The State of Being Faye – Changing Health for Australians

The State of Being Faye – Changing Health for Australians

The State of Being Faye – Changing Health for Australians

words by Kirsten Macdonald

When I first met Faye Kendall, I knew she was someone I would like to interview one day.

With a keen sense of understanding people and a high intelligence hidden beneath a humble smile, Faye is somewhat of an enigma around Geelong. Her passion for preventative health feels like a thunderstorm brewing – encapsulated in a crystal clear jar of strategy that is before her time. It will rain on a barren land, screaming for health restoration.

 

Her recent growth of business Whole Body Health and Wellness has people talking and for good reason, but we wanted to know the why behind the woman. She is a Doctor of Osteopathy, humanist, traveller and entrepreneur, Faye is incredibly candid in this interview as we dig deep to find out the connection between body, mind and health.

Why do you like helping people? 

Helping people is a natural part of being human, and I think that we all help each other in lots of different ways without realising it. Smiling at a stranger, taking the time to listen to someone who needs to talk, cooking someone a meal or offering to lend a hand to someone in need are all ways in which most of us help each other every day.

It’s when we all help each other that healthy communities are formed. When I’m able to help someone (whether that’s at work or not), that person then has a greater capacity to help someone else in return, and then it just becomes a continuum. 

 

In our clinic I have people who come in with a specific problem that they can’t fix on their own, so they ask for help, so there is a set structure around the way in which I am helping someone.

 

A.T. Still says- 

Science which consists of such exact, exhaustive, and verifiable knowledge of the structure and function of the human mechanism, anatomical, physiological and psychological, including the chemistry and physics of its known elements, as has made discoverable specific organic laws and remedial resources, within the body itself, by which nature under the scientific treatment peculiar to osteopathic practice, apart from all ordinary methods of extraneous, artificial, or medicinal stimulation, and in harmonious accord with its own mechanical principles, molecular activities, and metabolic processes, may recover from displacements, disorganization, derangements, and consequent disease, and regained its normal equilibrium of form and function in health and strength.

 

Do you agree?

F.K: I wholeheartedly agree with Dr Still. We are just as much a part of nature as any other living organism. Therefore our natural state of being is health. Disease and injury are temporary states of imbalance within our bodies that occurs when we (or the environment we live in) is out of sync. Science has proven over and over again that with the right environment, our bodies have an innate capacity to heal.

As practitioners, we have a choice between treating the disease or treating the health in our patients. By working with and acknowledging the health that is present in all of us we get to help the body correct the imbalances that led to the unhealthy parts forming in the first place while also working to maintain equilibrium and homeostasis within the body. This is what true preventative health is.

When did you decide to become an Osteopath, and why choose this? 

 

I was in my first year of doing P.E. teaching at Uni when I found out about Osteopathy. I was really interested in the details of anatomy and physiology covered in the course. I hadn’t heard of Osteopathy before, when I researched the philosophy behind the practice of Osteopathy, it really resonated. Particularly that our bodies can self-heal and that osteopaths look at the patient as a whole person.

 

How does Osteopathy shine a light on deeper issues for people? 

Osteopaths are always looking for the true cause of the problem, which often isn’t overly transparent when you are dealing with organisms as complex as humans!

 

If a firefighter were called to a house fire because the neighbours reported large amounts of smoke coming from the house- and then proceeded to address the smoke while ignoring the fire, then we would all ask why the firefighter was just treating the smoke and not the fire. Yet when it comes to health care, our medical system seems to be well set up for identifying and treating symptoms but is lacking the tools to look for and treat the cause of the symptoms.

Osteopathic training has its educational roots in traditional western medicine, yet its philosophy is based on natural medicine. We are trained to look for and treat the cause of the problem to help alleviate the symptoms that our patients are presenting. Sometimes this is straightforward, and other times there are multiple factors at play. Two people may present with the exact same symptoms. But this doesn’t mean the cause of those symptoms is exactly the same. This, in turn, may result in a different treatment for each person as opposed to a one size fits all approach.

