The truth is that I am one of those self-focused people who really pays far too much attention to themselves. There’s no way round that, at this stage, so best to get it out into the open straight away. I overly replay in my mind, my words and actions from the day that’s been, agonise how I could have done more to single-handedly save the planet like I’m some omnipotent - albeit very fragile and previously drug-ingesting - deity and I’ve made it my personal life’s work to try to make a few less mistakes today, then I did the day before. In fact, I’ve made a career out of it.
It got it’s launchpad in a very public arena where a lazy turn of phrase or a joke simply for the joke’s sake, would cause an uncomfortably sleepless night, pondering the million sets of ears that had taken in such pollywaffle. These nighttime reflections, lead to the realization that if you’re going to be in the public forum - whether that be something as large as giving a seminar in a stadium or standing in conversation in your local supermarket - that it is best to speak from a place that is truly real for you, so that even if it causes some disruption to others, within you there remains a sense of peace in your conviction. There is much that came before in my story but let’s begin in the year 2000, when I was still known as Mel Bampton, when I sat down in front of a microphone at triple j and started talking to musicians about music, scientists about science and with listeners about life. When I sit with someone in this way, be it on the radio or in clinic, I try to take none of them away with me when they go but during the time they are in front of me, they are my entire Universe. In interviewing others, is where I found my place of peace.
For 3 years I sat as host of drive along with Charlie Pickering (The Project/The Weekly) followed by three years as ‘Mel in the Morning’. During this time I had the immense privilege of breaking bread with many of the Gods and monsters of modern music – Radiohead, REM, Mike Patton, Lou Reed, Blondie and Grandmaster Flash to name but a few - and behind the scenes my love for yoga kept me swimming during many heady years. The yoga to unhealthy-life-choices ratio was all askew but it was the thread that would become my lifeline, when life demanded I take a rather large lateral step.
Through this prolific time, with some consistent practice by my side, a journey of deep-self inquiry was propagated – observing particularly the insecurities and uncertainties of the human condition that cultivate much of human suffering. Based on my own experience of those sleepless nights reflecting on my words to the nation each day, I discovered in my restlessness that I had the audience but I didn't yet have me. I needed to find me, I then needed to develop the fortitude to stand by me - authentic and courageous in right speech and right action. Still a work in progress...it will be a lifetime project. That I can say with complete conviction.
During this time of slow processing, there were many highlight moments - once a week Dr Karl Kruszelnicki would join me and together we turned the tone from music to science. Other guests such as David Suzuki, Dava Sobel and Tim Flannery floated in too.
In 2004, off the back of an earlier segment that Charlie and I had done, called Wrong Way To The Top, I started Like a Version. A segment that has become one of the most popular in triple j history, spawning 11 CD compilations and earning a place on the station’s breakfast program. – where it lives happily to this day.
In 2004, my then producer Jordy Kilby devised The Producer Series, which became my baby for 6 years on the ABC, leading to a book deal with Harper Collins based on my global search for the world’s greatest music producers. The book is complete and is due for release in 2019 or 20 or 21, whenever I get around to those final details.... That was followed by The Album Series, in which I had the immense pleasure of taking the back off four great Australian records and finding out what made them tick.
Over the past 20 years my affection for writing grew, turning into a fervorous lust that saw contributions regularly to jmag, Life Etc, Surfing World, BtN, Green Living, and Blunt, with articles also published in Tracks, Sydney Morning Herald, Cleo, Cosmo, The Glow, Limelight and many more. For 4 years I was the Music & Film Editor for ‘alternative mainstream’ women’s magazine, yen.
It was in my role as National Media Manager for Soundwave Festival for 5 years that my ideology of ‘positive under pressure’ got to be stretched and scrutinised to it's fullest. Under immensely stressful but addictively gratifying conditions, this approach aided me through the festivals record-breaking year in 2013 as the biggest music festival in Australia’s history as well as survive tours with Marilyn Manson, Iron Maiden, Pennywise, Slayer, Nine Inch Nails, TOOL and hundreds more.
