force creates fear, fear destroys trust…
Posted in quotes, tibet, yellow September 5th, 2014 by pia


“Force creates fear. Fear destroys trust. Trust is the basis of harmony.”

I’ve been reflecting on these words for the past couple of days, spoken by the Dalai Lama in an interview on SBS Dateline earlier this week.

On observation it’s fairly easy to recognise this force in others and in the outside world, and to see why the world is not a harmonious place these days. On a personal level, I can feel clearly when someone tries to force their belief onto me, or when I am forced to participate in a conversation I do not want to have. From my past I can see clearly now how lines of trust were broken because of the force inflicted, and why there is no harmony with those human connections and how that lack of harmony radiates out to others.

On a global scale, it’s obvious to see the forceful destruction of lives and our surroundings. With both personal and global experiences of force the heart aches, and the mind ‘tut tuts’ and silently demands, “why can’t you see that you are destroying trust, that you are making it impossible for harmony?”

After listening to these words by the Dalai Lama, I began to reflect on the feeling of force within myself.  Over the past few days, I’m suddenly more aware of this feeling – when I force myself to work harder, ignoring my body’s signs that I’m very tired and need to rest… when I force my parenting beliefs in our household at a time when we need to let go and just be in the moment with our two-year old’s will… when I force myself to be social even though my heart, body and mind says “hibernate”… when I give more than I have…

By carrying this learned force within me throughout my life,  I can see that every time I force myself to do something or be something or have something at a time when it’s simply not necessary, I am feeding the fear within me, destroying my self-trust, and therefore not living harmoniously.

It suddenly makes so much sense.

Do you recognise when you are forcing yourself to do or be something other than who you are? For me it’s been so ingrained, such a part of me that it seemed impossible to separate. And I’m sure if I don’t retain the awareness, it will slip through the cracks, and be stitched into the seams of me again.

I had no intention of writing this post, I have a list of ‘important things’ to do, but something that resembles a flow of sorts, made me aware this was the most important thing to do – to share –  in this moment.  And in this very moment,  I can feel the pull of force to take me away from it. I recognise it. But right now, I let it be.

Have a beautiful weekend, mes amis.



february 14 is a special day…
Posted in tibet February 13th, 2010 by pia


…because on the rooftop of the world, and in the valleys below, a new year begins. May this year be the year.


click here to see tibetan new year festivities happening in sydney.
photo courtesy of l’internaute, photographer Miguel-Angel Horcajada.

exclusive announcement: a beautiful book has been published…
Posted in books, humanist, tibet December 12th, 2008 by piablog

Do you remember back in June I wrote about a beautiful book that was in the making, written about my Tibetan friend Tenpa and his family? Well, I’m so so pleased to announce that this very special book titled Our Tibet, has just been published and is now available to all

It is filled with stunning images of Tibet taken by my friend Sophie Bouris, who accompanied Tenpa and his family on their very precarious trip back to Tibet last year. I was not able to accompany them on the journey but Tenpa, our good friend Leona who also traveled with them, and Sophie all kept in contact with me for the duration of the journey to let me know they were each safe along the way. There were many a dangerous time, and my heart skipped a beat whenever i received an email from Tenpa giving me a quick run down of events. I was more than relieved to hear of their safe return, and when I went back to Sydney in August last year, we shared a lovely dinner at Leona’s place, reviewing all the fabulous photos and discussing the possibilities of Sophie creating a book. So it’s with absolute delight for me to tell you the book is now complete and available for you to buy. Read more about it here, and click here to purchase.

For those of my readers who emailed me and expressed interest in the book back in June, please follow the links above to purchase Our Tibet – international orders are accepted. And for every copy of Our Tibet sold, a donation is made to the Tibetan community. The key project is funding schools in the region of Kham, within Tibet which is something that Sophie and I have been striving to do since we first met 5 years ago. By purchasing this book you are helping me toward my dream too. I thank you.


