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.

 

shapes-doodles

Visit the link here for the full article and ideas.

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Play!

Maybe it’s being a mom …

 

Maybe, it’s the summer and the feel of a little warmth and freedom…

 

Maybe it’s just a little bit of everything, but the idea of  PLAY is GREATLY underestimated!

 

No matter what age you are, or where you are, right now is playtime! Get out there and pretend to be 3, 4 or 5 – it’s AWESOME!

Who’s Teaching Who?

I’m a teacher. I love teaching. When I ‘m not in front of a class I’m teaching my daughter, my husband, friends, myself. It’s something I feel , that comes naturally. It’s something I’ve been “fine tuning” for 15 years.

And just a few months ago, I realized, I’ve had this thing all wrong.

Yes, by “trade” and paperwork from the state in which I reside, I am, technically, a teacher. I can teach kids and adults. The paperwork and certificates say so. BUT what I figured out just a few months ago is this: they’re the ones teaching me. I’m there to learn from them.

Have I announced this to my classes and let them take over? Anarchy in the classroom? No, not quite. But, I have explained to them (they’re teens) that learning never ends. You don’t finish college, a Masters (or even a doctorate) and just say “I’m done. I’ve completed my learning now.” It doesn’t happen, and it never will.

Let me also explain that I have the honor and priviledge of teaching children with Autism and physical disabilities. I’ve had this honor for almost a year now. In addition to my “regular” classes, I teach art to these “special” children and they are the ones who convinced me that I’m there to learn from them, not the other way around.

Yes, we have heard this before. We are always learning, it’s not a new concept – at least to those open to it. But looking deeper, my special needs students don’t need my art classes to make them better. They don’t need my “speeches” and demonstrations on color and texture. I do. My students don’t need to see me prepare samples of work, I do. This is the kind of inner learning I’m talking about. Realizing that I’m just as much the student as they are is rewarding. It’s like looking into a starry sky and seeing infinity.

 

 

 

 

Animal Energy

I’ve always been “mom” to one canine or another. For some time, I was also a “horse mom,” “cat mom” and even “rodent mom.” Animals have always been a part of my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My husband shares my philosophy, and maybe that’s why we have five dogs and two cockatoos.
As a pet mom I’ve learned so much – about myself and them. My dogs, and other animals, have ways of communicating that aren’t always easily understood by everyone else. However, more recently, I’ve made a great discovery. It’s nothing new, but it’s something that I understand a lot better now. The fact is that everyone CAN understand how any animal communicates, you just have to pay attention. Look at them, what are they telling you? Listen. Watch them. Observe with all of your senses.
By simply allowing yourself to find the quiet, even with the ferocious barking of the chiuhaha, you can find a source of communication. It may not be the “norm,” but it’s there – and pretty amazing too.
As you may already know, show fear and get fear. Any animal can sense fear, and they’re fear is “fight or flight,” – some dogs will become aggressive while others may flee, if they sense fear.
Last month we took my daughter to the zoo. There’s a wonderful bear exhibit there. They have lots of space and it’s a beautiful park for them. There’s also a large plexi-glass door where you can stand and watch them. The two bears were simply playing with some food and left over snow. It was beautiful to see them so close up, just a few inches of plexi-glass away! The three of us stood and watched in awe. It was truly beautiful. I could almost feel their calm and playful energy. In came a couple who also wanted to observe them. They had two small children. The two bears quickly moved in new directions and left their cozy  area by the window/door. After a bit, the family left, the bears returned and we continued to observe and watch in awe, and fall in love with them.
My daughter is three, and children, in particular, have a very keen  sense of energy when it comes to animals. Animals, of course, feel this too. Our bear friends understood our calm and loving energy. They also understood the frantic energy of the other family who entered and so, they moved away. It doesn’t mean that this other family was running around and banging on the plexi-glass door – they weren’t. In fact, they “appeared” to be observing the bears just like we were, but their energy was sending different signals.
For those who have never had pets, it’s important to learn and understand how animals behave, but, at the same time, it’s also quite simple. I like to think of it like this: you get what you give. Does it mean I’d go out and hug a bear in that zoo? NO way! I’m not nuts! What it does mean is that my calming energy will allow that bear to remain doing what he wants to do and be where he wants to be. It means I can look at my 11 yr old terrier mix and know that he’s aging and getting a little confused and needs more patience from us. It means I can hold Walter, our 4 yr old cockatoo and know he just wants some new words to learn, something to challenge him.
I’ve had the role of “pet mom” for over 30 years and it has taken the better part of 20+ years to get to this understanding. It’s worth it too.  There truly is more out there than just a yippy little Yorkie. They’re saying something. That quiet little snake is saying something. Allow yourself to listen and watch, you’ll be amazed at what you hear and feel. You’ll learn something about yourself, and your pet, you may have never known.