Spring Tonic

Staff WellBeing Morning – 20 April 2023

Mindfulness Outdoors Experiences

Thank you all for spending some time together on our third Mindfulness Outdoors Experience together, this time at Jenkinstown Wood & Walled Gardens, Kilkenny, 

Thankful for the gift a bright and breezy, spring morning. We began in the garden near the site of the old estate house. Taking some time to orient ourselves and each other for the morning experience. We connected with being here together, noticing the vibrancy of spring bursting through the senses of sound, sight and a sense of the ground beneath us and sky above. 

Jenkinstown, just 10km north of Kilkenny city and 11km south of Castlecomer, was once part of the Bryan-Bellew Estate and where the irish poet Thomas Moore was infamously inspired by a lone blush rose in the garden when he was a guest here in the early 1800s. This poem, ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ was set to music with Sir John Stevenson writing the piano melody most often heard – called Aisling an Óigfhear (The Young Man’s Dream).  But ‘everyone loved it’, with Bach and Beethoven apparently composing melodies and over the years many people recording the tune

With some mindful movement we began to arrive in our bodies and this place; centering through the sense, we connected to the breathing rhythm and appreciation for this moment. We acknowledged our intention for this morning to be an invitation to presence and connection, in the midst of everything else blowing around and within us.

With mindful walking and talking, we entered the forest and invited our listening gaze to open to the sounds of spring – of bird song bursting into life, special to this time of year.  When we align with nature we naturally respond with ease.

We paused from time to time, letting the forest invite us in, cultivating curiosity and seeing signs of spring and the ripples of stories of other beings who call this place home – deer day bed, pine leftovers of the messy eating squirrels. We shared stories of the bluebells, primrose and sticky-backs (cleavers). We wondered about heaviness and lightness and the reciprocal echo of this in our bodies. Reducing our disturbance by slowing down and quietening our words, we arrived to our sit-spot amidst the bluebells and fiddleheads.

Our ‘sit spot’ time allowed us to enjoy a nourishing feast for the heart and mind: savouring the vast carpet of native bluebells; pondering the intricate detail, diversity and interconnectivity witnessed;  captured by the sounds and sights of the pollinators at work and appreciating the springtime sun warming faces.

Taking the lead of Thomas Moore, we bravely tapped into our own poetic creativity and our share circle time evolved to co-create a ‘cento’ – a collage or patchwork poem that utilises the words of others.

As we took time to share our experiences, living the precious gift of bearing witness and warmly accepting the generosity in sharing our own experience and each others. And we knew we had truly cultivated our awareness when the dance of a red squirrel, scampering up the pine, caught our eye and we stopped in easy appreciation of the awe of this fleeting moment of joyful magic.

I’m sharing here the poem and of course, the team Cento, we shared on the day.

Feedback is also welcome on your experience of our time together.  You can click on the button below to bring you to an online form where data is gathered anonymously.

With much joy and gratitude for a special time together.  May this morning serve you well and inspire your future wanders outdoors.

Feedback Form

Approaching Bealtaine at Jenkinstown Wood

Take refuge in your senses, open up

To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain

When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,

Taking time to open the well of color

That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone

Until its calmness can claim you.

Be excessively gentle with yourself.


Excerpt from the blessing, ‘For One Who is Exhausted,’

A Team Cento, co-created at Jenkinstown Wood, 20th April 2023, Team Wellbeing Morning.

*words by John O’Donohue, For the one who is exhausted

all other lines composed by Cian, Deirdre, Katie, Aideen, Rebecca, Luke, Brenda, Andrew, Emma – Carlow-Kilkenny Psychologists and Sheena, Mindful Outdoor Guide.

Spring Tonic. 

take refuge in your senses*

take ease,

nourished by the senses

– alive with colour.

different tree characters: intertwined – willowy – old – young …

layers of life, layers of green, layers of hope in-between.

freed of identity, just a guy in the woods.

gentle sway of trees, soothing body.

slowing down in peace,

walking empties the mind.

no hurry: an opening, unfurling, warmth and light-seeking.

take refuge in your senses*

– joy in connection.

Bealtaine Moments

Making time to acknowledge the seasonal shifts can be a supportive way to practice presence and connect with what matters. With life busy and full, these thresholds offers us moments to celebrate,  to grieve, to begin again, to connect – with ourselves, each other and our ancestors.

In the Celtic Calendar, we are approaching Bealtaine – May 1st.  As one of the major fire festivals, our ancestors lit fires on the hills to celebrate, to protection, to welcome the sun, the light and that the future harvest may yield well.  We take care of today in good hope for the future.

A particular potent time of year, stories of our ancestors encourage us to wash our faces with the May morning dew for its curative properties for the year ahead. Thresholds were guarded by gatherings of spring flowers were gathered and spread across doorsteps and strung above doors. Decorating the heart tree – the haw or whitethorn.  Perhaps you could add more local or family stories of how to mark this time of year?

Why not make time for your own ritual or ceremony to honour and mark this time of year? Be creative. Find your way.  Perhaps lighting your own fire and pondering:

  • What is needed to be set aside? To be put down or grieved so you can step forth more fully?
  • How would you like to look after yourself, come home to yourself and greet yourself back from the darker times?


“If we keep a green bough in our heart, the singing bird will come”

(Chinese Proverb)

What Clients Have to Say

Thank you Sheena for guiding us through the woods in such a deeply connected way. I loved the sauntering pace that allowed space to notice the woodland around and the invite to engage in our senses. I felt calm yet energized after spending the morning at your group. Can't wait until the next one!

Thank you so much Sheena for a wonderful morning - really enjoyed it and will certainly take plenty away from it and use in our walks in the forest.

A total treat; a wonderful morning of NOURISHMENT!

Wishing you continued mindful moments of nourishment of body, cheering of heart, inspiring of mind.