Write up in Irish Times Jan 2019
For you who know me and have worked with me, I took a break. I literally did, in that I broke my hip! It has been traumatic and healing all in one and I would say at this stage a gift of deep growth and learning for me . After 2 surgeries to repair a broken pelvis and time to just be in a way I have not done for some time, I am now coming out with a care and attention that is deeper and richer than ever before .
I will publish more on this as I go on ..
My first book ON EARTH has been published and launched . It is for anyone wanting to access a deeper wisdom for life through the genre of wisdom poems
Please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org to see where you can get one
Self-love may have received bad press stemming from some religious concepts on love and service, as well as possibly having the negative connotations that may come from looking at it as a selfishness or being wrapped up in ourselves. We live in a world where we can see how self-interest has created division between rich and poor, influenced wars , created ecoligical problems as well as heart break in relationships and communities. We have seen too what happens when someone gives too much to others and neglects their own life. Resentment may build up, progressing to burnout or illness.
The dictionary definition of self-love is, “the belief you hold that you are a valuable and worthy person. An example of self love is when you have a positive view of yourself and are confident in yourself and your place in the world.”
Faith my mentor at a young age often said “Mary give from the overflow of your life. Keep your own cup filled up then give from what overflows.” To a friend Ann who gave much to her children she would say “Ann take care of number one, then you can truely care for your children.” “Being able to say no is an important as saying yes “
Below are some of my tips for developing a healthy relationship with self
Explore your essence. Exploring your essence opens you up to the magnitude of your being. Taking time to reflect and search the soulful nature of being builds intuition and assists in making courageous life decisions. When you explore your deep self, it can take you on a learning journey, letting go of limiting belief patterns and embracing new thoughts, feelings and passions.
List your achievements. My life coach gave me an exercise recently, to pen a list of my achievements, starting at age 0-5, then 5-10 and so on. He asked me not to censor, but to write what comes to mind. I was especially touched to see what I achieved at tough times in life. It’s a good exercise too for silencing the inner critic!
List what makes you happy. Gardening, singing, cycling, playing with kids, being with horses, having a massage, being a good friend to others, hosting dinner parties, quality time with my love, solitude time with self and are a few are on my list. When your list is complete, make sure to input them into your daily/ weekly/ monthly life.
Take time to be alone. This is quality time for practicing self-love. Do not get busy texting or viewing social media sites. Listen to favorite music, have a tea, relax back into yourself. Sing, dance or stretch your beautiful body. I love to practice Yin Yoga in solitude times. This summer, sit still in nature and allow its beauty nurture you.
Love your body Treat it will nutrient rich meals, hydrating alkalinizing water, summer green juices, smoothies and salads. Oxygenate with deep loving breaths and stimulating exercises. It will love you back in so many ways such body vitality, mental clarity and ease of movement.
My understanding now is that one’s essence is love and joy. When you deeply connect to that in you and as you, you will love and enjoy others in a real way, avoiding becoming wrapped up in self. In fact, by prioritizing a connection to self-love produces in friendships and relationships empathy, authentic generosity and care.
A client came to me stating she notices a pattern in her relationships where she would be very giving to start to resent later that she is the one doing the giving. Others either started to take her for granted or be angry with her or she pulled back form the relationship. In exploring this in sessions we came up with looking at her vulnerability and what could she share of vulnerability instead of her usual habit to protect and withdraw.
A young man came to me to ask for help with his girlfriend. She would spend hours he said getting ready to go out. She was insecure in how she looked and would end up trying on lots of clothes and make up styles to cover up what she thought were her flaws. He said, “She is so beautiful and cannot see it.” If I had worked with her we would have explored ways to be simple in make up and dress and been more her true self in group situations.
A personal mentor, Faith Nyquist asked me a question when I embarked on beauty training “ When is a woman most beautiful?” “I do not know,” I answered, “ When she is totally herself, “ she replied. Carl Rodgers the famous psychologist said at the end of his years of working with clients was that “ What is most personal is most universal “ In other works what you think is your personal shortcoming, when shared, you realize that others have a similar fears and concerns. Rene Brown in a Ted talk the power of Vulnerability, says “What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” I highly recommend that one watches this Ted presentation.
I admire Nigella Lawson, her voluptuous and beautiful appearance. During her public and messy divorce, I saw even more beauty in a face that showed pain and stress. She seemed to me, to be more touchable and lovable.
Why does vulnerability seem scary and awkward?
Why is it easier to protect with a wall around us.?
Sharing our deeper truer selves can be risky. The world can be hard and cruel. Sharing deeper aspect of self seems risky and there are few role models in families or society.
