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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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.

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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,

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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.

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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.

 

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Liquid Energy

For me daily visits to the sea the cove in Greystones Co.Wicklow acted as a form of cold therapy to relieve aching joints. What I was gaining from this natural form of therapy was not only physically beneficial but more importantly mentally. The exhilarating rush I was experiencing from plunging in the wild Atlantic sea was heightening my sense of existence.

It wasn’t long before our little swimrise family evolved. A group of like minded people down at a small cove in the east coast of Ireland gathered each morning to embrace mother natures daily performance. Whether it be a powerful wild morning, 50 shades of grey style or a serene morning with a sky bursting full of colour and life, we always feel more alive and carefree once the daily fix of vitamin sea is had. Its an escape and whats most interesting is that there’s a whole other world below us that we forget exists. Although an occasional appearance from the local seal Sammy can often draw shrieks and a fast paced swim to shore from some of the family.

Liquid energy, pictures for instagram, upside down humans, bodies stretching, elements embraced, stories shared, memories made, children laughing, worries drowned, food tasted. Coming together for a swim or even just having a chat after over a warm cup of tea provides a real sense of togetherness. What joy it brings. Its the perfect mixture of what I have to come to value most in life, friends, community, seizing the day, challenging yourself, connecting with nature and igniting your spirit.

On these Winter mornings as the sun creeps above the horizon my body shakes, but I am calm and a warmth inside me ignites and I instantly feel connected to were I am. These Winter days also bring later sunrises and the reality that I cant make swimrise everyday due to work. This only makes my body crave the ice cold liquid energy even more.

I often get asked “are ye mad?”, to be honest we probably would be if we didn’t do it 🙂

 

So I encourage you to get your butt to the sea and exercise your will power,

the challenge will empower both your body and mind.

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About

A very special human gifted me with a laptop recently, something I’ve never owned and possibly the reason its taken me so long to put finger to keyboard. The reason behind this gift? Well to share my posts with not just that special human but with whoever happens to possibly maybe be curious enough to wanna catch a glimpse of what I get up to.

How I’m feeling? well the photographic evidence says it all I think,  I’m jumping into the unknown, uncertainty is arising but sure look, what’s the worst that can happen? ill give it a bash, I’ll ride the blog wave 🙂

My name is Ciara Lily O’Connell and if you haven’t already guessed I’m from cork. My wild heart has drawn me to the Wicklow hills and I don’t believe I truly found myself until I landed here two years ago. I suppose through this writing space I hope I can provide stories and moments others can connect with as I live a more spiritual simplistic life and continue to feel more alive and inspired every day.

 

 

hope you enjoy,

stay wild lovelies,

That Cork One

 

 

 

 

 

 

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