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Some wood.

Some wood. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Some wood. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Some wood burns much hotter than other wood.

How would you ever know that?

Unless you had a wood fire that you relied on for your warmth.

The stringy bark kind of wood doesn’t burn that well.

Redgum is the ideal wood, apparently…but we don’t have that on our property.

We’ve got a wood called Redbox, and that's a keeper that one.

It’ll burn long and hot.

Which is very good for making a house full of visitors feel warm and cosy.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,279

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Like family.

Like family. Drawing Luke Hockley

Like family. Drawing Luke Hockley

Dear Self,

I was raised in a loving, kind and generous family.

It was far from perfect, which was perfect for me.

I know that not everyone has such a positive experience of being in a family.

But I like to think that as adults we can create that for ourselves.

I’ve been running Campfire as a monthly event for around 3 years now. I like to think that one of the reasons people come along is because, for a night, it’s an opportunity to look after the people around you like they are family.

To give them space if they need space, to chat and bring them out of their shell if that’s what they need. To be with them as they are awkward and funny and playful and shy and sad and whatever they are. To help them know that it is ok to be themselves all the time…but especially here, now when we gather around the Campfire and share with each other.

All that we need is for you to be you so that I can be me.

When I say that Campfire is like a Family Concert…that’s what I mean.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,243

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.

Defensive, awkward and hurt.

Defensive, awkward and hurt. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Defensive, awkward and hurt. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am uncomfortable with someone seeing me in a way that doesn’t, in my opinion, represent my values and who I hope to be in the world.

I feel defensive and awkward and hurt.

It feels unjust.

Unfair.

It is, I can see, part of the deal. One of the ‘costs’ of doing things in the world. Of being out in public trying to make things happen.

It shouldn’t surprise me.

A person’s interpretation of something or someone is always made through the lens of their experiences in the world. None of us are ever really ‘neutral’.

Knowing all of this, somehow doesn’t make it feel better.

Truth is I just want everyone to like me.

And that is unrealistic, unlikely and unhealthy.

My job is to act in ways that align with my values and to like myself.

The rest is noise.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,139


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I feel whole again.

I feel whole again. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I feel whole again. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I feel whole again. After an epic Campfire last night something feels different.

The things I had been looking at that seemed insurmountable, or worse – no longer interesting, are now once again back in focus. I know that I can sort out what I need to sort out to get things moving again.

How did Campfire do this?

Campfire looks like it is all about people getting together and performing for each other. Practically, that is what happens. But that’s not why its magic.

It’s all the bits that sit in-between that make it magic.

Watching people, who have never met each other, stand around and talk, like it's the most natural thing in the world to get to know new people.

Seeing someone who came on their own hugging people goodbye as they leave.

Watching someone who hasn’t spoken all night share something about how a performance moved them.

It’s my friend Fox spending the day with me hanging out in the studio and getting things ready for the magic to happen because he loves this thing as much as I do.

It’s my friend Suzanne staying after the event and playing piano so people can stand around and sing for hours (yes, hours) after Campfire has officially finished.

It's a group of men in the kitchen doing dishes and sharing laughs and kindness and joy because that’s what men do.

It’s people telling me about how they feel hope again because they have found a place where there are good people listening to and caring about each other because that’s what humans do.

It’s knowing that there are profoundly gifted musicians/performers in the room who are enjoying the experience of watching others perform so much that they let go of performing for a night so that they can sit back and soak it all in.

It’s watching someone learn how to use a loop machine, live in front of the audience.

It’s my endless jar of honey driving halfway across the state to be there, even though it would have been much easier (and totally fine) to sit this one out.

It’s the surprise visit from Cam and Sarah who know how much it means to me to have friends with me on this journey.

It’s my friend Gar in Sydney sending me a video of the family concert he ran in Sydney in a friend’s lounge room at the exact same time we ran Campfire in Melbourne.

It’s all of this. And then on top of that are all the incredible open-hearted performances from everyone who turned up.

All of this creates something special in me.

It makes me feel that I belong.

