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Celebrate the Gift of Life on Mother’s Day

Who else on earth is able to bring forth new life? Who else on earth knows the joys and difficulties of a new life forming within their own? Who else, but a mother?

On this Mother’s Day I want to share with you a passage from The Rumi CollectionSomething about it just speaks of the immense mystery and beauty of the formation of human life.

The Embryo

When the time comes for the embryo
to receive the spirit of life,
at that time the sun begins to help.
This embryo is brought into movement,
for the sun quickens it with spirit.
From the other stars this embryo received only an impression,
until the sun shone upon it.
How did it become connected
with the shining sun
in the womb?
By ways hidden from our senses:
the way whereby gold is nourished,
the way a common stone becomes a garnet
and the ruby red,
the way fruit is ripened,
and the way courage comes
to one distraught
with fear.

Today we honor the divine power of the female form.

Namaste

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Instagram Art by buttafly_art

Instagram Art by buttafly_art

A Mindful Approach to Chronic Pain and Illness

We have the great honor and great privilege of being human. However being that we are only human, we must come to terms with our own mortality and our own limitations. We must treat ourselves with love, respect, care, compassion, and grace, even when faced with aspects of ourselves that are difficult to appreciate.

When there is something that is causing us pain or discomfort, or if something is limiting us in any way, it is only natural to want to find an immediate solution. While some problems may be easily fixed, unfortunately for others, there is simply no quick fix and in some cases, no fix at all.

This may sound disheartening and this may sound dismal or hopeless, but just because there may be no available solution, does not mean that the only option is to suffer. This concept proves especially beneficial and pertinent to those who experience chronic pain or suffer from chronic illness.

We all deserve to feel our best and to function as the best version of ourselves. And to function as the best version of ourselves, sometimes the hardest thing to do is to accept ourselves as we are and to not hold ourselves to unreasonable expectations or demands. We are after all only human.

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We must view ourselves as perfectly imperfect and remain free from judgment. Don’t push, don’t force, don’t demand change. Instead, acknowledge, appreciate, and accept.

Living with chronic pain or illness can seem like a life of inescapable suffering, a burden too heavy to carry, and completely intolerable. But you don’t have to live in this negative frame of mind.

While a mindful approach to chronic pain and illness is not a cure, it can be a maintenance tool that can drastically enhance your quality of life.

As  a sufferer of migraines and endometriosis, I have found myself all too often thinking things like,  I can’t do this, I can’t live like this, this will never end, I will always be in pain, this is the worst pain I have ever experienced, I don’t want to live like this anymore….

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What happens when we get caught in these negative thought patterns is that we begin to fixate of what is wrong, we begin to panic, and our mind begins to suffer along with the body rather than guiding the body through the suffering.

Negative thinking is hard to overcome but if we can begin to train the mind to be a place free of judgement, to be a calm center for control, and to be a rational zone for positivity, we can greatly decrease the amount of physical suffering we endure.

The first step is to simply breathe. By oxygenating the blood, we flood the body with endorphins, which naturally help to decrease the amount stress and pain we experience.

Breathe

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Inhale…. Exhale….Inhale ….Exhale. To calm the mind and stop your thoughts from racing say this to yourself as you allow deep breaths to fill the body.

Put a count to your breath, 3 counts in and 3 counts out.

Imagine inhaling peace, calm, comfort, and acceptance… Exhale pain, negativity, stress, and anxiety.

 

Once we begin to control the breath and use it to our advantage we can then begin to meditate on something more positive. Find the good around you and let go of those things that you cannot control.

Meditate

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Call to mind something for which you are grateful today.

Recall a treasured memory.

Imagine a picturesque or soothing scene.

Find something beautiful that you have taken for granted (something in nature, something in your own home)

What is something that you have done that you are proud of?

What defines you? Truly defines you? Who are you, for you are surly more than your pain, your illness, or your disability?

 

If you are having trouble calming the mind and body with breath or positive thought, try a beneficial distraction. When we approach ‘distraction’ in a mindful way, we are not telling ourselves we are not allowed to feel a certain way, we are simply giving our self the opportunity to consciously turn our attention to something more beneficial.

Mindfully Distract

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Go for a walk. Actively look for the beauty and peace that surrounds you in nature.

Call a friend.

Read a book.

Be creative.

 

While we might not be able to fully cure our chronic pain or illness, there are often various things we find that can help ease the symptoms or severity. Find what works for you. Maybe it’s mild exercise. Perhaps yoga or stretches help ease pain and discomfort. Maybe a massage, or a warm bath prove beneficial. Perhaps giving yourself extra time to rest or making certain dietary or lifestyle changes can help in some way. The key is to actively seek out any triggers that you may be aware of, and then explore different methods of alleviating the pain or discomfort as best you can.

