COVID-19 – The takeaway


There are a lot of people now who are understanding the hidden gift and even spiritual intention of COVID-19. Let me state up front that whilst I hate the damage that occurs when disease and natural disasters ravage the world I loathe the havoc wreacked by human depravity i.e. the glorified desecration of war, the collateral damage of corporate greed, the indifference towards the homeless and the dysfunction masked by “busyness”.

Busyness is that corrupting  inflammation that scores through societies built on the pursuit of money at the expense of life. The pursuit of money has driven people to the current extremes of loneliness, ruthlessness, narcissism and greed in the hallowed name of “business”. As long as business thrives morality can dive. This pervasive attitude has propagated the form of insanity recognizable as narcissism. This rewiring of the brain to blindly accept the deprivation of war, poverty and disenfranchisement has been wormed into our consciousness over centuries of indoctrination fueled by covert promises of wealth-infused ease. The idyllic ambrosial life that shimmers on the hazy horizon of the retiree is the dangled carrot that lures the drone into a life of service in the corporate hive. The drone has adopted the avaricious focus of a priest or priestess who sways hallucinated by an invisible nirvana where luxury is bliss and mindlessness the reward. There is a life at the end of servitude and it is cruising around the world gorging yourself at the buffet and rimming the globe.

The obedience to busyness and business atrophies the senses and sublimates the emotions until the suppliant can longer feel anything much at all. They drink to relax and commit to a succession of romantic interludes until the soulmates who will complete them come along. The soulmates, when they do arrive, to the accompaniment of tubular bells and whirling bluebirds, find themselves corralled into a mindset of needs and demands delineated by horizons shortened to facilitate access and stigmatized by a set of values tantamount to commands. Suddenly the new corporate loyalty is to a marriage that must survive above all else. No more random exploration of ideas and concepts that fall outside the coded fairytale of parity completion.

In truth, the soulmate fairytale is perpetuated to cope with the limited emotional pallette of the acolyte, much as entertainment is dumbed down to anaesthetise the drones who collect pollen for the corporate hives where CEOs manufacture honey for the masses. The atrophied heart of the “busy bee” beats so weakly it can’t expand into a universal love where a complex influx of multi-dimensional sentience demands unbiased regard.

To love more than one person requires energy the exhausted drones do not possess. Nor can they handle the responsibility of showing up and being present for another human being who is not compliant with their world view, a view limited to foraging range.

Love is exhausting and requires patience and a willingness to dissolve horizons.

So, returning to the current situation and the enforced isolation. We are observing now the high cost of disconnection. The loss of emotional connection that rides in tandem with a far more challenging spiritual connection, one that requires faith and self-knowledge. Isolated and left alone with ourselves whose guidance can we seek?

Our own.

But what does it look like? What does it sound like? We are so out of touch with ourselves we dread silence and what it may reveal.

Here we are offered the chance to find out what we really believe and what we really value and who we truly are. I have observed that many athiests achieve spiritual connection far more authentically than religious people who attend gatherings filled with cant. The athiest does not package spirituality into a Sunday morning at Church or a Saturday at the Mosque or the Synagogue. The athiest finds authentic morality through self-examination and choice. In many respects and by default many athiests are more morally aligned with God than the greater herd of religious people who super-impose morality through cant.

So, we are outside the framework now and must find our way back to ourselves.

The great takeaway in this isolation is the opportunity to seek out the kind of mental, emotional and spiritual nourishment we need when our psyches achieve sobriety through a cold-turkey abandonment of distraction and frenetic movement.

“Movement suggests a life.”

However, the absence of movement allows life to flow through you.

Stay healthy in this season of change. When we emerge from our burrows let us be more real and less inclined to accept social indoctrination at face value.


Coronavirus hidden gifts

Apologies in advance, I don’t usually spruik my own books but now is the time for READING. If the paperbacks are too expensive the Kindle versions are either free when Amazon run specials or reasonably priced. 


The story of a musical genius who is offered a Faustian deal by a desperate fallen angel.

Peter Donnelly's 2019 book favourites

Middle top row of Peter Donnelly’s 2019 Favourites Peter Donnelly – The Reading Desk TRD-Logo_Dark@TBRreviews Twitter


Bittersweet romance set in 30s London’s glittering theatreland against a backdrop of war.

vintage Fog

When I wrote my review for Jason Hickel’s superb book, The Divide, I added my own thoughts at the end. I had no idea when I wrote those suggestions for a new way of being that the opportunity to implement them  would come to pass so quickly. They are not new ideas, by the way, just commonsense jigglings of ancient survival.

The Coronavirus has forced us all to slow down, abandon lifestyles dependent on distraction and pace, and find inner resources to cope with a home-bound life. The noise of the world has settled to a calming hum, an ancient heartbeat that pulses a steady trajectory around our parent sun. LIFE previously measured in breathless movement is now encapsulated in a single moment of silence and focus. For some the silence is deafening. For others, a return to a state of being longed for since birth.

