Be Here Now

By chance I stumbled across the documentary ‘ Be Here Now’ on Netflix. I had never heard of the Welsh Born Australian based actor Andy Whitfield, his wife Vashti, or their children Jesse and Indy.

But as I sat in my living room, on a nondescript day in May, in an instant it became clear that this documentary was to ensure I would not forget them.

What first caught my eye was the exquisite beauty of Andy. Handsome, yes, but truly beautiful due to the infinite love he displayed for his wife and two young children.


A shy, self-conscious man who aged 36 had dared to dream he might pursue an acting career. The documentary opened to the glitz and glamour awarded Hollywood stars who have ‘ made it’ – red carpets, adoring gazes of the masses, camera flashes.

Andy Whitfield had arrived, having just completed his first major acting role in the tv series Spartacus. A loin cloth wearing, chiselled, tanned, totally ripped Gladiator.

He was living his truth, having stepped away from the known certainties of an engineering career and mastered a self belief anything was possible

It was beautiful to watch. On the world stage stood Andy Whitfield. He moved freely, spoke eloquently, laughed fully, loved unreservedly.

Cancer. Stage 4. Three months to live.

The documentary delivered the first of many blows early. I struggled to make sense this news. In stark contrast the Whitfield’s wasted little time, united they would faced Andy’s diagnosis head on.

The unwavering commitment of Vashti supporting Andy, to be truly present to what is, not what might be, could, should or would be. To ‘ Be Here Now’ with her partner, in each and every moment. And Andy’s unwavering commitment to live by that motto despite insurmountable odds.

Fast forward to late July, and I’m attending Creative Mornings July breakfast lecture. The theme for July ‘ intention’. The guest speaker, Vashti Whitfield.


I’m pinching myself that I’m in the audience and sit in anticipation for what I know will be an insightful hour.

As I listen , I come to further understand the motivation behind documenting her incredibly personal family story.

For the Whitfield’s, living a meaningful life was about having impact. And documenting their cancer journey which culminated in Andy’s passing, ensured his legacy would be lasting.

The documentary depicted a tight family unit, drawing strength from their steely commitment to living a fully present life. A life anchored in intention, in alignment with core values. Aware of fear and suffering in daily life, the Whitfield’s shaped their experiences around honouring the duality present in each moment, and their ability to find joy inspite of suffering and loss.

By acknowledging ones mortality the sacredness of the present moment became paramount. Be here now, and you are instantly aware of the power you have to make a difference in the present, your immediate legacy.

Just as the documentary ‘ Be Here Now’ shook me to the core, elements of Vashti’s presentation were powerful and poignant. Asked to consider your legacy upon taking your final breath, hardly breakfast conversation! Or your immediate legacy, how the person sitting next to you might recall your interaction?

I looked down at the name tag I was wearing. I’d been asked to assign myself an intention for the day.


Thank you Andy, thank you Vashti, thank you Jesse & Indy. For allowing the cameras to capture moments in time that were difficult, painful, terror filled, anxiety ridden. It would have been far easier to close the door , stop the cameras rolling and attempt to make sense of your hellish reality on your terms. In your time.

But on the cameras rolled, on and on and on. And in doing so, you took us on an inspiring, life affirming journey of love and loss, reminding us that boundless beauty is on offer should we choose to focus with intent on the here and now.

‘ Be Here Now’ is streaming now on Netflix.

Please Like Me

The series ‘ Please Like Me’ might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But it is mine.

I’ve served myself the entire series, twice.

I never intended to watch it again. It just happened. ‘ Nanette’ by Hannah Gadsby recently aired on Netflix. Hannah loves a cup of tea. Hannah features in Please like Me. And so as the credits rolled on Nanette it felt natural to throw myself whole heartedly into PLM, for the second time, tea-cup in hand.

I don’t like PLM, I love it. And a year had passed between viewing, but like old friends, it was ever so easy to connect again, pick up where we left off, series one episode one.

