Consent, Covid and Candles

I am enjoying this process of devotionally showing up for a weekly writing practice. I have been bumping into people in the street who have read my words, receiving encouraging replies; but above all, I have been proving to myself that I am actually able to be reliable, consistent and pull through on my promises.

This weekly promise is different to a lot of promises I have made in the past. This one is only for me, and only I am the one that can actually do the work. Without me, it simply wouldn't be written! It is also something I genuinely want to do, so it doesn't feel arduous or looming, it simply just is. Whether I feel like writing or not on a Thursday, I know that if I do, I will feel a sense of deep satisfaction that I have shown up for myself.

So yes, I am writing to you, but I'm doing it for myself. This means that when I see people have unsubscribed from my mailing list, I actually feel relieved, not disheartened. I am glad that people are taking responsibility for what they want to receive in their inbox. As I said last week, I am inviting you into my process, which will likely include some bumps (or poles) along the way. It is however, a genuine invitation - you can accept or decline as you please.

If my writing helps or has helped you in some way, even better! That would be a delightful side-effect of me respecting myself and doing what I love and need to do.

I ask you; what promises and agreements have you made with yourself and others lately? Can you actually pull through on them with ease, or does is cost more energy to motivate yourself to do it than you currently have?

If you answered yes to the second question, maybe some element of choice has been taken away from you. You may feel like you have to do it; that there is no choice. How can you turn that into a want-to, thereby adding back in the element of choice?

I'm not suggesting that you only do things that feel good, but I am suggesting you find a way to coordinate and orient your self around your desires and values. For example, I want to live where I do, so I choose to pay my rent. Which leads me to today's point...

DO then FEEL. My motto of the year*.

*(Thanks to Marion Mays for introducing me to this phrase!)

Feelings are the result of thoughts, actions, desires, processes. As much as it may seem like it, you can't actually generate a feeling without doing something to bring it about. For example; I cut my hand, I feel pain; I have a memory of trauma, I feel anxious or sad; I see a child laughing, I feel joy.

As any musician or trained athlete would know, we can't simply recreate a feeling without recreating the process that brought about that feeling. Think of a time you had an experience of everything working perfectly - you were in total flow and communion with the universe. How did you feel? And, perhaps more importantly, what was it that you actually did to gave you that result, that feeling?

Have you ever had the experience, directly after something went really well like that, of trying it again and not being able to get it back?? Like that time you kicked the ball perfectly, but the second time went more like this...

Well, chances are you might have been trying to recreate the feeling rather than the process on the second time. It will never feel the same way twice. Each time is always new. So trust the process, and allow the feelings to change as they inevitably will.

Also, if you're trying that kick again, maybe keep your eyes on the ball...

Experience has taught me that if I consciously attend to and allow for freedom of movement within my intelligent, self-organising system that is balancing and moving and processing this very moment so that I may write these words to you, I will feel better!

Yep, it just worked.

Do then feel.

So, act on your values, do what is important to you, do what you love, what you care about, and feel the benefits.


I want to tell you a story.

COVID has caused many surprisingly positive results for many people I know, and last night I benefitted from one of them. Due to a Melbourne band pulling out, I had the great fortune of providing the opening soundscape of Dark Mofo's Winterfeast using my cello, voice and loop station.

I was given two solo sets with one week's notice and immediately accepted, despite the fact that I haven't performed with my loop station properly for years and have no set repertoire...

I don't usually get overly nervous for performances, even when improvising. I find that I can harness that energy into positivity and focus. In the past week however, I've had thoughts spiralling around my head that I am a failure, that I can't use my loop station, that I don't understand music at all, that Tassie is going to find out that I'm an impostor/pretender/fake, etc, etc... NOT helpful, true or constructive thoughts...

So yeah, I did get nervous for this one... Until I realised something with the help of my mentor the night before.

Lucia was talking about people who are about to go under a general anaesthetic to have an operation. The anaesthesia removes consciousness, but not all of it; our bodies still hold a memory of what happens under surgery. She has found that when patients actively give permission, that is, literally send their system the message that they give consent to the operation that they are about to have, they have much less trauma, tissue damage and a faster recovery. She said that I also needed to give my system consent in this instant.

Whilst this certainly wasn't going to be anything as painful or dangerous as surgery, she suggested I actively give my system consent not to be (as trained) the 'star in the spotlight showing-off and getting it right', but to be the giver, the one in service to the entire room. The one that must transform and dissolve in service of what is needed to provide a musical experience.

I realised that these sets weren't even designed to be 'performances'! I was there to transform the space, to bring it to life by providing an atmosphere. It wasn't about me at all, it was about the whole. In fact, improvisation is perfect for a gig like this. It's all about the people, the food, the lights, the space... the vibe.

And what a vibe it was. This was my view:

Image by @dark_mofo

Well, it worked. I was captivated and mesmerised by this vision before me. Deeply honoured and excited by each moment; each opportunity to offer up and give away my sound to the space. I dissolved and expanded all at once into the entire room. I played with my options and was able to notice my negative judgements as just another colour in the rainbow of things to observe. I stayed constructive and continued to send the invitation. And the people came and went, engaging and disengaging with me as they pleased, and I didn't mind.

The whole time I still had the feeling that I had no idea what I was doing and knew nothing about music, but there was so much else to be interested in that I didn't even mind, and with the strength of my intention, it didn't matter. I didn't need to know what the chords were or where the music was going. I didn't even care if it sounded good by the end! I had time to play and make spontaneous decisions in the moment. It was blissful and I could easily have gone all night.

And then it ended.

Moments later I was in the crowd, and no one recognised me. None of my friends (that I knew of) had seen me play, so I had no idea how it went.

I stayed with this feeling. It was as if a huge wave of energy had just passed through me and I had come-to, not quite sure what had just happened. I had no idea if what I did was actually good or not!

I wandered around seeing the space and realised I suddenly knew it intimately. I had touched the entire room with my sound and gotten to know everyone and everything like a bat using sonar. Everyone was familiar to me, my heart and mind were wide open, but no one knew who I was.

I sat down alone to eat some food and sank into the surprisingly enjoyable feeling of total anonymity. I was beaming on the inside.

I ended up having a delightful conversation to the couple sitting next to me. They were talking about how transfixed and mesmerised they were by the cello playing. It turns out my intention was exactly what they felt! They said they were drawn in, enchanted and entranced. I told them it was me and we ended up having a beautiful, deep and real conversation.

I am feeling more and more rewarded each week by the work I am doing.

By DOING what I love and showing up fully, I am FEELING deeply nourished and inspired. That then encourages me to do more of it!

Do then feel.

You're welcome.


I'm intrigued by this idea of consent. What area of your life is lacking your consent right now? What needs changing for it to be consensual? The power of choice is not to be underestimated, and we always have the freedom to choose our attitude to whatever we are facing.


Stay tuned for next week's announcement about what is happening with my weekly classes, as well as monthly Hobart offerings.

If you have gotten this far and are not living in Tasmania, I would love to ask you a question: Would you be interested in me offering online classes? If so, what part of my work most interests you? I'm wanting to come up with a few themes understand your needs more.


Yours in Art and service,


P.S. In case you're wondering the outcome of last week's escapade, it is always worth getting a second opinion on cars! The current job was quoted at $588. Much better than 2K!

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