Falling In and Out of Love

In the words of the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke it appears that ‘for one human being to love another is the most difficult of all tasks’, and this is true for parents and children, friend and friend, lover and lover and husband and wife. For the purposes of Valentine’s Day I am going to focus on adult relationships. In the USA, 60 per cent of marriages breakdown and, poignantly and significantly, 80 per cent of second marriages end unhappily. Those statistics do not take into account the high percentage of intact unhappy marriages. It is a real conundrum that if, on the one hand, love is the greatest power on earth – the force that sustains human life – how, on the other hand, is it that many relationships are a near-certain prescription for unbelievable pain and emotional devastation?

Read More

Holding Out for Love

May 4th was Asthma Day and I was reminded of the very high and increasing level of asthma in Ireland.  Presently, over 440,000 individuals suffer from this condition. The condition of bronchial asthma refers to the type of suffocation-spasm typified by wheezing during expiration. It is preceded by a constriction of the small bronchi and bronchioles, which can be caused by a cramping (a prolonged holding) of the smooth musculature, an inflammatory itching of the airways and an allergic swelling and secretion of the mucous membranes. Individuals – children and adults alike – experience asthma as a life-threatening suffocation: sufferers claw for air and breathe in gasps with the out breath especially throttled.

Read More