Category Archives: Happiness

Surf2Heal 2008

In the last week in August we were very fortunate to be offered a place on the first surf camp to be run in Ireland for Children with Autism; Surf2Heal. Our daughter, who’s eight, had only recently been diagnosed with the condition this was the first opportunity for us to meet with other parents of autistic children as well as an opportunity for Roisin to try surfing.

The camp was being run by Garrettstown Surf School near Kinsale, Co. Cork. Somehow they’d amassed an army of volunteers to help out with the weeks activities from autism professionals, speech and language exports and special needs assistants there was a body of trained and dedicated people to help support us and Rosin during the weeks activities.

I was unsure at the start of the week just how things would go. Each child was booked for an hour and a half session in the sea with two instructors. I know Roisin loves the sea; but I wasn’t sure if she’d rebel at putting a wet suit on or just how she’d manage going out into deeper water. My initial fears were soon allayed. The wet suit was no problem (I think because she was prepared for this) and each child was fitted with a buoyancy aid so she felt safe in the sea.

She had a fantastic time and by the third day was able to stand on the surf board. The smile on her face is a memory I shall carry with me for the rest of my life; it was a beautiful thing to see.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the activities; but instead I want to thank the people involved:

  • Jon and Alayne Hynes who own the Garrettstown Surf School for making this event happen. They must have given so much time over the year to put this together as well as making their premises and staff available for the event.
  • Roisin’s instructors in the water, Triona and Keeley. Their enthusiasm and spirit never wavered the entire week despite taking 4 sessions every day and at all times they kept Roisin safe and having fun in the water.
  • All the other volunteers who helped bring the week together and make it such a safe and enjoyable week for the children and parents alike.
  • Portwest Clothing who supplied the wet suits. Each child came away at the end of the week with their own wet suit.
  • MARTINS, the Maritime Training In Safety initiative who supplied a lot of the sponsorship for the event and the National Maritime College Of Ireland through whom the funds were obtained.
  • Ernest J Cantillon & Co Solicitors who sponsored specially commissioned surf boards for the event.

Apologies to anyone or any organization that I’ve left out.

Looking forward the week has opened a whole world of possibilities for all of us and I’m determined to build on the experience for Roisin. So clear the beach, here we come……

Reviewed: Foundation Course in Social and Health Education

This course gives an excellent opportunity to experience the personal dimension to human development. The course runs for six months and covers a wide range of emotional and cognitive areas. The personal benefits to be gained are immense and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is interested in themselves as a human being.

Review of Foundation Course in Social and Health Education – Part One, Bessborough Centre, Mahon, Cork, Ireland
Rated as 5/5 on Jun 15 2007 by David Hollingworth


The course is run by The Social and Health Education Project in Cork, lasts six months from September to May and consists of a 2 1/2 hour meeting each week plus several weekend workshops. The groups are a reasonable size (the one I attended started out at 17) and there are two trained facilitators. The course starts gently with introductions and setting the ground rules for the next six months, things like confidentiality and respect for the other group members, before moving on to develop listening skills.

Over the next six months we studied a wide range of areas including managing emotions, assertive communication (three full days on this), stress, exercise, interplay of relationships and the super-ego. All the work is experiential, there’s no note taking and very little in the way of handouts; but I found that this did not detract from the learning experience.

Personally I found the course immensely beneficial. I’ve gained a much deeper understanding of myself and the ways in which I interact with other people. I’ve gained more confidence and now have strategies to recognize and deal with my super-ego when it criticises or judges me. All in all I would thoroughly recommend this course.

Rate this review at LouderVoice

A Tough Few Days

I know the blog’s been a bit quiet the last few days as I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with my work situation. I was made redundant last Thursday (31st May) and even though I’ve known this was coming since the start of March I’m still finding it harder to adjust too than I’d expected.

Despite of having lots of plans for the future, this blog being part of those, I still feel angry that I’ve lost my job, and not a little down too. I guess it’s knowing now that all the structures that go with having a full time job; the routine and not to mention the pay cheque each month, have all been stripped away leaving me feeling empty and rejected.

So here are some of the things I’m doing to stay positive:

  1. I’ve lots of DIY to do around the place and this is coming on well. I’ve never had much motivation for DIY in the past; but I’m pleased with what I’m doing now and I’m getting a buzz out of getting the jobs done.
  2. I’m a firm believer in positive thinking so I’ve a list of career oriented affirmations that pop-up on my PC every 30 minutes. These keep me focussed on the opportunities that now present themselves.
  3. I’m also a firm believer that these things happen for the right reasons and that nothing arises in our lives that we’re not already equipped to deal with or find the answer too.
  4. I’m continuing to read up on subjects that interest me and that might lead to new avenues of employment.
  5. I’ve the feelers out with the recruitment agents so I get an early shot at any relevant positions that come along.
  6. I’m continuing with my goals and expanding on these as I go along.

So, all in all, I’ve a good bit to be getting on with. Actually, now that I’ve written this posting, I feel a good bit more energised and positive. It’s been a very useful exercise just to get me back in touch with some of my core values and beliefs.

Right, back to the gardening!

Happy Monday

I want to start this week with an idea that many may find difficult to grasp; that, by and large, happiness is a choice.

I’m following on from a posting on Six Degrees Of Inspiration on this topic as it’s something I’ve believed myself since my mid-thirties. At that time I was living with an ex-girlfriend because he house we’d bought together had so much negative equity we couldn’t sell it, our business had gone bust and we were in serious debt. I was far from happy.

Then I can distinctly recall one morning thinking to myself, “I am not going to put up with feeling depressed anymore”. In that instant of choice my depression lifted.

The reason why I’ve added a caveat “by and large” to my statement above is because whilst I believe it’s a choice to be happy I don’t believe that everyone is in a position to make that choice. Some people (and someone I’m very close to) suffer from clinical depression which is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Do these folks have the luxury of a choice in this matter?

Finally the post on has some excellent quotes and I’m going to take the liberty of reproducing them here;

Happiness is a way station between too little and too much.

Channing Pollock (1880 – 1946)

Happiness is a present attitudeā€¦ not a future condition.

Hugh Prather

Happiness is the only good.

The time to be happy is now.

The place to be happy is here.

The way to be happy is to make others so.

Robert G. Ingersoll (1833 – 1899)

All these seem to be saying to me that happiness is Now!