Our Experience during the Pandemic

Losses occurred during the pandemic: losses of loved ones, jobs, social lives, travel, confidence, sense of self, so many experiences that we took for granted. We all experienced it differently. For some people, their whole way of life changed; they went from working in an office and going out at night, to self-isolating and working from home, in some cases with no-one else there. For others, the adjustment to working from home and sharing the space with a partner and/or children involved an opposite type of challenge – how to get space and time alone?
For some, not having to travel into an office and spending more time at home was preferable. Some developed new routines of going for walks and taking time for lunch which worked well.
Now that the pandemic is ending, this new normal is no more, and the reality of facing this new phase of re-entry is upon us. New anxieties may surface.

How do we manage to regulate ourselves during the transition, venture out and move into the next phase?

  • By going slowly to avoid overwhelming yourself and your nervous system.
  • By being patient, reassuring and talking kindly to yourself.
  • By being aware of your breath and noticing if you are holding it or breathing shallowly.
  • By walking outdoors and noticing nature all around. The trees can sway in the wind and yet are firmly rooted. Notice the new life beginning in the flowers and shrubs. Nature is reflecting a way to come back out slowly.
  • By noticing and praising yourself for any and every new step you make. Focus on what is going well for you.

If the anxiety is overwhelming, seeking support from a professional may help.
We lost our beloved poet Brendan Kennelly (April 1936 – October 2021) during the pandemic. His poetry was a source of inspiration. Here is his poem “Begin” which speaks to us as we reopen.

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of the light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing through with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.
— From The Essential Brendan Kennelly

Holding on to Hope

“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
― Howard Zinn

Sweet Darkness

In our Celtic calendar we are now moving from Samhain in November to The Winter Solstice, the shortest day on Dec 21st.

As we head towards the darkest time of the year, we may notice a change in our energy and mood. Rising in the morning in darkness and coming home from work in the darkness may affect how we feel. Many people experience a type of low mood, anxiety or depression. The term SAD is used for this experience. It stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. The lack of light, and the short days can have a negative impact on us. Here are some ideas and strategies in order to manage ourselves during these dark days:

  • Taking a vitamin D supplement as this can boost mood and health.
  • Walking in nature. Exercise boosts the endorphins which in turn create an upbeat mood. Do you ever notice that when you return from a walk that your mood has shifted?
  • Noticing nature around you, taking in the beauty, colours, shapes, and being aware of how this affects you. This is called resourcing oneself in Trauma therapy.
  • Having a daily practice of meditation or mindfulness, can lift anxiety and low mood. Joining a class which teaches it, will help establish a routine and offer support.
  • Yoga and Tai Chi can help to move your body and energy and not remain stuck. This sense of flexibility in body, can translate to mind.
  • Allow yourself to rest and hibernate like our ancestors did, before they had electricity and mobile phones!! If you are tired, take more rest. Listen to what your body needs. Pushing yourself can leave you drained and more prone to viruses.

All the above are easy steps that can make a difference.  These may leave you in a better place to reach out to friends or family for extra support.  If the feelings persist then getting some more structured support from a trained and empathetic therapist is a next step to consider.

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
The world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

 — David Whyte
from The House of Belonging
©1996 Many Rivers Press

Winter Solstice Body Soul Workshop 2014

I was honored to facilitate twelve women who gathered on Dec 20th 2014, to celebrate the Winter Solstice.  It was inspiring to witness the participants taking this time for themselves to be still and to dance, amidst this busy last Saturday before Christmas.   We focused on the methods of Body Soul, which were created through the Marion Woodman Foundation.  We were joined by women from Clare, Dublin  and Galway.

The focus of our time was to become  connected to our bodies, through deep relaxation, dance and authentic movement. The afternoon began as we gathered at our Hearthstone.

The hearth this a place where we gather particularly at winter time in our homes.  The Goddess Hestia is the goddess of the hearth and domestic life.  She is more specifically, the goddess of the fire that burns within the hearth.  The fire symbolizes the inner light that burns within each of us,  recharging and rekindling our spirits.  As we gathered at the hearthstone we focused on our intention for our work in the afternoon.

We danced our circle dance and the poem I read was from T.S Eliot

I said to my soul be still and wait without hope,

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing, wait without love,

For love would be love of the wrong thing,

There is yet faith, and the faith and the love are all in the waiting,

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought,

So the darkness shall be light,

and the stillness the dancing.

T.S.Eliot from Four Quartets

As the women lay on the floor and focused on their breathing and each part of their body, there was a sense of waiting, like waiting within the cairn at Newgrange for the light to make its way up through the roof box and light up the passage and eventually the inner chamber. Each member connected deeply to their body and then made their way up to standing position, once again.  The dancing began and the participants found themselves moving from stillness to dance.  This play of opposites was present during the afternoon.

We ended our afternoon with a dream circle, in which we gathered the images from our dreams and located them in our bodies.  As we distilled the dreams to their essence we gathered  a dream poem which held the energy of our work.

Then we gathered at the Hearthstone for our closing ceremony.  I felt privileged to have shared this first workshop with such an amazing and courageous bunch of women.

I’ve been asked already when can we do it again, it won’t be too long, watch this space!

Winter Solstice 2014









“The goal is to integrate body and psyche: to take the healing symbols from the dreams, put them into the unconscious body areas, and allow their energy to accomplish the healing work.”

Marion Woodman , Addiction to Perfection

On the eve of the winter solstice we will gather together to listen to our bodies and pay attention to our dreams.  Using methods from Marion Woodman’s Body Soul Rhythms, including movement, voice, and relaxation.

Facilitator  Deirdre Regan (Marion woodman Foundation Leadership Training)
Venue  Clonee Yoga Studio, Blackrock
When  Saturday 20th December from 2-5
What to Bring  Warm, loose, comfortable clothes and a blanket for floor work  & a journal.
Cost  50 euro, Concession on request.
To Book  Email deirdremregan@gmail.com Or Call 087 6163646


Previous experience  of bodywork  and psychotherapy is required


I’ve just returned from the Marion Woodman – Body Soul Rythmns Intensive in Dunderry Park. It was a real international community, women travelling from every part of the globe. It was such an enriching experience. I’ll share some of the insights I gained as I reflect in the coming time.