Silver Birch is a tree that always catches my eye, so much so, I planted 8 of these beautiful trees in the front garden with another 7 thriving out in the back garden. I just love how its trunk stands out from all the other trees and can be recognised anywhere with its magnificent white peeling bark. I love its elegance, how it rises majestically up into the sky with thin wispy branches adorned with small delicate leaves. I have watched it bend and lean precariously in storms fearing it may never right itself, only to see it settle back into exquisite gracefulness once again.
Vesco was chatting with me recently
and as always our conversations can take any direction, this particular day it
took the path of the healing benefits of silver birch.
Did you know….
“The white peeling bark is great for lighting fires
and the buds and twigs have tons of medicinal uses:
A great source of vitamin C, tannin, and flavonoids, silver birch is useful in preventing viral infections and even cancer.
Silver Birch contains powerful diuretic properties that help in flushing out harmful toxins, uric acid, and excess water from the body, making it a good anti-inflammatory, and helpful for maintaining kidney and liver health.
Its anti-inflammatory properties mean it can treat conditions like arthritis, high cholesterol, heart and kidney swelling, and cystitis.
Silver birch stimulates the digestive system and aids in better digestion.
Its nutrients are also effective in strengthening the bones and boosting overall immunity.” www.schoolofthewild.com
I was delighted to learn that you can make tea from the twigs and the buds. I am here presently sipping and thoroughly enjoying a fresh brew which I made from some of the new growth leaves and buds. I simply placed a fistful of the leaves and buds into a herbal teapot, poured boiling water over and let it draw for a couple of minutes. It tastes wonderfully light and refreshing. It is something I think I would like in the summer with ice as it would be really delicate.
heading of this blog is “Grief, Silver Birch and Digestion –
The healing link”.
What I have learnt from my personal experience over the last couple of
years is this. Shock and grief are
difficult to face, deal with and release from the body. Due to
a decline in my health last year I was made to face and have a good hard look
at myself. I realised that where I am
moving forward from the enormous grief on a physical level, I wasn’t dealing
with it as such on an emotional level. I
had reverted to my steadfast pattern of shoving it down (into my stomach and
intestines), keeping active and pretending that all was well, getting on with
things outwardly but struggling inwardly at times.
However, my body had had enough, my stomach or intestines were not
digesting properly, I wasn’t receiving the full nutrients my body required no
matter how healthy my diet, or the amount of exercise, my muscles were not
being fed properly and aches and pains had moved in regardless of the amount of
yoga I was doing. My health had started
to deteriorate and I was physically feeling the effects. I turned as you normally do to the Medical
Profession for answers. Trips to Specialists,
Doctors, hospitals, scans, test after test to discover there was nothing wrong
physically. Emotionally was another
issue, so many months later I found my answer in the holistic approach.
I didn’t know that after any type of a shock it is advisable that you up your intake of Vit C, B’s and Zinc. This has been life changing for me. For the first time in months I have a reserve tank behind me, I had known for months that there was nothing physically left in my body to fight if anything had shown up medically. Taking the above concoction resulted in my body reacting and absorbing immediately what it had been starved of for so long. This has been huge relief in itself as I started to feel better not just physically but emotionally also. I began to feel more sane and grounded.
As a result I have started to focus on nature and what is growing around us in a bid to feed my body the nutrients it badly needs.
Fear is stored in the kidneys. Anger is stored in the liver, grief and sadness are stored in the lungs which if not dealt with over time will weaken the nervous system and also weaken the energy in the body as well. What I have noticed is this, my body is coming alive, it is like it has been crying out for this type of food for a long time. It feels nurturing and beneficial in my system. If I was a cat my insides would be purring with pure satisfaction.
The benefits of dandelion are as follows:
Promotes a healthy liver
A natural Diuretic
Lowers blood pressure
Aids weight loss
Helps fight against cancer
Supports a health digestion and treats constipation
Boosts you immune system.
Nature has a way of bringing us back into balance, I personally feel human again just by being in the presence of the power of the ocean, or walking in the woods. Nature provides for us and if you look at the benefits of both the Silver Birch and the Dandelion they have quite a lot in common both work on the kidneys, liver and digestion.
The Dandelion pesto (see earlier post on Facebook) and the benefits of silver birch above are all based on natural nutrients found free in nature and all around us. They act as a deep cleanse for our liver, boost kidney energy, power up our digestion system and improve our immune system all freely available and at hand to our disposal. So don’t just see weeds next time you spot a dandelion see a nutricious boost for your body.
Today the sun is shinning, I made a delicious dandelion pesto and I’m drinking silver birch tea. Life is indeed good and I’m really grateful..
When every so often out of the blue I get asked a question which makes me stop, go WHAT?! ……. Where is this coming from?! ………… Then I have to actually think and really ponder the answer before I reply.
This week I got asked such a question.
Out of nowhere I got asked by a friend ….
“Has the time since you turned 50 been tougher than
A WHAT???!!!! Moment.
My friend continued to advise that according to a
mutual acquaintance – a person’s 50th year is meant to be really
tough. While I am still pondering this I
receive examples of such difficulties that had been evident in their life since
they themselves had turned 50.
I picked up my phone to respond only to find myself putting it back down and actually wondering, what has my 50th Year been like?
I only turned 50 last August, so my 50th Year is still underway. However, I found
myself contemplating the last 8 months and how they have been and then found
myself fleeting back and forth to my 40’s for reflective comparison.
It is funny what you learn when you delve truthfully
into answering an unexpected deep question and not just rattle off some fast
Here is what I responded with…..
They say life begins at 40……
But 50 has actually
been my best year. (I was even surprised to realise this one!)
In my 40’s I was dealing with the raising of my two lads, going off the rails, scandal, breakups and mending my marriage. My Mum passed away. Cancer once again raised its nasty head and brought flooding back painful suppressed memories. Then my sister Antonia sadly lost her fight for life. I began the difficult journey of self-healing. So to be honest with you I’m delighted to see the back of my 40’s!!
feel freer, calmer since I turned 50.
I feel I am more in touch with who I am. I feel connected to myself a lot more and I will no longer do things just to please other people or because it is expected of me.
Antonia’s death put a lot of things into perspective. It was hard not to.
