When you need that little bit of extra mentoring, I believe we can find that learning and a lot more within the covers of a book. More often than not we do not listen to the advice of our loved ones and so these big life truths that we unearth in a book or story can have a bigger impact on us when we read them to ourselves, by ourselves. The words run deep as we remember and recall our own similar experiences and journeys. Through books we can understand our life and all that happens within it with greater awareness and clarity.Read More...
Last week I spoke about the healing power of nature and how beneficial grounding and being out in nature can be for our health on a deep level. This week I wanted to share with you some of my favourite spots to get out in nature in or around Dublin. I really feel we are truly blessed to live in this beautiful island and having travelled all over the world, very few places have held such a place in my heart as Ireland does. It is the perfect time of the year to get out, explore and be in nature.
My top 10 favourite Spots in or near Dublin
Portmarnock and Malahide coastal walk
Many of you know about how much I love Portmarnock beach and how often I am down there. The Velvet Strand is a gorgeous beach with beautiful views and a great stretch for walking or running. There is lots of parking along the road or public parking beside Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links or Portmarnock Golf club. It is close to Dublin City Centre and served by bus, train and dart. You can start your coastal walk from Portmarnock and continue towards Malahide (approx. 4km) for more sea air and gorgeous views.
Glendalough – The Spinc Trail and the Derrybawn Woodlawn Trail
Glendalough is a natural and historical haven for me and has almost a mystical energy to it. There are plenty of tracks and trails (Downloadable PDF) around Glendalough, where you can enjoy views of both the upper and lower lakes, St Kevin’s Church and round tower, Poulanass waterfall and much, much more. A favourite trail of mine is The Spinc which has a lot of uphill and steps but rewards you with magnificent views. If you prefer a flatter terrain Derrybawn Woodlawn trail is another favourite trail of mine.**
St Catherine’s Park
St Catherine’s park is a little gem nestled in between Westmanstown and Lucan village consisting of 200 acres of woodland and grassland with the River Liffey running through it. It also has playgrounds, skate parks, football pitches and fairy trails. Whether it is a family day out or a walk with your dog (it also has a dog run). You will love the space and tranquillity of this park.
Howth Cliff Walk
Howth cliff walk is a great trail for all levels of fitness and has so many places of interest and beauty along the trail that you will be spoiled for choice. It is also close to the city centre and easily reached by bus, train or dart. Howth is situated on a peninsula northeast of Dublin City and is a gorgeous fishing town with plenty of places to eat and drink. Along the trail you will have great views of Howth harbour, Ireland’s Eye, Lambay Island, Howth Castle, Howth lighthouse and so much more. I love this trail any time of the year on a clear day as the views are so beautiful.**
The Phoenix Park
The Phoenix Park is notably Dublin’s most famous park and is actually the biggest enclosed park in Europe. Not only is it home to the Irish president and American Ambassador but it is also home to Dublin City Zoo and to a host of wildlife including the famous herd of fallow deer. The park is twice the size of Central Park in New York and is easily accessible from all over Dublin City. Go explore and enjoy all of the trails and activities within.
Bray to Greystones
Another wonderful coastal walk from one bustling seaside town to another, a little over 6km each way. Both Bray and Greystones are on the dart line and so are easily reached from Dublin City Centre. With beautiful views the whole way around this walk is very popular on any day of the year. Probably more so in recent years as the Happy Pear have really put Greystones on the map. I love to start in Bray, head to the The Happy Pear in Greystones for some delicious food and then make my walk back to Bray.
St Anne’s Park
Another great park very close to the city centre and a relatively new favourite of mine having moved to the Northside. It is a big park of about 240 acres nestled in between Raheny and Clontarf and is steeped in nature, history and beauty in equal measure. There is lots to do and see in St Anne’s and plenty of places to wander and explore. My favourite spot to sit and soak it all in is the rose garden. There is always something on in St Anne’s from the weekly fun runs and yoga to the markets and festivals you have no excuse not to visit and enjoy it all.
Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara is a little further outside the city, about a 45 minute drive but I promise you it is worth it. The Hill of Tara is one of the most important and ancient sites in Ireland and can be found with in the mystical Boyne Valley along with Newgrange, Nowth, Dowth, Lough Crew and Slane. There is lots to explore at the Hill of Tara or you can just stroll around and soak in the abundant ancient energy and peace found there. There is a lovely Cafe there also to warm up on a cold day.