You have created a health clinic, with specialists from Osteopaths to Psychologists, Naturopathy, Chinese Medicine, in fact over 9 different offerings. From a business perspective, bringing the very best practitioners from different modalities under an umbrella is clever. I have seen you have the addition of digital overlays and flow through aftercare as well as a luxe approach- this is unique and if I can say, quite revolutionary. Especially in a time where we hear and read reports of an over strained health care system. Why did you take this approach?

It was time to do something different. To truly be proactive rather than reactive and give a quality to health that was new and fresh is the drive behind this.  There are lots of different modalities in the health care setting that can help people get better. We can collaborate and brainstorm together to create the best outcomes for our patients.

 

Why is referral within a space of multi-discipline approach so important to you? Not everyone is doing it, so why are you doing it?

From a patient’s perspective, we also want to make it as easy as possible for them. We also regularly refer to practitioners outside of our clinic. If we believe care will come from a practitioner outside of our practice, we refer our patient there.

 

Do you meditate? 

For me, life offers lots of opportunities to meditate in different ways, so I don’t have a set daily practice but rather take the opportunity to meditate whenever it arises.

When I work as a cranial osteopath, I’m engaged in the present moment, and I need my mind to be aware of what is happening so that it can observe the treatment process without getting in the way. I’ll often go out into nature where I can swim in the ocean or walk through the forest. These are the things that centre and ground me.

How does WBHW reflect you? 

WBHW started as a solo practitioner clinic, so the foundations of what our clinic has become somewhat intertwined with how I live my life.

There’s a limit to how much one person can achieve on their own. When there is a community of people all supporting one another and working together, then the environment in which we live becomes stronger and healthier. (Just like a body.)

 

Who is the most interesting person you know and why?

I have a lot of interesting people in my life, but if I have to pick one, it would be my friend John. Apart from being genuinely interested in EVERYTHING- he’s passionate about the things he loves, is always learning and willing to try something new and doesn’t try to hide his quirks.

What do you wish everyone knew about their body?

Everything in the human body comes from a single cell. When you look at a particular bone, muscle, joint or organ in isolation without considering the effect that tissue has on the body as a whole, you are only getting one piece of the puzzle.

Your influencer is…

Right now it’s Brene Brown. She inspires me to be brave even when it’s uncomfortable, even when it’s hard and even when I want to take the easy road. It’s the little choices every day that make the difference.

 

Favourite author and why…

Eckhart Tolle. Sometimes you read a book that completely changes the way you look at life. For me, that was’ A New Earth’.

 

If life could be summed up in a quote. What would it be?

 

Dr Seuss – “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

 

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Unapologetically Her

Unapologetically Her

Inspired Read

What does it take to climb a mountain of adversity as a child, to find yourself as an adult in a place of complete devastation? Sitting with the realisation you are deeply unhappy. ..

Unapologetically Her

Words: Kirsten Macdonald

For one Australian woman,  the decision to alter her life would carry an enormity and bring challenges she could never conceive of. The outcome?  She has become the embodiment of grit, positive change and possibility.

Telia Tonkin was 38 years old, weighed 159 kgs, standing 175 cms tall. Carrying physical and emotional weight and in an unhappy marriage,  the mother to two beautiful kids realised if she did not make a change, she would die. For her, it was a straight forward action, there was no-in-between. 

 Life was about to change dramatically.

 

“As a teenager, I would walk down the street with my friends, who were all thin. People would approach and look at me first; I always told myself it was because I was the fat one.”

“I always felt different from my friends, the outsider because of this. It is interesting though isn’t it? What we believe to be true, because those friends, my best friends to this day also had their own self-beliefs and insecurities. But at the time, my feeling of alone was big. People would look at me, and I always felt it was because of my size.” 

