Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Who am I beyond my thoughts ?
beyond my feelings ?
beyond this body ?
I do not need to find an answer
but sit in the Questions

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

"You are the emptiness in which even space appears.
You are the infinite perfection.
Contemplate this."

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The essence of destiny is yielding,
The essence of yielding is softness,
The essence of softness is entering,
The essence of entering is welcoming openness,
The essence of openness is heart.
John Kells

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


All that you are attached to, all that you love,
All that you know, someday will be gone.

Knowing this, and that the world is your mind
Which you create, play in, and suffer from,
Is known as discrimination.

Discriminate between the Real and the Unreal,
The known is unreal and will come and go
So stay with the Unknown, the Unchanging, the Truth.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Poetry, music, forests, oceans, solitude - they were what developed enormous spiritual strength. I came to realize that spirit, as much or more than physical conditioning, had to be stored up before a race.
Herb Elliott

Monday, 22 March 2010

"The waterfall is called "Edelfrauengrab"
which means "Grave of the noble ladies".
Thanks to Corinna for this.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Ward off Right

Ward Off Right from Heartworker on Vimeo.
Here is ward off Right todays lesson Ward off Left is on this site too.
Thanks to Michael

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Sink and Relax

Sink and Relax became my mantra as soon as Charles said during my first lesson with him many years ago.
Jutta regularly reminded me to drop my shoulders (which would consistently creep back up while I was working on a new posture).
Steven constantly pointed out both my conscious and unconscious tensions to me.

Thanks to my teachers, the daily sinking into my body and the practice, the knots began to unravel. I became aware of the muscle bracing that happens in response to both external and internal events. I became aware of just how I tighten in response to certain thoughts and emotions. Awareness then allows one to choose to listen to the thought or fully feel the emotion rather than holding them at a distance by bracing the body against the awareness.

Once we can allow the sensations aroused by these thoughts, memories and emotions, even learn to welcome them, the tension tends to dissolve.

We can also become aware of the frequent mini explosions of joy that happen in the body throughout the day. The heart almost bursts with love on noticing the first daffodil has opened in the garden or on hearing someone singing downstairs.

I remember reading that awareness is exactly that, it is becoming more and more present in all of our life. The article said don't expect it to make you happier. I agree it doesn't necessarily make us happier but I find myself more joyful. There is a joy in discovering how I hold the world out, which sometimes even encourages me to open and welcome it in.

Monday, 15 March 2010


Googles brought her kittens home yesterday and
delighted us all ! Except maybe Susie !

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Alan Peck

Alan Peck died on March 3'rd. I never got to meet him but often heard john speak fondly of him as a student. I feel a deep connection and gratitude to him. It was in his " Introduction To T'ai Chi " that I first read about John Kells and decided that I had to meet and study with him. Some choices change ones life for ever. Alan's book opened an challenging exciting and continuing journey for me.

“In Tibet we say that just as it is the nature of fire to burn and of water to quench thirst, the nature of the Buddhas is to be present as soon as anyone invokes them, so infinite is their compassionate desire to help all sentient beings. Don’t for one moment imagine that it would be less effective for you to invoke the truth to help your dead friend than if a “holy man” prays for them. Because you are close to the person who has died, the intensity of your love and the depth of your connection will give your invocation an added power. Call out to them, and the Buddhas will answer you.”

Sogyal Rinpoche
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Ch 19 “Helping After Death”

Thanks to Margaret Travis for letting me know of Alan's death ,and for the quotation from his Buddhist community .

Friday, 12 March 2010

The wider your understandings of human nature, the biological processes, the history of individual living, the wider your knowledge of your own reactions , of your own potentials the better you will practice and the better you will live.
Milton Erickson

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Milton H.Erickson

" During his first semester of his sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin,
Erickson experienced one of his many spontaneous auto hypnotic phenomena.
Erickson had decided that he wanted to earn some extra money by writing editorials for the local news paper and he had planned to write them by using an ability he had discovered when he was younger. This ability consisted of sometimes being able to dream the correct solutions to arithmetic problems.Accordingly, he planned to study until 10.30 P.M at which time he would go to bed and awaken at 1.00 A.M to write the editorial he hoped he would have created in his dreams in the meantime.He awoke the next morning with no memory of having written the editorial, yet there it was, carefully placed under his typewriter. He decided not to read that editorial or any of the others he produced in the same mysterious manner and submitted to the news paper that week, but each day he looked at the paper to see if he could find one he thought he might have written. He discovered he was unable to recognise his own editorials, each of which had been published and concluded that " there was a lot more in my head than I realized ".
From The Wisdom of Milton H Erickson by Ronald A Havens

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Here is the first posture of the Short Form for Aine. I'm practicing with Michael and Brendan. Welcome to T'ai Chi, I hope you find this demonstration helpful. Ann

Introduction, Preparation, Beginning from Yin&Yang on Vimeo.

Monday, 8 March 2010

More Ryōkan

Ryōkan loved to play with the village children and
there are many related stories. One of my favourites
tells of him being so absorbed in the game of hide
and seek that he was still hiding in the haystack long
after the children had all gone home to bed.

Indeed a long, hazy spring day
Has gone away at last,
As I forget myself playing with the children
Bouncing balls and singing and songs.

Ah how happy am I
To go out in the fields
And gather tender herbs running about
With the merry, merry village children.
Sometimes he found the life difficult -
In the world of dreams
I've been dreaming on and on
And upon waking up
How loneliness pierces me
When Ryōkan was sixty nine and nearing the end of his
life he met a beautiful young nun and poet named
Teishin. Though Teishin was only 28, they fell in love.
They exchanged several beautiful love poems.

