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!

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Just 10 minutes….

“When was the last time you did nothing for 10 minutes? No TV, no texts, no reading, no eating, no thinking….   GREAT questions and a GREAT video! …. Andy Puddicombe reminds of how simple taking 10 mins a day can be on this TED video…….

Click here for the video… 

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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.

 

 

 

 

Thanks! I Really Didn’t Enjoy That At All…

Yes, I’m finally appreciative for the not-so-satisfying events in my life!

Just the other day I went to, what I thought, was going to be a great collection of artists, writers and thinkers. I planned the day for weeks. I couldn’t wait to spend countless hours wandering and talking to engaging thinkers and creative types. And I was disappointed when I got there. “Why did I spend my money and time to even get in here!?,” I thought to myself as I tapped my foot and pouted like my 3 year old does SO well. Then, I stopped. Between the many people buzzing around me, so excited to be in this place, I TOO caught on to some joy. “Wait!,” I said , and I realized that I wasn’t happy to be there. This place that I THOUGHT would bring me joy and ideas and maybe even some networking, didn’t. It just didn’t. And that is just fine  with me. It actually was a lesson in proving to me just how powerful thoughts are (thank YOU, Byron Katie!) and that experiences of non-joy can be learning experiences too. I now know that I do not want that experience. I do not want that particular network and I do not want to follow just that exact direction.

Yes, it was WORTH every minute and penny to be there. And yes, I actually did find one or two organizations that were of some interest, but I was SO very grateful as I left for the true knowing of just what I didn’t want. I’ve embrace the feeling so I can recognize it again and learn more.

Every person, every event, every situation is brought to us for a REASON. Always. There’s no way of getting around it. Every one of those people and places is a learning opportunity. We just need to understand that those opportunities aren’t always blue skies, blue birds and cherry blossoms. They’re also cranky people, grey skies and spilled milk. We learn – always – and we can embrace it and move on or ignore it and have it repeated and repeated until we finally get it. Until the light bulb finally goes ON. I’ve had some light bulb moments, but this was more like “WAKE UP!” as someone had been slapping me in the face and I FINALLY got it!

I look now, every day, at all of the experiences I conceive as “negative,” and I take a nice breathe in and learn how truly appreciative I am. Yes, I’ve know there are no coincidences for some time now, but I had this fairy tale notion that they just had to all be that – fairy tale-like coincidences. No, they’re not. They’re ugly at times. Ugly, mean and rotten. But once you embrace and accept them. Once you recognize they’re just thoughts about events and people and they’re not all “real,” they stop. There is this door that opens and there is a BIG sigh of relief. There’s light and no dark. It’s an amazing transformation. It’s a beautiful thing, understanding. It can be so simple and yet, take us so long to “get” – but once you do – it’s truly wonderful.

I’m going to take out the garbage and clean out my office now, it’s not pleasant but I’m SO appreciative  – who knows what I’ll find! Ugly cleaning projects just went from “ugh” to “OH!!!”