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It has taken me a long time to call Australia home but, after 30 years, I now have a strong sense of belonging to this country. Born and bred in the UK, my first introduction to Australia was before and after working in Papua New Guinea (PNG). I was there as a volunteer teacher in the 1970s for 2 years. This was an intensely formative experience, as I fully realised after revisiting this incredible country again in 2017. In the mid 80s, I returned to live in Sydney, Australia with my husband and eldest son.
Family commitments reigned for a while as I searched and explored different avenues to give meaning to my life. Given our own migrant background we became involved and committed to the Asylum Seekers Centre of NSW.
Surprisingly, it was the July 2007 bombs in London which decided my next direction. Travelling across London on that fateful day, I felt compelled to act in a positive and constructive way. It resulted in two interfaith prayer compilations: Mosaic (ABC Books, 2008) and A World of Prayer (Orbis, 2012). Both were designed to foster greater understanding and mutual respect for the world’s religions. We are all members of one human family who can share the divine nature at the deepest level of the Spirit.
These books deepened my own spirituality and led me to join Eremos, a forum for exploring spirituality in Australia. I became a Council member and enjoy their magazine, retreats and events including an ‘Eremos into the Desert’ expedition (EID). Appreciating desert spirituality opened my eyes to the paradox of the desert: its apparent desolation yet abundance of life; its capacity for solace but unforgiving harsh nature. I was introduced to Aboriginal spirituality and their deep knowledge of country and sacred responsibility to the land. Time in the outback gave me clarity, space and a sense of place – all of which helped strengthen my bonds to this diverse country.
Recently, I completed my third compilation, on death, A Matter of Life and Death: 60 voices share their wisdom (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016). Describing their unique experiences, contributors reveal that, beyond the heartache and the mystery, death can teach us lessons on how to live our lives. I’m now more confident in talking about death and follow the maxim: ‘the more you talk, the less you fear.’ Compiling this book has led me to embrace life more fully, become a volunteer biographer at a local hospice and attend Death Cafes. Here death is discussed over tea and cake resulting in fascinating, as opposed to morbid, conversations.
I’m not sure of ‘next steps’ but I do know I’ll continue with daily meditation which helps bring peace and acceptance to my life.
You can read more about my books in the Books section.