About this site
Is it possible to do good and be well? I believe it is.
But it can be harder than it sounds. Which is why I created this site, a watering hole for do-gooders, wanna-be do-gooders and recovering do-gooders. If you’ve ever thought the world could be a kinder, safer, fairer place – and maybe you could play a role in making it so – this site is for you. It’s a place to remember you are not alone, to meet others of your kind and share your stories. Pull up a chair, have a look around, say hello.
Doing good, creating change and being well takes clarity, courage & compassion.
We’re all capable of great things when we find our own authentic and unique place in the world. We all have a role to play in bringing about a kinder, safer world. I created this site to help you discover what great things you are capable of, to uncover your unique role as a change-maker, and to make sure you have what you need to stay well do those things.
My ‘do good’ credentials:
I’m a human rights advocate and a writer. I served in the United Nations mission in Afghanistan with a focus on human rights and gender issues, helped develop human rights strategies for the governments of New Zealand and Timor-Leste and worked as Policy Advisor for Oxfam. I’ve written a book about doing good and being well in Afghanistan (Zen Under Fire, Penguin NZ, 2012) and I write for the Huffington Post.
My ‘be well’ credentials:
I’m a yoga teacher (Yoga Alliance 200RT) and I created the 30 Days of Yoga courses to help you start (or restart) your own yoga practice. I created 30 Days of Courage to help you find your own way to be brave, do good and stay well. I’m also Regional Leader for Off the Mat, Into the World in New Zealand and Australia and teach workshops using the tools of yoga to support sustainable, conscious activism.
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What I do
I’m a writer, a yoga teacher and a human rights consultant. Above all else, I collect, craft and tell stories. Whether I’m writing a report on violence again women in Afghanistan, raising funds for a great cause, helping a client share their good work with the world or writing my memoir – my craft, my medium and my passion is story. When people ask me how it’s possible to teach yoga online, I tell them I teach yoga through stories. Because stories are how we make sense of the past and how we imagine new futures.
Stories are how we come to new understandings about each other, how we change our view of the world, how we teach, and how we learn.
My past life
I used to be a lawyer. I used to wear a wig called ‘Ringo’ and appear before the High Court of New Zealand. I loved that wig because it made me look older. For a 22 year old working on $500 million cases, looking older was a good thing. Watching relationships and lives fall apart over money taught me not to covet it. Accounting for my time in 6 minute increments taught me efficiency and professional accountability.
For many years I worked in human rights. I was responsible for developing a long-term strategy for human rights in New Zealand. I learned that people use stories to explain what human rights mean to them, and that politicians need stories to understand why human rights matter.
I also worked with the Government of Timor-Leste on the development of their own human rights strategy. In Timor-Leste I discovered the importance of listening and the value of a beginner’s mind: the ability to bring fresh eyes and curiosity to every situation and story.
I worked for two years with a human rights organisation in the Gaza Strip, learning everything I know about resilience from my Palestinian colleagues, and how humour can bring light to even the darkest story.
Later, in Afghanistan I headed up a new provincial office for the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan, where I co-wrote a UNIFEM report on Gender-Based Violence in Afghanistan. I learned the difference between striving for change and being of service. These days, I aim to be of service.
I’ve helped small NGOs overhaul their management and governance structures to make better use of their most valuable resource, their people. I’ve helped large development organizations streamline overloaded work plans and focus on those things they did better than anyone else. I’ve facilitated strategic planning processes for organizations and individuals, co-managed the merger of two crown entities and designed and managed national consultation processes.
At the heart of every useful thing I’ve ever done was a change, and a story. And these days that’s what captures my imagination most of all: how to model, lead & nurture conscious change; and how to gather, craft, tell, spread and amplify stories that help us all see ourselves, each other and the future in a new and beautiful light.
How to contact me,
where to find me:
I’m a huge fan of Twitter and and I’m at my chattiest there. Say hi!
If what you have to say is going to take more than 140 characters then email me at
marianne AT marianne-elliott dot com
Find me on Facebook and Twitter: