Monday, 29 December 2008

A human being is part of a whole, called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as separated from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in it's beauty.
Albert Einstein

Thursday, 18 December 2008

We have been practicing super slow long forms and as my teachers always told me "slow is good". Try a 30 minute form,and feel all the changes,it will make in your form and your life,

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Our bodies and our brains are interconnected what we think affects our bodies and the cells of our bodies in return affect our thoughts. We have all felt thet sinking feeling in our bodies on hearing bad news and the lightness with good.

Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thoughts, unguarded.
But once mastered,
No one can help as much.
The Dhammapada

Sunday, 7 December 2008

T'ai Chi in Fermoy

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

We are involved
in a life
that passes understanding
and our highest business
is our daily life.
John Cage (1912 - 1992)

Monday, 1 December 2008

The Push Hands Workbook ,is available from Amason.
" This workbook is a step-by-step guide to push hands (t’ui shou). These T’ai Chi Chuan two person exercises are the foundation of the self-defense skills of the art. Written for the beginner through advanced practitioner and teachers, this book presents fun exercises and games that train sensitivity and responsiveness. Specific component skills of push hands (eg. sticking, listening, neutralizing, pushing, rooting etc) are systematically developed through sequential drills presented in the workbook. Important topics that are often poorly addressed in the English literature are explained in clear language and paired with activities. 50 exercises clearly explained with more that 180 photos." Written by Nando Renolds( Sounds interesting.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Golden Roosters on a Sunday morning !

Friday, 28 November 2008

For the past eighty years I have started the day in the same manner. It is not a mechanical routine but something essential to my daily life. I go to the piano,and play two preludes and fugues of Bach. I cannot think of doing otherwise. It is a sort of benediction of the house. But that is not it's only meaning for me. It is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part. It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, with a feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being.
Pablo Cassals( 1876-1973)

Thursday, 27 November 2008

A day of circles and semi circles

Multi partnerwork using the circle

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Here is Uncle Seamus (92 years old ), who couldn't wait to try biofeedback.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Using your non dominant hand to do simple chores can improve your mood and your memory;
that's because the action stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor(BDFN) a protein that encourages the growth of neurons linked to long-term memory and mood. " When you're depressed or under stress, your brain's producion of BDNF plummets", says Moses Chao, professor of neuro science at New York Universitv School of Mecdine. ( One of the lesser-known effect of antidepressents he says,is to raise the levels of BDNF.) Anything unexpected, smelling rosemary first thing in the morning, for example can activate BDNF. From the Oprah magazine for those like me who need a lift at times.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Before learning T'ai Chi, like most people I felt enveloped in a sack, my skin which separated me from the air around. Practicing T'ai Chi we learn to pay attention to the apparent boundry and in doing so come to realise it's not as real as we once believed. In paying attention to our skin and the air touching our skin simultaneously we become aware that the " inside " and the "outside are are very much interconnected. We are no longer separate but part of this whole universe of space, energy and particles dancing in time.
Here working together are John Kells and Steven Moore two great T'ai Chi Masters who awakened me to this reality.
"That wall is mostly empty space" was all he said, my world has never been the same.I will never forget the explosion in my mind and body,something had opened and life was suddenly new and exciting. That was over thirty years ago, it all came back to me when listening to an open focus exercise that asked. "Can you imagine that an atom consists of a nucleus with electrons revolving about it. Can you imagine that the diameter of the atom is 200,000 greater than the diameter of the nucleus. Can you imagine that the atom is mostly empty space? Can you imagine that your body is made of atoms? Can you imagine that your body is mostly empty space?" Again an explosion of possibilities !

Friday, 14 November 2008

Here ( for Simon) is Ken on the neuro feedback machine and Dr.Fehmi instructing. My niece Margaret brought mine from the US today. I've been having fun setting it up, John enjoyed his first session tonight.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Life doesn't happen to you it happens for you.
Byron Katie

Monday, 10 November 2008

Can you imagine feeling the presence of your whole body and all the feelings and emotions in your body simultaneously? Can you imagine the space around your body, the space above, below , in front, behind and at the sides of your body simultaneously?
Questions like these draw me into open focus enabling me to be more present in my body and in my environment simultaneously. Can you imagine ? This is such a wonderful invitation to new possibilities of awareness.

Friday, 7 November 2008

It's about thirty years since I first read about brainwaave biofeedback in a book called "The Lives Of A Cell". Since then I've come across refrerence to biofeedback in other books and have always been interested in it's use in studies on relaxation and meditation. Then last summer I read "Open Focus Brain" by Dr Les Fehmi and Jim Robbins. The book recounts Dr Femhi's work with biofeedback machines and his development of open focus exercises. Dr Femhi discovered that when he asked clients to imagine distance volume or space there was a dramatic increase in alpha waves produced in their brains. He realised that 'Objectless Imagery' was very conducive to alpha wave production and thereby very relaxing and healing for his clients. Having read the book and practised the exercises I really wanted to experience working on the machine,so a few weeks ago I travelled to Princeton to train with Dr Fehmi. Working with Dr Femhi and his wife Susan Shore Fehmi was wonderful. I loved getting feedback from the machine and the open focus exercises left me energised and more open relaxed and aware than ever before. The exercises have opened me to a whole new level in my T'ai Chi practice.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

A great day of work and play !

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

"Life doesn't happen to us it happens for us." Byron Katie. I love to watch her work with people on their concepts. She can be seen on

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Thanks to Brendan for this Invitation
Workshop for Beginners and Improvers

With Master Ann McIlraith

· Tai chi warm-ups

· Partnerwork

· Figures of eight

· Short Form

· Meditation

Saturday 18th October 2008

L1 Electrical Engineering Building

2 sessions:

11.00 to 1.30 and 2.30 to 5.00

€20 (€10 for each session)

Club membership €5

To lean more about UCC Staff Tai Chi Club, please visit:

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Friday, 3 October 2008

   A monk asked Ummon:  "What does an enlightened monk do?"

Ummon answered: "I don't have the faintest idea."
The monk persisted: "Why havn't you any idea?"
Ummon replied:"I just want to keep my no-idea."

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Identified with non-being, you can only be a mirror. One must become identified with non-being and mirror the whole, for the truth is one and final.
Hsieh Ling-yiin (A.D.385-4530)

Thursday, 25 September 2008

            Dew highlihted cobwebs on the sunny path

Breathless space to eternity hilltop

Monday, 22 September 2008

Friday, 19 September 2008

The capacity of the mind is broad and huge,like the vast sky. Do not sit with a mind fixed on emptiness. If you do, you will fall into a neutral kind of emptiness.Emptiness includes the sun, moon, stars, and planets, the great earth, mountains and rivers, all trees and grasses, bad men and good men, bad things and good things, heaven and hell. They are all in the midst of emptiness.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The connection of love is total. In love,difference disappears and the human soul accomplishes its object in perfection, exceeding its boundaries and traversing the threshold of infinity.

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Face of Love

These mornings I like to eat blackberries as I stroll along with Susie. The other day I popped one in my mouth and with it's taste, exploded memories in my mind. Suddenly I was six again standing at the kitchen table in Mrs Murphy's, mashing blackberries in a saucer with milk and sugar. The taste of that particular blackberry had taken me back to that warm kitchen to Mrs Murphy, in her wrap around apron, whose eyes smiled love and affection and in whose kitchen I always felt welcome and OK. We moved from Macroom at that time, and I lost my centre this memory has healed something inside and opened my heart and mind to many more memories and faces of Love.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Thanks to Corinna

Friday, 15 August 2008

Each second that passes, two million new mature red blood cells enter the circulation to maintain normal blood supply in the body. I've known for a long time that the body is always regenerating itself but for some reason reading this yesterday just filled my Heart with Joy.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

T'ai Chi takes a long time to learn in fact it's an ongoing process and sometimes it's not so easy to feel what one has learned. This week I came across a yoga book bought over twenty years ago, probably my first venture into body-mind training. Reading through the book again and then revisiting some of the postures what became apparent was the changes that had happened in me. T'ai Chi had trained my body and mind so exercises that had seemed bewildering were easily understood (even if some of the stretches were still beyond me). Trying postures I hadn't done for twenty years was like meeting the me of then but with all the insights and experience of now and I could see that all the T'ai Chi practice had brought clarity and calm.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

