Intention…

If you attend a regular yoga class, you may be asked to set an intention at the beginning of the class – something simple, just for you, something personal, or general, always up to you. If you have a daily mindfulness practice, you may also set an intention for your day, your work, your next hour …  As a parent and teacher I believe it’s important to set an intention, but not get too “stuck” to it. That is, setting an intention is good, it’s healthy, helps me focus, but it can also lead me to so many other wonderful thoughts and places throughout my day. Intention are great reminders of why we need to “be here now,” and ensure our heart and mind are always in the same place.

Teaching our children and students about setting intentions is a healthy habit…. This activity below is a great one for kids, and adults. After a nature hike, find some sticks and wrap them in fibers and beads. You can also paint and write on them with Sharpies. Students can keep these intention sticks at their desks, or, at home, as a reminder. You can also do this activity with a pencil, if a nature walk isn’t on the list. Younger children may need more help wrapping, while older kids may want more variety to select from to create their own intention stick, learning that they are all unique. This activity can be part of a class lesson, or something you simply do as a “learning experience” in the classroom. b69796b2aefb66ecbd2aa4b38832b3da-1

thanks to Artwell Art Therapy for this wonderful photo! 

 

 

 

 

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Glitter…

 

As a teacher, and mom, glitter simply scares me – unless it’s inside of a ball or wand – then, well then I LOVE glitter. Well, glitter on a t-shirt or jeans can be kind of fun too… Otherwise, keep it in those cute little jars SEALED tight. Don’t get me wrong, I love what it looks like and I do love a good glitter glue too  – but keep it contained 🙂

For mindfulness activities, glitter is awesome! Glitter wands and balls are a wonderful tool for kids – and adults. Even those fun little glitter shakers with holiday scenes are perfect for this too – shake them up, show them to your children/students and ask that they see… Then remind them that every day they have anywhere from 50-80THOUSAND thoughts! Just like all of those TINY little flecks of glitter , one fleck = one thought =TONS. TOO many in fact. Teaching mindfulness can help settle their glitter, and keep it “contained” – in a safe and more enjoyable way….

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Gratitude…

I’m certain to have used this image in an earlier post from a year or so ago… but it’s one that resonates with me so very much… While it’s the “Season” of gratitude, we need to remind ourselves to be grateful every day. yes, daily… every day. As the phrase goes:

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and with that said…. get your gratitude going now, and every day. Keeping a journal is the simplest way to remind yourself of that one moment of your day for which you’re grateful. You can also keep a jar in your home and have family members contribute notes of gratitude every day, or , keep a blog or list via Tumbler or Instagram, photograph your gratitude and make it visual, or add some words to favorite pics every day… There are numerous ways to record your daily gratitude, and today is a great day to begin!

 

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Colors of Summer

The hottest of summer days can make it tough for kids to enjoy a nice day outside… Some water play, time at the pool or even being near the waves can be difficult when it’s simple THAT hot. Time to break out the paints! For kids , and adults,  a good old finger painting session can be fun, and even relaxing. The texture of the paints, the combination of beautiful colors… No need to worry about doing it “right” – because there is no “right” when it comes to finger paints!  Make blobs, funny figures and shapes, or , no shapes! Get the feel of the colors in your fingers, toss the brushes – or use them for parts of your new, messy , creation! Get a little paint on your shirt or bare feet! You can wash it off – it’s just paint. And when your creations are ready – hang them proudly in your home!

Artful Findings

I came across this wonderful piece today on how to make a personalized mandala… If you enjoy working off some stress or just finding some breathing space with coloring and art, this is  wonderful inspiration from an artist at Soul Flower (great clothing too !) to get you creating your own patterns and designs from simple things around your home.

 

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Visit the link here for the full article and ideas.

Map it out…

I was never a very good scout, which led me to being even worse when it came to cartography, and simply reading a map…. There were no Google maps or iPhones when I was in college… it was a good old fashioned paper map. My mom loved them, had them everywhere. We would buy updated maps for our cars every year. And while I found them beautiful and fascinating, reading them was nearly impossible. Thank you, Apple!!! Thank you , Google!