Here are some tips that may help:
1. Choose who you share with
Vulnerability is tender and deserves care. Practice with someone who will not judge, or interrupt your process. This person can be a close friend, family member, a coach or counselor, who will receive your openness without judgment.
2. Ask for what you need
Create a context for sharing authentic conversation by asking if the other person is willing to listen. You can also request that they do not offer any advice unless you ask for it. The purpose of vulnerability is not about problem solving. It is about exposing and releasing.
3. State your feelings
if you feel nervous or ashamed, I suggest commence conversation by stating, “I feel ashamed,” or, “I am nervous sharing this.” Remember the key ingredients are authenticity and intimacy. Let yourself be seen!
4. Watch Judgments.
Be aware of judging or analyzing feelings. Allow anger, sadness or tears be there without censoring or editing how they are expressed.
5. Love you
Find that nervous person inside. Bring them out where you can see them. Love their heart, shyness, warmth, their passion, and tenderness. Let them know it is OK to speak up and be heard. No one is going to judge them. And if someone does judge or ridicule, it is a trait of their character and not yours. Tell yourself you are loved for being exactly who you are. The more you open up, the more attractive and people around will be more relaxed and real. You give others permission to be themselves in you courageous steps of vulnerability
Mary Berkery 2015
November traditionally in Ireland was considered the New Year
The Ancient Ones on this land believed that all new beginnings begin in the dark, such as the deep dark of winter time.
So – Happy Celtic New Year to you!
Last weekend to mark this time, we sowed 2 bags of daffodil bulbs to add to our already existing daffodil collection.
I am always amazed that when those little brown bulbs go into cold damp clay,, how they emerge later from the dark earth months in bursts of color and freshness.
Those bright yellow and bight green beauties are one of the early signs that winter has passed once more.
This is true too for humans.
All beginnings start with a seed thought in the deep recesses of heart or mind.
These ideas and potentials need time and attention to materialize and become strong in the world.
It could be a thought or desire or feeling of that there is more to this life than what it is at present.
It could be potential out of a time of loss or betrayal which, from my experience , good comes from, when worked with consciously.
I too have questions and soul searching as I turn into the dark of Winter.
What do I wish to have have blossomed in life next February and March ?
What seeds do I need to sow and nourish in this time for this to happen?
Areas for such inquiry could be any be any 1 or more of below :
– Friendships and love relationships
– Personal development and education
– Career choices and moves
– Work and finance
– Creative expression and hobbies
– Fun and relaxation
– Physical care, health and appearance
To look at , to think through on such topics, allows you not to be the victim of life, but rather to direct and co -create life in the way you wish it to go
In the one to one work with clients in person, over telephone or via Skype, I see the need over and over the need to take this time to look and review..
Then planning with steps , whether it be for a better work life balance, a career change, relationship development to name a few.
My work creates a safe and listening place to work with these areas and to assist in making the changes necessary.
My one to one sessions last over an hour.
However, I am moving more and more to a agreed set of 3 sessions as 3 sessions over an agreed time allows work to go deeper.
With a series, momentum is created for follow through on decisions and on allowing clarity to develop.
I am offering 3 sessions with you, to work with your Spring 2015 in mind.
These sessions can be in person or via Skype or telephone.
I look forward to working with you on this, should you wish to .
Please contact me via email: email@example.com for further information on this .
Good Wishes for deep Wintering .
I have just completed a 7 day cleanse with the guidance of our wonderful Herbalist Colleen Kennedy. James, my love and I did it together, which was a considerable support seeing that we did it at home. James and I are “foodies ” as we both love good food, eating mainly vegan and vegeterian food with some fish. He likes his glass of wine in the evening and I have had the need for a morning coffee and sweet treat creeping up again ! We also had a family wedding, with guests staying for many days and there was much partying and feasting before and after the special day.
Afterward the wedding, I could feel a cold coming on and was generally sluggish. So we decided that even if a little late into winter, to commence a 7-day cleanse. I knew that it would boost the immune system and clear out any residual viruses and toxins and tiredness. . Autumn and spring are the better times for cleanses and detox. Because it of the cold weather, we took Colleen’s advice and combined ayurvedic warming dal, using warming herbs and spices in an evening dish, with fresh green juices and smoothies lased with ginger ( for warmth ) in the morning. We also took herbs that assist in liver and kidney flushes with warming herb teas throughout the day. For the 7 days cut out all bread, sugars, dairy, meat, tea, coffee and alcohol.
I will share some aspects of the week and ensuing days.