Here is a taste of the correspondence between them.

(On her first visit to Ryōkan)
Wondering if it's a dream,
I'm filled with joy,
Never wake me if it's a dream.
Leave me, please, in this joy, forever.
( Answer)
Slumbering in the dream land,
Talking about the dream
Why not float our dream
On the stream of eternity.
- Ryōkaan
( Now I have to go)
Good-bye, dear Master,
Please let me come again,
Tracing along the path,
Through weeds growing so thick.
Please come again, please,
If you don't mind the poor hut.
Why not come and see me again,
Through the dwey way of eulalia.

Teishin nursed him in his final illness and after his
death she devoted her life to compiling his poems and
writings and published a book called Hachisu no Tsuyu
( A Dewdrop from a Lotus).

Friday, 5 March 2010


Listening to the silent sound
Of the moss-covered stream
I feel myself grow calm and transparent
As the soundless sound of the covered current!

"One evening a thief visited Ryōkan's hut at the base of
the mountain only to discover there was nothing to steal.
Ryōkan returned and caught him. "You have come a long
way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should
not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a
gift." The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes
and slunk away. Ryōkan sat naked, watching the moon.
"Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could have given
him this beautiful moon." This story may be an
interpretation of an account mentioned by Ryōkan
in a haiku:"

The thief
Left it behind-
The moon at the window.

Zen poetry and stories had long enthralled me. I trained
in sitting with Alan Liebman (a student of Desimaru)
who lives and teaches Zen in Ireland. Ryōkan's poetry
which reveals his playful and deeply awakened nature
reached right into my core and a longing to visit
Japan arose in me. Donal (my brother who had lived in
Japan for some years)invited himself to be my guide.
I accepted somewhat reluctantly conscious of our very
different interests. Donal was a very deeply committed
traditional catholic priest going back to visit his
friends and former parishioners,and I was searching
for the Zen spirit.
Ryōkan's " Gogo An" on Mt.Kugami and a Zen retreat in
Eiheiji Temple were the focus of my trip.
When it came to visit Mt. Kugami Donal phoned the
Local Inn (the only one within about twenty miles)
to be told we couldn't stay there as they had never
had foreign visitors and wouldn't know how to cope
with us. Only when Donal reassured them by explaining
that he had lived in Japan for along time and
understood their customs would they relent and
welcome us.
So it was thanks to my catholic brother that I got to
visit the remote hermitage on Mt. Kugami. Thanks to him
also that we had a wonderful evening enjoying warmed Saki
(Japanese style) while reading Ryōkan's poetry.

The essence of destiny is yielding,
The essence of yielding is softness,
The essence of softness is entering,
The essence of entering is welcoming openness,
The essence of openness is heart.
John Kells

There is a delight these days, and my body rejoices in
folding the tea towels, the blueness of the sky,
and in the sight of Googles (above) who is so heavy
with kittens.
This may be what Thomas A Clark was feeling when he wrote -

on a clear day
unfasten the gate
and take the path
over the machair
through the orchids
down to the sea

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Rise up my love my fair one, and come away.
For, lo , the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land:
The fig tree ripened its figs,
And the vine puts fortg its blossom,
They give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Song of Songs 2:10-13

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

It's hard to believe that this is Mallow on a winter's day!

The human brain is a big believer in equality -- and a team of scientists from Caltech and Ireland's Trinity College has become the first to gather the images to prove it. Specifically, the team found that the reward centers in the human brain respond more strongly when a poor person receives a financial reward than when a rich person does. The surprising thing? This activity pattern holds true even if the brain being looked at is in the rich person's head, rather than the poor person's. O'Doherty notes: "The fact that these basic brain structures appear to be so readily modulated in response to rewards obtained by others highlights the idea that even the basic reward structures in the human brain are not purely self-oriented."
M. Bhoutik

Burried Treasure

My brother Donal phoned last night and reminded me that today is our father's birthday. He would have been 99 years old.

I would wake him up when I had a bad dream and he would roll over on his side in their small three foot wide bed and snuggle me in.
There was no need to speak, in the warmth, with his arm around me everything was back in order.Night time demons were banished and I was once again safe and secure.

The room in the Bons Secour Hospital was on the ground floor, big and bright, with long windows overlooking the garden. Luckily a five minute walk from home would get me there.
He shared the room with Mr Kidney (I don't know what was wrong with Mr Kidney but he out lived my Dad by many years ).
I would come to visit after school and often wished I could snuggle in and feel that all was well.He was full of good humour and fun joking about his predicament.
I'd look out at the magnolia tree and when someone came who wanted to talk to him,I'd go and walk in the garden and sit with a heavy nine year old heart under the magnolia blossoms.
Death was in the air, we all knew it somewhere. It hung around us by day and night.
My father died in 1965 it took me a long time to revisit these memories and find the treasure of love I had buried so deep.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Letting Go

Lester Levenson says that problems are ONLY in our heads. This sounds good and right to me and I have been working on feeling it more.
My Cork class has been bothering me for a while, it seemed like a problem and I found myself spending a lot of time trying to figure out what to do about it.
A waste of time because as Larry ( who teaches Lester's work ) says, " figuring things out is like looking in an empty filing cabinet for an answer that isn't there and beating yourself up for not having found it ".
So eventually last week I finally let go and handed the "problem" over to Lester and managed to actually forget about it.
Then one evening as my hands began to rise in preparation posture the answer came in a flash from nowhere ( or maybe Lester ) suddenly I knew what to do. It was so simple and had been there all along but I had been so caught up figuring things out that I missed it.
I am hoping that I have learned and really realised that the best way is to trust in our connection to a higher power and really let go.