Posts

On nature

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Have you noticed how much better you feel after time spent in nature? A 2019 american study noted greater cognitive ability in people who spent time in green spaces, even noting that the cognitive development of children who were outdoors more was greater than their indoor peers. Forestbathing beloved by the Japanese, is now often prescribed by therapists as part of our self-care toolkit.  I can personally recommend it as a balm to the nervous system too. A 2015 UK study of 2000 people who enjoyed the outdoors observed a greater sense of community, less crime and less aggression in the group, much greater than among a second group of 2000 people who were largely sedentary and spent their time inside. Typically in Ireland, we get two weeks of summer, the rest of the months of May, June, July and August can be grey and pretty dull.  But as Billy Connolly, Comedian once said, 'there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing'. So for our mood and our bones

On socialising

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Have been thinking a lot about how I socialise and when of late.  Newly emerged from a couple of dark financial years thanks to covid, I enjoy my leisure time from a very busy role a little differently now. Being in my middle years and being married has changed what I like to do too.  There was a time late night dancing in Bruxelles, Dublin followed by noisy chatting at the taxi rank with pals over a greasy bag of chips was the thing to be doing. The very idea seems unthinkable now - I'm all grown up.  Recent work and financial changes have left me with a permanent student mentality in how I live and spend too. When I shop, which is rare, I use my husband's croatian adage - 'I'm too poor to buy cheap'.  In terms of social spending, I prefer quality over quantity aswell.  I save for rainy days, gigs and holidays more - how very middle-aged. I definitely do less, in smaller groups and with less people.  Since covid, I prefer a good chinwag with a close fri

On church

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One of the non-secular definitions of the word 'church' is a gathering together of a community of people. In recent years  I've had occasion to make sporadic visits to church for communions and such, despite no longer being a practicing catholic myself. There are many reasons for pulling away, not least the paedophile rings that have been uncovered as well as the mother and baby home atrocities, that's before we even consider the appalling handling of victims afterwards. An old friend once told me that 'we are spiritual beings having a human experience', for me that resonates on a deep level.  Another recommended 'being spiritual quietly' - great advice especially in social settings. In my day to day work, I do bump into men of the cloth as they deliver sacraments and collection envelopes to the elderly.  They, aswell as the nuns who taught me, have an otherness quality about them, and an almost translucence.  Qualities that I fea

On spaciousness

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Fluctuating hormones, have me growing a little clumsy in midlife.  A scrape here and a bruise there as I clunk around, narrowly avoiding corners, door handles and sudden doorsteps.  I can't even blame alcohol, I'm always stone cold sober for these little moments. The old adage is true in my case, if its happening in the body, its happening in the mind too.  My thoughts increasing like to crowd in like a packed rally, with each thought wanting its say. My need for spaciousness is growing, I want less stuff, generally less in every department of my life, so that I can have space.  I even like large spaces between my day to day activities and social gatherings to decompress and reset. Journalling once a keen favourite of mine, is not so much a thing for me now.   I like to get the spaciousness on the hoof as I move around my day, avoiding the small spaces and sharp edges. Only one thing works for me for the physical side of this latent clottines

On finding our voices

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I have a lot of thoughts, too many I often think for my small form to contain.  My love of rajasic, stimulants like coffee, wine and spicy foods, may play a part.  The mental overcrowding I often experience was sorted out in the main by building a regular yoga and meditation practice into my life. Children in my era were best 'seen and not heard'.  At work, it was best advised 'to keep the head down and the mouth shut'.  All very humble good stuff you would think? Not so much. I also learnt to hide my 'light under a bushel' and not to 'blow my own trumpet' in regards to any success.  In loving relationships, apparently my job was to manage, nurture and support the other person, whether they needed it or not whilst losing myself into the bargain.  I was loveable only if I was nurturing and managing others and putting myself last. There is a pattern forming here.  I grew slowly quieter, but I was all picture and no sound.  A boiling

On internalised misogyny

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I was awakened to my internalised misogyny a few months back while watching television with my other half.  A snort of derision from him at a contestant on an episode of Dinner Date on ITV Be sparked a few months of reflection.  The lady in question had had a frightening amount of work done and looked quite scary, to be honest.  On the one hand, 'fair play to ya missus, go for it', on the other 'oh my God, what have you done'?. We are living in an age where 20 somethings are getting preventative cosmetic work and yes why shouldn't they if they want to?.  But this preventative work may be a subliminal result of this toxic world in which they are growing up. As I called him out for dissing the sisterhood, himself gently noted that I often give a running commentary of TV females myself.  Until that precise moment, I was actually asleep to that fact about myself.  I really began to notice it and then silence myself. Where does it come from? Like

On moving on from childlessness

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I had the pleasure of enjoying the recent and most excellent Newstalk documentary by Hilary Fennell on Childlessness .  I felt the radio piece was very balanced overall.  I was quite moved at a heart level. These days I only think of myself as a childless person when I gratefully listen to work like this by Hilary or to the Ted talks by the wonderful Jody Day , Founder of the Gateway Women community. Childlessness tends to evoke images of sad lonely couples who keep trying 'til a) a baby eventually happens or b) the money or credit runs out.  Not always the case. The documentary touched on something often ignored.  How do the childless not by choice move on and grow old after the trying is done?  That's a whole other animal I've discovered. Ageing Without Children, a UK organisation, looks at the future care, housing and health issues of the childless.  America has developed whole communities and villages dedicated to and occupied by ageing p