After some reflection on an amazing few days on the West Australian coast, helping to facilitate some on country yarning sessions; it dawned on my why traditionally our Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander ancestors gathered to chat around a campfire.
One would assume, it was because we lived outside and we didn’t have the luxuries of indoor heating or even the warmth of modern clothes .
After sitting around the campfire, yarning about problems in communities, self reflecting on my very own issues I deal with on a daily basis, I returned to my bed that evening and had one of the deepest sleeps I have had in months; not because I was tired, but because the hours of staring deep into that fire my mind began to feel at ease. For hours, sometimes deep into conversation, and sometimes without conversation, just staring deep into the fire before us.
I realised that staring deep into a flame, not having any particular thoughts that are racing in the mind, everything just slows down, when you are staring deep into that fire, your mind begins to heal and those racing thoughts, slow down dramatically.
For thousands on thousands of years, our old people, the ancestors, lived with a much more simple life but I believe there is a lesson in this for everyone.
There is multiple layers as to why something so simple can be so healing.
Firstly, sitting around a fire with others creates community, people to talk to, rather than mindless and often negative content that comes through our television screens, conversation creates interactions that many of us choose not to have anymore.
Having a campfire, usually is outdoors. Sitting and connecting outdoors with our Mother Earth is something that is also very vital in our healing. It has been proven that connecting outdoors, even taking your shoes off and sinking them into the grass or dirt sends a soothing vibration through the body, to help it heal physically, mentally and emotionally.
There is so much learning we can take from our old people, we have survived as the longest continual living culture on the planet, this isn’t by accident - those old people were intelligent, smart and extremely wise.
Finally, I want to share what a senior uncle said to me when I initially started re connecting with traditional culture; Uncle Paul Callaghan, knew of my battles with mental health, mental illness and suicide.
He said ‘young brother, you stick close to this stuff and keep learning about he old people & our old ways, your mental health problems will all but disappear’.
He was right, the more I have connected with culture and the old ways of living, the mind slows down, you think clearer and you aren’t clouded with the negative rut that comes with living in a fast paced, demanding society.
If I can suggest anything for your wellness, get outdoors and start starring deep into a fire - It is a form of meditation - and start Healing.