Book Launch, Sydney

Sleeping Under the Bridge, a powerful true story where despair finds hope.

At age 16, author Melissa Baker, slept under the Sydney Harbour Bridge after being sexually abused as a child. In the 80s, Human Rights Australia states there were over 3,500 homeless youth in Sydney. Today, whilst abuse has lessened, homelessness is 8 times as worse. David Vernon from Stringybark Publishing writes “Do we have decent safety nets in place to protect our young people now? As I read the ABC news, I don’t see that Mel Baker’s 1980s have gone forever. The past is still with us. Young, neglected people are still hurting. Our homeless problem in Australia is still appalling. Between 2006 and 2016 the homeless rate increased from 45 to over 50 per 10,000 people, at the same time that Australia’s GDP and national wealth have continued to grow. Such economic and social disparity does Australia’s governments no credit, nor those who never have to confront these issues. Mel Baker’s book forces us to look at ourselves and wonder are we part of the problem or part of the solution?”

Sleeping Under the Bridge, published in the USA by Atmosphere Press, is the first book in a trilogy series. This gripping brave story speaks into adults from all walks of life from children that have gone through sexual, physical and emotional abuse and how that affected their internal rhythm. Being trapped in an underworld of shame, Mel experienced more than she bargained for on the streets, including witnessing murders, horrific crimes, cover ups and took a few hits of her own. The other two books continue Mel’s triumphant over despair as she worked in conflict zones overseas, being shot at and nearly kidnapped on the Congo-Zambia border, working with police in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, including Northern Ireland, and then more recently went through trauma and abuse when serving in the Royal Australian Navy. This trilogy of Mel’s lived experiences reflects her life’s purpose, “I’ve had more than 9 lives. I’m alive for a reason, to support and inspire others that there is always hope no matter what life throws at us.”

David went on in his review, “This book confronts us on a personal level, it requires us to wonder if anything has changed? It is a book about hope and how the human spirit holds onto life and deep down knows that with love and compassion, a life worth living can be found. This book is a powerful read.”

Dr Rick Williams review of Sleeping Under the Bridge focuses more on the serious problem Australia faces on early abuse and domestic violence, “With the telling of her story, Mel deserves recognition as one of Australia’s great and courageous citizens. She has shown equal courage in telling this story in later life, and she has done so with a clear perspective and with startling frankness. Her story is a lesson to us all. When good people do nothing against those who do bad, we are in an uncivil society.”

The first book launch will be held at the Pylon Lookout on Sunday 7 August 2022, above where 16 year old Mel laid her head at night. The launch will be raising money for homelessness through the charity StreetHeart. Tickets and details are available on Eventbrite.

promo book launch Melissa Baker

Being grounded

Life is filled with so much suffering and pain. It always has been. What makes it better and bearable is connection. Connection for the soul, deep within us.

To strive for something more than ourselves.
To be everything we can be to others and nature.
To freely give without restriction and certainly to love beyond measure.

I’ve been reading and researching about the mind and how our brain, mind and relationships interconnect. Fascinating stuff.

Lack of connection promotes life as chaotic, stuck, dull, explosive, unpredictable – we become imprisoned in anxiety, depressions and addiction.

The more we can connect, the less of these things we will feel. Sometimes real connections are just out of the frame, especially in this pandemic world. Connection can happen and needs to also happen with ourselves too.

I’ve been watching an Australian drama series recently, Tangle, on Netflix. It got me thinking about being grounded as punishment when we were kids and what parents do today. Essentially, being grounded usually is being in your bedroom with no technology and lack of freedom. These days that would “hurt” kids who have grown up with technology and only connect through it, but for many of us that meant no TV or talking on the corded dial-up phone that couldn’t reach the bedroom!

What being grounded is actually doing is helping the individual to be present minded! What did you do in your bedroom? I wrote or did art. Both are present moment calming activities that are de-stressing!

Essentially, we need to be “grounded” more often! Perhaps from not doing something wrong, but for all the right reasons to de-stress and be present with ourselves. One of the best gifts you can give yourself.

You are grounded!

Well, I most certainly am! :o)

Quality versus Quantity

quality vs quantity

When did society start believing quantity was better than quality?

Those of us who have lived on both sides, we often find ourselves question quality, respect for others, professionalism because we grew up with workmanship.

Look at how things are made like cars, clothes and furniture these days. They don’t last 20 years any more, more like just past their warranty. No quality, only quantity. 

Look at our foods, especially fresh produce, they used to be wholesome, nutritious and organic, but now unless you spend double the amount, you get tasteless veggies, questionable nutrition and chemicals added. Loads of choices, but quality has disappeared.

Think of watching a movie or TV series these days, if we spend all our time streaming, we forget about quality until we put on a DVD and think “wow, that picture quality is amazing”. We certainly have more choices 24/7 with streaming on demand, but quality not so good. 

And what about people? Quantity in our society over quality has deemed it more selfish, less respect, professionalism in some industries does not exist, service dropped to get more customers (quantity) and some of us are left wondering where has it gone? 