That I’m in good company.

That it’s going to be ok, even if things sometimes aren’t ok.

It makes me feel whole again.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,097

Firewood
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If you have walked away from Campfire with a sense of belonging and hope then buying some firewood is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation and to keep the Campfire burning.

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Responsibility.

Responsibility. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Responsibility. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am responsible.

As much as I might like to transfer that responsibility to someone else, I can’t.

That wouldn’t be fair.

I am responsible.

That’s all there is to it.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,044

The boatman’s call.

The boatman’s call. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The boatman’s call. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Over the last few months I have been on an odyssey.

Alone on a boat witnessing the magnificent and the unspeakable.

I’ve had radio contact with the world.

But getting the boat back to shore has been my sole responsibility.

I chose this sea voyage, I wanted to take it and feel proud of myself for making it home again.

On the voyage I have met many incredible women who are navigating their boats with such skill, I’m in awe.

Taking this voyage has been uncomfortable, risky and sometimes has even felt dangerous. So, why did I want to do this?

I thought it might help change something that needs to be changed.

I thought, maybe, that other men would be inspired to get in a boat and join me. Men who really need to step off the safety of shore and experience the world from the perspective of the wild and untamed ocean.

When I was at sea I did my best not to ask the women I saw to take responsibility for me. But I saw them help each other, in a way that I’ve not really been helped by men in my life.

And I realised why it was important for me to get back to shore.

To ask men to help each other have the emotional strength to get in their boats and sail with me.

Last night a small group of men answered my call. That, in their own ways, they have been venturing out into the ocean too.

Now I’ve got more than radio contact, I can see them on the ocean with me and I know, if I need them, they will be on the ship with me, helping us get safely back to shore.

And, for me, when I experienced this, the healing began.

Love

Luke.

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Day 1,043

More, there’s more, there’s always more.

More, there’s more, there’s always more. Drawing Luke Hockley.

More, there’s more, there’s always more. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The thing about performing is, even when it is magical there is always more.

More to discover. More to learn. More to nurture and cultivate and grow.

This is why it is endlessly fascinating.

Campfire last night was a beautiful thing (of course), I noticed my performance (as host) was particularly playful, light and (I think) effective.

This success raises some really important questions… What did I do that got me there?  How do I visit this place every time, or at least more often?

What’s the magic formula?

Some of this can be known (I think last night was partly about the incredible support I had to run Campfire last night. A couple of mates, Fox and Gar, were there for the set-up and a sing-a-long…this made the world of difference. I realised that for me to really enjoy Campfire the creation of it has to be an act of community.

It just feels more reflective of the thing when it is done that way. It seems obvious, but I have been alone in that preparation/set up time many times. I’ve realised I just don’t want to do this thing in that way.

That’s an important realisation.

I’ve thought a lot about Campfire and my role and how all this works…

There’s always more.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,034

Epic.

Epic. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Epic. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I saw a dance piece last night called Colossus. Choreographed by Stephanie Lake as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival at The Arts Centre.

It was epic.

50 dancers on stage. Pulsing, throbbing, flocking. Unison and chaos.

En masse like that, the human form transforms itself. It suddenly becomes alien, or rather, it reveals itself as animal.

The work is a beautiful reflection of this moment. The joy and terrifying power of humans forming and breaking apart and reforming in tribes. Both live and virtually.

Most of the work reflected the magic that people create through intense cooperation. At one moment the group turns on one of its own. Singles them out.

Victim and hoard.

It was chilling. Frighteningly real. It triggered my experiences of having groups of people turn on me. It reminded me of how vulnerable I am to being abandoned by my village. How the invisible threads of support and trust keep each of us safe. For a moment I was that isolated human under attack. It was extremely uncomfortable.

Eventually this lone figure is delicately folded back into the group. This confused me. I accepted it, it seemed real…but is that it? Is there no retribution for the mass hysteria? No self-reflection from the group on its irrational seething anger? Why is their violence unpunished?

It was like the fog of irrational hatred cleared and it never happened.

It’s not right. How can they get away with this?

