Tuning in

Leaves at creek

There are many reasons why someone chooses to take up a meditation practice, but an underlying motivation might be a desire to either tune out, or to tune in. While some meditation traditions encourage their practitioners to aim for ‘special’ states which help them to tune out from everyday concerns, mindfulness meditation is very much about tuning in – being attuned to life as it is right now. Musicians know all about tuning in – being in tune with their own internal physiological and mental processes during a performance, as well as being aware of and tuning into the musicians around them. Continue reading “Tuning in” »



‘Since I’ve been in a wheelchair, often people no longer talk to me. They talk to my carer instead, as if I didn’t exist.’


I’ve heard comments like this several times over the years from people who are in wheelchairs. Whether you were born with a disability or suffered some illness or injury later in life, unfortunately, once you’re in a wheelchair, you may not be treated with much respect. Because I’m white, middle-class and educated, I take it for granted that, most of the time, I’ll be treated with basic courtesy. Recent examples when this hasn’t been the case – talking to a website company on the phone, dealing with a real estate agent – left me feeling quite put out. How dare they be patronising towards me! In the midst of my indignation I suddenly remembered that, for many of the people I work with, being treated with patronising disdain is probably a daily reality. Continue reading “Respect” »

Mary and Mohammad

Cape shank 3

In a Compass episode on ABC TV last year, Mary, like many in her small community, is bitterly opposed to Tasmania’s first detention centre opening nearby (‘Mary and Mohammad’). There are fears of Muslims and riots, of children no longer being able to play in the front yard, of asylum seekers getting support while locals miss out. One man even says to the camera,

‘They should sink one or two boats; that would stop them coming.’

Does he know what he’s saying? Does he mean Australia deliberately drowning children and their parents at sea? When her knitting club makes beanies for the asylum seekers and plans to visit the detention centre to present them, Mary only comes along because she’s curious to see what it’s like inside. She returns from the visit smiling, delighted – the asylum seekers were so courteous and hospitable, they bought their visitors tea and biscuits using their limited credit points, they were interested in her photos and overjoyed with the beanies. She visits again and over time gets to know Mohammad. Continue reading “Mary and Mohammad” »

The soundtrack of our lives

Cape Shank 2

The opening theme of Star Wars is one of the best-known movie soundtracks of all time. The film composer John Williams imbued the Star Wars movies with sweeping symphonic themes and memorable tunes. He also used a musical technique called leitmotiv, where certain tunes are associated with some of the main characters, such as Princess Leia and Darth Vader. The music is used to add drama and vitality to the movie, to express what is happening on the screen, and to give identity to the characters. Continue reading “The soundtrack of our lives” »