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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Something said 'POP'...

Opening the blind in my bedroom this morning, to look outside and be surprised to see the grass covered in snow – only a very thin layer by the way - the gratitude for my warm cosy place in my mam’s house was raised a few notches. 

Even with the lower temperature, I’d set the intention to go for a long walk. This is something I’ve been doing more regularly these past weeks (I’m working on building my stamina and long-distance walking ability, hoping to set off to do the pilgrimage the Camino in Spain once the weather heats up).

So… this morning I felt enough enthusiasm to venture out into the cold. I wanted to sink in to my physical body more, ground myself and be HERE. This is what the walking has been in aid; feeling alive, in a flow and inspired. 

This morning I intended to walk for the same purpose. I wanted to create my own little space of heaven – even if I’m in Arklow. I needed to smell the cow-dung, to feel the wind and cold on my face, to hear the birds singing and enjoy the scenery... regardless if the blue sky was hiding behind the grey band of clouds. I was excited – however ‘dull’ my description of Arklow.

Standing by the window, with these thoughts going through my mind, I simultaneously bent my knees in an attempt to flex before getting my gear on. With my back straight, knees slightly bent, I moved them both in a horizontal direction. First to the right. In that, my left knee cracked – but it was a nice crack; one of those that opens up the joints more. Then, thinking to create a balance, I moved both knees to the left, hoping to ‘crack’ the right knee… And in that instant... my right knee didn’t say crack, instead it shouted 'POP'... And I cursed in despair… ‘holy shit...’… just before shooting pains charged up and down my right leg. I soon cried out in pain and tumbled to the ground. As this was happening, I realized what I’d done… I’d popped my right knee from its socket... Thankfully it popped back into place almost straight away… But the shock and the effects of the pop meant I was in agony on the floor… screaming in pain... feeling sick, weak, nearly ready to pass out.

Ten minutes later, I’d calmed myself down… I started to move and thought everything was fine… I even thought I’d be able to STILL go for a 2-hour walk… I’m apparently ‘invincible’ – a very debateable suggestion!

As soon as I made my way downstairs, something was about to tell me that I’m NOT invincible and was going NOWHERE – not anytime soon! I was trying to make breakfast, limping around the kitchen and the pain got worse. Within half an hour I found I could hardly bend my knee. Even if I COULD (and still CAN) put my full weight on that knee, I COULN’T (and still CAN'T) bend it or move easily. It’s like my knee has come to sit looser in its socket and if I move without caution, it feels threatened to pop out again. As well the muscles surrounding it have been strained.

I clearly saw the connection between what I was about to do (a long walk) and the knock I got from the universe. It was as if out of nowhere, without doing anything physically exerting in that very instant, this little miss “I’m so full of the joys of spring (even if it’s snowing outside) and so ready and able to walk endlessly for hours without exerting my body too much” was being told to slow down.

Every knock, every pain, every sign, is here to tell us something.

Afterward this little incident, I knew I needed to sit for a while and be patient… A very wise lesson… Things like this always make us realize just how precious the human body is… Something we tend to forget, when we’re living our lives, caught up in the tiny details that really are unimportant in the grand scheme of why we’re here. Even when we’re in an amazing positive frame and doing things for the intention of only good things, it can STILL happen that the head gets in between the heart and body connection and we miss what we actually CAN and NEED to be focusing on right now. So maybe my body isn’t in need of a 2-hour walk! At least NOT this week…

These past days I’ve been thinking about exercise and what suits me more. I was reflecting on the difference I physically feel when I’m either doing yoga or walking. Both practices are totally different and therefore they awaken and stimulate a different kind of energy. As I contemplated, I feel yoga to be far gentler on the body (of course!). It puts me in a flow, it slows down my mind and I enter a positive space. I embrace my physical limitations – without judgement, frustration or friction. It brings me to my center and sometimes I can even feel how all of the thoughts - that will often be racing through my mind, even as I’m moving from one pose to the next and focusing on my breathing – are like a storm… But the poses let me move through this storm. I accept the racing mind. The more I flow from one pose to the next, the more I come into that centered state. And I learn so much by doing so.

Then, there’s the walking… Oh YES… how I love it. How it brings me to a state of appreciation for where I am… The longer the walk, the more into a zone I go, the clearer my mind becomes and the more energy I feel awakens. I feel on-course, heading towards a destination, but totally being IN the journey. This state only comes though, if I purposely walk for longer than just 1 hour. That's why I've been lengthening these little journeys. As well, the intention to walk the Camino in the next months, is a part of it. Up until today, it was working a treat and I didn't think I was pushing anything. Because I’ve been walking INSPIRED and not for the purpose of anything else that could be harming me on any level.