I also look at it this way, if I live as long as my Dad did, I have 8 years left in my life.
If I live as
long as my Mum, I have 19 years left.
And I have
already lived 8 years longer than my sister Antonia.
I’ve learnt to appreciate the gift of age.
I’ve paid huge attention to all this especially in the months leading up to my 50th. I was observing people everywhere whilst I contemplated if I had the liathroide to actually stop dying my hair and let it go natural. Vanity played a huge part but with so much grief in my life I wanted to see what I would look like if I gracefully embraced growing old.
I’ve come to
realise that most people view age negatively. It is all wrinkles, hair loss /
hair going grey and menopause. Menopause
gets blamed for everything from what I have experienced so far, from swelling
in the body, to tiredness, to whatever!!
No matter what your ailment is, it all appears to be put down to “your
age and the menopause”.
Menopause is followed by the middle age spread and mid-life crisis. Interestingly next on the list is regret. Regret for all that hasn’t been accomplished in life.
Maybe it is
because of my life experiences but I have taken to looking at it in a WOW!!
I have had
some amazing memories and experiences and I just plan on enjoying life.
50 means ailments kick in, but ailments, aches and pains is a way of life saying
HEY! Slow down, enjoy each moment of your
I look back
and I can honestly say I have had one colourful life and it’s been bloody
amazing, but I’m not through with it just yet.
places I want to go, things I want to do, experiences I WANT to experience and
I AM going to do it.
I love being
50 because now I have life experience under my belt and a realisation that a
clock is ticking. I no longer have the innocence of youth thinking forever will
always be there at my disposal, because it won’t.
All I have
is here and now in this moment.
embraced this year and will continue to create many more memories. I have loved every moment so far, even the
low moments, the loneliness, the sadness and the pain and I am working through
all that. It is all there, it is all
part of me but it has also shaped me and made me who I am.
So in answer
to your question NO!! I haven’t found 50
to be tougher than normal.
I’ve actually found it easier, and a welcome change from my 40’s.
short, no matter the age, embrace it.
Plus on the up side I can now cat nap in the afternoon because at my age as it is now socially acceptable to do so.
Would you like to deepen your yoga practice in the foothills of the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula?
Find stillness and calm amidst the rustling leaves of forest trees?
Cleanse your Aura and find deep inner peace within yourself by gushing waterfalls?
Maybe you would like to rejuvenate yourself by the flowing waters of some of Bulgaria’s most beautiful rivers?
Mindfully ramble in the luscious mountains, home to mountain goats, bears and eagles.
Ramble and wander at your leisure. Experience the true essences of bear pose when practiced deep in the mountains.
Expand deeply into the sanctuary and tranquility of eagle pose when practiced in the open air close to rapids deep in the heart of luscious forests.
Spend a week in an altitude higher than you experience here in Ireland. Being in high altitude increases your red blood cells which boosts your immune system. Join us, let your spirit soar and enjoy the health benefits you reap for the rest of the year.
Spend your mornings doing mega yoga and spend evenings winding down in the same spas where Roman Gods and Goddesses came to restore their health and beauty. Perhaps catch a glimpse of a Roman show in one of the world’s best preserved ancient theatres constructed in the 1st Century AD.
A yoga trip to Bulgaria is going to be an adventure of a lifetime as we travel in and around the Rila Mountains, some of the oldest historical sights and most stunning locations in Europe and quite possibly the World.
Yoga and Mindfulness will be taken to new heights literally with this trip as we travel to the highest point in Bulgaria and one of the highest peaks on the Balkans, weather permitting.
You will have an opportunity to practice yoga and mindfulness every day as we leave the comfort zones of the studio and on occasions practice our session in the heart of Mother Nature. We will head back to basics and get in touch with our true essence, connecting to and expanding with nature, allowing ourselves to touch deep the inner states of our being as we find our own true nature within.
We will practice Yoga and Mindfulness in an area with the highest number of natural hot springs, we’ll bathe in the hottest natural geyser in Europe, don’t be concerned it has been cooled down to comfortable temperatures so there is no fear of us being scalded!
We will do walking yoga in our visit to the only capital that has an extinct volcano right next to it. It is now mainly a ski-resort and hiking paradise so please make sure you pack your walking boots for these scenic delights.
Tour the birthplace of yoghurt and tickle your taste buds with other culinary delicacies. We will pass the oldest golden treasures in the world, we’ll be right by the biggest golden mine in Europe but unfortunately we won’t be allowed in to visit. Security reasons.
We are staying in Samokov, known for its world-famous painting and wood-carving schools. The name of the town itself means self-forging and it came from the times when it used to be the main iron-making location in Central and Southern Balkans.
So where better than here to begin to raise you up to the next level of your yoga, self-discovery, self-empowerment, self-love and self-awareness. We will walk the same cobble-stoned paths that some of the brightest minds of Europe walked back in Renaissance times.
Did you know that for years now Bulgaria has featured top of most surveys as being the cheapest destination in Europe? Yes, it is extremely cheap as destinations go but rich and affluent in what it offers most to tourists – stunning natural scenery of pure epic mega rich proportions.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT ON THIS TRIP
Expect to experience yoga in breath taking beauty and learn how to be mindfully aware and present whilst doing so
Discover and explore the sights and history of the local area
Explore some of the most well-known pilgrimage locations of Orthodox Christianity and the healing relics they give sanctuary to
Wash away any sins you may have by passing through the cave of St. Ivan.
Expect to be pampered. I personally recommend the chocolate massage. Just don’t wear white that day in case you miss a spot afterwards!
If you have the nerve, fly like dragonflies … well, semi fly, on the mountain lifts.
Master the local Cuisine.
Of course there will be time for some shopping where you can purchase local hand crafts
On this trip you will be nurtured and cared for and this will begin the day you arrive in Samokov with a massage to help you relax and release the effects of travelling. Take time in the sauna or the pool and just allow yourself to gently land into the space.
Take time to settle into your surroundings and open up to the adventure of the week ahead.
Samokov is a small town and the hotel we will use was purpose built to host top sports teams when they come to do high altitude training and if you are lucky you may even get to spot some of the best teams training outside early in the morning.
