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Gerry Raftery: Can We Be Grateful Now?

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first_imgWhatsApp Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Facebook TAGSgerry rafterygratefulgratitudeKeeping Limerick PostedlimerickLimerick Post Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Linkedin Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash Advertisementcenter_img Donal Ryan names Limerick Ladies Football team for League opener Previous articleSinn Féin TD says legislation needed to protect employees working from homeNext articleVirtual Riverfest to take place in Limerick this May Bank Holiday weekend Meghann Scully Email Print Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads People photo created by jcomp – www.freepik.comWITH the restrictions in place due to this phase of cocooning mass gatherings are banned for the summer, no music festivals and GAA games are in limbo.Gerry Raftery is the Co-Ordinator of Mindfulness Programmes at Personal Milestones and shares tips on how we can be grateful during this pandemic. Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Can We be Grateful Now?It has emerged recently that many of the great events we associate with our Irish summer will not take place.No Saturday or Sunday games, no Concerts in large outdoor venues, no Pilgrimages to Knock, no Galway Races, no Summer Festivals, no Agricultural Shows, no Tidy Towns. Probably there will be no holidays abroad and maybe just limited visits to the seaside at home – weather permitting! And possibly no barbers or hairdressers. A bleak picture!This will be the reality of the summer ahead. So how can we make the most of it?Basically, we need to learn to come to terms with it. Though it will not be easy, we have to Accept it as it is. Acceptance frees us to make the most of what we have. It allows us to begin to discover what’s possible, safe and satisfying within the massive limitations imposed as a result of the danger created by the Coronavirus.I would suggest that one of the ways we can begin to do this is to focus positively on what we have right now, rather than moaning about what we haven’t got in our lives going forward. This brings us into what is known as the Gratitude Space.Today the practice Gratitude is being strongly promoted by Mindfulness and by Positive Psychology as the way to healthy living and happiness in difficult circumstances. I believe that it can be very helpful at this time to focus on being grateful, though in reality it is extremely challenging to do so.The Power of GratitudeSo, what is Gratitude? It is an appreciation of what we have and a recognition of what is good in our lives.Gratitude is something ordinary and every-day. However, Gratitude has a depth and a value which we don’t often recognise. We can take so much for granted. If we apply the power of Gratitude to our lives in the present crisis, we can improve our well-being and find greater happiness.The practice of Gratitude brings us into a very positive space where we count our blessings and recognise all that is good around us. This doesn’t mean ignoring all that is difficult in life or the suffering which surrounds us. It can be a real challenge to be in a positive space at the moment. Gratitude can help us to get there.Focusing on what We HaveWhen we focus on what we have now we become aware of opportunities which we didn’t realise we had before?We certainly have a lot of Time, Time to do things we were too busy to do or neglected to do before. We probably have a lot of time to spend with ourselves. From living in a busy crowded world, we can find ourselves thrust into solitude and silence.But maybe this Solitude and Silence gives us a chance to explore the deeper meaning of our lives and get to know ourselves better. We can learn more ways to develop our mental health, strength and well-being. Is this not something for which we can feel a sense of gratitude?Gratitude brings us to focus on what we have. We focus on our gifts, on our assets and on all of the good things in our lives. We can feel Gratitude for the big things of our lives – the people we love, our own talents and interests, our home and our community.We can become grateful even for the little everyday things – a cup of coffee, the song of the bird or the smell of a flower.Oprah Winfrey says, “Be thankful for what you have and you will end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have you will never, ever have enough.”Gratitude PracticesWhy not allow Gratitude to become a mind-set and allow it to punctuate your day?Begin the day with a sense of Gratitude. As the new day begins be grateful for life and for the opportunities which this new day will surely bring. This enables you to begin the day on a positive and optimistic note.Follow the teaching of Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and Philosopher: “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love. Each day provides its own gifts.”One of the Mindfulness Gratitude exercises which I teach people comes from an Oxford Professor of Mindfulness, Mark Williams. People who do this exercise on a regular basis find that it brings them great contentment and peace even in tough times.Professor Williams recommends his ten-finger Gratitude Exercise: “Once a day bring to mind ten things for which you are grateful, counting them on your fingers. It is important to get to ten things, even when it becomes increasingly difficult after three or four! This is exactly what the exercise is for – intentionally bringing into awareness the tiny previously, unnoticed, elements of the day.”Towards the end of your day why not try this exercise?Despite living a quite restricted life at the moment it is amazing how much happens in your day. In the midst of great loss, we can still find blessings to count. Feel grateful and you will end your day feeling good about yourself and about life.Some people find a Gratitude Journal helpful. Just write down the ten things for which you feel grateful at the end of your day. Read back over them and you see how good life really is.We teach our children good manners by telling them to say the magic words, “Please” and “Thanks”. Thanks, can certainly be a magic word for us today.Take care of yourselves through being Grateful. NewsGerry Raftery: Can We Be Grateful Now? By Meghann Scully – April 28, 2020 185 last_img read more

