The Power of Simplicity

The Power of Simplicity

Less is more. We can hear that and appreciate that but to embody it is a lifelong journey accessed only through enjoying the process, love and acceptance of what is. As we are human for any of us…..it’s always going to be a process. There is an art of effortlessness to savouring more serenity that cannot be reached through striving, it’s about the quality of our presence. It’s more about allowance and appreciation of what is than about striving to do. A lot of what brings me joy in my life is reached through complete simplicity and valuing my heart. I live in the countryside and connecting with nature, knowing nature to be part of me and me to be part of nature is very satisfying. Sunrises, sunsets, elderflower bushes in full blossom, the sight of foxes and playful rabbits all nourish me deeply along with many other things that are satisfying and simple. I think of what John O’Donoghue said about the joy of finding a spot in nature and just letting something unfold. The joy of becoming a complete observer in what you witnessing within nature and being held deeply within that beauty. It is really wonderful to let yourself be consumed by such moments. I appreciate that life and work is busy for all of us and that there are always things to do. That is just a fact of life and its important to be in flow with the rhythm of the day, the week and the seasons. However, I think rather sometimes than wishing for more time, its interesting to notice the quality of presence that you are bringing to what you are doing. I wonder at times even in the midst of being busy, we can bring a quality of presence to what is and let ourselves find that little pause, appreciation or breath more deeply and serenly within the moment adn notice the difference that makes. I wonder if that deeper serenity can be somehow accessible irrespective of what we are doing, even if it’s just to momentarily touch it throughout the day. I suppose in truth we can sometimes bring a deeper state of awareness to our day, that gives us back some of the time that we are seeking. I do know this to be true in my own life and savouring simplicity can be helpful. Here is a poem I wrote that relates to savouring simplicity. There Will Always be Dishes There will always be dishes- the chopping wood and carrying water of day to day life. Washing the last plate, I feel my body release in pleasure and relief that “they are done now, its over”. My selective...

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Be Your Own Hero.

Be Your Own Hero.

It’s so important in life that you value yourself. Not in a big-headed or arrogant way at all but just to truly recognise your value and your worth. Why wouldn’t you? Its wonderful to value others and I’m deeply grateful for those in my life that have taught me so many different things. At the end of the day however, its unhelpful to value others and not value yourself. Its unhelpful to see the light of others and not your own. You can see the beauty and strength of others but can you fully recognize your own beauty and strength? Until we can fully receive ourselves and accept every ounce of ourselves with gratitude, can we truly do that for another? It’s important that you love yourself without reservation and that you bring love and acceptance to what you have deemed “unloveable”. For years I found my sensitivity, love of creativity and beauty something that I hid away for example. Growing up I was very strong and very driven academically. I did that very well and that was what was valued. Today I really value and recognize my sensitivity along with my strength as something that enables me to connect with the world and with others with depth and authenticity and now it is a wonderful strength as a teacher and a wellbeing practitioner. This sensitivity allows me to be present, awake and alive to the world and to others and to inspire others. Today there are people who truly inspire me and who I respect deeply but I respect and inspire myself first and foremost. When I do this I honour serenity and solidity within myself first and foremost. “Love one another as I have loved you”…I dont think Gods love of any of us is in any way limited, its infinite. Love yourself from this divine space and let the hero within you shine. “You dont need the acceptance of others. Firstly you need to accept yourself”. This to me is the first step within heroism. Acting with certainty because you source that certainty from yourself and acting with certainty whether times are uncertain or not. “Be beautiful, be...

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Are you Struggling? Why good boundaries can help.

Are you Struggling? Why good boundaries can help.

A lot of problems in life and relationships can stem from boundary issues. When people talk about boundaries they are referring to you and your energy. The defining line between what defines you and what does not belong to you is your boundary. Boundaries tell us what is our business and what is not our business. What we think of ourselves and other people is our business but it is none of our business what others think of us. We cannot control what others feel or say about us. We cannot know if they are honorable people or engage in gossip. We also cannot control the good things that people feel or say about us, how much they appreciate us and how much they love us. That simply is beyond our control and isn’t entirely to do with us as it involves another person and is also about another person’s perception, feelings, their intention, values in life, baggage etc. It is really good to remember this. Ultimately of course we are all one but on a day to day practical level, it is a reality that we all have individual physical bodies and minds and it is important to have good boundaries to have clarity and show respect and honor both ourselves and others. Healthy boundaries help us to know who we are and what we truly need in life. They help us to have a better sense of separateness from others and to own and take responsibility. Life is best when we are really looking after and honoring our own needs and helping others from a space of sharing and genuine respect for that person. When you care about a person, you take the time to build a relationship with that person. If you help anyone you should do it from an informed and experienced space and you recognize that the person is front of you is an equal: not above you and not below you, equal in importance to you and capable of finding their own solutions in life. When we respect people, we really listen to that person and we get to know them. We don’t listen to hearsay about people. You can only believe what you actually know for a fact to be true about another person. You only know the truth of a person through truly knowing them. The truth is we often dont know what is truly going on for other people and when we presume that we do know, we can often get it wrong. Be mindful of your perception and allow people to truly show you who they are and tell you what they want. Don’t make presumptions in life. What...

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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 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 mindful movement, learning the basics of shiatsu massage together, savouring restful meditation and enjoying some poetry, music and beginners dance over the course of the two days. We will also look into some coaching techniques and I will give you some tools to look at your life and see how you best want to go forward to thrive. It’ll be time out to nurture yourself in a breath-taking location with the most delicious...

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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 Mindful movement 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, being flexible at times 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 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...

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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.

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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