First of all, thank *you* to you the reader for taking the time to share some of this incredible story that is my life with me, thank you a hundred times over.
I hope you enjoy this retelling of my quest to become the hero of my own life. This living memoir was begun in late 2009, when I returned home from Ireland, and realised that in order for my outer world to change, I had to change my inner world through changing myself. Not an easy journey no, but all of the friends mentioned below made it possible.
Thus I am very grateful to all of the people who have inspired me in my life and shared their wisdom with me. They are truly too many to name, but most especially: my wonderful parents David and Julie; my brother Nick and his girlfriend Kristin; my extended family including my extraordinary trend setting Nanna June who went and stayed in an ashram in India long before it was considered cool to do so; Cherrique Rabaya and family; Elisabeth Taylor-Waring and family; Francis Cooke and family; Sofie Yelavich; Tara Smith and family; Verity Berry and family; Pippa Strom and family; Miri Stone and family; Dr. Clare O’Leary for guidance and mountaineering technique when climbing Carrantuohil; Natasha Jayadevi for amazing zing sessions, excellent proactive counselling sessions and twisting my rubber arm so I finally gave in and travelled to India myself; Anne Elliott for introducing me to the wonders of the world of the medicine woman and to the music of the plants and plant consciousness; Samuel Gronn-O’Brien; Inez Schmidt; Linda Lee; Lorisa Brown; Francesca Abady-Kim and family; Mitch Henderson for introducing all of the Allenby flat to the wonders of classical piano when it is played with complete devotion and love; Mere and Ariana Manning; Ash Matheson; Tobias J. Lockhart; Jess McLean; Ethan Burmeister; Sheree Dunlop; Dan Taylor for sharing his insight and knowledge regarding shamanism; Brooke Tietjens; Kathi Craig; Heather de Ridder; Ngaire Cox and Shane Cox for some of the stunning portraiture work; the Garside family; John Schwabe; Angela Henderson for suggesting the ‘chapters’; Ian and Tammy Hart; Natasha Fox; Lisa O Shea; Ryan Fechney for explaining rudimentary Buddhism to me and nurturing our long distance friendship over some pretty tough years; all my teachers over the years whether of school subjects or music or medicine; Jaime German Dorner and Susie Hawes for been the most exceptional performing arts teachers I have ever known to this point in my life; Sir Ben Kingsley for his mesmerising portrayal of Gandhi where I finally found a political leader whom brought his innate faith and spirituality into his everyday life winning freedom from oppression for his people through the miracle of passive resistance; and those extraordinary teachers of both today and ages past whose wisdom I have gained so much from including: Louise Hay, Doreen Virtue, Linda Kohanov, John Holland, Caroline Myss, Deepak Chopra, Richard Bach, Christiane Northrup, Lao Tzu, Lynne McTaggart, and all the legendary writers of every single genre of fiction and non fiction whom have stimulated my interest in absolutely everything all my life, thank you, thank you, thank you.
To the unnamed individual who catalysed my spiritual awakening and subsequent heartbreak, thank you. I wish you happiness all throughout your life. You changed mine for the better. Although it was painful and terrifying at times, I have never once wished to go back to the time before I ‘woke up’. We only fear what we don’t understand, and as is so often the case, what I feared were merely the capabilities of mine own truest self. My interactions with you made me realise there was so much more to me than what I knew to be so at the time. It has proven to be so, and I wouldn’t change the journey for the world. Thank you once again for the part you played.
And last but never least, all the gratitude in my heart to my co-creative partner in this project (i.e. the amazing main photographer) Alexander Garside. Thank you for trusting me with your beautiful creations, and trusting I would choose the right image for each story. Thank you for being my best friend both whilst in a romantic partnership, and when moving beyond to a non-romantic relationship. Thank you for teaching me true love is real and possible, and true emotional intimacy with a beloved is a gift from the gods. Thank you for showing me that when unconditional love is present, whether in a romantic pairing or not, there is no loss, only the gain of an incredible best friendship no matter what the cosmos throws at us. Thank you for entering my life and helping to make my dream of sharing this story with the world come true. I love you.