Monday, December 30, 2013

{2014} guiding word (mine + yours}



Most people are familiar with the idea of picking a guiding word for each new year in lieu of a list of resolutions. A guide word can help shape your days without predicating strict rules to live by. It is a whisper in your ear, a gentle suggestion, and a road map all rolled into one. If you have not picked one in the past give it a try! You can read my post last year that gives a little more guidance and a handful of prompts that will help you out. 

This year I wanted a different word. Not something energetic and inspirational because to be quite honest, I have those tendencies in surplus. I can find inspiration in a gum wrapper. No, this year, I chose a word that will act a totem for something I want to explore and study on a much deeper level. 
That word is : story. 
After a full year of leading a variety of labs and participating in various online communities, and reading (always reading),  it hit me (or i was reminded) that all we are made up of are stories. The way we see the world, the way we react, the way we love - all come from the stories that govern our lives. 
I know nothing about psychology of counseling. But I have seen supernova strength healing just from the simple act of sharing a story. Writing it down. Telling it. And listening to a sister's tale.
In both real life and online - we just want a voice with which to tell their stories. 
Stories are meditative maps that can lead you where ever you desire. As soon as you realize that you are both the cartographer and voyager e v e r y t h i n g opens up. 
So, I want to commit my year to:
writing my own story
reading + writing short fictional stories
studying folk tales/fairy tales/universal tales - through reading and art
noticing the acts of storytelling all around me 
surrounding myself with art and film (two of my favorite ways to experience story)
continuing to host online creative/safe/loving spaces for women to share their stories and discover their strength
What is your word this year? I would love to hear where your story will take you!


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
My favorite month long lab, A Book About Me is registering right now. 

You can read more about it here.

 It is an amazing + transformative journey with the bravest women out there. 

If you want to molt out of 2013 - this is where you need to be. 




Thursday, December 5, 2013

{math lab} make a huge hundreds chart


If you have a kid learning to count to one hundred who enjoys playing with numbers and patterns, this is a great lab to reinforce those skills. You can easily print out or even buy a hundreds chart (we had one hung in our bathroom for several years!). But it is even cooler to make your own

And anything done on a huge scale is immediately more engaging. 

For our hundreds chart we used a big piece of free cardboard I picked up from Sam's. I am in the habit of always grabbing a sheet when I am there as they have unlimited uses around here. 

Then with markers, crayons or paints, make a grid and invite your kid to fill it in. They will quickly begin seeing patterns in all directions. 

When you are done hang it up or keep it handy. My son loves to look at this and refers to it when adding up big numbers. 

If you have older kids, you can adapt this to make a multiplication chart!




Monday, December 2, 2013

a free gift for you :: Heart -Centred ebook (+ a peak at my essay)

Guess what? I have contributed to a new ebook titled Heart Centred Living with Intention, Grace and Growth edited by Deb Dane from Home Life Simplified. 19 essays, nearly 100 pages of mama essays about living the creative, self care filled, heart centered family life. 

You can download the free book here! Pop it on your reader and enjoy the essays when you have little bits of down time this season. 





Here is a peak at my submission



On the Runway

We are sitting by our neighborhood urban lake. There are as many birds, ducks and water fowl as there are cars rushing past and buildings full of dutiful workers.


A feather captures my attention as it floats by on the surface of the water. The contrast of the natural unfolding beauty of this place with the hectic pace of human activity always makes my gut lurch. The distance is so wide.


Suddenly,  geese from just around the bend charge us! There are nearly twenty of them running like a derailed locomotive, honking, wings outstretched far. Eva grabs our tiny dog and dives to me for safety. We look at the onslaught with mouths agape as the geese go around us like a river around an ancient boulder. They head into the road squawking and sounding like a chaotic brass horn band playing a cabaret song that has been unwound and spills from the sheet music. The sound, the song is immense.


"I wonder what they are doing?" I wonder out loud to no one in particular.   


"Mom, they are taking off and we are in their runway" my son answers.


"We are in their runway."


The words wash over me as powerfully as the birds had passed. As we all look at each other with eyes still wide, I thought, this is what I want for my kids. To always be on the runway, the place of action where dreams and ideas are taking flight.


I want them to either bear witness to the luminous action and explosive ideas around them or better yet, to be in the thick, messy nidus of it.  Always near the pulse of human (and animal) creative longing and making.  


