Well this is exciting. I am delighted to be here. I have loved Dumbo Feather since I first clapped eyes on it way back when Kate Bezar was editor, in the early 2000s. And I am thrilled to join the team as editor. This is my first issue, so welcome!
When we were planning this issue, we started talking about what a meaningful life is all about. And the answer is that a meaningful life feels different for everyone.
I am excited to share five conversations with such varied representations of meaningful lives: restaurateur and organic farmer Palisa Anderson, British philosopher and author Professor A.C. Grayling, publisher and writer Georgina Reid, Doctor Alison Thompson OAM, a medical first responder in Ukraine, and social philosopher Jamie Wheal, who urges us to both know our home and to be useful.
You will notice a few changes to the magazine, and Dumbo Feather will continue to evolve in future issues as we incorporate more elements into the mix. This issue we hear from neighbours Kate Stroud and Emma Lang, describing their shared experience during the disastrous floods that engulfed Lismore in northern New South Wales earlier this year. Sydney-based senior resident Zen teacher Gillian Coote shares the history of the life of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, including her experience of working closely with him, and we explore the possible for a good night’s sleep. In the concluding pages of the magazine, facilitator Melanie Owens guides us through how to define your personal ikigai – a Japanese concept connected to finding and serving your life’s purpose. It’s fun and interactive, and something you can return to on multiple occasions as your life journey unfolds.
My ikigai lands me right where I am today. I’ve enjoyed a challenging and varied career in newspapers, documentary film and magazines and more recently, at TEDxSydney, working with speakers to refine their ideas and prepare them for the stage. What I am most excited about in joining Dumbo Feather is a return to the written word, which is my first love. There is no quick-fix replacement for the deeper engagement we can feel when we hold a beautiful artefact in our hands. I will always believe in that, and the potential we have to explore the lives of the people behind the ideas that shape our world.
As we forge a future together, Jamie Wheal’s thoughts on being useful deeply resonate. We are all working with what we have, and we can only start where we are. What if we each use the ikigai process to discover what our roles are that are timeless, and ours alone to do, then get out and give ourselves to the doing of it? Imagine what the world would be.
Pass it on,