Still PointKeeping Body and Soul Together (15.2.2006, 20:11 UTC)
Body and Soul and AgeingI have always been haunted by these lines on ageing in W.B. Yeats’ “Sailing to Byzantium” (written in 1926):  “An aged man is but a paltry thing / A tattered coat upon a stick…” When I read or hear these lines expressed I conjure up pictures of scarecrows to represent old age.  I see old men walking about with legs like matchsticks in clothes that just hang off the body.  This is not a pleasant image to pon...
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Still PointTHE HEART OF THE MATTER (12.2.2006, 19:56 UTC)
THE HEART OF THE MATTERIn this post it is my intention to write some words about the heart – both physical and metaphorical - as we approach St Valentine’s Day.  Let me begin with a short quote from the famous mathematical genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash.  We probably all know of him because of the popular movie called A Beautiful Mind starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ron Howard. Of the heart, John Nash says:  "Perhaps it's good to have a beaut...
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Still PointCome back Aristotle! (11.2.2006, 22:02 UTC)
The Doctrine of the MeanIt is a truism that needs repeating – avoid extremes at all costs.  Did not Aristotle underscore moderation and balance in all things in his famous doctrine of the mean?  Such is truly to be desired so that some sort of peace might reign in this world.  Yet we all know that our earthly abode is far from peaceful.  Indeed, it is all too often “knee-high” in blood.  I won’t list all the trouble spots,...
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Still PointIt's Magic (4.2.2006, 01:20 UTC)
Language is a wonderful thing.  Words are magical.  One can only be entranced, enthralled and spellbound.  Let all those synonyms pour forth in a stream of sound.  It’s all about sound really.  It then helps that it has some meaning, of course.  Which of the two is more important, you ask?  As regards a piece of prose I’d say the latter, whilst for poems the former.  (See my last three posts).  ...
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Still PointIt's Magic (4.2.2006, 01:20 UTC)
Language is a wonderful thing.  Words are magical.  One can only be entranced, enthralled and spellbound.  Let all those synonyms pour forth in a stream of sound.  It’s all about sound really.  It then helps that it has some meaning, of course.  Which of the two is more important, you ask?  As regards a piece of prose I’d say the latter, whilst for poems the former.  (See my last three posts).  ...
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Still PointRandall Jarrell (28.1.2006, 21:38 UTC)
Randall Jarrell (1914-1965)I write this post while listening to the intense voice of the famous American poet and critic, Randall Jarrell.  Jarrell’s reading voice is intense, moving, passionate, staccato, ponderous, profound, both painful and paining, discomfiting and moving.  Listen to any recording of this poet and critic and you will be transfixed and moved – even if you don’t understand too much.  Indeed, understanding is not the point of good...
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Still PointWorking with Images 5 (26.1.2006, 01:33 UTC)
“With twice as many fighters as The Royal Air Force, and countless more bombers, in June 1940 there seemed little or no chance that the Luftwaffe could be stopped. But over the next three and a half months nearly three thousand pilots - drawn from fifteen nations (who I am proud to see are represented here today) - flew with the most remarkable courage and tenacity day after day, night after night, to counter the German onslaught. During the Battle almost 550 pilots were killed defending t...
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Still PointWorking with Images 4 (23.1.2006, 18:13 UTC)
Working with Images (4)One of my all time favourite poems is possibly the only one written by its author – or at least the only known one.  He has an unusual name Chidiock Tichborne, one which I particularly like for its uniqueness.  Who was this Chidiock Tichborne, you may ask?   Well, he lived in Elizabethan times.  This is what the Wikipedia says (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chidiock_Tichborne ): “In 1583, Tichborne and his father were ...
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Still PointWorking with Images 3 (22.1.2006, 14:49 UTC)
Working with Images (3)To Hell and Back:I have already mentioned how powerful images are in my last two posts.  The title I have given this piece is “To Hell and Back”.  The polar images of “hell” and “heaven” have been used to describe the whole gambit of reality as we experience it – from the absolute lows (hell, obviously) to the absolute highs (heaven, obviously).  There are, of course, myriad states of being/non-being i...
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Still PointWorking with Images 2 (21.1.2006, 18:13 UTC)
Working with Images (2)Possibly the greatest psychiatrist of the early to middle twentieth century, Carl Gustave Jung, popularised a great method of therapy called word association.  He realised early in his career the power of working with words and their associations. Here we have signalled clearly the birth of what we know today as “working with images.”  There have been many powerful books written since on healing the psyche by working in this very effective m...
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Still PointWorking with Images (17.1.2006, 22:35 UTC)
Working with ImagesNaturally enough we learn mostly through physically experiencing something.  A good site to visit about learning through the five senses is http://www.literacyconnections.com/5Senses.html .  There is a plethora of other good sites on the net, just run a Google search and you will be amazed at the variety.  Abstract reasoning and thinking are very much secondary realities and derive from reflection on such experiences.  We have all heard ...