I've been reading an interesting story about a Kurdish tribe the Yezidis. In this tribe if someone, for whatever reason ( asually malicious) , draws a circle in sand around you, due to inate fears ancient beliefs and supersticions it becomes impossible to escape, unless someone on the outside breaks the circle and lets you free. It is as though an invisible energy field surrounds the person on the inside, leaving them trapped, forever at the mercy of those outside. There are stories of people dragging a trapped Yezidi from an unbroken circle only to find that the said Yezidi fell into a deep trance that lasted until they were put back into the circle. When I thought about that 'prison' without walls or doors I became aware of the circles around me;some drawn by society and culture but mostly drawn by my own limiting fears and beliefs. It's great if someone on the outside sets you free and certainly my teachers have helped me, firstly to see the prisons and then to break out of some of them. But when we rely on external forces to change our destiny we give over all our power to those outside influences.Don Juan Matuse said that our reality is but a single room in a house of a hundred rooms and with training we could learn to access the other ninty nine. In fact, with training we could actually get out of the house. One of the ways we train is by firstly identifing our circles and then working to break through.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Himba Tribe Of Namibiae

Saturday, 26 July 2008

There is a tribe in Namibia where each person is born with a kind of self-space around the body. This self-space is like a bubble that extends beyond the body and, being attached to the body, moves as the person moves. And because this bubble of self-space onstantly intermingles with other people's self-space, the individuals in the tribe are never alone. They wonder how people in the West can bear seeing themselves as isolated points in space.
In learning T'ai Chi we have to retrain our bodies and our relationship with our personal space. We are constantly reminded to find our balance inside an egg shaped bubble with " no hollows and no protrusions ",.

Friday, 25 July 2008

"Miles Davis famously described his improvisational technique as parallel to the way that Picasso described his use of a canvas; The most critical aspect of the work, both artists said, was not the objects themselves,but the space between objects. In Davies's case he describes the most important part of his solos as the empty space between notes the " air " that he placed between one note and the next."
from This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel Leveitin
" Nothing is more real than nothing. " Samuel Becket wasn't the only person to realize the importance of nothing or space. Silence and timelessness are other aspects of nothing. In Les Fehmi's biofeedback research he found that "Objectless imagery" - the multisensory experience and awareness of space, nothingness, or absence - almost always elicits large amplitude and prolonged periods of phase-synchronous alpha activity. Zen monks too know the value of deep silence that induces internal space. Even watching people practice T'ai Chi is known to arouse deep states of relaxation in the observor. Is it that not only the practioners but also the room becomes saturated in alpha waves ? Research now shows that our brains are teaming with body maps - maps of our body's surface, its musculature, its intentions, it's potential for action, even a map that automatically tracks and emulates the actions and intentions of other people around. It often feels to me that we learn T'ai Chi through a process of absorbtion or osmosis. It's the time spent practicing in company of other sincere students that teaches us what it's all about.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


To me the meanest flower
that blows
Can give thoughts that lie
too deep for tears.
Willaim Wordsworth

Monday, 21 July 2008

Buttrerflies dancing in waist high meadow this July

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Deora Dé - thanks to Dervilla

Monday, 30 June 2008

Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me. Moral reform is an effort to throw off sleep... To be awake is to be alive. I have never met a man who was quite awake... I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elivate his life by a concious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or carve a statue and to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium thorough which we look, which morally we can do. To afffect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

There is a magic in this world and I
have dared to try to find it all I know
is magic not that I can know it fully
how it says and stays
so close beyond a grasp
these fingers powerless to close upon it
Theodore Enslin

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Sun broke through in the meadow,awakened bees hummed to the buttercup scent.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

A Zen student once asked his teacher Zen master Ikkyu,to sum up the highest wisdom. The master responded to this enormous question with a single word scratched in the sand; ''Attention.'' The student wasn't satisfied and asked him to elaborate. Ikkyu wrote ''Attention. Attention. Attention.