But today maps still interest me… mind maps, mapping your heart and soul on paper can become a beautiful piece of artwork, or simply a colorful list of ideas and thoughts… Try it out! Sit quietly and comfortably with a large blank pad of paper, some markers, pens, paints – any of the art supplies that excite you 🙂 Map out your day, something simple at first. Try mapping your work day, or your school day, or a “regular” weekend. See what it looks like on paper – use little sketches or blots of color to make marks and comments around your maps.

Below are  a few different mind maps – there is no right or wrong, just lots of mindful flow onto paper….. You can use any “topic” to start a mind map, even school subjects or work projects, chores around your house, plans for a new room, your brain, your pets, your cup of coffee… Ideas are endless, but getting them on paper and learning how to focus on their meanings can be an amazing journey and  outlet.

Set in Stone…

There’s something about rocks and stones that has always fascinated me… I’ve had little collections of river rocks , sea glass and stone gems since I was a kid. I have rocks in almost every part of my home these days – and while most of them are decorative, I know where everyone of them is from. Just by touching them I’m reminded of the day and place where I found my stone treasures. They bring me a sense of tranquility, always (maybe that’s why I had lots of worry stones in school too!). Of course there are also some fun ways to incorporate rocks into your home, room, office, etc. The next time you’re out for a nature hike, look  for some stones or rocks that catch your eye. Make a “peace rock” with your stone findings… or, create a little stone piece of art for yourself, a friend or family member. You can even make your own worry stones out of clay – for extra creativity! Keep your rock reminders near by, where they can easily be found and picked up.

Find more ideas on Pinterest here…or here. in my resources….

 

 

Brain Talk!

It all starts with our brain… and realizing just how powerful that brain is can be vital when looking at ourselves, our stresses, fears and joys. Feeding ourselves a good, clear, clean, breath throughout the day, can help reset our brains and render a healthy, focused, stress-less person.  We can start by educating ourselves, and our kids, about the importance of our brain and our breathing.

 

Visit Ellen McHenry’s> here for a great brain learning template! For a better understanding of how the brain works – for the “non med student” – visit Geeks with Juniors,  a site for parents and kids.

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The Mind Up! series, from Scholastic and Goldie Hawn, is another great teaching resource for kids and adults learning more about the brain , breathing and mindfulness.

 

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Add a little color…

It seems as if no matter where I am these days, I tend to see “coloring books” everywhere. They used to be something for bookstores or toy stores only but now they show up as I check out at the food store or even a local coffee shop! The “zentangle”  and mandala mania has definitely grown in popularity, and most likely, for the better.

Our home is filled with coloring books, and more so now, zentangle-like books. These books range in difficulty and patterns – and you can find them in just about every theme possible. My daughter loves the animal themes, I tend to go for floral, trees and botanicals. Plus, these books come in ALL sizes too now – mini ones for long car rides or travel, and GIANT versions for the whole family to get involved in – which, by the way, is a GREAT idea!

While tiny boxes and lines may not be your thing, the art of simply coloring is quite meditative and you there are LOTS of resources out there to choose from.  Next time you’re feeling a bit edgy or anxious, give this a try:

If you’re an artist and want to try your own design, then color it in, give it a whirl.

If, however, you would prefer not to draw, pick up a zentangle or “meditative” coloring book of your preference.

Have lots of your favorite colors ready to go! Markers, crayons, pencils or paints can be used for any of these.

Color away! Don’t think of anything else except for the beautiful colors or shades that you are blending, mixing and creating. There is NO right or wrong, all you have to do is color.

Here are just a few examples of zentangle and meditative coloring ideas:

 

You can find LOTS more of these ideas via Pinterest or my Pinterest Mindful Board here

Check Amazon and local book stores too  – they have some wonderful collections too!

Get your art on!

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We all have an inner art critic… and an inner artist… When you’re feeling a bit lost, distracted or stressed, try one of these fun art activities (click for the link) to get you re-set and charged again… you just may be surprised with your results….Be open to paint, paper, pencils, funny lines and shapes, clay, and any material that interests you, and get to your masterpiece!