Yet… at this moment in time, I’m obviously MEANT to take it easier on the walking and simply continue the gentle yoga. This doesn’t mean I can’t go to the Camino. It just means I need to be more cautious of my body and realize that we’ll never know what can happen to set us back and change our course (if only temporarily). In that realization, appreciation for what we CAN do right now, will rise.

Sometimes our focus needs to deviate – not in a major way by only minor. Sometimes other intentions we’ve set need a priority and little knocks are to limit ourselves in certain ways, so that other areas can flourish. Interesting... especially considering how I’ve been having big insights and creative ideas coming through. These can only materialize by SITTING. And this knee is now letting me sit!!!! YAY!!!

As we ask for signs and guidance each day, we’ll always receive that which we’re in need of learning. Then again, without too much analysis… this little ‘popping of the knee from the socket’ could just be ‘one of those things’ and I’ll be able to move more freely within a few days – with more caution to that particular area.

It depends on how much of deep thinker a person is… However, in the depth of our experiences I believe and know it’s where the magic of our daily encounters can be found.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Great Expectations

Life simply continues, after a tv appearance…

After feeling a wave of adrenaline for a few hours and a bout of panic that followed the initial off-air rush of life, I felt calm and confident that I’d done the right thing, by exposing myself so completely. As well I felt lucky to have had that short appearance. I know it happened mainly due to my publisher Lorraine. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if she hadn’t been so persistent in contacting the tv-stations. Her persistence hasn’t only paid-off in getting me on the television but also in getting the book to as many distributors and retailers as possible. And for things to be taking off, she deserves so much credit and my endless gratitude. Thanks Lorraine… You’re a gem! Hard work and patience really DOES pay off!

Since I started writing so openly, nearly 5 years ago, I’ve claimed my life is an open book. I’ve always said that everyone is welcome to take a glance. I’ll open my heart and bare my soul to the world, if I get the chance. In my exposure and soul-baring writing, I realize I’ve not only been teaching myself but alongside that, I’ve unknowingly been setting an example. And this really only came to light after I appeared on tv.

It’s probably na├»ve of me to not have fully been aware that my writing has put me ‘up there’ as an inspiration to others. I say this, not from an egotistical perspective, but from a real perspective (I never started exposing myself in order to feel better than anyone else – instead for the intention of sharing and inspiring). And I can safely say, again NOT from an egotistical perspective, that it’s time for me to start recognizing that I CAN be an inspiration and therefore WILL remain in the light of life.

After being on television, I see how I’ve placed quite some expectations on myself. If others look to me as an inspiration, then I have to live as being that. But I don’t need to TRY to be that inspiration. So far, I’ve never pushed for this to happen. It’s simply how things have evolved. Therefore I don’t need to stress or push that I’m NOT living up the standard I’ve set for myself. I can trust that by simply being me, I’m doing what I can and sharing what I know. And any expectations that have been placed on me, by having exposed myself, are expectations that require me to simply continue healing what needs to be healed, learning what needs to be learned, speaking what needs to be spoken, writing what needs to be written.

The expectation is in the message and the message is HEALING and TRUTH. I trust myself enough that I’ll stand by what I speak and write and I’ll be an example. It’s safe to say, I’ve come so far, to trust that I CAN and WILL do everything in my power to stand by the truth that I’ve exposed, over these past 6 months, since launching the book. This is a huge step-up when taking my own healing process into account.

I’ve said this many times before and will say it again today: life really is a journey. I see now, clearer than ever before, how we’re all at different stages of evolution. Some of us have experienced more than others, learned more than others, seen more than others. However, it doesn’t mean we’re better or worse. It simply means we’re all at different stages, exposed to different circumstances. Yet we’re making this journey together. We’re all here to help each other along. We stretch our hands out to those behind us, so they can step easier to the next stage, just as those in front offer us a helping hand so we can lean temporarily and move onwards to even brighter platforms.

I’ve taken steps others are now finding the courage to take and I can offer a helping hand. That helping hand shows itself as my light and my words – either spoken or written. I can show how far I’ve since come and will continue to share how far I’ll still go as I express my journey that takes place in the light. Only that way can I ignite a spark in the darkness that others might be experiencing.

I know, in my heart, that I’m on the path leading towards living a free life whilst shining bright in the light of day, regardless of time, space and circumstance – not for wanting to be better than anybody else, but to feel in my heart, that I can be freer than I already am and then excel at what I’m doing if free is how I remain.