I recently joined Instagram at the suggestion of a close friend who felt it would raise awareness about my books, Catch the Moon, Mary and Fields of Grace. He was right. I have joined this frantically focused community just as they are forced to use the service for communication and harvesting occupational therapy like READING! Many people don’t know what to do without their daily dose of mindless distraction. How to calm our noisy selves and enter the frightening vacuum of our inner selves, those strangers whom most of us have never met. I see and hear celebrities going slightly nuts for lack of attention and crowds. They are left alone to discover themselves and what a hidden gift.

For those of us well-acquainted with creativity these are the best of times and the worst of times. The opportunities in this breakdown are huge. The potential for destruction equally huge IF we miss the moment.

Let those whose voices have been loudest over the past three decades now listen to those of us whose quiet persistent whispering in the background has been urging a shift of focus, suggesting a re-evaluation of currency, prompting a deeper experience of life than the transitory exchanges that pass for conversation.

Find value in the moment – a concept rich with hidden gifts.

You cannot go to the office and mouse-wheel your days in routines set in metered time. You cannot skim along on a diet of mindless distraction. You cannot walk deaf, dumb and blind through your days, waiting for manufactured excitement to prick the sloth-like hide of your soul. Now you must find everything you need within. You must occupy yourself.

I see on Instagram a lot of celebrities making silly jokes and singing ditties and sitting around waiting. They are like people marooned on a desert island sending out the occasional flare. They think they can wait this out. They can’t because I believe this is nature’s call to arms. She has waited for humanity to wake up and live in harmony with her for eons but wars continue, abuse of her habitat continues, over-production of goods with built-in obsolescence continues, the rich continue to hoard believing their piles of gold will save them and finance continues to dominate our thinking and our aspiration. To quote Henry David Thoreau; “Most people lead lives of quiet desperation” funneled into a single unimaginative rut of repetition and routine and clockwork expectations enumerated by age and dates. He completed that sentence with, “and go to their graves with their song unsung.” 

Now is the perfect time to discover your song.

Now is the perfect time to reconnect with Nature, the harbinger of your lyrical soul.

When do we stop and smell the roses? When do we marvel at their perfection? When do we look up and wonder about the stars? When do we consider the miracle of life in an ant, a flower, a butterfly? When do we find reverence for LIFE? When do we silence our own protestations of grandeur long enough to extrapolate the genius of GROWTH?

Those who think outside the square have been shunned but now we must lead the way back into the infinite MOMENT.

Here and now is where EVERYTHING exists. Held within the permanent NOW are all possibilities. Tuning into the moment is how we get through this.

Finding the hidden gift in self-isolation is how we survive and thrive.

Now is not the time to recycle old thoughts, old expectations, old jokes and old distractions. Now is the time to explore new ideas and new past-times and latent talents. Rather than phoning everyone you know and wasting time in mindless chatter as I hear some celebrities on Instagram doing, sit with the silence and listen.

I wrote some lyrics for a character in The Last Tale (musical with composer Shanon D. Whitelock) who has been forced to live as a pariah for seven years. His plight echoes the agony and misdirection many people are now facing. Here is an excerpt to illustrate the hopelessness of refusing to explore the inner terrain but manifestly clinging to the delusion that LIFE comes from the OUTSIDE rather than the INSIDE.

Light a fire as the first stars appear

Catching moonbeams torching the night

Sleep brings the lovely ghosts

That dance around the edge of dreams

Listening out for the small sounds of life

Conversations that blow on the wind

Catch the joy, the laughter shared, the stories old and new

Hidden shadows imagining

There is someone who cares about me

Like a wolf I prowl and circle her

Invade her dreams of wasted love

Seven years

Seven years

I have fed on crumbs of life and starved

I’m craving hope but hatred-fed, withered, dead

I’ve taken root here on this ledge, the edge of life and death.

That character sits in a space of quiet loathing planning revenge for seven years until a freak summons from the King of Baghdad hurtles him back into life BUT true to his nature he super-imposes expectations upon the brilliant Scheherazade who has used her inner world to create 1001 stories to titillate a vicious and jaded King. I love exposing the psychological patina of despots for the shabby amour it really is. I did it in my musical, Alexander (songs found on and of course in the bullying angel in my debut novel, Catch the Moon, Mary.

Bullies and despots are quickly revealed as the hollow vessels they really are when my pen is aimed and inking J’Accuse! 

arabian sky (2)

The Last Tale musical by Wendy Waters and Shanon D. Whitelock

But back to the times we find ourselves in. IF, rather than going down those tired old routes of distraction, whilst in isolation, you explore latent talents and pursue excellence or simply activity, I promise you a re-connection with your soul. You will find out who you are and God-willing when it is safe to go back into the water you will never view it the same way again.

I will now paste in the second part of my review of Jason Hickel’s book The Divide.

My own thoughts.

Imagination is a powerful ameliorative force. Let us imagine a way of life more sympathetic to the environment and healthier spiritually. The first step I believe is to SLOW DOWN. Learn to delay gratification. This means resist sating the hungers a fast-track life imposes – stop impulse buying, stop hoarding, gorging and looking for constant exogenous stimulation to allay boredom. Start finding pleasure in delayed gratification. Do things like: plant a garden, DIY renovate your home, grow your own vegetables, read a book, walk, swim, learn something new, have a real-time conversation, refuse fashion fads by developing your own style and making your own clothes or swapping clothes with friends and above all else, challenge yourself to pursue excellence. You’ll be amazed at how good achieving excellence makes you feel. It takes time to become highly proficient and its pursuit will cure you of boredom and the need for constant distraction.

