was also very soft … he would cry easily, which for a man at that time was unheard of.  Although he was hard on everyone he never held a grudge.  We had a good relationship when I was younger, but as I got older it became more difficult.  He was a man who wanted to control everything and every one, and I was trying to find my own sense of independence, so it was hard as a teenager, growing up. 

            My grandfather became sick in 1995.  I was overseas with my partner and my young son, so we came back to Australia immediately and looked after him until he died a few months later.  Even though he was a very difficult man and there were times when we had a lot of trouble communicating, I realized, after he died, that he was the only person in my life up to that time, who loved me unconditionally.

            His death marked a big turning point in my life.  It catapulted me into a sort of Dark Journey of the Night where I lost everything and travelled for a time through this massive emotional windstorm. 

            My sadness at his death touched upon deeper, more raw feelings about my own life that had probably been there for a very long time but that were unconsciously covered up.           With his death, I think, I became exposed to myself.  I was forced to face up to myself.  He was the last family member to die and suddenly I had no one to refer to, no one to confirm who I was anymore.  I lost that protection so I had to look into myself and I didn’t know who or what was there. 

            I became depressed and restless.  I began to feel physically unwell and simply exhausted from everything, even though I wasn’t sure what ‘everything’ was.  I began to lose interest in what was happening around me.  I questioned if my life was going where I wanted it to go.  I had an overwhelming sense of sadness and would cry easily.  I couldn’t define what it was I was sad about and it was impossible for me to articulate what I was feeling.  I just felt numb, tired and directionless.

            One night, I was out in Newtown with some friends and suddenly, on King Street, I was overcome by dizziness and nausea and I fainted in the street.  I thought I was dying.  Nothing like that had ever happened to me before.  It shocked and frightened me.  I felt like I was losing myself … falling apart.

            Over a period of about two years, my mental and emotional state and my relationship with my partner got worse and eventually we separated.  I felt at the time that I was disconnected from everything and that I needed to be on my own to somehow understand what was happening to me.  I needed time out.  Telling my son that I was no longer going to be living with his mother and him and his sister, who was just a baby, was the hardest thing I have ever done.  Nothing compares with it.

*          *          *

Once I found myself alone with what ever it was that was happening to me, I descended into a depression … a state of mental unease … dis-ease … for a period of about seven or eight years.  I was stricken with an unexplainable grief … a general sort of grieving for my life … grief stricken and sad and wistful and lost.  But it was not necessarily about anything in particular.  More a sense of loss that’s beyond even how you’re feeling or why you’re feeling like that … a very organic thing … a deep emptiness. 

            I had suicidal thoughts and I heard voices and became very distanced and withdrawn.  The only thing that kept me from killing myself or losing my mind and my self completely, was the fact that I could still see my children.  Looking after my children was something that I wanted to do.  I still wanted to be a father to my children, and the responsibility of looking after them, combined with their beautiful, unconditional love, gave me a strong sense of grounding and reality.  I have no doubt that without my children I would never have recovered.  My children saved my life.       

            My time alone helped me get to the heart of my grief.  I realized that I was grieving for myself, because at my core I did not know who I was.  That awareness led me, by a sort of natural progression, to the realization that I had to find out who I was.  For the first time in my life I began to think about meeting my mother.

            Even though this part of my journey was traumatic and seemed to lead me into what might be called a ‘bad place’ … it was also ‘good place’.  I had an emotional breakdown and this is often seen as a ‘bad’ thing and it is a very difficult thing to go through.  But a breakdown also means that I am breaking down barriers and walls that I have built around myself. 

            My breakdown led me to let go of who I thought I was, and go deeper and unlock parts of myself that up to that time, I was too scared to penetrate.  I think that a breakdown can lead a person to a more heightened awareness of themselves and they can learn to soften and accept themselves as they are. 

            The death of my grandfather was the catalyst for all of this change.           I have always felt like I was on a journey of growth and change, all through my life, but this experience forced me to go on another journey, a kind of road less travelled, an inward search for my inner world of my heart and soul … a deepening of myself.  It’s a journey that I am still on and will be on for the rest of my life.