Clontarf / Bull Island
Bull Island is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and so if you are a nature lover this is the place to go. The special flora and fauna of the reserve attract plenty of wildlife. It is a great place to be within nature and go for a dip while still seeing the famous landmarks of Dublin City – Poolbeg towers, North & South Bull Walls and Howth Head. Right beside busy Clontarf and newly refurbished Clontarf Baths there is any number of places to eat or grab a coffee after a nice walk. My favourites are Bay, Fishbone, Kennedys and Happy Out
Lough Dan, Lough Tay and Knocknacloghoge
Another stunning area right beside Dublin in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains. We really are spoiled for tracks, trails and stunning scenery in this part of Ireland. This area is a place I love to get lost in for a few hours and breathe in the breathtaking views and at this time of the year I think it is at it’s most beautiful. Here is a guided walk around the area, this is definitely one not to be missed. Check out Video showing the stunning views.of the area by a wonderful photographer Ciarán Cassidy. **
**Always be careful when venturing out in nature, make sure you have the right equipment and tools to stay on track and are safe on your trail. There are lots of guides and groups that you can join and learn from. Don’t be silly and put yourself in danger.**
Have you ever sat in nature and felt your whole body untangle? Felt the tensions, stress and knots in your muscles just melt? Felt happy and content?
That is the healing power of nature. I simply love the outdoors, walking, hiking, strolling, swimming or just sitting and taking it all in. This is my favourite time of the year. It really feels like there is magic in the air. The extra crisp mornings and evenings showcasing the most beautiful and multicoloured skies at dawn and dusk. In this autumnal air it is like Mother Nature is putting on one last show of beauty and magnificence before the short evenings set in and we nestle down to hibernate for the winter.
It is often with a change in season that people are inspired to get out in nature. If we think back to spring when we were falling over our own feet to get out after a long, cold winter. Then again when the warm summer days graced us for longer than we are used to here in Ireland. Amazing shots from all over our stunning little country flooded our social media pages and everyone was grateful and proud to call it home.
Many people can think of a time, when their emotional state and mood shifted significantly just from being in nature. For me this happens every time. It’s the peace and quiet, the birds chirping, the hills and trees and the ebb and flow of the tide that syncs and reconnects me to Mother Nature and to the present moment also. I feel the rhythm of nature has the familiarity and peace of our own heartbeat and it brings us back to a place within ourselves that we can be content and truly connected. We forget how connected we are with nature and the cycles held within. We see ourselves as above or better than nature because of our advanced technology and evolution. We ignore that nature has had it all figured out long before us. In truth, we are one in the same, nourished by earth, facing the sun and living in cycles and seasons.
It is not just a better feeling we get from being in nature, continued research has proven the positive impact nature has on our whole body. Being in nature can reduce stress, improve fitness, increase connection and happiness, quiet the mental chatter, bring more mindfulness and clarity to us while encouraging us to take time away from technology. It can also benefit our sleep, a day’s hiking or breathing in the fresh sea air is a sure way to sleep well that night.
Grounding and earthing literally is reconnecting with the ground beneath us and drawing energy from the natural and physical world we live in. The simple act of walking barefoot at the beach or through the grass can have huge benefits to our health.
Grounding helps us to slow the monkey chatter in our brain and to let go of some or all of the stresses of modern-day life. In a world that encourages us to stay in our head 24/7, stay switched on to work, to emails, TV, Social Media and a litany of other demands, we need grounding more than ever.
Significant research has been carried out on the more intricate health benefits of grounding and earthing. Connecting with the earth can have profound impacts on a deeper energetic and cellular level. Our bodies use energy in different ways for different functions.
