Aroma-meditation in the Coop ~ An exercise in gratitude.
November 1, 2015
Leaves and temperatures are falling, marking the beginning of November. As with the month for giving thanks, we focus on gratitude and the role it plays in our life, health and emotional well-being. Fall is a time of reward and harvest for a season of hard work and toil. It is a time of abundance before the calm and cold of winter. So it is a perfect time to reflect on all that we have in our lives and appreciate the many people and circumstances that brought such bounty into our lives. Accordingly, our selection of aromatic plants embody so many of the qualities that we need develop in our lives to foster gratitude, openness and appreciation. They promote positive frame of mind, waken the senses, and minimize apathy and worry.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
¯ Marcus Tullius Cicero
Our scents for the day:
Cardamom: Clarifying, stimulating, encouraging, enthusiastic. Cardamom assists in stimulation the spiritual senses with its fresh, spicy and sweet green aroma. It is believed to enhance wisdom wen we are overburdened with responsibilities. Look to cardamom, when you...
Aroma-meditation in the Coop ~ Building Courage for Action
June 18, 2015
Today, we focus on strengthening our resolve and testing our bravery to allow us to take action for positive change. Summer is here. Growth is everywhere. The world around the Coop is bursting with color, flowers, bird calls, greenery, and woodland visitors. As I sit in the coop and observe from the window, I am always in awe of actions of the animals around me. The act on pure instinct and explore the world with such bravery. At times with such brazenness to eat all my flowers and plants! Even when faced with potential danger or uncertainty, these creatures still manage to put their fear in check and take steps to what they need to do. Of course, they register danger and seek protection. But they also access the situation and know that they must take action to survive. That ability to set aside apprehension and to go forward – even when there is great risk – is something many of us need to tap into. To thrive, we must act! Ask yourself: what do you need to do right now? And what is keeping you from taking action? As you explore your answers to those questions, know that you...
My take on Autism Awareness Month - A darker side.
April 2, 2015
I don’t “light it up blue” for on April 2nd, aka World Autism Awareness Day. I don’t send puzzle piece shaped cookies, crayons, or other cute do-dads in to school or work. Sure – I have no problem with people who do. It helps promote awareness and acceptance, right? Helps raise money for research, right? Possibly. And awareness, acceptance, and money for autism are all good things. So why not slap on some blue and have a party? And what’s wrong with putting positive spin on someone’s disability under “acceptance”, while highlighting only “poster” people who shine under the typically-developed world? It’s all good, because I showed I cared because I “liked” a puzzle piece status?
Well, I tell you why I don’t. I don’t feel like having a party when it comes to autism. I like to think I raise autism awareness, tolerance, and acceptance every day of my life now. I have a child with autism. I work with adults and children with autism. Every facet of my daily life revolves around some kind of component associated with autism, which can be said for anyone who is a parent/guardian of a child with autism or...
Beauty Through Shared Connection: The Story of Knitting.
August 24, 2014
In knitting, strength of finished piece is made through basic principles of math.Knitted cloth is made through a set number of stitches.The personality and emotional character of the piece is determined by the tension – the force that holds the all of the stitches together.No one stitch is left to bear the responsibility of holding the fabric together.The responsibility is distributed equally over many, coming together as a whole.Multitudes of stitches work together in perfect balance. Each individual stitch pulls, cradles, and suspends the slack of the stitches around it.When that balance is disrupted, the dropped stitch is born.A hole is created.Knitting is ever-living synergy where when together, stitches make something with form, function, and strength; but if taken separately in isolation to the surrounding, the stitches exist unconnected and without focus.It is this relationship of interconnection of stitches that create the unending expanse of cloth.The relationship between stitches is open and fluid, like lovers holding hands.All stitchery exhibits this graceful interlocking of fiber.It is the absence of knots and snags.It is...
