• Liz Lucas

Koru: New Beginnings

Koru: This is what a baby fern looks like before it matures into an adult (as seen in the background)

Koru (Māori symbol for spiral) it means new life, growth strength and peace, this is a sacred symbol in their culture. This is the state of mind I am currently in. I just successfully finished my Pure Exploration Adventure Guide program. 3 months of learning to be a rock-climbing guide and a hiking guide with 9 other humans. Now, I sit here alone trying to come up with just the right words. There is not a paragraph or even a book that could accurately tell the story of the last 3 months. However, I know every ending leads to a new beginning, a beginning that I get to create, I will use my growth as a mere starting block of the next journey.

As I reflect on the last 3 months, I question if it really happened, was it all a dream. These people that I lived with 24/7, that became family, how is it that it all comes down to 1 day 1 time to say goodbye and we all move in our own direction. How beautiful it was that 11 of us all met at this place and time and will never meet again. Yes, I have gone through this process MANY MANY times and each time this is the same thought that crosses my mind. It so quickly feels like a memory and even a dream. The details are already fuzzy the things that bugged me are already faded away and only the wonderful times and learnings remain. As it was just a blink in time that we all met it makes me very conscience of the fact that each and every person was in this group for a reason and each person had a lesson to bring with them. Although, I am not sure of each lesson I have a good idea about many of them 😊

The word that comes up more and more in my head as I reflect on the 3 months is BELONGING. What is means to belong to something, really belong. Is it simply fitting in and not making waves in a group, or is it deeper than that? Belonging is a topic that has been the common thread in my life since I can remember. It is something that has always eluded me. Each experience has brought me closer to understanding this feeling, and this experience to date has been the deepest sense of belonging I have gotten with a group in such a short amount of time. It was not what I could give them, it was me finally being present and totally myself (most of the time).

So what did I do differently this time? I was more vulnerable than I have ever been, I opened up to the group and shared some deep stuff. I was totally embraced by them, and even when we disagreed it seemed to be that we were able to work through it in a way where everyone felt respected. Some could call me out on things in a way that allowed me to grow and reflect rather than guard and protect. I was able to say “yo, I was totally out of line in what I did or said, thanks for still having my back”. This sort of trust and understanding doesn’t happen that often it seems. I am so grateful to have had this experience with these people at this time. It has really taught me that not having the answers, not having my shit together is not a prerequisite for belonging and connecting to people.

It began with us all sitting around a table in September discussing our dreams, values and goals to freezing on the top of a peak together, walking through rivers, climbing up rock faces, sleeping in caves, paddling the sound, singing in the van, complaining about dirty tea cups, talking about things that make me slightly uncomfortable, getting insight into other people’s lives, some great hugs and high fives, some well-made porridge and some not so well-made porridge (oops, my bad), seeing people conquer their fears, a few fire alarms and oh so many laughs, to ending with a group koru in the park wishing each other only the best as we each continue our journey’s on our own. I wish to each and every person reading this that you too can share beautiful moments with others and embrace the learnings, be vulnerable, and have the confidence and courage to say what you mean and willingness to admit when you were wrong.

I know that some of these people will remain friends for life and others will fade away, and the lessons will remain.

So now what? What is actually next on my journey? I am living in my self-contained camper van and at friends’ houses doing some odd jobs and adventuring when I can. I have about 6 weeks before a new job starts in guiding (stay tuned for the full update). This gives me time to let everything sink in deeply and reset my body and mind.

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