Living in the present: a journey through the Now

The present moment is truly a gift. It is all we have and all we will ever need. Life is so simple and yet our minds have created unnecessary conflicts. When we meditate on nature, we see how life flows, life grows and life makes wonderful creations. When we are overcome with stress, we live in a sterile, unfeeling and even hostile world. Luckily, we can always return to a more peaceful feeling with meditation. We are gradually coming back to the now: to simplicity and harmony.

  • 5 Minutes at a Time

Dr. Wayne Dyer suggests in his book “Erroneous Zones” that we should live “5 minutes at a time”. He is referring to going with the flow of life. Sometimes a decision or rule that we always used to live by is deemed null and void. What used to work for us may no longer work and so we have to adapt. This idea of “5 minutes at a time” is also a good practice for meditation. By living in the here and now we become more alive.

  • Holiday: Take a break

Everyone needs a break. No one can keep going at one pace for a long time. We all need to take some time out to relax and unwind. We can do this by taking a trip away for a day or two. If this is not feasible we can also take a holi-hour rather than a holiday. In her book “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”, Dr. Susan Jeffers suggests that we set aside some time each day to do whatever we want. It could be a bit of exercise, meeting a friend or anything that you find fun.

  • Learning to Accept

Perhaps the most challenging and most rewarding of all is the art of acceptance. Sometimes we literally cannot do something about a situation which we would like to change. We find ourselves uncomfortable in a situation and unable to escape from it. This is where we learn to accept. In his stand up comedy show, Simon Amstell says “If you can’t change something, just accept it.” This is great wisdom as we can all get rid of our struggle by accepting. It is a very worthwhile, yet sometimes difficult practice.

  • Seizing Opportunity

One of the fruits of living in the now is that we discover things that we never expected. Pleasant surprises are waiting to jump out at us. We can access these gifts when we pay attention to the now. When we take a moment to dwell in the now, we can create, discover or do something we never imagined we had the power to do. Carpe Diem!

  • Getting back to nature

One of the best ways to return to a state of peacefulness is by walking in nature. When we stroll around in a relaxed environment, we naturally become more at ease. Listen to the sounds of the trees, meditate on the flowing river and see the birds fly around. Nature is great to bring us back to the now.

Final note: Living in the now can be difficult when we feel the pull of negative thinking. However, with practice we can live more and more in the present moment. With time we become more at ease with life. Another added benefit is living in the now is that it makes us feel much happier. We can enjoy the little things in life and our need to worry diminishes.

 

Sacred: What is Sacredness?

When I was in school, I was told that sacred meant “holy” or “set apart”. I never understood what it meant until I discovered meditation. “Sacred” sounds like such a heavy word, as most words connected with religion usually do. So what does it really mean? Let’s take a look into the meaning of sacredness.

 

In the Eye of the Storm

The best way I could define this word is living right in the middle of a storm. Sometimes life can be like a tornado. When people and activities get caught up and swept away in a storm of panic or stress, it is just like an emotional tornado. If we were to succumb to this stressful and anxious energy, we would be in effect, caught up in this slipstream. So what can we do when all around us is negative? We need to go “inside” to find inner peace. We need to be the eye, the watcher of the storm.

 

Drop the Anchor

It is important not to get caught up with this wave of stressful energy. To find a place of peace in the midst of stress, we can do a short meditation. It is a great practice to return your focus to your body, your breath or your inner peace, especially in moments of stress. One moment of mindfulness can be enough to let the storm pass by. Like training a muscle, we can learn to retreat back to the present moment, to ourselves.

 

Retreat to a Sanctuary

Sometimes it can be difficult to meditate in the middle of a chaotic occurrence or life situation. For that reason, it can be a good idea to go to a place of peace, like a sanctuary. This can be a quiet room, a church, a park or a graveyard. There are lots of places that can give refuge when you are feel overwhelmed by the pull of negative energy. Being in nature is also a calming experience. A holiday, a short trip or a change of scenery can also be exactly what your mind needs to calm down.

 

Find Your Own Sacred Place

Sacredness is a personal thing. We all have different ways to find peace and these will also change as we develop as a person. We are on a journey to discover our own inner peace. Inner peace for ourselves is the most important. After we find peace on the inside, we naturally create harmony around us.

 

 

 

Connections: Make or Break

connections

What is a connection between people? How do connections form and why do they disconnect? In this article, we take a look at the world of human connections.

The name is bond…

I believe connections are bonds, invisible to the human eye, but very real to our emotional selves. If we are sensitive, we can pick up on how well we “get along” with different people. With some people, we seem to be compatible as friends and with others, for some reason, we have nothing in common. In romantic relationships, we call this chemistry, but in our daily lives, we naturally have people we are on the “same wavelength” with and others, we simply do not connect with.

Synchronicity

Has is ever happened to you that you think about another person, like your Mum, only to receive a text from her a minute later. This is what some people call a coincidence, but I believe that humans have ways of reaching out to each other, that we don’t yet fully understand. Siblings in particular have especially good connections and twins can even know what the other twin is feeling or doing at a given time. We can think about each other and if we listen, we can “pick up” on little messages from each other.