* I was reminded again that caffeine is addictive. For the first 3 days, my head headaches and pains in my body and craving the “kick” that it gives. I know too that it causes much acidic residue in the body. Yet, I had started to need again that morning ritual of a cup or meeting a friend and enjoying it, The 1st day of the cleanse I needed to go to the shops and decided not to, as I knew I would have a coffee! As one of my mentors Dr. Brian Clement from Hippocrates Health institute says “ If you like sugar and caffeine and or are working on cutting it out of your life, you are either an addict or a recovering addict “! I did feel I was coming off a drug those first 3 days !
* As the days progressed a mental clarity and ease filled me. There has been a growing and deepening focus to my work with clarity of mind that I have not had for a while. I feel empowered with a sense of how much life and love there is to live. My body felt more flexible and my vitality had increased. My skin and eyes have a glowing freshness to them. Since completion this has stayed with me with a sense of personal empowerment by dong the 7 days at home.
* Since completion there is a renewed commitment to consuming enriched and alkalizing planted based nutrition, drinking nourishing green juices and smoothies daily and to cutting out what eventually zaps energy, such as caffeine and refined sugars and flours. I realize that my life , creativity and sustained vitality depends on these choices. I see again with clarity the lie that so seductively draws one into a sweet treat and coffee fix and I hope to not succumb again for a long while, if ever ❤ ❤ ❤
Recently, I went to a Food Forum at Westport Food Festival in Ireland. I was inspired be a presentation by Georgina Campbell, an Irish hospitality guide and cookbook publisher . Her talk was titled “ Food with a Conscience”. She said that “Food with Conscience is food when mindfully farmed, harvested, manufactured and consumed with respect for the environment and effects on world population, human and otherwise”
This triggered deeper reflection on what I eat .I realised that it is a political, wellness and ecological decision when choosing what to prepare in the kitchen, for family and friends. .Working with whole person Personal Development and Wellness coaching , I also observe that the food consumed is a statement of how clients think about themselves, their connection to the earth and their bodies.
I will cover 3 areas to consider when choosing food for consumption . I will deal particularly in this article with meat and dairy production.
Since Facebook I am bestowed daily with images to the desktop from inspirational quotes to the injustice and cruelty in this world. What brings tears to my eyes are the images that come in on some of the acts taken on rearing of animals. for food production. I know that in the wild, killings happen. However the caging, abattoir killing and lack of sensitivity in animal care deeply affects me.
Industrial farms require maximum production from the animals regardless of the stress this places them under and the resultant shortening of their lifespan. Confining as many animals indoors as possible might maximize efficiency and profits, but it also exposes the animals to high levels of toxins from decomposing manure and can create ideal conditions for diseases to spread. Feeding animals an unnatural diet rather than letting them graze and forage on open land simply adds to their health problems. To counteract these unhealthy conditions, factory farmed animals are given constant antibiotics they are also routinely treated with pesticide and can be given hormones implants to increase weight gain.
I worked on a family dairy farm for 7 years and even though we treated animals well, we bred them to produce 3 and 4 time more than their natural milk lactation. As well, we removed their calves the day after birth. This meant that they were not suckled continually which is more natural. We milked them twice a day with many hours between milkings. I have vivid memories to this day of arriving to the field to collect the cows for milking and they would all be waiting at the gate to come in , some leaking, others almost unable to walk with the pressure of full udders and I know now in pain with such unnatural weight.
We currently have 7 billion people living on earth .We keep consuming more and more meat. According to World Watch Institute, “Per-capita meat consumption has more than doubled in the past half-century, even as global population has continued to increase. As a result, the overall demand for meat has increased five-fold.” World meat consumption is expected to double by 2050. Already, according to the New York Time, “an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.”
With meat consumption rising, those who produce beef, chicken, pork and other meats have to be as efficient as possible—and that is a not free-range animal living on a countryside farm. There is only so much space that’s suitable for raising livestock in a lower-impact, healthier-for-the-environment (and the animal) way. Packing them into feedlots, feeding them grains (instead of grasses for cows and bugs and worms for chickens) is cheaper, faster and easier.
For every 100 calories of grains and feed we give to a beef cow, we only get 20% back in edible calories. What this means is that there is competition between feeding people and animals to feed people. I And that grain production doesn’t just use calories that could go to feed people instead of animals. In fact it takes 6 kilos grain to produce half kilo of animal protein. It is just unsustainable and inefficient .
Cardiologist William C. Roberts cites the carnivore’s short intestinal tract, which reaches about three times its body length. An herbivore’s intestines are 12 times its body length, and humans are closer to herbivores, he says. Roberts rattles off other similarities between human beings and herbivores. Both get vitamin C from their diets (carnivores make it internally). Both sip water, not lap it up with their tongues. Both cool their bodies by perspiring (carnivores pant)
Meat requires a short intestinal tract to move through. As humans have a longer tract meat if not properly chewed putrefies in the gut and causes gas and many other degenerative diseases . According to the Book by Colin Campbell The China StudyMore than 8,000 statistically significant associations found in the China Study, Campbell was able to draw a single unifying principle:
“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease . . .. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.”