 

The root cause of her attachment to food was forged in emotional distress, comfort eating and resentment eating. A toxic trio that would create difficulty in her life. “There were adults in my life who constantly told me I was fat and lazy, so I believed it, and ate to rebel and in spite.”

 

Fast forward years later, a successful teaching degree in her hand,  a move to Queensland and a brilliant police force job, Telia married, had children and paused.

 

“I knew that not only would I have to make a total body transformation, but a total mind change. I started to see things so much clearer, I was abundantly aware of the mistakes I had made, both physically and mentally. I had two young children, I couldn’t go on being so unhappy, pretending to the outside world that my life was fantastic, hiding my tears, dreading that car ride home from work, back to that unhappy house, which was supposed to be a home.”

“But isn’t home where you should feel safe? You should be able to express yourself without concern of the consequences? I didn’t have a home, I was in a house, I was simply treading water, and I couldn’t stand it one more minute. My children are my world. You know the oxygen mask theory? You need the mask first so you can give the kids oxygen? So I left, I packed up my two children and drove away. I rented a house near their school and started living for myself again. I became a better person and a better mother because of that decision. My energy went just into my journey to health and that flowed through to my children.”

 

The dedicated mother had always enjoyed a passion for sport from a girl, and it was this that pushed her forward.

Bootcamp training, nutrition advice and a commitment to a gruelling transformation would fuel the next path Telia took.

“I started to focus on my love for weightlifting, training for a sport like that can be brutal. Training twice a day, 6 days a week. My children embraced my love for exercise, they would ride their bikes as I ran, they would come to training with me and sit quietly in the creche. Not once did they make me feel guilty about following my passion. They were proud of their mum, they would tell everyone at school that they had the strongest Mum in the world.”

Telia lost half her body weight and started to gain her confidence and the progressive feeling of shifting from a negative mindset to a positive one. The positive was much more enticing and it paid off. 

 

The next step was competitive weight lifting. The last two years Telia returned home from the State Masters with a silver medal.

 

 

 “Some would say that winning a silver was amazing. But for me,  being second best in Queensland just wasn’t enough.” 

 

In March 2018 Telia competed in the Queensland Masters Weightlifting Championships in Milton, Brisbane.

 

The trip to Melbourne for Nationals paid off. 

 “I achieved 6 out of 6 lifts, equal personal best. But do you know the best part, I won Silver! I didn’t come second, I won Silver! There’s a massive difference let me tell you. So do you know who I am? I’m second best in Australia for my age and weight category in Masters Weightlifting! I’m number one in Queensland, I’m the strongest mum in the world (according to my children.) But most of all;  I’m happy. If people notice me now, its because of my hair, or something positive. My life is mine, no longer under the weight of so much.” The metaphor is not lost.

 

“I’d done everything right, trained hard, stuck to my diet, remained focused, I felt good. I couldn’t have done anymore more going into this meet. To be honest I don’t remember much about the day. I remember I was so focused, just took one lift at a time, didn’t think too far ahead, didn’t worry what the other lifters were doing, kept my mind clear from negative thoughts, those negative thoughts that were dragging me down for years.”

“I lifted in the snatch first, 3 out of 3 lifts, they were fantastic lifts and I was so damn proud of how I remained focused. I was equal first going into the Clean and Jerk, I knew what I had to do. When they announced that Telia Tonkin was Queensland Champion, I cried, I couldn’t control my emotions. For three long hard years I had wanted this so bad, and now it was mine! GOLD! Number one in Queensland! After I composed myself, I realised I had qualified from the National Champions in May to be held in Melbourne. I thought, you know what, I’m going to do this, bugger it! I’m going to represent my State at Nationals.” And so she did.

And you know what Ponderers? With cropped blonde hair, striking eyes and ornate tattoos, Telia is bold and edgy, funny and incredibly real.  The attractive and tenacious woman is unapologetically her. The jokes come fast, and her brave and brutal honesty screams of an authenticity that is rare these days.