There aren’t any guarantees in life. We don’t know what the next stages will bring. All we can do is trust in our inner power and strength that keeps us alive, free and flowing through situations and experiences.

Bringing this back to the present day… I’m unknowing as to how things will unfold. But I’m trusting in the power of purpose and I’m taking it one step at a time.

I’ve been in Arklow 3 weeks now and I’m more connected to the world around me. I’m grounding myself and realizing I need to keep focussing on being HERE. I’m living more IN my body and stepping out of my head. I’m letting my heart open up to the world around me. And my god… how I’ve missed the connection! It’s already leading me onwards to where I need to be.

So it’s happy days… here in Ireland’s approaching springtime! A sure sign of new life, new times, new energy and new opportunities. What an amazing ride…

Friday, February 15, 2013

Full Exposure - Ireland AM

Yesterday, the 13th, I had an interview on Ireland AM - a national morning talk show. What an experience... One I'm so blessed to have had.

The day before, I put myself in something of a zone, so I could prepare and distance myself from the apprehensive nerves coming from those around me. Instead I needed to create something of a grounded excitement and not lose sight of the reason I was going on, in the first place. It wasn't for the hype surrounding LIVE television and meeting some Irish celebrities. No. I was going on so I could speak openly about my experiences and inspire where needs be.

I was stepping away from 'hiding' behind the words in my published book and moving towards exposing myself - not only through my spoken voice - but through my whole presence. It's as if the whole parcel of who I've become, since recovery, was presenting itself to the Irish world, all within the space of a 10-minute slot on national television yesterday morning.

I didn't actually realize how huge an impact this tv appearance could have, on viewers, as well as myself.... not until myself and Louise (the psychotherapist who came on the show with me - she's also become a lovely friend, since meeting her a few months ago, after she read my book) were waiting to take place on the lovely sitting room set-up, only 10 minutes before I was due to go on air. I had one moment of panic... 'Shit... I can't do this... I can't get up and speak to the nation... this is too much!!!' But I kept on breathing, kept on grounding myself, kept myself focussed and continued to remind myself WHY I was doing this. I had to ignore the thoughts that were going to block me from speaking my truth and cause me to stutter, fear and feel flustered. I had to erase the images of 100s and thousands of viewers, who would maybe either judging my appearance or hanging on my every word.

Instead of fuelling those thoughts, I stayed in my zone until I actually sat down on the couch and became familiar with the presenters. And, wow, how warm and welcoming they were...!! I felt so at home... Before we went on air, the lady simply said... 'Niamh, we're just having a chat, we're out for coffee and you're just telling us your story.' I thought.. 'Yes... I LOVE chatting over tea... and this will be fine...' Then, without even realizing, things started rolling and the flow soon came.

As I sat there, talking about such deep stuff, in the corner of my eye I saw the pictures of myself... The ones I never before thought I'd expose... to anybody... let alone the WHOLE OF IRELAND... It was the pictures of myself, at my lowest weight. They floated by on the large screen. Before going on air, I didn't know if they were going to show them, but I'd kind of prepared myself. Just as well I did, because when they floated by, I didn't panic. The images didn't snatch my train of thought or unsettle me. That was due to having grounded myself so firmly in the PURPOSE of WHY I was exposing myself so completely.

The reason behind it, was to give a reflection of an illness at its worst, a reflection of a person who is 'me', but really is somebody I no longer know, recognize or identify myself with. I did this, so I could stand beside them and say... 'This is where I've come from BUT this is where I'm at NOW...' I was so important, for myself too, to present the living, breathing expression of health I've so far become. It's what  a sufferer can also aim to be, once they start setting themselves free.

The road I've had to travel, before reaching a point where I feel strong enough in my sense of self and aware enough of where I stand in this life, has been a long one. But I'm finally able to stand up and say that person on the screen, weighing next to nothing, was somebody I once was. It's no longer who I am. In that time, I never imagined I'd, some day, in the relatively near future, choose to go on the television hoping to inspire others so they too can move through their pain and come out in to the light and stand in the brightness of this amazing life. But I finally did it... It was obviously intended.

After the interview, I was flying high. Myself and Louise were on fire... feeling so strongly we'd set something in motion and were doing amazingly beneficial work. We felt we wanted and COULD heal the world... It was as if something had only started and there was HUGE work to do... I felt I WOULD do it.

