I had the great pleasure this week of hearing back from the Gay’wu group of women — the authors of Songspirals, the book that has been so impactful on my teaching and students. I’d written to them because my Co-becoming Plunge has been a fundraiser for this Arnhem Land community, and it was wonderful to hear that the $2000 we raised has been gratefully received — and needed, too, because of the health challenges of one of the elders.
The work I facilitate in our writing communities owes a debt to their wisdom and generosity, which is why we have been keen to express our gratitude in tangible form. Every event I run a portion of the proceeds goes to them.
It was in Songspirals that we first came across the term co-becoming, an elegant, concise and precise term that felt kin to something I’d stumbled upon in my nature connection and writing journey.
In the writing of my PhD there was a particular feeling I encountered. I wrote of it in many different ways: entering the pattern, inside the aliveness, the being with, the becoming-with, writing-with, the co-participation, the making and the made.
When I began teaching I sought to convey this feeling, and found methods of working with students to invoke this particular state of connection. Through somatic sensing, guided meditation and stream of consciousness writing we touch a felt sense of creative participation with the world. Reading the women’s descriptions of their felt sense of the process in Songspirals suggests a universality of this kind of creative spiritual experience. And we sense, to the degree those of us of another culture ever can, something of the profundity of the work Aboriginal people have been engaged in for aeons.
I am grateful to be in connection with these Yolngu women and support their cultural work, and to also receive their support for how we are seeking to live into the questions their work raises. I hope everyone reads this book. In their words:
“We bring this book to you: we cannot let this knowledge fade away. It has been here so long and it is still here. That is why this book is so important, to pass knowledge down, to continue the spirals. It needs to happen now and we want you to walk with us on this journey.”