Sydney Classes

Returning to the cauldron of the Inner West, you can find me teaching Thursday mornings 10-11am at Sashimis warehouse space. As part of an awareness/fundraising campaign for the Front Line Action on Coal group, this is a free (if you’re a lentils&ricey) or donation (longnecks&takeout) class, with all proceeds going towards the Leard State forest action,

Tonight there’s also a talk on at Black Rose, Newtown at 7pm delivered by Murray Drechsler outlining the campaign if you’d like to learn more about it.

Hope to see you there!


Coloured pens and rocket packs

If we dither from our paths where are we?


Little spaceships with the navigational controls turned off floating through a sea of stars. And not bothering to notice on the control panels – all the worlds blipping up on the screens. We continue on… stuck, lost in the infinity of possibilities.

A few years ago, under the guidance of a very focused and driven collective of individuals, I began to mistrust goal-setting immensely. Have a goal, write out the things that might get in your way, have five actions in place to decrease the likelihood that they would, then pursue this goal like a madwoman.

I am a madwoman.

There is no simile to indulge in here. It’s just that along the way, there have been so many wonderful distractions to indulge this madness in. A single point of focus has seemed a poor use of such a gift.

So I gave up goal-setting.

Not because it doesn’t seem an intelligent thing to do. In theory, yes… yes, strive. Dream. Do the things. No now the other thing. Get the thing done! Do it! Do the thing!


I am a different person today, then the yesterday lady who indulged in so many mind-maps, who colour penned the bejesus out of that little point by point plan. And I could never help but think, if I am different in just this next day, then the next week that difference could have multiplied itself by seven, and then that seven could be multiplied by a year of sevens… and then that year of sevens could…. and onwards we go.

In the dark weeks, when leading up to one’s birthday, one gets a certain case of the despairs, and the ‘what the hell am I doing with this collection of molecules experience of consciousness?’… it can be tempting to get the coloured pens out again and start the dreaming of what it would be if everyday you were the same person, that you could imagine time as linear and your own experience as just one step (or rocket blast!) after another.

But then the children come in. And the origami turns itself into a bird that burps and has taken to eating noses. And the single point of focus expands its lovely dream promise to incorporate all things. It grows patient and we grow brave and we look out of that lovely overused metaphor’s portal and say…

 “I am here.”

Filthy girl

Oh good morning Brisbane. Rain? Oh what a surprise.

Everything is damp. I am damp. I have given in to always being damp.

I have dirty feet from ducking between the house and the toilet.

I am waiting for a mate to show up so we can join the others on the boat, going up the ramp two by two.

‘Sure come and practice here if you like. It’s old but at least we’ll be inside.’ I emailed to a new student.

‘Filthy,’ he called it.

Two hours earlier I had been a domestic amazon fighting off the rising waters. Hold my place in the line I had called out to my mate, maniacally sweeping the damp from the corners of the room. I had thought I had made it sweet.

‘Filthy’ he’d called it.

My home.

One man’s sweet is another man’s filthy. And we do need all creatures on the boat…

O brave new world

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

The soft animal stretches out its leg. It pushes out through its back heel and grounds its front foot down into the earth. It pushes its sternum forward and lifts its crown towards the sky. And it notices. Notices the breath. The energetic body and the ripple of awareness that echoes through itself.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

‘Come here baby. Give me some skin.’

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Beside my bed is Brave New World. Huxley and I have just finished with each other again. His first dystopian work was written in 1931 and published the following year. His threats about the price of happiness and stability are colouring the morning.

As the Savage says, ‘Art, science – you seem to have paid a fairly high price for your happiness.’

Huxley’s citizens take a tab of soma and do away with any pain or suffering. They are discouraged from ever being alone and will stay young and beautiful forever.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

They live their world in an ‘infantile contentment’.

Breathe in.

They never feel extreme passion.

Or discomfort.

Or confusion.

