Tag Archives: nature

Dark Corners

Cackling into the depths of a teacup,

Everything yellow.

Energy tingles and pops,

Floorboards swirling watercolours.

I hunker down,

I’ve never been in this part of my house before.

Patterns in walls, the road brightens,

Plants shine happy,

Fairytale weather.

An otherworldly trio,

Celtic goblins under a bridge.

The hairs on my arms bristle like swaying seaweed,

Diving into the crease of an elbow.

I stretch in the frame of a doorway,

The duvet thrums.

Trees spike with the wind and rush towards us,

They love us.

Bamboo green and soft like paintbrushes,

The same underwater.

Leathered skin and pores,

An elephant’s eye.

A continuum of snakes and seahorses,

A centipede in a dirty bathroom.

Slime, bones, Chernobyl,

Unseen, unwanted.

An ever-flowing fountain,

Don’t hold it, give.

I feel the music beneath me,

Jolts of insight.

If I think I am, I am.

Stop thinking.

Different ages and journeys yet she is me.

Too square or wild and rugged?

Dancing around a campfire.

Nothing matters.

It’s all there. Choose wisely.

All my life anxious. Why? Poor child.

I feel so alone.

He lies beside me. A smile. A clam.

Puzzle pieces slotting into cosiness.

Third eye bursting.

Punching the air. I could do with tears.

An angel, a light, a fairy.

Thank you.

The window is naked,

Birds and stars in the night.

Afraid to feel then don’t want it to end.

Food. Clingfilm. I make the bed.

Order makes me feel safe.

Resist. Control. I can’t.

I don’t want. I want so hard.

Perfection. Trying. That’s not your way.

Built the only way I knew how.

Lie in the dusty earth. I never want to get up.

Give up. Let go. Let go.

Start from the beginning.

I don’t know anything.

There’s a flower. And it’s white.

Image: Tumblr

Only for the Lockdown 6

List number six of things that may not have happened if it hadn’t been for the Lockdown:

  • My most expensive non-essential spending is on Amazon downloads for the Kindle.
  • I lay out on the grass reading under a big ball of sun and in the time I relaxed there, a spider’s web formed and attached itself to the Kindle. I marvelled at miraculous nature while simultaneously breaking my Kindle free with utmost haste.
  • It used to annoy me when people would walk on the wrong side of the road. Until a friend suggested that I be the person to cross the road “no matter who’s right or wrong”. Now, I’m skilled at zigzagging walks and cycles. And it still annoys me.
  • TodayFM’s Dermot and Dave are ghosting us. They’re adding €50 to the pot each day that nobody guesses what the letters ‘WMM’ stand for. We message them with unique answers every single morning and they’ve never once called us. They spoke to a lady who guessed “What matters most” when it had ALREADY BEEN GUESSED! “Where’s Magic Mike?” was surely worth a call. Or “Where’s my monocle?” We’re saving “Wank me, Mary” for a rainy day.
  • My boyfriend spent a morning bombarding me with terrible jokes, which he read from his smartphone. “Why was the pineapple blushing? Because it saw the salad dressing.” Groan. “What happens to grapes when you step on them? They whine.” Ugh. My personal favourite was: “Why did the banana go out with a prune? Because he couldn’t find a date!” Haha! “Did you just google ‘Jokes about fruit’,” I wondered. “Of course not,” he retorted. “I googled ‘Fruit Jokes’.” I grabbed the phone and typed in ‘Jokes about vegetables’. They were much worse.
  • I spent a quarter of a weekend perving over old holiday photos and videos. What I’d give to be kayaking in Halong Bay or kissing my nephew’s round cheeks.
  • Spent a Sunday evening in bed listening to my newly-discovered GABA podcast, which is like my very own personalised wet dream: a sexy euphony of poetry, music and meditation. I felt I’d explode at the beauty, at the intensity, at the artistry… I glanced over at my boyfriend, who was lying back beside me, headphones in, playing Call of Duty on his phone. His cheeks were full of suppressed laughter at my podcast choice. I tickled him, told him to F off and turned away from the faint sounds of machine gun-fire in his ears.
  • Phase One of “Reopening Ireland” was rolled out today. Already people are reaching out to meet up. Part of me feels excited. Another part doubts that I can make time. My schedule is fairly packed already what with Zoom classes, breathwork, daily exercise, books to read, three solid meals per day…
  • My boyfriend moaned, “I’d love to go to the pub!” Radio silence my end. He tried again: “Imagine going to a party!” “What kind of party,” I relented. “Any kind. Imagine the drinks! Imagine having conversations! With people!” Silence again. What I was thinking was: “I can work from home. I attend classes via Zoom. I feel unstyled and… padded. I’m not party-ready! Until you can hand me a cocktail in front of an Aegean sunset, don’t talk to me about easing restrictions!”

