#take3fortheSea

Drowning in plastic, the documentary that literally broke my heart. Our blue planet is facing one of its biggest threats in history. And day to day we are blatantly destroying our beautiful planet and killing they amazing creatures we share it with.

I honestly feel like we have gone to far to reverse the effects we have caused, but without question we have a global responsibility to step up, make positive changes and maintain at the very least, if not improve the current state of the planet. With this being said, I wanted to try an organise a little get together with friends and thought what  better way than a beach clean up at sunset.

One thing never fails to amaze me is the sexy sunset displays that happen in Brighton. Its this immense powerhouse that seems to draw the whole of Brighton to the beach. This, I thought could be a way to get peoples awareness in a not so in your face kinda of way that has the ability that to piss people off. So I posted on instagram and just thought, regardless of whether anyone comes or not, I’ll just do a big one myself. Everyday that I go for a dip I try to pick up 3 pieces of litter, hence the #3fortheSea movement. I was curious to see if I could lure some friends in, so I may have coaxed them with chocolatey goods.

12 beautiful humans showed up and collectively we removed one large box of litter from Brighton and Hove beach. One less box of shite in our oceans. People like this, who are willing to come and give there time to protect the environment are the kind of people who give me faith in humanity. Having group beach cleans can also raise awareness. It felt pretty good to have some passers by on the beach ask what we were doing and for them really appreciate it. Some appreciated it so much we even noticed they began to pick up some litter too. Through us sharing and posting our experiences on social media, we can also allow people to become aware of this problem and to inspire the reduction of the consumption of plastic.

As we sat on the beach for a few hours after, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of community. What a way for like minded people to come together and do something positive. To sit at the waters edge and watch the blazing sun fall below the horizon and to drink our body weight in hot chocolate.

If I could give you any advice this week it would be to try and watch ‘Drowning in Plastic’ the the BBC iplayer. It might give you a shock but more positively allow you to feel inspired to  make a change.

 

Happy Monday Lovelies,

T H A T  C O R K  O N E

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What does Yoga mean to you?

‘What does yoga mean to you?’, a question that popped up in a recent assignment.

The magical thing about yoga is that it is unique to each and everyone of us. When I was first introduced to the world of yoga  I assumed it was all just challenging asanas. But truth is, physical asanas are just a small part of yoga. It is an open ended spiritual practice.

Yoga has changed my life in more ways than I could every imagine. I needed a new form of therapy for Arthritis. Medication was  failing me so I was become more aware of how movement could be the medicine I really needed. So I tried my very first yoga class. Actually I’m lying. A few years back I attempted a class in Brisbane. Which I hated, I was in out of my dept in a class that was far too advanced for me. I felt like everyone was watching how shit and uncomfortable I was. I swore it was first and last. I’m rambling, back to my, well,  second ever yoga class. Which I decided to give a go at home, where I felt most comfortable, my safe place, where no one could judge.  I really wanted to give it another go and to try and approach healing my body holistically.  And what surprised me most is how it has taught me to be make peace with who I really am.

If I could give any advice it would be to try not to feel intimidated by yoga. Your practice each day is going to be different. Some days my practice will be coming to my mat for an hour or so. Some days my practice is meditation by the sea. On hectic days at work, I might find myself in the walk in fridge at work taking a moment to practice breathing.  Some days I cant sit still at all and other days I find myself curled up on the couch with a tub of nut butter. But I have accepted now that this is okay, because on that day, at that particular moment, that practice was perfect for what I needed and that is yoga.

Yoga has healed my mind, body and soul. It has changed my life by allowing me connect with my body. I have found that yoga has this innate capability to balance me. It  has made me feel my best and taught me to love myself fiercely in all forms.

I am now feeling inspired to teach and share yoga as a path to health, healing and happiness. I am looking forward to this spiritual journey and cannot wait to share it with you.

namaste

T H A T   C O R K   O N E

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Anxiety, my old friend.

A recent post I shared on IG. With everything we see on social media I feel its so important to be honest and share the darker feelings that may not be highlighted.

It was a busy week juggling work, life and Yoga Teacher Training. Between exams, assessments, deep pranayama and meditation a lot of emotions surfaced that I was unaware I had been carrying. I couldn’t sleep or eat and frankly didn’t want to speak to anyone, I was expecting far too much of myself. It even made me question the path I am taking. Yoga teachers surely can’t feel like this.

Yesterday I was assessed as I taught a class focusing on movements of the spine. In the lead up I had the biggest knot in my belly. But as soon as I sat with my group and started listening to my own words there was an immediate shift in energy. ‘ As we sit here in stillness notice what thoughts arise, acknowledge them, but come back to your breath’. There was a magic feeling. Yoga has been medicine for me not just for my mind by for the physical body also. And it is now clear for me that this is my path and I want to share it with others.

