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Uncomfortable truths about reconciliation

This week is National Reconciliation Week in Australia and I am reminded of how hope is hard work.
I was reminded of how many of us feel close to being overwhelmed by the messy stuff of the world and our lives.
This week I was also reminded of attributes in leadership like love, courage, vision, and integrity. I was reminded that we are forged by our past and we learn in our present to prepare for better futures.
This mixture of heaviness and hope prompted a question for me: Where am I going to draw hope from this year?
This question caused me to reflect on how one side does not fix all in reconciliation. 

It reminded me that the most unpopular position is in the middle spaces seeking peace, understanding, and moving forward together.

Reconciliation for me, is not only about making peace or mending a break-up. It is certainly not about ending discomfort. 

It is about facing up to some uncomfortable Australian truths in the stories we tell ourselves and others. 

3 uncomfortable truths for your consideration:

  1. We might have a case of collective atrophy of the heart. In the 1999 Referendum we were asked if we wanted to include a preamble to the Constitution that acknowledge First Australians. We voted NO 60% and YES 40%. One generation later in 2023 we were asked if we wanted to include a Voice and we voted NO 60% and YES 40%. Now more than ever we should face this tough reality that even though so much has changed in 24 years, we might have collective atrophy of the heart.
  2. We might honestly be a beautiful example national harmony and social cohesion. We live in a country of great opportunity and possibility. There are barriers and structures of disadvantage, and there are also pathways and opportunities. Now more than ever we should face the perspective of truth that we can find ways to get over our stuff and move forward.
  3. We might have hurtful and harmful attitudes towards other people that shows up as racism, sexism, and xenophobia. We live in a country that has set in place its own caste system and allocated different ethnicities and cultures with their stations in life. If you’ve never experienced this hurtful truth in Australia, it probably means you’re a member of the higher castes. Now more than ever we should face this tough reality that we sowed a caste system into our national narrative, and we need to acknowledge this as we seek to move forward together.
Reconciliation can ask us to consider acknowledging and accepting other perspectives of truth. We are a people who vote 60/40 in referendums. We are a country where you can get over obstacles and move forward. We are a nation where caste is real.
Reconciliation can ask us to also consider that some people can only work in limited levels of attention and care, while others dedicate their lives and careers.
Reconciliation can be broad enough to consider that for some it will mean a mild introduction to things they hadn’t thought about before, while others are engaging in revolutionary action to change large-scale systems.

More than bringing people together, reconciliation is about accepting different perspectives of truth.

For me, reconciliation is not about just bringing people together. It is about accepting different perspectives of truth, acknowledging different felt experiences of our caste system, and realising different dimensions in how people will act based on their understanding of Reconciliation.
I encourage you to think about your perspectives of truth and how you might be keeping it as your sacred core.
I encourage and challenge you to notice if it is seducing you to feel like you are righteous, and others are ridiculous. I invite you to hold it more lightly and hear the potential appeal that reconciliation might also be asking you to make changes.
Be encouraged and encourage others.
Mark YP