Round Ireland with an iPhone: Belfast #3

A day in December past, Ormeau Park, Belfast. The air was crisp chill, the sunlight pale and hypnotic. One tree had bark of a peculiar orange shade, made more surreal by the way a sun shaft illuminated its branches. A bird puffed its body up against the breeze and sang in muted tones. I walked and breathed the mist and light.

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Into the Zen Zone: My Big Three Inspirations for 2019

image of book cover ten to zen by Owen O'Kane

ten to zen book by Owen O’Kane

1.  Hot off the press, psychotherapist and workshop facilitator Owen O’Kane’s book ten to zen is a welcome, practical guide to developing a meaningful, do-able meditation and mindfulness practice as part of everyday life.

As the author explains,  this ten minute daily routine is more of a workout for the mind than a rigorous regime. Just like a physical health drive, ten to zen is designed to keep our brain, mind and soul healthy and effective.

By explaining and describing each step of the ten minute workout, ten to zen helps us to lean back from stresses and strains for a brief breathing space each day,  ultimately enabling us to master anxiety or fear and to embrace and transform our experiences into  joyful living.

Still working my way through the book, I will testify that already I sense a shift in my perspectives and a more optimistic and connected relationship with family, life and the world.

Highly recommended, click the mage or in-text title for more details (I claim no affiliation to any sources linked or cited, just keen to spread the word), and here is the full citation: O’Kane, Owen (2018), Ten to Zen: Ten Minutes a Day to a Fuller and Happier You, UK: Bluebird.

 

2. While appreciating the fresh take on mindful living in ten to zen, every once in a while I revert to the Master of Zen for the western world, Jon Kabat-Zinn, for his deep yet accessible, and again highly applicable, works. So now, re-reading Full Catastrophe Living wherein there are so many gems and nuggets of wisdom and insight, I have to say the world is looking rosier by the minute.

My first encounter with Dr Zinn’s wisdom was through his numerous recorded talks on YouTube, as well as a free audio-book of Wherever you go, there you are. Here’s a brilliant starter for ten that enlightens us to the facts that we are not our thoughts, they are self-limiting phenomena and don’t need to be fought, just liberated. Here’s ‘Your Thoughts are Bubbles’:

 

3. I never cease to be amazed at the ways in which each teacher shares these profound truths and joys of mindfulness and meditation in their own unique, inspirational voices. Perhaps it is that they are all coming from different traditions and disciplines, and that in itself is an uplifting and enriching encounter. This is something that struck me in an intense way when I received my most recent new year reading list title, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haimin Sumin.  The format is quite different, with wise comments and quotes set out almost like a poetry collection, interspersed with beautiful and captivating illustrations by Youngcheol Lee (2012, UK: Penguin Life). This is my night-time book and certainly worth finding. I wish you all a peaceful, inspired year for 2019.

Clutterville Central:My Domestic Space Dilemma

image of vintage dresser cluttered with china, odds and ends.

Since starting my new part-time job at IKEA I am enjoying a resurgence of energy and activity. I love the work, the creative atmosphere and our lovely team. I’m also studying Marketing at Belfast Met and setting up a small enterprise to combine life and health coaching with business support for sole traders and SMEs.

So, as you may guess, the home front is suffering. In complete contrast to the beautiful environment I work in and help to maintain, my own domestic daily routines have gone haywire and mindful domesticity has temporarily taken its leave.

The laundry gets done but rarely put away. Food shopping happens and meals are made, even though the fridge and cupboards are now pretty disorganised.

I’m sliding too on all the little extras: DIY and decor projects hang suspended in no-man’s-land; de-cluttering on a routine basis is now a pipe dream; windows need shining and bedrooms need sprucing but I simply cannot find the time to start and finish a project on the same day, week or even month. In short, the house is a mess.

On top of that there’s been a hiatus on the writing, blogging, crafting, walking and regular exercise fronts. They are now haphazard chance happenings. In short,

>> I need help! <<

What to do? Everyone is willing to chip in, in spite of the multiple demands on time and energy they too face daily. The challenge is to create an organising and cleaning system and keep it going – a tall order indeed, since we all work and study.

My current muse is tidying guru Marie Kondo, ‘whose method of lovingly connecting with belongings that spark joy and bidding a fond but firm farewell to the rest, is popular in Japan and is now catching on elsewhere.’ [The Guardian, Life and Style Supplement, 27th Nov. 2014].

I bought the book last year, started the ‘Kon Marie’ system and it was all going well until I got caught up in job applications and lost the tidying plot somewhere along the way.

So do I engage some outside help for a big spring clean (or to be more precise a big ‘pre-Christmas’ clean) and for routine monthly or weekly maintenance? This seems sensible and I believe would be money well spent. We could then all share the basic daily tasks and keep our own stuff regulated while outside help takes care of big cleaning. Big questions, though. Is it affordable? Is it justifiable?

>> What to do? Would it work? <<

Your experiences and suggestions would be most welcome!

Thanks and Toodle-oo

‘til next time.

 

Journal Me Mindful

Rumi quote: The wound is the place where the light enters you.

Hi Folks, welcome and apologies for the haphazard (in fact almost absent) nature of posting over the past few months. I have been on a challenging journey to do with Health and WellBeing. Yet, now that recovery is dawning (in the distant horizon but there nonetheless), I am coming to realise that it has also been a voyage of discovery, in fact a re-discovery of the amazing benefits of mindfulness meditation. The feelings of connectedness, calmness and of being back on track have given me a tremendous lift and I owe this turnaround to several sources.

Firstly, a doctor here in Belfast at the Synergy Clinic, who takes an integrative approach, has helped me in a massive way with information, reassurance and naturopathic prescribing. Taking charge of your own health is a very empowering experience.

Next, the Chopra Centre 21 day meditation series, currently ongoing, is a welcome resource and I am currently at Day 8, finding the mantras and messages meaningful and the practice greatly calming. Their journaling resource section is a welcome addition and I print out my journal entry every day. It is a useful resource and well worth reading back over for extra motivation and inspiration.  Here’s the link to the current meditation series.

https://chopracentermeditation.com/

 

Then I found the book Mindfulness by Mark Williams and Danny Penman, which is full of the most up-to-date, enlightening information and instruction and together with the CD, offers an 8 week course in mindfulness meditation. This is most promising to me and I plan to build it into my new found daily practice after I complete the Chopra Centre 21 days. cover of the book Mindfulness by Mark Williams and Danny Penman

 

I would thoroughly recommend them all and wish everyone well on your journey of life.

 

 

 

Opening Image citation http://www.openhandweb.org/rumi_%20wound%20_light_enters

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