I understand how anxiety comes and goes, I understand through my YTT journey I’m gonna peel back the layers and discover so much about myself. I know it will be emotional but I’m just gonna try to simply allow things to arise and unfold naturally instead of worrying and formulating expectations. Anxiety isn’t something that will just disappear, It’s how I choose to control it is the remedy. Only I can make these decisions.

 

and yet I find myself back at the oceans edge again, breathing…in, and out.

 

T H A T   C O R K   O N E

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Nudie runs from the Beach

Lets be honest, I haven’t an iota when it comes to Fashion. We choose outfits that possibly make a statement or can these fashion statements offer a deeper story of our lives? If someone ever compliments a piece of my clothing, I often tend to crease into myself and be the complete and utter awkward that I am. But I also tend to be flooded with the memories as garments have that tendency to remind us of our experiences, be them good or bad.

Lets take my Dryrobe for instance. I’m going to use this as my, lets say, ‘storytelling device’, or should I call it my portable changing room. Gifted by my Dad for my 25th birthday and I can tell ye now lads, long gone are the days awkwardly trying to change into dry clothes on the beach, clutching the towel with one hand and desperately trying to get dressed with the other, hoping your arse wouldn’t fall out for all to see. With the widest of sleeves it allows for changing in public to be a piece of piss. People have told me its ugly as hell, however I’m gonna go as far and say its possibly my favourite garment of all time. While I’ve also received quite a few compliments for this remarkably convenient piece of clothing, I must say, I feel pretty rad when I wear it.

It reminds me of my connection to the elements. How I can be free in the sea, letting go of the worries in life, submerging in that cold water, kicking the ole survival mode into whack, knowing I have a warm duvet like coat of amazingness waiting for me when I get back to shore. My dryrobe also allowed me to embrace Mother Nature in all her glory as I would watch the sun rise and set while feeling snug as a bug. Whether it be huddling at the beach sipping tea with my favourite humans in the peak of winter or jumping out of comfort zones at stupid-o -clock in the summer, my dry robe has always been at hand, an over worn garment some may say.

5ish am, mid summer, jumping from Collimore Harbour.

I cant tell you the amount of times I just whipped off my togs and allowed myself to just be naked under my robe. Not a single f*** given. Nudie runs from the beach. Strolling through Greystones. Nipping into the shops to buy groceries. Feeling so liberated because I knew but no one else did, my little secret. Untill one day, a friend caught me by surprise, wanted me to train with him, ‘take that yoke off’, he whipped the zip down and before I even had a chance to think, there they were, the girls came out for all to see. Not my little secret anymore.

It acted as a barrier in the midst of winter, as the powdery heavenly beauty fell all over the Wicklow Mountains. Snow harsh and biting, but feeling safe and warm in a coat shaped duvet, allowing more time for that inner child to be released as we played in it. Ever camped in Ireland in March? It’s bloody well cold! Let me tell you, 5 layers of clothing, meets dryrobe, meets sleeping bag equals a whole lot of coziness, the bare necessities.

A hug rug, the perfect rainy festival attire, I could go on and on with my list of memories in my ‘comfort cape’ this past year. So as I post this, I wonder if you guys might have any untold stories hanging in your own closets or tucked away in drawers? Why not find that garment, that overlooked storytelling device and a way to get at stories and memories that are sometimes put to the side.

 

Happy Monday,

T H A T  C O R K  O N E

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Crying into my Flat White.

Do you ever get a message off someone that makes your heart burst and your eyes leak?

Let me set the scene. I’m in a quirky cafe, with a pretty rad spotify playlist, planning a yoga session, drinking an oat milk flat white from a cup with no handles, could I sound any more millennial? Que out of the blue a text from my beautiful cousin and more important one of my best friends. She reminded me how down I was almost 3 years ago. When a sudden change of events lead me back home to Cork, how I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, how we lost some very important people and how things were, well, a little bit shit.

But then she went on to tell me ( or text me) how I fell in love with life again. How I found myself in a new place. How I fell in love and allowed somebody to wake up what was already in my soul. How I’m using my experience to promote health and well-being for others. And she told me…she was proud of me. So here I am, tears streaming into my flattie, happy tears I might add though.  The music has taken a shift from the typical cafe feels playlist to something a little more dramatic. Really setting the scene. My heart bursting while I reflect over the passed 3 years in a flash. There’s a girl beside me, I can tell she is trying to see if I’m okay.  I give a quick smile  and she laughs. I’m a hot mess.

