The holiday must be over because I am back to ‘dream messages’. Last night I dreamt the words “everything has its place, place has everything”. This reminds me of the First Nations Peoples’ understanding that everything comes from ‘Country’ including them and their ancestors. All comes from and goes back to the landscape, which is sentient, alive and creative.

It also indicates that everyone has a right to and does belong somewhere. I’ve read early documented reports of when the first ‘white’ fellas arrived in remote places in Australia and due to the ontology or beliefs of the local people they had to ‘fit’ the newcomer into their understanding that everyone has a place in the system – there are no particles floating around in space that aren’t connected in some way. This did not mean that this ‘newcomer’ had any decision making rights or authority in their system but what it did allow for was a way to relate and communicate.

The questions today in our globalised and mobile world are how does everyone fit in and where do they belong? Questions that are central to anthropological understandings. If we rely on politics alone we come to the ‘nation’ model, passports, visas and immigration policies, fairly recent concepts in human history. But if we look through a cultural lens its not quite as simple. People bring with them their own way of seeing and being in the world from their own histories and lived experiences and have to find a way to belong and fit into a new environment. Australia is the perfect example of generations of ‘aliens’ arriving for a variety of reasons to what was deemed ‘a far away land’ and one that they did not understand. You could argue, and still don’t understand, because they were never taught the history and value of the spiritual and complex nature of the relationships that had been here for tens of thousands of years between people and place. Something that has still not been formally acknowledged in British Law.

If we rise above culture to a common humanity, which is what globalisation is forcing us to do, the only way that we can survive as a species is to embrace the idea that everything has its place and place has everything. Place, Country, Nature, does have everything we need and it is not judgemental about colour, race, creed as long as we are respectful of our place in it and of the people that have cared for it and continue to do so. We need to nurture our environment and cherish what it freely gives us as organic living beings. We all need clean water and air, sunshine, fresh whole food, the ability to move and work and be productive and to have right relationships with each other.

Currently we are experiencing a situation where the global ways that we have been operating have been stopped in their tracks due to the Coronavirus. We are now having to share our environment with a competing organism, a virus, which has been brought about by practices that disrespect our environment. Hopefully our global response is not only to ‘find a way to protect ourselves with a vaccine’ (as no doubt this will occur again if we don’t learn the lessons) but to give us time to pause and consider our individual and collective actions and new ways to respect and understand place and our relationship to it.