On joy, sorrow and a purposeful life.

What a week it’s been since announcing the impending launch of Brave Women Write.

I’ve received many open-hearted messages from readers sharing your stories on how you’re facing grief and finding hope. To each of you, I say thank you.

When you reach out, I feel this invisible thread connecting us. Your stories compel me to write more courageously and vulnerably. Please keep them coming.

A lot can happen in one week!

I’ve confirmed the IRL (in-real-life) launch date for Brave Women Write for Saturday 12 November in Melbourne. Please pop it in the diary if you’re keen to come.

Or if you can’t make it and you’d like a signed copy, I’m taking pre-orders. Just hit reply with a YES! to be added to my list.

On Thursday, I kicked-started a new project Love Stories of the Yarra Birrarung. Inspired by Trent Dalton’s sweetest book Love Stories, I sat at Deep Rock for three hours to begin collecting stories of love and hope for the river from passers-by. 

Five wonderful women shared their tender stories. I’m already realising there’ll be many more stories than I can possibly do justice. I’ve no idea where this project will go. Sometimes the best thing to do, is to just get started, right?

My office at Deep Rock, Yarra Bend, Fairfield.

On Friday, I participated in a Grief Circle with 25 other brave souls as part of the year-long Nature Based Leadership Training course with CERES School of Nature and Climate. Based on the work of Francis Weller and the book The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief, it was a most profound experience. Want to know more? Reach out.

Two other books and their authors have greatly impacted my work and writing; Rewilding the Urban Soul by Claire Dunn (our course co-facilitator) and The Comfort of Water by Maya Ward. The first is about how to find deep nature connection amid the concrete and busyness of city-living. The second is about the authors pilgrimage from the sea to the source of the Yarra Birrarung. 

So you can imagine my excitement when I learnt that Maya was running a Visionary Writing workshop in Warburton not far from Melbourne. It’s a place dear to my heart and a long-way upstream from my Deep Rock swim-spot. And that’s how I spent my Saturday – wrapped in a blanket of creative joy while the waters flowed below. Alas, there was no time to swim!

Visionary Writing with Maya Ward. Workshop with a view in Warburton.

And then along came Sunday. It began with a kayaking adventure in Port Melbourne with my new love Ric. We had no intention of collecting rubbish but somehow it turned into a game to see how much we could retrieve. It was sad to see so much driftwood, plastic and polystyrene afloat in our ocean but it didn’t stop me from taking a last minute plunge. 🙂

And Sunday afternoon? This was spent door-knocking with my fab friend Carmel in support of the Greens candidate Gabrielle de Vietri for the upcoming Victorian elections.

And that was my week of sorrow, joy and purposeful projects all in one.

So by now you might be thinking, does this woman ever work? Well yes, I do. I believe that grieving, writing, river-swimming, nature-loving, rubbish-collecting and door-knocking is the work. Most of it doesn’t pay financially but all of it pays spiritually. And paradoxically, it’s been leading to more fulfilling and well-paid work.

There’s a difference between finding one’s purpose and leading a more purposeful life. I’m discovering that the second idea just might be the very thing that will lead to the first. What do you think?

Photo taken by a man on the pier of Ric and I collecting rubbish.