I’m sitting in a wharenui as I write this.

Kawa Marae, Aotea – Great Barrier Island

I’ve just been privileged to hear the whakapapa (genealogy) of my Carver Boy’s people.

I’ve been thinking about identity.

About knowing who you are.

About the strength of that.

About connection.

Connection to self

We know today that connection is the panacea to so many huge problems: Depression. Addiction. Reducing recidivism rates.

That connection can come in many forms and on many levels: community, family, tribe.

One of those levels is connection to SELF.

And how can we be connected to self if we don’t KNOW ourselves?

Vulnerability is the essence of connection and connection is the essence of existence. - Leo Christopher

Whakapapa

For me and many indigenous people, we are incredibly fortunate to have a strong sense of identity and connection to self, culture, and history because of our whakapapa.

Many people, though, don’t have the good fortune to have generations of stories to help shape that knowing. Or maybe they have a good knowledge back a couple of generations but no further.

What I want to say is this: we each have the opportunity to develop connection with self. To build our own understanding of our identity.

We each have the opportunity to develop connection with self, to build our own understanding of our identity. - Shelly Davies

Build knowing, then connection

Yes, that building can be based on culture. On family history.

But it can just as validly be based on an understanding of our own strengths. Our character. Our personality type, our passions.

It could be based on the pathway of our education and career.

Or it can be based on the journey of our scars, and the way those shape, strengthen, and refine us.

Do not define your identity based on the lowest points in your life - Mike Cernovich

However you choose to build knowing and then connection to self, please do it.

Do it for you, for your children, for society.

Connection to self will fill the gaps we keep trying to fill with drugs or alcohol or food or sex or antisocial behaviour.

Definition: PANACEA - noun - pan-uh-SEE-uh.  A remedy for all ills or difficulties

If we want to make the world a better place, if we want to make contributions of value, build connection.

And start on the inside.

In a world of algorithms, hashtags and followers, know the true importance of human connection