Enjoy The Moment

I’ve been thinking about ‘love’ a lot. And I have come to the conclusion that we are surrounded by love all the time, we can either chose to recognise it or ignore it. Yes, I know, other people have come to this conclusion long before me, but the important thing here is that I have finally come to it too.

Take a snapshot of my morning as an example. I live alone, in a country, roughly 900 miles from my family and most of my friends. This could, understandably so, lead to feeling alone or unloved, but it rarely does. This morning, I did a meditation recommended by one of my friends. I followed it up by going on a cycle, wearing a scarf given by another friend and a handbag sent as a gift from another friend in America. In my bag were my house keys, with a key-ring bought for me by a friend I’ve known since college and another key-ring with a picture of my beautiful nephew. Right now the sun is making rainbows on my floor thanks to a sun catcher handmade by another talented friend. I am wearing a pair of tracksuit bottoms, that my mum gave me on one of my trips home, where I’d forgotten to pack a pair and she gave me hers, saying they were ‘too wee for her and I should have them’. They probably were not too wee for her at all, since this is the type of things that mammies do. There, in those tiny moments and memories is the ‘love’. And they are there for us all, in a hundred different ways every day. It’s not just about stuff bought or given, it’s about letters sent by post, an email or Facebook message sending good news or bad, or something as simple as an emoji or ‘I saw this and thought of you”. It’s about Dad reading this over and sending me the list of typos. It’s all ‘love’. We can either choose to see the love in these moments or choose to rush on by to the next crisis or the next Netflix binge watching session.

I have an uncle who frequently says “enjoy the moment” and even if those moments are filled with pain and sadness rather than joy and delight, they are still there to be enjoyed, savoured and appreciated. I am guilty as much as the next person of rushing through my days and nights. My head is a constant battle of ‘should do’, ‘could do’ and more usually ‘why didn’t I?’ Do I enjoy these moments? No. But I ‘should’ because at the end of the day, when the last leaf has fallen from the tree of my life, they are all that will matter. These moments are in fact everything.

Over the Christmas break I had the opportunity to spend some time in Donegal with friends. We were part of a getaway designed to give us time to step out of our busy lives and fully appreciate everything that is going on. One of the activities we did was a glass walk. The concept is simple. There is a sheet covered with broken glass and you walk from one end to the other, fully aware of each step you are taking.



As the facilitator said, “This is about remembering to be calm. Remember that you are safe and calm, in each moment of your life, even if in that moment, you are walking on broken glass. The glass has the ability to hurt you, but if you trust yourself and are sure in your step, you find that it does not.” (I’m paraphrasing a little bit.)


I did it twice, each time more amazed by my ability to stay calm in this situation. The glass underneath your feet cracks and pops. It sounds violently painful and yet, there wasn’t a scratch on me. I was indeed ‘enjoying the moment.’ I was fully aware of the support of everyone around me and each persons sheer happiness for each other when we completed our task. This is our life encapsulated. Yes, it has the ability to hurt you, but until it does we shouldn’t live like it already has. We should ‘enjoy the moment’ in all its shades of weird and wonderful because that is everything. No matter what the moment brings you, remember you are loved, you are supported and there is a team of people who’ve got your back, even if you’ve forgotten it. Now, go be awesome and ‘enjoy the moment.’


* If you want to do a glass walk, fire walk or any other challeneging activities available, contact Stephen Brown on Facebook or on his FireWalk website: www.firewalkhq.com


Art will be the life and death of us…

I stood in front of Guernica last week, at the Museo Reina Sofia, amongst crowds of people. I couldn’t speak, yet I was surprised by how many visitors were murmuring and mumbling while looking at this piece of art. I was trying to unpin the many layers in the painting and speaking seemed like too much hard work on top of that. Every space my eye turned to was another new splash of something, another way of expressing the awfulness of war, another small line or shadow or was it my imagination? I stood there and felt nothing but despair and pain, knowing that the government in the UK has just voted to bomb Syria and that we have learned nothing in the years since Picasso conceived the worlds most powerful anti-war protest painting. I was going to post the image here but I honestly think it wouldn’t do it justice. It’s got to be seen in real life, upclose, where you can almost smell the brushstrokes and the sweat from the painter.

In September, we mourned the death of little Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian refugee who washed up on the shores of Turkey, at the age of three. Only a few months ago, the nation cried and sobbed over his tiny body, face down in the surf; his red and blue outfit at odds with the sandy shores and blue skies, normally associated with cheap package holidays. We saw pictures of the policeman carrying him to his final resting place. Never again, we said. No one should suffer like that, we said. And now, a just months later, we are bombing little Aylan’s country. We are forcing more families with young children to flee, in search of a better life. We are creating more migrants, which we also complain about. Let’s not even talk about how many innocent people we are killing.

We are a generation lead by schoolyard bullies who know nothing about the finesse of painting, poetry or protest. Where is our generation’s Picasso? Is Banksy our only one? His latest piece features Steve Jobs, with a bag slung over his shoulder and a first generation Apple computer in the other hand. This is a clear shout out to the America that is populated by sons and daughters of immigrants, in protest to Trumps latest anti-migrant spewings.




I also saw an exhibition in the CentroCentro space that was art from refugee children who have been traumatised either physically or mentally by the war. I refuse to believe that any politician who had seen works of art such as this could possibly send troops to war. Their “Little Hopes” of love, of peace, of happy every after, their simplistic view of adapting after life had dealt them the cruel blow of loss of limbs or family members, their faith that some time there would be a life that they could be proud of, took the breath from me. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried while looking at their paintings and seeing the wishes they had for themselves and for the world.

You should check out the work that the organisation do at Global Humanitaria. You can buy paintings, donate or volunteer and I think it’s really worthwhile.

We have a duty to ‘artfully’ protest acts of war. It is our responsibility as poets, painters, actors and writers to channel our rage and frustration onto the page and stage and leave our mark for future generations. To know that there are children now therapeutically using art to work through the trauma means that we need to create pieces of art, so that others may access the therapy they need. We need to continue to do this so that years from now, people can look back and try and find the protest in amongst the facts of war. Through the internet now it is easier to document and promote work and we should take advantage of the opportunity presented to us. It is also our job to raise the next generation of artistic protesters. We need generations filled with ‘warrior poets’, and ‘warrior painters’ rather than just ‘warriors.’