In the year 2000, when I was still known as Mel Bampton, 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.
For 3 years I sat as host of drive along with Charlie Pickering (The Project) 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.
Through this prolific time, with my 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 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 my authentic voice. 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, as it is for all of us.
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 10 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 due for release in 2017 or 18 or 19.... 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 15 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 and Limelight. For 4 years I was the Music & Film Editor for ‘alternative mainstream’ women’s magazine, yen.
But it was in my role as National Media Manager for Soundwave Festival for 5 years that my philosophy of ‘only positive professionalism’ got to be stretched and scrutinised to it's fullest! Under immensely stressful but addictively gratifying conditions, this approach aided me profoundly 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, guided by a deep desire to be more the mother I knew I could be to my young son and my daughter who was beginning her own journey of life’s brutality, 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, 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 - one in fact, I hope to have out by the end of 2017). In 2012, we made the huge decision to solidify the blend by adding in our sixth child - six and out my husband loves to say.
In our North Byron studio - The Yoga Shack - I host one of my favourite events, the sacred women’s sharing event 'Stories from the Sisterhood', along with the surprisingly popular ‘The Yoga of Communication’ which is as successful in yoga settings as it is in business, ‘Living Hormoniously™’ and ‘Mindfulness Progression for Addiction Recovery’. Focused on yoga for healing, my specialty is in illness, injury and addiction recovery with classical breath techniques at the core of 80% of my clinic work.
With continuing studies at the side of acclaimed Yoga Therapist, Sanskrit Scholar and MD, Dr N Chandrasekaran - in the field of Yoga Therapy and of the yoga sutras, my continuing goals are to assist others in subduing issues within the body, disturbances that sit more deeply, the empowerment of women and youth and at the heart of it all (and of myself), the elimination of stress; recognizing it as a contributing factor in all disease pathology and at the pith of all suffering.
Combining two decades of communication experience with 20 years of study in health and wellbeing, has resulted in a platform I could never have foreseen.
Teaching others the tools to gain the fortitude to stop wasting their lives on the trivial, to recognize their patterns that reinforce the behaviours that keep them in the quicksand of suffering. 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 are seeing of it, equates to nothing more than a single pixel. From this one pixel we are attempting to make sense of the whole. This is not possible. All of us need to continue to step back and back and back from the white noise of the confused collective mind. Then the image of what's real can start to be seen.
Finding this clarity is as much for the CEOs and Leaders, as it is for the Wild and the Free.