Breaking up is hard to do

They are called break-ups for a reason. We literally invest our energy into forming bonds or relationships with other people. If we have a very heart felt-connections with another, be it romantically or even on a friendship basis,  this can be quite a strong bond. If we spend a lot of time bonding with that person, the relationship gets stronger. When relationships end, or when friendships end, this bond is broken. And the end sometimes can be short and swift, or can take a long time to heal.

Long-distance calls

There is no distance that love cannot travel. Our friends in other countries remain connected with us. Even though we can be far apart from our friends when they are in different places, they still feature in our thoughts and our lives. Sometimes something small like hearing their favourite song on the radio can remind us of that friendship.

Well-wishes

There are wonderful phrases in the English language which describe how we make positive connections with others. Sometimes we say “Send my love to your parents” when we speak with a friend, whom we are very close with. Or when we see great suffering, we may say “my heart goes out to those people”. These are examples of us giving out good energy to other people.

Forever and Ever

We keep connections that are healthy and which give us a positive feeling. Sometimes, this even means that people who have passed on still remain connected to us. The first way that children are taught about death that the person is not gone, but they live forever in our hearts. This is quite a beautiful way to view death. It can help the grieving process to know that the connection is different now, but it is not over.

Conclusion:

Connections are like bonds between two atoms. We form and break connections all the time. There are strong, weak, short-lived and long-lasting, positive and negative. Some take time to develop or heal once broken. The cosmic dance of relationships is for our greater good. Always.

Damien Dempsey: Vicar Street Concert

Review from http://www.Irishgigs.ie

 

There was a lot of love in the air at the Damien Dempsey concert in Vicar Street. I don’t mean romantic love, or a Christmas dizzying high, but rather Dempsey’s genuine goodwill and empathy for people. He is one of the great heroes of Irish music, gives a voice to the voiceless, a face to the faceless and he doesn’t do sugar coating. He implores us to question what is morally right and most importantly, to party on.

 

The Audience were Captivated

The man from Donaghmede drew an audience of every age, gender and personality. Reunions of families, gaggles of friends and scores of couples were all mesmerised by him. The crowd listened in awe to his powerful voice, polished lyrics and his passion for justice. We were the pupils of that rare teacher who inspires you to see life in a new light. With that winning combination of insight, empathy and clarity we were all enchanted.

 

Intro

The night opened with the first track of his album Shots. “Sing all your Cares Away” is an anthem celebrating ordinary people who overcome serious life struggles. The message of Dempsey’s music is that although life can be hard, our strength will let us emerge victorious. He shows us how ordinary people overcome extraordinary difficulties. He makes heroes of local people as he has great empathy for them.

 

Remember Our Roots

Dempsey proceeded to play many of his political and historical songs, such as “Colony” and “Massai”. I overheard a people in the crowd discuss the origin and significance of the Massai, knowledge of which we were taught by the album “To Hell or Barbados”. Damien Dempsey is responsible for most of my education in Irish history. Despite his wrist evidently paining him for the second half of the gig, he still did justice to his heart-felt ballads. It was like a metaphor as he played the guitar and fought through the pain.

 

Getting Deep

When I heard the song “Serious”, I wriggled my way to the front of the crowd to where the most ardent fans joined me in singing along. This song depicts a man at conflict with himself, on whether or not he should go down the line of drug abuse. Dempsey raises awareness of drug-related problems with peer pressure being just the beginning. His message makes a difference in the world because it is rooted in empathy and fuelled by hope for a good future.

 

Be Kind to Ourselves

Toward the end of the gig, the six foot balladeer declared to the audience: “Before you go to sleep tonight, look into the mirror… and give it a big kiss!” While I laughed initially, I realised that this was one of the best pieces of advice I had received all year. Dempsey advises that we give ourselves some kindness too, showing once more his compassion and humanity.

 

The Outro

Before we all said goodbye to this champion of the people, Damo gave us his rendition of a Bob Marley’s classic. He reassured us that “every little thing is gonna be alright”, and we felt the last waves of his positive message. Dempsey provides a message of hope in turbulent times. His positive vibes will keep us going in 2017. Music is our remedy, bringing hope for a bright future. With Damien Dempsey leading the way, Irish music has the best teacher at hand. And one thing is for sure, they don’t teach this in school.

 

How to get on board the friendship…

How do we create and sustain friendships? Like any relationship, friendships take some effort, but are well worth it. How can we invite the best friends into our life? And once we have established a group friends, how do we keep these people in our lives? How can we know who are the right people for us to be with? Here are some quick tips!

 

Be a Friend First

The late author, Maya Angelou, said “to have a friend, you have to be a friend first”. This is very good advice as if we want to invite new wonderful things into our lives, such as friends, or a new job or improved health, we must start with ourselves. We must open our hearts to life’s gifts and be ready for wonderful new people and things in our lives. We must be the person who we would like to be around.

 

Take a Look Around

The entrepreneur, Jim Rohn, said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who are these people in your life? Are they family members, flatmates, partners, children or friends? Do they have a positive influence or a negative influence on you? This time next year, would you like to be surrounded by these same people or would you like to make some changes?

