LIFE Voices 35: Prachar Stegemann – A deeper Sense of Peace

In this episode of LIFE Voices, Prachar Stegeman from Canberra, Australia shares his thoughts on spirituality, music and meditation. Prachar is a meditation student of Sri Chinmoy and helps to organise a range of sporting events in Australia and the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run. The episode is entitled ‘A Deeper Sense of Peace’ and Prachar explains how he became interested in meditation to help his work as a concert pianist. Prachar also talks about how studying meditation under Sri Chinmoy opened up a whole range of new possibilities from singing to sport. Length: 18:34 min. Produced by Kedar Misani, kedarvideo Switzerland.

World Festival of the Heart in Melbourne in 2012

So many truly remarkable things are happening in our world today across the entire spectrum of human endeavour. But it is easy to lose sight of this fact when we wake each day to news of more outbreaks of war, civil unrest, economic challenges, natural disasters and loss of life counted in many hundreds and thousands. We seem to be living in times of great change and uncertainty, marked by substantial issues at both local and global levels and yet at the same time by amazing advances in science, technology, humanity and the arts.

The vision for the World Festival of the Heart is to explore some of these developments in three program-packed days in Melbourne, Australia, on 9, 10 and 11 November 2012. The Festival will bring together some of the foremost world figures in spirituality, the sciences and the arts, to celebrate their work and achievements in a spirit of oneness, openness and enquiry and to participate in their remarkable creativity. Many forums have highlighted these current developments but the organizers wanted to do something a little bit different . . . they don’t just want to talk about them, they want to experience them in as many ways as possible with the power of the heart. Their aim is to create a program full of activities: workshops, music, dialogue, devotions, performance, concerts, an expo and a grand forum. Their hope is to transcend our everyday concerns for three days and explore new dimensions of living and wellbeing. The program is designed for anyone who has a passion for life, the world and our future. These are the three major themes for the Festival to explore the interplay and convergence of these disciplines:

The Great Mystery: life, consciousness and the universe
The Universal Heart: recognising the oneness in diversity of all life
Creative Living: making right choices for a healthy, happy and harmonious life

Some of the program activities and topics will include:

  • “Whole-of-festival” sessions where everyone gets to enjoy the morning in the Plenary Auditorium
  • Facilitated discussions where participants and presenters can share their experiences in smaller groups
  • Workshops to get more “hands-on” with ideas, issues and materials
  • Themes based around “living in the heart”:
    • The Great Mystery: life, consciousness and the universe
    • The Universal Heart: recognising the oneness in diversity of all life
    • Creative Living: making right choices for a healthy, happy and harmonious life
  • “Art from the Heart” exhibition of local and international artists
  • Music-making, performances and concerts throughout the Festival program — stay tuned for announcements
  • Forum for the Future feature event with leading figures sharing their vision for the world and bringing together ideas and inspirations for daily living
  • Special childrens’ and youth program
  • HeartMart Expo featuring ideas, products and services for better living
  • State-of-the-art venue at Melbourne Convention Centre

The full program and schedule will be announced later in 2012. Check out the website: and subscribe to the Newsletter to be up-dated and informed. The organizers of the “World Festival of the Heart” extend an invitation to everyone with an interest in improving happiness, health and wellbeing to attend the Festival. The program will develop exciting ways for people of all ages and interests to participate and interact with our presenters, exhibitors and performers. Invited will be exciting presenters, artists, musicians and elders from around the world to participate in a program that will highlight exciting developments in:

  •   World Festival of the Heart Spirituality — heart-based living
  • The Sciences — cosmology, wholistic health, ethology, environment, nature, quantum physics, technology
  • The Arts — music, literature, visual arts, performance

Jessica Watson (16) finishes solo sailing around the world

Teen solo sailor Jessica Watson has crossed the finish line, ending her seven-month-long round-the-world voyage. Thousands of people have packed the Opera House and Botanic Gardens as intrepid teen sailor Jessica Watson sails back into Sydney Harbour. Many were seated on the steps of the Opera House as they listened to a live interview and watched pictures of Watson as she headed back to land – 210 days after she first left on a solo round-the-world voyage last October. However a tear in Jessica’s mainsail has delayed her return. The Queenslander had been due to sail through the Sydney Heads at around 11.30am (AEST), but now wasn’t expected to enter Sydney Harbour until closer to 2pm. The tear was caused by winds of up to 30 knots early on Saturday as she sailed up the NSW south coast. (Source:

Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted when she cruised into Sydney Harbour in her pink, 34-foot yacht to a rock-star welcome. She successfully maneuvered her boat through raging storms, 40-foot waves and seven knockdowns during the 23,000 nautical mile journey that critics thought she wouldn’t survive. “Amazingly, I just enjoyed it much, much more than I ever thought I would and handled the challenges better than I thought,” Watson said. “You don’t actually have a choice – you’re in the middle of a storm, you’re being knocked down – you can’t fall apart.” After standing on land for the first time in 210 days, the teen said she’s eager to learn how to drive a car, to eat fresh fruit and salad after months of packaged meals, get a full night’s sleep instead of catnaps and shake off her sea legs with a long walk on the beach. “You will pass your driving test with flying colors,” Prime Minister Kevin Rudd assured Watson, who laughed along with a crowd of thousands, many wearing pink or waving pink flags in honor of her yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady. It was a lighthearted moment in an emotional day for Watson, who admitted she was overwhelmed by the attention after so much solitude. Minutes earlier, she wept with relief after stepping off the yacht and into the arms of her tearful parents, whose decision to let their daughter attempt the feat was dubbed an act of insanity by some. “People don’t think you’re capable of these things – they don’t realize what young people, what 16-year-olds and girls are capable of,” she told the crowd. “It’s amazing, when you take away those expectations, what you can do.” Watson, from Buderim, north of Brisbane in Queensland state, sailed out of Sydney on Oct. 18 despite protests by critics that she was too young and inexperienced for the treacherous journey. Her parents maintained that she was well-prepared and noted she has been sailing since age 8. “She said she’d sail around the world, and she has,” a tearful Julie Watson said from a nearby boat as she watched her grinning daughter cruise past the finish line. “She’s home.” (Source: The Huffington Post)

16 year old around the world sailer now one week into her big adventure

Jess-sunrise-1Jessica Watson (16) from Australia left shire one week ago and brings you a daily update on her blog youngestround Here is what she had to say on Saturday, October 24th:

Well, perfect is about the only word for it out here today, we’re doing 6.5 knots on a broad reach heading for a waypoint below Norfolk Island. The wind was just getting up above 15 knots so I pulled the first reef into the main this morning to keep the motion comfortable and to make the steering easier on Parker (the windvane).

It’s such a nice day that I’ve just spent the morning sitting up on deck enjoying it all, watching Ella’s Pink Lady sail along and listening to music. Today there’s little speckles of white streaked across the water, as if they’re there just to break up all that blue! Just think how great it would be if it were like this every day. On second thoughts maybe it would get a little boring! It’s taken a while but I think the enormity of the voyage and everything that’s happened over the last few months finally caught up with me today, surprisingly it didn’t make me feel at all daunted, just proud of all the people who got us here and a little overwhelmed, wow this is it! And it’s so much better than I ever dreamed! Still there’s a lot to get through yet but I know we can do it, one leg at a time. I’m about half way between Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands now.

So rightyo, foods another big thing that I get a lot of questions about, here goes; it was definitely a bit of a mission and Mum has done an amazing job of putting together a tasty menu that will last 8 months, plus extra just in case. Ella’s Pink Lady doesn’t have refrigeration (because it draws too much power) and after a lot of forced sampling, I concluded that fancy sports foods and most freeze dried food, just wasn’t going to work for me. With a lot of help and advice from other sailors and from Gray Slater a dietitian from the University of the Sunshine Coast, I ended up with a pretty good diet that’s amazingly close to normal food. My main meals are range of about 10 different meals called Easyfood which is pretty amazing, tasty stuff that only needs to be heated and lasts on the shelf for 18 months. Breakfasts are normal stuff like cereal and porridge and I’m able to bake my own bread (I think I’m going to have to try my first loaf soon because the stuff I took, is getting very stale!) and things like scones in the pressure cooker. Other than that there’s tined fruit and veggies, plenty of treats, hot drinks and etc. I’ll see if I can remember to tell you more about what I’m eating as we go, tonight, I’m planning to have Easyfood lamb chops (they are so nice!)with deb (mashed potato) and asparagus.

