Living in the now and accepting the hand he has been dealt is the life philosophy by which Joe McDonagh lives. Photo: Shelly Corcoran.
“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”.
And while this is a well-known quote from George Bernard Shaw, Longford currently has its own guru in the making when it comes to the philosophy of life.
That guru comes in the form of Joe McDonagh, a former staff photographer with the Longford Leader and a man who has been endeavouring to live a mindful and spiritual life for many years now.
In more recent times he began posting inspirational messages on Facebook and was soon attracting followers.
And so popular did his efforts become, he went on to create a book comprising all the messages he has posted - ‘Right Now. I am. Not Here. Not There’ and it really is a treasure of a publication.
“Living in the now, accepting the hand you’re dealt, it’s the life that I lead; the philosophy of the messages that I started putting up on Facebook,” he told the Leader this week.
“I suppose they are ideas on life. People have said to me ‘oh we would love to be like that and have that attitude’ and anyone can be like that. To live now is all that matters.”
Joe Mc's messages are indeed inspirational and include sentiments like ‘Worry is just focusing on, and being scared of your thoughts, so why worry?; ‘Joy is the most elegant way to show gratitude’ and ‘Don’t wait for things to get better; life will always be complicated, so learn to be happy right now otherwise you will run out of time’.
“In the now the future is only in your mind; in the now the past is only in your mind so the fact is that neither exist in reality - they are only thoughts in your head,” he continues, before pointing out that acceptance too is a very important element in our efforts to find contentment.
“Accepting the hand you have is vital - when everything becomes difficult we don’t want that hand, we don’t accept it but it is so important to live the hand you have got and accept it because all our lessons of wisdom in life are learned through hardship, sorrow, mistakes and things going wrong.
“And when you have that bad hand it provides you with the most wonderful opportunity to learn and it is in learning that we evolve.”
Indeed his own life hand was dealt a major change a number of years ago when he discovered he had cancer.
The illness changed his life completely, but he is adamant that his philosophy on life helped him to accept it.
“I had cancer - cancer changed my life forever; it took me away from my work, took me away from my hobbies and wiped me from the face of the earth, yet it was the hand that I had to live.”
He also insists that despite the experience, “it has been a wonderful lesson”.
“I have mellowed enormously,” he laughed.
“But then of course the other side of the coin is that it can be terribly depressing and put people down - and that is normal, but if they can accept that it is the hand they are dealt and accept that they will not be the same person as a result, there is a peace in that.
“I wish people contentment because when you are content you accept what you have.”
The local man also says nothing will be achieved by living in the past.
Indeed one of most popular messages on social media was the following: ‘RIP - The Past’.
“When a person lives in the past, really they are dead,” he adds.
“The mind is dead; everything they are thinking of is dead and gone. In the river of life, everything flows and we must allow it to flow because that flow is what ultimately helps us along life’s path.”