The exhilaration of sitting near the flow of creative energy offers unparallelled motivation to engage and change the world. We need to be like dowsing rods, highly sensitive to the flow just beneath the surface. We have to look past the noise of the informational glut. To see under the celebrity and  commercial crust that surrounds us and seems impenetrable. Listen closely! We can hear all that us underneath. And we connect with other diviners and become the creators, not the consumers of our lives.


The thing is, the action is not always as cacophonous as a gaggle of geese. In fact, most times it is subtle and tiny and discreet.  My job is to encourage them to stop, look and then find a way to make sense of the experience,  through talking, writing or art/sense making . That is our curriculum. We spend our days lost in thought. Laying under trees. Reading. Looking under rocks. Wondering. Seeing shows. Asking. Making food. Talking to strangers. Getting lost. And then plotting our way back.

After the geese, we spend time watching an ant who fell off a twig into the lake.


Elliot says, "Oh no! My ant is drowning!" He scans the ground nearby looking for the materials to initiate a rescue. But then he sees that the ant is swimming. It is hard, slow work, but he is doing it. We all cheer for him as he climbs up onto a piece of floating duck weed.


“I had no idea ants could swim.” he whispers to no one in particular.


“Maybe we all have secret, hidden abilities that become accessible in certain situations.” I answer.


Maybe. Maybe we do not know what we are capable of until we see others struggling against their own limits.


Maybe the answers are always all around us. Our creative impetus is fueled when we  stop and listen and look and record and play with the ideas.


That is it. That is all it has always been.


It is all quest. There is no destination when we are on the runway.


Friday, November 29, 2013

{how to} make a simple advent tradition



OK. Here is the deal. I really dislike highly curated crafts and experiences for kids. Especially during the holidays. You can search Pinterest for advent calendars and will see some really amazing things. But in our house, the mama's creative interests lay elsewhere. And the kids want to be a part of the planning and tradition making. So, our holiday projects are messier, less color-coordinated and I contend, easier and more fun.

Our advent is in the top 5 favorite holiday activities. I think I love it as much as the kids. It acts as a touchstone and organizing activity. I wanted to share the way it has evolved in our family and offer an example of the great memory making that can happen when we drop the perfection and engage our kids in the process

+ Get 25 envelopes. You can use white ones, colored ones, homemade, whatever. It does not matter! I like these little coin envelopes that I use when sending badges and goodies to my lab participants. They come in packages of a gazillion, so I always have a bunch. 

+ Let the kids decorate them. Get our rubber stamps, paint, glitter, magazines, anything that might be fun. And let go. Really let them go for it. You will have the most amazingly beautiful and meaningful envelopes no matter what they do. You can jump in and make a few too of course. 

+ Hang them on a string as a garland or put in a box or bowl. Again, whatever works for you. You might even deliver one each day in your indoor family mailbox. 

+ Fill them with activities. I put in the actives I KNOW are happening in advance and fill the rest as the month goes along. So many times, something really fun comes up and alters our plan so I keep it loose. I make a list that I keep with my calendar and usually organize a few days at a time. Most are so simple, there is not much to do.

The key to this project is that you listen to what your kids think are the most important holiday activities and make sure they are covered. Sprinkle that with a few new ideas and lots of very simple activities and you have month of fun.  Hopefully, this makes the anticipation for Christmas more bearable by spreading the magic out over an entire month.


Here are many ideas to get your creative juices flowing. PLEASE leave your ideas on this project in the comments.

anything that is already on your calendar that is remotely fun
movie nights
pancakes + cocoa for breakfast
make cookies/caramels/peppermint bark
make homemade dog treats
make wrapping paper
caroling
make bird feeders
read a favorite book
take a solstice walk
holiday spa baths
take wish list items to the SPCA
lunch with a friend or grandparent
plays and performances
parade
any local events
paint your nails red + green
string popcorn and cranberries
kind bomb the library or the store
make peppermint bath salts
make salt dough ornaments
make gingerbread/peppermint/cocoa play dough
conduct an oral history of the elders (find out what the holidays were like for them)
hang twinkle lights in the bathroom + bedrooms
have a candle lit dinner
decorate tshirts to sleep in
make coffee filter snowflakes
open a new game to play
download Lego instructions for holiday themed projects
write letters back and forth to the North Pole
drive around and look at lights
make origami to hang on the tree
donate a car full of old toys and clothes
play with shaving cream and little animals in a tray
sing some songs/learn a song on the piano/recorder
do a treasure hunt for a little gift
service work
go on a photo hunt for red + green things
ice skating
play date
family lego/mine craft/rainbow loom party
Skype far away friends or family
make the biggest snowflake ever
make holiday cards/thank you cards
decorate the mouse cages

