Self Love in Spring- “Plant your own Garden and Decorate your own Soul”

Self Love in Spring- “Plant your own Garden and Decorate your own Soul”

“Don’t Wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul” Veronica Shoffstall We can learn a lot from nature. After the stillness of Winter, Spring pushes forth and teaches us all about growth and expansion. Spring is natures unapologetic celebration of life, love and beauty. From the darkest weather, warm delicate moments of hope shine through with the arrival of Spring. For some of us it can be hard to grow and expand. It can be challenging for us to love ourselves or see our unique, distinctive beauty that is our absolute birth right. We doubt ourselves and we wonder if we are worthy of love, of growing and of fully stepping into our own power. Instead of making time for ourselves, we make everything else a priority. Instead of really valuing ourselves, we see value in everyone else but we may not make time to nurture and appreciate our own inner and outer beauty and value. We may not create good boundaries or fully take care of our needs and as a result other people’s issues can negatively impact upon us. It isn’t just about getting a few facials to ‘look better’ or being pampered on Valentine’s Day to ‘feel loved’. There is nothing wrong with getting facials or celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day but something much deeper and sustainable is at play in truly loving yourself and finding happiness. It is about you valuing and celebrating (Yes I did say celebrating!) you and others. When you truly learn to appreciate and love yourself, your life changes and your relationship with everyone and everything changes. You gain a power and a strength that is not based on other people’s ‘approval’ but based on you appreciating you and the freedom and happiness that that brings. You can then love yourself and others from a much more authentic space. My invitation to you this Springtime is to truly find ways to love and honour yourself as well as others Indulge in some self-care and notice the benefit it brings to yourself and your capacity to love others. There are so many ways to do this and I invite you to find fun and enjoyment in the process. For those of you that it might interest, I have a retreat coming up on the 14th and 15th of March in the stunning grounds of Slieve Augthy Horse Riding and Organic Eco centre. This retreat is specifically designed to celebrate the joy that you bring to the world through Yoga and Qigong mindful movement, learning the basics of shiatsu massage together, savouring restful meditation and enjoying some poetry, music and beginners dance over the course of...

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Inspirational Oriental Painting, Qi gong and Shiatsu Retreat

Inspirational Oriental Painting, Qi gong and Shiatsu Retreat

We held a retreat recently that consisted of Oriental painting, qi gong, yoga and shiatsu. This particular style of Oriental painting solely uses black ink and the nuances of black ink. This type of painting is created with spontaneous brushstrokes that represent the present moment and the essence of that which is being painted. The subject matter must really be felt and the mind of the painter must be very relaxed and clear to capture that which they are painting. Such Painters will often go through hundreds of paintings to spontaneously create one in that moment that adequately expresses both the essence of that which they wish to portray and their own mood throughout the process. Such Painting and Shiatsu share some similarities. Both are based on a meditative state of being very relaxed, clear, connected and focused. They also relate to listening, rhythm, understanding and both focus on the body, good posture and bringing awareness to the body and how one is using the body. This can create beautiful art or a beautiful session with a client where they feel great health benefits and their energy come into flow. Obviously working with a client is a different experience but the similarities are there nonetheless. They both have a relationship to a zen philosophy and I thoroughly enjoy this type of painting in my freetime as a beautiful addition to my own work. We held a retreat this year on the stunning Beara Peninsula. Our wonderful participants benefited daily from morning yoga/qi gong, Oriental painting sessions, deliciously nourishing food, sea walks, stunning tours of the area to nourish and inspire us creatively and heartfelt music in the evening. It was such a nourishing and uplifting week for us all. There will be more of such workshops and retreats. Just drop me an email to subscribe to my newsletter for details and keep on eye on my website. All of our participants were so grateful and happy. I will leave you with a couple of comments from participants and how they felt about the retreat: “The retreat has been amazing. Your yoga/Qi gong classes every morning and shiatsu were such a joy to receive. Your beautiful energy was the perfect start to each day. Oriental painting was brought to life more than I ever could have imagined. We have had such a week of laughter and teasing, being sincere and yet taking ourselves lightly and playfully. I have made rich friendships. My heart is overflowing with happiness and gratitude.” Linda “It was the most beautiful week of time with you, capped by a deeply nourishing and restorative shiatsu treatment. Thank you so much for your generosity and heart-centered practice with...