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Still PointWorking with Images 1 (17.1.2006, 22:35 UTC)
Working with ImagesNaturally enough we learn mostly through physically experiencing something.  A good site to visit about learning through the five senses is http://www.literacyconnections.com/5Senses.html .  There is a plethora of other good sites on the net, just run a Google search and you will be amazed at the variety.  Abstract reasoning and thinking are very much secondary realities and derive from reflection on such experiences.  We have all heard ...
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Still PointHappy Listening (14.1.2006, 00:05 UTC)
Where’s the rhyme?  Where’s the reason?  What is it in the lyrics of say two of my all time favourite singer-songwriters, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen that strikes a chord?  Both of them are really hard to beat for a good lyric and a good melodic tune.  Both their music and their lyrics are brilliant and moving. They act mantra-like on my psyche.  Take, say one of Bob’s lesser known songs, “Every Grain of Sand” for a ...
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Still PointThe Wisdom of The Body (13.1.2006, 22:02 UTC)
Of his tiredness Of his tiredness he thought little Because being at the edge Forced him down to depths He liked to explore Sometimes, Only sometimes, Because he was no hero In this strange land of Consciousness. Of his tiredness he thought little Because he trusted the words to come, To form a shape – To give some shape, Any shape indeed To the thoughts Which tried to trace his feelings. Of his tiredness he thought little Because he had tired so much of ...
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Still PointMiracles (10.1.2006, 22:14 UTC)
Life works its own miracles.  All we have to do is to be open to them.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  And often miracles can be born out of the double hell of disappointment and suffering.  What apparently is a great cross can be transformed into a miracle if only we have the faith and perseverance to really “see” with the heart or the soul and not with the eye which deals only with surface reality!  I’m 48 and am o...
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Still PointVocation (10.1.2006, 00:42 UTC)
Vocation He thought once that he might change the world, But he grew tired quickly at the extent of the task. Then he thought he might change his country But too many people thought he was mad. Why not begin small, he thought, With his local neighbourhood, But they accused him of being a busy-body. He began to despair, wondering what he could do – Until one day it dawned on him To keep his own garden weeded and welcoming, To keep his own house a home with an open doo...
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Still PointWhere to from here? (28.12.2005, 02:26 UTC)
There are so many things that we human beings would like to do – from travelling the world to reading the latest Man Booker Prize novel, to attending a famous opera, to seeing the latest film, to attending a seminar on the latest fads in self-help, perhaps even attending a well-qualified psychotherapist or counsellor or writing a powerful novel, even a fairly tame one might do, provided, of course, that it was published.  We human beings are complex creatures, or at least creatur...
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Still PointTarraingt na Teanga (17.12.2005, 16:58 UTC)
Tarraingt na TeangaÓ bhí mé an-óg bhí me faoi dhraíocht ag na focail – focal ar bith i ndáiríre píre, bíodh sé in aon teanga ar bith sa domhan mór.  Is cuimhin liom mé im’ bhuachaill óg ag léamh mo chuid leabhair scoile ós ard sa chistin.  Bhíodh mo mham ag obair leí go gnóthach mar ba ghnách di gan áird ar bith ar thabhairt ormsa.  Séard a bh
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Still PointGaois na Seanfhocal (15.12.2005, 22:56 UTC)
Ta seanfhocal iontach sa Ghaeilge agus téann sé mar seo; “mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí; cáin an óige agus críonfaidh sí; buail sa tóin í agus titfidh sí!” Is aoibhinn liom an ghaois atá taobh thiar den ráiteas seo. Ar an gcéad dul síos ní féidir le h-éinne rud ar bith fiúntach a dhéanamh ina s(h)aol gan spreagadh ó dhaoine eile. Fiú nuair atáimid ag plé...
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Still PointA Christmas Break (11.12.2005, 20:59 UTC)
Eight staff members from my school took a four day break to Munich, Dachau and Salzburg. As regards Salzburg an interesting site to explore is http://www2.salzburg.info/. The Christmas markets in Munich were excellent as was the shopping in general. We stayed at a very good hotel not too far from the centre of Munich - www.apart-muenchen.de - and we used the U-bahn or underground railway or metro to get around. Needless to say we visited the Marienplatz and viewed the famous Glockenspiel. Thursd...
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Still PointChristmas Party (4.12.2005, 00:29 UTC)
It is now 12:30 A.M. and I have just returned from our annual Vincent de Paul Christmas party which we run at our school. I suppose Christmas brings the best out in everyone. Today was such a day. These lines are by way of gratitude to all those who care so much about others. First let me start by mentioning the pupils involved in serving up the dinner to our old folks: David McGuinness, Luke Clarke, Shane Farnham, Keith Shannon and Stephen Cheevers from Fourth Year, William Sherlock from S...
