Friday 29 May – Yoga, infinity and the heart


Friends who gave me their hearts x

My friends are going through a lot of suffering lately. I love you all so much and my heart is with you as you go through your own experiences. There is no figuring it out. It is like hitting a brick wall over and over. The only peace we can find is when we let go. When my heart was cracked wide open, it was through the sweet surrender of what just is that I was able to experience the vastness and infinity of what we truly are. Pieces of me have died, and they are opening the doors to living fully. Pain and beauty are in union. Invite it all with an open and pure heart and you will be loved.

yoga borgo

Yoga Borgo

Italy and Yoga

I have recently completed week 1 of Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training . Nestled high up in the hills of Umbria, Yoga Borgo is a centuries old monastic building that was lovingly restored by the Sada Sat Singh and Sada Sat Kaur. The Sada Sats have lived there for 11 years, offering retreats and Kundalini Yoga training.

I flew into Rome where my adventure began. I took a bus, a train, another bus and a lift from Sada Sat Singh. The journey took 12 hours. With no car and knowledge of the local wild animals, there was no way I was going to be coming down form that hill for a week! I met my room mate, a woman and mother living in Mexico. We were instantly friends. The rest of the yogis were similarly wide spread, coming from Bermuda, Slovenia, Latvia, Switzerland and Italy. We were quite the eclectic mix. There were 7 of us in residence and 2 local ladies who came up the hill whenever they could. Our day started early at 5.30 or 6.30 on alternating days. We did yoga practice, Sadhana, up until breakfast and then moved into teaching. Teachings follow the original teaching of Yogi Bhajan, who brought Kundalini yoga to the West. In the teachings we learned more about the purpose of Kundalini Yoga and how it fits in with Yoga more generally. Yoga means Unity. It is the coming together of God and Being. It includes mind, body and spirit. It is not just any one of these. It is a perfect harmony of all three. The main purpose is to come to know our truth, to use the energy within us to raise us to our highest awareness. More than a practice, I learned it was a way of living, and of being in the world. It is a very compassionate way of living. Food was simple, delicious, vegetarian cooking and everyone blessed the food and ate together.

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Easy Pose!


Yogis after Sadhana

The first two days of Sadhana were extremely challenging. Sitting in easy pose (legs crossed as demo’ed by the dog) for several hours a day, doing meditations that were sometimes an hour long, holding positions for what seemed like eternity. It was very intense. I have become particularly disliking of stretch pose. When I realised this was how it was going to be for 7 days I wondered what on earth a fragile person like me was really doing there. I wasn’t ready. I missed my family terribly.  I missed Oisin terribly. I was among strangers even though they were all so beautiful and compassionate. I felt very alone with all of this grief. By the third 62 minute meditation, after getting over the shock of having to sit that long,  I found myself surrendering to all that was happening in me. This was like the letting go I described earlier. Sweet surrender. I found some peace. I allowed tears to flow.


The hills from my window

Many times I cried all my aching heart out, just sobbed and sobbed and breathed and breathed. The morning Sadhana was powerful. One morning I was particularly overcome. I found myself sobbing loudly, crying out at the vast, green hills to Oisin, “why did you leave me, why did you leave me.” The Hills had no answer. I was alone with my heart, feeling it break and break. After this experience I seemed to clear out some of this emotion.

Since I returned to Ireland, there has been a shift in me that others have noticed. It is like my energy has changed. I have more clarity. It’s hard to put into words. This form of Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, is a full package deal for how to live a happy, healthy and holy life. Devotion and practice reaps the benefits. I am looking forward to my next week in July. Easy pose and stretch pose are still hard but a little bit less. My diet has changed and we are eating really well with less meat than we have ever had. It’s very hard to work yoga into everyday life as a working mother who is still grieving. But these challenges are just challenges and that’s it. No need to add any more. It’s exactly where I need to be. I am just being a human being!

Grief has shattered me to pieces and yet my heart has never been more open and strong. The light is shining through. I feel a fragment of true peace for the first time. One day  maybe the glass will shatter completely and allow my true self to vibrate to the sound of others and others to the sound of me. I saw how Oisin did this so incredibly. He flows in me always. My teacher and inspiration.

