Occupation: Actor, Presenter/Host, Life & Business Coach, Psychotherapist, Educator
Why did you say yes to this campaign? What was your WHY to participate?
Life is a meandering journey with lessons at every turn. The apparent obstacles we meet along the way, are not designed to get in the way; they are the way!
Our self-talk is pivotal to our health, growth and restoration, depending on how we respond to our environment. The Eternal Grace Campaign embodies the essence and beauty of gently maturing women, within and without, which is directly correlated of course, with the stories we tell ourselves and live by. When you can reframe the hard stuff, as lessons in the super-classroom of life, life’s lessons don’t make you hard.
As within, without!
Tell me a little about you and your story:
As an educator for thirty years, re-training in recent years as a psychotherapist, provided personal and professional development, as much as it positioned me for advancement, when the time was right. Life and business coaching, with a particular focus on performance enhancement, through emotional needs auditing, with respectful feedback for the growth and expansion of all, is a model I love to work. It serves individuals and teams alike. Self-love is a practice not a mandate. We need to show up for ourselves every day and do the work, in order to maintain homeostasis. Narratives are like a playlist in your brain, maintaining balance is about knowing when we need to tell ourselves a different story. Story stewarding to this end, is a huge part of my practice and my person.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to take my inner child out to play, as I made my debut onto the small screen earlier this year, in an Irish-language TV drama, called RosnaRún. I play the role of a sassy but very endearing lady with a passion for family as well as commendable business acumen. It’s like everything I’ve done to date was the apprenticeship for this amazing experience.
The story of my life is beautifully unfinished and I’m loving the ride.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
When I look in the mirror I see someone that I love, respect, understand and cherish. I feel so empowered by my capacity to shine brightly without feeling the need to extinguish the flame of others. The movie script of my life, depending on the lens through which I might choose to capture it, is as sad and tragic in places as it is happy and exciting.
When ‘I’ looks at me in the mirror, I see whatever I’m offering vibrationally at any given time in my life, reflected right back at me energetically, and in form.
Whatever you’re broadcasting, is exactly what you’re getting back, physically, mentally and emotionally, in tangible and intangible manifestation ‘all ways’.
When I look in the mirror, I look for what I desire to see, and I make sure I see it.
If and when I find that difficult, I do an emotional needs audit, address how I’m using my innate resources to access the nutriment I need in my environment, more healthily, and go about pressing reset. Life is a journey, not a destination!
Describe yourself in 3 words:
Authentic. Enduring. Kind.
Do you feel like you have changed since turning 50?
Chronological age really is only a number to me. Biological age is the marker by which I measure my health, growth and restoration. I’m honestly happier, healthier and more grounded with the passing of time. Wisdom is a memory, with the emotional arousal turned down. I feel blessed to be able to take a steer for tomorrow, from the lessons of yesterday adaptively, for my own, and the higher good. When pattern matches are negative and have the potential to weaken my reserve, I know I need to slow down. Do less to achieve more.
Maturation is a choice. Age has very little to do with it, other than the obvious passing of more time and therefore more likely opportunity for growth and development…if and when you choose to lean into it, own it and fly!
There is a freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky
You ask What if I fall?
But my darling, what if you fly? Erin Hanson.
What advice would you give to your younger self about caring for yourself?
Sleep, Exercise and Nutrition are the key components in healthy and balanced living. I would teach my younger self to get hygienic sleep, exercise moderately and manage insulin with consistency. We need to be careful what we practice regularly as our bodies commit that which we practice regularly, to reflexive behaviour. I choose what I repeat, wisely. The mere repetition of a behaviour causes our nervous system to believe that the specific actions involved, and the context in which they are embedded, are important, for better or for worse. My younger self would benefit from clarity in the area of how easily habits form and how to leverage the neurobiology of that for healthy, happy, wholesome living. Consistency is key, and trumps exertion.
My younger self was very anxious, self-loathing and lacking self-worth. I would teach my younger self about disruptive breathing as well as other practical, cost-free protocols to manage anxiety and mitigate overwhelm, with all its unfortunate and unhelpful consequences. My younger self would have benefited from knowing that it all works out in the end, coz if it doesn’t, it’s not the end!
What do you consider self-love?
Love in all its shapes and forms has to be the ultimate reason for our existence. Self-love is the set point for our attachment style, our wellness and our successes. The converse is also true. The extent to which we can accept and love ourselves determines the boundaries we set with others, consciously and otherwise. When we know how to belong to ourselves, we know what boundaries to strike and how to observe them ourselves, as much as we expect others to rise to them. Self-love can be and ultimately should be, unconditional. The more we live authentically, the closer we get to that sweet spot of unconditional self-love, and therefore the more love in its purest form we attract into our lives from others, romantically and otherwise.
Self–love requires regular check-ins; an emotional needs audit is key, and reconciliation of unmet needs, healthily, to re-establish homeostasis. Self-love is way more than bubble baths and face masks, its even more than mindfulness practice and massage therapy. Self-love is coming to every moment in innocence, practicing acceptance, forgiveness for self and others and trusting in the process of life!
What do you love most about your new portraits? Is there something new you discovered about yourself?
