New Zealand has a tradition you might not have heard of yet - the Haka. The Haka is a traditional Maori dance, war cry or challenge. You sing, someone answers. You gather strength, energy and bond together. And at the end, eyes wide open, you scream ,Haka‘ while sticking out your tongue. That‘s to present your soul.
The intent strongly depends on circumstances. For example, if you just insulted the war chief, the Haka he and his tribe will present to you will not be one to welcome you to the iwi.
If, for example, you are a great rugby player, one day you might be playing against the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks (please forgive my for simplyfing the Rugby system).
Then you will have to face those terribly strong guys shouting and stamping - and you are going to really feel their power, their eagerness and strong conviction transported in their Haka.
Will you be up to the challenge?
I am not an expert on the Haka, so this few sentences only decribe some aspects of the truth. But some of the most fun and playful lessons I ever learned about life are tied to a great man teaching me and my fellow travellers how to Haka.
„We teach our children the Haka so that they find their own voice.“ Because by stomping, singing from all of your heart and finally sticking out your tongue you express your true soul. Now, if that doesn‘t sound like fun, what would?
So, would you like to hear more about this? As I discovered the beautiful land of the green hills, the land where Hobbits hunted for the ring and an elf princess would fly over the land riding her powerful horse, the land of freedom and magic, I found so much beauty. Although you might not guess it right away, I have always been somewhat shy. Not shy when it comes to represent others or fight for them, but shy expressing my needs and my true desires. Or, as my guide would say, shy to use my voice.
I do find our environment a little rough and not always „voice-friendly“. More often than not you are rewarded for fitting in rather than being assertive. You are chastised when you refuse to let others overstep your boundaries. So instead of supporting you and thereby nourishing your sense of self, self-esteem, and self-worth, grown ups often just don‘t get it.
So there I stood in a middle of a crowd and tried to follow the steps while feeling embarrassed even before I started to sing - how others manage to sing in tune is a riddle to me. However, I was so impressed by the beauty of my teacher‘s voice when he intoned the first line of the song and enthralled by his desire to teach us, to let us discover this part of his world, that I didn‘t hesitate and gave in to my true desire: I sang. I do love to sing and this time I was not so concerned with getting it right. And tell you what: I found my voice - and it never went away.
Opening my eyes wide in this land of magic, my soul came to life. And with it my voice. My desires. My hopes and needs.
When did you last stand up for yourself? When did you ignore the feeling that someone did not treat you right and just said nothing or „It‘s ok“? You don‘t have to insult someone to express your voice. While I would suggest listening when you always get the response that your words are hurtful and cruel I also know that there is enough space for your individual voice.
And I tell you another little secret, just between the two of us. Ready? We need your voice, your intelligence, your ideas. We need you. The real you. You own something so particular, so unique that it is your right and your duty to be true to yourself. One day you might have to fulfill a deed, solve a problem. But what if you are not ready? What if fate knocks on your door inviting you for the greatest adventure of your life - and you have forgotten to get ready? This only happens when you forget your voice. But don‘t worry - fate is friendly. Fate helps you get your voice back when you lost it along the way.
And who knows - help might come as a journey to another country where someone teaches you to stick out your tongue and really mean it. That‘s me - take it or leave it.
Next time you want to stick out your tongue do it right, mean it!