Marketing swamps you with information. Have you noticed that when you get a marketing email on a product of interest, then they swamp you with information over and over again, some daily, wondering why you haven’t made a decision! I can’t keep up with their demands and nor should I as it is important to go after what we desire and need, not be pushed into things. 

Not much professionalism is seen in social media. The quality is difficult to find because the demand of frequency is so high by the algorithms that are used. No wonder I struggle when I am trying to be authentic, professional and give quality. I refuse to bow to their desires of quantity. My posts and podcast episodes might be ad hoc, but I know I am delivering quality meaningful inspiration to empower others. I have no interest in lowering my standards. Where has quality gone? Are we okay with it’s disappearance? Have you noticed it slipping away from us more and more? Can I at least hold onto my professional standard, truth and integrity to prevail over lies and cover ups, information overload of stuff I don’t need to know. I will continue to give all that I am, to the best of my capability at the time with quality not quantity. 

Dr Mel Baker

Thoroughbred & Veteran equine program

From 2015, I have had the privilege to be part of an equine program with other military veterans. We had all gone through trauma. We had all lost our confidence. We were all struggling. After meeting with horse trainer and mentor Scott Brodie, on a beautiful private property of Barranca in Kangaroo Valley, learning how to train ex-racehorses, we started to believe we can make it.

Helene & Greg, owners of Barranca, gave us the opportunity of a lifetime. Scott taught us everything he knew and gave us hope. They all gave from their heart and expected nothing in return. They are the heroes of today.

Watch Channel 10 short film that was shot in 2020 on location at Barranca with Scott Brodie & Mel Baker talking about how the equine program has helped many people…


We served our country with honour. We wore our uniforms with pride. WE loved our jobs in the navy, army or airforce, they were our family until the day we were disregarded. The Thoroughbred has been in Australia since 1788. Racing was a role they became familiar with until they were disregarded. Neither fighting machine or racing machine could carry on with their career.

Under the expertise of horse trainer and mentor, Scott Brodie, the military veteran and ex-racehorse met for the first time. They discovered through their trauma, pain and struggles that they could have a future and indeed help one another from conflict to hope.

This is our story of how the TVWA began towards thoroughbreds helping veterans helping thoroughbreds.

Purchase your copy today. All money raised goes towards helping the Thoroughbred & Veteran Welfare Alliance (TVWA).



Apple iBooks:

The Healing documentary – coming in 2021

Click on picture to go to The Healing website

Is social media actually causing disconnection?

If I asked people on the streets, that is if I could pry them away from their smart phones for a minute, what does connection mean to you? Most would answer ‘time with their family and/or partner’. Except, 2020 statistics state that we are spending more time on our phones than ever before – watching videos, playing games and on social media. Staggeringly, today’s teenagers are spending 7.5 hours a day on their smart phones or tablets!

The increase in digital connection has resulted in a parallel increase in disconnection. The digital world has strained the very fabric of connection of life.

There seems to be a growing sense of dissatisfaction and discontentment. Are we more lonely in today’s world? And yet people seem to have this “love affair” with their phones than for actual life.

I went out with my guy friends a few years ago. After 45 minutes of catching up, one by one they were on their smart phones. Some had felt the need to “tag” us all in to where we were located like that helped them feel connected. Some were scrolling through social media feeds and looking at how many “likes” they receive on their recent post. I ended up sitting on my own with my friends wanting deep conversation. I got out my phone, not to “join them”, but to take a picture of this disconnected moment. I sent the image to each one of them and put my phone away. One by one they looked up and laughed, realising what they had done. They disconnected from real life. We then moved into one of the best in-depth conversations, which we all agreed by the end of the night that’s what we were starving for more than anything else. Only true in-depth conversations can happen in person. They never did that again, at least in my presence!

Unless we stop and examine life and be present with ourselves as well as with others, how do we truly live? All this engagement with the digital world takes us away from being transformational. Instead we seem stuck in this ever increasing and expanding non-essential world.

Life seems to be moving at such a fast pace, we barely can catch up. But is this actually imperative? Living is about this moment. And whilst in this moment, 3.96 billion people on earth are on social media! What are they truly learning?

Throughout the ages there has been signs that animals and plants adapt to survive the urban sprawl, pollution, toxins and droughts. They change their genetic makeup to pass on to their offspring, which increases their odds for survival. For example, birds in the cities have grown shorter wings to better dodge the traffic and fish started to carry a genetic variant to withstand toxins. As temperatures have risen here and much of our country is in drought, this has created change in the animal kingdom. Koalas, kangaroos, echidnas and emus are all travelling longer distances in search for green patches and water. Wallabies are coming out of wooded areas into open paddocks in search of food and going blind as a result. North Queensland cane toads are coming further south as hot humid conditions spread.

The change in environment is happening to fast for the Australian animals to evolve quick enough to pass on to their offspring. Sadly, we may see the extinction of the koala and kangaroos are abandoning their joeys because they have no food to give them. Similarly, the fast-paced society of new technology is happening too fast for us as well. With each new gadget, we lose precious skills. How many of us were good spellers before auto-correct on computers? How many of us had great sense of direction and could read maps before GPSs? How many hours did you spend actually indulging in reading and learning before social media created this short time-span on taking in knowledge? (And if you’ve made it this far, then you are doing exceptionally well!)