Ok, that was too long in front of a computer screen so I’m off to enjoy the rest of the day and maybe have a bucket bath in the cockpit. Cya -Jesse

Jessica (16) started her sail around the world today

JessTeenage sailer Jessica Watson is alone on the Pacific Ocean after launching her attempt to sail solo around the world. The 16-year-old slept in her yacht last night to acclimatise and sailed out of Sydney Harbour this morning after an emotional farewell to family. A siren signalled the official start of Ms Watson’s journey, but the teenager’s yacht sat for some minutes waiting for a gust of wind to send her off. She eventually made her way through choppy waves at the mouth of the harbour and out into open ocean, but not before she radioed Harbour Control to say she was underway. The voice at the other end wished her well, saying: “See you in eight months.” Dozens of spectators watched from the harbour foreshore and the pink yacht was surrounded by up to 50 kayakers and boats filled with supporters and media.

Ms Watson is trying to break Jesse Martin’s record as the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe nonstop and unassisted. Her record-breaking attempt has fuelled debate over whether someone so young should be allowed to make the solo voyage. Ms Watson has faced several disruptions as she prepared for her voyage. Last month her yacht collided with a cargo ship off southern Queensland, and last weekend one of her mentors, Andrew Short, was killed in a yachting accident. Ms Watson’s support team says the teenager’s location will always be known through GPS tracking on her clothing. Jessica’s mother, Julie, says she will be in contact with her daughter twice a day. “She’s had a fair bit to do over the last couple of weeks down here in Sydney, but nothing new came up so we said… this is the day,” Julie Watson said.

Meanwhile, adventurer James Castrission, who made history by kayaking across the Tasman Sea, was giving last-minute advice to the teenager. He says it was a nervous departure for Ms Watson. “It was quite tense,” he said. “Always with these things, everyone’s feeling a little bit edgy, [worrying about] what’s going to happen out there, but she’s done the work and she’s ready to go.” Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has told Channel Nine that a lot of Australians are nervous for the young sailor. “If there is one message, it would be keep safe – do everything she needs to do to keep safe,” Ms Gillard said. “If that means that at some point she has got to abandon the journey, then the most important thing here is a young person’s life.” (Source: ABC News/Photo: Steve Holland)

Hundreds of New Reef Creatures Found in Australia

Previously unknown shrimps, worms, scavenging crustaceans, and spectacularly colored soft corals were identified at the tropical sites during a study led by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). Part of the Census of Marine Life, a ten-year initiative to assess global ocean diversity, the expeditions involved systematic sampling of lesser known coral reef animals at Lizard and Heron islands on the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef on Australia’s west coast. The four-year survey recorded about 300 kinds of soft corals, as many as half of which could be new to science. Soft corals lack the hard skeletons of reef-building corals. A similar proportion of tiny amphipod crustaceans—a group that includes freshwater shrimp—are also set to be described for the first time, the research team said. In addition, the team found scores of new varieties of shrimps known as tanaids, some armed with claws longer than their bodies. Tanaids resemble typical marine shrimps, although they are much smaller, said Julian Caley, principal research scientist at AIMS and co-leader of the global Census of Coral Reefs (CReefs) project. “A lot of them are so small they basically live between sand grains.”

Other types of newly sampled crustaceans surveyed at the three sites include varieties of pill bug-like isopods called the vultures of the sea, because they scavenge dead fish on the seabed. In total, about a hundred new isopod species could emerge from the study. “Not only are we picking up new species, we’re really massively extending the ranges of some of these organisms,” Caley said. Soft corals were among the biggest, most colorful creatures the team surveyed. Many such corals were previously unrecorded, despite the fact that divers regularly visit the three reef sites. People have been swimming past these big, showy animals for years. Soft corals are more diverse than stony corals and play a key role in reef ecosystems, providing a habitat for other animals to live in. See more photos here.