Wednesday, 13 September 2017

5 Reasons to Learn Ukulele

     1.  It's easy:  Compared to other instruments there is almost instant gratification. There are only 4 strings and so it’s much easier to play than a guitar.  You don't need any musical background and it's an ideal instrument for busy people to learn because you don't have to practise that much.

2.   Its fun:  They say that ukulele players are the happiest people in the world! A lot of people think  ukuleles are toy guitars.  It's hard to take yourself too seriously when you are playing ukulele and it really is a lot of fun.

     3.  It's social: Playing ukulele is a great way of making new friends. During the summer I was out for a cycle with my ukulele and I met a lovely young french couple who were hitching a lift with a pink ukulele.  I stopped and we had fun chatting and  jamming at the side of the road.

4.  It's affordable:  You can buy a ukulele from around 20 euro which is grand for learning on.  For less than €100 you can get one that sounds really nice too!

      5.  It's small & light:  It fits in your handbag (or your manbag)so you can take it anywhere. Handy for a quick practise outside the  school while you're waiting to collect the kids,  to play at work on your lunchbreak, perfect for beach parties, on your bike, no bother in your handbag when you're flying or if you are getting a lift somewhere great to play in the car.  Endless possibilities...

So what’s stopping you? Find a class near you or go on you tube. Learn ukulele and amaze your friends and family with your new skills!

I'm looking forward to starting my new beginner's class next week in Clonakilty.  I only have a few spaces left so don't delay if you feel a calling as this is my last class for 2017.

What some of my students have said about my classes:

'I loved Claire's classes-she emphasised building your skills one bit at a time but within a 'group' focus-so not about  'getting it right' but playing to enjoy playing with the class. This made it a relaxed & fun way to learn something new.  Each week built on the last on so liked that had some songs by the end.'  Angela

'Thoroughly enjoyed the class. Learnt a lot of chords & different strums.  Had fun!'  Lynn Barry

'Really enjoyed the social aspect that went along with learning a new instrument.  Small group was great & really supportive'  Paul Dooley

'Very relaxed environment for me to learn as a real beginner.  Music recordings on dropbox helped me to learn the tune & strum timing.'  Brid O'Mahony

'Claire is a brilliant teacher and the pace is perfect and sending the recordings on dropbox is a great way of practising'.  June Fairhead

Monday, 3 April 2017

What do mother’s need to know about self-care for their highest good?

This month I will be posting every Monday on the topic of 'self-care for mums' on the Solace Holistic Centre facebook parenting page

I did an oracle reading using Steven Farmer's 'Earth Magic' deck asking the question
'What do mother's need to know about self-care for their highest good?'

I picked 3 cards
#1 to represent the current situation
#2 obstacles to self-care
#3 steps to take

#1  Volcano-Volatility
Mothers today are under enormous pressure and are at breaking point.  The different strands of fire inside the volcano show all the different directions they are being pulled in.  Mums can only take so much before they expode.  Then there is fall out- rocks are hurled.  It goes almost without saying, that there is a lack of self-care going on!

#2 Lake-Stillness

So what are the obstacles?  There isn’t enough time for stillness- to reflect on our lives, to process what’s going on for us, to have time just to be, to go within, to connect with our core.  To do no-thing.  We are constantly busy…

#3 Green Man-Synergy

So what can we do?  This card is full of greenery.  The green man is associated with trees.  This card is an invitation to spend time in nature.  You don’t have to head off into the wilds- you just need to get outside into the fresh air and head to the nearest patch of greenery. This can be your garden, local park, woods, beach- whatever you have time for.  Frequent short walks can be very nourishing and have a synergist effect i.e. you will feel much better for doing it than you would expect.  When you spend time outside in nature (without being on your phone ;-) ) you can experience stillness and then you will be able to move through your life with greater ease.

It’s important to prioritise this time on your own even if it’s only for 10 or 20 minutes.  If you have no-one to cover for you or you just can’t get out of the house, open the door or window and take 3 deep breaths while looking at a plant or tree.

Let me know how you get on!  Talk to you next week!  

Love and blessings

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Alan's 12th Birthday Anniversary-Tuesday 10 January 2017

Jamie helps me make the muffins.  His speciality, is checking that the chocolate chips are okay before we add them to the mixture.  Jamie and Cillian, both do extensive tests of the final mixture while I put dollops into the paper cases. 

Gardening tools, flask of hot chocolate and warm muffins and it's off to the graveyard. 
It’s nice being there, the four of us, weeding between the cobbles, pulling out the dandelions and tufts of grass. We leave the moss which fills the spaces with dark green velvet.  As we stand in silent prayer, Jamie digs in his pockets and carefully places a couple of crystals from his collection on the grave.