As already mentioned you will indulge in the practice of yoga and mindfulness every day in some shape or form, mountain yoga, river yoga, walking and studio yoga to name but a few.
We will be mindful of our surroundings, the scents tantalising our nostrils, sounds floating around us and tactile touch at our fingertips. Mindfulness will be ever present and forefront of our minds. The experience will vary from day to day but the overall feeling of healthy goodness will only expand and deepen with each passing day.
WHAT WILL YOU GET FROM THIS TRIP
A new way of experiencing yoga out in nature
Deepen your practice of yoga and mindfulness
Learn new techniques to expand your own practice
Build and strengthen your immune system
A fabulous all in trip where you have none of the hassles of organising and simply enjoy
Travel alone or with a companion and meet new friends, enjoy new experiences and share many laughs.
Broaden your mind by a fabulous new and exciting experience in a cultural trip offering beauty, nature and city experiences.
THE TRIPS WE WILL TAKE ON THIS VISIT.
We will be exploring the beauty of the landscape that is Bulgaria in the mountains, there is so much to see in this amazing country it simply would be disgraceful not to.
You will adventure into culinary delights as we sample the local cuisine and you will learn how to recreate these dishes under the guidance of a professional chef and a professional granny. The latter has won a few awards for her cooking too, so perhaps we will get a few tips to bring back home with us.
THE RILA MOUNTAIN RANGE AND SEVEN LAKES
Wake up and arise peacefully each morning to the sound of natural running water and the glorious powerful presence of Bulgaria’s highest mountain range. Breathe in deeply the crisp fresh mountain air.
Expand and intertwine with nature. Home to the Seven Rila Lakes, these mountains are alive and abundant with tempting hiking paths. Definitely bring you hiking boots for this one you guys or I guarantee you will be disappointed.
The scenery alone at Rila will lure you lustfully onto her trails. Nature will bewitch you, drawing you deeper and deeper in the magnificent natural and untamed beauty that prevails all around and within this mountain range.
In ancient Thracian times the name Rila means “well-watered mountain” which aptly describes the area which is sprinkled with glistening lakes, numerous waterfalls and bountiful amounts of fresh mountain water which you can drink from at almost every location. For me it was a truly wonderful experience.
MORE THAN 120 MONASTERIES
Bulgaria is home to more than 120 monasteries and we will visit one of its most famous – the Rila Monastery which was founded in the 10th Century by St. Ivan of Rila and is the most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria.
Here I personally fell in love with Bulgaria. It was the highlight of the trip for me. I couldn’t even begin to find words to describe the peaceful presence it exudes.
Rila Monastery is a Unesco protected site as it was destroyed by fire at the beginning of the 19th century, subsequently it was rebuilt and restored. It is regarded as one of Bulgaria’s most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments and is a key tourist attraction for both Bulgaria and Southern Europe.
You will be able to see stunning mural’s and paintings inside the monastery, some of which were painted by the self-taught genius painter from the Samokov School of Renaissance Art, the town where we will be staying.
If timed to perfection we may have an opportunity to see one of the Monks wearing the most amazing ceremonial gowns when he appears on the altar.
A visit to this monastery was definitely a highlight of my trip to Bulgaria. Words cannot describe the feeling of being physically present and connecting to the energy in the grounds of this magnificent building which is home to over 60 monks.
Energy pulsates up through the ground at various power points. If you are mindfully present you will feel this energy pulsating into your body filling you with an essence of peace and tranquillity that will transport you to a place of surreal calm. You will experience tranquillity and awe in this beautifully astounding place.
Please note that shoulders will need to be covered when visiting here.
A visit to the cave of St. Ivan will further transport you to a deeper level of natural peace and calm. Experience yoga here the way St. Ivan used to in the heart of nature.
Just to give you guys a heads up for this trip to the cave.
Legend has it that the cave will cleanse you from all your sins as you pass through but there is a test of character to be overcome first. I am delighted to say I passed and definitely came out lighter after this experience. So a tip for this outing would be to eat light on this morning.
I would recommend having your mekitsas after the trip to the cave. Mekitsas? Oh, this is an experience you definitely want to try as this monastery is famous for their flat donut type pastry, which are seriously delicious. It is finger licking great.
Our trip will see us visit Sofia to see the serenely imposing golden domes of the St. Aleksander Nevsky Cathedral. This building is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world and can hold up to 10,000 people.
Our visit to Sofia will offer the ideal opportunity for a spot of shopping. We will visit Vitosha Street, which is the equivalent of our very own Grafton Street. We will set you free here to fly and shop to your own hearts content for a couple of hours.
I am hoping that we can time out trip well and be able to combine our visit with a flea market so you can experience the local markets first hand.
You will also have an opportunity to purchase pure rose oil in Sofia. Those of you who care for your skin will already know the fabulous benefits of this amazing oil. This oil has amazing qualities so we won’t be buying barrel loads to bring back with us as 1oz works out at approximately €20 as the oil is so pure. They won’t recognise you when you get back home between the mountain air, yoga and oil you will be positively 10 year younger looking.
SAPAREVA BANYA – GEYSER
Sapareva Banya is located at the North foothills of Rila and is famous for its hot mineral and clear mountain water. We will also visit the Geyser which sprang forth in the town in the year 1957. I walked in this myself and it has a special quality to it. Romans used to travel across the country just for this luxury in days gone by so I felt especially privileged to be able to enjoy this experience.
Geysers / hot springs have huge health benefits. Did you know that sitting in one boosts blood circulation? The water found in natural hot springs contains a variety of different minerals, including calcium and sodium bicarbonate. They reduce stress by relaxing tense muscles and promote a great nights sleep. They have been known to relieve pain and heal skin problems. So you are in for a treat with this one.
Bulgaria has its own unique pottery style and schools. I personally love it as it is quirky, purposeful and just dinky. On this trip you will have an opportunity to learn from the best-known local potter. People travel from far and wide purely to be trained by this pottery master. Some of you who have visited my kitchen have already admired the beauty of these fabulous creations which I purchased last summer on my trip over.
