The grace of Julia

So it felt like a privilege to be sandwiched into the Opera House listening to an enormously composed ex-PM on her first public outing since leaving the Lodge in late June.  It doesn’t matter what your politics are, Julia Gillard is a lesson in how to traverse gracefully and with resilience events that would leave most of us bereft… It was a special evening and fitting that she should receive such a jubilant reception… the only questionable response was a peculiar answer to why she didn’t support gay marriage.  I was however left with one question – Why did Julia not bring her full and infinitely likeable self to the PM role so that all of Australia could see her authentic self?

Loving the work of Brené Brown

Still on the Brené Brown path… in my usual overly passionate way I bought every book written by her I could find on Amazon and am now trawling through them… I love this gem… ” When we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable. If we dismiss all the criticism, we lose out on important feedback, but if we subject ourselves to the hatefulness, our spirits get crushed. It’s a tightrope, shame resilience is the balance bar, and the safety net below is the one or two people in our lives who can help us reality-check the criticism and cynicism.” Working through 360s for a number of clients this provides such a perfect and gentle framework from which to view the feedback, which for some can be really confronting.

A deep sadness

I am ready to leave for Boot&Soul Camp and should be brimming with delight that we have a fabulous retreat planned with some wonderful women… the truth is I feel enormously sad having witnessed the brutal display of shadow and sabotage within Australia’s ruling party… My feeling is not about the politics or what Julia Gillard did or didn’t do as PM, rather it feels like a profound wound to all women aspiring to be in senior roles, like a profound wound to all women who seek leadership positions in government and corporate life, and like a profound wound to all men and women who have witnessed the relentless attacks on her as a woman… And then again there is all this juicy dark archetypal stuff to review this weekend…There is great article in the Telegraph today…

A Mythic Feast

IMG_3213IMG_3194_2So what started as an intimate thank you birthday dinner for 6 … mutated into an extravaganza on Monday night when two friends (both chefs) decided they were going to throw me a Moroccan-Babette’s-feast for my birthday 48 hours later… They whisked, chopped, kneaded, strained, baked, roasted (and also used every pan, pot and platter in the kitchen)… I got in the way mostly and my other jobs were to shop a lot and clean sporadically… The talented duo collaborated (may we all learn to do this in such a seamless and creative way in our leadership roles)… and eventually produced a birthday dinner of mythic proportions… From the cardamon and vanilla infused Moroccan cocktails to the fresh pomegranates seeds… homemade za’atar bread with hummus and baba ganoush… a mountain of lamb and quince tagine, whole barramundi with chermoula and a to-die-for chicken dish – bisteeya with phyllo, cinnamon and sugar… they topped their loving performance off with a delicate rice dish with orange blossom and rosewater… oh and I almost forgot… a demonstration of tempering chocolate, creating almond rocher and spice infused truffles… (and everyone got a take home lolly bag)… THANK YOU to Katherine and to Jesse for a birthday of enormous love, care, friendship and generosity … I do hope how I kicked off my new year with such magic will translate into much work and abundance for me this coming year….IMG_3223IMG_3249

And then there is someone who inspires you deeply.

Leymah Gbowee

Leymah Gbowee

Yesterday I attended “All About Women” at the Opera House – no huge shock that it was 95% women… happily loads of young women wanting to listen to the many fascinating conversations that were on offer… none better than the extraordinary Leymah Gbowee, the Nobel prize winner from Liberia… Magnificent in many ways this woman set up the “Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace” by working at grassroots level with women and children with calls to action like: “We are tired! We are tired of our children being killed! We are tired of being raped! Women, wake up – you have a voice in the peace process!” Their work eventually ending the 14-year bloody war that had strangled Liberia and electing the first female President in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf… Leymah Gbowee is mesmerising – authentic, funny, clever and passionate… I loved her response about fearless leaders – no leader is fearless she said, they just have the courage to dismiss the fear and continue with what they are passionate about… a lesson for all of us.