Are your stories holding back a wave of change?

There are watchers in this world and there are doers. And the watchers sit around watching the doers, do.
Barefoot in the Park


My son recently took part in the 40 hour famine, a weekend fast to raise money for families in third world countries. I was intrigued by the reaction he received from friends and acquaintances. Most were really supportive, none took up his challenge to join him but what surprised me the most were those who commented that they’d die if they gave up food for forty hours. Some claimed they couldn’t give up food for several hours and then there was the poor soul who unashamedly remarked that  they couldn’t possibly give up their chips and gravy on a Friday night.

On the final day of the challenge my community minded son volunteered to cook breakfast at a local fun run. Again, the comments and reactions of others intrigued me. Many, of course, were supportive yet questioned his sanity in cooking bacon and eggs for others while fasting himself. But the number of detractors surprised me. Yes, yes, I’m sure it was all in jest but a mother does always want to protect her young. One cocky fellow posted on social media that he’d seen my son tucking into a bacon and egg burger and labelled his efforts as a ‘massive fail’. Oh, I was irate (protective mother hen coming out). I fumed and fumed, wondering if I could address this flippant fellow in a firm but gentle way. I was saved the trouble when he was publicly corrected by another.

I digress.

My interest was piqued by the thinking behind the conversations that arose from this event. I began to ponder the stories we tell ourselves and the implications they have on our society.

I have concluded that some of us tell ourselves we couldn’t possibly do without things, or give up a tradition or change a habit because, perhaps, it’s easier not to. Some of us cut others down who do things we aren’t brave enough to do. Then there are those who gladly and wholeheartedly support others in their quests. These people fall into two categories: those happy to cheer others on while remaining in their comfort zones and those who cheer while pursuing their own challenges alongside them.

I see this played out in the community and the world. We pass things by, overlook issues and justify our inaction safe in the knowledge that others will take up the torch and do the work for us. We are relieved from our duty by the heroes in the world.

Alone, our heroes make a difference in the world, they get things done but their efforts are akin to a splash in the ocean, whereas, if we all pitched in and got involved we could create a wave of change in the world.


With this in mind I asked myself these questions:

What are my stories and how are they holding me back from making a change I’d like to see in my life and the world?

What will it take to step outside my comfort zone, to put myself on the line, to contribute to a wave of change?

What are your thoughts?

In their footsteps. Well, almost!

Albion is a tiny suburb in Brisbane approximately six kilometres north east-ish of the city centre. A busy major road runs directly through the centre of the suburb which boasts an interesting history.

I set off with a friend to explore this little gem of a suburb, best known to me for its harness racing track, which was, I discovered, established in the 1880’s.

Following a city council designed heritage trail we discovered a hidden history. We admired historical buildings, grand old homes and tiny workers cottages in varying states of repair. We called on our imaginations to visualise buildings and historic sites, replaced now by modern factories and vacant lots.



Worker's cottage

Worker’s cottage

Hampton court

Hampton court

We were intrigued to learn there had been a vibrant Chinese settlement here with thriving market gardens in what is now a well known park and football field.

One architectural and cultural icon that was sadly missing was the old flour mill. Built by Scottish migrants in the 1930’s it was sadly destroyed by an arsonist’s fire late last year. The historic mill produced flour for 72 years before being shut down in 2004. The desolate site is soon to be transformed into a ‘lifestyle precinct'(high density yet elegant housing).

Photo supplied

The old mill.  (Photo supplied)

The site of the old mill today

The site of the old mill today

Completing the circuit we pulled up a stool in a little cafe in what was once the Albion public hall. The ground floor of this gorgeous building is now a thriving hub of cafes and restaurants while upstairs is soon to be converted into loft apartments for short term lease by tourists and visitors to our city.

Image by libraryhack

Image by libraryhack


This was a fun way to catch up with my friend. We talked and laughed while we puzzled over the map. We caught up on a months worth of life events as we strolled through this modern suburb while recreating the past in our minds. We enjoyed the winter sunshine, each other’s humour and easy company. We got in a little exercise (there was a hill) and didn’t have to fuss over food or expense.

I’m keen to know: How do you catch up with friends? Have you explored an interesting place close to home recently?

