Monday, December 30, 2013

{2014} guiding word (mine + yours}



Most people are familiar with the idea of picking a guiding word for each new year in lieu of a list of resolutions. A guide word can help shape your days without predicating strict rules to live by. It is a whisper in your ear, a gentle suggestion, and a road map all rolled into one. If you have not picked one in the past give it a try! You can read my post last year that gives a little more guidance and a handful of prompts that will help you out. 

This year I wanted a different word. Not something energetic and inspirational because to be quite honest, I have those tendencies in surplus. I can find inspiration in a gum wrapper. No, this year, I chose a word that will act a totem for something I want to explore and study on a much deeper level. 
That word is : story. 
After a full year of leading a variety of labs and participating in various online communities, and reading (always reading),  it hit me (or i was reminded) that all we are made up of are stories. The way we see the world, the way we react, the way we love - all come from the stories that govern our lives. 
I know nothing about psychology of counseling. But I have seen supernova strength healing just from the simple act of sharing a story. Writing it down. Telling it. And listening to a sister's tale.
In both real life and online - we just want a voice with which to tell their stories. 
Stories are meditative maps that can lead you where ever you desire. As soon as you realize that you are both the cartographer and voyager e v e r y t h i n g opens up. 
So, I want to commit my year to:
writing my own story
reading + writing short fictional stories
studying folk tales/fairy tales/universal tales - through reading and art
noticing the acts of storytelling all around me 
surrounding myself with art and film (two of my favorite ways to experience story)
continuing to host online creative/safe/loving spaces for women to share their stories and discover their strength
What is your word this year? I would love to hear where your story will take you!


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
My favorite month long lab, A Book About Me is registering right now. 

You can read more about it here.

 It is an amazing + transformative journey with the bravest women out there. 

If you want to molt out of 2013 - this is where you need to be. 




Thursday, December 5, 2013

{math lab} make a huge hundreds chart


If you have a kid learning to count to one hundred who enjoys playing with numbers and patterns, this is a great lab to reinforce those skills. You can easily print out or even buy a hundreds chart (we had one hung in our bathroom for several years!). But it is even cooler to make your own

And anything done on a huge scale is immediately more engaging. 

For our hundreds chart we used a big piece of free cardboard I picked up from Sam's. I am in the habit of always grabbing a sheet when I am there as they have unlimited uses around here. 

Then with markers, crayons or paints, make a grid and invite your kid to fill it in. They will quickly begin seeing patterns in all directions. 

When you are done hang it up or keep it handy. My son loves to look at this and refers to it when adding up big numbers. 

If you have older kids, you can adapt this to make a multiplication chart!




Monday, December 2, 2013

a free gift for you :: Heart -Centred ebook (+ a peak at my essay)

Guess what? I have contributed to a new ebook titled Heart Centred Living with Intention, Grace and Growth edited by Deb Dane from Home Life Simplified. 19 essays, nearly 100 pages of mama essays about living the creative, self care filled, heart centered family life. 

You can download the free book here! Pop it on your reader and enjoy the essays when you have little bits of down time this season. 





Here is a peak at my submission



On the Runway

We are sitting by our neighborhood urban lake. There are as many birds, ducks and water fowl as there are cars rushing past and buildings full of dutiful workers.


A feather captures my attention as it floats by on the surface of the water. The contrast of the natural unfolding beauty of this place with the hectic pace of human activity always makes my gut lurch. The distance is so wide.


Suddenly,  geese from just around the bend charge us! There are nearly twenty of them running like a derailed locomotive, honking, wings outstretched far. Eva grabs our tiny dog and dives to me for safety. We look at the onslaught with mouths agape as the geese go around us like a river around an ancient boulder. They head into the road squawking and sounding like a chaotic brass horn band playing a cabaret song that has been unwound and spills from the sheet music. The sound, the song is immense.


"I wonder what they are doing?" I wonder out loud to no one in particular.   


"Mom, they are taking off and we are in their runway" my son answers.


"We are in their runway."


The words wash over me as powerfully as the birds had passed. As we all look at each other with eyes still wide, I thought, this is what I want for my kids. To always be on the runway, the place of action where dreams and ideas are taking flight.


I want them to either bear witness to the luminous action and explosive ideas around them or better yet, to be in the thick, messy nidus of it.  Always near the pulse of human (and animal) creative longing and making.  


The exhilaration of sitting near the flow of creative energy offers unparallelled motivation to engage and change the world. We need to be like dowsing rods, highly sensitive to the flow just beneath the surface. We have to look past the noise of the informational glut. To see under the celebrity and  commercial crust that surrounds us and seems impenetrable. Listen closely! We can hear all that us underneath. And we connect with other diviners and become the creators, not the consumers of our lives.


The thing is, the action is not always as cacophonous as a gaggle of geese. In fact, most times it is subtle and tiny and discreet.  My job is to encourage them to stop, look and then find a way to make sense of the experience,  through talking, writing or art/sense making . That is our curriculum. We spend our days lost in thought. Laying under trees. Reading. Looking under rocks. Wondering. Seeing shows. Asking. Making food. Talking to strangers. Getting lost. And then plotting our way back.

After the geese, we spend time watching an ant who fell off a twig into the lake.


Elliot says, "Oh no! My ant is drowning!" He scans the ground nearby looking for the materials to initiate a rescue. But then he sees that the ant is swimming. It is hard, slow work, but he is doing it. We all cheer for him as he climbs up onto a piece of floating duck weed.


“I had no idea ants could swim.” he whispers to no one in particular.


“Maybe we all have secret, hidden abilities that become accessible in certain situations.” I answer.


Maybe. Maybe we do not know what we are capable of until we see others struggling against their own limits.


Maybe the answers are always all around us. Our creative impetus is fueled when we  stop and listen and look and record and play with the ideas.


That is it. That is all it has always been.


It is all quest. There is no destination when we are on the runway.


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