*          *          *

 

So in 2002 I decided I would try and find my mother and by that stage it seemed a very natural thing to do.  I had had it in my mind for about eighteen months that I would try and find her.  I had come to the realisation that I needed to meet my mother and I became convinced that meeting her would resolve something deep within me, which up to that time had not been resolved.  I thought that meeting her would unlock and release energy within myself that had been blocked. 

            What I realised was, that a lot of my breakdown was connected to not knowing who I was …  in particular the first six months of my life which I didn’t know anything about. I’d been told I had come to live with my grandparents when I was six months of age so I didn’t know anything about the conditions surrounding my birth and why I wasn’t with my mother then. 

            I was more interested in the information I thought my mother had about me, than actually meeting her.  Some people find this hard to understand.  I wanted to meet her but I never wanted to rejoin the family or become her son again or something like that.  It was more for what she could tell me about myself.

            However, I know that meeting her and knowing her as my mother now has healed us both immensely.  What she had to tell me has made me more complete … more connected. 

            Meeting her has made me a richer, fuller, more centred person and it marked the beginning of my recovery.  The actual knowledge of what happened at my birth, the story of the first six months of my life and the story of how I was taken from her all of that has helped me heal and move on with my life.

 

You were searching for yourself and finding the missing links?

Yes that’s right.  We’re all doing that in a way.  Most people know who their parents are and where they come from, and they might have some knowledge and connection to their cultural heritage.  But to me, there is a deeper definition of identity … identity of self.  

            We are all searching for identity, not just what country someone might come from or family or name, or what kind of job you have, or car you drive … people define these things as identity.  I feel that is a superficial kind of identity.  Just because you know, or don’t know your parentage is quite superficial in a sense, because we all need to find out who we are on a deeper level anyway.  My story is a metaphor for that search. 

It seems to me that your grandfather was this great link.  There was something about the relationship with him that was absolutely essential for your life force and when he went, you had to find what was not there … the missing pieces that he shielded you from? 

I think what he was doing was providing me with some sort of protection from finding out who I really was in a way.   While he was there I didn’t have to find out who I was.  I was thirty-six at that time in 1995 ... an adult with two children of my own.

So you had to stand alone when he went?

Yeah, yeah.  Standing alone … like an orphan.  Maybe his death brought up energy about my own first period of life … of being abandoned … of losing the connection with my mother.

He was obviously a very significant person for you.  Do you still have a sense of him influencing your life?

No, not really.  There was a period where he was more significant to me in death than in life, but I think I had to let go of that.  In the end he’s dead, his life is over and his death has taught me that I have to get on with my life and let go of the past.

            I’ve tried to free myself from my family experience for virtually all of my life.  All of the family I grew up with are dead now, and I want to live my life in the present moment.  Now, is all there is and I don’t want to live in a world full of ghosts.  I’ve tried to get rid of that and move on.

Do you mean that the people who have gone before us can hold us back in a way?

Physical death doesn’t mean that they are dead.  Dead people can still be alive in our minds. Their energy is still around, and you can be complicit in encouraging that energy by continuing to live as if they are still alive.  Keeping photographs, possessions, furniture … doing what they would have wanted … still living up to their expectations is, in a way, being haunted by that person.  Still being attached to that dead person’s life is like being trapped in a sticky spider web.  I have tried to let go of all of that and live for now on my own terms and it is a very freeing, liberating thing to do. 

            The interesting thing is that I probably spent more time with my grandmother.  She reared me and we were in each other’s company a lot … and yet, I hardly think of her.

Did she display love in a different way?

Yes, I think so.  It was much more conditional.  My grandmother was a ‘mother’ who mothered everybody.  That was her way of being in control and her role.  She felt lost without someone to look after.  She mothered her own children even into adulthood, to the point where they were completely dependent on her for everything.  They never had to look after themselves.  They never had to grow up.  She wouldn’t let them because it would mean that she would lose her mothering role.  She was still interfering in their lives when they were adults.  It was all about her needs, not theirs. 

            I saw this and understood it at a very early age.  I thought it was very claustrophobic and I didn’t want to be controlled like that, so from a young age, I tried to be very independent of her.

