Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Fitzgerald's Park Today

We can make our minds so still like water that beings gather about us that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet. W.B Yeats

We will practice here under the bandstand if it stays wet. 
It is actually a lovely place to practice and the rain makes the gardens even more beautiful and the fragrence of moist air and vegetation is sublime. 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Elderflower Adventure

Here is the Elderflower cordial that I made on Friday I decided to allow it to soak for a second day. 

Last night I scooped out some of the cordial before it was strained and froze it into ice cubes. They turned a wonderful milky colour and interesting texture tasting like fabulous 'ice-pops'.

I added some good vodka ( this idea came from Adela Nozedar's The Hedgerow Handbook ).

As the cubes dissolved the flowers separated out, looked lovely and add great texture and interest to the drink!

Then the whole Elder Adventure could be savoured along with the garden's delights.

All in all well a most interesting pursuit.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Beginner's T'ai Chi Lesson And Some Warn Up Exercises

Welcome to T'ai Chi. This is an amazing Art that heals body, mind and spirit. It awakens you to your on body's subtle energy and teaches how to tune in to others on deeper and deeper levels. It is deceptively soft and gentle,  this softness actually penetrates right in to the core, nourishing every cell of the body along the way. T'ai Chi defies explanation ( so why am I even trying ) it is really only known through practice.  So take the time to do some practice each day the benefits will surprise and delight you.

Beginning Posture of the Mini Form from ann on Vimeo.

Warm up exercises from ann on Vimeo.

Figure 8 Practice from ann on Vimeo.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Midsummer's Evening

Midsummer and a warm evening,

                                Alone along some quiet country 'lanes',

                         Wild roses, bird song,

               The sweet scent of Elder,

                       Evening shadows ,

                  So much to delight the eye,

                                  Restore the heart,

               And if you gather some Elder .      .       ..            .

                        Why not experiment with making some Cordial

                              Basic Elder Flower Cordial

                           1.5 kg granulated sugar
                           1.7 litres boiling water
                           20 heads of elderlower
                           50 grammes critic acid
                           1 unwaxed lemon ( or lime )sliced

Disolve the cugar in boiling water and leave to cool Once the sugar solution has cooled , put all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and leave for 24 hours at room temperature. Then strain and put in bottles.
                    It's best to collected  the flowers in warm  sunshine with plenty of pollen. It's their pollen that gives the flavour so make sure that you don't wash the flowers or you will lose the flavour.

I'm planning to make some today so I'll let you know how it tastes soon.


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Reframing Situations in Life

" To reframe means to change the conceptual and /or the emotional setting or viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and place it in another frame which fits the 'facts' of the same situation equally well , or even better and thereby changes its entire meaning. "
 Watzlwawick, Weekland and Fisch in Change

One of the most memorable examples of reframing is Victor Frankel's account of being in a concentration camp in his book From Death Camp to Existentialism. While most of his fellow inmates lost hope and subsequently died, Frankel occupied his mind thinking about the lectures he would give after his release - lectures that would utilise the experience in the camp. This was how he reframed his potentially deadening and hopeless situation. He transformed it in his mind to a rich source of experience that he could use to help others overcome apparently hopeless situations.

Milton Erickson employed reframing to help many peolpe deal with difficult situations. 

 Here is one about how he helped his daughter reframe a school situation,   from My Voice Will Go With You The Teaching Tales Of Milton H. Erickson by Sydney Rosen.

" My daughter came home grade school and said , " Daddy, all the girls in school bite their nails and I want to be in that style too. "
I said, " Well , well you certainly ought to be in style. I think style is very important for girls. You are way behind the girls. They have had a lot of practise.  So I think the best way for you to catch up with the girls is to make sure you bite your nails enough each day. Now I think if you bite your nails for fifteen minutes three times a day, every day ( I'll furnish a clock ) at exactly such - and - such an hour, you can catch up."

She began enthusiasticall at first. Then she began beginning late and quitting early and one day she said, " Daddy I'm going to start a new style at school - Long nails."

Starting by "joining the patient" in her desire to be in style, Erickson proceeds to make the stylish behaviour into an ordeal.  He often used this approach to symptoms - making it more of a bother to keep them than to give them up.