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The Strength of Snowdrops – Springtime tips to nourish your liver.

The Strength of Snowdrops – Springtime tips to nourish your liver.

My first memory of Spring is very clear in my mind. I was about four and beside my Granny who was showing me her snowdrops in the garden. She loved to explain things to me. ‘These are Plúiríní sneachta (the Irish word for snowdrops) Emer’ she said. ‘They mark the end of harsh Winter and the beginning of beautiful Springtime. They look fragile and like pretty little drops of snow but make no mistake Emer- every Spring they push forth up out of the hard Winter ground. They are a very strong little flower’. I love this memory of my Granny and of Spring. Even as a child I knew at that moment she was telling me something important. She was a very strong lady, a wonderful School teacher, mother of five, cook and gardener. I remember coming back to her house as an adult (she had long since passed away) and being so pleasantly surprised to see that her snowdrops were still thriving Nature is a great teacher and in that simple interaction between me and my granny, I learnt about Spring and that appearances can be deceptive when a fragile looking little flower like a snowdrop is one of the first things to push through the harsh winter ground without failure year after year. Lao Tzu the Chinese philosopher commented that softness triumphs over hardness and spoke about the importance of adaptation. I think its really important to remember that in relation to ourselves and others, truly it is through softness and really giving ourselves time to blossom that we overcome any obstacles in life and ensure that we go on to thrive. Spring is my favourite time of year. All of nature feels like it is truly alive and sensually saying one, big ‘yes’ to the world. Spring in Chinese medicine terms is a real time of growth and expansion. It’s a time when we transition from rested life force to releasing our energy more outwardly once more. The organ associated with Spring is the liver. The liver in Chinese medicine terms is the organ that oversees the entire system within the body and it also has the task of storing and renewing blood. The livers co-ordinating action is expressed through the nervous system and affects the neurons and chemical messangers. Psychologically, the liver nourishes us towards the realization of our full potential. It is associated with anger and creativity which, chanelled in positive ways, can help us to push through difficulty giving determination and energy. Healthy assertiveness nourishes the liver so that we can be determined without being a bulldozer and easygoing without being a doormat. Exercise, stretching and walking is great for our liver as...

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The Perfectly Imperfect New Year

The Perfectly Imperfect New Year

I went on a meditation retreat this New Years with the intention of really nourishing myself in the here and now, giving thanks, getting clear on how I want to move forward and sharing time with others who have a practice of and really value meditation. I wished to embrace and welcome the year forward in a serene, authentic, relaxed and positive way. I had done a New Years retreat previously and found I embraced the New Year feeling so fresh and clear in myself. I definitely intend to make it a habit going forward in my life- it is such a beautiful way to embrace the year ahead. Meditation is about welcoming the present moment, being alive and awake to what is, embracing it with as much acceptance and non-judgment as possible. Things are how they are or ‘this is it’ as meditation teaches us. Often in life our suffering can come from not accepting situations or people as they are, reacting and wishing things were different. It is understandable that certain situations will be more pleasant than others and therefore will be viewed more favorably by us. However, a practice of acceptance and trying to make peace with whatever situation we find ourselves in can offer a great source of serenity. Of course there will be things in our lives that we wish to change and need to change but sometimes the sheer acceptance of what is or how people are-even if its challenging, of really embracing what is can offer a profound shift in our consciousness that is in itself deeply transformative and can make change easier. We are not accepting things to look to transform them however, we are accepting things to learn how to calmly embrace whatever happens in life and nourish our serenity. Certain things in life are within our control and certain things are beyond our control. Sometimes in life difficult moments can be accompanied by very happy moments or happy moments can be accompanied by sadness. Learning to accept and not to react but how to respond can offer a profound sense of wellbeing. It is wise in life to make peace with whatever is in order to be happier in the now. Practicing deep self-compassion is a source of peace both for yourself and others. Self-compassion is not about accepting and loving yourself because you are ‘perfect’ or because you have achieved certain things or you are talented in different ways or because certain people like you or because you do a lot for other people…. self-compassion is about embracing ourselves just as we are with both our qualities and our flaws whatever the circumstances. Self-compassion is about accepting yourself...