Its funny though you think  you know how your path in life is going to go. And then things might go tits up. Do unplanned and unexpected changes have to be bad? What if changes could be good by default. We all have to be mindful that we can learn new things every time there is change. You discover new insights about different aspects of your life.  You learn lessons even from changes that did not lead you to where you wanted to be. If someone was to tell me 3 years ago I would be living in Brighton with a boyfriend, training to be a yoga teacher and managing a cafe I would have laughed. That wasn’t my path. And if someone was to mention being the big V (vegan) I would have told them they were crazy.

From time to time changes make you re-evaluate your life and look at things from a different perspective. Depending on what the change is, it may also reinforce your life values. Maybe we all need to be reminded of how far we have come and how we have embraced change.

So tell your friend, it doesn’t take much, you might even make their eyes leak into their coffee too.

we all need humans like these in our lives

 

Happy Tuesday!

T H A T    C O R K   O N E

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From one coast to another

Oh hey, its been awhile. I took a little break from reality. But somehow that break turned into a lengthy absence. I had just become comfortable sharing my little life stories with you and now this break has me feeling all nervous again.

So much has happened in the passed few months, with some travelling adventures, a country move, a new job and beginning Yoga Teacher Training to name a few. I thought I was ready to pour some love into this blog again, but I just couldn’t seem to do it. I would open up WordPress, draft about 7 different posts full of rambling content and blah, get frustrated with myself, overthink, shut my laptop and figure I would try again another time. So here I go, vowing to make a comeback to sharing some stories, as natural and as honest as I can possibly be.

” I wasn’t gonna say it babe, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I really think you might need to start getting to the sea again“.

This was my partners way of politely putting it to me that I needed to drown the crazy. I needed to take a little part of my day and dedicate it to centering myself, taking the plunge ( quite literally), connecting with nature and feeling more human again. Truth is, I think I was feeling a little lost. I had left the blissful cove of Greystones, in Wicklow. A small sanctuary on the east coast of Ireland. There’s a whole lot to be said about the people you surround yourself with. And the humans I shared this sanctuary with, my friends, the inspirational positive energies from all walks of life, that I swam and watched the sunrise with, well they weren’t here. I wasn’t as motivated to wake up at the crack of dawn and I didn’t feel like me. Did I forget to mention I’m training for a marathon? what possessed me to sign myself up for this? I haven’t got a notion, I’m still trying to figure that one out! but I was using my free time to train for this. No wonder I was gone a little crazy, there had been a lot of change in my life, I felt out of sorts in my new home and I was running for what felt like miles and miles. What was familiar to me was living so close to the sea, being able to take myself there and control how was feeling. I had been neglecting that. I had been cheating on the sea, with something that wasn’t particularly fulfilling me. I was missing that igniting feeling inside, that feeling of being alive when you dive below the water surface. It was time for change.

Brighton is my new home. The water is on my doorstep and I will make a conscious effort to get to it everyday. Here’s to letting the sea breeze flow through me, calming my thoughts and energizing my spirit so I can be the best me. Even my partner thinks Im more human now again. Oh and the icy water has been good therapy for the aul legs after running 🙂

I’ve heaps to share with ye, I cant wait.

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T H A T  C O R K  O N E

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Squeezing my life into a Toyota Yaris

De-cluttering is a necessity as I attempt to squeeze my life into my Toyota Yaris. I am by no means a hoarder. But I am maybe a ‘I cant throw that away because I feel guilty’ kind of human. What is it about throwing away clutter that makes us feel so guilty? Is it because we may have spent a few quid on it? Or we don’t wanna be wasteful? Or do we worry that because it was gifted to us the person might mention something about it. ( seriously Ciara.. your aunt isn’t gonna interrogate you about the bag she bought you 8 years ago!!!)

As I am moving overseas and entering a new phase in my life I feel its time to reduce my ‘baggage’. Time to unleash the minimalist buried beneath the guilt. Enter ruthless Ciara.  If  it hadn’t worn it in a year – IT’S GONE, no excuses. I initially set an intention to take the organised approach and sort one possession at a time, Less mess, less stress kinda theory. Silver space boots- GONE. Blue dress my mum got me for an U16’S GAA dinner dance (that I couldn’t come to wear cause I wouldn’t look cute but didn’t have the heart to throw it out and thought maybe possibly one day I would find an occasion it would suit)- GONE. Mermaid blanket- GONE. Guitar once promised to learn but never played- GONE. Might seem like I’m doing okay but jayyyyyyysus five minutes in I’ve had a breakdown and I’m lying on a mountain of clothes on my bed mindlessly scrolling through my news feed.

