Today’s guest blog post is by local resident Joanna Melia, and celebrates the simple pleasures of a walk around Balbriggan.
Today is a slow day. I've no appointments to rush to and no chores to do. Instead I will go for a slow walk around Balbriggan with my baby.
Mindfulness is the art of living in the now. By concentrating on what we are experiencing right now, it can calm a racing mind that's dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
When I go for a walk with my baby it is easy to practice mindfulness, because I'm focusing on what she might be experiencing. The feel of wind on her skin, the sound of seagulls, an insect buzzing by, the sun glinting off the sea. I notice all these things much more when I am with her.
I can name them for her, and give her new vocabulary, and even if she doesn't understand me yet it feels like we are sharing the experience.
I used to dread days with nothing to do, but now I love them, and my maternity leave will soon be over so I need to make the most of them.
I'm lucky I live in a town by the seaside so there are some nice walks along the beach.
The train station looks over the beach and when I was a commuter I enjoyed the view, but it was always in a rush and at a distance, but now I have time to enjoy it and feel like I am getting to know the beach better.
My favourite time to go for a walk is in the morning. There is often a smell of freshly cut grass in the air, as the road down to the beach has some very well tended gardens and verges.
Overlooking the beach is a grassy area that usually has rabbits frolicking on it. It's a great spot to feel the breeze.
Early in the summer the banks of the beach were covered in wild flowers, with lovely scents and colours.
Most days at high tide I see a seal in the harbour popping up to survey the shore. It feels like he is watching me as much as the other way round. I always knew there were seals around but I didn't realise what regular, curious neighbours they are.
At high tide I also see and hear the fishing vessels leaving the harbour.
Recently local volunteers painted the benches along the beach, which adds a dash of colour. I now have a favourite bench to enjoy a coffee.
The people I meet are usually very pleasant. Early in the morning everyone is similar to me, taking their time and enjoying the views. It's amazing how a few simple pleasantries exchanged can set a positive mind frame for the day.
My town isn't perfect but on days like today when I can take a slow walk I can appreciate the good points. I'll miss my walks with my baby when I'm back in work!
Where is your favourite place to take a mindful walk around Balbriggan?
Joanna has been a resident in Balbriggan for 10 years, and usually commutes to work in the city centre. She is currently on maternity leave and is using the time to make memories with her baby and get to know the town better. She has also started a blog describing her adventures getting out and about with a baby in Dublin, and her experiences as a first time mum. You can find her blog at www.wanderingpram.wordpress.com or on Facebook and Twitter @wanderingpram