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For your info, we are doing a radio interview on RTE radio 1, The John Murray Show on Friday June 26th. We were approached by the show shortly after our newspaper article in the Irish Independent. We will be sharing our story and what we have learned.

Barry was at the last two Anam Cara meetings whilst I stayed back and minded Cilly. The last meeting was a special memorial for all the children we have loved and lost. Anam Cara meet once a month nationwide.

Barry has become interested in mindful walking and will lead a silent mindful walk in Wicklow to mark his birthday on June 28th. We will be gathering at the Kippure Estate at 2pm and leaving to climb up to the megalithic burial tomb on Seefin shortly afterwards. It’s a very beautiful way of connecting with Oisin and with each other, where no words are needed. Just being. If you have an interest in joining us then feel free to get in touch. He posted details through his Facebook page.

Some dear friends who live in England have taken it upon themselves to organise a parallel silent walk at the same time. We a truly humbled and grateful by your drive to do this and to connect with us and with Oisin in this way.

Our friend over the seas, Jenna, will be doing a 150km run for The Lyla Nsouli Foundation, which supports DIPG research. Many many thank yous to you, Jenna. You will make a difference. Donations are through and I will post details once finalised.

We must set up an events page for these kinds of things.


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8 Responses to Friday 29 May – Yoga, infinity and the heart

  1. Julie Meehan says:

    May deep Peace pervade Sheila. May your Heart surrender to every moment as you dance your dance of human-ness. In love and humility xxx


  2. Hello Sheila,
    My name is Esther Maher O’Keeffe. I live in Naas. I am a school friend of Una who is married to Lorcan. I posted a poem to Joan when Oisin flew up to Butterfly Heaven. That’s what I called my Poem. I do hope that Joan gave you a copy of it. I know that you must have received so much in the post and by hand and in varied other ways that it would be impossible to remember everything that went on at such a traumatic time.

    When I had it written I sent a copy of it to my eldest son Shane who is married to Tara. They have two little boys. Ewan who is 5 and Louie who is 3. He texted me back saying how could I send him something so sad, saying that he has two boys. All I could say to him was that it is something that I would have liked to receive had I been Oisin’s Mam.

    The strange thing about that poem Sheila was; I write quite a lot of poems. They are usually for friends birthdays or special occasions. I wrote one for Una when she was retiring from her job. I think about what I am going to put down over a few days and then sit down and do it. However, when it came to Butterfly Heaven, and I really mean this, the words just threw themselves on to the page. It was like someone was controlling my fingers. I had it completed in about 10 minutes. I didn’t have to stop to think of anything.

    I stopped eating meat in 2010. I eat fish every day. I also love cats and enjoyed that lovely photo of Puss Cat in Yoga Pose. What you have done for other mothers with your wonderful blog is something that very few people are brave enough to do. You are very special Sheila, and I so understood your feelings. My wonderful Father died on my 15th Birthday, and I miss him as much today as when I was 15. However, I have had some very tough times since 2000 and there were times that I screamed and wondered why have I to go through this when I know that I am a good person. It is only now that I remember that poem Footprints and realise that It was my Father who carried me when I thought that I had no one. Those who loved us will always be hovering around and sending us little signs that we are getting support.

    Another strange little occurrence happened months before dear little Oisin even became ill. After 2 years of saving, I had my bedroom redone with a new bed. I got the walls plastered and painted in Almond Cream, Lime green curtains, a pattered wallpaper on the wall behind my bed, I decided to choose a Butterfly theme. My bed linen, Plaques on the wall, a clock with a bird and a butterfly on the face of it, plus the strangest thing of all. My dear friend Adrienne who was with me when my sadness began in 2000, came over to me in April with a set of 6 little mint green Butterflies. She said that she saw them in a little shop and was drawn to them. I hadn’t mentioned to Adrienne that I was in the process of doing my bedroom at all, not to mention that I had chosen a Butterfly theme. I was waiting until it was finished and then show it to her.

    Stranger still Sheila. I haven’t moved into the bedroom yet. I am sleeping in my box room. I cant explain it. Its a beautiful room and I love it. I just feel the time is not right. My friends cant understand why I am in this box room. Perhaps I too am waiting until my wings are strong enough to fly.