Erickson's methods do not follow any ' formula' he treats each person according to their personality and particular symptom.

Reframing takes us out of a particular mind set and views the situation from a completely new perspective. Reading the stories alone is a great way to open one's mind to new points of view.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Focus on the Future, Not on the Past

" Erickson was concerned only with the adequacy of a patent's ( person's) present and future adjustments to reality ( this is one of the a aspects of Releasing that really appeals to me ).  Insights into the mistakes of the past or to past causes of present problems were of minor interest to him. He pointed out that the past is over and be changed. His only concern with the past was that patients develop the ability to look at it carefully and objectively in order to overcome whatever misperceptions or irrational beliefs, or limitations from the past that were influencing their present behaviour. " Ronald A Havens in " The Wisdom of Milton Erickson"
Reading about Milton Erickson's insights and work is thoroughly inspiring on many levels his insights resonate very well with the practice of T'ai Chi which enables us to overcome many of our past limitations, each time we practise and focus our attention on the movements our 'chi' is activated and enhanced, our postural adjustments change how we perceive our world and help us to see in new ways and expand our views of reality.

What I find most interesting and exciting about life is the possibility of growth, of expanding my consciousness and helping others to do the same. I love all methods that lift us to higher dimensions of reality. What is more interesting or satisfying than to enhance one's own experience or to inspire others to reach out and expand their own experience.
Life is always reaching out to us with opportunities to grow all we need is the willingness to respond.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

This evening in Fitzgerald's Park

I had time for a stroll around the park before this evening's class.

Time to stop and admire,

To just listen to the river,

To enjoy the softness of trees,

To wander among the roses,

Taking time to soak up their perfume,

And be all set for an evening of T'ai Chi.

See Therese leading the lessson here, and connect with us on facebook. 


Monday, 22 June 2015

Tomorrow in Fitzgerald's Park

Out door practice at the ARC Cass earlier today. It was lovely to be in the garden. Clair took a video for us and I'll post that  once it has uploaded on Vimeo.

For those who have been asking me how to find us in Fitzgeralds Park for tomorrow's Mini Form  Session  @ 6pm ,  I walked through the gardens to where we practise after the ARC Class. Here it is your 'path' to T'ai Chi.

Walking it towards the house then turn left,

Walk along this path towards the band stand,

Then turn right along past this little 'rain shelter',

Between the two ponds,

And we will be here just before you reach the rose garden. If it is rains we will be under the band stand ( but there is a good forecast for tomorrow so we should be able to stay where the group were enjoying some picnic fun today).

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Observational Genius - Milton Erickson

Milton Erickson had many challenges in life, completely paralysed by the polio virus when he was seventeen he defied all the doctors who said he would never walk again by 'teaching' his body to feel again, teaching his legs and arms to move and respond to his instructions. This had a huge influence on his understanding of the amazing physical capacities that we who learnt to walk in childhood take for granted. He became fully conscious of how babies learn to recognise and use body parts because he had to do just that in order to regain the use of his body. While he was recovering he also further developed his observational skills studying all those around him including his baby sister who 'coincidently'  was learning to walk at that time .
But I digress from the point of this post.
Erickson's observational skills were already well honed even before his paralysis.
He was completely tone deaf and became curious and puzzled in grade school about the behaviour of his classmates and sisters whenever they listened to music or singing.  For some inexplicable reason they began to move their hands and feet and bodies in a regular patterns whenever music was played and what confused him most was that their breathing patterns all shifted in unison when one song ended and another began even though none was actually singing (" yelling " to Erickson ) at that time. Erickson felt no urge to move about and was unaware of any shift in his own breathing pattern. But he became intensely aware that his classmates consistently began humming the songs sung by soloists after a while. Thus what is commonplace, expected and ignored by most of us became a source of interest and concern to him because he did not naturally respond in the same way.