Okay so I’m back at it and I get a good run for about half an hour and get rid of heaps! Then I find a bag full of tickets from my travels to Croatia last year  and BOOM  before I know it I’m back on the mountain of  shite, posting throwbacks of island life, clutter continuing to invade my personal space.

Isn’t it funny how we become emotionally attached to our things. I know I don’t need things but sometimes feel unwilling to let go.  A shirt might hold the memory of a cherished loved one now gone. A dress might carry stories from travels. Silver boots might remind you how your not cool enough to carry out that trend. Turns out fabric and thread held more meaning than I thought.

So as my Wicklow journey comes to an end, my suitcase filled with de-cluttered belongings that are packed with years of memories and dodgy style phases will bring all of my girlfriends together, for an evening of food, chats, laughs and suitcase rummaging one last time. As the saying goes one mans trash is another mans treasure. Could my possessions have a second life? I feel so content, so satisfied, I have changed internally and feel like what surrounds me should too. I have removed what no longer serves me and I now feel like my life may fit in my Toyota Yaris. Seriously though? What was I thinking with the silver spaceboots?

 

If I could give you any advice, have a little clear out, it’s good for the soul.

T H A T   C O R K   O N E

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New Year, New Habits?

Well its been awhile, so Happy New Year beautiful humans. Christmas came and went like a fart in the wind, I cannot believe its the middle of January already. I know they say Christmas is a time for ate’in and drinkin’ but this year I tried to break away from that. Christmas this year was the perfect opportunity to just kick back, disconnect from the everyday stresses and  reconnect with what life’s truly about, family, friends, love, gratitude, and continuing traditions, even if time does cause them to change, we just gotta adapt them as we grow.

So now its all aboutNew year, new me’, I actually cringe so bad when I hear it. 9/10 it’s coming out of my own mouth.  See I work in a cafe inside a gym, there is a lot of ‘New-year-new-me’s,  I small talk and well, its out of my mouth  before I even have a chance to stop it. Recently at a yoga class ( @yogawithjoquinn she’s an angel) we were reminded to stop worrying about New Years resolutions and to just live each day in the moment and as a result we will live a calmer happier life. New beginnings, new chapters, new identities are all well and good but why are we bursting our balls to try new things when the greatest thing is right infront of us… our own selves!! Sound corny? Its obviously great to use NY as an incentive, but we also need to realise that new years resolutions have the ability to set ourselves up for disappointment and are potentially damaging to our self confidence.

We need to get out there, live life, and become satisfied with who we are. If your not satisfied, change it for that reason and not because you feel you have to because you flipped over a new calendar. So I’ve decided to give resolutions the boot and to focus on habits. Habits you may ask. Sounds as bloody boring! wow I really sound like an aul one,  but in the later half of last year I began to learn that a little thing done often enough over time is far more effective then paying little attention on unrealistic resolutions. So rather than asking yourself ‘what are my resolutions this year?’ ask yourself ‘what are the habits I’m gonna commit to?’And with this ‘new year new habits’ malarkey… go on, go mad, start tomorrow, next month, this summer, next year who cares, DO.IT.FOR.YOU!!

Habits become who you are and here is a list of some of which I incorporated into my life as of this passed 6 months:

  • to try and roll out my mat once a day, even if its just for 15 minutes, movement is medicine
  • practicing gratitude, even for the little things in everyday life.
  • daily meditation, allowing for head space
  • not drinking fluids with  meals ( this is tough 🙂 )
  • prepping healthy snacks to avoiding temptations
  • using every possible spare moment for an adventure
  • allowing one evening a week to share a story on my blog.
  • being out and immersed in nature at least 30 mins every day regardless of weather

 

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Swimrise at The Cove Greystones on a chilly January morning 

Let me know how you go 🙂

Stay wild lovelies,

T H A T   C O R K   O N E

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The boy who grits the road

A sweet caring gesture can make your day, even if its done in the smallest way.  I am by no means a materialistic human and I believe great relationships don’t require shows of affection all the time.

When I was a lone ranger ( for a veeeeeeeeerrry long time) my friends used to tell me I lived in a fairy tale, holding out in hope for a man who would be thoughtful  in the simplest of ways. The writes love letters, kiss  you on the forehead, take you on picnics kind of shit.

So yesterday had me thinking. I was following my own special human, when I say following I was actually hanging behind, stumbling and trying not to break myself up on the treacherous icy roads that lead to my home. Anyways there he was, bag of salt over one shoulder, shovel in the other ready to come to my rescue.

