The Launch of Julie Wentworth: A Life Shared
On Saturday, I went to a book launch, in Ashburton, with my close friend and writing buddy, author Dr Glenice Whitting. This time, the celebrity of the launch was Glenice’s cousin, Julie Wentworth.
In July, I mentioned about preparing Julie’s book for publication.
The book is filled with highlights from her life, especially the years teaching yoga and meditation. Her friend Mark, a teacher and librarian helped capture this amazing journey by recording and typing interviews with Julie whose health has deteriorated in recent years.
Julie was given my name by a friend who published her first book. She knew I had published the last few Mordialloc Writers’ anthologies to save the group money.
My passion for enabling people to tell their stories has led to editing and book publishing. Helping other writers like Julie meant embracing digital technology – it’s been an interesting ride with plenty more hurdles I’m sure!
I have to thank my daughter, Mary Jane for producing a cover to the exact specifications Julie wanted – simplicity itself!
However, to witness Julie’s joy and pride holding the finished product of her labour, and see a queue of devotees lining up for her signature, a wonderful reward.
To know each book sold provided money for Rainbow Cottage Children & Babies Home, South Africa, a fantastic bonus.
The celebration of Julie Wentworth: A Life Shared was held in the Baptist Church hall where Julie held her Yoga and Meditation classes.
One day, a Friday, in the Ashburton class, (they’re very special yogis, that group), they are strong women, each one so busy and leading full lives.
All of a sudden I couldn’t speak, couldn’t move, I couldn’t even read my notes, what I’d written for this planned class. And there was silence, and the class waited for me. And I was waiting and I thought, Am I going to drop dead here or just sit here and die? A strange feeling, a strange moment.
Eventually I said, ‘Come on, four by four, use it work with it.’ Then I just said to the class, ‘I’m sorry I don’t know what happened there; let’s move on.’ Which I did.
Then, two students phoned me and they said, ‘Julie we’d like to pay for you to go to the Golden Door, in NSW, a health retreat. They have this special offer. Would you have enough money to pay for your own airfare to Newcastle and back?’
‘Yes, I would.’
I did that. So generous, these yogis of mine. I was in a beautiful room. Walked around, did a few sessions, just relaxed and was still. Came back renewed, refreshed. How generous. The stairs of this Golden Door, seemed to go up to heaven. You opened the golden door and all you saw were the stairs. It has a good name, good people, good food, good activities. They paid for it. What a gift!
Light streamed into the room through large glass windows and our eyes feasted on a lovely garden. The tranquility and beauty an apt setting for the author’s memories and story.
The room soon filled with Julie’s friends (many of whom were past students) with the love in the room palpable. The pile of books dwindled and I joked about writer’s cramp as Julie signed one dedication after another.
Julie’s previous book (written when 69 years old), Love And Light: Yoga for cancer HIV/AIDS & Other Illnesses, a manual sharing her knowledge and teaching techniques, but this short autobiography reveals her amazing journey from gifted singer and music teacher to one of the most highly respected yoga teachers in Melbourne.
It includes personal details not shared before.
When called upon to launch the book, Glenice praised Julie’s courage and determination.
Her courage to compete and win singing awards.
Dame Joan Sutherland wrote, You have great courage and obviously a great talent.
- Courage to teach music while struggling with deteriorating hearing.
- Courage to leave a toxic marriage
- Courage to survive cancer
- Courage as a single mother to reinvent herself and support her son
Julie changed her name for protection, travelled the world to study and eventually established her own Yoga school.
In their darkest hours, Julie worked with those afflicted by Cancer and Aids.
Michelle, a palliative care nurse, spoke about Julie’s inspiration, guidance, and support.
After a move into assisted living accommodation, Julie now faces her own health challenges with her signature courage and delightful sense of humour.
Mark spoke of the life’s lessons he’d learned from Julie, of visiting many of the sacred places overseas she mentions in the book. How she has taught him to appreciate silence.
He shared one of his favourite passages from the book:
It is one of the great losses, that people have forgotten how to just let the silence be, they tend to talk to fill that space.
It’s to do with feeling the vibration. Being aware of the good vibration or the bad vibration. You are more present. It’s the peace.
At the end of the day, when I pull out my hearing aids, I give thanks for the silence, the peace at that time of the day.
It was a privilege to play a small part in bringing this wonderful book into ‘the light’.
All books were sold on Saturday and Julie hasn’t decided if she will have more printed.
What better recommendation can an author have than to know your book is in demand!
Julie often finishes her own meditation with a Metta from Jack Kornfield:
May I be filled with loving kindness
May I be well,
May I be peaceful and at ease,
May I be happy.
A wonderful prayer for us all!