Bulgaria has its own pottery and we will have an opportunity to set lose our creative skills as we learn how it is made from a well-established potter. This is where you can create your own special keepsake of this special trip. If things go a bit wonky for you, don’t fret there will always be a backup plan and you can just purchase one of the already made items from the potter himself. Don’t worry there is a mantra for this trip “what happens in Bulgaria, stays in Bulgaria” so mums the word.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR YOU:
The town where we will be centrally based during our stay in Bulgaria is Samokov and this town is situated approximately 2 hours by car from the Greek Coast. So something for you to consider – perhaps you may wish to extend your stay to include a week by the coast and make the most of your trip away to Bulgaria. We will gladly assist you in making the necessary bookings and arrangements if you so wish, just please advise us at the time of booking.
COSTING FOR THE TRIP
(The costs includes your accommodation, breakfast and dinner, away trips and yoga/mindfullness workshops)
The costing for the trip is as follows:
Early bird – €870 if paid in full by 30th April, 2019
€940 if paid in full by the 31st May, 2019
€990 paid in full by the 30th June, 2019
Please note that a non-refundable deposit of € 150.00 to be paid on booking in order to secure your place on the trip.
ITEMS TO BE BROUGHT WITH YOU FOR THIS TRIP
Comfortable walking shoes.
Shawl for visiting churches / monasteries
Up to date Passport
Contract me – Noreen, on 086-7847998 to book your place on this amazing adventure.
Looking forward to spending time with you and creating wonderful memories.
It’s Tuesday evening so it means it’s Meditation Night and Vesco is back in the studio.
This term Vesco has introduced mantra into the classes and I for one was wondering how that would fare out. We briefly touched on Mantras during my college days and over the years I have picked up gems of information here and there. Yet Mantras is something that intrigues me and draws me deeper the whole time. So I was curious to see what would happen for me with this section of the class.
Now, those of you who know me know that a spade is a spade and there is no buffing. So I am going to give you my experience of the first couple of weeks chanting mantras. Vesco is sitting there in all his glory having explained in detail the mantra we were about to chant, the reason behind it and the benefits that can be gained from a committed practice. I like other the other students were sitting there eagerly listening and awaiting instruction. He spoke clearly and concisely as he gave a rendition of the mantra we were about to chant for 108 times.
Traditionally mala beads are used to chant mantras and the beads hold a total of 108 beads. You may have seen the Monks holding these beads and if you have travelled abroad you may have seen the beads on sale. The figure of 108 is a very auspicious number in Buddhism because according to ancient teachings there are 108 invisible threads from each person to the divine. Chanting a mantra 108 times awakens these threads and aids meditation.
Personally I think it’s the repetitive chant, the sound that keeps my mind occupied and makes all my body vibrate with energy that helps me with the meditation side of things. It is truly an amazing experience if you are willing to open to it. You will feel so peaceful and calm after this and going into a meditation after it was really deep and wonderful experience for me. I was so chilled out I forgot to ask Vesco if he’d like a cup of tea after the session and just wandered home!! Oops!
I wasn’t going to argue with ancient teachings and went with the attitude that if it worked for them it may well work for me. Nothing ventured, nothing gained mentality. So I set my own personal intention, took my comfortable seated position and waited to be led by Vesco into the chant.
So we are sitting in a circle, Vesco commences and begins the chant with the others joining in in a rhythmical manner to his chant and I suddenly go blank, I can’t remember those couple of words he gave us only a few brief moments before, I mean OMG!! he had painstakingly taught us in slow motion and it just went clear out of my head! The others are sitting there chanting a mantra for bringing change and abundance into our lives and Noreen is sitting there going hmm, lets wing this one, once I don’t chant too loudly I should be able to pull this off with no one any the wiser…. So out of the mouth of this babe comes “Om gum yum yum yum namah”, “Om gum yum yum yum namah”, for 108 repetitions. Eventually all I could hear myself chant was yum yum, and I was literally starving by the end of the session.
However, fast forward a couple of days, two to be precise and my request, my intention I asked for on Tuesday night prior to chanting the yum yum mantra had manifested. I sat at home at midnight going OMG! (Well I used a couple of stronger words, but you get the gist) This stuff really works!
I am now having great fun manifesting little and large things into my life and it is unreal to experience.
So a valuable lesson was learned by me i.e. when the intention is right, the focus is there, the energy of the group builds, things WILL manifest.
I am now working on another intention a much more elaborate one and time will tell if this too unfolds.
Meanwhile I have committed to doing the mantra for 40 consecutive days and I am delighted to say I am on day 7 and still going strong. You will be glad to hear though that I have now learnt the correct words and I am chanting the correct mantra.
So you guys, if you fancy something a little bit different, if you’d like to put it to the test, come and join us this evening and broaden your horizons with Mantra Chanting. Don’t worry if you don’t pick it up on the first night, just like me with persistence, improvisation and practice it will happen.
Have a great evening you guys I might see you later on at the studio.
At school, English was always one of my favourite subjects. I think it was because of the creative freedom it granted, especially in essay writing. It was pure escapism for me which I thoroughly enjoyed. I let my imagination run free and I went on wonderful adventures in the process. I have always loved writing especially when it came to things I was passionate about or held an interest in.
Then there is thesaurus, I just love thesaurus. The way it allows you to expand on a single word to add depth of meaning to a point you may be trying to express, how it allows you to play with a word in many different ways. I think I prefer it personally to the dictionary.
There is one word, however, in the English language which has begun to haunt me. It floats around in my head like no other, toying with me, challenging me, tormenting me, alluding me on occasions whilst being as obvious as day on others. This word?
According to the dictionary it is a:
An estimate of forecast of a future situation based on a study of present trends.
The presentation of an image on a surface, especially a cinema screen.
Synonyms: estimate, forecast, prediction, calculation, prognosis, prognostication, reckoning, expectation and there is more…
But perhaps Thesaurus is better to find closer to what I am referring to here today….
But my favorite has to be:
I am trying to figure out what Psychological Projection is. You know that stuff you pass over onto someone else when it really has nothing to do with the other person but rather all your own crap, but you firmly believe it is the other persons.
“Projection is difficult to grasp and begin to understand and begin to feel because it is your unconscious stuff. Which means it is the stuff you do not know you carry. Plus the Ego does not want you to know you carry it” a friend of mine explained to me.