So who inspires Telia Tonkin? “My children and my siblings and their partners are my scaffolding, they are my world and source of strength and love.”

“One aspect I have noticed is that many people become so insecure about their partner making change, that they seem to get some satisfaction about making you feel guilty for putting yourself first every now and then. Or people who project their own stuff on you. Some people like to keep you in one space to make themselves feel good. This still baffles me. So many women stay in unhappy situations because they are afraid of the financial implications, they are afraid of being alone, all fear based.”

“Don’t lie to yourself, and act. Because the funny thing is, when you give yourself permission to find happiness, and seek it out- you are never alone because you find the most important person- yourself.”

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Broken Feet

Broken Feet

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Broken Feet

He walks on a path with his tour guide.

Where will the path take him? The tour guide is a wonderful companion, showing the man the beautiful plants, trees and mountains, the possibilities of the journey, the treasures of abundance and prosperity in the lands he does not yet know. 

HELP! He hears a voice cry. He turns and sees a woman broken on the side of the road, her feet are at odd angles. Busted and twisted, they look pained and sore. He must help her! 

I have the tools in my bag that can mend those feet, he tells himself. He must help!

 

The tour guide shouts something to him.

“This woman’s feet are broken because she bought shoes that were not good for her. Her parents bought her badly made shoes, so her body never learned to walk the way they needed to. So she bought badly made shoes too as it was all she knew. But it’s okay, a shoemaker is coming soon in perfect time. The shoemaker will make the most beautiful shoes, and the woman will know joy for the first time in her life, and her feet will be healed and mended, stronger than before.”

But the man does not hear his guide.

Her shouts are a barely audible whisper. Drowned out by his need to fix the woman’s broken feet. His need to help, to love and be loved was strong. His good intentions were loud. 

He leaves the path and walks to the woman. She smiles. They become friends. She doesn’t expect him to fix her and yet he does, and she is grateful. He gives her bandaids and a kiss to the forehead. Her feet stayed broken forever.

All is well in his world.

The tour guide is out of earshot. He can no longer hear her. She is waiting for him down the path of which he has forgotten.  

He builds a home, finds friends and a dog. He drinks and takes in the vista of the nest he has made in the world. He knows success and puts a thing called money into a building. The cash takes him on many journeys in cars and planes and buses. But his seat is feeling uncomfortable. The roadside stop becomes an entire universe for him to dwell. It is safe. It is all he thinks he knows. The tour guide is no longer a memory, but a sense of deja vu.

The loneliness gets worse. Aren’t I meant to be somewhere? He asks himself, as he touches the wrinkles on the sides of his eyes. He has everything he needs, and yet he is empty. He believes he is alone. However, the tour guide never left. 

His sadness deepens and rejects everyone, he has not learned to ask for help.

He is not looking at anything, he is stuck. He calls out to God in agony. A  God the world tells him is a magician in the sky who can fix everything with a special wand. The stuff of fairytales and old wives. There is no answer. 

In a deep conflict, in the quiet of the space of the grass on which he stands in a forest inspiring him with a sad wonder, he has an inkling. Something inside calls him. It is the voice of the tour guide, the voice is getting stronger. 

“Why am I so depressed?” He asks. 

 “Because, my child, there are so many distractions” sung God into his heart. “What do I do now?” He asks. “I am your guide, but some of you must surrender so you can walk the path directly, for your heart to hear, your ears to know and your intuition to listen to my directions, you are blind, and now you will see, you were lost, but now you are found. Free will is yours to enjoy, but take my hand, and we will walk it together.”

For the first time, the man knows calm. He knows peace and the deja vu became a truth. The next journey begins.

 

We hope you have enjoyed our Fictionista from Kirsten Macdonald, please share it if you like it. 

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The Broken Path of Diamond Kisses

The Broken Path of Diamond Kisses

Kirsten Macdonald

Kirsten Macdonald

Wordsmith

The Broken Path to Diamond Kisses

by Ponderings Radio

The Broken Path of Diamond Kisses

12 Minute Read

She ran away from the pain her whole life. 