Michio Kushi whom I studied under in Switzerland in the 80’s , wrote a book called “Crime and Diet” stated that what one eats influences mood and behavior.
There is so much more research showing that over consumption of animal protein and refined foods causes many of the degenerative diseases that are prevalent in our world today . Heart disease is one of the majoe premature killers Movie Forks over Knives which is based on research by Dr Colin Cambell and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn shows examples of and the changes needed to maintain optimum health
* Eat less meat … have meatless days and include tasty alternatives such as nuts and seeds, lentil and chickpea dishes .
* When eating meat eat local and organic if possible and do not mix it with starches and sweet dishes .Instead consume with salad as this aids easier digestion
* Eat more green leafy foods and start sprouting foods such as mung beans or growing some vegetables in your garden. It is amazing what a small area can produce.
Yesterday, while reading an article by Peter Coyote, a Zen Buddhist Priest, who knew Robin Williams, I started to think more deeply on how to handle life . Peter compared Robin’s great talent as a biceps . He wrote, “Normally when you are gifted with a huge talent of some kind, it’s like having a magnificent bicep. People will say, “Wow, that’s fantastic” and they tell you, truthfully, that it can change your life, take you to unimaginable realms. It can and often does. The Zen perspective is a little different. We might say, “Well, that’s a great bicep, you don’t have to do anything to it. Let’s work at bringing the rest of your body up to that level.”
A woman called Faith Smith was a major influence in my life. I called her my fairy godmother because at a young age, she opened up much to me about beauty. universal Love, holistic health and release the from the false concepts of self. A person I knew wrote to Faith, saying that she wanted to take her life . She received back a very short note saying “ Honey ,whatever it is you are running from, drop it now, for you sure take it with you “ Those words written and shown to me on that card have been etched in my mind my entire life.
So I ask: How do you deal with magnificent potential when other aspects can try to choke it or kill it? How do you traverse dark inner landscape at times in life without leaving this world, or going into addictive coping strategies such as over working , over eating or drug addictions.The answers are not simple, as we are all complex humans. However, I will share some tools ( a,b and c ) that I can use in my one to one and group work and have practiced when needed in my life.
a) This a Part of You
Whatever is happening with dark and negative thoughts and feelings is only part of you. It is not all of you. In fact you could practice looking at yourself caught in fear based thought patterns. Stand above or behind yourself and observe you as caught up in a thought cycle. In the Irish language we say “Ta uaigneas orm” . It literally means” loneliness is upon me”. In the English language, we would say “I am lonely.” The Irish language gives a quality of detachment to the situation . It is on upon me . I am not it . There is always more to you than what is happening or what you are feeling right now.
b) Take a Different Approach
Find a different way to deal with a mood that grips. Such as, instead of taking to bed or isolating, take a walk, go out to nature, be around children or animals or supportive friends. Instead of going for that stimulating coffee and cake, make a nutrient rich smoothie or plant based casserole that would nurture and settle your body/being. Recently, I was very scared about a conversation that I needed to have. Instead of giving it a lot of energy in my mind in a way that I can , I decided to complete a writing task that I had committed too . The fear dissolved as I stayed with my work and the conversation took care of itself at another time. By making conscious choices to move beyond the habitual patterns that pull you deeper in a quagmire of despair can often loosen the hold of outmoded behaviours.
c) Love the Negativity
Treat it like a child that has fallen off the bicycle and cut their knees. Give it compassion. Speak to it as if you are a parent . Ask what does it need from you today. Imagine the frightened, dark place sitting on your lap and you are advising it, loving it and not judging it. A good tool with this is to journal it onto a page. Write out the mood in the form of a dialogue with a loving part of you. It is amazing the healing and dissolving of fear that can happen with this practice. These loving acts can bring much insight and wisdom to the situation.
Robin Williams in his life and movies showed how out to the edges one can go. How big and courageous we can allow self to be. His too soon a death shows that it is not the complete picture. There needs to be balance with attention too to the other parts of the psyche that require healing and integration.
Our society is appearing to be harder to live in, with war and news of conflict almost every day. Yet , the practice is still to find peace, release and gentleness, first, towards one self and then to each other. May his passed help us to stay more aware, take time to be with in harmony with our inner lives and to connect to this precious moment.
– Mary Berkery
Mary Berkery is a Personal Development Coach , Whole Person Wellness Educator , Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator.
She can be contacted at www.maryberkery.com