Living with Intention

Have you ever had the intention of starting something new or doing something differently to make your life more harmonious or balanced? Perhaps your intention for the week was to be less agitated, more active, more mindful, healthier, fitter, grateful or more fulfilled. But when you arrived at the end of your week you feel anything but because life got in the way?

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The Importance of Grounding

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?

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National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin in Autumn

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.

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Portmarnock Beach at dawn 2018

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.

2018-05-04 16.58.51Grounding 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

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Wicklow Mountains

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;

  1. Go for a walk in nature – the woods, mountains, in a local park.**
  2. Stand in your bare feet in the grass/ soil/sand for 5-10 minutes per day. Be present and soak in the whole experience.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. **
  5. 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.
  6. 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.**

 

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Spinc Trail, Glendalough

Healing in Hibernation

Tonight, the clocks go back, giving us an extra cosy hour in bed in the morning but also reminding us that winter is upon us.

Some of us may be reluctant to accept the cold, dark mornings and evenings. As the dark nights approach the shadows grow stronger, we are either running away in fear or getting ready to embrace this time of reflection and introspection of our growth and journey throughout this year.

Woman hands in gloves holding a mugI love this time of the year, the colours, the sounds, the smells, the crisp and fresh mornings. I love getting wrapped up in winter woollies and going for a walk or having a hot cuppa and a chat.

However, I also know that the darkness of these seasons can be daunting or scary as they can reflect the darkness with us all. The dark places within our physical bodies that are not illuminated in activity. The dark places within out emotional bodies that hold onto hurt, fear, betrayal and pain. The dark places that we act from when we are tired, angry, pissed off or being judgemental. The dark places within our mind that we dip in and out of in varying depths, depending on our own experiences and challenges. These dark places cast shadows that we ignore, suppress, hide from because to lean into them means discomfort, pain and necessary healing.

Instead of fearing or repressing these dark places, within us, that cast shadows on other areas of our lives, why not try to accept them?

Accept them for what they are, not good, not bad, just what is.

Accept them as without them we would not be able to acknowledge and revel in the brightly illuminated places within us.

yin and yang 2Without the contrast there is no dark or light, no up or down, no good or bad, no left or right. One cannot exist without the other to compare it against, as within everything is a piece of its opposite.

Think of the yin and yang symbol, the ancient symbol of harmony, balance and duality.

With a gentle and compassionate heart (because exploring the dark and shadows within is scary business) accept the darkness, accept the shadows as part of who you are. Embrace the shadows and dig deeper to see what is lurking behind. Maybe it is just like walking into a dark room, a little scary at first but once you turn on the light the fear seems unjustified.

Maybe you need to confront the dark shadow causing you fear, call it out and work on it by bringing it into the light.

Here are a few powerful questions for thinking about or journaling about as we embrace both the light and dark within us all in the coming months.

  • What are the traits you don’t like about yourself, the ones you suppress and pretend don’t exist?
  • What emotions trigger these traits within you?
  • How are you judging yourself about these traits within your shadow self?
  • How can you embrace them, learn from them and shed some light on them?
  • What are most scared about in acknowledging / sharing these shadow qualities?
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photo credit @Robert W. Corkery

“Your life will be transformed when you make peace with the shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you are not. You will no longer have to prove you’re good enough. When you embrace your shadow you will no longer have to live in fear. Find the gifts in you shadow and you will finally revel in all the glory of your true self. Then you will have the freedom to create the life you always desired.”                                                       

 Author Debbie Ford

Be kind to yourself and the emotions that may some up as you write. Seasonally it is a time for letting go, maybe you too can let go of some things hiding among the shadows.

Love and light,

Mel