As a small child, she learned very quickly that a gross room torn with old wallpaper and mildew could be quickly transformed with a diamond-infused paintbrush. Diamonds crushed from the ideals of television families and fairy tales could be blended into the bristles of the brush to create alchemy.  

She took a thought gently pulled like fairy floss and moulded it with her hands. Some singing and stamping of feet and a diamond-encrusted paintbrush would appear in its place. She was ready to paint the walls. Anything could be transformed- a yellowed bruise, the words thrown like poisoned darts, the dark looks and the nights of terror. 

 

Surviving was her greatest trick and most sincere gift of distraction. 

Until a battle opened her scars, it seemed her very best tricks trickled out with the blood. Seven years of smiles, prayers, kneeling on cold soothing grass and plenty of dark humour got her to here. This spot. Right now. The running from the pain has bought her full circle. She stands in front of a tsunami rising up to swallow her. It wasn’t going away, and there was no avoiding it. The diamond brushes were ground down to dust. The stories are faded, pulled from pages and now composted in the ground of experience beneath her feet.  It’s just God and her. Time to walk through it.

She tried once before jumping over the forest, running around the forest. She dug for days under the forest. Tears anointed her skin, thoughts of all the loss — the things she could not replace or fix. Her fingernails filled with the dirt of days and gritted teeth determined not to let people see behind the veil. It was time to march through the forest. She knew what waited for her in there. It made her soul wither and want to run, to hide, to drown in the sleep of peace. 

What had she become? Life had not been kind. 

 

She grew wings. 

 

They aren’t pretty. 

 

They have twisted tufts, barely resilient. Once strong and fierce, they’ve seen too many fights. They could have a mind of their own. Each time without fail after a battle, she would feel as though she could not get up from the floor. A cold desolate floor- echoing silence and a lack of hope. Then it would happen, a flutter, a rip and her body would haphazardly rise. Before she could clap her hands, her feet were 20 cm above the ground. Lopsided but up. The wings wanted to make sure her children’s foreheads would be kissed again, and again and again. Her last legs, her broken wings. 

 

She tied a sash of red around her waist; the last strands of faith gripped in her hand and the songs of her women. Her heart is splintering, stripped by bearing the weight of a thousand walks, numb beneath words. Pushing through the bracken and branches, the murky ground sponges beneath her. 

A cabin is in front of her.  She walks inside and waits. She knows he will arrive soon. 

The most grotesque monstrous ogre gnashing and snarling, trauma dripping from its teeth like an ooze. Welcome, she says, her fists daring to take him down and scream her rage at him, but she knows it will infuse him into her skin. She resists with all her might. 

It screams at her; you are a  burden. You will not make old bones. You are lumpy. You are bumpy. Your teeth are too big. Your hair does not cover your scars, who are you fooling?  Who do you think you are? Look at your swollen body and the signs of your scars. Who are you again? The teller of stories? The world is like stale water in a starving dessert of narcissism. What a joke. You are broken. The world is broken. People are like shards of glass in your eyes, and they will never change. 

Your children don’t need you anymore. Blah. That’s your humanity, your silly little ego humanity. Keep trying. Always were, unloved and craving like a dirty little beggar. You will break. Pity pity pity.  Do you remember what you once were? Haha, no longer. 

Reader beware- we should have warned you first. It’s a nasty ogre.  

She crawls in agony from the whips of his words to the bench. She makes tea; her bloodied heart rips open like an old tent door in a storm. The tea is steeped as he yells his profanity at her, she laces it with love, squeezed like a rung towel from her heart. Each drop captured by each glance of her children as they slept. She thinks about God. She thinks of the love for her family. 

The ogre begrudgingly sips the sweet nectared drink, a sly look upon the woman, its bruised and black drooped eyelids closing. Yawning, it falls asleep and starts to shrink.  He hiccups. Snapping and sounds of squeaking, the ogre becomes as tiny as a baby bird. She picks him up and places him in the palm of her hand. 

