“Hope is transformational substance which acts upon our mindsets and paves a way to our dreams.”
Everyone is a story.
Mine is of growing up on a small farm on the outskirts of the Barossa Valley in South Australia; with all of the physical activity, wonder, messiness and good health that happy farm-life brings. Early working-life took me to Tasmania. I had hitched around the island as a student and fallen in love with the place – Wineglass Bay clinched it! It was an easy choice to head back to Tassie after graduation. The roots went down – and I’m still in Tassie. I’ve always missed SA’s river red gums, top-knot pigeons and willy wagtails, but I adore Tassie’s mountains, the artistry of its clouds, and cool of its air laden with the fragrance of green.
When my two sons were born, I was amazed, each time, by the strength of the upwelling of love I felt. After each birth, falling in love with the new baby was a whelming, surging force that reverberated through my entire being. I’d learned about this at uni – ‘mother-baby bonding’ we called it back then – but lectures had given me no measure of its strength. Or of its beauty.
In the midst of the joy and wonder of each brand new baby, I remember being simultaneously and just as strongly, flooded with sadness at the thought of mother-baby pairs missing out on this experience. For lectures had also taught that for some, these loving connections can be disrupted; bringing pain and disabling diminishment.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about how loving interaction and human agency are knitted together. Love and language make life rich. Tender connection and communication fire everything that matters. They may be the centre of all that matters.
This has led to interest in work which strengthens capacity for the attitudes, skills and knowledge which make tenderness possible – for individuals, communities and social institutions. Kindness, listening, non-judgment, acceptance, patience, restoration, forgiveness. How else can we flourish and be fair?
I have been a clinical speech pathologist for more than 30 years; I’m also a criminologist and a facilitator of courage-development workshops. I ran away to Fiji with my family for a short time in the late 90s, home-educated my boys for one year each, have a bedside bookstack which wobbles and a mild perfume addiction which I refuse to change!