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Nourishing Ourselves During Winter- The Wisdom of Water.

This time of year in Shiatsu and Chinese medicine terms is linked to the element of water. It is a time to find ways to really replenish, rest and gently stimulate ourselves in nurturing ways during the colder weather. The organs associated with water are the kidney and the bladder. Kidney energy would be seen to be strongest during the winter months. The kidney is the source of both yin and yang in the body-that balance between control, stillness and going with the flow. The kidneys in Chinese medicine terms are considered the foundation for good health and vitality, essentially the root of everything. Kidneys are responsible for fluid balance, waste elimination, regulation of blood PH and mineral balance. They also play an important role in red blood cell production. Kidneys govern life force in the body- our drive and our motivation for life. Kidney energy in shiatsu terms is related to survival, reproduction and curiosity. This energy goes towards life and people who are full of life and are quite driven generally have strong kidney energy. This is a good thing as long as it is really balanced with rest so we don’t burn out. Too much stimulation of the kidneys without balance over time can lead to adrenal fatigue. We learn so much from both stillness and movement. Life is all about balance. When kidney energy is healthy and in flow, life feels adventurous, spontaneous and we can embrace the energy of the now with curiosity and openness. If we feel anxious in some way, we will deplete our kidney energy so it is important to deal with our inner fears so we don’t block spontaneity. Face your fears to overcome them. The book ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ is worth recommending. Blocking spontaneity blocks kidney energy and embracing spontaneity and playfulness by not taking life too seriously, being lighthearted, finding things that we love and bring us joy supports our kidneys. Keeping a perspective on things keeps kidney energy healthy and flowing. There is a sense of going with the flow, which is what water does. When we have healthy energy, it’s a bit like a river flowing… we move along and embrace change. The river may have slower, stiller points or points with more movement but it always embraces change and goes towards the sea- this is the nature of our lives and a good metaphor for it. If a river becomes too stagnant or gets too stuck, that can result in a lot of stagnant, murky energy and is when illness occurs. As we age, weakened kidneys will result in reduced energy, declining hormone levels, impaired brain function, bone weakness, hearing loss,...

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How I got Through a very difficult transition in my life.

I first heard about shiatsu when I lived in France. It had been very successful in supporting a French friend of mines mother who had suffered from breast cancer. I was fascinated to hear about the supportive nature of this therapy. I had never heard of it before and didn’t think anything more about it until I encountered a very difficult moment in my own life. I had a break up with a beloved French ex of mine and was broken hearted. We loved each other a lot and i knew we always would despite the break-up. I was very upset. Thankfully the idea of going for a shiatsu treatment came to me. It was clear to me that the practitioner i went to had a very heartfelt intention of goodness and depth for me and my wellbeing which began to soothe and comfort me. Such things are very transparent and felt deeply in the heart. It was clear to me that this practitioner was full of integrity. It wasn’t easy for me to relax at this moment – but slowly and surely over the course of the treatment, I began to relax and let go. The practitioner was listening deeply to me and I could feel myself slowly connect with a deeper serenity and peace within me and a knowingness that things were momentarily very tough for me, that I was very upset emotionally and felt completely heartbroken but that everything was going to be ok. ‘This too shall pass’ I found myself really knowing and remembering as the treatment progressed. I could really feel my energy shift and change during the treatment. As she put her weight on different parts of my body and worked different energy lines throughout my body with the palms of her hand, thumbs and elbows, it really gave me such relief and I felt so nourished, listened to and held. Shiatsu is so deep, nurturing and pure. A practitioner is constantly practicing empty mind, which is a pure state of meditation, non-judgment, and acceptance, which is so healing for the client and reconnects them to their own essence and strength Shiatsu is a three-year training of real depth. If you want to help others you really have to know how to help and truly honor yourself. We all have stuff to work on and improve and that thankfully in life that is something I have always been willing to do. I have always been commited to wellbeing and  understanding myself and others deeply.  I have engaged in deep and beautiful psychotherapeutic as well as holistic work as part of this training , which shows my deep commitment to this work. Both holistic...