He was spot on about something…. It is difficult to grasp and I have been grappling with it for some time now.
As an adult I know I am responsible for my actions and my feelings. How often have I rattled that one off without truly appreciating the capacity and power in the words I was speaking? I, ME, mir, yo, moi, am totally 100% responsible for how I am feeling and NOT anybody else.
That was an eye opener for me. How many times have I said over the years to someone or other “you are infuriating me, or making me anxious, or you are making me feel x,y or z”. What a slap across the arse it was for me to realise it was actually my reaction to a situation that was making me infuriated, anxious, or x,y or z and NOT the other person.
If I have a reaction to something it normally means there is something deep within me that needs healing.
There have been occasions in my life when someone said to me “you are x,y, or z and I accepted it as truth. I believed what they said as fact and I wore their thoughts like a t-shirt of shame as I accepted what was said to me as being true facts. This was especially true when these declarations were made by people I cared about, family or friends.
What is psychological projection?
It was psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud that first coined the term projection, describing it as a way in which an individual projects their own undesirable thoughts and beliefs onto someone else. It is a defence mechanism in which the individuals place characteristics they find unacceptable in themselves onto another person.
I have begun to think of this as each of us having a film (our life) and in some areas of our life, areas we may find undesirable or are not quite ready to deal with, we project out these thoughts and beliefs to someone else. Much like a film projector will display an image on a blank wall, we project our film (life) onto another human being. Except that we then see these images as being the film of the other person. When in reality it is not, it is still our film and our story.
Examples of psychological projection:
Parents who have not achieved their goals in life demanding that their own children succeed.
Someone with adulterous feelings might accuse their partner of infidelity
Believing someone hates you could be signs of your hidden intense dislike for that person. (Extract from good therapy.org)
I didn’t know or understand enough about this intricate word to realise that basically what someone was putting over on me was in fact their own unresolved stuff. I have been trying to understand projection and doing some research on the issue. Interestingly, It has happened to me recently and thankfully I managed to realise that what was said is not a true reflection of my situation but rather the other persons unhappiness within their own situation, their lack of contentment with their own life, their fears etc. They were using me as a wall so to speak to display or project the film of their life out onto.
It is actually quiet liberating to realise that it is in fact their shit and not mine.
Have you had experience of this?
How do you deal with same?
Do you use practices to help you become more aware of your own personal projections?
Over the years as I have been trying to become more aware of this behaviour in both myself and others. I’ve learnt that it is very intricate. Learning about “projection” also requires learning about ones “shadow” or dark side. We all have one, some embrace it, I personally fear mine. Sometimes it is easy to recognize others times not so much, however, it is a work in progress and at least recognising the fact that I have an element of fear around it at least a starting point for me.
It has been the cause of much deliberation in my head but I think this is where I have been going wrong as my friend says I need to “feel” it in my body.
You are probably wondering why am I pondering this? It’s because we often put “stuff” over on other people which simply isn’t true, but which is a deep rooted issue within ourselves which needs healing if we are willing to take the task on. Or, other people put “stuff” over on us when it simply has nothing to do with us. As I said it happened to me recently and it brought the issue very much to the surface again for me. It reminded me how important it is to stop, take a moment and see if this really is my “stuff” or not.
My quest continues with projection.
A friend sent me this parable once to try to help me under where I was projecting my “stuff” onto him in the hope that I would “get it”, I found it beneficial so maybe it may help you too.
It is a Zen parable
When I was young, I liked to swim in a lake. I had a small boat and I used to sail and swim on the lake and I could spend hours there.
One day I was sitting with my eyes closed and meditating. It was a beautiful night. An empty boat floated down the river and hit mine. Anger arose in me over being disturbed! I opened my eyes and was about to scold the person who bothered me, but I saw that the boat was empty. My anger had nowhere to go.
On whom could I vent it? I had no choice but to close my eyes and start looking at my anger, in me. The moment I saw it, I took the first step on my Path.
On this quiet night, I approached deep inside myself. The empty boat became my teacher. Since then, if someone offends me or anger arises in me, I smiled to myself and say:
“This boat is empty, too.”
I close my eyes and travel deep within myself ….
* * * * * * * * * *
Projection….. the great mystery of my personal healing journey.
This is one of my Mum’s recipes. I will be honest I have absolutely no idea where she collected the recipe from but this is what I use when I am looking to rustle up something quick, easy and satisfying. I completely forgot to post this recipe as promsied for you guys and I wouldn’t have thought about it now either except that one of you mentioned it this week in class. My apologies for the delay but better late than never.
Firstly though let me be honest and advise you that I am one of those people who cannot just leave a recipe alone. I always wonder what it would be like to add a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I like to put my own personal touches to it. So just in case you are wondering why it doesn’t taste the same as the bread you ate at the “Pop Up Yoga” event here is why. There is no secret ingredient that I am holding back this is just my own special adapted version.
The alterations I made to make this my own….
instead of Sunflower Oil, I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
I add sultana’s on occassions also.
I also increase the amount of Raisins in the mixture as I personally love raisins in the bread. I have been know to double the quantity. (I don’t like chocolate pieces in mine but again you could substitute chocolate chips instead of raisins)
I put one full packet of chopped walnuts into the mixture also.
I use organic coconut sugar instead of honey but I will use honey if I don’t have the sugar in the house.
I also like to be able to taste the banana so I use three instead of the recommended two bananas.
Everything else I leave alone.
So do play around with this and make it your own.
Enjoy.. this is one of my favourites, it is the quickest and easiest mixtue to put together, the hardest part is getting everything out of the press.
As an alternative, you can also do a lovely butter icing for the top and mix some more crushed walnuts into the butter icing for extra texture and bliss. I personally just love it with a slap of real butter and a cup of tea.
200g White Flour
1 and a 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp bread soda
120ml Sunflower oil
2 Large Eggs
2 Medium banana’s
5 ozs walnuts
Instructions: Mix all the dry ingredients together and then mix all the wet ingredients together, then simply fold the whole lot of ingredients together. Line a 2lb loaf tin and its a matter of just pouring the mixture into the loaf tin. Placing in a hot over and waiting for your nostrils to be tantalised.