Steph Harmon, Culture Editor with the Australian Newspaper, The Guardian wrote in 2016 ‘ Josh Thomas’s Please Like Me has quietly become one of the most surprising, honest and devastating shows on television. Over four seasons, the series has traversed all manner of topics that other shows with bigger budgets fear to cover, and delivered them with sensitivity, nuance, frankness and frequent hilarity. The show has dealt with homophobia and racism, depression and workplace harassment, breast cancer and STDs. There was an abortion which, in a refreshing turn, was treated not with kid gloves but with openness and no regrets. There was commendably realistic gay sex – a lot of it. And in the second season, many of the scenes and three of the main characters were based in a mental health institution.

Sad tear, happy tears and laughter, lots of it. Vulnerability at the forefront of each performance, like quickly turns to love, adore even, a bunch of characters who resonate, glow, ‘ shine bright like a diamond’ from lap taps, tablets and iphones. Or in my case, lounge room tv, screening on demand.

This last week in June has been divine. Thank you PLM.

I look forward our next encounter, third time lucky. I know the drill, cup of tea in hand, tissue box in close proximity. Cannot wait!!

‘ Love Yourself’ Series 4, Episode 2

Please Like Me is currently screening on Netflix, Series 1-4.

Nanette by Hannah Gadsby is currently screening on Netflix

Los Angeles – A Like Story

Los Angeles  – City of Angels – California – USA.

Melrose Ave - Los Angeles

Melrose Ave – Los Angeles

I left you this time last week, and whilst I was more than ready to come home – those 6 days in your company affected me.

My aim was to fall in like with you – not love, in 6 days that would be too much to ask.

To achieve this, I transported the best version of my Sydney life – yoga, beach visits, pancake eating, coffee sipping and general meanderings to the West Coast and waited.

And wait I did, I began hoping and praying that each time I left the comfort of my West Hollywood Air BNB apartment the mixture of self-consciousness, anxiety and fear would subside.

As I ventured to numerous West Hollywood yoga studios, Runyon Canyon for mountain hikes, Santa Monica Boulevard for the most AMAZING pancakes, Down Town LA for a change of scene, Venice Beach for a little more CRAZY and listened to the music of John Mayer – this chronic over-thinker began to notice a shift.

Despite the confronting scenes LA served up in quick succession – I noticed my heart softening, the inner chatter diminishing as I became transfixed by the heartbreak, the chaos, the raw beauty that is LA living.

All I had to do was to leave the house and get amongst it – stop thinking, start doing.

And I had heard that saying countless times before but in LA, of all places, it.finally.made.sense.

Back in Sydney, I will be forever thankful for the lessons learnt on the West Coast. If a sense of peace can be found in a city with 6 lane freeways ( in EACH direction) then it can be found anywhere.

Despite the inner chatter, the pleas from within that your best self is to be found on the couch, mindlessly watching NETFLIX – to that I can confidently say ‘ NO’

In spite of what appeared at times to be the most inhospitable surrounds, the beauty and warmth of the human spirit was there to be uncovered – and with an open heart, I got to experience just that.

Thank you LA – I do indeed LIKE you very much.

Sydney is a tiny village



Out for a stroll on Thursday, the sun was shining, I had a spring in my step. Catching up with an old work colleague. A lunch time date two years in the making – good conversation guaranteed.

But little did I know that it was pre and post lunch conversation that would add additional colour my day. Sydney is but a tiny village I concluded as I closed my apartment door on my return home. My walk through Waterloo, Redfern, Chippendale, Darlington and Glebe and then back again, a 6km round trip, included conversations with 4 ‘ Locals’/ ‘Friends’/’ Sydney siders’. It gave my home town with a population of 5.57 million a village feel. It made me feel very, very happy.

There was the film maker and part-time academic to chat to on Redfern Street, my yoga teacher at the train station, yet another former colleague on Abercrombie Street,on his way to pick up a Dominos pizza for lunch, cutting our time to chat short, and lastly a yoga friend post class.