It may not be right...but it is sadly accurate. The victim gets chewed up and spat out on our social platforms…and then rapidly forgotten. We don’t see our own behaviour, our own hysteria, as part of the problem. It just happens for a moment and then it is gone. Like it never happened. The entertainment of it all finished so we move on, absolved of any responsibility for it all. The victim lucky if they are embraced back into the community.

These reflections are intensely uncomfortable. I don’t like how they make me feel. Don’t like that I see that I am a part of all that.

I much prefer the feeling I had when I watched the group in complex and profound cooperation. Which is where they were for the majority of the performance.

It was like watching a scene from a nature documentary. Calming. The natural world in harmony.

Colossus did that thing where performance morphs beyond entertainment into sense making. It helped me see something about myself and the worlds I inhabit.

Even though I was unsettled by some of what it had to say I am pleased that I live in a culture that gave space for this voice.

I feel richer this morning for that experience.

Filled.

Love.

Luke.

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Day 1,026

Stamp Money.
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Buying some stamp money is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation for the things I make and share.

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I am a Future Maker.

I am a Future Maker. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I am a Future Maker. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Yesterday The Centre for Sustainability Leadership made me an Honorary Fellow of its Future Maker program.

I am a Future Maker.

This was a totally unexpected honour.

I’m certainly the slowest person to ever complete the course. I’ve been coming to the program for at least 8 years now.

Giving my time because the always big hearted, generous change makers in charge invited me to share my gifts with people who are changing the world.

When I was handed my certificate, I cried.

I cried because it was one of the most overwhelming feelings of belonging I have ever had.

I cried because the team who have designed and delivered this most outstanding program over the last few years, Alesha, Matt, Laura, Sara, Cam, Leigh, Sarah, Maree and Lina, knew that simply saying “Luke, you belong with us” was a more profound thank you for my years of service than anything else they could have done.

This generous act, this kindness…well, of course it was what happened because that is just the kind of people Future Makers are.

It’s funny how people often deeply appreciate us for the things we most love to do in the world.

Sharing my art with this course, teaching what I know about authenticity and purpose and communication and performance, that has been one of the most satisfying things I have done in the last 8 years.

Because the people I have shared it with have all been in pursuit of the greater good. And if I was going to use my gifts to leverage any community of people to get them to amplify their message it was going to be this group of people.

It’s funny what a certificate does. It’s just a piece of paper, I know, but as I sat down in my seat, and was able to start to thinking again, my first thought was ‘Ok, now how are we going to keep connected to each other and make this future that we want to see’.

As my mate Matt Wicking once said:

“The future is unwritten. So, let’s write it.”

Love

Luke

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Day 993

Riot.

Riot. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Riot. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Last night we watched a tele-movie on the ABC called Riot.

It is the story of the first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade held in Sydney.

I couldn’t believe the police brutality, I couldn’t believe how Australian’s condoned prejudice against people they knew, I couldn’t believe the laws that enabled all of this.

I was 2 years old when the first parade happened.

I grew up in this nasty soup. My sense of self was forged with this as a silent, unseen, poisonous background.

In my lifetime so much has changed.

I think I felt the depth of all this when marriage equality became law last year. I realised that I had been living as a second-class person and had completely accepted that…because that’s the way it always was.

We are not there yet.

How men and women view the roles of people with different genders and sexual orientations is the problem.

Watching this film, I felt the power of group action.

I felt emboldened to speak up.

To act out.

To use my voice.

To shake off my passive, comfortable life and say and do things that matter.

Rock the boat.

I’m scared.

But not nearly as frightened as someone who was detained and bashed by the police in 1978 for walking in a legally approved street march.

Forty years later the police march in the Mardi Gras parade. All because men and women were prepared to risk their lives to stand up for what was right.

So, I think I can say and do things that matter.

I think that is the least I can do to say thank you to the people who successfully fought for my right to be me.

The least I can do.

Love

Luke

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Day 954

Stamp Money.
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Buying some stamp money is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation for the things I make and share.

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