Mindful Walk and Talk

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Starting on May 30th , psychologist and author Hugh O’Donovan will take on the challenge of walking from Mizen Head to Malin Head, in aid of MyMind!

Mindful walking means walking with a deliberate intention, focus and attitude. It is noticing without attachment, as best we can, our unfolding experience in an open, curious way. On a mindful walk we don’t judge ourselves or others. We stand back from our reactions, and respond gently to what comes our way.

Hugh’s walking challenge will follow for the most part the Beara-Briefne Way will walk in the footsteps of Donal Cam O’Sullivan Beara, (Taoiseach) Chieftain of the O’Sullivan Beara Clan.  This famous march got underway in December 1602 after the Battle of Kinsale which saw the Irish and Spanish forces defeated by a crown army.

In so doing Hugh, will travel through, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Offaly, Galway, Roscommon, Sligo and Leitrim.  In order to reach Malin Head he will additionally follow parts of the Ulster Way and travel through Fermanagh and Donegal.   In Mid-January 1603, the O’Sullivan Bearas reached their final destination in Leitrim with just 35 souls from the original party of 1000 men, women and children – the rest having either settled along the way or died as a result of hunger, exposure or in battle.  

Hugh will travel for the most part unsupported. His only plan is to walk but with some purpose each day and in so doing engage mindfully with the unfolding experience. The journey will take as long as it takes.  He will carry the wherewithal (lightweight tent/sleeping bag and mat/provisions) to sustain himself as necessary, with kind sponsorship of gear from Mahers Sports, Cork and Columbia. However, he will not refuse the kindness of strangers should they wish to share their story or offer him a bed along the way wherever he stops for the day.  Anyone who wishes to join Hugh along the route at any point and walk whatever distance they chose is most welcome.  

Hugh is a registered psychologist (work) and performance coach. He spent twenty-three years as an army officer, serving in such areas as Lebanon and former Yugoslavia. He retired as a Commandant from the army in 1996, and went on to establish, with his wife, Kickshaws Food Bar in Leap, West Cork. Hugh is also a qualified chef and sommelier.

He played rugby with Munster in the mid-80s and has been involved in sports coaching and management. Hugh then went on to complete an Open University degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Organisational Psychology in Leicester University.

As part of his practice as a coaching psychologist, he runs regular Mindful Walk and Talk workshops and events, bringing people to areas of natural beauty in West Kerry and Wicklow to engage in guided conversations to develop potential; build confidence and resilience; and improve mindful performance.  He recently published the book Mindful Walking: Walk your way to Mental and Physical Wellbeing.

Follow Hugh’s challenge on Twitter #MindfulWalkAndTalk and please donate www.justgiving.com/mindfulwalking

To talk to Hugh about Mindful Walking, visit www.hoda.ie