And over the planned lunch date at Redfern favourite, Scouts Honour, a perfect meal paired with 1.5 hours of chit-chat.

These five encounters left me feeling a little smug, of the ‘ I can do this city living thing, my home town does encourage connectivity and chance meetings’ variety.

Sydney is but a tiny village…..You just have to step outside, take a look around with a curiouslity as to what might be. In a city, population 5.57 million, connectivity is a must and chance encounters are just the best.

Who knew that going to a short stroll could be worthy of a blog post!!


Compassion – A breakfast lecture

CreativeMornings, Sydney : Friday 29th of September.


Creative What?

CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. They’re free, monthly events that feature a short talk, Q+A and breakfast. CreativeMornings started in NYC in 2008 and has since grown to over 100 cities all over the world. The local chapters not only celebrate a city’s creative talent but also promote an open space to connect with like-minded people. CreativeMornings happen one Friday a month from 8:30am to 10am ( taken directly from CM website)

So I happened to find myself in the right place at the right time to attend CM’s breakfast lecture on compassion. The lecture was to be given by Mr Edo Kahn, Co-Founder of A Sound Life, an organisation providing free music therapy, yoga and meditation to the needy.

Edo speaks from the heart, he speaks with conviction, he exudes compassion.

A story of love and loss, purpose and passion.

A story upon hearing, one would be willing to forgive the central character for giving up on life, shutting the door to love and retreating within.

Yet compassion, first and foremost for himself, has been Edo’s guiding force. Its healing qualities have enabled him to withstand life’s storms, and to continue to give , ever so graciously, to those around him in endless supply.

Through song, through the spoken word, through video snippets, the audience was gifted with insight into the importance of living purposefully.

Like us all, Edo admitted to days when anger or frustration take hold. When nerves arise or when decisions don’t come easily. And at such times, compassion, self compassion, is key.

Thank you Edo, thank you CreativeMornings Sydney. I was in the right place and the right time and I was open to listening to ideas I’m certain have fallen on deaf ears in the past!

Compassion, first and foremost for yourself, will sooth and comfort. It has a freeing quality, enabling you to navigate the trials and tribulations of daily life.









A breakfast lecture in Redfern Sydney.

My Island Home

Yesterday morning I felt compelled to write a blog post. But as I tried to come up with an angle for a story, scanned the week that was, and those that lay ahead, I deemed nothing noteworthy.

Yet I knew that if I just left my apartment, peeled myself of the couch and actively engaged in the world outside, I’d be bombarded with ideas and inspiration.

Not till 1.57pm did I emerge from my self-imposed cocoon and brave the afternoon. And as I put one foot in front on the other, traversing along the foot path with fellow members of the human race, the story I had wanted to write earlier that day appeared.

As I crossed Abercrombie street, and entering the Block, Redfern, music filled the air. I was drawn to it, and rather than heading straight down Eveliegh  Street, I crossed the road towards the community centre.

The sweet melody that filled the air was by Christine And ‘ My Island Home’ and I slowed down my walking pace, so that I could enjoy the entirety of the tune. The sun shone and I stood transfixed by the lyrics. They were not lost on me, nor the significance of the suburb in which I stood.

This is the type of story that does not have an ending, the narrative continues.

Though confroning, I’m thankful that I stepped outside yesterday and got to witness first hand community issues that are ever present. Stories are everywhere, you just have to step outside yourself to notice.




















This week my lack of this quality has been centre stage. It it makes me smile. Laugh out loud even, because I don’t actually agree.

I consider myself a pessimistic optimist, otherwise known as a realist. I’ve been dealt my fair share of hardships, so much so that when dealt yet another blow earlier in the year, I accepted it.

This was a somewhat new phenomena, the acceptance thing.

My track record with acceptance was dire….having always opted to ignore heartache and trauma. I’d shield myself from pain with layer upon layer of denial, ignoring my human capacity to self-heal.