“In the body, thermal energy helps us to maintain a constant body temperature, mechanical energy helps us to move, and electrical energy sends nerve impulses and fires signals to and from our brains. Energy is stored in foods and in the body as chemical energy”. Ms. Ashley Koff, RD, Nutrition & Dietetics
Grounding and earthing can help us to neutralise the free radicals (unstable molecules that cause damage and inflammation) in our body and has been proven to reduce inflammation which is the cause of most disease within the body. It can also improve and enhance blood circulation, giving us more energy, more access to nutrients and greater efficiency at eliminating waste from the body. If you think of the electrical wiring in a plug, there is a grounding wire that protects the appliance from surges in electricity that might otherwise be dangerous. In grounding our own electrical circuits, within our bodies, we can prevent inflammation and damage from occurring.
To learn more about the benefits of earthing and grounding watch this trailer from the documentary The Grounded , the full version is also available on You tube.
Here are some ideas to get more grounded;
- Go for a walk in nature – the woods, mountains, in a local park.**
- Stand in your bare feet in the grass/ soil/sand for 5-10 minutes per day. Be present and soak in the whole experience.
- Stand with your feet in the sand and allow the water to lap around your feet. Go for a swim in the sea if you are brave enough…I promise it is worth it.
- Hiking – Ireland is known for its beauty and although the mountains are not high on a global scale there is no denying that the views are epic. **
- Find a spot you LOVE surrounded in nature and preferably close to your home/ work. Go there as often as you can and simply be one with nature and your breath.
- Grounding Meditation -Try this 10 minute Grounding Meditation.
**Always be careful when venturing out in nature, make sure you have the right equipment and tools to stay on track and are safe on your trail. There are lots of guides and groups that you can join and learn from. Don’t be silly and put yourself in danger.**
We go through many experiences and situations in life that cause us pain, hurt, anguish and heartache. Somethings hurt more than others. Sometimes we know exactly where the pain originated from and other times we just feel it and try and work through it.
Often, we push it down, suppress it and pretend it’s not there. We push it into the shadows in the hope that it will stay there quietly and let you get on with your life. We forget that the shadows are very much part of ourselves as a whole and that we can always light a candle in a dark room.
Emotions and thoughts are strongly held and felt within the body whether they are positive or negative in nature. They affect us on a mental, physical, emotional and indeed spiritual level. We are often so unaware of our patterns and mental chatter that we do not see the toxic effect it is having on our physical, emotional and mental bodies. When we are not aware of our thoughts and emotions and when we don’t give them the time and space to heal, they are stored in the body, stored until we are ready to deal with them.
We create ways of dealing with these emotions as we encounter them in different situations. Every habit or condition we have in our lives serves a purpose in the initial instance but after a while we no longer need it. We developed that habit or way of thinking as a means of protecting us at that time, as a way to cope with the situation. Like biting your nails, as a child you may have done it as a source of comfort or to ease your worrying thoughts. As an adult you may want to stop the habit and realise that although 5-year-old you had a good way to ease the worry when you were 5, adult you has a better way of dealing with it.
When we choose to ignore the thoughts and emotions a couple of things may happen. Similar things will continue to happen in our lives, repeating the pattern until we are ready to deal with the lesson that life is giving us. We may be blocked from moving on in our lives and remain stuck in a life that we are not happy with as we continue to believe ‘This is just who I am’, ‘that’s just the way it is’. Sometimes pain stored in the body or a long time can manifest as disease or illness within the body. A lot of people see disease as dis-ease within the body, the symptoms are telling us that something is imbalanced, blocked or damaged. This is happening because we are holding on to something that is not serving us anymore, something we need to let go of, something that we are still in pain over and needs healing.
Have you ever suffered with back pain?
Have a look at this chart and see if the area of pain for you would reflect some of the possible reasons cited below.
Our beliefs are shaped by our thoughts and emotions. Our beliefs are just thoughts we think over and over again. However we came to that belief isn’t as important as the knowledge that we can always change our beliefs. It takes time and consistent effort, but we CAN change our thought patterns and our beliefs to help us to live a happier and healthier life.
Your story to date is important but you don’t want to stay in the past chapters of your life. Your story is an important tool for you to use to see the things you want in your life and the things you don’t want in your life. However, you cannot affect change in your life if you keep thinking the same thoughts, none of your power is from where you are backward. ALL of your power is from where you are now, moving forward. The more you focus on the unwanted, on your story, on your past experiences the deeper you dig into a hole you are trying to get out of.
We know that the plant cannot survive without the root, so to change the thought pattern, you have to go back to the root cause. Again, you don’t want to get stuck at the root cause or caught up in the backstory because then you can’t move forward from there. Many of us know someone, ourselves included, who have got stuck in a backstory and tell it over and over again. They wear the badge of that situation and refer to it whenever something goes wrong in their lives or when anyone will listen. Essentially, they are just using it as an excuse and getting in their own way of moving on and moving forward. Every moment is a fresh start of where you are and where you want to be instead of where you were and where you got to be.
Louise Hay, author of Heal Your Life, is famous all over the world for creating a reference of the most common illness, diseases and health issues, their probable causes and life changing thought patterns to help us rewire our way of thinking. She speaks of the four main thought patterns that cause the most dis-ease within the body as criticism, anger, resentment and guilt.
If we think of all the situations and experiences we have been through in our lives then it is very probable that we are holding onto criticism, anger, resentment and guilt from ourselves or others, maybe even from our childhood or past lives. The more we are aware of these thought patterns, the more we can clear, heal and live a happier and healthier life.
When we are aware of the thought process and the probable cause we can then start to work on changing that thought process. Sometimes awareness in itself can be curative and alongside the new thought pattern change can come very quickly. Other times we need to practice the new thought pattern every day, consistently until they become natural to us. Rewiring the brain to change the thought processes is not easy work, we literally are breaking apart neurons that may be wired together for years. And often we need help from a practitioner, to help us to heal and let go.
When the physical symptoms occur again we are aware of what is coming up for us and we can quickly adapt in whatever we need to so ease that pain. However, I believe the most important tool to healing and pain is forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the most powerful tool you can give yourself. If you can’t learn to forgive, you can forget about achieving true success in your life – Wayne Dyer.
Forgiveness is not only a powerful emotion it is a powerful and empowering choice to make for ourselves. Forgiveness is a huge component in our overall happiness and healing from past situations and experiences. When we choose to forgive we are not saying that we condone the behaviour of the person who caused us pain and hurt. We are not saying that we will reconcile, become their best friend and pretend like it never happened. It also doesn’t mean that we have to publicly ‘show’ our forgiveness, there is as much power in silently working on it ourselves. When we choose to forgive we choose to let go of that anger, hurt, regret, blame, resentment, the story. We choose to remember that no one is perfect and that we have the courage, guts and strength of purpose to practice forgiveness and let go, especially when there is anger and resentment within us. We take responsibility for our part in it, our reaction and our holding onto it and instead decide to make the change and reap the benefits.
When we are angry, bitter, resentful, hateful towards a person or situations (ourselves included) we are the only ones feeling that negative and destructive emotion. The other person does not feel or is not ‘punished’ because we are feeling this way toward them. In fact, when we feel this way towards someone it is like making a poison of hate for someone and their behaviour towards us and drinking it ourselves. Forgiveness is a gift of peace of mind and heart you give to yourself. It is a gift of health and happiness instead of a life of resentment, anger and hate. It is not easy, but it can be achieved with intention and practice.
Wherever you are on your path please know that there are tools and therapies that can assist you in letting go and healing from whatever past trauma or pain you experienced. In seeking help and healing you are essentially taking back your power, your inner peace to live a happier, healthier life instead of a life of pain and resentment.
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As most of you know the late, great Dr Wayne Dyer is one of my favourite teachers. His shining light, humour, wisdom and joy of learning and service drew me into the world of motivation and personal growth nearly 10 years ago and has taught me so much about myself and life. His teachings continue to teach me each day and when I look back through his books with many underlined quotes and hearts beside important things to remember I smile and I am so, so grateful. Below, is my interpretation of some important life lessons he shared with the masses that I find invaluable.
1. Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.