With a prayer of love, she blows a sweet breath upon his scaly body. He closes in on himself, spinning and turning. Again she prays, sending him love and the feelings of beauty and abundance. He becomes still. Very slowly, a wing unfurls. She smiles. His dark muck glitters and shivers into shimmering light. Another wing unwraps. The summer hue of yellow and forgiveness glints around its small body. The elytra reflect the blue of her eyes and open to taking flight. It opens an eye in surprise. Beauty.  She watches with a smile as it rises up into the sky.  

Time to get the child. 

She walks through the forest, and the small house comes into view. The weatherboards are broken, blistered and puckered from the hot sun. The verandah is still sagging. 

Inside a little girl watches the contorted and angry faces of the grown-ups. Loud voices and smashed glass punctures the air around her. 

A clash,  a bang and fear races through her child heart like unfiltered lightning. Her small hands became fists; her pink fingernails dug into the palms of her hands. She needs paintbrushes now. 

Pianist hands, her grandmother told her many times. They are fighters hands now. 

The woman walks up behind her and quietly places a hand on her shoulder. The girl looks at her with wide, startled eyes. This stranger’s eyes look so familiar. Who is this? 

It’s okay, says she. 

“This all finished a long time ago; you don’t need to be here anymore. You’re okay now. You are safe. 

The little girl takes a breath, calm envelopes her and her fists unclench. 

It’s time to go, says the woman. Are you ready? She removes her sash and lifts her shirt slightly. Gripping the edges of her sides, she rolls back her stomach like a lush velvet curtain. Behind the rubbery sheath is a door. The little girl gasps, but she is fascinated, not frightened. Grained, knotted and scarred with lines, it is tough wood now, this old door. It is built to endure. 

The woman taps twice on the wood and pushes gently. With a small screet, it opens. It looks very dark in there says the child as she glances at the woman with the familiar eyes. 

Of course, says the woman, look closer though, you are safe, I know about the diamonds and the paintbrushes. 

The child is comforted. Who is this person? The woman rubs her hands together and hums a tune. It is harmony and honey whipped together. 

Inside the door, a light grows and pulses, warm and inviting. The child tilts her head and looks closer. 

It looks lovely in there. She can see a chair, a bookshelf, a warm fire and a white cat that looks like it’s fur is velvet. 

Are you ready to hop in? The woman asks. 

The child nods enthusiastically, as the woman kneels down, pulling the door wider. Reaching out, she holds the child’s hand to helps her in. The child ducks her small dark head. 

The child squeezes through, her hand is warm from the wooden door frame, melded to the woman’s skin. She gasps at the vastness of the interior. How did she get so small, or how did this room in this lady become so big? 

I know, right? Says the woman with a smile. Go have a look out the window. Get comfortable. 

The little one runs to the window and looks out. They have the same eyes. She sees what the woman sees. 

The woman closes the door with a click and turns around, walking back through the forest to the new track. 

The little girl smiles and claps her hands, spinning around on one foot. She IS loved. She IS safe. They are going to find some new paintbrushes. 

Can we have some fun now? She calls out to the woman, and her most ubiquitous smile sparkled. 

“Absolutely,” said the woman. I thought you would never ask. 

I’ve missed you so much, said the woman. 

As the sun set on them both, they knew the battle was over, and the fight was over.

The call of her family bought her home, not broken but forged. For no sword is made golden without flame and hammer.

They sensed her wild woman; her walk was a stalk. Her hips were a eurythmic stride founded in a whole lot of don’t mess with me, and I will love you forever. Her once perfect hair now wild and held by a piece of frayed denim, with full lips that were anything but pouted.  A sweaty brow reeked of courage and bloodied determination. No longer owned by the flesh of fear, she was ready to dance, and it would be glorious for the worlds more than these granted her witness to the extraordinary.