Image: foodetccooks.com

Only for the Lockdown 2: The Weird and the Wonderful

The following is a list of things that, only for the Lockdown, I may never have experienced:

  • Had a dream in which I questioned the social distancing practices.
  • When my boyfriend said he didn’t remember his dream, I suggested making one up just so he could tell me a story. “I could never lie to you,” he exclaimed. I regretted asking.
  • To get my boyfriend out of bed, I suddenly shouted: “Come on, you’re going to miss the train!” “The train to where,” he asked. “To work,” I tried. “Work doesn’t exist, it’s just an illusion,” was his response. Then he decided that we should start playing the Lotto. We still haven’t bought a ticket.
  • Took out Connect-4. I won every game. “I’d say you’d be really good at chess,” my boyfriend marvelled. We took out a draughts board. I lost every game. I blamed it on the cider I was drinking.
  • We started treating a teddy like a real-live dog.
  • I look forward to going for walks so I can record WhatsApp voiceys to my friends in peace (the adult version of My News).
  • I no longer mind how long things take (phone calls, work on the computer, queues for Tesco, hugs).
  • Am learning how to properly shoot a basketball.
  • When passing another human being, I’m alternating between genuine joy, connection, polite nods, smiles and Hellos then wishing I could clothesline them when they come too close (but that would mean I’d have to touch them).
  • Appreciated springtime to this extent (coloured blossoms, cerulean skies and the coconut scent of a gorse bush).
  • Birdsong is my new favourite soundtrack.
  • As I strolled along the canal this afternoon, I had the urge to bury my face in the swaying reeds. I didn’t. Maybe next week.
  • Stood and watched a starling murmuration. In the distance, they looked like vibrating particles of one entity. Then they swooped overhead, spreading and coming together, making shapes like a celestial Etch A Sketch.

Please share your weird and wonderful Lockdown experiences.

Only for The Lockdown

Only for the “Lockdown” I may never have:

  • Experienced gratitude for being allowed to go for walks.
  • Followed the flight of a swan as far as my eye could see.
  • Witnessed a heron spearing a fish with its beak and thought it was amazing (I’m vegetarian).
  • Had so much quality time with my boyfriend.
  • Got my boyfriend into Irish radio.
  • Convinced my boyfriend to enter the daily radio competition so we’d double our chances.
  • Dragged my boyfriend for his first proper canal walk.
  • Felt surprised when he wanted to walk further than me.
  • Wrote a poem about COVID-19 because all my cousins were doing it.
  • Attended online classes via Zoom.
  • Participated in a Women’s Circle (via Zoom).
  • Attended a Life Coach (via Zoom).
  • Started giving Life Coaching sessions over Zoom.
  • Had video chats with friends, who live within a 30 km radius, using Zoom.
  • Paid for a Zoom subscription.
  • Watched a movie with homemade mini-pizzas, a nice bottle of red and a basin of popcorn on a WEDNESDAY.
  • Listened to a podcast while lying on my bed. Listening to podcasts had only ever been a multi-tasking activity (alongside walking or cooking).
  • Gazed out the bedroom window at a lone star.
  • Listened to the wind in the trees.
  • Had a day-time nap.
  • Enjoyed bringing the bins out and hanging out the washing.
  • Walked all the way to the “Big Tesco” instead of driving and didn’t mind queuing because “Sure, what else would I be doing?”
  • Rejoiced when I spotted eggs in the supermarket.
  • Let my hair go this grey.
  • Reevaluated where I am in my life and what I want.
  • Had all the time in the world to figure it out.
  • Opted to write this list instead.