Like this Zen student I've been struggling with attention. How to be really present in the moment with the internal and external realities. The listening energy we work to awaken and develop in T'ai Chi has helped me to get some more understanding of
attention. We learn to listen not only with our ears but with all our senses. In pushing hands we use our hands to listen to each other. We learn to 'hear' the presence in the touch and with pactice to 'hear ' it is the spaces between touch. That equally rich and meaningful space we could call absence. Space is what allows us to see the objects and absence allows us to know presence.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Open Focus

When I shift my attention to peripheral vision as I begin the form everything softens and opens inside or so it seems to me.
There is a neurological basis for this,research on the brain reveals that when our eyes are in '' sharp focus'', our stress responsees increase; when they are in ''soft'' or ''open'', focus, we relax.
Try softening your focus now. After reading this paragraph, look up at whatever's in front of you. Then, without moving your eyes, allow your atttention to broaden, taking in everything you see. Slowly expand your attention to include everything you can hear, smell, feel, and taste. As your focus opens, you'll stop thinking in words and become more present to the bauty around.

I love this view of 'The Three Sisters',taken above Glaise Beag peer. On fine days it was a glorious view walking home from school.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Thanks to Chris Laver for the pic. What looked like seaweed as we approached the Blaskets turned out to be seals!
If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.
Chuang Tzu

Friday, 23 May 2008

We invent nothing, truly. We borrow and re-create. We uncover and discover. All has been given, as the mystics say. We have only to open our eyes and hearts, to become one with that which is.
Henry Miller
It's very easy for me to be present in unusual circumstances like this camel ride. The great benifit of practicing T'ai Chi is it not only makes it easier but also enjoyable to be present in the everyday repetitive tasks of life.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

My Heart sings this May with the wonder of our planet.Just back from Egypt where I spent time snorkeling and diving.The silence and beauty of the Red Sea's abundance filled me with joy. Now back home, ever present birdsong, softness of air, gorse scented mountainside, translucent beach leaves all take my breath away. Everywhere new life bursting forth full of hope and promise.

Saturday, 17 May 2008


The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May, in likewise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds. For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May.

Sir Thomas Malory (d. 1471)
Le Morte d'Arthur (1485

Monday, 12 May 2008

"It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how things are in themselves. The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it."
Carl Jung

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


Br.David SeindlRast a Benedictine monk now in his eighties says that as a teenager in Austria during the Nazi occupation he had never expected to reach the age of twenty. Food wes scarce, his family often lived on little more than soup made from weeds and he was sure he'd be drafted and killed in combat.He remained happy despite all the dangers and difficulties, because against the backdrop of impending death,he had seen life as the gift it was. That deep sense of appreciation has never left him. To Br.David greatfulness means experiencing ' great fullness,' feeling full in every moment, appreciating exactly what is. He says 'happiness is not what makes us gratefull; it is gratefullness that makes us happy.' Here is an example of Br. David's exercises for increasing feelings of gratefulness in life. Each day he picks a 'theme for the day' to focus on. If it's water, for example,every time he washes his hands, waters the plants or brushes his teeth, he notices and appreciates the water and uses it as a reminder to be present in the moment in pure gratefulness. is his website.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

Sunday, 13 April 2008


Whenever we feel anything should be other than it is, we are resisting or so it seems to me. I've been reflecting on resistance, my own especially for a while now and have noticed how it affects so much of my experience. Whenever I'm aware of thinking things 'should' be different than they are I check my body and sure enough it's tense. If I can relax and let go the 'shoulds ' dissolve. Whenever I'm 'shoulding' on myself it produces a lot of resistance. For example if I'm telling myself I should get up and practice there will be part of me fighting back saying I shouldn't. If I let go and relax at that point instead of forcing a decision one way or the other often a resolution will happen. In either case I will have relaxed into the present moment and become more present here now. Byron Katie says whenever we are fighting with reality we lose 100% of the time. All resisting is fighting with reality, not allowing things to be as they are. Allowing things to be as they are is not opting out. In my experience when we are fighting anything we are not fully open to all the information and possibilities.Through surrendering, the body and mind relaxes and often insights we never could have imagined appear as if by magic.

