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Mindfulness with Rita O’Donovan

“Mindfulness refers to keeping one’s consciousness
alive to the present reality.
It is the miracle by which we master and
restore ourselves”.

- Thick Nhat Hanh.

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Upcoming Events

We have several day and weekend events
that focus on the practice of mindfulness,
feel free to explore our courses & events.


Peace of Mind – Monthly Workshops

Hello to all our participants who joined us for our  Peace of Mind -Monthly Gatherings! 

How lovely to see so many new and not so new attendees at our July workshop!

The morning started with a story.  Telling the group about how my mindfulness practice came in very handy on the ‘said’ morning.  It was quite an experience to find the room that had been arranged the previous night with chairs, cushions, flip chart and lots of bits and bobs to create a relaxed environment – all seemingly to have vanished! While a bit of detective work eventually revealed the mix up, the room had to be re-organized within twenty minutes.  Phew!  Isn’t that life though? We think we have everything under control then out of the blue the unexpected happens!  At such times I can honestly tell you I am  very genuinely glad to have the skills of mindfulness ‘inbuilt’ to deal with the many situations that arise.

I started the morning with a chat on what we were offering to those attending monthly gatherings.  The first pointer was towards creating a space where people could come to relax, shake off the busyness of the world and to experience the feeling of ‘being’ with themselves without the add on of being mother, wife, daughter, husband etc. We become so attached to our various roles that having the space to be with yourself can be a revelation in many ways!.  Various topics and discussions are part of the monthly gatherings. Dealing with subjects from self regulating stress/anxiety  to cultivating deeper spiritual insight and awareness. The introduction to gentle chi-qong movements as part of the move towards body awareness seem to be going down a treat! My rendition of a person who was suffering from ‘over efficiency’ when talking about our ‘doing nature’ was perhaps acted out a tad too far. But there you go… I will try to restrain myself next time…no guarantees though! Who was it said humor makes for good medicine!

We started the morning with a topic that somehow felt appropriate towards understanding how and why it can be difficult (even with best intentions!)to integrate mindfulness into every day life.  I suggested we go back towards our history and the fundamental way in which we were taught and accepted information.   For many it was through a mechanical approach whereby we ‘ digested information’  We learned by ‘instruction ‘memorizing’ rote learning and programming as such.  We were influenced and still are to some degree by ingesting information readily  from society and family history. This type of learning often leading towards dismissing the use of our creative thinking mind which leads to our own comprehension and understanding of why we think and act as we do.  Thus our perception towards how we relate to ourselves and to the world around us can in general be quite limited or what I refer to as ‘flat’. We loose the aliveness and richness in understanding the deeper meaning relating to our magnificent lives.  I feel its safe to suggest that when we are not growing in mind and spirit we tend to stagnate which often results in many ailments from low mood (depression) to feeling stuck psychologically.

From a mindfulness perspective…. you must go to the well yourself!  In other words ‘you’ are in the driving seat. We experience directly the stories we tell ourselves, the critic we listen to inside our mind we develop an awareness that see’s through our limited views.   As we continue our understanding and practice of mindfulness we develop and cultivate our own direct experiences to awakening to living more presently in the world. Understanding and experiencing how our  thoughts patterns and behaviors  keep us stuck  Learning from a cognitive and ‘direct experiential approach’ is where scientists today see how change is indeed taking place in the neurological mechanisms of the brain as we learn how to navigate our own minds.  The practice of mindfulness within a group structure is self evident in supporting the  environment of the individual and group as a whole.  The nature of the tree is supported by its many environs such as the soil, the rain and sun to support its growth. We too, as human beings, gain much by the support of each other in our quest to arrive at deeper insight and understanding of how and why we relate to our lives.

We ended our session with a guided meditation on developing concentration of mind with learning to accept the ongoing nature of our thoughts patterns and behaviors.  We become our own Sherlock Homes as we investigate the wonder of our mind and spirit.  Developing the skill to have patience and kindness towards the busy mind while noting we have choice to return to the present moment is a rewarding experience.

Thanks to Rita ( 2!)  for her encouraging story regarding her house move and the benefits of how her practice helped and supported her through the ups and downs associated with such a big change! It’s always a great opportunity to hear someone talk about their ‘live’ experience in using their practice to support a better outcome in such situations.

Please do pass this piece around to friends, family and people whom you think may benefit from the reading it.



Date for next Peace of Mind Monthly Gatherings  : August 26th (Saturday)



Creative Self Care with Mindfulness

Please join me in a relaxed environment on Saturday morning St. Peters GAA Dunboyne.

What to expect?  Enjoying a space to listen and integrate the wisdom behind the story of : The Yin Yang of Mindfulness.  Also included in the morning will be guided meditation practices.  Relaxed  guided  Chi Quong  Movements.  Starting with clearing the space around our mental physical and emotional fields.  Using the practice to energize and feel how effective we can become with a little understanding about our energy field.