The Chalkboard Meditation and Craft Project - A Clean Slate
August 11, 2014
As summer winds down, we start to turn our attention to the fall and all the new beginnings it brings. We can think back to when we were children and remember the excitement of a new school year and all the potentional that awaits us. New clothes, new supplies, new classroom, new teacher, new friends . . . a chance at a new beginning. As adults, we typically do not have a new life to go to once the school bell rings. However, we can use the season as impetus to bring positive change to our own lives. A fun way to do this is the Chalkboard Project. Purchase a small chalkboard or better yet, make your own! Most craft stores sell unpainted wooden chalkboards. Decorate the frame with craft paints, markers, glue, fabric, decorative paper, photos, or any other items you love. Or make your own DIY chalkboard using chalkboard paint and any flat surface (i.e.: wooden board, tree cutting, old painting, old book, plate, frame, emboidery hoop with fabric, etc.). You can even use a wall! Chalkboard paint can be purchased in most hardware or craft stores, is available in can or spray-can, and is available in a variety of colors. Once you've made your chalkboard, take a moment each day to...
What side of your brain are you predominantly using at this moment? Do you seem to use one side more than the other? Our brains have two distinct parts. Left, which governs the logical and analytical. Right, which governs the creative and inspirational. Many of us tend to use one side over the other, leaving one side under-used. This pattern of one-sidedness can lead us to limit ourselves and stay stuck professionally and creatively to "our comfort zones" created by our dominant side. What could could you accomplish if you used both sides of your brains simultaneously? For example, Leanardo da Vinci is a classic example of a person with a powerful two-sided brain. His ability to use both sides equally allowed him to create beautiful art, as well as mathematical and engineering wonders. Here is a simple and relaxing meditation exercise to help you tap into the power of using both sides of your brain.
Sit or lay quietly - whatever position, allow yourself to be comfortable. Imagine that you a small, glowing light inside your head. The light can be any color you desire. Your breathing should be relaxed and steady.
Place the light inside your head, just over your left eyebrow and slowly allow it explore...
Setting Your Child Up for Success ~ Shadowing Tips for Parents
March 24, 2014
As parents, we all want our kids to do a good job in all their pursuits.And as parents, we want to give our kids access to all kinds of activities in hopes of finding something that they will enjoy and excel.For parents of special needs children - whether autism, learning disabilities or behavioral issues - we want those things all the more.Parents of special needs children are always in search of therapies, classes and activities to expose their children to new experiences in hopes of improving their skills, self-esteem and opportunities.Some such programs are designed to provide a very controlled environment with 1:1 child to adult ratio to address behavior, attending and compliance issues.These programs are great, but sometimes parents choose for a variety of reasons (cost, time, availability, etc.) to send their children to less restrictive programs, especially those with typically developing peers.In those types of situations, 1:1 aides are not provided but parents may still be required to "shadow" their children.For example, I teach arts and crafts classes to special needs children in a variety of settings - some are in school/therapy settings (strictly...
For those of us in the northeast, it has been a tough winter.Lots of cold temperatures.Lots of grey skies.And lots and lots of snow.Even in the mildest winters, we are ready to say good riddance to winter by the time February draws to a close in NJ.So this year, I decided to give winter a good send off by doing something I’ve always wanted to do but have never been brave enough to try: hosting a group meditation.As a way to prepare for spring – the time renewal and growth –I invited friends to join me for a meditation retreat during which we would sit and be still.We would do “nothing”, a change from what we usually do – running around and doing everything.Of course, we would learn that we did something far from “nothing.” We made time for ourselves. . . To explore and replenish our body, mind and soul.To relax.To be open.To share our thoughts, feelings, impressions and energy with others.To be brave and do something different.To...
Sitting with a twist! Meditating with individuals with developmental differences and other special needs...
November 5, 2013
We all have different strengths and weaknesses which bring us to different places in
interests, attention, understanding and motivation.For some people with special needs, they can have great challenges with communication, comprehension and focus.But that does not
mean that they cannot be mindful, meditate or gain benefits from meditation methods.When exploring meditation with individuals with very involved special needs, focus the goal on establishing a mindful connection between each other.As a meditation teacher or leader, seek a moment of mindful interaction between teacher and pupil.By doing this, so much will be learned by both parties.
When working with individual with challenged verbal and attending skills, I only seek to create a moment in which we connect and communicate on a personal level.For starters, I reduce unnecessarystimuli, perhaps using a clear table, soft lighting and soft, relaxing instrumental music (if at all).
Then, I use simple pictures or visual aids to bring about easier interaction and connection.I may present pictures of people smiling, sitting, or breathing.The pictures should be easy to understand and effectively convey a mood or emotional state....