Featured Practitioner, Siobhan Kirk

Siobhan Kirk

Are You Breathing?

Sounds like a silly question on the surface, but over the past few years this has been a phrase that automatically pops into my head, be it while I’m working with a client, walking the dog, or just washing the dishes.

‘Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unties your body to your thoughts’.  – Thich Nhat Hanh

I distinctly remember the first time I was asked this question.  I was in my first year at Shiatsu college, working with a fellow student in class. I became aware of our tutor beside me as I worked.  ‘Are you breathing Siobhan?’ he gently asked.  At first I thought, what a bizarre question, of course I’m breathing! But I suddenly realised, I had been holding my breath. That moment of realisation has always resonated with me, because I wasn’t even aware of it; I had been holding my breath, a lot in life come to think of it, well through anything challenging shall we say.  I began to take notice of this most essential of bodily functions, one most of us take for granted to be fair.

I wanted to share with you that memory because it was a sort of a turning point for me in my life.  I realised that I had lost my sense of self awareness.  I think in this age of technology and busy school runs and after school swimming or music lessons, a lot of us are not really that aware of what’s going on inside us or around us for that matter.  But of course, we can also subconsciously put up a block at times, so as not to acknowledge what’s happening in the here and now, especially if that’s something which causes us pain or upset.

‘I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.’ – Carl Jung

I believe that becoming conscious, truly making that shift and beginning that journey within ourselves, is transformational.  It’s not easy; we’ve all experienced difficulties throughout life, even traumas.  It can be more than a little intimidating and even scary to touch on those thoughts or memories that might bring up any hurt or pain.  However, If we truly want to move forward, we must bring all our ‘stuff’ to the surface or air the laundry.

Dissociation is common for anyone who has suffered trauma. It can become the ‘go to’ when faced with an uncomfortable situation or for anyone who has experienced chronic trauma, it might be a part of everyday life.

Dissociationis being disconnected from the here and now. … When people are dissociating, theydisconnect from their surroundings, which can stop the trauma memories and lower fear, anxiety and shame. Dissociation can happenduring the trauma or later when thinking about or being reminded of the trauma.

‘Integrating and reclaiming dissociated and disowned aspects of the personality is largely dependent on constructing a cohesive narrative, which allows for the assimilation of emotional, cognitive, and physiological realities.’ – Rev. Sheri Heller LCSW

We’re a culture that likes fast service, we want it now, like pulling up to the drive through and ordering our fast food (Its faster to go in I think!).  But taking time, doing what works for you, constructing that cohesive narrative can happen gently, and over time, through awareness.  I don’t think it’s a one size fits all, you can work on bringing back that awareness whatever way suits the person.   Some people might like to sit and meditate for an hour, some might like to walk in nature every day, some might like to receive body work, or some might like to pray.

‘Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.’ – Carl Jung

I do believe that you can transform your thoughts and actions with time.  Transition can happen gently, subconsciously and have the most profound effect on your life. You can spend a fortune on gym memberships, makeup and clothes, but its all wasted if you don’t address what’s going on inside too. Repressed thoughts and emotions will show themselves in some way eventually, they’ll find a way to get your attention by showing up in a physical form.

For me, Shiatsu has been my life line.  I can’t say enough good things about it.  Shiatsu cannot really be explained, not really.  It is to be experienced.  Explanations range from ‘It’s similar to acupressure, acupuncture, finger pressure.’  But the real explanation comes when the practitioner put their hands on you, and you receive Shiatsu for the first time.  For me, it has begun the journey to conscious awareness and self-acceptance.

‘Remember, as long as you are breathing, its never too late to start a new beginning.’ – Dalai Lama

Siobhan Kirk worked in medical administration in New York and Dublin for over fifteen years before becoming a stay at home parent in Dundalk Co. Louth.

After a time, Siobhan completed her three-year training to become a Shiatsu Practitioner and graduated from Shiatsu College Dublin in 2016. She is now a Registered Practitioner with the Shiatsu Society of Ireland.

She has also recently completed her training to become a meditation and mindfulness teacher for children, teens, and children with special needs through the Connected Kids® training programme.

You can contact Siobhan through her Facebook page: Zen Shiatsu Dundalk or by visiting her website https://shiatsudundalk.wordpress.com

Please Share with everyone!

“Shiatsu cannot really be explained, not really.  It is to be experienced.  Explanations range from ‘It’s similar to acupressure, acupuncture, finger pressure.’  But the real explanation comes when the practitioner put their hands on you, and you receive Shiatsu for the first time. ”
Shiatsu Society of Ireland Sept 2018 © Patrick Birdgeman WEB-13
“How to describe Shiatsu? It is love and self-acceptance. It is empathy and space to be yourself. It is possible for anyone to find true healing within themselves with Shiatsu. That is my belief.”
Shiatsu Society of Ireland Sept 2018 © Patrick Birdgeman WEB-8
“My passion for Shiatsu is as strong as ever and I’m excited to continue to explore, learn and develop my skills for as long as the universe allows!”
Shiatsu Society of Ireland Sept 2018 © Patrick Birdgeman WEB-6