Positive Pause – 21st November, 2016 – Empathy


noun: “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

Last Wednesday afternoon I had the annual parent-teacher meeting for my son, Luca and truth be told, I was unconsciously a little nervous before it. I imagine many parents feel this before these meetings even if they already know how amazing their child is; there is usually a touch of “please be positive about my child, please tread carefully with what you say, I’m doing my best!” It takes courage to listen with an open and non-objective heart to potential criticism whether it is from our boss or a partner about ourselves, or a teacher about our child. However, I think that these experiences present us with a valuable opportunity to observe our reactions and behaviour; some people slip into defensive behaviour as their ego flares up at the slightest mention of faults.

One of the many gifts I have discovered in motherhood is that it highlights our own principles and what we believe is important to pass on to our children.

Having empathy is one of my main principles . To have empathy for others is an essential ingredient in creating a world of harmony and peace. Without it, it’s a dog-eat-dog world and who wants to bring children up in that environment?

After Luca’s lovely teacher outlined all his academic abilities she said: “I have to say he has great empathy for the rest of the children in his class”. At this point I wanted to get up and hug the lady. She is 8 and half months pregnant and I didn’t want to overwhelm her, but in my mind she could not have paid Luca a higher compliment. His English, Irish and maths seemed less signifcant as I value emotional intelligence so highly. It was like the time when I found out I was pregnant with Luca (the teacher’s baby bump reminded me of this special time) after a long road of infertility. I felt tears of joy starting to swell I was so proud of my son. I have to admit that I did take some of the credit myself – all those years of talking to him (nagging him!) and guiding him seem to be paying off.

This week, focus on the principles which are important to you and make a conscious choice to live by them. Empathy can come under many different names; kindness, care, compassion and above all, love. When we can see every creature and person is intrinsically connected to us it allows us to open our hearts, to reach out and express kindness in whatever way we can. As I have previously mentioned, in order to be strong enough to see the world like this you must first and foremost take care of yourself. Please continue to find time to care for yourself, reward yourself with a healthy lifestyle and mindset and allow empathy to flow. It is a win-win situation for all concerned!

Positive Pause – 22nd February 2016 – The Golden Centre in all of us

golden centreIn each and every one of us there is a golden light of eternal love and hope that illuminates our spirits.  It lives in our hearts and can be seen as our golden centre.  When we tap into this part of us that is full of unconditional love and is not tied to the ego or attached to seeking external approval, we have a well of goodness from which to draw on every day.

Visualise your heart being filled with this golden light. Think of the natural light of the sun and of how your body and mind respond when you feel the sun shine on you. The more often you cultivate this light inside you the more you start to see it shine in everyone you meet.  This can also be seen as the goodness that exists in us.  Focus on the goodness in yourself and you will find it easier to extend this love outwards. This week, if someone behaves in a way that you find difficult, irritating or unfair then look beyond their behaviour and imagine their golden centre.  When you really focus on this you become able to see that their behaviour does not represent the true essence of who they are.

Positive Pause – 7th December 2015 – Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping feverThe 8th of December was traditionally the day when country people travelled to Dublin to do their Christmas shopping. This week, reflect on what kind of Christmas you wish to have. It is easy to get sucked into the hype of Christmas shopping and end up spending money on gifts that go unused or unappreciated. The closer we get to Christmas the greater the panic as people ask the perennial question, “are you all sorted for Christmas”?

The true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with consumerism and taking things to excess, yet the expectation of over-indulgence is widespread; spending too much, eating too much and drinking too much.  Too much is really too much – your body struggles to cope with the excess of food and drink. Your bank balance is probably also struggling.  Less is probably more in this context.

Nobody is suggesting being a Christmas Scrooge, simply that you consider what you really value about Christmas. When you recall Christmases passed is it the gifts that you remember? Is it the food and drink? Most likely, the memories of being with the people you love is what you remember. This year, spend your time and energy on having a mindful Christmas where the only “excess” is an abundance of love.