Friday, 11 April 2008


Yasterday my daughter asked me to explain the chemical bonding in water.Earlier in the afternoon, I'd seen steem rising from the bonnet of my car in the warm sunshine after a hail shower.Looking at the steam the magical qualities of water had struck.'The Chinese say water is the most powerful element because it is perfectly non resistant. It can wear away rock and sweep all before it.' When the next chapter of a book I'm reading began with this quote I was struck by the synchronicity.Ice Water and Steam all change state with no resistance. In our practice we are working to become more water like open to what life brings willing to change form and flow with life's rhythm.
For more magical qualities of water check the images in Dr Masaru Emoto's web site.

Saturday, 29 March 2008


A Zen teacher was interviewing a new student, each time the teacher said something the student interrupted with some comment. After a while the teacher picked up the tea pot and poured tea, the student watched as the cup overflowed. Just like this student our biggest challenge often is to empty ourselves of all our conditioning and dearly held beliefs wihch keep us full and block us from the newness and posobility in each moment.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Crows roosting
dog sniffing
heart singing
soft rain

Sink and Relax

Sometimes hearing these words out loud or in my head is enough and my body lets go.At other times a little more coaxing is needed. When this happens I stop for a minute and really feel my feet on the ground and how the ground supports me.Then,often I'll watch my breath and feel how my lungs 'breath' me, notice my ears listening for me,the kettle boiling water for me etc. All this helps to renew the trust that all is well and everything is in its rightful place.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it.Never let it out of your sight. It will take you there.


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

A student asked Soen Nakagawa during a meditation retreat, 'I am very discouraged. What should I do?' Soen replied. 'Encourage others'.

Monday, 17 March 2008

The Haiku of Philip Whalen

Early Spring
The dog writes on the window
with his nose

Awake a moment
Mind dreams again
Red roses black-edged petals

Where Was I?
New desk, old chair
I look at them, hopelessly
Where's the man who writes

Thanks to Steven

How to Cook Enlightenment

When preparing vegetables or soup, don't worry- just prepare them with sincerity. Most of all, try to avoid getting upset or complaining about the quantity or quality of the food. Practice in such a way that things come and abide in your mind, and your mind returns and abides in things, all through the day and the night.

"love loves love"

From Corinna.
The other day my heart leapt and suddenly my step was lighter and my smile spontaneously bigger, all at the sight of a friend and colleague.
The next morning at 5.30 am lying awake practising my 'heart coherence exercise ' I recalled the previous day's encounter. Then when my heart felt full and open I asked it to reveal to me other occasions when this had happened (the earliest it could recall). I waited and sure enough faces and feelings came back , many surprising and delighting me. People who my head wouldn't have counted my heart revealed. Now, days later when I ask, more appear and fill my heart with gratitude for the unsung heroes of my childhood.

Friday, 14 March 2008

There is a quiet light
that shines in every heart.
Though it is always secretly there,
it draws no attention to itself
It is what illuminates our
minds to see beauty, our desire to seek
possibility and our hearts
to love life. . .
This shy inner light is what enables
us to recognize and receive
our very presence here as blessing.'

From John O Donohue's Benidictus

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Nano Nagle Intensive

Sometimes people (myself included) try to force the openings in ward off by pushing out with the arms and the legs. While this may appear externally bigger, internally
everything has tightened and feels hard. So, as we confirmed Saturday, a better approach is to relax and let the openings happen naturally. The muscles feel full, soft and open and the defences drop internally and externally. We are more open to the ground , the heavens , ourselves and each other.

Many thanks to everybody who attended Saturday. It was great to spend time exploring together the silence and depth of the work.

To view short clips from Saturday check this site:

Monday, 3 March 2008

Ward Off

Washing the dishes today I remembered ward off and opened myself to what was before me. Each cup, plate, knife and fork even the old pizza tin black from many burnings got its due attention, and the indescribable texture of water became new again. I decided to work at keeping this attention for the rest of the day. Reviewing before bedtime it became clear just how much energy it takes to keep this open posture. Another good reason to keep up the practise.