Alexander Hamilton Society provides opportunity for debate on campus

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first_imgThe University’s chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society (AHS) is hosting its first event on campus this week — a debate about the United States’ policy regarding North Korea, rather than a musical performance.Sophomore president of AHS Marea Hurson said she started a Notre Dame chapter of the non-partisan national debate society this year in an attempt to encourage campus engagement with national and foreign policy.“You get a lot more out of it, no matter what side you’re on, if you can hear both sides,” Hurson said. “Because then you realize why you believe what you do, or maybe you get a new perspective shown to you. So we’re excited to be able to bring debate to campus.”Sophomore Annalie Nagel, co-vice president of AHS, said the debate format of the group’s events allows people to directly respond to each other in the moment.“It’s a very unique setting, as opposed to all the lectures that are going on this week, because you get two ideas, they’re presented in a — not contentious, but an adversary format, and they have to directly disagree with each other,” she said. “That fray and conflict adds a lot of interest, and hopefully we’ll get a lot of questions from both sides of the aisle.”The experience of planning debates and hearing two experts speak on national policy provides a valuable chance for people to engage in current events on campus, Hurson said.“It’s a great avenue for people who are interested in going into a career in politics, or in Washington or any kind of national security — any of those things,” she said. “What’s cool is we have the freedom to decide what topic we want to do, what expert we want to bring in and what kind of topic we want them to debate. And so it’s a great way to get the whole campus community engaged in current events.”Although the group’s upcoming inaugural debate — “North Korea and Nuclear Deterrence, is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson right in saying ‘The policy of strategic patience has ended?’” — is particularly timely, sophomore co-vice president of AHS Jane Bachkora said the group happened to be fortunate that the debaters’ expertise led them in the same direction as the current political climate.“We got really lucky, because when we decided to do North Korea, a lot of what’s currently happened hadn’t happened yet,” she said. “So we got lucky in that sense.”Director of the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and special advisor for policy studies at the Keough School of Global Affairs David Cortright will debate AHS expert and Georgetown professor Matthew Kroenig on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium. Hurson said the group hopes this debate will pave the way for more debates, as well as regular meetings to discuss current events.“The goal would be to have two debates per semester,” she said. “For a bit of it, it kind of has a transient membership, because you need a core of about 10 or 12 committed people to help plan all the events and everything, but the idea is to get the whole campus just to come. The goal is always to have about 70-plus [people in] attendance at a debate.”Bachkora said getting involved with AHS and attending any debates the group hosts allows people to broaden their worldviews and strengthen their beliefs.“You can’t limit yourself to one point of view,” she said. “You can’t only watch FOX News, you can’t only read The New York Times. I believe the best way to educate yourself, and the best way to be informed and the best way to be an ideal citizen is to take in as many points of view as you can, and then be able to decide for yourself. … And I think this society does just that.”Tags: Alexander Hamilton Society, Debate, Foreign Policy, North Korealast_img read more