Hours later, I was landing, of course. I was at home, starting to feel drained and overwhelmed by what I'd done and the supportive response I was getting. A critical voice inside my head was trying to get the better of me... I, briefly, started doubting WHY I'd chosen to expose myself... I started fearing judgment and rejection from this world. It's all old stuff, that will try to hold me back - especially when I'd climbed a mountain that morning by revealing myself so completely to the whole of Ireland.

Yet... I accepted what was happening. I understood WHY I was feeling doubts and fears. And instantly, in that acceptance, the emotions subsided and I was calm. I knew I'd done the right thing, by exposing myself so fully. In that, I felt more in my strength than I've felt in a very very long time. It's almost as if I can say... 'I've arrived'. I don't know where exactly... I don't know how exactly... All I know is that it feels deeply empowering, liberating and indestructible.

This is the link to the recording on the tv3 website. You can copy and paste and hopefully have a look.


Sunday, February 10, 2013


It’s true what they say: Once we let-go, we make space for what’s really meant to enter our lives. When we stop with the pushing and the forcing of things we simply MUST experience, we detach from those necessities and if it’s meant to be, it will come.

A week ago, I got the most amazing news from my publisher… the producer from one of Irelands major morning talk shows had responded to our interview request! They finally wanted to give me a slot on the show Ireland AM (familiar to most people living in Ireland). The interview will be LIVE on TV3 on the 13th of Feb (so, this Wednesday morning) at 08.15 (GMT). 

When I first heard this news, I was nervous as hell. But within minutes the nerves subsided and I was sooooooo grateful to have this opportunity! I felt as though Ireland had opened up, and was finally saying YES to Digesting Wisdom and to Niamh Keoghan. I know it sounds silly to base my feelings of acceptance and approval on one single show that wants to broadcast my story… but, when you’re promoting a book, you're dealing with the media and those different media channels ARE the bridge between the book and the readers. So maybe it’s not that odd to feel as if suddenly this country is more accepting and open to what I'm willing to share. 

A part from this I felt, and still feel.... LUCKY beyong words!!!!! I mean, how unique is this?! From Ireland’s perspective - and most Irish will understand - getting a slot on Ireland AM is NEARLY as big as it gets! Here on this little island in the west of Europe, I’m just one step away from the ‘Irish Oprah’ (which is the Late Late Show – Irelands most popular talk show that goes to air every Friday evening). But, I won’t jump too much ahead… Because, this first tv appearance is quite a blessing.

I know my book got their attention, due to it being national Eating Disorders Awareness Week here in Ireland, from the 11th till the 17th. So, it’s perfect timing for me to spread the message and bring the availability of this book to the awareness of EVERYONE. Only that way, can it start spreading like wildfire. Because, so far, it’s been slow going. My publisher has been working her ass off trying to get this country on board in helping us spread this book and the message it holds. 

For months, we’ve been feeling the flow was stuck, because certain media channels as well suppliers, weren’t so supportive or so responsive. For that reason, whenever people would ask me about the sales, I’d consciously say I don’t know. For one, it’s not everybody’s business… and another thing is that I chose consciously not to engage in the figures, to avoid pressure and a feeling of not doing enough 'work' in promoting it. Therefore I don’t know where exactly every copy has found its home. I’ve learned, since the launch in August, that this is a story that will live on forever and each individual copy will go where it’s meant to… when the time is right. It will take on a life of its own. 

In just in the last few weeks though, certain blockages have been released and the country and media is opening up. This interview is proof. And it’s quite amazing.

In many ways, this is what I’ve personally been waiting for, ever since I came back from India a year ago. With Lorraine (the publisher) we’d be speaking constantly of needing some ‘major’ media exposure that’s fast and effective – reaching thousands of people across the nation, in an instant… And it’s happening.

I’ve no idea what will unfold for the book, once this happens. But it can only be good stuff. It might answer more questions for myself too, in terms of what direction I want to head towards. Then again, in my heart I already know, so there won’t be any major shocking revelations or huge changes. Who knows though… because as it stands, every day my life seems to change just that little bit more. Step by step. And every intention that’s already been set, is also coming to unfold. Just like this interview. It’s yet another wish, another dream, that’s coming true. Things won’t stop unfolding after Wednesday.

This opportunity is proof enough to me that by setting an intention within our heart and letting it go, it will eventually come into our lives - if it's meant for us - when the time and circumstances are right. So I’ll continue to focus my intentions and welcome what’s meant to be.

Be sure to tune-in, if you’re in Ireland, this Wednesday morning at 08.15. TV3, Ireland AM.

If you’re not in Ireland, then it could be possible to watch live streaming, on their website, www.tv3.ie/ierland_am I’ll also do my best to get a recording and link it to facebook. Wish me luck!!!!