    I shall re read your blog tomorrow, as I didn’t study it properly yet. I was minding my little grandchild since 6.30 a.m until 3 p.m. Then I opened my e-mails. His brother Ewan put a little tiny bead in his ear 2 days ago and the Doctor said it was better if he went to Crumlin and be put asleep to have it removed. As you well know Sheila, us grandparents will always be around to support our children in any way we can.

    As long as you remember that people that you really don’t know at all are thinking of Barry and yourself and little Cillian you will continue to get the strength to keep doing the wonderful work that you do, and will get healing from the wonderful ways that you mention in your blog, along the way.

    Very sincerely,

    Esther Maher O’Keeffe. XXXX


    • Esther, I don’t always reply to all the many comments. They are all so sweet and beautiful without my addition. I do want to acknowledge that we read you poem. I remember the letter you wrote to Joan. I remember Joan handing it to me. I understand why you don’t want to move into your butterfly room. From my own perspective only, a small and familiar place is so safe. Like my mud hole. But then I transformed my mud hole and now it isn’t the same any more. I broke free. Like you say, though, it is all about being ready. Oisin was ready to fly. We weren’t ready but I can find some acceptance in what just is without the need to try and work it all out and have all the answers. In his departure he placed us in our own cocoons of transformation and that is where I safely find myself – a little box room in and of itself! I’m not even sure if that captures it because I have moments where I emerge and flap my wings joyfully before returning for a little more transformation! Perhaps the ultimate emergence is yet to come…. Many blessing to you. I am deeply grateful for your words. You write and inspire. Your heart is open to being guided along the way. xxx


  3. Thank you so much Sheila for taking the time to answer my comment. I feel privileged that you did. However, being a Psychologist you sensed in my words that I too am still in a troubled place. Like you I emerge and enjoy certain events when I go to the bother of finding out what is going on around me. For instance, I went to the Forgotten Club Film Show in Naas Library last Saturday and found that I enjoyed it. It was free for anyone to go and enjoy the film which happened to be “Oh God” starring the wonderful George Burns and John Denver. I don’t need a partner to go to events like that, because I find it easy to chat to everyone around me.. Then I creep back into the box room because I have a lot going on in my mind and it is, as my Mindfulness tape by Tony Bates says: My safe place.

    I so understand now what you mean. I am hiding away and I think I will probably take 1 step forward and 2 steps back for a while, but as you said the time will come when I will feel able to feel as safe in my Butterfly Room as in my Box Room. I still haven’t read your blog. Why is everything going so fast around me.? I do drop everything if my family or friends need anything and just go where I’m needed, but I find it so hard to catch up.
    However, you have hit the nail on the head Sheila. I am definitely being guided. I overthink a lot of things and I am hard on myself. Yet when I have to do something important, and that might mean even paying a bill, my concentration returns. My wonderful Father had many gently sayings: One that I will always remember is: There is definitely someone up there turning the wheel. My two sons might not go along with that, but they are considerate and kind and have many friends. Perhaps Sheila if you throw out good vibes you draw good people in.

    Keep well you beautiful lady and you and Barry and little Cillian will always be in my thoughts. As for Oisin, I think that he is landing here and there around his family and if one of you has a particularly bad day, he will make sure that there will be another member to carry them through that bad time. I am a very strong believer in Karma. I have seen it come to pass, even in my own family. If someone does something good for someone else without even thinking about it, further down the line it will be returned. Sadly, and I have also seen this come to pass, the opposite happens. It might not be today or tomorrow, but there is good and bad Karma.

    Very very sincerely,

    Esther. X


  4. Love, light and warmth to you, Esther. Stay safe and with an open heart may you take a few risks along the way. Xx


  5. eshee says:

    Sheila, your story has pulled me through some of my own tough times recently. Thank you for your honesty and openness about the worst of times. I would have loved to join your friends in their mindful walk in the UK (I am from Naas but live in Nottingham). I am however running a 10k that day, something I have trained for to build strength (mental) and confidence recently in addition to mindfulness and yoga. Though not as peaceful as a mindful walk, if you don’t mind I will run with Oisin in mind next weekend, keeping his strong character alive and allowing it to motivate others!


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