            I always had a strong feeling that I was born into the wrong family, that I did not belong to this family I grew up in.  I just felt different from them.  In a very deep way I always felt alone and apart from them.  They had a different way of looking at life.  They weren’t really my family.  They were just people I grew up with … spent my early years with … that’s about it.

            Some of them were very nice people and they had a lot to teach me and I have a lot of warm memories, but essentially, I didn’t belong, and I knew that my life was not with them.  So I just waited until I grew up and became independent, and then I began looking for the life I wanted to live.

                       

How did you find out the story of your birth and your first six months?

I found out that my mother lived in Broome in the North West of Western Australia.  So I travelled there to see if I could find her.  I gave myself seven days.  My plan was to find someone who had lived there a very long time and ask them if they knew her.

            There is a very well known old grocery store there, still owned by the original Chinese family who have been living there for over a hundred years.  The owner knew everybody in town, local people, going back a long way.  I asked the woman in the shop and it turned out she knew my mother.  She told me that my mother was away that week in Perth on business.  She told me where my mother lived and gave me directions on how to get there.  I walked to her house, just to see it.

            I left the centre of town behind and entered what you might loosely call a suburb of Broome.  It was an area that tourists would never go to.  As I walked, I began to notice that everyone who lived in this area was Aboriginal.  It was the first time I began to think that perhaps my mother was Aboriginal too.

            When I got to her house, I spoke to the woman next door who was Aboriginal and she told me that my mother was away, but that her husband was at work.  He drove a taxi, and I could find him in town.  On the way back into town I saw a taxi parked outside the school and I approached the driver to ask if he knew my mother’s husband.  It turned out that the driver was my mother’s husband.  A weird coincidence!  We had a brief conversation and he invited me around for dinner that night.

            As I was walking away, I turned back and asked him if my mother was Aboriginal.  He said, yes.  That was when I discovered I was Aboriginal.  I didn’t get to meet my mother that first trip but I did meet some of my family;  my sister, and two of my brothers and my mother’s husband.

            When she found out I was in Broome, my mother tried to come back earlier and spend some time with me, but it was too difficult.  I extended my stay a couple of days but she still couldn’t make it back in time.  It was as though we were destined not to meet this time around.  Finally on the last night before I left we spoke on the phone for several hours, and that’s when she told me the story about the first six months of my life.

Was that when she told you about your birth story?

Yes. I was born in 1958.  My mother was around nineteen or twenty then.  She left Broome with my father looking for work.  They travelled through the northwest and the Northern Territory to Wyndham, Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek until they arrived in Alice Springs.

            My mother had been taken from her mother at around five or six years of age.  She was brought up in the Holy Child Orphanage in Broome until she was about eighteen.  She was not very well educated but she was a very good cook.  She got work in a pub in Alice Springs and after some time, she got a job as a cook and housemaid on a huge cattle station called Claraville about eight hours north-east of Alice Springs. 

            My father was about twenty five at the time.  He was a very talented and skilled horse rider.  He had spent a lot of his early life around horses and as a young man he had worked with horses in the North West and was known as a champion rider, winning many rodeo events.  He was very good at mustering and was the leader of the mustering teams.

            My mother became pregnant at Claraville.  Every couple of months she would drive to Alice Springs to buy the supplies.  She never had a licence, she taught herself to drive.  

            About seven months into her pregnancy, she was on one of these trips into Alice Springs, when she stopped for a break somewhere just before the highway into town.  My father was following behind her in his car.

            She was sitting in the cabin of the truck having a rest, when the truck simply exploded … exploded … without any warning …

            There were three or four elderly Aboriginal men nearby who came to her rescue and got her out by smashing in the windscreen.  My father drove away …

*          *          *

Alice Springs was about forty miles away and the old men took turns at carrying her into town.  By the time they got her to the hospital, she had slipped into a coma.  She had severe burns to a lot of her body.  She was in shock and her hair was burnt and she was bleeding internally.  I was delivered by caesarean because her body was shutting down and I would have died with her.  She remained in a coma for about five months.  The welfare was notified.

            What I have since discovered is that half-caste children at that time were taken from their mothers and fostered out to families in Victoria or South Australia after becoming Wards of the Commonwealth.  I was made a Ward of the Commonwealth and then held in the hospital for several months.