After some experimentation he found that when he mimicked the pattern of breathing associated with a particular song, those around him would begin humming or even singing the song and assume it was a tune that had just come to them out of the blue. ( His questions about the phenomenon were met with rebuffs and disapproval, a response he later indicated merely stimulated his interest and observations further.)
Erickson's observations eventually revealed to him that a particular pattern of breathing could initiate not only humming or singing but even yawns, a discovery that he employed surreptitiously to interrupt recitations by classmates, to initiate yawning in an entire classroom , or even to disrupt the the lecture of a boring professor.
It is worth noting that young children were able to notice the intentional shifts in his breathing pattern and the effects of these changes even when adults could not. One two and a half year old told  Erickson that  "you breathe me to sweep " and other children observed that he breathes differently to get someone to go to sleep or to wake up.  ( Adapted from The Wisdom of Milton Erickson by Ronald A Havens ).

What astonishing powers of perception, how 'awake ' he was. I am in awe of the man's powers of attention and observation. I had come across some stories about Milton Erickson a while ago and reading more about him in Steven Goldsmith's "The Healing Paradox" inspired me to 'study him in more detail.  So grateful to Mallow library for having such wonderful books available.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Free Will ?

How does it happen that you set off with the intention of buying some fruit bearing plants and come home with yet more Geraniums!
So I decided to check out the properties of plant from an aromatherapy point of view. 

Therapeutic properties of geranium: Antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent; stops bleeding, possibly gently stimulates the adrenals and normalises hormones
Uses for geranium: In its native Africa, geranium was used as an herb tea to stop diarrhoea and internal bleeding. A popular skin therapy, the essential oil treats a host of problems including inflammation, eczema, acne, burns, infected wounds, fungus (like ringworm), lice, shingles, and herpes.
It also decreases scarring and stretch marks. Use it in the form of a salve, cream, lotion, or massage/body oil, whichever is most appropriate. It balances all complexion types and is said to delay wrinkling. Inhale this pleasant scent to treat PMS, menopause, fluid retention, and other hormone-related problems, or include it in body rubs and bath. 
Interesting but I'm no wiser about free will.  
Now is this more of me wandering off the intention of reflecting on 'Free Will' or is it all part of an order of which we are consciously unaware?
I have no idea! One of the aspects of Releasing that I really find helpful is learning to" Let go of trying to figure things out".
Hale Dwoskin often quotes Sri Ramana Maharshi as saying " If it is to happen you can't stop it and if it is not to happen you can't make it happen."
 Does refute free will ?
 I guess it is best to just act as if we have free will as if we are responsible for our lives and maybe we will get some more insights along the way!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Healing Paradox

All my free time for the last few days has been absorbed in reading Dr Steven Goldsmith's book The Healing Paradox. I came across it in Mallow library last weekend and began reading it on Sunday. It is full of fascinating insights ( from his 40 years practise of medicine, psychiatry, psychotherapy, and homoeopathy not to mention his teaching posts).
For example,  he gives us insights into how what we call 'side effects' of drugs can also be viewed more positively,  when we acknowledge them as the body's resistance to an invader ( the drug ). This resistance which medicine works to suppress is actually a sign of the body's strength and desire to heal itself.
Goldsmith describes his own struggles with  Ménière's disease ( a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance to a varying degree. It is characterised by episodes of vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss). He eventually cured himself through the use of a homoeopathic remedy having discovered that the use of conventional drugs were not actually a cure but just a way of coping with the symptoms of the disorder.
The book ( in my opinion ) is written a little like a detective novel in which Goldsmith investigates what healing really is and what it is not. He is in search for cures that return people to optimal health not to dependence on drugs that keep people alive but unhealthy.
This  resonates completely with my passion for optimal living. It is so inspiring to 'meet' others who believe in living life fully,  in searching for solutions that are a true healing.
Goldsmith tells us that our illness are opportunities for growth, they point to imbalances that are asking to be resolved and that when we resolve these imbalances we emerge from the encounter stronger and wiser knowing ourselves better.

His research confirm my own experience with healing in that the healing happens from the inside out, it needs to be very personal. What I mean is that each body-mind is unique and so the way it heals will be unique and personal. Our life can be seen in a way as a healing journey whether we have a 'physical' illness which needs to be addressed or just a deep yearning for meaning, for healing of the soul, for completion.

I am deeply grateful to Dr Goldsmith for all the time, research, and sharing of stories that went in to the writing of his book. I feel healed and inspired to continue my own personal healing explorations
afresh thanks to his work.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

First Summer Session In Fitzgerald's Park

It was a perfect evening for our first out door T'ai Chi session

Warm and dry but not too hot.