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Just because we live with chronic pain or illness, does not mean that we must allow it to control us. We are beautiful and worthy and when we approach our limitations with compassion, we can achieve a better quality of life and overall wellbeing.

 

 

 

Do You Sit Too Long?

Many working parents find it difficult to find time in the day to exercise or practice self-care. For those who work office jobs, this often means falling into the trap of sitting more often than they would like, limiting physical activity  and potentially leading to chronic aches and pains. If you sit at a desk the majority of the day, chances are you suffer from neck and back pain. This video features exercises that can be done right from your desk! It also features a short sequence designed to restore the body and mind at the end of a long work day.

Family Acro and Partner Yoga

Acro and Partner yoga can be a great bonding experience for kids and their parents and caregivers. It can instill confidence and trust, and encourage listening skills and focus. It can even help overcome fears, anxieties, and insecurities.

Enjoy this intro to acro and partner video! A fun and playful at home practice.

DIY Stress Ball: Mindfulness Craft

Mindfulness can be practiced in a variety of ways. Meditation and yoga are great! But sometimes a craft can really get the whole family practicing mindfulness in a new and engaging way. Focusing on our breath is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to practice mindfulness and return our selves to a calm and centered frame of mind. With young children especially, having some sort of tactical tool to focus on while practicing their meditation can help enhance their experience.

Any time your child needs a moment of peace and calm, inviting them to take refuge in a safe space (their room, a reading corner, a favorite chair, or even a quiet spot in a public space) and giving them time to work through tough emotions can bring them back to a calmer and more peaceful frame of mind.

Once in their safe space, offer your child a tactile tool like a DIY stress ball to help refocus their energy.

For this project you will need:

a balloon, water, water beads, and a plastic bin.

Water beads can be purchased here.

 

Sensory Play For Kids!

Children learn through play. Offering engaging and stimulating sensory play opportunities engages the mind and body for an immersive play experience.

Below are some simple enjoyable activities to keep your little ones learning and exploring for hours! Looking for great ideas for your next play date? Look no further!

 

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Glow sticks are always a crowd pleaser and never fail to delight! Practice making letters, numbers, and shapes!
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Get the fish back in their bowl! Work on fine motor skills with Zoo Sticks. See purchase links at the end of this post!
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Help the frogs hop into their pond. Any opportunity to play with water is exciting for young minds. See how much pressure it takes to hop these tiny frogs in their pond!
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Have children practice their own frog hops. Then place hula hoops or obstacle rings in a line and have children practice large motor skills by hopping along the lily pads.
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Encourage creative movement with scarves and dance ribbons (see purchase links below). Experiment using different types of music. Find music with different beats, and instruments. Use music with different tempos. Maybe even find music from different cultures. Talk about how the music makes you feel and how it makes you want to move.
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Set up a meditation station with yoga mats, blankets, and blocks, or bolsters. Find a children’s yoga poster or printable sequence like the one posted below. Provide yoga books that are easy for children to follow along to. Giving children opportunities to relax and reset is just as important as giving them opportunities to explore!
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There are many affordable options for in home ball pits and tunnels. Create your own obstacle courses and secret hideouts and watch your children’s imagination flourish!
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Kinetic sand is an all time favorite sensory activity. Not only can you build amazing creations, but unlike regular play sand, it is a breeze to clean up!

Amazon is a great resource for sensory materials.

Check Here for yoga books

Here for a printable Yoga Sequence

Here for Zoo Sticks

Here for jumping frogs

Here for Ball Pits

Have fun and enjoy! I would love to hear your ideas for more sensory play opportunities.

Moon Salutations for the Harvest Moon!

There is something so majestic and mysterious, so beautiful and captivating about the sight of a Full Moon! The Harvest Moon tonight is sure to be a lovely sight. If you are looking for a way to celebrate the Full Moon with the little ones in your life consider practicing a Moon Salutation together. There are many varieties of moon salute, but the one below is a great place to start with kids.

Before practicing, consider sitting in a comfortable position and asking your child to think of something they are excited to do in the coming fall season. Ask them to think about the changes that occur in nature through the cooler months.  Encourage them to explore any emotions or feelings that come with the impending changes. Call to mind scents, sounds, and sights that they enjoy and expect through the month of October.

Read more about the moon’s meaning here.

Kids moon salute

Looking for more evening meditations? Check out this short evening meditation for families.

 

Namaste!