Bake for 50-60 mins at 180 degrees. Allow to cool and enjoy…. seriously delicious.
Growing old and aging has been swirling around in my thoughts and head on and off for the past number of months now. I found myself sitting in cafes, restaurants, hair salons, standing in line and just simply people watching, listening, taking in and contemplating the various ways people approach old age.
Today, the 19th August, I celebrate a landmark birthday as I turn the BIG 50 and the lead up to this is the main reason for my moments of contemplation and observation. What intrigued me the most was observing how some women looked far more elegant than others as they aged. Sorry guys, but you all seem to age gracefully,naturally, so it was the women who had me intrigued. As I sat and pondered why, I wondered was it the clothes that they wore, their makeup, or was it that they dressed trendy? After a lot of observation I realised it had nothing at all to do with any of that but more to do with the inner power these women had by embracing age and just accepting that they were growing older. There was no resistance.
In stark contrast others cling desperately to looking like they did in their 20’s and 30’s, surgery, botox, implants all in a bid to prevent age from creeping in. It’s made me wonder, WHY? What is so dreadful about growing old?
I have a daughter who turns 21 in a couple of weeks and a son who turned 19 a few short months ago. If I tried to stay looking young it would mean I was trying to compete with my kids. That felt all wrong on many levels to me. Seriously would you really want to go back to being a twenty year old? I wouldn’t! I’ve been there, done that, and I have worn the T-Shirt.
The thing is there is nothing wrong with growing older. What’s more is that it is completely in vogue right now. Like hello!! Every single person you meet is doing it. They / we are all aging.
I’ve known people who have freaked out, had meltdowns and refused to celebrate or mark the occasion, all because of reaching the dreaded 5 O !!! I know people who lie over their actual age. Why?
I, as a woman can still pull off being elegant and sexy without looking like a joint of mutton dressed up as lamb. I can still take care of myself, live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. I can still dance, have fun and I fully intend to enjoy life and live.
Why are we so afraid of wrinkles? If you have laughed a lot it means you have a lot of laughter lines, would you prefer to show off grumpy frowns? Silver glints in our hair? These catch the light and lift the tone of our skin especially around our faces, often they are more flattering than the effect of hair dye. So why do we fight it so much?
I am transitioning and I have decided to embrace it and see if I can be a silver long white/grey haired vixen. I’ve always loved how my grandmother looked with her snow white hair and I also wanted to be a member of the blue rinse brigade. Even though I always told my kids I’ll go purple and get a tattoo.
Some of you have already seen the result of this transition and I’ve been quite amused by people’s reactions. Women in particular are so afraid of growing old. It has me amazed.
I have been told “grey hair will age you”. Newsflash, I am already aged!
“You’ll need to cut your hair into a pixie cut”. Why? Why can’t it be long? BUT, I will be honest for a while I did toy with the idea of shaving it off, thankfully. I didn’t.
“You’ll need to go blonde to pull it off”. HELLO!!! Have you seen my hair? I’m a brunette and bleaching my hair blonde will certainly deliver a mandarin orange head that would make any M & M proud!
“It won’t suit your skin tone”. Well if I was born a brunette and that suited my skin tone, then aging naturally will also suit my skin tone. As we age we also naturally loose pigmentation in our skin which some people forget as they continue to dye their hair dark.
I’ve had jaws dropping in front of me. I’ve been asked “what the hell are you doing with your hair?” I’ve also had the silent nod and observation, where I can energetically feel she is losing it, having a meltdown vibe.
I’ve also been told astrologically Chiron will be returning and I’ve yet to figure out if that is a good or a bad thing for me, time will tell.
You’ll be glad to hear, I’m not having a meltdown or a breakdown.
Life has a great way of putting things in perspective and as I’ve aged I found that I am getting more and more secure in myself with regard to who I am, what floats my boat and what doesn’t.
Age brought with it a reality of understanding that youth lacked.
I always see birthdays as a celebration of a miracle. For me it is the day I was graced in this world with my existence, the day I started the journey to who I am today. The day I started touching other people’s lives, made a difference, be it for better or worse.
I see each birthday as an honour, a landmark, a blessing, and a gift of life to be grateful for. I have been fortunate to make another one, some unfortunately haven’t been as lucky.
So putting things in perspective, brunette or blonde, grey or white, whatever I’m gifted with it is just a colour. It is part of me and who I am if I am being authentic and real. So, right now, I am going to embrace it and see where it leads. I’m in transition right now and what’s more is I am loving it. I plan to rock my 50’s, free of the shackles, armour and masks of my youth. This is me, this is who I am, the real me and right now in this moment as mentioned I am loving it.
Happy 50th birthday to me, let the fun begin, let the adventure continue. Forever grateful for the gift of this moment.
Back in 2007 when I started out in college studying yoga, my focus was on developing my yoga and me. Even back then I instinctively knew the benefits of yoga and so I chose to do this for me and I poured all my energy into something I loved which gave me huge satisfaction. Yoga.
I placed my focus squarely on developing my personal yoga journey. My emphasis back then was on doing (to keep my mind occupied), pushing through (kept me moving forward), evolving into a fitter leaner machine.
As part of our college course we had to attend various different types of yoga classes so we had first-hand experience of what they felt like. It made logical sense plus at all the workshops I had gained valuable pieces of insights and information which I had been able to apply to my own personal practice.
I loved it, every single moment of it. I just loved it. I loved how my muscles sometimes ached and shook, how sweat would form on my brow, the challenge to see if I could stay with the pace of the class. I had set a challenge to myself to do better and to become more flexible. My aim was to master difficult poses and contort myself basically inside out. Everything I desired was everything that is NOT yoga. Back then I knew no wiser.
I remember one particular workshop we were required to attend was on Yin Yoga. I was all geared up, enthusiastic and ready to soak up more knowledge, ideas and hints and tips. What unfolded was like a dose of slow Chinese torture. We were encouraged to slow down, allow the body settle, breathe, and relax, and practice santosha (contentment) and ahimsa (non-violence) in the pose. WHAT???!!!! Omg! Two poses in I wanted to run from the room with yoga mat flying in the wind. I thought I was going to combust on my mat as everything in me resisted to great reverance. I hated every second of it and made a pledge that no matter what I did in the future Yin Yoga wasn’t going to be in the picture.