The benefits?   Opening a space to unwind the central nervous system’s often habitual  (even daily!) reactive fight/flight response.  Recognizing when we are mentally over loaded emotionally drained or when our muscles are physically tight and tired.

Response?  For many….”” I forgot how much I needed to take some quality time for myself”!

Results:  A smile inside and out!

Venue: St. Peters GAA  Dunboyne

Date: June 24th

Time: Saturday 10.30 am – 12.30 am

Cost: 30.00 euro ~(special price of 20 euro for two people)

All welcomed

The Adventure of Living- A Mindful Life

Starting Date: March 21st 2017

Time:  11.00 – 12.00 noon

Location:  Community Centre Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15.

Cost: 75.00 eruo

Classes x 6 week

Are you are interested in seeing beyond the usual habitual ways we view our life?

You are very welcomed to join a group of like minded people on Tuesday mornings. Conversation is lively, we explore and experience all aspects of mindfulness that encourage a new and fresh approach towards how we live and view our lives.




A Return to Genuine Self-Trust – Food For Thought!

A Return to Genuine Self-Trust


I like to think that at the core of our very health is a sense of trusting our own instincts and feelings.

How often would you hear people say “ I could feel it in my bones something was not right about that situation” or “I should have trusted my gut on that” Our rational and reasoning mind often becoming our dominant way of thinking and the catalyst for hijacking our instinctual nature.


We have a culture that has somewhat robbed us of using our innate instinctual nature. From early childhood we look to ‘authority figures’ outside of ourselves. For many of us this is most commonly where we tend to place our faith. Smart media and marketing are highly powerful forces that define what we want and how we view ourselves. We get sucked in and bombarded with messages continually. Observing how mobiles were constantly being checked and often rechecked during lunch with a group recently was food for thought. This unconscious habit, covertly driving nervous fight/flight compulsion and adrenalin fix. How often though is certainly worth healthy consideration.


On closer examination and through a more mindful approach we begin to take a wiser approach in relation to such habits. We can develop our capacity to understand how our mind, emotional power and energies are being used and often abused without our conscious consent.

We begin quietly to listen to the innate whispering of our very souls that are meant to guide and inspire us. We begin journeying into our authentic liberation.



slán go fóill!



New 6-Week Mindfulness Course Beginning February 7th in Castleknock

Mindfulness group


Mindfulness-based stress reduction involves bringing our attention into the present moment.

What you can look forward to on this programme:

  • Each week will start with an engaging topic in relation to mindfulness and life.
  • The second half of the class is where we learn how vital it is to introduce pockets of ‘down time’ into our busy lives
  • You will enjoy the experience of learning the art of focus concentrated mind through relaxed guided practice.


  • Rita O’Donovan is a qualified Mindfulness instructor and Graduate of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Masters programme at the University of Bangor, Wales.

Date:   Tuesdays – beginning on 7th February

Venue: Castleknock Community Centre, Laurel Lodge, Dublin 15

Time:   11.00 – 12.00pm

Cost:   75euro   (including handouts)

To register please email: or phone 086-8295276 or 087-8098070

Mindful Eating – Food for Thought!

The proof is in the pudding! In other words one has to try it out in order to know if it works.  Starting the new year with an intention towards spending a little more time focusing on how you eat is truly a gift to yourself.  Cultivating a mindful eating practice and moving away from the diet mentality and our fast pace society can be quite challenging initially. We cultivate ingrained habits over time that include automatic ways of reaching for food without much thought about what we are doing.  As most people will testify when there is an emotional upheavel food can be used as a way of satisfying our need to feel better about ourselves.  Shortlived as that is.

Mindful eating  requires an internal shift rather than external which is where we worry about portions, dress sizes, bathroom scales the size of your plate.   Becoming aware of your internal guidance where you get to use your taste buds, your sense of hunger/satiety cues.  I encourage people to watch any food programme on tv and to pay particular attention to how the chef describe the various foods he’s eating.  One could say he is ‘deliberately paying attention’.

The smell, taste, texture visual image of food on the plate, is a great opportunity to bring our senses alive.  I vividly remember one person describe how it felt to have lost his sense of taste and smell due to ill health.  It was a very moving moment and as many commented afterwards it was an experience that brought a new sense of awareness to the value and gift of our senses.

So why not try becoming your own master chef? Perhaps join a class or group that will encourage you throughout the year…. remember the practice is not just about food but also how to access our internal wisdom and to use the qualities and characteristics of mindfulness in how we approach food, our bodies and our entire lives.