Friday, 29 February 2008

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was 'Thank You ' that would suffice.
Meister Eckhart

Thursday, 28 February 2008

The Healing Powers Of T'ai Chi

Yesterday my physiotherapist told me that the improvement in my fingers was in the top three she had treated over the last twenty years. The little finger had the most damage having stitches in a very deep cut close to the break and the joint.This meant that when I would try to work on the exercises Norma had given me the finger would swell throb and hurt a lot! So I began to direct energy into the fingers during my practise and at the end of a session close my eyes and visualise doing the exercises feeling into the muscles tendons bones and ligaments as best I could. I'm so grateful to my accident for showing me yet again the wonders of T'ai Chi

Monday, 25 February 2008


The institute of Heart Math whose work has been verified in studies conducted by Stanford University among others ,has found that our hearts generate an electromagnetic field around us that is several feet in diameter and five thousand times greater then the field generated by the brain.

This is no surprise to me or to you either I'm sure as it just confirms the expansion we've all experienced in the presence of an open warm, loving heart and the contraction felt in an atmosphere of fear.

One measure of your hearts' activity that reflects your emotional state is called heart rate variability, which shows variations in the intervals between heartbeats.In Studies researchers have found that people's heart patterns look different when they're happy then when they are angry,frustrated or sad.
(See graphs below)
Negative emotions cause erratic patterns called heart rhythm incoherence which has a damaging effect on the body. Feeling angry,frustrated or sad leads to the release of stress hormones and cholesterol into the body.Your heart pumps faster and your blood pressure rises. In contrast feelings of appreciation and love create heart rhythm coherence ie smooth even patterns in the heart rhythm's. According to research heart rhythm coherence increases production of good hormones, normalises blood pressure, improves cognitive functions and strengthens the immune system.

Heart Coherence Excersize

Step 1: Heart Focus

Gently focus your attention on your in the area of your heart.It may help to place your hand over your heart. If your mind wanders just keep bringing your attention back to the area of your heart.

Step 2:

Heart Breathing

As you focus on the area of your heart , pretend your breath is flowing in and out through that area. This helps your mind and energy to stay focused and your respiration and hearth rhythms to synchronise. Breath slowly and gently, until your breathing feels smooth and balanced.

Step 3:

Heart Feeling

As you continue to breathe, recall a positive feeling, a time when you ' felt good inside.' Now try
to re experience the feeling. This could be a feeling of appreciation or care toward a special person, a pet, a place you enjoy, or an activity that was fun. Allow yourself to really' feel ' this good feeling of appreciation or care. If you can't feel anything, it's okay, just try to find a sincere attitude of appreciation or care. Once you have found a positive feeling or attitude, you can sustain it by continuing your heart focus, heart breathing, and heart feeling.

Since my accident in January I've found this exercise great while waiting in doctor's surgeries etc. It's made me much more concious too of those occasions in my day when my heart opens spontaneously. It actually feels that it's happening more often or maybe thats's just more evidence that what we pay attention to grows!

I remember Steven telling me about John's practise of recalling all his loved ones as he stands in attention before beginning the session or form. Is it any surprise our practice can be called 'Heartwork'

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Nano Nagle Workshop


Lets Investigate the energy of Ward Off



Nano Nagle Centre March 8th 12-6 60 euros Evening Meal Chez moi

Friday, 22 February 2008


Satsang is the Indian practise of sitting together with a teacher who directs the attention past the mind to pure presence. People ask questions and the teacher keeps pointing their attention from the false identification with the impermanent self, to our true nature beyond thoughts and concepts.

Satsang is much broader though than the group session; any meeting where ones spirit is nourished and encouraged to shine is Satsang. So I consider practising Tai Chi with others to be our 'Satsang'. I love the way this term includes both the silent practise and the dialogue. In our practise both are also important in a session.

For more information on Satsang :

Friday, 15 February 2008

In Praise of Practise

To my mind there is no end to the benefits of solo practise. It's the time when my body teaches me through the form , or is it the form that teaches my body? Either way, an exchange happens that leaves me refreshed , renewed and more in touch with my true nature.

