Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Peace of Wild Things

"When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

Wendell Berry

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Let us lose sight of ourselves

"Let us lose sight of ourselves, and break the mirrors.
For the fierce curve of our lives is moving again to the depths
out of sight, in the deep dark living heart."
DH Lawrence
(from Know Deeply, Know Thyself More Deeply)

Thursday, 27 March 2014

No, thanks

Busy-ness carries with it an air of importance. But it's not a breeze I want to be swayed by.
Just over a year ago I took a personal plunge. Trusting myself and chancing my arm, I set out to find better, more fulfilling work; work that made the most of my strengths and faced up to the times we're living in
At first, I wondered where it would come from. I genuinely feared I would fall short. Right now, I'm juggling four different part-time jobs, occasional consulting work, public speaking gigs, and a band (along with a busy social life). Partly through fortune and partly design, it's all pretty wonderful stuff. Sustainability, facilitation, music and the arts are all coming together in cool ways I couldn't have imagined 18 months ago.

But my time is finite. My energy only stretches so far. And being passionate about the things I do makes me want to respect them all the more - with the right energy, focus and clarity. And right now I feel stretched.
So from now on, I'm taking a leaf from the delightfully droll but dearly departed Dennis O'Driscoll and learning to say "No, thanks".
'No' seems to get a bad rap. I often feel guilty - like I'm letting people down when I use it. But saying 'yes' as a default has left me overloaded, unable to truly focus on the things I value most. Right now, I risk letting myself down.

So I'm going to try 'no' on for size, focusing on the opportunities it opens up, the spaces it leaves free, not just those it shuts down.
I don't expect to be immediately good at this. I suffer a strong fear-of-missing-out. Please keep asking, but if you get a 'no' or some variant, know that it's not you, it's me - and feel free to congratulate me on my progress!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

This train will be taking no passengers: a journey in six parts

1. You can't be neutral on a moving train (Howard Zinn)

2. The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality (John F. Kennedy)

3. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor (Desmond Tutu)

4. Being a centrist doesn't make you unbiased; it biases you in favour of the centre (Rodney Ulyate)

5. There are no independent people. Even when you are standing aside, you are taking a side (Ljupka Cvetanova)

6. Indeed, it is impossible to be neutral. In a world already moving in certain directions, where wealth and power are already distributed in certain ways, neutrality means accepting the way things are now (Howard Zinn)

Friday, 21 February 2014

I ain't afraid of no boats

Looking for something positive to do? Hate what's happening to asylum seekers but feel powerless to do anything about it?

People who work in politics regularly say one thing that really has impact, is direct contact from the public. Contact Scott Morrison MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection:, 02 6277 7860.

What to say? He works for you. And you’re not satisfied with his performance. Give him a piece of your mind. Tell him you expect transparency from your government. Tell him to allow journalists unlimited access to the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres, including the right to take and distribute photos and report on the conditions they witness and the stories they hear and verify. Tell him you won't vote for his party ever again (even if you didn't vote for them in the first place).

The Labor party are hardly any better. Contact the shadow Immigration Minister Richard Marles MP on (03) 5221 3033 or Tell him the same thing. Tell him you’ll vote Greens next election (they hate that), even if you really voted Greens last time.

Do what you like, but that's what I'll be up to next week.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A wolf among wolves

I fell asleep in your branches, woke up to the flood. Smoke signals, sirens. The poem in your blood gave me something to cling to; a thread through the dark. 

I said, tell me that story, the one where we sleep. For ten thousand years, then ten thousand more. To wake up one cool evening, unbroken and calm. Surrounded, stunned, crowned - by the stars. 

Image: Dan Burgess, Standing tall

Monday, 13 January 2014

Unknown Landscapes

This blog's been pretty quiet. But plenty has been happening on the music front. 

In the past year, I've written an album's worth of ace new songs, begun recording, and started getting a couple of brilliant new band members up to speed to join The General Assembly. More on all of that soon. Suffice to say, I'm pretty excited about where it's all heading.

But first up this year, I'm hitting the road. The talented D.A.Calf and I head off this week to tour the east coast of Australia. 
Ten shows in 14 days. It's a chance to try out new songs and new arrangements in front of new audiences. A chance to collaborate and scheme. And a great excuse to explore this amazing country.  

Find a show on our schedule and join us. It's going to be great.