 

Choose Who to Befriend

With people, we have a choice who we wish to befriend. We can create our own social sphere to our own liking. One of our greatest freedoms is the ability to let go of people who bring us down and invite in people who we wish to be in our lives. We can choose the cast of people in our lives. As we grow as a person, we will naturally change the people who surround us.

 

Learn to Let Go

As we go through life, we grow as people. And as our personality develops, we change our likes and dislikes. This is a totally naturally process and means we are discovering more about ourselves. However, it can mean the end of some friendships. Sometimes a friend may say to us “You are not the person I thought I knew” or a relationship can come to an end. Even though the relationship was beautiful, if it feels right to end, then we must accept the loss of old relationships. We need to make way for new ones.

 

Go and Explore!

This is your chance to discover who you are, who you want to be with and who you want to become. Each person likes a different set of friends, perhaps a small number of close friends or a large number of acquaintances. Some people like to socialise daily and some prefer to meet once a month for a catch up. Find what works best for you!

 

 

Tea for One

We have teas for all occasions!

What type of tea do you like? Some teas are good for some of our health issues. There is even the right time to take each one. Do you know when to drink what kind of tea? If you are fond of a cuppa, here is a list of teas and their remedies.

 

Green Tea

The story goes that this drink was invented when leaves fell into a cup of hot water belonging to a monk. This was a happy accident to happen upon him as he found his mood were quite enhanced. This discovery showed us tea is full of antioxidants and caffeine which means it is good to boost energy and also has some medical properties. Green tea is best to take in the morning so that you can awaken your metabolism.

 

Black Tea

Strong in flavour and deeply comforting, this is a favourite tea of the Irish. This tea is highly oxidizing and kills bacteria in our mouths which cause cavities. Black tea is also revered for reducing cortisol levels in the body, meaning that it helps to reduce feelings of stress. It is important not to take too much black tea as it may keep us from sleeping if taken in too high amounts.

 

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is best taken before going to bed as part of our winding down time. This tea is made from the beautiful chamomile flower and has a wonderfully pleasing aroma. This tea is best taken with the full flowers immersed in water for aesthetic reasons! Chamomile tea has very relaxing effects similar to lavender. For this reason it can be used to help alleviate insomnia.

 

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is a good option to take when we have stomach problems. Motion sickness and morning sickness can also be treated with this tea. Its healing properties have been known for thousands of years, making this a well-known and well-revered medicinal tea. Ginger can also be freshly grated into hot water and combined with lemon to maximise the taste and power of the ginger root.

 

Peppermint Tea

And finally, peppermint tea is also very effective for stomach pains. The sweet-smelling essential oils of peppermint tea make this a very pleasing tea to drink. Peppermint activates digestion in the stomach in a very gentle way and for that reason can be used to reduce stomach pains. It is ideal to take at any time of the day, and some people take it before going to bed to help to sleep better.

 

So for most health ailments of the body and mind, there is a natural remedy. Teas can be a great soothing or energising tonic depending on which kind we choose. It is definitely worthwhile using some of the ancient wisdom about the fruits of the earth to improve our health and well-being.

What is Meditation?

Someone asked me for my thoughts on meditation and it got me thinking… do I know anything about meditation? For me, meditation is so pure and simple that it is somehow complicated to put into words. Mindfulness/meditation is the art of doing nothing and letting go. It is going home to ourselves when we have left our senses. It is our natural way of being. It is feeling the power of relinquishing the need to control.

The Great Contradiction

Meditation to me is a kind of contradiction. By yielding to the present moment we overcome our situation. By giving in to what is happening, we are instantly rewarded with a better, more fulfilled feeling. By letting go, we gain so much. And all we have to do to have the most wonderful feeling in the world… is absolutely nothing.

Our Busy World.

With people so busy checking their phones, looking over their shoulders for competitors and some even building walls of fear and hate, we all need meditation to help us to find a sense of peace. In our current society, we have become too infatuated with speed, success and doing, that we have forgotten to refuel.

Recharge the Batteries!

Humans energy levels are similar to mobile phone batteries. Almost every day, we charge our mobile phones to make sure that it has enough energy. This is akin to people making sure to get a good nights sleep. We need around 8 hours every night to function well. But what happens during the waking hours of the day?

Take Many Breaks.

As we use up energy on our phone, for phone calls, internet and messaging, we demand a lot from our phones. By the same token, as we expel our own energy on our thoughts, our daily tasks and constant activity, we also deplete our own energy. We need to take moments during the day, simply to be. We need moments in which we do not give out too much energy. We can stop for a minute to refuel our batteries.

What Do the Experts Say?

Eckhart Tolle, the author of “The Power of Now” advises that adding a small moment now and then to our lives for a mindful breath or a short meditation can greatly improve our well-being. The length of the meditation is not important, rather he advises to inset periods of meditation on a regular basis. The duration of meditation will naturally extend as we implement our own practice.

I encourage everyone to practice a bit of meditation. In whatever way we invite peace and meditation into our lives, it is one of the healthiest choices to make. We can slow down. We can refuel. We can become healthier and happier. As we practice, moment by moment, we can recover from a lifetime of struggle.