My friend Margaret introduced me to the teachings of Adyashanti , an American Zen teacher. "Allowing everything to be as it is" , is the title of one of his meditation talks in which he guides one to the silence beyond the mind. I love the way he leads this meditation and invites one to notice any remaining tension in the body which he describes as resistance to 'allowing everything to be'. I have found this to be a great help in my daily life and especially my practise. By slowing down I can become aware of any pockets of tension remaining in my body. In the noticing of them , they often dissolve or if not, awaken me to what I'm resisting. This gives me the opportunity to let it go and return to my practise.

Friday, 8 February 2008


Haiku is my favourite form of poetry. Japenese verse , which is traditionally composed of seventeen syllables in three lines - the shortest form of poetry in the world.

Across the summer stream
With such joy
My sandals in my hand


The winter gail
Blows the evening sun
Into the sea


With one who does not speak his every thought
I spend a pleasent evening


Resonance is the response of the body to vibrations of its own natural frequency. This best describes what I feel when I read a Haiku that touches me.

Yesterday, yet again, I was surprised and delighted to feel this response in my body.

I don't usually notice this pulsing in my body as I practise Tai Chi , but whenI stand still at the end of a form , there it is; that deep, rhyhthmic pulsing which I have come to regard as one of the fruits of my practise.

They say everything grows with attention and now, as I write in the gaps beetween the thoughts, there it is again; that resonating presence, mysterious and quiet.

Roll Back

Last night was very interesting investigating roll back. I noticed that when I allowed my partner to hold my arm in a l locked position,( instead of folding my elbow), and then they pressed their palms in on my arm softly in opposite directions a strong energy built, which increased as we both payed attention to it. It was further increased when we engaged the legs (right arm to left foot, left arm to right foot ), and further so when we relaxed and allowed the ward off to fill out naturally. As soon as someone's mind wandered the energy changed and decreased, so it was a great way to work on presence. Yet more evidence of the wonders of 'mindfullness'

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Partner Work

Tai Chi has always been and still is mysterious to me. Its beauty and depth are beyond my conscious understanding and there are those Ah! moments when I think here yet again is another reason why I love this practice.This morning working on 'ward off' in pushing hands it happened again. The ward off filled out naturally, defenceses dropped away and my partner's spirit shone through radient and beautiful. This to me is our work, to encourage the the unlimited spirit present in all of us to find expression . I read an article lately about optimists and pesimists , who had got it right ? Interestingly the author declared both were correct as we always find more of what we give our attention to ! So let's practice together with the intention of finding and freeing each others true radient nature.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hnah is a Vietnamese Buddist monk poet scholar and human rights activist, famous for his meditation exercises here is one for you to try.

The exercise begins with words that can be said to yourself. At first you may want to say the whole sentence. Then, you might just say the shorter phrase to the right of the sentence.

Calming the Mental Formations

......................Breathing in, I feel calm. ...................Calm
......................Breathing out, I smile.........................Smile

......................Breathing in, I dwell........... .............. Present moment the present moment

.....................Breathing out,it is the .........................Wonderful
.....................most wonderful moment..................... moment

The practise of Zen is often recommended to Tai Chi students to calm the 'monkey' mind and develop the courage to enter the still presence within and without.
Many thanks to John Connell for Thich Nhat Hnah's 'The Energy of Prayer'

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Press with Michael and Dave

I'd like to dedicate this new blog and year to that still point in all of us where tai chi resides.
Lets sink deep into our core letting the mind quieten and allow all our movement come from there.

Your body is... the expression of your existence...
So many of us are not in our bodies, really at home
and vibrantly present there. Nor are we in touch with
the basic rhythms that constitute our bodily life.
We live outside ourselves - in our heads, our memories,
our longings - absentee landlords of our own
Gabrielle Roth

Dervilla sent me this and it sums up the presence we are working to embody.
For newcommers to tai chi Illustrated Elements of Tai Chi by Angus Clark is a good aid to remembering the postures.Thanks to Dave

Friday, 4 January 2008

2008 Tai Chi

The first official class of the year at Mallow