            At some point my father applied for custody and I was sent to Perth to live with his parents, my grandparents.  I was about six months old.  My mother had just come out of her coma, a short time before and she has no memory of what happened.

            When she asked about me, she was told that I was being cared for but she was never told my whereabouts.  It’s very possible that I was still in the hospital when she came out of her coma but she was never told.  

            When she finally got well enough to leave the hospital, she asked everywhere for me;  the police, the church, the welfare and the hospital again, but none of them would tell her where I was, or at least even say if they knew where I was.

 

You were one of the ‘disappeared’ ... the stolen generation?

Yes.  I was taken from her at birth, possibly for my own health and safety, but when she survived and got better, she was denied access to me.  She and I were blocked from being together.  I am sure she was lied to on many occasions.  I feel I was still in the hospital when she was asking about where I was … and being told that no one knew.

            However, the bottom line is, that my mother was not told the truth about where I was.  There seems to have been a concerted effort to keep us apart.  She stayed in Alice for a while, but eventually she went back to Broome …

                                               

Having had this missing piece of your life filled in, did that help you then to move out and move forward?  Does it change the internal environment to discover your Aboriginality?

Yes. When I found out I was Aboriginal and I heard that story, everything fell into place.  It all just felt correct.  I had a strong inner sense that I understood who I was … at last.  My Aboriginality is deeper than any outward physicality.  I am actually connecting with a deeper sense of myself now.  I simply feel Aboriginal.  It just feels right to identify as an Indigenous person.  It is totally natural.

Is it a link that is a deep cultural bond … like a ‘belonging’ gene? 

Yes. There is a deep knowledge.

            Later, I went to Fitzroy Crossing to meet my mother’s community and see my Grandmother’s land.  I met a lot of the old people and I was accepted, by them all.  I felt a link to that community and a deep connection to that place and to the land.  We sat beneath the tree where my Grandmother was born.  It was a breathtaking experience.

            To sit out in the bush and think that in some way, I am related to a culture that has lived on this land for over fifty-thousand years is just deeply humbling.  To realize that I am connected to people who have walked on this land almost before the beginning of time, is profound.

So does finding out about your Aboriginal mother make a difference to the way you work in the world now?

Yes.  It makes sense to me now.  I have always felt that we belong to the earth and not that the earth belongs to us.  I have never felt connected to the dominant European cultural view that everything is here for us to simply use and exploit, and now I understand why.  I feel more comfortable with a more indigenous view of the world … being, rather than doing.

            I can also witness the difference between white culture and black culture in myself … I am walking between both, with a foot in both cultures.  When I go out into the bush and sit with those people, I have the privilege of going out there not just as a tourist.  I can actually go and sit under a tree with those people … sitting on the ground with them … the old men and women … being embraced by them, being one of them, being accepted.  And that creates an overwhelming feeling of being connected.  It’s quite overwhelming to think that I am connected to a culture as intelligent and sophisticated and enlightened as that. 

            I also feel that sort of connection and belongingness creates a sense of great responsibility to the people and the culture.  My mother wasn’t allowed to have a voice … she wasn’t allowed to speak for herself … her opinion meant nothing … she wasn’t heard … she wasn’t listened to … she was ignored.   

            I have had a white man’s education and I can speak for myself, so I feel that I now have a responsibility to speak up and represent those people who have, for so long, been ignored.  I feel like I’ve been preparing for that for many years through my work as a story teller and dramatist.  I always used to feel that I didn’t have a voice ... that I was only interpreting other peoples voices.  But now I’ve found my own voice.

Tell me about your work.

I have worked in the theatre for twenty five years, firstly as an actor, and more recently as a director and writer.  I have also taught acting and theatre related subjects.  All of this work and experience can be defined another way, and that is, simply telling stories.  I would say that that is my work, my interest and my passion.  I am first and foremost, a storyteller.

            All art is about telling stories.  I am interested in how stories are told.  Any sort of expression or performance of expression, I find fascinating.  It has been my driving focus for virtually all of my adult life.  I have never been interested in anything else.  In the last few years, I feel that only now, I am beginning to grow into the experience of the artist.  Like a rite of passage, the gaining of a mastery takes many years for it to feel authentic.