What have you been doing that you may never have done only for the “Lockdown”?

I Am

She kneels then gazes at me. “See through your eyes and feel with your heart,” she instructs.

Nervousness churns in my stomach. I want to do it right.

“You’re in your mind,” she observes. “You don’t have to be perfect.”

“I know I’m trying too hard and I’m feeling anxious,” I admit.

“How long have you felt like this,” she asks.

“All day,” I respond. Then, “All my life.”

She prods me in the chest and says, “Think with the heart.”

I start to cry. It catches my breath.

I snot up and I’ve no tissues. Definitely not perfect now.

We continue gazing into each other’s eyes. It feels like something drops inside of me.

It takes me by surprise. I sit in calm for the rest of the workshop.

On the drive home, I experience chest pains. I know what it must be – a cracking open.

The following morning, I give myself time to feel my feelings. I let it all in and in doing so, I let it all out. I sob.

That evening, I write again for the first time in ten months.

The workshop was called Opening the Flow of Love with healer Elena Lisnic. As soon as I reach my house afterwards, I send Elena a message and book a session with her for a couple of days’ time.

This afternoon, I attend (partly to see how she works as a fellow practitioner and partly for my own healing). We talk.

I fill her on a current dilemma. She gets me to do some visualisation.

Again, she observes how active my mind is. I recognise the ego in this particular situation.

One option I could give my energy to feels exciting. But I’m also anxious, dreaming and lacking presence.

The other option is easy, relaxed and feels like love. Unless I begin thinking again.

Elena tells me to listen to my heart. The heart speaks softly, gently and it speaks the truth.

Any situation that brings anxiety and constriction is not for my highest good. Hard for someone who’s lived with fear for so long to recognise which is an egoic fear keeping me separate and stuck and which is a genuine guidance system illuminating the right path.

I guess practice listening to the heart and distinguishing between the two will build my self-trust.

Elena reminds me that I don’t need to go seeking outside of myself. I have everything within.

It’s so simple. Not enough drama for the ego.

However, when I’m living in the flow of love, everything is awe-inspiringly beautiful. The world and the spaces between are pregnant with energy. And I am full and whole.

Elena asks me who I am then hands me a blank page. I hesitate then put pen to paper:

Sharon, who are you?

I am.

I am brilliance. Shining light.

Love. Connection. Peace. Presence. Infinity.

God is in me.

Flow. Open heart. Abundance. Joy. Laughter.

Hugs. Flowers. The ocean.

Immersion. Space. Expansion. Floating. Flying.

Electricity. Energy.

Nothing as everything.

I am.

Image: lovethispic.com

Rising

This morning, I rise at 5am. I do some breathing and get dressed in the half-light.

I shut the front door quietly and slip past blindfolded houses. I feel like I’m playing a trick on society, the only one awake.

Cars are wrapped in ice. The air is cold. I feel strong, resilient.

I walk up an empty street, flanked by glowing green traffic lights. Birdsong surrounds.

Salt and pepper clouds are bunched up in a corner of the sky. This is it, I smile excitedly.

I pass through a shuttered town then turn up a country road. Sheep graze. I wonder how long they’ve been up.

I point my camera at a lamb posing by a gate. It bolts. Good for you, I think.

Hefty cows lie across frosty fields. A blackbird balances on the branch of a tree. My gaze gives it flight.

Half-way through the walk, I realise that I don’t have much time to get ready for work. I run-walk-run-walk the rest of the way. An unintentional High Intensity Interval Training session. My chest sparks.

As I near home, the sun comes up behind me. It’s a beautiful day.

This could be where the story ends. All positivity and motivation.

But what about the other parts the writer or social-media sharer omits?

How deciding to set my alarm so early made me anxious. How I feared that not enough sleep would mess with my mood.

How I worried that I’d be attacked while solo strutting along deserted streets. How I hoped I wouldn’t injure myself when running.

The first part of the story is still true. I did marvel at the mystery of the early morning. And I was present for a lot of it.

The other part of the story can be summed up as follows: I had concerns but I didn’t let them dominate me.

