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Seeing with Fresh Eyes

Sometimes it takes just one event to change the way we see the world.

In the mid-90s, I was working in the Australian music industry, frontline entertainment marketing for an independent record company that was part of a mega-giant. The clichéd “sex, drugs, rock n roll” was not too far from the truth of my lifestyle. Hectic. Superficial. Expensive.

A producer and consumer of an image-making industry, I was not particularly concerned about the people, plants and animals of the Earth. But I was concerned about myself. I wasn’t happy.

Despite the flash car, fancy-pants clothes and cool job, I was a few lines shy of thoroughly miserable. Something was missing. I felt disconnected. Out of sync with myself and the rest of the world. After a while, I knew that I had to change my life, and that I had to start by seeing the world through a different pair of eyes.

In 1996, my mother and her partner started a biodynamic echinacea farm on the outskirts of Maleny, a hinterland village in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. They invited me to move to the country and help on the property. Disillusioned with city-life, I leapt at the opportunity, packed my bags and moved north. My new home was a converted cow-shed where I lived rent-free in return for getting my hands dirty in sweet organic soil.

A former ‘glamour-puss’, I lived without a mirror for twelve months. I had no running water or telephone. I cooked on a portable gas-cooker and drew water from a small rainwater tank. Every day, I tended the earth, grew medicinal herbs, and ate fresh food from the garden.

And I wrote. I wrote and wrote. I spent my evenings star-gazing and singing songs around bonfires with my growing circle of friends. I was welcomed into the Maleny community with open arms. Amid hippies and heretics, I discovered a new way of seeing the world.

Vaguely familiar, this new vision spoke of the interconnectedness of all living things, of the need to cherish the earth and its creatures, to think about the consequences of my choices, and to love the Great Mother with all my heart.

It spoke deeply to my inner child, long suppressed and ignored. With the help of this new vision, she emerged in dance and play, and I slowly but surely started to love myself again. I grew to see most clearly that like every living creature, I am an essential part of this magnificent Earth.

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