            I’m interested in the relationship between art and life … what people do with their lives and the choices they make … why? … how? … when? … who? … Questions like this fascinate me.  It’s about understanding other people and reflecting a person’s inner experience.  Writing is the same.  I was drawn to it too and when I began to write I found myself writing plays.

Is there’s something about the movement and action in theatre that appeals to you?

Yeah … the action, the dialogue and the characters together is like the creation of the world of people, their choices and the consequences of those choices.

            To be a good actor, you should only be interested in the role. It’s a very necessary, self-absorbed but limited experience.  I started acting when I was quite young and all I was really interested in was myself in the role which is to be expected really.

            Over the years my outlook has expanded.  I am now more interested in all of the characters and the story in its fullness … not just the role.

How do you understand the role of the actor?  This person that expresses life

Acting is the most human of all art forms.  The actor is a person who reveals himself for public display.  There is a kind of emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual communion between the actor and the audience.  Both parties supporting energy back and forth  … and all of this is taking place, now, in front of an audience … in this present moment.  That makes for a very dynamic relationship between performer and audience.

            So acting in the theatre represents the moment to moment journey that we all take through life.  It reminds us that life is a series of present moments and that life can change in an instant.  That’s why it is so wonderful to act, because actors are continually exploring the world of the present moment.  Everything is being touched, smelled, seen, heard and tasted as if for the first time.

            A common misconception about acting is that actors lose themselves in the moment.  Actually, the aim is that they find themselves in the moment and give in … surrender, to the possibilities that the moment offers.

            I like the expression, Art equals Voice, equals Healing, equals Freedom, equals Responsibility.

            I had an experience about twenty years ago with a show I was working on.  A fellow actor created a short monologue about his dead father.  One night, his entire family came to see the show … uncles, cousins, everyone.  It got to the part in the show where my friend told his story.  I realized that not only was he telling the story for himself and the audience, but through his art he was giving voice to the stories of his family, and by doing so, he was healing himself and his family.  

            Observing this, I had a profound insight into the power and purpose of the actor.

 

So in this context, what do you think about the word ‘vocation’ - because the root of that word is the same as for ‘voice’. 

Vocation is a deep spiritual connection.  A vocation is a path or a journey that somehow brings awareness to oneself and others.  It is about bringing a voice to one’s innermost feelings.  It’s not about choice … it’s about need … and one is drawn to it. 

 

Are freedom and healing connected?

Yes.  Freedom comes from healing.  Freedom can mean many things, but for me, freedom is truth.  Any work that I create must come from a truthful source.  It must have integrity.  What is truth in Art?  I guess it’s the discovery of what is my own truth.  Certainly, in acting there is a big difference between something being truthful and something being real.  In acting it doesn’t have to be real, it can be exaggerated, but it has to be truthful at its root.  There’s a difference between truth and reality.

 

So in a sense then, your vocation is truth telling?

Yes.  Everyone’s journey in life is to find out the truth about themselves … to get to know their true nature and accept themselves as they are, and that is what we recognize in others.

 

We live in a world that is driving us away from our truth all the time … so much distraction, so much lying, so much propaganda.  So the assignment of life seems to say: “Give them the most difficult task you can think of … to find the truth of themselves.”

Yes.  Perhaps that’s our purpose in life … to find the truth in our lives … our own truth.  And to do that, we need to explore on a spiritual level who we really are.  Then we can make this transformation into a more heightened awareness of our life and life in general.  Then death simply becomes another transformation into another plane of consciousness.

            To me, that is the prime purpose of living, to understand and accept myself, and in turn understand and accept other people.

 

*          *          *

I went on a journey to find out who I am. What did I find ?

I found out about my mother … I found out that she is an indigenous woman … I found out that I am an indigenous man …  I found out the name that I was born with … I found out the story of my life … I found out all of these things … but most importantly I found out that all of these things are not who I am. They are not me.

The real question is who am I, if I am not any of these external things that define me ? 

 

Who I am

 

 

 

I want somehow to tell the story of how the dispossessed became possessed of their own history without losing sight, without forgetting the meaning or the nature of their journey.                   - Sherley Anne Williams

 

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