During the month of January with the fresh new start that is 2022 there is a natural inclination for many to look for new ways of doing things. We try to improve various aspects of our lives. We are open to listening to the wise who have worthwhile advice. New year resolutions abound. For a while at least! People must be aware of my annual interests and efforts in that directions as invariably Santa Claus will deposit a publication or two in my Christmas stocking that encourage exploration along those lines. I’m always interested in exploring the social sciences as a supplement and complement to spiritual and religious ideas.
I love listening to Dr. Maureen Gaffney on the radio. She thinks through things deeply and presents an attractive plan for positive living. A recent interview and her latest publication which I received as a gift “Your One Wild and Precious Life, an inspiring guide to becoming your best self at any age” certainly confirmed that for me. She takes an interesting look at things that help in terms of happiness and well-being. Paying attention to these things ensure our lives are moving in a progressive direction, not passive, not stagnating. According to Dr. Gaffney, autonomy, closeness and competenceare important human motivational factors. If these are harnessed properly the results can make a real difference. These three things are looked at by her in the various stages of our lives and in that they progressively set down patterns for success and happiness. While you cannot control all that life throws at you, you can meet it on your own terms. You are never fully formed, but always a work in progress. It’s always possible to reimagine the future and reset your life on a new course. I enjoyed the positive analysis she proposes.
The other gift that I enjoyed and found uplifting was Marty Morrisey’s recent biography “It’s Marty”. It’s a delightful account of his life and times and so obviously the Marty we know so well here in Clare and nationally. Marty’s best-selling book gives a first-hand account of his ebullient love of life, people, place and country along with the many projects he has been involved in during a lifetime of public service. His love of his adopted native-county Clare shines through in many anecdotes and stories. I particularly enjoyed his chapter on the positive influence religion and faith has played in his life. The dedication on the book is special; “This book is dedicated to my late and wonderful dad, Martin Morrisey, who was always positive and taught me how to smile.” His poignant tributes to his dear Mam, Peggy, RIP, who died suddenly last December were the source of inspiration for many. Reflecting on his well-written and thoroughly researched book was a tonic for new year positive thinking in challenging and difficult times.
Two other people who have captivated the interest and admiration of the nation in recent weeks are the brave stalwarts Charlie Bird and Vicky Whelan. Charlie in his living with Motor Neuron disease and Vicky in her long battle with Cancer. What an inspired combination of positive spirits they have turned out to be. That both would aspire to come together to climb the national sacred pilgrimage path that is Croagh Patrick in early April is truly remarkable. They demonstrate the triumph of resolute mind, determination, will and spirit over matter and body. Our thoughts and prayers and good wishes go with them and our generosity too in contributing to their respective charities.
As a parting shot there is a colleague from the west that I often look to for positive and spiritual energy from time to time and he invariably injects a little humour and if you meet him in person, a musical note to accompany his musings. In his regular column in The Irish Catholic newspaper this week he quotes the following observations.
“There was a time when:
- Being a close contact was a good thing.
- To walk into a bank wearing a mask spelt danger.
- To give someone the elbow was akin to ignoring.
- If you sneezed a stranger would say “God bless you!”
- Delta was an airline.
- We worried about who was in hospital and not how many.
- To gather friends to celebrate a life event was a joy.
It was a good time. As we enter the new year, we bring with us much of the fear that has lived with us since March 2020. The progress we have made can all to easily be lost.”
May 2022 be a year of autonomy, closeness and competence along with positive people, ideas and actions, all encouraging well-being, happiness, spiritual, mental and physical growth and flourishing as a human being.
Fintan Monahan is bishop of Killaloe
Clare Champion Article 21st of January 2022