Why Blog?

For a long time, I have been interested in the connection between creativity and spirituality. I believe they both spring from the same part of the soul, perhaps the same part of the brain, or are they both divine gifts…? Depends what you believe, I guess!

This blog is a space for some of my musings on creativity and spirituality.

Always

Sometimes I look at the way we are encouraged to live our lives in today’s society, and see that we are encouraged to give all that we can to our children. We are encouraged to earn enough that they won’t go without, but still have time to be emotionally engaged and then make sure they have the resources they need to succeed in their education and growth.

All of this often comes at a cost to ourselves and to the world around us. Whether it is because we are forced into a driving frenzy to get everyone where they need to be, while missing as little work time as possible, or buying more than is actually needed, just so we are sure that our family won’t go without.

But what I want for my kids more than anything is for this beautiful world that we live in to still be beautiful, safe and habitable, throughout their lifetime. I want to pass onto them a healthy world. Without this, everything else is worthless.

I wrote ‘Always’ reflecting on this.

The beach as a church

The beach as a church

Since the start of January, I have been getting up at 6am, twice a week, to head to my favourite local beach (Bar Beach) for a run and a swim.

This idea was born out of my desire to gain fitness and lose some kilos, and to perhaps also conquer my slight fear of the beach. Until I started this regime, I had NEVER been to the beach (any beach) on my own. I had always just gone along because someone else was going and I couldn’t convince them to go to the pool instead!

4 weeks down the track, this new morning ritual has stuck! Amazing really. Despite my return to work and my daughter’s return to school, I am still going! How has this happened, when every other exercise regime I have tried to implement in the past has fallen by the wayside when life got real again?

The secret is, that I haven’t actually gained an exercise regime from this experience. Read more

Racist Skin

Racist Skin

I wrote this song over 10 years ago. At the time, I had just had an encounter with a “friend” who had decided to tell me of all the reasons why he would never let his daughter (who at the time was 6) date a boy of another ethnic background to his own – which of course was white-anglo Aussie. A “real” Aussie, he would say.

At the time, I felt SO betrayed. I felt I had been deceived by this person for so long. Why hadn’t they told me this ages ago so I could distance myself from them? How could I have anything in common with this person and have called them my friend?

I tried my best to reason with this “friend” but after a few hours of heated discussion, I decided it was time to walk away. I couldn’t fight any longer without doing something I would regret.

This brought about the song “Racist Skin”. From the moment I wrote it, I loved singing this song. It was my first taste of singing about something I really cared about – a big step away from singing about love and boys. Read more

Is it possible the HSC is a bit like life…?

Is it possible the HSC is a bit like life…?

I have just had the pleasure of accompanying the last of my HSC students for their practical exams.

I have at least one student (more often than not 3-5 students) per year that are preparing for their HSC music exam. It is something that I enjoy being involved with. After all, it is always great when a student has a goal, and more often than not they produce greatness with the deadline in sight.

It occurred to me this year that each year, about 3 weeks out from the exam I have a recurring dream that I am walking into my own HSC exam and trying to convince the examiners that I have already done my HSC and have no need to be there.

It left me wondering if I am putting too much pressure on myself towards these exams. My role is really just to teach the songs and then accompany for some of them, and yet, subconsciously I obviously feel that I am being examined too!

Today as I was leaving the last of my students exams I rethought this though. The relationship between student and teacher is special.Read more

Too Darn Hot

Too Darn Hot

While playing some tunes with the Dungeon Big Band at rehearsal last night, it occurred to me how energy-giving music can be. “Too Darn Hot” (Ella Fitzgerald version), was the particular song we were playing when this thought came to me.

When I was learning this song I was on a plane full of people, half-way through a 15 hour flight. This situation is a fantastic example of an energy-draining situation. I thought to myself, “I better take a break from watching movies and learn those songs for the big band”. I put my headphones in, turned Ella on, and within minutes I was dancing in my seat (much to the delight of the people around me…..) and transported to another realm where I was sitting in front of Ella, being filled with the energy that comes from her incredible voice. A complete transformation from the few minutes before when I had been moaning and groaning about the length of the flight.

The fact that so much “happy energy” can come from a woman that experienced more than her fair share of hardship blows me away in itself. But for it to then come through the recording and to me the listener, decades later, inspires me even more!Read more

The Humanity of Classical Music and the Church

The Humanity of Classical Music and the Church

If you’re in Newcastle (NSW), the Newcastle Music Festival has commenced and runs until 21st August – go and have a listen, and dare to clap when the time is right! www.newcastlemusicfestival.org

It’s no secret that a lot of community centres are struggling to continue these days. From churches to community outreach programs, from opera houses to bowling clubs.

The struggle to connect as a community is real. I’m sure it has always been there, but perhaps once upon a time the act of connecting as a community didn’t have to compete with television and the other media that entice us to stay home these days.

Two of those community areas that I am involved with are church and music.

Both are heavily embedded in our western history and yet both seem to be struggling to connect with the population and struggling to stay relevant to current society.This is my perception of these mediums from a generalised and “overall” view.

Yet, I have found, when experienced at a personal level both are often well received and most often welcomed.Read more

Ride the Road with Me

Ride the Road with Me

I have just returned from a bike ride in the winter sun. Somehow I was lucky enough to score an entire afternoon free of work, children and any other distractions. I was faced with the internal question of, “do I sleep, or do I get out and be active?”

The way my children sleep, leaves me feeling quite exhausted a lot of the time and so I often feel that exercise is a way I can regain some energy, often more energy than I would if I had a little nap (although, sometimes a nap is what the doctor orders)!

Today, I chose to ride. I rode my bike to the Newcastle Foreshore. Even though the air is cold today, the sun is warm. It wasn’t long before I was smiling a little and thinking how lucky I am to be a part of all “this”.

I find at this time in my life I am often faced with the question of whether to sleep or get out and be active. I face it with my children – do I let them watch tv, or do I get in there and do some craft with them? I face it with my work – do I just settle for how things are at the moment, or do I continue to train and be better at my job? I face it within my community – do I volunteer to help out at the school, or pretend I didn’t see that notice? And every week I face it with my church, do I bother with the effort of getting my children ready to go to church on a Sunday or just sleep in?Read more