“No one ever knows enough to be a pessimist”. Open yourself up the to idea that in this infinite universe you are open to the abundance within it. When you open your mind to seeing things differently and experiencing new things you are opening yourself up to all of that abundance because you are attached to nothing. If you feel yourself attaching to an idea, thought, word, phrase within your own mind or someone else’s, think ‘That’s interesting’ or ‘That’s one way of looking at it’. Attachment feeds off the fear and disillusion that without x, y or z you cannot be happy. Attachment only feeds the ego. The ego’s need to look a certain way, act a certain way, have certain things, personify a certain image. Ask yourself the question; Who am I? To know ourselves on the deepest level means detaching from materials things, labels, body shapes, expectations or careers or relationships – all these man-made conditions that we strive to achieve and or judge ourselves when we don’t reach them. You are not your name, your physical body, you’re not your nationality or race or religion, you’re not your emotions or thoughts, you’re not your personal history or financial status, you’re not your job or political view. YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!!! When we are attached to these ideas we are committing to the fear, saying that I cannot be happy if I don’t have x, y and z or I cannot be happy if you don’t do or say a, b or c. Happiness, peace, success, love, manifestation comes only when we choose to be open to everything and attached to nothing.
2. “You can’t give away what you don’t have”
You can only attract what you are not what you want. If you want love, peace, happiness, joy, abundance etc. you must share it and be it and the you can receive it. The Law of attraction is a big magnet – so when you are resentful, hateful, stressed, frustrated, feeling broke, unloved that is what are attracting back into your life. Why? How? The more and more you’re in your head about the things you want and need because at that moment you are ‘lacking’ those from your life and therefore ‘unhappy’ or ‘unfulfilled’ the more you’re attracting that ’lack’ into your life. If you are trying to resist thinking of if ‘it’ you are still in the vibration of that which you don’t want in your life. You will always be in the mode of constantly striving and never arriving at what you want. You can go to the ocean of abundance with a truck or an eyedropper, you choose!! Practice being in the receiving mode through gratitude and meditation. Practice feeling that feeling as if you have already received the things you want. When you give help, give guidance, give kindness, give gratitude to others it comes right back to. The universe is saying back to you – what can I now give you? So ask yourself and the universe, what can I give today?
3. There are no justified resentments.
This is one of the hardest things for people to overcome but one of the most powerful for our healing and peace in life. When we carry resentment or blame for anything or anyone (even those who really wronged and hurt us) we are the only ones who suffer. When a snake bites someone it is not the snakebite that kills the person. We cannot be unbitten, we cannot ever change the fact that we have been bitten. It is the venom that travels through the body in the blood and does the damage and destroys us. When we carry resentment, anger, rage and blame around within us we carry the venom, the very poison we want to direct at the person who hurt us and drink it ourselves. We control the venom, we control the poison. How do we choose to not drink it?
- Send blame away – don’t step into the victim role and give more of your power away to that person. When we wait for someone else to change or apologise we are stuck waiting for something that might never happen. Instead, send the blame away and take your power back and make the choice to move on and change your life for the better.
- Practice sending love instead of fear, resentment, anger, blame out into the world. Remember you attract what you are not what you want so practice sending love instead of resentment and it will come back to in many shapes and forms. The vibration of love is stronger than that of anger and resentment so find ways to cultivate more of it in your daily life. Love is the message of all the great spiritual teachers, it is the common denominator in all teachings.
4. Don’t die with your music still in you.
Follow your purpose, follow your true path, follow the path that lights up from the inside out and makes you feel alive inside. We all show up with a purpose – maybe it is as a mammy, a teacher, a musician, an author, a healer, a business woman, world traveller, an artist, an athlete whatever it may be. It doesn’t need to be your ‘job’ or something you make money from. It is that one thing that gets you into your own unique groove like when ‘your’ song comes on and you can feel every beat in your bones as if it was written by you, for you and is now playing through you. So many people have been asked on their deathbed, what do you regret, and the majority say their biggest regret is not living their life doing the things they love with the people they cherish. Find your groove and dance passed the fear and doubt forgetting about those looking on, they are probably too afraid to join in.
5. Embrace the silence.
You can’t heart the answers if you are busy, busy, busy and rushing, rushing, rushing. You can only hear the answers when you slow down, calm down and connect with your soul. In doing so you connect with your source/ universe/God, it doesn’t matter what you call it, just plug in and connect. There is a famous saying that ‘You cannot get wet from saying the word wet’. It doesn’t matter if you call the connection God, soul, consciousness, the universe, Allah. It is not what we call something that gives it it’s substance. Call it what you may, just connect. Our world now is made on divisions between one and another – black and white, up and down, right and wrong. However, silence is silence no matter how many times it is divided, reminding us that when we plug in, there is no division between us and our source – We are one!!
