I am a glass half-full womxn, and strive to live with kindness, compassion and gratitude to myself and others.
Carolyn Mason is a long-standing womxn’s campaigner with several ‘firsts’ to her name. In 1990, she was the first Womxn’s Advisor in Queensland to Premier Wayne Goss and head of the Womxn’s Policy Unit. In 1998, Carolyn was the first female CEO of the Residential Tenancies Authority. Carolyn had a government career in economics, health, employment services, advancement of womxn, and the residential tenancies sector, before she set up her own consultancy in 2007.
In her consultancy, Carolyn focused on change management and relationship management, women’s mentoring programs, and social justice research and strategy. She has worked with AusAID-funded leadership programs with participants from 21 countries across 3 continents, and showed that building connections with people and strong relationship management is critical to achieving positive results and change for people across organisations, sectors and cultures. Her governance and company director skills resulted in her appointment on several government and NGO boards, including an NGO working against domestic violence. Since 2012, Carolyn has been the Chairperson of Communify.
For over 8 years, Carolyn has applied insights from the Buddhist tradition as a meditation leader on the benefits of cultivating loving-kindness, compassion, rejoicing and equanimity for ourselves and others in meeting challenge and change in modern life.
What's easy for womxn?
Making connections with people, listening, being open and empathetic.
What's difficult for womxn?
To live with integrity within a patriarchy. At the moment, the patriarchy is in your face.
How do you maintain mental fitness/mental health?
Through a meditation practice which works to strengthen me and enables me to support others.
What brings you joy?
Bringing joy to others. Lasting and reliable joy, and happiness has to come from myself. I find inner peace through being mindful and grounded.
At another level, joy, or a sense of achievement, comes from women’s skills of embroidery and sewing. I have brought joy to my family and friends by doing an embroidery as a gift to celebrate special birthdays and occasions. My Tree of Life embroidery (pictured) is a gift to myself now, and my daughter in due course.
How do you nurture your relationship with nature?
From quantum physics we know that the world is made of vibrating atoms. In nature, I connect with that shimmering clarity and add it to my own vibrational energy.
Where do you feel a sense of belonging/community?
Among people who share a similar set of values and world view as I have expressed in my answers here, so across different communities of interest.
What motivates you?
To make a difference, so focusing on the four attitudes of loving kindness, compassion, equanimity and joy towards myself and others keeps me going. I am particularly mindful of not adding to the negativity in the world during the current Covid-pandemic and world events.
What’s important to you?
Thinking about how to smash capitalism. So much of our environmental crisis comes from having private ownership of our natural resources. We need to think about who owns or is responsible for resources, we need a policy about intergenerational equity because every time a decision is made it impacts our grandchildren. We need to listen to First Nations people about resource management and learn their world view of custodianship of the land.
How do you play?
Drinking champagne with friends as we solve the problems of the world!
Describe an influential woman in your life …..
My mother and grandmother gave me the word “service”, guiding me to live a life of service to women and the community. My mother also urged me to be economically independent so I did not have to rely on a man as she had to.
As an Elder I feel a responsibility to …..
Share a set of values around kindness and compassion. I challenge women when they say “I’ve been lucky”. I want them to acknowledge the effort and ability it takes to be “lucky”. This encourages womxn to reframe their achievements and move away from an innate tendency to downplay their successes.
Where do you live/work?
Turrbal Jagera country.
On reading Carolyn’s responses to our questions, we were reminded of the insightful words of the English novelist, A.N. Wilson: ‘The sense of our own identity is fluid and tolerant ... We know within ourselves that we can be twenty different persons in a single day …” (Incline Our Hearts). How we define ourselves to others is context-specific, but Carolyn shows us how we can anchor our sense of self through mindful constancy to our values of kindness, compassion, joy and service for justice.