a snippet of sadness

“I hate getting up early, especially now. There’s nothing to get up for.”

Well fuck me Linda, you sad sack of shit. 

(Today, I agree)

I overheard this lady at the local dog park. It’s on a beautiful inlet in the heart of Sydney’s Northern Beaches where there’s a median house price of a cool $2.2 million. No doubt, she resides in one of them. Currently, so do I (yet I’m no closer to affording one of them than I am likely to go to Mars, although the latter seems much more appealing). 

It struck me as quite a depressing thing to say to someone you’ve just met at a dog park. I feel sorry for her, but I also feel like punching her in the face, and delivering her by hand into Yemen, Syria or Afghanistan just to see the reality dawn on her face. 

At the time, I just let the words float around my head and today they returned to me with a weight that I’ve felt before but never welcome back. I feel like drowning in the sheets of my bed and never being found again. Disappearing into the Himalayas only to resurface a few years later with a shaved head and orange robes to see who actually came to my funeral. Who said all of the things they wish they’d said to me in person before I died. 

I hate funerals.

Not because the person is dead. That often happened days if not weeks before the funeral and the grieving simply goes on. Funerals are for the living. I hate them because people stand up and pour their hearts out to a person that can’t hear them. They sweat, tremble and cry as they recall beautiful memories, lament time wasted and speak into the void. Call it closure, but I call it regret. I don’t believe in leaving words unsaid. 

I prefaced this by adding the median house prices around the area. Not because I give a shit, but because I was alluding to the fact that surely, this person is in the top 1 or 2% of the entire global population. Privilege embodied. Yet, all suffering is relative. The pitfalls of mental (or other) ill-health don’t discriminate. Maybe she had a pet die, or a loved one, or she found out she had cancer. Or maybe, she just felt the collective pain we all feel at the moment. When we turn on the news and see faces of small, sweet, innocent children sentenced to perilous lives in conflict ridden areas, or people clinging to the side of planes trying to escape their own country. Maybe she woke up and broke her TV off its hinges and flung it across the room and took to it with a baseball bat, cursing it for the images she wished she hadn’t seen. Maybe she’d feel better if she donated all of her disposable cash to charities. Maybe she already does. Who knows. 

But today, all judgement aside, I understood. 

It’s not all days that you wake up with the willingness to proceed in this so often torturous existence. It’s a wonder we do really. Somehow, most days, we manage not to flee and take physical and emotional shelter from the impending responsibilities or obligations that a new day demands. Most days, we find the smile of a stranger, or a kind gesture from a friend carry us through whatever our inner turmoil digs up for us. Maybe we watch the sunrise, or set and feel accomplished.  Sometimes that is enough. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes we fail spectacularly. We feel the visceral anguish of lost love. We fear our looming mortality. We feel. 

But there is also a time for perseverance. For committing oneself to a higher value thinking, then doing, then being. Despite it all, there is more than you to get up for. To be the stranger that offers the smile, or the friend that offers the kind gesture. 

And please, for the sake of you and those who mean most, don’t be that person gulping in breaths of air between your tears of regret at a funeral. Acknowledge that looming mortality as the most urgent of reminders to relish every moment, and to love others so fervently that you couldn’t have hoped to love them any more than you did. 

Have the courage to not leave words unsaid, deeds undone.

From isolation, with love

“All my friends left me when I got sick.”

These words have been echoing in my head recently. For privacy purposes, let us call this person T.

T was a client who attended a mental health recovery camp where I was doing outdoor education. He is a tall greek guy with kind hazel eyes, a bulbous belly and lots of dark hair all over his body. His toenails were long and he promised me he would get his mum to trim them when he got home. I joked that he shouldn’t dare put her through that and we giggled about it. He was nearly 40. He slept in, but when I asked for his help, he’d be there. T got sick a few years ago. I don’t know the full story, but he had a nervous breakdown and hasn’t fully recovered or become a functioning (whatever that means) member of society again since. Unlike some who do function in society, he is kind, helpful, considerate, humble and selfless. Things are just a bit more difficult for him.

His dad lets him work in the family business. By the sound of things, his family is his only support network. He’s luckier than others in that respect. But, he is lonely. Sorely lonely. My heart aches for him. I remember him looking at me with childlike innocence, telling me how much he loved coming to the camp to feel connected but how he knew it was only temporary. It’s hard to enjoy the sweet moments when you’re already grieving over them.

