Well, we had the most fascinating chat with Niall Kelly on The Coffee at Eleven Show recently.

Niall regaled us with real stories from the Cold War, during which time he was held at gunpoint on his ship in his capacity as Merchant Seaman as business between the USA and USSR went on unabated despite the posturing of Khrushchev and Kennedy in front of their respective tv cameras. Niall’s ability to engage us with the spoken word was fascinating story after story.

And that was even before we got to talk about the chronic back pain that led him to explore and now teach The Alexander Technique!

Thoroughly enjoyable Coffee at Eleven for all in the café.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I invite you stick on the kettle, grab a coffee, and think with Niall Kelly and me for a bit in your preferred way. I promise you’ll have fun and likely learn stuff you never knew you never knew.

Yours Truly: Ladies and gentlemen, you are more than welcome to this, another episode of The Coffee at 11 show brought to you by WIG-WAM Global. Delighted to have you all here. And in particular, I’d like to welcome our very special guest this morning, Mr. Niall Kelly. And Niall, you might just pop in and say a quick hello, and then I’ll introduce you. And show u your coffee mug.

Niall Kelly: Hello. Good morning. Thank you, Eammon. That was brilliant. I got a job with the Department of Transport and Power in the coast radio station down at Valentia Island. So we’re living down there and I’d got married and we were due to go to town, which meant you went to Caherciveen but you went by the ferry because the bridge wasn’t open at that stage.

And our two-year-old was doing the usual two-year-old stuff. While my wife was checking out with our friends, was there anything they needed in town? And he kicked off his shoe. So I bent over to put the shoe back on and went to a new planet.

I could not believe the pain and in my stupidity, I made my way up the stairs and got onto the bed and the pain increased. And I got myself off the bed. And then I realized you can’t go down the stairs, bent over double. So I wisely turned and crawled down on my hands and knees. And then I realized actually, you know, when you’re crying bent over, your tears just fall on the floor.

My wife and my friend arrived back and they held each other up, laughing at my predicament. So I quickly learned there’s no sympathy for back pain.

And I ended up with getting out to the doctor and it was really interesting going into his clinic. And there were lots of people in there waiting to see him, and I’m still bent over double and all I could see was feet parting to allow me to go through.

And I entered into a whole new ritual in my life, which was drop your trousers, get a shot in the ass and wait ’til your leg goes numb. And he brought me in to his kitchen and put me lying on the floor in front of his range. And his ginormous Labrador took offense to that and lay on top of me, because that was clearly his spot.

Yours Truly: I would like to ask you Niall if I may, two quick things. Number one, what are you personally taking with you from COVID that you’re not letting go of?

Niall Kelly: Well, actually it has been probably one of the most creative times of my life. I found myself making three videos, which I put up on YouTube around this and almost died with the realization that I still haven’t gotten over choking at the age of 10 when I was trying to recite The Lake Isle of Innisfree. And it still comes back and haunts me. Every time I looked at the camera, I couldn’t remember my name. So I had to get beyond that. And then I found great pleasure in reading stories for my granddaughter.

Yours Truly: Lovely.

Niall Kelly: And working then with the chronic pain people, I designed a program for them and then, bringing this on. So it’s probably more work in the last year than I’ve done for quite a while. Like going out to UL was just fantastic. I had the students, they would come in and they would all sing for me. I mean, how bad a job is that?

Yours Truly: I love it. Yes.

Niall Kelly: I would just work with them and say things, “Well, do you realize what you’re doing here with your neck? Or do you realize what you’re doing with your shoulders or your ribs?” And they’re saying, “Well, that’s the way my teacher trained me to breathe.” And you’re going, “Oh, shit, we’re in trouble here.” And said, “Well, let’s experiment and try this.” And they go, “Wow, why didn’t I know that?” And it’s all about just being aware of what we’re doing and releasing it.

Yours Truly: That is wonderful stuff. And the second question, and we’ll go to Princess Shelley then, is what would you say to your nearest and dearest… And perhaps the answer to this one is obvious, given who we’re talking with… If they are feeling under pressure because of COVID, what would you recommend that they do?

Niall Kelly: Well, I suppose it probably sounds trite, but I think people are getting too much information about it. I don’t need to know that they’re having a row with AstraZeneca. I don’t need to know that Ursula von der Leyen is about to declare war on Europe or on the UK or on Ireland or on the north of Ireland.

You know, life went on perfectly. When I was at sea, you left a port. You were out at sea for 20 days. You found the port you were going to with the talents of the navigators.

And you might send one message saying, “We’re here. We expect to be there at three o’clock on Wednesday.” And that was it. Now it’s just overload. It’s ridiculous.

So people have to recognize that there’s just way too much information in the system. Filter it out and pay attention to what’s real for them. And what’s real for them is understanding their reactions to these stressors and find ways of dealing with it.


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