In this poem I continue to imagine the embodiment of parental love. It is an extension of my previous short poem (a Haiku) called Parental Bone-Weariness.Continue reading “Vanilla love”
A friend recently shared the poem ‘The Invitation’ by Oriah Mountain Dreamer in which the following words deeply resonated with me:
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.Continue reading “Parental bone-weariness”
Roshi Robert Kennedy SJ, an Irish-American Zen master and Jesuit, put the following challenge to us after we sat in silent meditation at the Earth + Sky Dojo (meditation hall) in Dublin. He said: “Why are you here? Why are you doing this? You need to know why you are doing it because Zen demands a lot from you.”Continue reading “Zen spirit in poetry”
I was probed by an aggressive man while on holiday in the Irish countryside. I didn’t expect it coming during a time of peace and consolation. Like a trained interrogator, he asked question after question on the subject of my personal life. He laid into me about not doing enough paid work in my career. I gave him the benefit of the doubt – thinking it would be good to give him a half hour of my time. But I shouldn’t have given him a minute!Continue reading “Shine”
Compassion begins with the soothing look, the disarming stare and the gaze of wonder.
I threw myself into one of the best stories ever told by contemplating its significance with my senses, feelings and easing of the body. The Story of the Good Samaritan gripped me once again as I imagined being the bruised and battered man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Robbers did their job most effectively by emptying me of my pockets and they attempted to take away my dignity. The priest and priest’s assistant passed me by, but the Good Samaritan stopped, looked me in the eyes and was totally present to my painful condition. His eyes seemed to say it all and I felt redeemed, worthy and loved.Continue reading “Comfort in the discomfort”
Seeing beauty is not always like the way a lover meets his beloved for the first time. Sometimes it means seeing black as white and white as black.
Do you ever wonder what goes on when you pray or meditate? Perhaps you maintain an upright posture, breathe rhythmically, and behold an image in your mind’s eye. But what exactly is going on? I invite you to accompany me as I meditate on two of Jack B Yeats’ paintings: The Singing Horseman (1949) » and For the Road (1951) ». Each work contains an animal and human figure offering a profound insight on how we see reality today.Continue reading “Yin and yang of Yeats”
I was given privileged access to the Ards Friary Walled Garden in Ards, County Donegal during a one-week stay with the Capuchin contemplative community. Brother Ade brought another man and me through the five-acre land one day and it was a sheer delight in discovering its secrets. After the initial visit, Ade gave me a loan of the keys letting me wander around on my own. I felt like I was given permission to a secret paradise.Continue reading “Keys to a secret garden”
A mental health professional recently told me that while most people have their ups and downs in life, they don’t normally have to worry about being unbalanced. It got me thinking… if people don’t really worry about being unbalanced, do they care enough to be deeply balanced?
I had good reason to explore deep peace and balance in my own life as I participated in an 8-week wellness course organised by Aware, the Irish mental health organisation. Here are eight tips I learned from the course. I believe they may help us all live well this holiday season:Continue reading “A deeply peaceful Christmas”
Sadly, few of us know what it is like to be in harmony with our minds. We are so often subject to our thoughts, feelings, and impulses. We get dragged around as if by an ox, when it is the ox that ought to be following us.
Thankfully, there are ways to ‘tame our ox-mind’ as we transition back to ordinary living. One is to separate unproductive worry from productive worry. In the case of someone who is returning to the office on a regular basis, unproductive worry focuses on the ‘what ifs’.Continue reading “Flourishing in the face of anxiety”
Have you recently noticed a nervousness in the air? Something you may not have been aware of before? We may feel tension in our bodies as we try to live in a ‘new normal’ world. There may be a tightness in our heads, chests and bellies as we return to our physical work buildings and meet our colleagues or go shopping again on a busy street or socialise more with our friends.
Research shows that even positive change can lead to anxiety, and it can take time to readjust to things we have not done for a while. Although feelings of post-lockdown anxiety are likely to pass, it’s important to take care of our mental health.Continue reading “Facing anxiety of the ‘new normal’”