Over the week he only participated in one or two of the activities, but I knew he wasn’t there for them. Some of these clients have come to this camp over ten times. They’ve done the activities over and over. They’re there for the people – the connection. For the teary eyed conversations they’ve been needing. The understanding that can only come from those who had been, or are in a similar situation. They come for the guidance of a nurse or counsellor outside white walls or the emergency room. It is a powerful chance for people suffering mental health issues to dictate to health professionals on how best to address them, rather than the other way around. While it is a beautiful, transformative, healing, happy high point… it follows by a crash landing in the pit of contrast that is real life. Human connection can be incredibly difficult, especially for someone who is mentally ill.


With an open, honest heart and gentle treading, some people will unravel themselves to you within a week. Sometimes within a day. Surrendering to ones own emotional vulnerability encourages others to do the same. Now is the time to put that vulnerability into practice; if not with your best interests at heart, then with someone else’s.


In isolation, I have this enormous surplus of time. Fuck I’m grateful for it. Time for personal rest and revel. I sign up for a free online course on the science of well-being (highly recommend). I take comfort in neuroplasticity and make more effort to create conscious actions toward enhancing my wellbeing, eventually entrenching them into habit. I get to check in with the people I love and spend time with family that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I feel their warmth in the form of overloaded affection, honest conversations and Mum shoving her love language of food down my throat. 

I’ve moved to a quiet coastal town with the man I love. We’re not working. We wake when we please, drink coffee in dressing gowns and spend the days however we choose. A taste of retired life. We explore the coastline with the pup in tow. It’s bliss. We have uncomfortable conversations, the ones that highlight all our differences. Strangely, they’re my favourite conversations to have. And hey, we’ve got the time. He teaches me things. I don’t always like the things I learn. Vice versa. Then I learn that that’s okay and that it doesn’t mean our relationship is doomed. He shows me the space in between black and white. He helps me on my path of growth, even if it’s just correcting me on weird mannerisms I didn’t know I had. He is patient and understanding of my bouts of anxiety. With his gentle coaxing of my dubious heart, I’m learning that it’s okay to sometimes take refuge in another. At a time like this, I’m more grateful than ever for him and all his dad jokes.

I savour the connection I have with my friends. I don’t have many, but those I do have, I cherish. Even a two hour online catch up with a friend sister, who I’ve known since I was 4 years old. She’s honest, kind and supportive. Not to mention hilarious. She’s the kind of person you’d drop everything for if they needed you and you know they’d do the same in return.

I love taking time to reflect and be grateful for my life.

My thoughts sober and I think about T and his lack of friends. At times I really resonate with his loneliness. I think of the friends that have abandoned me in times of need or that have been lost in the throws of life. The hurt part of me hates them for it and begs for reasons. But it’s just life. It’s painful. I don’t understand their actions, but I forgive them.

Sometimes closure never comes, so you have to surrender to the unknown.

Alongside all this love I’m experiencing in a bizarre time, there is this terrible agony. I worry about people who don’t have this kind of support or love in their lives. People who are elderly, homeless, live alone or are mentally struggling. The ones who don’t reach out. How can I/we help them? I sign up for volunteering positions. It’s not enough. It remains a thought to be revisited. For us all to revisit, I hope.


For people like T, who are already isolated and alone in everyday, pre-covid life, this really could be a taste of hell.

With him in mind, find a way to show kindness to the people around you. Go out of your way for a chat and probe people to see how they are coping. Remember that while you’re feeling lonely, there are people out there that are a whole lot more emotionally isolated than you are. Maybe you can lessen that loneliness together.

From isolation, with love.

Dear soul

Dear soul, I hear you in there whispering gentle truths. Directing my eyes on an upward trajectory.

Dear soul, my heart quakes with the vibrations of your deafening bellows; demanding to stay aligned with my journey.

Yet sometimes, I do not listen. I avert my gaze. I wander. I get lost. I betray myself. Sometimes it’s a conscious choice, sometimes it’s not.

Then I find my way back.

Do you ever blink with wonder at how you got to where to you are? The air around you stills and sound leaks from your ears. Maybe you aren’t who you wanted to be. Maybe you’re more that you ever thought you could be. If you aren’t where you know you should be, on that upwards trajectory, you’ve hushed that voice for much too long. The sound of the soul inside you that tugs at the bottom of your shirt like a kid begging to be pushed on the swing or bought chocolate at the check out of the grocery store. You swat it away with annoyance, even contempt.

We justify our aversions with half-hearted conviction. A squirming of uncertainty alerts us that we aren’t living in accordance with our highest truth. But, we won’t fail if we never try. Onwards our feet feebly lead us. We drown in earthly expectations. Succumb to dramatic social demise. Feeding our ego its tantalising sustenance, soon our soul grows weary of its constant dismissal. Faith in yourself dwindles and so too does your once clear vision for life. For your journey. Your spirit.