How To Be An Explorer Of The World
1. Always Be LOOKING (notice the ground beneath your feet.)
2. Consider Everything Alive & Animate
3. EVERYTHING Is Interesting. Look Closer.
4. Alter Your Course Often.
5. Observe For Long Durations (and short ones).
6. Notice The Stories Going On Around You.
8. DOCUMENT Your Findings (field notes) In A VAriety Of Ways.
9. Incorporate Indeterminacy.
10. Observe Movement.
11. Create a Personal DIALOGUE With Your Environment. Talk to it.
12. Trace Things Back to Their ORIGINS.
13. Use ALL of the Senses In Your Investigations.”

Keri Smith, How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum

Albion Hotel

Albion Hotel

Giving up to get it right.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated. Confucius

Image by Flickr.

Image by Flickr.

I was discussing health and wellness with friends recently and we agreed that there are so many conflicting articles, studies and recommendations regarding health, lifestyle and fitness that it really was no wonder people were confused.

For example: should you subscribe to the three meals a day camp or should you enjoy three meals and two snacks or is intermittent fasting, where you skip breakfast and consume your calories between the hours of 11 am and 7 pm, the better option?

Similarly, is low carb high fat, Paleo, raw food, grain free, sugar free, high carb low fat, Aitkens, blood type, Mediterranean the way to go with diet and food choices?

Let’s not even start with exercise and supplements because the list goes on.

I like to educate myself on healthy choices, new research and the latest discoveries in the health and wellness field. Not everything I read resonates and I’ve come to understand that certain protocols do not fit everyone’s lifestyle, budget, personal taste or health requirements. I’ve been alarmed, intrigued and tempted to try some of the tips I’ve learnt about.

Recently, in the face of some health hiccups, I’ve been overwhelmed by the latest and greatest offerings, by well meant advice and practitioner recommendations. I’ve tried and tested, I’ve followed and dabbled and been left wanting.

In the end, I’ve come back to what I knew all along but ignored. I’ve just got to do what’s best for me. But how?

Like a lightening bolt it struck me. You’ve got to give up what you know and listen to what you need instead.  Simple, but not easy. We are not used to tuning in and listening to what our bodies require.  Our bodies know how to heal. Our bodies can tell us what nutrients we need. We just need to observe carefully and pay attention.

imageSo this week I’ve made a food plan based on what really resonates with me and resisted the temptation to swing toward popular opinion. I’ve stopped thinking and engaged my intuition instead.  I’ve created a list of meals that delight my senses, appeal to my taste buds and contain healthy, fresh food that will energise and heal my body. I stocked up at the markets, my health food store and supplemented with a few items from the grocery store. I’ve left behind my “regular” eating plan and I’m actually really enjoying the change. I feel really different about food, I feel vital energy seeping into my body, my mind is more alert and I am not fussing over calories. The most interesting offshoot is that I’m not thinking about food all day long which is something I’ve always done.

I reckon Henry Ford was right; “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”

What do you know that’s not working for you? Is there an area in your life where you need to give up what you know and listen to what you need instead?


Backyard Adventurer

Twelve steps in to your back yard
Through tall green grass, and into the world
Ain’t it feel right
Ain’t it feel nice
In your own backyard
In your own backyard
Patrick Watson

image author unknownAs an explorer I love discovering and experiencing new places and I’ve realised I don’t have to go too far afield to do that when there are a wealth of adventures to be had in my own backyard.

My city is currently hosting the Peaks to Points Festival which is a month-long festival offering environmental, arts and cultural activities aimed at highlighting the community’s efforts to restore and protect Brisbane South catchments.

Last Sunday I joined  a short guided walk in Karawatha Forest and came away exhilarated, educated and awed by the power of community.

The Karawatha Protection Society and guided walk participants

The Karawatha Protection Society and guided walk participants

The Karawatha Forest is approximately 1000 hectares of bushland and coastal lowlands on the southern edge of Brisbane in Queensland Australia.  It contains a wealth of flora and fauna, waterways and magnificent  sandstone outcrops.


The diverse fauna was an important food supply to the original inhabitants of the area, the Jagera people.  The creeks provided turtles and fish. The lagoons  provided fish and wading birds – as well as edible reeds and roots.


This significant tract of inner city bushland was saved from development by three women sitting around a kitchen table when they formed The Karawatha Forest Protection Society (KPS). Public opinion was strongly in support and the City Council came on board and formed a partnership with the group.  The introduction of Council’s Bushland Levy made the purchase of significant lands possible as well as the maintenance and upkeep of the tracks within the forest.


Since 1991 The council and the KPS have worked together to manage this beautiful piece of suburban bushland which has been zoned for recreation purposes only.


I’ll definitely be going back to explore further.

What’s on your door step that you haven’t yet explored?