I’ve come a long way, have begun to accept things on a daily basis, for what they are and not shy away from complex feelings that may surface.

But to be told that I’m not an optimist – it’s just not true.

I’m a pessimistic optimist, other wise known as a realist.

When my best friend called me this week, before she was to board a flight, bound for the  UK, Italy and Iceland. I answer the phone and utter down the phone ‘ I hate my life’.

I’m part way through the delivering an orientation program to group of international students….but I can’t say these four words with enough seriousness and we both start laughing.

‘You are too funny’ smirks my bestie.

‘Just do little things each day that remind you of holidays’ states the beauty who is about to be spa side in Iceland. I swallow hard on that advice and truly mean what I say next ‘ Have the best holiday’

The following day my personal trainer asked post orientation ‘ How are your student group’?

My response ‘ I hate them all’

We both laugh – that is also not true, in fact, this is the first group that I feel totally at ease with. After doing this role for close to 2 years, I finally feel like I have got my role as internship coordinator down to a fine art.

Reflecting on the week that was with my Mum, her advice was to take a bit of optimism from those in my inner circle. Perhaps what she was really saying was to choose my words wisely. Comments such as ‘ I hate my life’, especially to those who don’t know me would be truly confronting. They would not have points of reference for such jaring remarks, that would enable them to appreciate my black humour.

So I’ll take from this self-reflective practice that one must know their audience. And upon careful consideration I am a pessimistic optimistic realist. And a very happy one at that!!



Cafe Culture

As a young girl, growing up on the South Coast of Wollongong, not really into underage drinking, parties or surf culture….there was little to do.

What I did want to do was hang out in cafes, drink coffee and look more adult, head in a book or engaged in high brow conversation with other like-minded folk.

But this was the South Coast circa 1992 and no such place existed. There was Jim’s Fish and Chip Shop ( were $2 brought you a kilo of hot chips) or the Rex Hotel, Thirroul – complete with topless bar maids and $3 schooners.

My life was miserable….

And then it appeared….a cafe….in Thirroul…name of which I cannot remember…but it was a cafe….

A planned was devised.

My friend Clare and I would catch the bus home from school, we would have a milk shake at the cafe for afternoon tea, and then Clare’s Mum would pick us up.

I felt so grown up, like all my Christmas’ had come at once. This could also be due to the fact that my friend Clare was two-year levels above me at school….I just felt so lucky.

The day arrived, the bus from school to Thirroul seemed to take longer than usual – such was the anticipation levels of engaging in cafe culture my ‘Sydney’ teenage peers, a mere 1.5 hours from the South, often took for granted…cafes on every city street, open till midnight….

Alighting the bus, we set out on foot to the cafe on the opposite side of town, smiling ear to ear for we were soon to be wrapped in the sweet aroma of coffee beans, home-made cakes and conversation about art, history and of course, and most importantly, local gossip. I knew the importance of this day, it was to be life changing – somewhere to hang out, to chat, to feel a sense of belonging, in my home town….

And then I saw it….a sign of the cafe door, in bold red letters:

‘ Closed’

Yes, cafe culture in Thirroul locked us out – opening hours was 9am – 3pm daily and clearly not accommodating of high school aged teenagers. A sense of bewilderment overtook us. All hopes dashed, and the cloak of misery and hopelessness hung heavy on my shoulders….

I glanced in the direction of the Rex Hotel, I thought of Jim’s Fish and Chip Shop, 1km away….and just felt sad.

We walked to the public phone box and called Clare’s mother to come and collect us.

Epic fail.


That was 1992 and so much has changed in 25 years. I did leave Thirroul for a 2 year period upon graduating University and drank my first cup of coffee whilst living in the UK in 2001. It was my Spanish friends who introduced me to the art of cafe culture and I am forever thankful.

Returning to the South Coast in 2003 I got a job in one of Thirrouls first cafes. Oscar’s Wild Bookstore, a magical place that served coffee, cakes and conversation for many years.