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Still PointNative Tradition and Psychoanalysis (1.12.2005, 22:49 UTC)
I will begin this entry in my weblog by quoting two very similar quotes from two very disparate sources. The famous Great Blasket writer, Muiris Ó Súilleabháin penned the first quotation that comes to my mind, and it runs: '... mar a deir an seanráiteas, is goirt iad na deora a shileann, ach is goirte ná san na deora ná sileann.' An English translation would run thus: 'Bitter the tears that fall, but more bitter still the tears that fall not.' I think he was returni...
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Still PointSome Random Thoughts on Meditation (30.11.2005, 00:12 UTC)
Meditation is…being awarebeing awakebeing mindfulbeing still/tranquil being focusedbeing centredbeing in tunegoing with the flowgoing slowly and mindfullygoing peacefullygoing gracefullygoing lightlygoing gently being at one with Selfbeing at one with Others being at one with Mother Earthbeing at one with the Universebeing at one with creationbeing at one with The Ground of our Being (God)integrating the bad and the good in me.facing up to my shadow (Jung).exploring the Unconscious.bringin...
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Still PointNo man is an island (29.11.2005, 01:01 UTC)
“No man is an island entire of itself…everyone’s death diminishes me…” or words to that effect. The great Anglican divine and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral London, John Donne (1572-1631) wrote these words in a famous meditation. The actual text is from Meditation number XVII and reads more fully: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,...
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Still PointThis poem explores our personal unconscious. (27.11.2005, 23:59 UTC)
Stalactite Phantoms, monsters, ghosts, Jesters and clowns – All of them – That crowd our dreams, Bearers of some deep truth Lurking in unexplored corners. Here, we dwell in fine appointed Houses and apartments With the world at our fingertips, Yet there are those deep down Cobweb places of the heart and soul Where hairy spiders crawl And bind their prey Bit by little bit And suck their blood away. Layer upon layer of intricate, Delicate and oh s...
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Still Point"How we believe is as much as mystery as how we remember." John Henry Newman (20.11.2005, 18:57 UTC)
MemoriesMemory was a strange thing.  There were surprising connections.  Most of them seemed random enough, but there were others, which were so different.  There was that sense of “dejà vu” or even of having been there before with these more surprising connections.  For years he had wondered what on earth made us who we are.  He did not want to be predictable in the way he formulated his questions – he felt he had come too...
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Still PointThe Unconscious - That Great Unknown waiting to be Known (13.11.2005, 20:21 UTC)
Night WalkTo walk into the black night was like a descentInto the stony places of the unconscious,Into the shadowy corners of the Self,Into the labyrinthine Hades of his fears.It was right, he thought, so rightTo face all his fears head on,To walk into those dark places which might frightenLesser souls…He heard the waters lap over the cold grey rocks,The lone cry of a careworn curlew,Felt the caress of the black breeze on his cheekAnd the embrace of the intimate magic of the night.There we...
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Still PointA Recent Poem (10.11.2005, 23:00 UTC)
Motorway Blues Restless,Lost somewhereBetween dreams, the early morning mist,Fitful twists, broken sleepAnd the low grey cloudsOver moaning motorways –Glad the radio’s not working,Nothing to distract the driver from himself,From all that’s happening withinAnd without –Body calling in the distanceTo care for it –Go gently,Breathe into the painAnd let all worries go! Trucks and trailers, cars and u.v’s,Four-wheel drives, distraught wives,Frustrated husbands...
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Still PointDán beag a chumas le déanaí - é tiomnaithe do m'athairse, go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam uasal! (3.11.2005, 18:36 UTC)
Cúlghairdín Na blianta ó shin, Cúlgháirdín imithe ó smacht Is na neantóga ag fás go tiubh Is m’athair ag siúl go mall Áit éigin san fhíántas, Is a dheora ag titim go fras – Bhí m’uncail Pat ar lár – Sciobtha uainn ag an ailse. Chuala mé mo mháthair á shólású I gciúnas diamhrach an ghairdín – Dúchas mná agus nád
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Still PointEnthusiasm (16.10.2005, 22:00 UTC)
The etymology of the word "enthusiasm" is interesting. It literally means "to be filled with (G)god, from the Greek "theos" (god) and "en" (in). In other words one is carried away with excitement, inspired by a higher power which is literally pouring down and out through you, and you are almost a mere channel or conduit for this power. You are almost in a veritable ecstasy - or ecstatic, literally outside the state of "stasis". "Enthusiasm" is a word with many connotations and associations. One ...
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