When I moved my core values to be at the heart of all I do, I found that social media doesn’t control me anymore or the time I spend on it. In fact, I became disinterested and in many ways I felt set free. Our intrinsic values, that are central to who we are must be found, otherwise we will find ourselves in a spiral towards disempowerment. [If you want to know your core values go here for a free tool.]

As a Gen X, standing between a generation who did not grow up with technology and a generation who only had technology, I always understood that messages without seeing body language, which is 80% of our communication, are misunderstood. And yet we find ourselves pulled into this world where we rarely view body language and emotions are expressed through cute emojis. Being wounded is now inevitable.

The only way I can find connection that brings empowerment and contentment in today’s world is to engage my personal foundation with my communal foundation allowing my core responses of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual to expand towards doing what is best for my growth. Doing so in communities that understand me and time in nature allows me then to give all I can into empowering others.


Using emotions as tools of creation

As human beings, emotions are one of the most powerful tools and resources of creation that we possess. This means that, as the creator of our own emotions – because we are endowed with free will – at every moment we have the opportunity to choose how we think, feel, act, and react to the people, circumstances, and situations in our lives.

Dr Joe Dispenza

One of the best ways I have found to express my emotions is through journalling and my art. Being a sufferer of post-traumatic stress, art and words allow me to feel something more than just numbing my pain, numbing the past trauma or my future that was suddenly stopped due to health.

Journalling allows me to be free and express the words that need to come out, but I am unable to speak them as yet. Writing them gives me that sense of establishing the connections, analysing the thought and behavioural patterns and just to get it out of me.

Art I find is something different again. It draws me into the present moment. It fills my being with whatever is going on inside me and through what comes out expressed on the canvas or paper it tells me what is actually going on deep inside my subconscious.

Take this piece of art for instance. I finally felt the ball and chain attached to me open, and whilst my blood was spilt, and much pain was shed, the lock opening – there existed a freedom. A freedom I could not yet express, and yet it came out in my art. This was a watercolour created without any pre thought or judgement – a mindfulness painting that became what is needed to be in the moment.

Empowering Community

If there is ever a time to empower each other it is 2020. I began Living Expressions publication and LivingWell Talks podcast to do just this – to inspire, to encourage and to empower each other.

The publication’s first issue is beaming with inspirational life-stories, stirring poetry, art that captures a moment in time as well as Australian photography. Contributors who have expressed their story in any issue of Living Expressions are invited to be part of the podcast too. There are free episodes each week to listen to (go to link above).

Also, why not grab a copy of the publication? To be part of empowering community, to inspire your journey, to transform others lives as the money raised goes towards helping people doing it tough as well as those who have contributed. After reading it through, why not be part of the community and share your story as well in anyway that you would like to express that. 

Go to the link below to take a peak inside and watch the YouTube video, then head to the link below that to purchase your copy of Living Expressions.

A fresh start

I sometimes I find myself in deep despair. Triggers haunt my mind like lions coming after their prey. Internal childhood symbolism flares my empty heart. Negative words eat away my soul. At this point, it really depends on our state of mind in how we react.

A couple of weeks ago, I reacted quite differently to any other time. I choose to feel my emotions and not push them away. I choose to name what I was feeling and work out what was driving them. I choose to listen to life music, not music that would make my mood worse. I choose to look up and beyond myself. In doing so, at that right moment these words came into my mind and filled my spirit with the exact words I needed to believe.

Free yourself from the things that drag you down. Find yourself in the wholeness and goodness of living. It is not the end, it is the beginning.

9pm, 29 May 2020

Perhaps there are others who need to read these words too.


Transforming the wall

transforming the wall

When life piles up against you and no easy answers arise, it seems so difficult to find one’s path again. My mind runs a million miles an hour, searching for a solution; to untangle the fragments, only to be trapped in the wall.

I decide to end it. The mess grows stronger, the entanglement more entangled along with the sweeping darkness. ‘I cannot grasp a single more moment like this’, I fear.

And yet solutions are right in front of me. What if it is not about untangling my fragments of life? It is about starting anew – transforming my mind from black & white to colour; from shallow murky waters to the deepest of clear blue seas; from the mud to solid ground.

I go to bed knowing I need to do better in finding my way.

I awake refreshed, even on 6 hours, I opened by eyes as the sun started to appear above the horizon in the cold morning air. I look out of my window upon the fresh new world to see the colour, the beauty; this moment in time.

I see clearly now, the key to my puzzle of which I raised as an off shoot comment to a friend yesterday “one thing I cannot do, I am hopeless at, is maintenance”. I am failing miserably at it, always have, but recently I’ve been drowning in the pressure as it builds up more and more with everything else. I think I have always seen maintenance as a physical thing like cleaning, sorting etc – all the boring things, but it is more than this. It is maintaining life too – my health, my balance. To maintain life itself, I must maintain the very fabric of living!

Maintenance, such a drab, a word I must reframe! To transform, to be transformative – now that is a whole new beginning.

– Mel