There are no grey areas. They know exactly what it is they will feel; how to proscribe experience…. free from that human burden of discovery.

Breathe out.

The hand that pressed a $50 note into my palm to drive him to his son is now stroking my knee with his thumb.

Breathe in.

The soft animal stretches out its leg.

Breathe out.

Wild Thing

When you find yourself in one of those jarring little situations… what do you do?

For all the equanimous mind training on the mat, sometimes, just once in the while, the mind turns to violent thoughts – The eroticism of being able to punch someone in the face. Not their real face. Your mind’s eye face. A big old smackerooney. And it thinks, “delicious.”

So. Balance. Union. Equanimous mind. And then there’s that little animal. The one that likes to dance. The one who bites your flatmates elbow in the morning. The one who REACTS.

I love the animal. The beasty in me keeps me juicy. It gives me flavour. And I think it’s what leads me to want to be one on one with a student. Private lessons bring out a focus that I think comes from one little animal being intensely interested in how another little animal works.

What is it that breathes you beasty?

It also, brings out the flashes of fire, or the envy, or the violent mind punch rightinthathippiesgetoutofmyhouseface.


Equanimous mind.






There is a small child celebrating the morning by running laps outside of my room. Vegemite toast in her soggy little hand, she grins, ‘Good morning Cazzy.’

‘Good morning my love.’

I had a meditation teacher once give me some advice in regards to approaching your practice, “Practice as you would approach playing with a four year old. All of your attention, nowhere near knives and with a sense of lightness and joy.”

Sometimes I can forget that this being alive is indeed just a marvellous playground – just an arena for things to work themselves out in. The yoga mat is a physical reminder to stay present, to stay playful, but it is JUST a reminder. The practice doesn’t stop.

Children eating toast remind me this morning.


Tough Love

If little Carolyn, the one in the school uniform, looked for me now, she would not find me.

I like that. I like these moments. When you thwart the time traveller in you and find yourself somewhere completely unexpected; somewhere you could never have deliberately managed to be.

I have woken up at 9am in the bench seat of my car with a hacking cough. Sea-dog spitting out the side door, quitting cigarettes seems to be killing me. I am no poster girl for the anti-smoking campaign. This is the second time I’ve woken this morning. Three hours ago I was up sun saluting in my long johns looking out over the dam we’ve ringed our little tent family around and been lucky enough to call, for a moment, home. A group of artists gathered up for the Cementa Festival in Kandos settled in to a private property in the middle of bushland.

Sun Salutes done however, and my cough beginning to rouse the kookaburras, I squirrel myself back into the bench seat of the car for second sleeps. I sleep, I dream, and then I wake. I wake confused. I don’t usually dream. There she is though, cemented in that flash of waking and remembering – the SHE-BANSHEE WOMAN. How did she find me in the middle of the bush?

We all have teachers like this. Tough old broads or fellas, whose only job is to give us a mental spanking and demand you find your mental arsehole and pull your finger out of it. I trained under this ferocious teacher for just one weekend, but for reasons beyond my choosing, she is one of the ones I still keep close. A tough task master who has served me better as a memory than she ever did in the flesh. She’s confused me though. As the dream fades the only thing left to remember is the last moment. The bugger hugs me. She-Banshees don’t hug.

I get up, sweating, coughing, breakfast, hello lovelies, swim in the dam, kicked an eel, why thank you, isn’t this nice, coffee… and then it struck me. Something dropped in. The knowledge that drops rather than is found. I knew why she had come. As I was backstroking in the dam in my underpants, the bush almost echoed with it, “The tough stuff is the good stuff.”

Hacking away, on my journey from Sydney to my new home in Brisbane, just having buried my grandfather, I find myself swimming in a dam, with two compadres, drinking coffee and participating in an art festival designed to foster new connections between rural townships and the city.

“The tough stuff is the good stuff.”

Thank you sensei.

May you stay safely stashed in my dreams.