…and while on the topic of Tibet I must take this opp to mention Australian Lara Damiani’s film called Cry For Freedom (I gave you a little snippet of it here). I was able to watch Cry For Freedom at a special screening hosted by Tenpa in August of this year when I was in Sydney, it is a wonderful production, I highly recommend it. Lara has a special offer available as noted in the above pic, click here to read more about the film, watch the trailer, and purchase the DVD.


PS if you are interested in stocking the book Our Tibet in your store, please be sure to contact sophie directly (or you can tell me and I will pass on your message!). x

sydney: the beats that give back
Posted in music, sydney, tibet November 14th, 2008 by piablog

Next weekend, on Saturday November 22nd, on South Curl Curl beach in Sydney, starting at 4pm there is an AWESOME music festival happening. Hosted by The Beats That Give Back, there will be live bands, all of varied roots: rock, reggae, acoustic, harmonic, organ drifting, singer styling, bass slinging, brass blasting, djembe tapping, solo ripping, & drum cracking… Some of the music you will hear on the day will include:

The Landlords
The Sniffer Dogs
The Pachamamas

Let me tell you, if anyone knows how to throw a fabulous beach party, it is the organiser herself – hostess with the mostess – Bron Harrison. She has organised fire twirlers, a fully stocked bar, a BBQ and so much more, making this event one of the hottest of the season.

Tickets are $25 but you need to get in quick as past events have sold out. Click here to read more about the event and purchase your tickets.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to buy food, medicine and essential equipment for Tibetan refugees in North India. So jump online and buy your tickets and if you can’t make it, you can donate by clicking here.

Thank you for the heads up Sue!

Blog Action Day: final thoughts…
Posted in humanist, tibet October 16th, 2008 by piablog

Thank you to all of you who were inspired to post your thoughts about poverty yesterday. It was wonderful to click around the blogosphere and read your posts, I could barely keep up with them rolling in. Please click on each others names in the comment section of the post below to check out more of the posts, there are many fabulous ones still to read.


Katie wrote a rather poignant comment that I’d like to share with you all…

“…I do some days feel down by people I see who feel they can do nothing and thus don’t. We all have something to give. We don’t have to fork out millions and donate funds like some of your fellow bloggers, or volunteer innumerable hours, like me, but we can share the voice, we can be mindful and thoughtful and we can make a difference in all those small actions…”

She nailed it: “we all have something to give”. Think outside the box. Look around your immediate surroundings, look around your extended surroundings, open your eyes. Use what you have. Just like we all started seeing hearts wandering all over the place when it was brought to our attention – those tiny little hearts were there all along. And so is yours. The more you give (whether it be time, love, clothes, thought, or money), the bigger your heart gets.

Image by Anna from Heartland, submitted for My Heart Wanders.


I have spent many years researching, analysing, and observing our global Human Rights issues, privately. I have been plagued by the question all my life, “what can I do?”. One of my biggest discoveries was the affects of money – when I gave money, I wasn’t able to see the direct results of that money and I found it very frustrating. And then I would receive more newsletters saying the problem is getting worse. How can it be getting worse when I, and so many other people, are continually giving money? Where is it going?

Then one day, being the rebellious girl that I can be at times, I decided to by-pass all those various charity organisations that were not answering my questions, and found a way to send my money directly to a person I wanted to help in India. He was a young Tibetan school teacher and was so very dedicated to his pupils, so many of them orphans, having lost their parents from the hardships of poverty in their occupied homeland. I had visions of my new friend buying his students the pens they needed, the textbooks they were craving. He kept me up-to-date as often as he could with emails and letters, and I spoke to him on the phone a number of times. With his broken English we somehow managed to communicate about deep, profound issues. Then he told me, rather shyly, that a boy had arrived at the school the day before, and he had come all the way from Tibet, without his parents or any family member. He said this boy was so skinny and dirty, and he had no shoes. His only pair of shoes had turned to rags on his 15 day trek across the Himalayas. I could only imagine the state of this young boys feet. My friend apologised profusely, he said “i’m so sorry, but with some of your money I bought him some shoes, I’m sorry, I know you wanted the money to go toward the books but I just had to buy him shoes”. My heart lifted – I had just helped to buy this young boy shoes!!!

