After two weeks away from home with most of that spent off the grid in a tent I have a renewed appreciation for the simple things in life, especially running water in the form of a shower.
Life is busy, so there's always a guilty element when you step away for yourself.
Spending time with the Gooniyandi people was a great lesson in empathy, awareness, compassion and life.
My participation in the Australian Rural Leadership Program is sponsored by MLA and this session was held in the Kimberley.
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The traditional owners are very proud of their contribution to the northern beef industry.
They openly speak of the impact of the 1967 referendum and unintended consequences of the equal wages legislation and, in particular, the impact on their people when their connection to country was lost.
The Uluru Statement has given them a renewed energy to try and work together for better outcomes. They live a simple life but operate in a multi layered environment.
Mothers shedding tears as they spoke of copycat suicides amongst their children and other heartbreaking stories was confronting.
Their genuine delight in sharing their home with us and performing welcome ceremonies to keep us safe as we travelled was humbling. I now understand how ceremonies, painting and stories fulfills their sense of purpose in keeping their culture alive.
I hope more of our decision makers can make such journeys and hear the quieter voices amongst the aboriginal people.
I reflected on a few other things, including how lucky family farmers are to work together. In sharing meals in the paddock, on the verandah and in our kitchens we have opportunities to engage that many of our city friends don't.
In the bush we also understand leadership is about service.
I often joke that I spend some of my herding cats, but in reality it is a privilege to be able to positively impact outcomes for others.
Volunteers don't operate according to position descriptions, we simply respond as needed. In my local community its not about egos, but rather skill sets and contribution.
Like nature, life operates in cycles in the bush.
Our children understand that with wrinkles comes wisdom from years of "doing what you can with what you have".
Strangers are friends we haven't met yet and life is as complicated as we make it.
- Brigid Price, Rural Resources.
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