I’ve been cohabiting with a scare-mongering, self-critical voice for as long as I can remember and its lyrics can convince and connive.

But there’s a flame inside me that’s growing too bright to ignore. It wants a better life and it finally believes that it’s possible.

I’ve gone from being paralysed by fear to moving forwards even as my limbs tremble.

So I walk-run-walk-run and my breath deepens. And as I fade in and out of fear and presence, the sun rises and shadows shift.

Images: Author’s own

Instamoment

I wake in the early hours of the morning. Unable to fall back to sleep, I creep to the other room to meditate.

The curtains are pulled wide. The sky is decorated with layers of cloud, dusky and white. The wind mewls, causing the ebony trees to arch and bounce.

My first instinct is to capture this experience for an Instastory. But having already committed to a social media-free Sunday, I don’t do this.

I’m forced to be in the moment, to really see and hear and feel what’s right in front of me. I look out and I breathe. My senses are heightened.

Most people are sleeping at this mysterious hour. I’m in the privileged position of being a lone observer, from this vantage point, of nature in all of its mind-blowing glory.

I marvel at the lightness and flexibility of the branches as they sway and back-bend.

The clouds move across the heavens. I make out a seahorse, which transforms into a chimpanzee. I can’t remember when I’ve been quiet and undistracted long enough to look for shapes in the clouds.

Every so often, a single star is revealed. And the pinprick of an aeroplane travels through the night.

If it hadn’t been for social media-free Sunday, I’d have taken a brief impression of this spectacular moment, then immediately pointed my phone at it.

I’d eye it through a screen, then frame or alter it before sharing it online. How it looked onscreen would be more important than the reality, which I’d barely give a second glance.

Nature is bestowing me with miracles. The least I can do is give it all of my attention and appreciation.

And so I sit at that window, a different screen altogether, and connect in a way that only time and pure presence allows.

girl window night sky

I didn’t point my phone at this special moment so this is an image I lifted from Google.

Wildflower

I’m standing inside a block. Knees bent, one foot in front of the other. Breath and palms pushing. Sweat prickles.

I know this will mean a lot of time and frustration with very little forward motion.

Slabs of white before and behind me, above and below. But the sides are open!

I sidestep into a sunny field of wildflowers. Reds and purples, pink and yellow. I inhale deeply.

Birds trill. Butterflies bounce. Bees buzz.

Blades of grass pulse around me. Do they move because the breeze moves them? Or the almost invisible insects? Or is it as a result of their very own energy as they stretch their necks towards the sun?

My questions remain unanswered, my wants are unclear. Can I wait to be moved by the forces, always propelled in the right direction? Bask in nature and hope for divine inspiration?

Or do I climb back into the four-faced block and continue pushing and perspiring? I don’t want to delude myself, wasting time. At least I’d be praised for my efforts as I try to take life seriously.

I should forge my way, make things happen. Create the life I truly desire. If I could finally decide.

But who wants to be blinded by white plastic when beauty flashes at the corners of the eyes?

The fresh air is too good to give up. I gulp it in. It’s life-affirming even if I don’t know what, where, when I want for my life.

So I belly flop into the wildlife, eyes and heart open.

Image: ognature.com

The Warrior

There is always something to think, to worry about, to get angry over. Always some drama, a problem to figure out, a decision to make.

With this realisation, I detach, let go, and travel within. The thoughts form and dissolve. The movie of my life still plays on. But I turn down the volume and focus within.

I connect with a deep sense of peace, a groundedness. I listen. I breathe.

Like a novice snorkeller in a world of underwater magic. Astonished by the beauty. Yet all I can hear is my breathing.

I could be lifted from this peace and wonder by an unconscious wandering to wherever my thoughts whimsically transport me. Or I could choose, moment by moment, to return to the present and to appreciate what’s before me, what’s part of me, what I really am.

A slice of this miracle of life presents itself to me. I come to my senses. I savour in the deliciousness of it all. I’m nourished. Whole.

No fear any more. Really. Although there’s still fear, insecurity, discomfort, dangling into the chasm of the unknown.

A lifetime of clinging and scrambling. Dictatorially and unintelligently controlling. Resisting, closing, lashing out against the emotions and the people who triggered me.