To understand and feel the warmth from the sun of God’s grace. This was her Invictus. 

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Follow the Breadcrumbs to Storyville…

Follow the Breadcrumbs to Storyville…

Follow the Breadcrumbs to StoryVille

by Ponderings Radio

Follow the Breadcrumbs to Storyville…

Walking down a small lane on cobblestone streets in the inner belly of Melbourne can always delight and surprise. 

Perhaps like us you find a doorway, decorated with scrolled writing promising to stay a part of you forever. Echoes of childhood mingle with joy and discovery, and you realise you are walking into something exceeding magical. You have entered the realm of Storyville, Melbourne. 

The Enid Blyton inspired tree foyer leads to the Mushroom palace, Tinkerbell’s birdcage, then on upstairs you explore to the giant library and the Chronicles of Narnia corner. This is one joint that has managed to tap into the theatrical drama of Melbourne, and the inner child is awakened fully. Transfixed? You will be!

Our host Alex welcomes us warmly, and our conversation cannot run smoothly because a grown-up- transported into childhood is an excited mess. I order a Goblet of Flames beverage, and we chat. 

With magicians on Thursday nights and drinks to match the experience, Alex tells us Storyville has been an overwhelming success.

 “Melbourne is the city that embraces a late-night culture, everyone supports putting on weird and wonderful things, they turn up.”  Alex’s personal favourite drink is Poly Potion, a Harry Potter-inspired concoction of Gin, Kiwi Fruit and Basil, a sweet and sour sensation. We spotted So long and thanks for all the fish – Tanqueray Gin, Cocci Americano, Dry Vermouth, Lemon, Grapefruit & Orange (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams 1979 – 2009) We know right? NEXT LEVEL. 

So how long did it take to build this dreamscape? 

Around a year Alex tells us, and when I ask was it difficult to NOT keep adding to it,  he nods enthusiastically. The hospitality aficionado says the launch got put back multiple times with something else to be added. The meaning of scope creep is understated. After admiring the hand-sculpted trees, we can understand why. 

With a giant clock installation on the horizon and a matching food menu, creativity knows no bounds in a place like this. What inspired Storyville? 

“A range of things, we wanted something entirely different, a venue based on multiple stories, and we are all literature fans and had lots of inspiration. We felt like other people would relate to it too. Being able to link the product to the concept, events and the smaller things like the magic shows, comedy shows and literature launches, the reactions to the experience, being able to walk into a wonderland and lose themselves- all of this.” says Alex. 

From the videos on the back of Qantas seats to the thousands taking photos of what is an Instagram dream, Storyville should most certainly be on your Go-To map of Melbourne explorations. You may want to bring breadcrumbs though, you won’t want to leave. 

Check it out for yourself here on Insta- https://www.instagram.com/storyvillemelbourne/ 

Storyville is located just off 185 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000 

We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Meet The Mother Who Turned Grief Into A Refuge For Kids

Meet The Mother Who Turned Grief Into A Refuge For Kids

Meet The Mother Who Turned Grief Into A Refuge For Kids

Deborah Saunders experienced a mother’s worst nightmare when her son was killed in a tragic car accident at age 17.

She recalls how the press bombarded her family, and mainstream media reported misleading articles. Everyone deserves a chance to tell their story. Here, Deborah explains in her own words how she coped with her son’s death and has healed her broken heart by looking after children.

 

The Barnardo’s Mother of the Year VIC 2019, has raised four children independently and fostered countless teenagers. She has devoted her life to providing young people with a home, a safe space and a chance for a better life. Deborah’s guiding light has saved those who have found themselves travelling down a dark and troubling path. Her home has been a place of protection and nurture.

 

Children, entrenched in a world of drug and alcohol abuse, in an endless cycle of poverty, full of uncertainties such as when or where they will get their next meal, yearn for the love and stability that Deborah provides. The number of children dependent on this support continues to rise. 