Image courtesy of the Art of Peace Foundation.

I could hear the birds singing outside and i asked him to describe his surroundings. I could hear an instrument being played, he told me it was a man sitting by the roadside with a guitar. I had never met this man, my new friend that I was talking to, and I have never ever been to his exiled home. But there I was, in Australia, talking to a teacher in India, and I could feel the power of our communication, together we would be able to make a difference.

My friend had decided that he wanted to start a magazine for his students with the money I was sending. The magazine was to be called THURSTE, and it would be a means for his students to let out their emotional feelings through writing. He explained that most of the students did not have any parents at all, or the parents were in Tibet, now a place they would never be able to return. He said “…they really need a place to express their feelings.” I thought this was such a wonderful idea, and I couldn’t wait to see the first issue and read these students thoughts, feelings, and drawings. I knew this would be a wonderful project because I knew how much writing and creating had, and continues to help me to express my emotions. My friend had had such a horrific experience himself, of being pressured to leave his family in Tibet who were living in extreme poverty, to try to make a better life for himself in a foreign land, and he missed his mother so much but he was too scared to go back to Tibet as he knew the consequences for him and his family.

The first issue of the magazine THURSTE was never published: My friend was found hanging from his tiny room’s ceiling just a few months later.

Image courtesy of the Art of Peace Foundation.

The state of his poverty, and the state of his people and his land, was just all too much for him to bare. It is very, very unusual for a Tibetan to commit suicide. My heart bled.

This was about 6 years ago, and this is the first time I have ever written about it. I had absolutely no intention to write this today, or any day. But when I titled this post ‘final thoughts’, this is what came out. It seems it was meant to be shared today.

It is my belief that communication + education is the key towards a world without poverty. Every one of you who posted about poverty yesterday are huge contributors to the communication part of the equation. And you brought awareness to the fact that poverty is everywhere – in our own homelands, not just ‘far away’. Educating the Western World on the importance of everyone having the right to Basic Human Needs and teaching ways to how this can be achieved, and helping to provide education in the Third World make up the second part of the equation. Please think about this.

Some of the highlights from posts yesterday, as well as my own personal research toward our plight of poverty are below…

  • read about Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus – an economist and banker who created microcredit and microfinancing which we are all raving about today through organisations like KIVA and the Grameen Foundation. Listen to Muhammad explain the concept of microcredit in his own words here, and listen to microcredit customer Odette tell her story here.
  • Read (and get inspired!) about human rights activist Alison Thompson in Dumbo Feather’s latest issue (17). Alison says, ” You don’t have to have any skills to hand out water or give someone a hug”. Dumbo Feather also has a KIVA team, join up here.
  • Read about Global Studio and the Fistula Foundation through Bricks + Cartwheels. And add Bricks + Cartwheels to your blogroll and RSS feeds, it is such a fabulous blog written by young architects who are helping to make a difference, you can read more about them here.
  • Read about my friends at the TFG (Tibetan Friendship Group) – a group composed of volunteers who provide many educational sponsorships for children. Their sponsors assist school libraries, two hospitals, TB & AIDS care and prevention programs and provide materials for villagers to build latrines & more. The TFG is always in need of sponsors for students of all ages, please click here to become a sponsor. I personally endorse this organisation – I have attended many of their meetings and have met all the members who visit their sponsored children, schools, libraries and hospitals in person, in India, regularly. All of the members are volunteers and none of the money goes to administation salaries. This is quite extraordinary and unique.
  • And on a seemingly side note, but still relevant to the topic at hand, poverty might be a little closer to home than we all realise with the current financial crisis unfolding. Unfortunately the situation is being made worse by bailing out the bankers, instead of intervening in the public interest to sort it all out. I just signed this petition supporting a “buy-in” rescue package instead and it will be delivered to the world’s top finance ministers at the end of the week. Click here to read more about it and if you’d like to sign the petition, click here.
  • ……………………………..

    Thanks guys, for taking the time to read this. And for those of you who do not feel that poverty is an issue close enough to home to worry about, please, think again.