What wolf do you feed?

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In 2010 I came across this old Cherokee story that I try to read as often as possible. It has probably been one of the most useful things I have ever read. I say useful because it has taught me that I have a great degree of control over a lot of negative thinking in my life which I always assumed ‘just happened’. Well, let’s just say that I no longer believe most things in life ‘just happen’.

The story is below…

“An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life “A fight is going on inside me. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. “One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. “The other is good- he is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.  “This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

The moral of the story is that we have a choice over which wolf we decide to feed.

We may not have a choice over certain situations in our life. But we do have control over how we react to things in our life. Continue reading “What wolf do you feed?”

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Some pictures from my walks during March

Been walking lots and lots. I try to walk about 12km 5 days a week. Some days I walk more if I know I won’t get out 5 days that week. Other weeks I won’t get out 5 times. But I’m definitely walking at least 55km and upwards each week. I’m much fitter than I was 6 months ago that’s for sure.

I will update the blog soon but for now I’ll leave you with some pictures taken over March.

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Beach at Ards Friary
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Tra Mor beach, Dunfanaghy

 

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Spotted on a walk: The question we all ask ourselves 🙂

 

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Tra Mor beach, Dunfanaghy
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Muckish Mountain

 

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Tra Mor beach with Muckish in the background

One thing to remember when everything seems overwhelming (Useful for every situation and much easier than you think)

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Things have been very difficult over the past few months, and even for the past few years. Sometimes it feels like I’m wading through mud and no-one even knows it, but also that there’s always mud and it feels like it’s never ending. It feels like progress recently is never a step forward but just to the side. I have the above picture saved on my phone and I read it again this evening and It made me feel a tiny bit less overwhelmed.

So if you are feeling the same I suggest you save the above picture or print it off. It’s a quote by the writer Ijeoma Umebinyuo. Forget about all the stuff you feel you need to do or change about your life. Sometimes life feels like so overwhelming that it just paralyzes you. But if you just start small and just start where you are and realise that it’s okay to be terrified, okay to be feeling hurt and pain, it’s even okay for your hands literally to be shaking. It’s all okay. But the best thing you can do to is to start. Start small. Start where you are and with what you have.

It won’t be easy and sometimes we need to go through the shit to get through to the other side. There’s this real assumption that going through the shit and doing things like counselling and therapy is really enlightening and empowering. It can be and that really is the goal but often there’s a lot of hurt, pain, and immense sadness before you even get anywhere near all that. The problem is when the shit seem to last ages and there seems no end in sight and you’re just exhausted by it all. Continue reading “One thing to remember when everything seems overwhelming (Useful for every situation and much easier than you think)”

‘I thought there was no way out. Creativity saved my life’- Inspirational speech by actor and activist John Connors

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John Connors accepting his speech at the IFTAs 2018

“This is a huge moment for me. Seven and a half years ago I was sitting in my house in Darndale in a little box room in the darkness contemplating suicide. That’s no mess. I thought there was no way out. My brother Joe reached out to me and we spoke for hours and he said I needed something. Something to latch onto. Something where I could put this energy into. he suggested acting. I dunno why but it was just a lightbulb moment. I remembered coming out of my first class… and it was like I was walking on a cloud.

I just discovered something. This world I never knew existed called creativity. It saved my life, it really did…… Creativity can be a component to heal people.”

I’m a huge fan of John Connors. I have heard him speak out over the years about his background, his community and give voice to many people who feel disenfranchised by Irish politics and the fragmentation that exists in society today. I think he is a great role model for loads of people. He is trying to break out against all the stereotypes that society is putting on him.

He is extremely proud of his traveller background and of course he should be, but society tells him that he shouldn’t be and that being a traveller is something to be ashamed of. In his IFTA acceptance speech for ‘Best Actor’ for ‘Cardboard Gangsters’ he talks about the fact that he can’t get an agent or a casting director to look past the fact that he is a traveller.

Forget all his activism. He is also a great actor. I loved him in Cardboard Gangsters and he thoroughly deserved his award. I saw the film in the cinema and it was one of my favourite Irish films in recent years.

He also talks about seven years previously when he was sitting in a box room in his house in Darndale contemplating suicide. His credits his brother with reaching out to him and suggesting he try acting as an outlet. Suicide is an huge problem in Ireland, but in the traveling community it is an even bigger problem.

He describes finding acting and a way to release his creativity as being a ‘lightbulb moment’ and credits creativity with saving his life. He believes “Creativity can be a component to heal people.” and I believe he is 100% right. Continue reading “‘I thought there was no way out. Creativity saved my life’- Inspirational speech by actor and activist John Connors”

One teacher’s way of trying to prevent school shootings. (It involves looking at how young people are connecting with others and lots of empathy)

Following the latest school shooting in America there has been lots of questions about how authorities can pick up warning signs and stop such atrocities from happening. It turns out in this case and many of the others there were many warning signs but it just wasn’t enough.

I saw a story shared on Facebook today and I really loved it. The story I read told the story of a teacher and how they changed the way they teach following the Columbine school shooting. The writer Glennon Doyle Melton was speaking to the teacher who teaches her son and is recounting their conversation in the article.

Below is a direct quote from the article.

“Every Friday afternoon, she asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student who they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, she takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her, and studies them. 
She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?

Who can’t think of anyone to 
request?

Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?

Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down—right away—who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.” – Glennon Doyle Melton

The teacher is not looking to rearrange her classroom and choose a new seating plan for the children. She’s not looking for the most popular children or those that the other children admire. She is in fact looking for lonely children. Continue reading “One teacher’s way of trying to prevent school shootings. (It involves looking at how young people are connecting with others and lots of empathy)”

Learning to drive and what it taught me about stepping outside my comfort zone

Today I passed someone doing a driving test with my old driving instructor. I’ve been driving for about 10 years now and passed my driving test around this time 8 years ago.

I’ll be honest, driving scared the absolute shit out of me. I was an anxious person and the thought of combining that anxiety with driving. Well it was pretty horrifying. I never had any money for a car or insurance so I put it off as long as possible. But when you live in a rural area, there’s only so long you can put driving off.

I started simply by driving around our house and up and down the lane and over the road a bit. I did this for a couple of weeks until I got a bit braver. But I didn’t venture out onto the main road until my very first driving lesson.

The driving instructor was great and tried to calm my nerves. I started off getting one lesson a week and I’ll be honest I started dreading the next one immediately after the last one. I was so nervous at the beginning and used to ask his permission before I touched anything in his car as I had zero confidence. ‘Is it ok if I turn off the heat?’, ‘Can I put on the air to clear the windows?’ Each time he would always tell me that I was the driver and that I need to take control when in the car. Gulp…

Continue reading “Learning to drive and what it taught me about stepping outside my comfort zone”