The hullabaloo of life veils, albeit lightly, an infinity, a space in time in which miracles are recognised as the small and bigger wonders of this existence, that are happening all around us, all the time. These pockets of wisdom along the way, are where the glimmers outweigh the triggers and however briefly, everything makes sense. Right time, right place, right company! When I saw the beautiful portraits that Olga produced from our photoshoot, I accessed a soulful presence within me, the closing of a circle. I saw the essence of me in my eyes, I empathised my vulnerabilities and I refueled on the strength of spirit I saw pouring out of every picture. This was more than a photoshoot; it was a cathartic coming of age. Prompted by the ideology of The Eternal Grace campaign, I have given my soul a hug by loving ‘my lifelines, all of my lifelines’, which I wrote a few words about to accompany in particular, the photograph of me that captures the very undulating terrain of my tummy. Not an easy choice as the glossy-magazine bikini shoots and social media photo dumps of today’s digitally disrupted world, make very little space for apparent imperfections such as these. I choose embrace my lifelines, all of my lifelines as the atlas of my heart. Be the cartographer of your own life. Embrace your lifelines, they are soulfully intended to show you the geography of your best life.
What was your favourite part of working with me?
Working with Olga was an honour and a pleasure. There’s such a vulnerability in posing for photos. The uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure in such a personal and important experience, be it for private and/or professional reasons, could be anxiety provoking and could accentuate insecurities. When your photographer is a master of their craft, a creative and is as invested in the process as you, a photoshoot can actually be an opportunity to feed your sense of self and grow your self-esteem.
I had such an experience when I worked with Olga Klofac. The Eternal Grace Campaign is such a compassionate and sensitive initiative, its stewardship requires a caring and empathetic champion. Olga pours the best of her beautiful self into her work. She is as warm, welcoming and kind as she is innovative and professional.
I’ve had an amazing day and I look forward to going back soon for some family shots.
By Síle Uí Chiaráin
Accessing, acknowledging and appreciating one’s own greatness is a time, and resilience-dependent awakening. Living up to your Greatness, is a process and a practice. There is nothing negatively self-absorbed about authentic self-love. There are some particularly significant opportunities in our lives for transformation; getting above and beyond form, to view situations with your observing self and ‘in joy’ the particular growth potential of these bigger lessons, in the super-classroom of life.
One such Istima for me, was the birth and passing of our beautiful daughter Aislinn Máire, on 12 August, millennium year. The haunting sound of my breaking heart as she was carefully negotiated into my arms, under and through my infusion tubing and cannula restrictions, to have her three minutes of life as we know it, skin to skin with me, will remain with me forever. A memory I have learned to be able to recall, and/orcan address when a pattern match or a question require its recall, for the most part… without,or with moderate levels of, emotional arousal.
There’s such wisdom in the memories that we can recall and continue to learn from, with down-regulated emotional arousal. Post Traumatic Growth is a mind-set first, and a lifestyle choice thereafter.
Little did I know when Aislinn Máire chose me as the vessel through which she would visit upon the physical realm, that she was introducing me to my pain body, only to teach me how to climb safely out of it then and thereafter. Amongst the many gifts, which continue to unfold in my ever more mature response to contrast in my life, Aislinn Máire’s brief stay taught me the value of increasing my window of tolerance, to allow a sense of acceptance. This state of mind informs a calmer state of body, which is positively correlated with resilience, the hallmark of emotional fitness and physical wellness.
Our self -talk, the story we tell ourselves, grows us after life-changing events like this, or does the damage, depending on how we respond to it. Telling myself that different story has saved me from chronic ailment in more recent years, when my response to the stuff of life wasn’t quite as healthy as it would need to have been to avoid a crash. The body keeps score, and I ended up in my pain body again, with physical and mental connotations that only my mind could heal, for the long term.
Enter the mind-derived placebo potential of patient-led prognosis, that accepting and choosing to grow from Aislinn Máire’s birth and passing, had been metaphorically dropping into my cells, every time I called on grit to get me through, when self-regulation and reset required it. Unmet needs and the unhealthy meeting of needs, are the occupational hazards of being human. Every time I got up and dusted myself off, and the call for that has been acute, privately and professionally, I allowed the lessons of life, which I attribute to that particularly poignant Istima, to grow me.
The net result at this stage is that I can and do love every day, I can and do love me and I can and do enjoy the biological aging process with little care or concern, for my chronological age.
My life lines, all of my life lines, including my babies’ life line (I have three, and they all entered the world in this way, as once that incision was made, there was no choice but to birth via the same pathway), all tell the enduring story of my journey. The more I love my life lines, all of my life lines, the more healing I access for the core fractures of my life, which to me are the real scars.
The only cure for core fracture is LOVE.
Love is the ultimate elixir.
Love is why we exist.
Core fractures occur when we need more love.
Self-love holds the key to all other love stores.
Life is an unfolding love story.
Unlocking limitless love onto self, affects your attachment style and unlocks the potential for authentic love and respect from others, again privately and professionally.
Healing core fractures as I navigate thestuff of life, has informed my view of life lines, as threads in the beautifully unfinished tapestry of my life.
Nothing has any meaning except the meaning you give it.
The stretch marks on my heart and mind, concern me more than life lines. Life lines are superficial and when you can be ‘serene in the ONENESS of things, the erroneous view will disappear by itself’, Seng T’san. Acceptance is key to continued awakening!
It has been a pleasure having my life lines photographed by such a beautiful human being. Olga Klofac is a kindred spirit, definitely of my tribe. Everything happens in the right time, place and sequence. Making Olga’s acquaintance and being invited into The Eternal Grace Campaign, has given me the opportunity to revisit a chapter in my life that I usually keep closed, albeit adaptively so. I reckon my gorgeous daughter and I are ready for some visibility. I’m delighted to teach what I’m learning, to share for the higher good. We tower over our circumstances when we are willing to step up into them and allow them to grow us.
This to me is the essence of The Eternal Grace Campaign, #(B)older not over!
‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style’, Maya Angelou