I stopped to take a look at the new children's playground being constructed hopefully it will be ready before the summer ends!

We practice near the pond -a perfect setting, warm grass under foot, old trees that imbue the surroundings with a restful atmosphere just perfect for T'ai Chi. I reviewed Repulse the Monkey and Fair Lady Weaves The Shuttle with the Short Form students and then introduced the new comers to the Mini form at 6pm. It was a lovely session but I got so absorbed that I forgot to take a video or some photos of our session ( must remember next week). Here below is the first lesson of the Mini form that we worked on last night and a video of the whole Mini Form so you can see where we are heading. Welcome to T'ai Chi and be sure to spread the word about our 'Park' sessions.

Beginning Posture of the Mini Form from ann on Vimeo.

Full Mini Form from ann on Vimeo.

Monday, 15 June 2015

T'ai Chi In The Park

I'm looking forward to being back in Fitzgerald's Park tomorrow evening so I found some of last summer's pics and videos to remind 'us' of the great evenings we spent there last year.
There is something special about being out in the evening and sharing the sounds and the silence of this lovely space.
All are welcome no previous experience is necessary, just a willingness to connect and open to some new experiences. A curiosity about how this Art 'works' is really all you need the rest will be taken care of , so come and share the summer evening with us in Fitzgerald's Park you will go home refreshed, relaxed and reinspired.

trim.5958D9C3-CAE6-4B32-B0F6-D56699F2D84B from ann on Vimeo.

trim.EC729F82-41BE-4B04-961E-871C6CB5459B from ann on Vimeo.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Back In Fitzgerald's Park June 16

It's time for some out door T'ai Chi again ! We will be back in Fitzgerald's Park next Tuesday Evening, Short Form lesson at 6pm Mini Form for beginners and those who want to 'remember' at 6:45pm. Looking forward to more Tai Chi in this great space. We practice in the Rose Garden on fine evenings and under the Band Stand if it is a wet evening.

trim.8EE327A3-8FBA-4623-9B4F-82E2D3AEF994 from ann on Vimeo.

Untitled from ann on Vimeo.

trim.0CAE4187-26FB-4955-A362-58F3B0948C78 from ann on Vimeo.

Friday, 12 June 2015

ARC House Cancer Suport Has Opened In Bantry

                   Here is  Bantry's ARC House

                  Such a great location high up with a great view.

Tricia Lyne ( centre in royal blue) is also an ARC Volunteer and she has been working over the last few years to bring ARC to west Cork. The house opened in April and already has a steady stream of people calling hor help. Tuesday is the only working day at the moment but who knows it may expand in time.
The oficial opening will happen in August ( more about that later ).
It was great to visit and see all the work thatTricia and the other volunteers  have done to make the house suitable for ARC work.

And of course I couldn't resist a visit to Bantry House .

                        With its amazing location overlooking Bantry Bay

                        And fabulous gardens,

                 I love to wander in the nourishing green,

                    Folliage so soothing ,

                        And beautiful.

               The front meadow id in full summer bloom. I just love the
               varietyof garden styles from formal to wild that the loving
                    care of these grounds allows us to enjoy.


                        The stone work on the buildings is also a delight .

 Could have spent the day but work was calling so I  had to move on thnkful for the refreshing time spent in this beautiful place.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Fair Lady Weaves The Shuttle

This was our last class in Blackrock for this term. We will be meeting in Fitzgerld's Park for the summer months.
Sad to finish in Blackrock but also looking forward to Fitzgerald's Park with all it's beautiful sights, sounds and scents.
More dataild of Fitzgerald's Sessions later in the week.

trim.623F45DA-49DB-4668-8D71-02CD38A2570A from ann on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

T'ai Chi Lessons for Castletownbere and ARC House Classes

Here is the posture we investigated in Sunday's class plus the one that connects the Mini Form to the Short Form.

Lifting hands and shoulder stroke to white crane spreads wings from ann on Vimeo.

We have just two more postures to learn so just 'stick'  to them here ( like you do in class) and it will help you to 'get them'.

Full Mini Form from ann on Vimeo.