Make your life meaningful. Make a difference to people. Help where you can. Get to know your neighbours and find out what they need. Challenge your mind and your spirit with meaningful relationships – with others, with yourself, with your work and with the planet.

And support the Arts.

The Arts are the soul and lifeblood of a nation, a community and a family. Artists are always in pursuit of excellence if they are true artists. If you want to understand discipline watch a dancer training, a singer doing her scales, an artist painting his canvas, a writer reworking her novel. It’s a rare artist who doesn’t care about his/her art. In fact, I wouldn’t call such a person an artist. I would call them a hack. True artists exemplify the blueprint for a new world – a world tuned to aspiration rather than gratification. A world in which excellence is the highest pursuit and I can assure you that mass production is anathema to excellence. Encourage and support producers of quality goods in your own community and eschew the cynical corporations that mass produce cookie-cutter products with built-in obsolescence.

Much of the economic dictatorship crippling the world today can be dis-empowered if people support each other in community solidarity. In times of strife and disasters this happens but we need to make this the norm rather than the exception. We have been taught to compete with each other and serve gluttonous corporations that operate on a principle of serfdom. If we pull together we will not be so dependent on faceless oligarchs.

To find solutions it’s imperative to think outside the square because nothing within the current paradigm is offering a solution. If we continue on this current trajectory of ever-increasing GDP and rampant consumerism we will destroy our planet and ourselves. We have been taught to value the wrong things and as Hickel points out so brilliantly much of this brainwashing is due to ADVERTISING. And I would add, celebrity-worship. Magazines feature the rich and famous and incidentally beautiful are, as Alain de Botton says, bannering the WRONG ROLE MODELS.

These people are for the most part achieving little and earning too much and failing to show the average person what spiritual resolve and meaningful work looks like. There are people in this world whose jobs reward them with self-worth and exponential positive influence. Sir David Attenborough is one. Jason Hickel is another.

I will leave you with a final thought and I am aware that it may seem too simplistic but please consider it: If you strive to make a positive difference, all these problems – climate change, galloping consumerism, global indifference and the seemingly insuperable divisions between rich and poor – will be solved.

The New World starts with you.

Let’s explore the Universe within.

I have just read Alain de Botton’s wonderful book, How Proust can change your Life and in it is a fabulous quote from Proust, which I’ll precis here, “Books are not the final destination but the spiritual portals through which the reader passes into a world of his own imagination. When the last page is closed the reader begins her own journey.”

Happy Reading and may stories lead you back to yourself.

CATCH THE MOON, MARY………Laura's Mary-book-piano-roses

Cover image by Des Cannon @animafotografie on Instagram


Cover FoG by Dean Michaels larger

Cover art by Dean Michael Rochford @digiluxEU on Instagram

France – the home of my soul

I have posted this before and a fellow-traveller has just reminded me that France is where I long to be.

Catch The Moon, Mary

Many years ago a clairvoyant told me that my soul flew to another land every night while I slept. These nocturnal adventures were never fully-recalled when morning broke in Australia but as I prepared for work, I had a sense that I had met someone very special in my dreams and that he and I had made all manner of delicious future plans.

By the time I’d walked to Cremorne Point Wharf to catch the ferry to work the fantasy had evaporated but periodically during the day, fleeting images of green fields, bubbly streams, mellow stone buildings and a man’s ready laughter overlaid the cityscape with a sweet incandescence and wistful nostalgia.

The clairvoyant also said that my soul belonged to this other land but she couldn’t tell me which one it was.

I have decided it is France.20190713_174837 cropped

I spent July in France and was privileged to be given…

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I have touched someone’s soul. What an honour!

Castrum Plebis

You gave me the opportunity to know your works. A precious gift. Your works are a mine of emotions. I will find time to see all. For one I appreciated the song ONE CHANCE ON THE EARTH in which, also if I don’t understand all words, I feel deep nostalgia for inviolate Earth but also faith to save the Planet. Finally the singer, a real pleasant surprice. Grazie

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Climate Change explained

I am reblogging this because so many people still dispute the reality of this crisis.

Catch The Moon, Mary

brazil nut tree1With so much misinformation floating around social media I felt it was time to ask a real environmental scientist, my brother, Dr. Marcus Scammell, to explain in layman’s terms how burning coal, driving cars and using electricity was creating an increase in global temperatures. Like anybody else without a scientific background I need someone with integrity to explain to me how my lifestyle may or may not be contributing to climate change.

I am listening and I want the facts.

Like everybody else, I want to believe that these raging temperatures and wild weather patterns are just part of a cycle. I want to believe that humanity hasn’t impacted negatively on the planet. But denial is a dangerous river and I don’t want to drown in it thanks. And so I asked a scientist whose integrity is well-known to me. My brother has no political or economic agenda biasing him…

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