Now, I make a different choice. I lean in. Allow. Listen. And with that, comes relief. Learning. Growth. Strength.

I am a warrior in my courage to feel, to be, to connect with others, even though I could be wounded at any moment.

I shrug off my armour and lay down my shield. I no longer point my sword threateningly at the sky. I bare my heart to the heavens.

I have never seen a warrior so vulnerable. Yet she closes her eyes just to feel the sunlight on her skin.

Nature congratulates her with pink and white blossoms, yellows and purples and oranges. Trees reveal themselves to her. Birdsong replaces her soundtrack of doubt. The universe is full.

Her body now free to embrace those she loves. And that has to be everyone. Everything. Herself. Myself. My movie and my constantly altering reviews and reactions.

I drop judgment. I wince at the pain of unhooking attachments.

With loss, there’s lightness. An opening, a flow. A current of love. A deep-seated peace.

I go within and feel calm. I open so that I can live.

I feel a tingling of love wash over me. I understand. I know. I connect.

As soon as I see clearly, my goggles fog over again. For it goes beyond my limited ways of words, analysis and explanation.

It just is. As I am. And I will remember again and again.

meditation sun

Little Camino

The past month has been weighed down with money worries, career anxiety, fear for the future and feelings of insecurity. This in turn has had an effect on my self-esteem; how I see myself and how I feel when I’m with others.

The main outcome of a much-needed business coaching session this week was that I need to love myself. And yesterday, I had another revelation.

I’ve been depending on external factors to make me feel okay. I’ll be good enough if and when… I’ll relax when I’m earning more money. I’ll be worthy when I have a flourishing business. I’ll feel secure when my boyfriend does and says all the right things.

However, the reverse should be true. I need to feel good first, anyway, irrespective of anything or anyone.

I have to love myself just because. I must stop placing conditions on my self-acceptance.

And I definitely need to stop waiting for someone else to make me feel good. Because that strategy is destined to fail. Catastrophically.

It’s guaranteed to foster pressure, disappointment and resentment. Feelings become extremely precarious. One action, one word, one thought has the power to tear everything asunder.

What I want to do now is come back to me. That creative, happy individual who knows herself, and who has a full and balanced life with work and friends and hobbies. Who now also has a boyfriend who’s gorgeous and good and full of love and enthusiasm.

But just because I’m now in a relationship doesn’t mean I should lose myself in it. An intimate relationship is actually an opportunity to find myself more deeply than ever before.

I need to live my life. Do the things that give me energy and inspiration. Be there for myself.

I have to stop abandoning myself whenever things go “wrong”. I must remember my worth, see my light, and know that I’m deserving of love and all the good things in life. I need to focus on all the positives that are right there in front of me.

Today is Thursday and I have the day off. Part of me feels ashamed that I’m not busier, that I’m not a part of “normal” working society. Then I remember that I have to stop rejecting myself.

“What’s the most loving thing I could do for myself today,” I ask.

An image of walking in nature flashes before me.

“The sea,” I think excitedly.

“Healthy, delicious food and coffee. And a good book,” I add.

I’ve come up with the perfect recipe: I’ll hike along the coastline from Bray to Greystones, have lunch in one of my favourite restaurants The Happy Pear, then wander back to Bray.

IMG_7281

Most “normal” people work on a Thursday so I go alone. And that’s kind of perfect. My very own mini-Camino.

I don’t listen to music and I put my phone on silent. The weather goes from windy to sunny to rainy.

As I walk, I start thinking. Then I realise that I’m feeling bad. I observe this with interest.

Nothing has actually happened in the here and now and I’ve still managed to make myself feel bad. When instead I could be enjoying the beautiful views of aquamarine waters leaning into the horizon, mountain and birds and yellow furze. I could be breathing in the fresh air. Appreciating this time, this peace, this space…

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So today I choose to come back to me, to stay with me, to love myself and to make myself happy. Because when I’m present to myself in this moment all is right in my world.

Today I take this big lesson from my little Camino back to my working life and to my romantic relationship but most importantly to my relationship with myself.

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Images: Author’s Own