In the beginning, what motivated you to work and live in remote Indigenous communities?
In 1988 I was 14 years old, and I was given a cassette tape of Warumpi Band’s album ‘Go Bush’, by my Aunty. In that same year I remember attending a massive Indigenous rally, where tens of thousands of Indigenous people from across Australia converged on Hyde Park in Sydney. It was on January 26th, and also the 200th anniversary of Captain Cook’s arrival. These experiences and listening to the music of Warumpi Band made a big impression on me as I was growing up, and I feel I was called to understand and identify with Australia’s first peoples. So in 2007, when a friend encouraged me to apply for a job with the organisation CAYLUS (Central Australian Youth Link Up Service), I felt the pull. When I got was granted the role, I got to go and live in the closest house to ‘the Rock’, at Uluru, and work delivering a holiday program teaching drumming to Indigenous youth in Mutitjulu community. I felt like a lucky star had fallen my way and was offering me an opportunity to make real a dream that I had long held.
Why do you believe mentoring is so important?
I believe at the core of all human relationships there exists an extraordinary possibility of reciprocal learning, that occurs through sharing honestly. This can be realised between a child and its mother or father, between a teacher and a student, and literally between any two humans who connect, listen deeply, and share personal truths related to a particular field of work. I feel that mentoring is the kind of human relationship where the mentor becomes a guide and point of ongoing reflection, that actively uses their own personal experience and wisdom to skillfully aid the genuine growth and development of the mentee. For me mentoring is so important because it acknowledges that we cant “go it alone”, but need to share and learn through our reflections with others.
What or who inspires you?
I have a number of people who are constant reminders to me of what is important in life, and who inspire me to go beyond my own perceived limitations. Some of these are friends I have from Japan who older than myself and men I can look up to, who have inspired me very deeply and changed the course of my life significantly since I became friends with them many years ago.
My 7 year old son Miro is certainly one of my greatest teachers ever, and he reminds me that often we are best to set aside our perceived notions of “who knows best”, if we are to really learn the deeper truth in any given situation.
My ongoing practice and work with the dynamic meditation process TaKeTiNa, and the teachers and colleagues that I have connected with through that work, also inspire me profoundly.
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