Mrs Brown’s Boys – on “Minding Your Own Business”

“Mind your own (!) business Winnie!”  Brendan OCarroll (Agnes) confronts her neighbour in the tv sitcom Mrs. Browns Boys.  Down through the years in different situations and circumstances I recall  hearing those words  said in one context or another.  Depending on the depth, anger, hurt or frustration of the  person venting, those words holding a sense of fury and exasperation. During one group discussion  a lady commented ” I know that one and it feels like you’re at the end of your tether”.  So what happens that prods and shakes us up inside to such a degree ?  When we examine in a particular way and from a mindful perspective what the initial spark is that initiates such a reaction, we discover it can be a number of things.  For some  “a certain tone of voice” was a trigger while others perceived it as “the insinuating way” words were used.  On close investigation for another it was the perception of “a  certain look” that triggered the reaction. For many participants attending the course on ‘Living A Mindful Life actually recalling what sparked off that first instance or moment of reaction was quite a revelation in itself!

So here comes an opportunity to literally ‘mind our own business’. In other words, rather than going into fight flight or freeze which is our stress response.  We get the opportunity to pause and explore our reactions and there undercurrents of emotional energy.  Since our nevrous system is adapted towards the stress response learning the art of minding our own business takes a good dollop of wise understanding, patience and relentless non judgement.

We are hardwired to keep ourselves ‘protected’ particularly from any uncomfortable emotion But what if you were to realize  that they are expressions of yourself?  Uncomfortable emotions let you know there is a problem to attend to.  Perhaps a belief that is no longer true for you? Clinging to opinions or idea that keep the barriers or defensive mood up.  Facades we build and cling to over time that block our ability to expand into a better place psychologically.

As we learn the skill of becoming more aware of these moments (particularly the ones we wish to avoid at all costs!) a good question to ask yourself to start with is   “What’s this about”? “How is this effecting how I am right now”?  Therein we gently start the journey of untangling ourselves from long held perceptions attitudes and behaviours  … without judgement without critizism.

Learning the art of mindful living is a life  long skill that takes great courage and compassion.

“When we strive to become better than we are everything around us becomes better too”.  The Alchemist Paulo Coelho.







Mindfulness for Mums – Mornings


Mindfulness for MumsOpen Invitation for Taster Session 

Please do join us for a taster session Thursday morning 27th October 2016

For all the busy mums who would like to take an hour for themselves to enjoy listening to a topic on “ The missing ingredient to living a contented life – Mindfulness”

also included in the hour is a guided mindfulness meditation session.

We would be delighted if you would pass on the word about this event to family and friends.

Please contact:  Rita 0878098070 and 086 8295276

Morning is facilitated by a professionally trained and experienced mindfulness teacher and coach.


Donation basis only.



Community News – Insight Meditation with Mindfulness



And many thanks, to all who participated in the Insight Meditation with Mindfulness drop-in sessions during the month of May, June and July.

The venue, Dunboyne Parish Centre provided such a surprisingly peaceful setting. This new build is warm, spacious and airy. As quoted by one participant “ a relaxed space to look forward to each week that’s just for me”.

We were delighted with the response and numbers who turned up each week.  Considering it was mainly through word of mouth with a ‘good dollop of trust’ on our side even when things didnt seem to turn out quite as we had imagined!

Each week would focus on a particular theme. Learning how our bodies relate and respond to stress and in particular the role of our central nervous system was of interest to many. Understanding how the on/off button (the two branches of the sympathetic/parasympethetic  nervous system)is activated and plays a vital role in our relationship to ongoing good health both psychologically and emotionally.

Each week we learned a little more about shifting our response to everyday stress and anxiety.   Experiencing guided meditation with a mindfulness perspective during each session was warmly anticipated by the group.  Sometimes it felt like a big sigh of relief as we settled into our quiet space allowing the busyness of the week to fade into a more relaxed state.   Developing the field of awareness begins as we give commitment to learning the skill of patience and  non judgemental towards our practice.  Not an easy task initally! as we gently learn to cool down and turn towards the stressors that have built a home in our beautiful mind and body over time.

The feedback received from the mindfulness breathing pod cast was welcomed and deemed a good idea towards keeping people ‘tuned in’ to remaining mindful out side of each session. The interaction and comments on how people were dealing with heretofore ‘stressful states’ with less reactive patterns etc. was heartwarming to hear.   Thanks to one and all.

I do hope you enjoyed my varied teaching approaches.  The outstanding use of visual images like my( not so perfect cartoon sketches!)and also the poetry and storytelling as a way towards retaining information. How lovely it is to sit as a group being guided and gently supported into an inner quiet space.  Exploring personal experiences that can have insightful wisdom

The famous philosopher Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”.   How very true. We are on our journey…………

Namaste and thank you.


Mindful Thought

  • This moment is all there is.