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?

Out of my comfort zone

Yesterday I spent the day at a workshop with the mystic and founder of the Institute of Sacred Activism, Andrew Harvey...he is mesmerising, confronting, funny and demanding… Initially I was lulled into thinking it was an interesting workshop (his language is colourful and his voice soothing) but had heard much of it before in different guises… he spoke of humility and trust… wisdom and freedom… and provided simple practices to develop and strengthen our spiritual practices…and then he managed to punch us collectively right between the eyes… the gentleness of the morning replaced by what he calls the wisdom of the serpent which is effectively profound shadow work. Now I do love work with the shadow because I believe so deeply this is where the magic happens and of course this where we constantly stumble and struggle… WOW …but he takes no prisoners… he stands unashamedly in his truth… so by the end of the afternoon myself and I think my fellow participants felt battle-weary and certainly for me this rising anxiety about my own shadow and the shadow of the wider world… huge stuff for a Saturday… He is truly extraordinary… if only to shake you off your perch.

Purpose is not a straight line

I have been walking a lot recently and listening to podcasts from astronomy to creativity as I step out… yesterday I listened to a Bluegrass singer, Abigail Washburn… aside from an astonishing and haunting voice, her story had a deep resonance for me… that your purpose doesn’t always have a linear progression and you have to trust that the “how” of what you feel deeply passionate about, will show up in unlikely or unimagined ways… so for me I know I want to work with women and leadership and incorporate mental agility and emotional awareness and soulfulness and of course the power of physical presence… but I endlessly wrestle with trying to squash this into a linear format that I am not sure serves my purpose best… so back to her story… she was intent on making a difference to Sino-US relations by moving to China and becoming a lawyer… fate intervened and she ended up at a Bluegrass festival with banjo in hand… was discovered by a Nashville scout and has been a beautiful Bluegrass singer since and travels the world… the twist is she sings not only in English but also in Mandarin using a genre that is so specifically American… and travels to places like China and brings her gift and of course her purpose about making a positive difference to Chinese/American relations… only the “how’ comes through music and not law… much more heartfelt and yet the purpose is so beautifully served…