When you connect you are tapping into an infinite well of well-being, healing, love, light, peace, joy. Take the time each day to get quiet, get peaceful and meditate.
6. Give up your personal history.
If you don’t have a personal history to carry around anymore you also don’t have the expectation and judgements that go along with it. If I said give me the bag right now, you would probably throw it at me in delight and cartwheel out of this room. We drag around these personal histories for two reasons I believe. The first because we attach to it and play the role of the martyr thinking I have to carry this cross out of shame and or guilt (Deeply ingrained Irish fears and ideas). Or the second reason is because we are afraid to give it up for when we do we might not know who we are or what is next. When we give up our personal history, our old sorry story we have to make up a new one and often that is scarier than ditching the old one. Wayne likens the bag to a bag of manure that we carry around and every now and then we take out a handful of manure and spread it all over ourselves and wonder why there is a smell or s@*t. Now, you cannot just dump the bag and say job done! First, we embrace the bag, your personal history. You acknowledge and accept that you had to go through all of that to get to where you are now, and the evidence is that you are here, you got through it. Once you have embraced it, accepted it, understood it (maybe with the help of a professional) then you toss it and merge into the here and now and start living your life – your new story.
7.You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it – Einstein.
Our thoughts are all imagined illusions in our mind – sorry but this is true. Our map of the world is based on how we perceive a situation in that very moment with all the other factors of our memories, passed experiences, upbringing, schooling, class etc. It is a thought, a picture that we have created and believe to be true. To change our problems, we must change our mind because it is our mind where these problems live, where they were created, where we experience them. First step is to admit when we are wrong. Not necessarily wrong in comparison to another person or in a judgemental way. Wrong in the sense that we have been making choices that no longer serve us, now or anymore and choose to change it up. There is no need for guilt or shame, just an honest admission to yourself that it didn’t work for you so now you are going to try something else. And for the people or situations that were at the root of these ‘problems’ send only love and light to them and keep them there.
8.Acting as if.
Treat yourself as if you have already created what you wold like to become, as if you already are that. This is using the Law of Attraction again, visualise and FEEL yourself as if you already have the thing that you most desire. This also works in day to day life when we are scared to be or do something. Be it our job, standing up and staying true to what we believe in or in doing what lights us up. See yourself as already ‘being’ what you want to be and act as if. Then, after a while, you will realise you are no longer ‘acting’ and that you just are.
9.Treasure your divinity
Trust your divinity, now that you are a divine creation and that there are no accidents. Treasure your uniqueness, your creativity, passion and flair for certain things. Don’t reject any of your ideas and creations. Trust that there is no separation between any of us and the source. Everyone is as equally connected as the next person and just as able to create, grow and shine bright in their own light.
10. Wisdom is avoiding all thoughts that weaken you.
Where thoughts go, energy flows. Every negative thought you think has the energy behind it to weaken you, your heart, your mind, your soul. Think about the negative things you think and say to yourself. Would you say them to 5-year-old you or ten-year-old you? These negative thoughts that come to us in times of stress, frustration, anger are all coming from a place of fear and only serve to dis-empower us. When we feel them bubbling, flip, it, shift it, re-frame it to a thought that is empowering. If you are saying ‘I can’t’, flip it to ‘I can’t yet’ or re-frame it to I am ~insert positive, loving affirmation here~. Change your thoughts and you can change your life. Remember what Henry Ford once said, whether you can, or you can’t – you’re right. Choose positive, affirming, empowering and loving thoughts.
I still love to get lost in books as an adult and I also love to learn more about life through reading. I have read so many books that have brought so much meaning to experiences and situations in my life and others that have helped me understand myself and gain insight deep within my being. Other books were like reading about truths that I had long forgotten and as I turned each page, little by little, I remembered the biggest truths of all.Read More...
There is so much to gain from writing out your thoughts about anything and everything or about something more specific. The words flow, the mind, heart and soul release simultaneously and together in some beautifully intertwined dance. The mind understands more, the heart heals deeply, and the soul gently says, ‘you have all the answers, you know the way’.Read More...