See, I live 1,000 ft above sea level beside the beautiful Wicklow tourist attraction that is the Sugarloaf Mountain.  Our Winter had been mild thus far, but the snow fell boldly and beautifully this weekend, almost as if commanding the cold sharp weather to come even faster. And although this magical white stuff that falls from the sky has  the ability to unleash the inner child of just about everyone, there also comes the realization that after a few days, snow and ice on the roads can be an absolute pain in the hole.

So as I shot this picture on one of the coldest days in winter, my hands are numb as they clench  my camera, but the sun is burning in the sky just like the joy I feel in my heart, I feel the warm and fuzzies and I am full of gratitude. Gratitude for the boy who grits the road and allows me to hear “I love you and want you safe” in a way that touches more deeply than words.

Love for me cant be shown through fancy gifts, but through our everyday actions – our generosity, our gestures of kindness, our attention to others.

 

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A sweet caring gesture can make someones day, even if its done in the smallest way.

T H A T    C O R K    O N E

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“’tis far from yoga and being vegetarian you were raised”

My dad tells me as a baby I would eat everything and anything that was put in front of me. “what’s that shite”, he will ask these days when he looks at my plate, or “no meat? sure what else do you eat?” He’s a meat and spuds man, unwilling to break away from what he knows. He supports me in everything I do but I don’t think this man who eats with  his eyes will ever be subject to the kind of changes I am making.

Truth is, it took me 23 and a half years of living in my body and trialing different diets to realize what my body needed, that now being primarily a plant based diet. Have you ever stopped to consider what relationship you have with food? Mine was inconsistent.  I was what some may call, an emotional eater. Food provided comfort for me, but also caused me to feel pain and guilt.  Some may not think we can have a ‘relationship’ with food, but we sorta do considering we can spend several hours a day with it, you could say its pretty intimate relationship really.

My new healthier food choices inspired plenty of judgey comments from some family and friends.

  • ” sure you will just sit in the corner and eat sesame sticks” ( when suggesting a catch up with nibbles)
  • “ughhhhh, whats that manky vinegary smell?” ( when getting a whiff of kombucha! whats with everyone smelling stuff  before they try it :))
  • “what the hell will you eat for Christmas dinner then?”

The list goes on. But yano what? I really don’t care. Because I feel amazing. I am the healthiest, happiest and strongest  I’ve felt in forever. Food is fuel and medicine for me. I no longer rely on medication to  manage Rheumatoid Arthritis. ( oh I forgot to mention, I was diagnosed with this when I was 23, shit enough but its totally under control). I took control of improving my wellness. Rather than focusing on everything I was giving up I tried to think of all the delicious alternatives I was going to try. When I mentioned primarily plant based, this is because I like to think if I want a little treat every so often I’m gonna have it! I’m doing my best but no ones perfect right? But I am embracing and enjoying this new diet.

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doesn’t look like ‘shite’ to me 🙂

As for yoga, I was always interested and thought it was so beautiful and interesting how yogis moved and was inspired by their strength, it was aesthetically pleasing. So a few years ago I tried it and hated it. I wanted to be flexible, I was naive enough to think that was what yoga was all about.  I  was stiff as a plank. I hated not being good at it. I was convinced my legs were too long for my arms as I couldn’t touch my toes, downward dog fell like an upward whale, and I couldn’t get through a sequence without sounding like a downward panting dog. I gave up the dreams of being a yogi.  I thought a yoga class would be a sanctuary in which my worries would melt away, a place where I would come out of my mind and into my body but I was tense, I was conscious, I was stiff as a feckin’ plank, but maybe I just wasn’t ready.

Fast forward a few years, I am beginning to live a holistic lifestyle and I am advised to practice yoga to help ease the symptoms of the arthritis. I began to incorporate regular yoga into my weekly routine and I couldn’t help but have my mind open to a more spiritual connection that I may have resisted before. There are some days I just cant wait to roll out my mat, or head to my favourite yoga class taught by my beautiful friend ( @yogawithjoquinn) She always creates a magical zen den allowing and encouraging personal growth. I can actually touch my toes now!!

 

I still receive the ole judgey comment. Like from my brother for instance. I posted a picture from an acroyoga workshop to which he texted me saying ” i know your gone all into your yoga, but whats going on with the couples sex yoga?” People will judge, haters will hate but if I’m feeling like a better human I don’t really think I should worry what anyone thinks of my lifestyle.

Although in saying that, I am currently thinking of delicious plant based ideas for Christmas day in the hopes my family will get curious of what I have and wanna try some. One can only hope right? 🙂 Results to follow.

 

T H A T   C O R K   O N E

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