As we leave the graveyard the light is fading…

Soft pink rustles the top of the polytunnel.  A small airplane drones like a boat engine in the night steaming to the fishing grounds.  Darkness will soon descend on the land.  Purple black clouds clear a space of pink-streaked baby blue.  In the distance through a slit of orange, I see sky mountains maybe an island too, twinning High Island to the north.  The sea is a spectrum of aqua-navy through jade to white.  The sea is loud, crashing the shore.  In the garden, I tuck out of the wind in a dip which subsided where we buried the remains of our shed. I watch a late raven heading to roost.  As I catalogue the sensations of sound and sights and feel the breeze comfort my face, I have this feeling in my heart that I’m not sure what to do with.  I’m slightly beside myself.  Also a questioning; Am I sad enough?  What to do?  Where to put myself?  Part of me wants to lie down on the ground and zone out.  Not be here.  Part of me wants to write something profound.  And in the midst of the inner turmoil of unknowing there is still that slit of light in the sky lighting a white wispy cloud over High Island. It is beautiful and I wouldn’t have seen any of this on a normal day at this time as darkness unfolds and I enter my kitchenly world of artificial light.  And so l lie down on the grass wrapped in a blanket and take the time just to be with what is.

                          Letting Go a Mother's Healing Journey-facebook

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Kryon in Cork

On Sunday I went to a great songwriting workshop run by John Spillane as part of the Clonakilty Guitar Festival.  I had been listening to the audios of Lee Carroll’s trip to Ireland over the weekend and so when John said to pick something to write about I immediately thought of Kryon.  I was lucky enough to hear Lee and Maria O’Farrell Carr and Jane Donald speaking in Cork a few weeks ago before they set off on their sacred tour of Ireland.  We spent a wonderful day in Maryborough hotel and had a lovely walk around the grounds at lunchtime.  This was the inspiration for my song.



Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Cosmic Connections

Some memories from the magical Earthsong camps this summer in Co. Tipperary...  This year I took part in the astrodrama and family constellation workshops and found them very powerful.  

The night we stood in a column
of sound, harmonies ricochet
off the tree trunks.
John speaks of the possibilities
of elementals around us,
while one little boy nestled in
long arms
looks up through pure
brown eyes-
seeing it all.

Rain blurs the window.
The white horse is still
in the field
next door.
I am back in my own home.
New roots quickly shoot down.
I feel the calmness that comes after kirtan.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Self-doubt and Happiness

I was woken at 6.30am and duly nudged to write this blog post, so taking a leap of faith I have finally stopped resisting and here I am!  It’s been over a year since I’ve posted.  I have been writing but never quite got around to posting anything and then the moment would pass and I felt less likely to, until suitably wrapped up in busyness, my blog slipped out of my day to day concern.

 I have just finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s ‘Happiness Project’.  It is a very thought provoking inspiring book but what impressed me most was her honesty, her authenticity and her sense of self-acceptance.  One of her guiding affirmations on her quest to explore happiness was to “Be Gretchen”.  This meant really embracing her own real likes and needs, not what she would like them to be or what she felt other people might like or expect.  

And so as I reached the end of the book, I was starting to see why this book might be relevant to me. (When I picked it up in the shop, I was looking for a birthday present for my dad but I quickly realised that it was I who needed this book and I got confirmation tingles when I decided to buy it).  I could feel I was starting to get my aha moment but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  I’d just read this very detailed book about Gretchen’s life.  There were many aspects I could relate to and some were revelations as they had been for her. For example I really love children’s books too but have never really acknowledged it and had limited myself to only reading these books with my kids.  Now I have given myself permission to read kids books for my own enjoyment too and plan to re-read the whole Anne of Green Gable series that I loved so much when I was growing up.

The thing that really struck me was although there were lots of other aspects of Gretchen that maybe I couldn’t relate to that easily, it didn’t stop me admiring and liking her, respecting that she was different to me.  I was intrigued that I found her so interesting.  I think this is down to her transparency and honesty.  She didn’t airbrush the difficulties of being disciplined enough to stick to her happiness resolutions. 

So how does all this translate to me?  I spend a lot of time journaling my ups and my downs, my feelings, experiences, sometimes poems or songs, but for my blog, I had decided it was only to be poetry.  Sometimes poems come easily. Sometimes there are gaps, but in the meantime when I allow myself, I scribble away filling up my journals.  This isn’t work, it’s just what I like to do.

I was also woken up yesterday morning early and the message was to wake up, grab your pen and start writing.  This is for your blog.  But I was super sleepy and by the time I did wake up and start writing I wasn’t sure what the blog post was anymore….

Self-doubt is one of my travelling companions in this lifetime and very obligingly came rushing in to reassure me that no-one really wants to read what I have to say.  But I have also realised that since I know self-doubt is there, it’s up to me to first just acknowledge that’s it’s popped in again and then continue whatever I am doing regardless.

I realised I had made the confines of my blog too narrow.  I want to be able to write about anything I feel like writing about.  I want to explore the freedom of self-expression  through honesty, transparency and authenticity.  It doesn’t matter whether anyone reads this or not because in the act of writing and posting I am exploring my vulnerability and this is the start point for growth.  To stretch out of my comfort zone away from the ‘safety’ of poetry into the unknown…