Fast forward to 2017 and Thirroul has in excess of 10 cafes in this tiny coastal town – all with strong customer followings and opportunities for patrons to sip coffee and converse for 6am – 4pm most days!

This blog entry was inspired by an article that features in the local newspaper, the Illawarra Mercury, on March 4th, documenting cafe culture on the South Coast. An article I wish had appeared many moons earlier but better late than never. And yes, a sense of belonging to this region is well engrained in me now!



Happy New Year

It’s a New Year and yesterday’s star sign for Virgo’s read ‘ You prefer things neat, clear and orderly. Yet this week’s more likely to be full of flux, mystery and unanswered questions. If you feel like you are heading in to the same old familiar terrain yet again, trying a radically new approach it highly recommended’

Last night I stayed in, I ignored universe’s advise to ‘try a radically new approach ‘ to life, to party like is 1999 as Prince sang in his infamous party tune. I feel about 27% disappointed with myself and 63% sure that I made the right decision to watch the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie and drink mojitos with Flora the cat.

But in the same moment,wrestling with that 27% bit of disappointment made me take a long hard look at myself and I made a pact, that as the clock strikes midnight to herald in 2018 I would be out and an about, somewhere, with someone in this big, bold and bright universe.

2017 come at me – I am ready.

And just for laughs I had a great conversation in the local supermarket this morning, when discussing travel plans for my birthday next year.

The question was ‘ Will you be forty next year?’

My mind raced, did my friend just ask if I will be the Big Four Zero?!?!

My fear and dread so evident as I was consoled with the following ‘Its only a number’

That is it – just like the New Year, 2017, it’s only just numbers, nothing has changed, everything is but the same.

And we have every possibility to make the most of today, tomorrow and all the days that follow.


I stumbled across the Sydney Story Factory after yet another encounter with the black dog. My Mum sensed I needed something extra, something to draw me out of my inner world, and at the time, volunteering seemed as good an idea as any.

So I did a google search ‘ volunteering opportunities in Sydney’

And there in bold appeared ‘ Sydney Story Factory – creative writing volunteers needed’

It was as if the heavens had sent a sign – a golden light shone forth from my Apple devise, bathing me in a warm glow.

As a trained primary school teacher with a passion for writing, coupled with an over active imagination – the stars aligned that day in March 2013. I registered my interest there and then.

In an instant I became immersed in the world of creative thought. Imagination of the pencil to paper variety…My smile returned.

And all thanks to one remarkable women ( well two if you count Mum) – Cath Keenan. Founder of the Factory. When our paths first crossed at the volunteer induction I wanted to knit her into blanket form and wrap myself in her positivity, optimism, passion, energy & commitment to ‘ sparking creativity in every child’.

Resisting this urge, I did the more sensible thing of volunteering.When work- life balance tilted heavily in the direction of work, I supported the Factory through donations and my work as Internship Program Coordinator, sending the best of the best for placements. Often I was so jealous of the student nominations that I held off for weeks!! Pick me Cath, pick me!!

Instigators of ideas, people whose passion, energy & vision embodies them, wholeheartedly driving them forward. On a mission, one that they communicate to others with such eloquence, that the curious can’t help but be swept up in the joyous movement of the community.

And truly great mentor’s  have a strong, supportive and loyal community around them. They keep these people close, they understand that without them, their ideas lay dormant, never morphing into a thing of shape or substance.

From my three years experience in network building, I say to those new to the concept, find a mentor that ticks your boxes and stick by them. For great mentors are generous, they share their good fortune with their flock, their tribe. Their network becomes your network.

But take note, from someone who has trodden the murky and foggy networking path to seek out like minded individuals –

You cannot fake connection
People can see through falsehoods
Mentors seek authenticity
Be true to you and the rest will follow

It with a new found ease that people of substance enter my inner circle….knitting needles at the ready, new crochet squares continually being added to my colourful, collaborative, diversely delightful networking patchwork quilt.

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 123 other followers