Often, we live according to the narrative that we (and society) have etched for our lives – one we torturingly expect ourselves to not only live up to – but exceed. Is it in accordance with our truest self? You better hope that it is. After all, you’re the one that spent all this time getting yourself here.

strive to consciously create

We take ourselves by the hand then swing ourselves over cliffs of self-construed personal destruction. There’s that voice again. The tugging on your shirt. We stray from our path. Then we blame and curse; those around us, our upbringing, the world. While we perish at the hands of our own self-sabotage, we deflect responsibility. To admit fault would be to threaten our beliefs. Beliefs that over time, have morphed into deeply set values. Values that convincingly masquerade as our identity. Maybe some are. Or maybe you’ve just told yourself that. Where did they come from anyway? These values are often bolstered by ignorance, threatened by change and the challenge of growth. Ideologies are hard to kill, but when they do die, they die hard. Let us not forget how malleable our identity is to the world around us.

let go

To undermine ones value system would surely test the fibres of ones soul. Just how far have you wandered?

Visualise the greatest version of yourself. Start making conscious choices that are in alignment with that version of you. Be more afraid of fear holding you back from experiencing life than the fear itself. Confront hard truths. Be a sensation seeker.


Dear soul, I promise to listen. To live aligned to my truths. To speak words of honesty, with love. To love from the depths of my being, without limitation or expectation. To leave the world a little (or a lot) better than I found it.

Who are you, if you’re not living in consistency with what your soul is saying?

Featured

Thirsty soul

I sit in a smoky, crowded room 4800m high in the Nepal Himalayas. In my headphones, Ludovico Einaudi plays like honey to my ears. In the background, the voices of Nepalese, Spanish, Israeli and English intermingle. I am a witness to life. People gather around the cylindrical fireplace, equal faces of happiness and exhaustion. Some here because they are paid to be, some for adventure, reprieve or healing. I have walked through the mountains for a week and tomorrow we pass Thorung La, at nearly 5416m. I have crossed rivers and with altitude, traversed many different terrains with a rainbow of flora and fauna. I’ve been very uncomfortable, in body and mind. I’ve also found more acceptance, appreciation and patience for myself and the world around me.

This is meagre excerpt of the deep reverence I have always had for nature, increased by my time in the mountains. Before I came, I set a trajectory here to fertilize some soul soil. To challenge my sense of self. To be okay with being alone in one of the most remote places in the world. To help solidify the mastery of my own mind and emotions; where I will always be a sojourner in a foreign land. I envisaged nourishing my soul with mental and physical challenges, in an ever-evolving endeavour for growth. What was a physically taxing journey was all the more mental for me. My muscles were nothing compared to the storm raging inside my mind.

In nature, you find more than you ever thought you were looking for.


With infinite love for this beautiful world.



I have a thirsty soul
Quenched by the colours of the world
(Satiated by love)

Kaleidoscopic
Life;
In its many faces
Eyes speaking stories of universal human experience
Those you
And I
Know well

Relative are our experiences
But no less valid
Suffering and happiness
Yin and yang
Chaos and order

On this plane we meet
Where souls recognize one another
Themselves reflected
An unavoidable dichotomy
The ebb and flow of our existence

My soul yearns –
For the gradual awakening of a deep night sky
A slow dialled gradient
Where first light glints
Over oceans
Or beams over mountain tops

I have a thirsty soul!
A heart that dreams
Of snow dusted mountains
Mottled stone walls
Staggered and sheer
Protruding from their icy encasement

Pine trees perched on pinnacles
Exposed cliff edges
Rivers that churn and rage
Creeks that trickle
Water as the lifeblood of seed
Seed to flower
Flower to fruit

Awe

Mother Earths sheer totality
Air fire earth and water
Together they mould
And balance our everchanging Earth

I dream of underwater worlds
Life aplenty
Myriads of coral cities
And creatures of the deep
Of desert landscapes
Harsh and arid
Where nature is most cruel and unforgiving

My soul pleads for diversity
For every creature to flourish
For coexistence with the natural world
For harmony

A soul that yearns and a heart that dreams
But in nature
Mind body and soul
Unifies

Under a labrynthine lush canopy
Where light filters in between carefully crafted leaves
Where soft wind whispers through trees
Fingers of the universe sounding carefully selected piano notes of natural wonder
Warm light endows each leaf
Exhibiting each fragile vein in their perfect creation

Here you behold life

Intricate
Yet simple
Life;
In all its glory.