Why? What happened? It was simple. I had been so used to pushing my body to extremes, under various different disguises, varying levels that I was unable to slow down. I was unable to give my body the one thing it needed most -rest and recovery to repair, heal and strengthen. In my head I needed to get fit, I needed to get stronger, I needed to succeed, I needed to hold for longer…. When in actual fact all I really needed to do was be, and allow. This turned out to be even more powerful a challenge than any power yoga workout.
In slowing down I was being shown by my body just exactly what my body needed, where exactly it needed attention as to strengthening, lengthening, release. The care the nurturing it craved so badly. Yet I continued to induce a gentle kind of violent damage to it by not listening and instead ploughing ahead at full speed. Instead of sitting and relaxing and just being with myself I was doing everything and anything bar that. I would amp up the workout. Force myself to push through rather than stop. Suppress and basically avoid. Elements of that still exist in me today and I would up the anti in a bid to flush out issues I chose not to deal with. It seemed like a great coping mechanism except out bodies can only endure so much from us before eventually, saying – woah! Hold on just one minute, I’ve had ENOUGH!
I was afraid, stupid I know, but I was afraid to stop in case life caught up with me. Afraid that if I did stop I would be unable to pick up and take off again. I still carry those same fears in me but now I am a little bit more aware of my actions and I try to allow. TRY being the operative word here.
Age is an amazing educator. Here I am now 11 years down the road. My whole life changed for the better because of yoga and my whole yoga practice has completely evolved. The drive and stamina of constantly pushing and forcing of my younger days has started to subside and give way to true yoga. I now do yoga with the intention of being non-violent towards myself. I never thought that would happen but it has as my own personal yoga is becoming more and more yin. I am beginning to allow rather than force, soften rather than harden, sit with rather than run. Who would ever have guessed that that would be possible, back then I would have laughed the idea would be so ludicrous. I would see it as being weak.
Youth, drive, stamina. Brilliant aspects in their own right if we listen to our bodies and give it time, but it also has a shadow disastrous consequences in later life if we don’t listen to our bodies. Arthritis, bursitis, frozen / tight shoulders, discs & back ache, inflammation all start to kick in if we fail to listen to our bodies.
I maintained I was invincible. I would have an endless supply of energy and drive to keep me moving, driving forward. That is the beauty of youth you feel invincible. Dreams are for realising and goals are to be reached. It never enters our head that as we age so does our body. Our bodies get tired of the constant draw we put on its resources and it lets us know by ailments, the silent consequence that slowly creeps up on us. So silently that we don’t pay them any great heed. A gentle ache which we swallow a pill for, suddenly it doesn’t go away and then slowly becomes a steady constant pain. A joint which used to move so freely becomes inflamed and angry and suddenly always appears to be sore. A back with used to be strong and supportive now cripples us and sometimes floors us quite literally. It may even be a tightened or thorn muscles in the legs which seems to now become a recurring ordeal at the slightest stretch. Body pains are the awards for the dynamic stamina which herald us relentlessly forward constantly pushing our bodies to extreme.
How much further do we plan to push before our bodies eventually say, ENOUGH!
Yoga has always been a journey and it will continue to be so. I am discovering right now the joy and bliss in just simply allowing, not forcing but simply allowing. What I am noticing is that by doing so my body responds in a much greater capacity than it ever did by being forced or presurised.
Yoga, it is like a flower slowly opening into the magnificent crescendo of full bloom. The work is slow, but steady, creating strength but with softness that allows flexibility in both poses and life. It turns furiousness and haste into a pleasant acceptance of slowing down and enjoying.
Slowing down has an added benefit also, especially in sports yoga. Slowing down allows the muscles to lengthen and eases the tension that severe training can cause. Where it is important at times to push ourselves to do better and to succeed it is also vitally important to recognise when to ease up and allow the muscles time to gain flexibility.
If you are into sports, be it GAA, Soccer, Rugby, Running whatever your sport, tightening muscles are going to hold you back both in performance and sustainability. This is where yoga has enormous benefits it brings strength with flexibility, it brings durability to your performance on the pitch or the road. It brings clarity to your mind so that your focused attention is exactly where it needs to be and not holding you back through fear of injury or renewed injury.
If you have been injured you need to protect the wound, you need to build strength around it to help prevent it from reoccurring. It is all very fine pushing yourself endeavouring to reach goals, but what is you back up plan if your body lets you down and suddenly says… I’ve had ENOUGH!
I provide a back-up plan, learn to stretch your muscles, help prevent injuries, help strengthen old injuries and ensure your sports performance has a long and rewarding time span.
If any of this resonates with you, come along to our yoga class. Monday night at 7pm you will stretch, you will release but you will also ensure your body endures.
I’m crying as I write this because it has brought back so many mixed memories for me and I can’t believe how bad things have become in such a short space of time.
I got tagged this morning on facebook by a beautiful person I met and and now have the pleasure of calling a friend when I travelled to Bali a little over a year ago – Emmie Phelan. Bali as you know was one destination I wanted to travel to for most of my life, it was top of my bucket list. I wrote about some of my experiences but others I kept close to my heart. It didn’t feel right writing about my experiences when my sister Antonia had been diagnosed with Cancer just two days before I departed. It was the longed for trip of a lifetime that very nearly didn’t happen. Bali left an impact that I still feel to this day and she helped me in ways I never dreamed possible, especially in coping with the sadness and pain that lay a few months ahead. There were many tears shed on that journey. It was the most heart breaking trip I had ever set off on, alone.
Bali has unbelievable beauty, both of the landscape and in its people but Bali also has a troubled side brought about mainly by the tourists that visit. Plastic.
Plastic has become such a huge issue all over the world but never in my life was I faced with such blatantly obvious destruction as I was in Bali. It was everywhere most especially in the ocean. Here in Ireland if I dip my toes into the sea I am normally concerned about not stepping on a jelly fish, in Bali the concern was not to get wrapped up in plastic. There is a conscious effort being made to clean up in Bali but its out further in the depths of the ocean, where years of refuse and disregard from humans that the enormity of the damage can really be seen.
