shake the dust


This is for the fat girls.
This is for the timid boys.
This is for the school-yard wimps, this is for the childhood bullies who tormented them.
This is for the nighttime cereal eaters and for the retired, elderly Vinnies store front door greeters.
Shake the dust.

This is for the benches and the people sitting upon them, for the bus drivers crossing the Harbour Bridge in peak morning traffic, for the men who have to hold down three jobs simply to hold up their children, for the nighttime HSC students and the midnight party goers who are trying to fly.
Shake the dust.

This is for the girls with the brothers who are going crazy, for the twelve-year-olds afraid of taking public showers, for the girl who loves somebody else.
Shake the dust.

This is for the poetry teachers and for the people who go on vacations alone, for the tired and the dreamers, for the ones who are told to speak only when you are spoken to, and then are never spoken to.

This?  This is for you.

Do not let a moment go by that doesn’t remind you that your heart beats 100,000 times a day and that there are enough gallons of blood to make you an ocean.

Do not settle for letting these waves settle, and the dust to collect in your veins. All that pushes and pulls, pushes and pulls for you.
Shake the dust.

So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, and run forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be.

Shake the dust.


[adapted from Shake The Dust by Anis Moigani, slam poet extraordinaire]


the fable of the goldfinch



A mother goldfinch returns to her nest one day to find her children missing.

She eventually finds them caged outside a farmhouse window. Try as she might, she cannot open the cage.

The next day she returns to feed them through the bars, and they die soon after because their mother has fed them poisonous berries.

As she flies away her final words are, “Better death than loss of freedom”.

Amen to that.


(this fable was written and told by Leonardo Da Vinci in the 15th century)


no reasons required



Why do people always need a reason for doing something.

Do it because you want to.
Do it because it’s fun.
Do it because it makes you happy.
Do it because you choose to do it … no reasons required.

And be a little unreasonable* in the process.
*unreasonable = when you don’t let your reasons get in the way and stop you.


may the force be with you!



Each morning we turn the door handle and walk out into a larger world.

Turning the door handle can be a moment of adventure, or dread. Of anticipation, or anxiety. Of purpose, or habit.

Whatever the moment, what is helpful is to turn the door handle with some sense as to what is the inner force that drives you forward.

To believe that this force exists … well that’s a great start.


the power of YOU



When you understand that what most people really, really want is simply to feel good about themselves, and when you realise that with just a few well-chosen words you can help virtually anyone on the planet instantly achieve this, you begin to realise just how simple life is, and how powerful you are.


the waiting room



For a long time it seemed to me that my life was about to begin.

But there was always something that needed to happen first, before it could begin.  Something that needed to be finished.  Something that needed to be done.  Something that needed to happen.  THEN, my life would begin.

Eventually it dawned on me that these ‘somethings’ were my life.  That I had been living my whole frickin life in the waiting room … just waiting:
… for an email to come
… for the pain to go
… for an increase in pay
… for a shorter work day
… for Friday night
… for the time to be right
… for holidays
… for better days.

“NO, that’s not for me!” I shouted as I burst out of the waiting room and exploded into action.



Inspired by Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go

the itch you can’t ignore



Life comes in two flavours – the fixed, and the variable.

Most of the people I meet prefer ‘fixed’ over ‘variable’. They want a world that’s safe and secure. They want certainty over doubt. They are dead set on building a world and a future they can count on. And they have a plan to get them there.

At the same time – and in spite of their preference for things ‘fixed’ – they have a constant, nagging itch for the taste of something ‘variable’. The itch to take a risk. The itch to test, to prod, to dare, to try.

And then, like all itches, it stops itching, and is forgotten. And so it sits in the background of their lives, like an annoying pebble-in-the-shoe that pops up every now and then.

Unless they scratch the itch. Flare it up, make it even more itchy. But no, that never happens. And that’s because they have all been taught not to scratch their itch. At school. At home. By their parents. By their friends. “Stop scratching that itch Richard, you’ll just make it worse.”

In this way they have been fed a diet of ‘fixed’ food, off a menu that offers predictability; staying focused; being in control; playing it safe; lying low; avoiding danger; being reasonable; always having a plan; making it safely to death.

The brainwashing is subtle. It doesn’t change their basic need for safety. Instead it just uses that need to convince them that the comfort zone is the place where they need to live their lives. After all, “That’s what sensible people like you do”.

And yet, there is still that part in them that itches to climb trees, to leap about, to shout out, to throw the dice, to take it to the limit. YOLO!

For some the itch will become so overwhelming that it will dominate their days, and ask them put your soul on the line. And if that’s you, it is entirely possible that there won’t be a massive standing ovation for you at the end of today.

That’s okay. There’s still tomorrow.

And at least you lived


the top five regrets of the dying













Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

She writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives. And when questioned about any regrets they had, or anything they would do differently, the same themes popped up again and again and again.

Here are the top five regrets of the dying:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. This was the most common regret of all. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. This came from every male patient. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Many people had developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. Many people had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits, while they longed to laugh lots and just be silly.

What’s your biggest regret so far?
And what are going to do to change it?


mad world



For me, the most ironic token of that moment in history [the first human moon landing] is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the moon. It reads, ‘We came in peace for all Mankind.’ As the United States was dropping seven and a half megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity. We would harm no one on a lifeless rock.

― Carl Sagan