Earth Treasure Vase: Global Healing Project
Linking our world in a practice of planetary protection & renewal.

Excerpt from “Stories of Belonging,” edited by Kelly Wendorf, with Uncle Bob Randall

In Stories of Belonging, edited by Kelly Wendorf, Tjilpi Bob Randall writes:

“To understand belonging, you have to understand the system of connection that has supported my people for over sixty thousand years. Belonging to all things was and is our way of life. As an Aboriginal person, you belong to much more than just your human family. There are many lines of relationship that connect us. One of these is the totemic connection to country based on songlines or stories from the Tjukurrpa or Dreaming. A totem is a link between the spiritual and physical through the land. Tjukurrpa is the time of Creation, including the past, present and future. It is fixed; it cannot be changed from that time of Creation; it was, it is, and it always will be.

These dreaming trails, the songlines, the story tracks, crisscross Australia in every direction. The Dreaming creatures moved across the country, creating the topography of the land we see today. The knowledge of this relationship is passed down through ceremonies by family members to their children. This is what forms the biggest relationship system because it connects every single Aboriginal nation throughout this continent.

These Dreaming storylines connected everyone into one family. As an Aboriginal person, you belong to every spiritual entity that lives with you in your country — you belong to anything that’s living and it belongs to you. It’s the livingness — the beingness — that connects us. That livingness is what we share and what is the same in all of us. We are all one, from the most minute grain of sand to the largest mountain. And just as a crystal reflects the colors of the rainbow, if we were held up to a superior light, more powerful than any other light, we too would reflect the light as a rainbow. It’s as simple as that. Every one of us carries that energy and the beauty of the rainbow within us. And that is the innermost perfection of the uniqueness each of us carry. There is not another being like you in the whole of creation. You have that beauty of the rainbow in you. In my culture, this understanding is expressed in the story of the Rainbow Serpent.

If only you people could see this and show it by living a life of service, not only to other people but to other living things. It is our responsibility — not just Aboriginals but everyone’s — to live by what my people call the Kanyini principle. Kanyini is the principle of connectedness through caring and responsibility that underpins Aboriginal life. Kanyini means to love and care for your family and things around you as Mother Earth loves you. This unconditional love has no borders, no boundaries. We should practice this unconditional love with every living thing.

Water—what you and I are made of — as symbolized by the Rainbow Serpent—is important for the survival of every plant and every creature, that is why the oneness is a reality, not just an idea. We are all living as one big family united by the Rainbow Serpent. Kanyini is founded on that principle—that reality—of oneness.

Modern culture is so disconnected from this relationship of belonging. We’ve redirected our sense of belonging to man-created objects. But we’ve always belonged to the Earth and been a part of every thing. When we started creating and valuing man-made material things, we walked away, turned our backs on our family, on the natural world. And we stopped being responsible toward others. We moved away from a life of ‘oursness’ and we started to live in ‘mineness’. Parents started to pass on non-belonging to future generations. In addition, and this is important, belonging is earned through responsibility towards all living things. Responsibility is the key to belonging – which most people today do not understand.

The objective of an Aboriginal child’s education is to teach about connectedness, responsibility and care within the whole system of unconditional love. The teachings are taught through story and then through song. Every part of a teaching is sung as well as spoken. And from singing comes dance; the same story is danced. And then it is painted…

Without belonging you cannot be whole. You are lacking and you’ll try and fill the emptiness with any kind of substitute. The loss is enormous, it’s sad and is so unnecessary because our family is always calling us home. The trees, the land, the ancestors all call us home. A sense of belonging is the right of every one of us. All living things, human and non-human, deserve this right….Belonging is there for each and every one of us if we can open our hearts to feel it.”