As the extent of this journey deepened, the tearing desire to be more the mother I knew I could be to my young son and my daughter, was becoming a deafening roar. Courtesy of a liver that decided it would not accept another drink, along with the absolute necessity to be what was soon to be asked of me for a child who was about to experience the nightmare of being a young woman in a world where predatory men exist, I turned a 22-year drinking career into sobriety and a twenty-year practice of yoga into my foundational focus of life, permeating who I would become (and am still becoming) as a speaker, teacher, therapist, mother, wife, friend and global citizen.
In 2010, I found my life partner, bringing together our 5 children and embarking on the understated adventure of navigating the wild seas of the blended family (there's a book in itself). In 2012, we made the huge decision to solidify the blend by adding in our sixth child - six and out.
We built and opened our own yoga school at the north end of the Byron Shire, in Northern NSW - The Yoga Shack - where I host many of my favourite events, the sacred women’s sharing event 'Stories from the Sisterhood', along with the surprisingly popular ‘Communicating with Courage’ which is as successful in yoga settings as it is in business, ‘Living Hormoniously™ - Workshops for Women’ and ‘Dissolving Patterns - A 21 day programme to break free from patterns that propagate suffering’ . Focused on yoga for healing, my specialty is in illness, injury and addiction recovery with quality breath techniques at the core of 80% of my clinic work.
In this field I began a life in study and practice under the teachings of acclaimed Yoga Therapist and MD, Dr N Chandrasekaran - in the field of Yoga Therapy and of the yoga sutra. As a nationally registered therapist, the bulk of my clinic work tends to naturally fall into the categories of ‘deeply seated’ problems - cancer, autoimmune, endocrine issues, addiction and many other pathologies. For that I thank my own gritty background - I am not very shockable, it is not a challenge for me to meet people where they are and I don’t have a lot of high ground from which to look down upon anybody else. All of those interviews with those at the top of their fields, became the foundation for my work in clinic - when someone is in front of me, they are my meditation. It is my job to assist in helping you find your way out and for that, I have to create the space for you to be heard.
I love radio as much as I love yoga, I love writing as much as I love sitting in clinic and finding ways out of very deep physiological and psychological trenches, I love my family more than anything. I loathe many things - environmental destruction, false sense of ownership, racism, elitism and many other bits and bobs that fuel my activist engine. My only lament: not having enough patience to accept that there are only 24 hours in each day - probably for the best really considering the tangles I am good at getting myself into.
It's a curious, incredible world out there with a picture that's as big as a Universe and about all of what most of us see equates to nothing more than a pixel. From this one spec we are attempting to make sense of the whole. All of us need to continue to step back and back and back from the white noise of the confused collective mind and of our own anchored identities within it. Then the confusion can lessen and we can find our way to being where we are really meant to be.
Finding this clarity is as much for the CEOs and Leaders, the working class and the load bearers, as it is for the Wild and the Free.
The most important work for me here, apart from reckless self-promotion is to have an unbridled place to express my words. No charter, no editorial policies, no commercials. Please head on over to my blog and enjoy a woman putting far too much emphasis on life’s day to day struggles and triumphs. Look forward to meeting you at an event; as your host, the interviewer or the interviewee,the storyteller, on the mat or in the clinic some time in the not too distant future.
Upcoming events, workshops and retreats
Strong Women Sustaining
15th November, 2019
9:00 - 12:00pm
A 3-hour corporate program, aimed at women leaders, open to all Executives, Business Owners and C-Level position holders – we examine and implement realistic ways of better sustaining within a very busy schedule. This is not about focusing on ascension of outcomes, this is about ascending individuals so that elevated outcomes are merely a natural and unavoidable side effect.
Communicating With Courage
Corporate Training for the Outstanding
15th November, 2019
2:00 - 5:00pm
Communication is like the breath; it is there with us in every moment. Even when no words are spoken, communication is occurring.
In the corporate world communication must, across all areas of the structure, align with its vision. In its external presence, how it is perceived and presented in the world and, even more importantly, within its internal culture. Down to every last detail.
16th November, 2019
10:00 - 5:30pm
This full-day course is about reawakening the awareness around your body’s ever-changing internal landscape of the menstruating years, so instead of falling victim to the phases, you learn to utilise the different qualities of each to enhance every aspect of your life. Including the revealing gifts of perimenopause and the steady power of menopause.