Thursday, November 28, 2013

thank you + happy thanksgiving


Dear awesome readers,

I hope your day is filled with good food, pretty weather and lots of laughs. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your readership, comments and good cheer. I do not take lightly that I show up in your mailbox or feed and fret a lot about that responsibility. I am looking forward to the upcoming year and offering quality content and unique ideas that support you and your quest for a creative family life.

Peace!
Amy

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

{review} Grayson


Wow. This book touched my heart and filled my head with beautiful imagery that I take to bed with me each night. We read together at bedtime were instantly smitten.

The calm, attentive and at times, riveting account of distance swimmer Lynne Cox's encounter with a lost baby gray whale when she was a teenager training in the Pacific Ocean serves as a mediation of love, deep connection to nature, and the magic that surrounds us. Her vivid description of swimming through bioluminescent creatures in the dark early hours of morning made our heads spin with wonder.

Highly recommended, this memoir would be a perfect gift for anyone who loves the ocean, swimming, the natural world, or just a good yarn.

Have you read Grayson? What were your thoughts?

Any other good memoirs to recommend?

Friday, November 22, 2013

{giveaway} Celebrations of Light :: A Wintertime Family eGuide





Today, I am so excited to offer a giveaway to YOU. 

I am offering a copy of Celebrations of Light:: A Wintertime Family eGuide edited by Liz from A Natural Nester

This guide is nearly 40 pages full of rituals, crafts, recipes and inspiration. I love, love, love that it focuses on the smaller holidays of the season like advent, solstice, St. Nicholas Day, St. Lucia Day, and New Years. There is plenty here to help you expand your season and begin to explore and add new traditions to your family's holiday. 

Check out a few sample pages of this beautiful guide and then enter by leaving a comment about YOUR favorite holiday tradition. That is it! 

I will pick a winner on Wednesday. Good luck!

You can also order a copy by clicking on the icon on the side bar. 
Amy 








gladsome



My word of the year this year was fly. And, boy, was I able to slide towards the end of the year with a literal and figurative flying experience.

Last weekend, I traveled alone to Ohio to retreat with women whom I have never met. From my airport pick up to my post conference home stay, I was surrounded by new (+ online) friends in close quarters. Sharing meals and clean ups, telling stories, drumming and hiking together, laughing and crying in turn. And drinking lots of tea.

I wrote and slept and ate the best soups and chilies. I was transfixed by the falling leaves. Up north, they take their time finding the ground, spinning and fluttering in ways I am completely unaccustomed to. I saw deer and chipmunks, snow and mud, waterfalls and giant milkweeds.

And I came home refreshed and stronger.

I am stronger because I did not say no when this opportunity presented it.

I am stronger because even as my stomach lurched early on, I stayed the course.

I am stronger because I offered myself fully to a diverse and fascinating group of women and they enveloped me.

This experience will remain tucked into a tiny drawer in my mind and heart forever. Bonding so strongly in such a short period of time does that. You get to take all you learned, all that was etched in your memory on subsequent travels.

Thank you Gladsome. I can not wait until next year.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

{rant} :: Lego, you got it all wrong.






Lego, you got it all wrong.


I was up in arms, like the good feminist mom I am, when you released your Friends sets to girls.

They are too cute, way too easy to build, overly promote vapid, self-limiting girly activities like shopping, eating sweets, going to the hair salon and being a rock singer. Where is the challenge? The adventure? Where are the colors that inch away from the pink/purple/magenta end of the spectrum?

But my daughter, who plays Legos with her brothers, thought they were cool, so she got them and they were incorporated into the kids' play.

INCORPORATED is the key word.

At home they are incorporated, sort of like the real world. In the store they are 3 rows apart. Worlds apart really.