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Make yourself a priority and experience more wellbeing

  “Every day the world will drag you by the hand yelling, “This is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day it’s up to you to yank your hand back put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” I really love this quote of Iain Thomas. Our hearts and our truth are completely invaluable but we can at times be disconnected from that realisation. How often in life do we let ourselves be swayed in every direction or influenced by others opinions rather than to be true to what our hearts really desire? How often in life do we care more about what others think than what we ourselves think and value? How often in life are our decisions governed by ‘the latest trends’ or what ‘everyone else is doing’ and not by what our heart’s truly desire? How often in life do we limit ourselves saying ‘I couldn’t do that’, ‘I’m too busy to make changes’, ‘its too late to do anything about it’ and whatever else our mind will come up with. Its good to know we can listen and accept what the mind will come up with, but we don’t have to believe or feed into it- what a relief! In life, there will always be so many things that you can make so much more important than you: the car needs to be serviced, your boss needs that report, that bill that needs to be sorted, the house needs to be tidied, friends want to see you, your in-laws feel neglected, your partner needs help, we need to watch the news, we need to help others…. I’m not saying these things are not important or valid but what I am saying is that finding time to tune into yourself, listen to your heart and looking after yourself is first and foremost- the most important thing. If we don’t make space for ourselves, if we don’t make what we truly desire a priority, we can end up feeling so drained or fall ill. Doing things we don’t really want to do or to people please causes suffering. When we are tuning into our hearts and ourselves more, we are operating less from a ‘headless chicken’ reactive space and more from a centered heart ‘this is what I really want and choose to do’ space. The energy is completely different. We tune into our peace, relax and life becomes much clearer and easier. In general in life I have found when I stop trying to do so much, I get so much more done. Less is really more. We can choose to make...

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Don’t get too busy making a living that you forget to embrace you, your heart and your life

Don’t get too busy making a living that you forget to embrace you, your heart and your life

  Don’t get too busy making a living that you forget to embrace you, your heart and your life.  In a society that constantly tries to convince us we need to be more, buy more, work more, fight more, do more- its understandable that many of us can feel less than adequate, others the need to be so ‘busy’ or some left with the need to prove themselves. In a world where we are fed photos of models that are air-brushed, bums or breasts that are padded or liposcutioned, where skin can be whitened or sprayed with fake tan, where the latest celebrity gossip or trashy novel is celebrated and glorified, where its more about image and distraction and less about what we truly feel and value-its understandable that at times we can feel a bit lost or frustrated.  In a world where we are constantly given messages of how to be ‘better’, sometimes we can feel not good enough. All of that does not give us the deeper nourishment that our hearts deserve and desire but it is possible for us to give that to ourselves. We are often conditioned to think more about what others think of us than what we think of ourselves, sometimes valuing more what we do for others and forgetting ourselves in the process. What is important about this? We rob ourselves of something important in the process- the ability to get real about what it is we truly need and to give that to ourselves and others from a more authentic and loving space. Don’t most of us want an authentic life where we can fully be themselves and truly valued? In order to have this we can firstly begin to fully accept and value ourselves as we are. Ram Dass once said ‘Your problem is that you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness’. The truth of it is that we can accept ourselves just as we are with our perfections and imperfections and know that we are worthy. It takes a lot of courage to authentically love yourself, say ‘enough’ to the world, call bullshit at times, press the pause button and take time to truly value and come home to you and your heart. It is so important to make our hearts a place of resting and to have faith and believe in our hearts and their unique desires and expression. Why would you and that be any less important that everyone and everything else? Is that a truth or something you have chosen to be your current truth? What if you were to call for a beautiful revolution of self love, kindness and self compassion that you...

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