A collection of intimate stories about personal growth. How we navigate change and who we become along the way.
Mother of Thousands: Mahboba Rawi
Mahboba Rawi was Born in Afghanistan and forced to flee as a teenager due to her activism against the Soviet occupation.
She then lived in a refugee camp in Pakistan for two years before marrying and moving to Australia.
After her son’s death in 1992, she decided to take action to protect and advocate for children in Afghanistan.
And founded Mahboba’s Promise. An Australian non-profit organisation dedicated to helping disadvantaged women and children in Afghanistan. A country that has been torn apart by years of war and civil unrest and who now live under Taliban rule.
Mahboba’s Promise has established schools, shelters and health clinics across Afghanistan and provided numerous sponsorships to widows, orphans and girls in need.
She has helped thousands and thousands of people and to many of them she is ‘Mother Mahboba’ …
Mahboba has been awarded an Order of Australia and in 2012 was Australian Muslim Woman of the Year.
Her story is worthy of making a film… or three.
Mahboba is an angel… up there with Mother Teresa for the work she does, it’s simply incredible... In the world she operates, and the comparatively small size of her organisation it’s difficult to comprehend the impact she has had on the many many lives in Afghanistan and around the world.
Please enjoy my conversation with Mahboba Rawi
The Artists' Lens: Renate Rienmueller
A fair bit of energy goes into finding guests for the podcast.
Do they fit the theme? Do they have a story to share? Is there and interesting angle to tackle? Do I have the courage to ask them? Are they willing and available?
And once every so often, Universe delivers people into my life that I’m magnetically drawn to talk to.
Even if I’m not clear why or how. Something just intuitively feels right and I go with my gut.
My conversation with Renate Rienmuller fits into the 'intuitively guided' bucket.
Renate is a photomedia artist based in Sydney who works primarily in traditional printing processes, including one of the most time consuming and technically savage photographic processes - 19th century ‘wet plate’.
She is a co-founder of the non-for-profit creative space ‘La Creme Creative’ and also a co-founder of B.A.D. The Brookvale Arts District. A thriving community, connecting local and international artists, artisans, creatives and heart-lead creators of all walks of life.
Renate is currently working on her next solo exhibition. It's a portrait series due for launch in mid September 2022 and a book!
In the conversation we discuss Renate’s photography, creative process and also turn our attention to: what make an artist? or said another way - who makes art?
Where do you draw the line between taking photos, hanging your work in a gallery (art) vs fixing bicycles or punching numbers as an accountant?
It’s about the labels we attach to define people - as artists, or not. What’s the connective thread that binds (creative) spirits together and what is it that makes them so magnetic?
Easily one of my favourite conversations to date and I hope you enjoy it too.
Thank you Universe for delivering this opportunity to me and thank you Renate for bringing your magnetic energy, creative connection and sharing your story.
Swimming the English Channel: Jaimee Rogers
Early mornings are part of Jaimee Roger’s life.
As a young athlete Jaimee was a national level swimmer and trialed for the Olympics. Keeping company with some of Australia’s greatest swimmers.
Swimming at this level means years of hard work and sacrifice. Early starts at the pool. Repeatedly pushing your mind and body to its limits.
Often the difference between winning gold and obscurity can be determined by the millisecond. It was injury that forced Jaimee away from competitive swimming and she’s lived with the weight of 'never quite making it as an Olympic athlete'.
These days Jaimee co-host's a breakfast radio show on the Big Sports Breakfast, in Sydney.
More early starts.
When she leaves for work, both of her young children are usually already awake. To make this delicate balance possible, the well-known media professional and busy mother of two means every single minute of her day is accounted for.
After nearly 20 years away from competition Jaimee is ready for a new challenge. She is training for an 35km open water swim across The English Channel for her first time.
In this episode I talk with Jaimee about swimming and the role it plays in her life. The beauty and challenges of open water swimming. The importance of community. As she prepares for this epic adventure of a lifetime.
Jaimee Rogers Intro (03:01)
Becoming the TAB Lady (04:05)
Managing two roles and study (11:00)
Competitive swimming & injury (17:35)
Breaststrokers are their own kind (23:43)
Why the English Channel? (24:45)
The distortion of being surrounded by uncommon people (30:01)
Details and logistics of The English Channel swim (33:08)
Being out of my depth with open water swimming (35:16)
Time away from swimming (38:06)
Training, preparation and nutrition... (39:40)
What's it like being out there in the vast open-ness? (47:40)
The open water bug (51:45)
Mental health and suicide awareness (54:58)
How do you take care of yourself? (58:38)
A process of learning (01:03:45)
What does success look like? (01:09:29)
My 10 Day Bootcamp of Silence: Az Roberts
A detailed experience of my first 10 day Vipassana Meditation Retreat.
About Vipassana Meditation Retreat (02:24)
Day by Day
Day 0 The environment (15:56)
Day 1-3 Learning to breathe, avoiding discomfort and Snoring Man (20:10)
Day 4 Mind wrangling and feeling insanely creative (30:11)
Day 5 “The Hour of Power” (35:11)
Day 6 Echo chamber of noise (46:46)
Day 7 Seeing things differently (1:02:47)
Days 8-9 Who in their right mind does this? (1:08:03)
Day 10 So that’s what compassion is? (1:13:36)
Day 10 Start again (1:17:42)
Where do insights come from? (1:21:56)
Meditation retreat or masochistic bootcamp? (1:23:30)
A process of contraction and expansion (1:24:21)
Life in nothingness (1:26:30)
The inside noise vs outer noise (1:30:00)
Your perfectly unique experience (1:33:00)
Adventures of the Inside: Vajin Armstrong
“We all need a bit more Vajin in our lives.”
You probably / might describe Vajin Armstrong as an elite ultra-marathon runner. A favourite son of the New Zealand and Australian running community.
And a practicing monk.
When I asked Vajin to describe himself, the answer quickly became a kaleidoscope of colour and perspectives on reality and consciousness.
It’s at this point the best approach is to grab some popcorn. Sit-back. And enjoy the show.
Through our conversation we traverse the metaphysical and philosophical, more-so than the epic running achievements and associated identity. Things like; His spiritual journey. Being grounded in a world of chaos. Reincarnation. Meditation. Embracing the suck. Ancient fables and his perspectives on ‘The Meat Suit’.
A couple of ideas that stuck-out at were:
(To paraphrase) “We’re all blindly feeling our way around the universe. Trying to describe it to each other”.
It’s the idea that we all could be right. Working with the information we have in-front of us. It depends on where you view the world from and being curious enough to ask others what and how they see. And being willing to listen.
To consciously grow.
Speaking to challenges of the past. The pages and chapters of your life that are already written can’t be changed. They’re part of you now. The only thing you can do is to learn from and embrace them as part of what makes you uniquely you.
Your special sauce.
A huge, huge thank you to Vajin for his generosity. For sharing his wisdom and perspectives. All with infectious enthusiasm, full of peace and light.
To listen to the full episode, click the link in bio or visit paperfoxradio.com/podcast
(Please excuse the sound quality on this one. Driver error 😬)
New wisdom, purpose and creativity: Kirli Saunders
The background noise of life today is a constant siren of uncertainty for the future. It’s easy to feel out of control and lose sight of what matters.
When the opportunity to interview Kirli Saunders arrived, I felt a pull to also talk about the future of our planet.
Kirli is a proud Gunai woman. Her writing has received numerous awards and critical acclaim. An Artist and consultant on culture and diversity. She is an advocate for the environment, gender and racial equality and LGBTIQA+ rights.
In 2020 Kirli was awarded NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year.
In our conversation we discuss the environment and listening to each other, our elders and to country. We follow Kirli’s trajectory from a career in teaching that inspired her to write ‘The Incredible Freedom Machines’. To the moment her mentor said “Kirli… you need to start taking this [writing] seriously.” And the pressure that comes with stepping into the unknown, success and responsibility.
The thing that struck me was that under the barrage of worldly heaviness and uncertainty, Kirli is a figure of calm resilience founded in daily practice.
A voice of hope and possibility for the whole community. Kirli’s message begins with compassion and alignment to values, country and community. It’s in her voice when she talks, her writing, her art. Everything she applies herself to.
It’s a reminder that making any change in the world needs to start with ourselves.
What vision and conviction!
Amazing journey! I’ve just listened to the first episode with Samantha and love all the explicit and implicit lessons - especially going for a job you believe in but not only missing a few criteria but, in fact, missing all of them - and getting the job!
Insightful, open and honest discussions
Thought provoking and open discussions with an easy to listen to host.