But here is the rub, that I did not even think about, boys are missing out too. My boys who have nearly every Lego set they have ever asked for are getting bored. They are tired of battling Star Wars or Hero Factory or Ninjago.

Sometimes they just want to just play life.

They want to build real communities. But to do that fully they have to head to the aisle that works so hard to exclude them with its doe eyed, dripping pink, victim/vixon plastic menagerie.

You might suggest the primary-colored City theme comes close - but it is a little public works oriented. I mean, not everyone wants to be a garbage truck driver or police man. In the real world, men can do helpful, even heroic things, and go to the cupcake shop. They get their hair styled and teach at a school.

This is not about gender bending (or Brony culture), this is about fully participating in life. Becoming a whole, multidimensional person and knowing how to feel comfortable in all aspects of human life.

Am I naive to think that if boys were allowed to fully engage in society the need for overly violent games would diminish. I don't think so. I am with kids 24 hours a day. I watch them. I have seen boys in school and in public being continuously fed a limiting role to play in our culture. They are shot down  (sometimes subtly, sometimes barbarically) if they begin to stray off the acceptable path of masculinity.

When you falsely separate the Lego worlds, you force kids to make a choice. A hard choice that has girls and boys, having to physically walk to another section of the store where they are sent signals that they are a foreigner and not supposed to be there. That takes a pretty empowered kid to cross that line. The interior dialogue might be: "Today, I am liking this better, but I might be weird, am I strong enough to make my own choice or should I just go back to my aisle where it is easier. I don't really belong here, do I? This is not meant for me."

Many adults I know struggle and have a hard time straying from the norm. How and why do expect kids to be able to do it?

And to be clear, these boys of mine love to battle and make things from duct tape. They fart and pick their noses and like to be gross. They are very stereotypical boys in many ways.  They are not the shy, delicate boys who just want to play with dolls (although, of course, I would have no problem with that either).

But times have changed, Lego. These boys play hard and then come in and help their Dad make dinner. They sew with their mom and watch her handle difficult people with ease and verbal skills. They help their dad with demolition projects and throw stuffed animal parties.

It is all there. Their world is so much richer than what you are offering them. Kids play is not just about creating fantasy worlds, but also as a place to work through the emotional detritus of their own lives. To practice playing parts and solving problems. So, what happens when we give them toys that splinter their world into disparate parts that have no chance of connecting with each other? Why such a complete and devastating fracture?

You have an opportunity to help boys + girls across the globe develop as whole beings.

And while you are certainly not the biggest piece of the problem, you are in a unique position to promote values of equality, exploration and wholeness.

What would happen if you stopped offering Legos in specifically boy and girl themes?

What if the packaging was not a gender indicator of the consumer?

What if you suggested that stores sell ALL the Legos on the same aisle?

What if you did not play to the lowest common denominator of mass consumer?

What if you became a leader and helped charter a world where boys and girls lives are integrated under the category of "kids"?

This extreme separation of toys, not only along gender line but also age lines too, is a direct result of unconscionable greed.

Sadly, I am sure you will stick to profit building as the guiding principle of your company. And reluctantly we will still support you by buying Legos as long as my kids want to build with them. But, be assured that my kids (and many others) subvert and use Legos in ways you will never see in your "test" groups. You are missing something so much bigger. Your simple, underestimation of children's culture will drive you into obsoletion much sooner as kids realize your limiting view of contemporary life. Of their lives.




Thursday, October 10, 2013

Holiday Lab!!! {1 x this season}



This is happening.

In just a few weeks.

And it is buy one, bring one - which means you can do it with a friend!

If you want to set intentions, gather inspiration, and create a community around your holiday values, join us!

This is a packed 10 day lab with a Mama Scout spin on things. I guarantee you will love it.

Read more here.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Souling the Self Surreal :: Alexis Yael


One of the things I want to do more of in this space to share the work and projects of other entrepreneurial women. I do this on FB, but I never seem to make the leap over here. 

Well, today that is changing. 

An important aspect of Dream Lab is to support and share other's dreams and passions. There is enough room for everyone at the table of beautiful, creative, provocative living. 

So, today I want to share the work of Alexis Yael. I first learned of her work through my Instagram stream. She posts the most interesting, eerie, searing, beautiful multi-exposure self-portraits. 