 

The latest figures from the Australian Institute of Family Studies have shown that the number of children in care has risen in Australia by 18% from 2013 to 2017.

Winning Mother of the Year has in no way affected her humility. Throughout our small chat, Deborah oozed motherly compassion and a determination to help kids that need it.  

 

What would you say is your biggest passion?

I think the rights of young people. Definitely. The rights of dignity and respect. Some of the young people I work with don’t have housing. They’re living in poverty and experiencing drug and alcohol abuse, childhood abuse. The worst part is it just keeps going. It doesn’t get addressed. There’s no healing, so that’s my job. 

 

Has there been an experience that inspired your passion for helping foster children? 

I think it was my childhood. I didn’t realize it at the time, of course, but it was a bit rough. I think also being a young person growing up in poverty, and then being able to reflect on actually how tough it is for these kids. I was one of the lucky ones because I had a family. Also, my kids would always bring friends home. We ended up with some staying, and these moments would help me reflect on how fortunate I was. 

 

What advice would you give to women who feel inadequate as mothers?

Be kinder to yourself. It’s tough to seek help but don’t be too proud to do it. My mum used to tell me, take it one hour at a time, if you can’t manage a whole day, break it down. 

 

Would you rather live in a treehouse or a cubby house?

A treehouse. 

What is your favourite book?

The Outsiders. It’s an old one, but it’s one of the first books I read.

This book may have shaped Deborah’s passion for the plight of the troubled youth.

The Outsiders is known as being an authentic depiction of teenage struggles since a 15-year-old actually wrote it. It is a story of children deprived of love in the pursuit of redemption. Aiding this pursuit is what provides Deborah with purpose every day.

 

Her daughter refers to her as the strongest woman in the country.

In 2009, her 17-year-old son Jack died instantly in a car accident. 

When asked about Jack, Deborah wants people to know that he was more than just a statistic. He was the glue of the family. He lobbied for his right to wear a mohawk when he was told to get rid of it in year 8. Jack was intelligent but also social and fun. He read a lot, could not abide bullies and questioned everything from the time he was little.

 

“I know all mothers think their kids are special, but Jack had a presence, he was larger than life and had a charisma that attracted all sorts. He could talk to anyone. I miss our long talks the most.”

Jack came to Deborah one Sunday morning and told her of a dream he’d had. The angel Gabriel had come to collect Jack, telling him he needed to go and help him save young people. The two of them laughed it off.

 

Deborah remembers how perfect the weather was the day her son died. Jack entered a car to try and intercept a fight and help a distressed boy. This mistake cost him his life as both boys died instantly. Jack was found to have a low alcohol reading, yet the media went on a rampage reporting a story of “drunken hoons”. It made the agony of losing her boy unimaginable. 

Denied the chance to see her son, Deborah felt she might have been able to save him.

 

“I still feel in my soul, that if they’d let me see Jack, I may have been able to bring him back. I think it’s a mother thing.” 

Deborah still cries. She still feels overwhelmed by grief and misses Jack with every breath. She was not alive or awake for the first twelve months after losing Jack. Losing a child is the loneliest thing on earth. 

“I can’t imagine what Jack would be doing for a living now, or even what he’d look like. It’s too painful. I tried writing to him, but it’s too hard, I talk to him all the time and especially at bedtime. Losing Jack has changed me.” 

 

However, Deborah knew she had to put one foot in front of the other to keep a roof over her other children’s heads.

 When faced with the devastating anguish of losing a child, Deborah has not allowed adversity to trump her soul. 

 

Horrifyingly life-altering and debilitating grief has brought Debra to her knees and yet within this, she has forged healing and a sense of peace through helping other kids and being of service to those that need love and stability in their lives.

She has put the pieces of her heart back together and offered it to those in need.

We salute this beautiful woman and can only ever hope to look to her and her story of her family and her beautiful Jack for inspiration and courage. 

 

 

We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

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