This video is of Manta Point, Nusa Penida, Bali. This is where I dropped into the ocean for the first time off a boat filled with people who were all 1) able to swim 2) able to snorkel or 3) able to dive. Whereas I, couldn’t do any of the three! Our first stop was Manta Point. I had only ever seen Manta’s on TV or in the Aquariums so I was a little excited about the prospect of seeing one for real, so fear of not being able to swim didn’t even come into it as I was not missing out on an opportunity of a life time.
Except when I jumped in, I had hoped to see Manta’s swimming in the deep in their natural habitat. I was anticipating beauty of an enormous magnitude, instead the reality was human waste, plastic. Plastic bags, plastic cups, plastic wrappers, plastic forks, knives, spoons and plastic bottles floating on the surface and beneath. I got such a shock I actually gulped ocean water. This video shows you what I saw that day except when I was there it was to a lesser degree. This is the same area a litte over a year on and it is totally heartbreaking to see that the matter has escalated not resolved.
We didn’t get to see Manta’s. The sea was too choppy and when a lot of the experienced people started going green and getting sick, a collective decision was made to get back on the boat and travel to a quieter bay. I wrote about my experience and the beauty I did see at the quieter bay but this video this morning was like being back down there all over again and it is just harrowing to witness.
Like anywhere there is enormous beauty in Bali but there is also the problem side. I have every intention of returning to this place that captured my heart from the very first moment. Here are a few pictures of what looks like rocks on the beach but in fact are the remants of the damged coral reef. You will spot the odd glimer of colour in a couple of photos, a reminder of a healthier reef.
We are doing this people, we are ALL doing this. We are destroying our planet and its eco system. Watch the video. This is real I have experienced it. This problem isn’t just in Bali it is also a problem in Irish waters. Bali has started major clean-up projects as have a lot of other locations around the world. But we need to do the same. Placing your plastic bottle into a recycle bin is not the solution, you need to start cutting down altogether on the use of plastic, find another way. Richard’s Little Farm in Mallow, is finding another way, he is buying organic produce in canvas bags and he will fill containers for you. Reuse… Reclaim this planet we live on before we destroy it beyond repair, lets not lose the beauty we have on this planet.
Well my Mum’s apple brack went down a storm today and a miracle did happen, I refrained from cutting into it just to make sure that it was cooked through. It did actually arrive at the studio in one piece but it left in the bellies of today’s workshop attendees.
Before I say anymore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Vicki Woods for coming and delivering a fabulous morning of Qi Gong. Vicki drew our awareness to various joints and how our conditioning can tighten and tense our muscles and making life difficult for ourselves in the long run.
Vicki gave us simple techniques to help us open our bodies and our energy pathways so that we feel balanced and in the flow of life.
I certainly left with a greater awareness of how I am moving in everyday activities even in the simple act of sitting down and getting up out of a chair. I learnt a beautiful sequence to help balance my bodies Qi and that of the Qi of my kidneys. This was of particular interest to me because of the stress I have been under in the past number of months, so I am looking forward to putting this into practice and seeing the unfolding benefits in my own body.
Some of you I know expressed your disappointment at not being able to make the workshop today but I am delighted to say Vicki is going to be returning in the near future for another workshop so if it is meant to be you may make the next one. I am looking forward to learning more valuable techniques to keep me youthful and alive.
I am always surprised at how hungry I get when I am working with energy and today was no different. During our break today the topic of discussion turned to Mum’s apple brack recipe. I am delighted to say that it went down a storm with everyone and I ate a little piece of cake for each of you that were unable to make it today! I promised that I would post the recipe here for everyone to enjoy so I am delivering on that promise with this yogi moment.
Maybe it is the energy of what we did today but I began reminiscing about my childhood this evening and how cooking was a huge part of growing up for me. I remember both my Grandmother’s baking on a weekly and sometimes even daily basis and I remember well the mouth-watering treats we would get to devour as a result of their endeavours… scones, apple tarts, queen cakes, sponges, fruit cakes and madeira cake. Food I grew up on and to this day still enjoy.
It reminded me of how traditions get passed down through the family line sometimes unknowingly. I was mentioning today how Mum had this cook book which we removed out of the house after she died, not because it had any value except that of sentimental value to us. The food of my youth was held within the recipes of this falling apart navy cook book. Each of us photocopied or hand wrote out our own favourite recipes into our own little book. The cake I baked for today was one of those hand written recipes I took from mums cook book and placed into my own. It hit me today that without realising it that by doing so I was keeping a family tradition alive and strong. Mum was forever cutting recipes out of newspapers or magazines and trying them, if they turned out well they got put into her “navy cook book”. This was the ultimate seal of approval if a recipe made it into this book, the unfortunates got binned.
Like many Irish household’s Mum had recipes written on the back of used envelopes, thorn out pieces of paper, on grease proof paper, on a pull out page of a copy book, basically anything she could lay her hands on when she was trying to collect a recipe. Some recipes were copied from her Mum’s cook book and stored in this same book.
So, I have no idea where the origin of the following recipe came from, if it is years old or a relatively new recipe, but I do know it is packed with flavour and sweet scents of my childhood and simple to make. Where ever it originated from I know this much, it passed mum’s taste bud test and made it into the family navy cookery book.
One other important factor to remember and in my opinion is a secret ingredient to everything you bake is this…. NEVER bake a cake when you are angry as this energy passes into your mixture. So always include plenty of love and smiles for those who will eat the fruits of your labour as you mix your ingredients together, it does make a difference to the end product. Trust me!
Mum’s Apple Brack
1lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced and a little lemon juice.
1/2lb brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp mixed spice
1/4lb chopped walnuts
12ozs plain flour (I used spelt )
Stew apples, sugar and lemon juice, stirring whilst cooking.
Add the butter and stir until melted. Leave aside to get cool.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Stir in a generous amount of love and smiles for the hearts of those who will consume it.
Line a 2lb loaf tin and pour the mixture in.
Bake at 150 for one and half / two hours depending on whether you use a fan or conventional oven.
Remove and let cool.
Boil the kettle, make yourself a cup of tea, sit and enjoy a generous slice of brack. It tastes even better when shared with a loved one or friends. Enjoy you guys from our house to yours a little bit of tutti fruity.