It is her practice.

We will be giving away a spot in her upcoming e-course in Dream Lab or you can read below to learn more about it and sign up. 

I will be there, learning from her and expanding my vision of myself and connecting with her community. 


souling the self surreal: playing with multiple exposure and (self)portraits
October 14 - 25. Two working weeks. Monday - Friday.

Ten prompts from me. A private classroom in Facebook where we can play with ideas and implementation (you're not under obligation to join this group or to post). Videos, words, photos. Lots and lots of inspiration.

This class is for you if: 

* You sort of understand how to take double and multiple exposures but you haven't played around with it much because you don't know where to start.

* You are a pro at double and multiple exposure already, but want a fresh perspective and fun prompts.

* You have no idea how to take double or multiple exposures but you can download (mostly free) apps to your phone or computing device and aren't scared of figuring out new technology (I can hold your hand to some extent).

* You're intrigued by surrealism.

* You already have a self-portrait practice.

* You haven't taken any self-portraits lately but you're willing to try.

* You have the money to take the class OR are willing to make a trade or pay a kindness forward.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

{{Wellness Challenge}} :: write everyday



A new month, a new challenge!

This month, I am challenging you to grab a notebook and write everyday. In the past decade, I have come to value journalling above all other forms of self exploration and discovery. Regular writing can heal, transform and inspire you. It is simple, cheap and profound.

This is not about being a great writer or trying to publish your work - although this practice can help you along that path too. This is just about getting out your ideas, angsts and the bits and bobs of your day.

How it works:

Get a journal and something to write with. The cheaper the better. See the middle composition book in the photo above? I buy those by the case for about 50 cents each. We want to be messy and need something non precious to write in. You might even decide to burn it when we are done! (I took a class with daily writing work and at the end we had to destroy everything!)

You need to join the Facebook group here. Everyday for the month of October, there will be a writing prompt. I will also pass along journalling inspiration to keep you on the path. And we can discuss and share all we want too!

That is it!

xxoo,
Amy

Mama Scout Wellness Challenges are free programs that are run monthly on FB. When we work together and have fun - significant changes can happen.

There are a few days left to join the Dream Lab. Read about it here

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

{{BIG GIVEAWAY}} Feather your next + Dream Lab


we have a winner! Congratulations 
Heather Roberts-VanSickle!


Feathering the Nest
Unbelievable! I am so excited to offer today - a giveaway to BOTH upcoming e-courses - Leah Kent and Stephanie Perkinson's Feathering the Nest and Mama Scout's Dream Lab. This is a $89 value! 

I took Feathering the Nest last session and loved it. I was so inspired to straighten, fluff and add sparkle to my space. And what a combination - to be working on your inner and outer space at the same time! Brilliant!

Skip down to the bottom to see how to enter and to find a code for a discount just for Mama Scout readers!

For fun, I asked Leah a few interview questions. I think you will fall in love with her work as much as I have. 



1. Tell me about your creative passion/talents and how you want to impact the world.
I am passionate about the everyday opportunities we all have to be creative and make our mark on the world. That’s why I started Skill It, to share and celebrate the joys and pleasures of living a handmade, homemade life. While growing up I would spend endless hours practicing sewing and embroidery, skills that my mother taught me from an early age. From my dad, I learned all about gardening, woodworking, and how to use lots of different tools.

I think that being able to make things with our hands creates a connection with the world around us that makes us feel grounded, content, and confident. I love being part of this growing community of people who are practicing these talents. My hope is to encourage people to teach these skills to young people. The sooner children are given the opportunity to be contributing and useful members of the family, the happier I think they grow up to be.

2. Can you offer a few tips for cultivating creativity and beauty into daily life?
To me, creativity and beauty are often borne out of simplicity. The more space we gift ourselves with, the more we can relax into the beauty that is already there around us. I like to keep a gratitude journal to help me slow down and notice the little things that happened through the day and made me smile. I have learned that less is truly more when it comes to feeling creative in life. I’ve said “no” a little bit more often so I would have more unstructured time in which I could relax, play, and simply enjoy how my weekend wants to unfold. And when in doubt, turn to nature. I am always inspired when I go to the coast and collect shells and rocks, or when I take long walks and notice the smallest things that pop up along my path.

3. What are you in love with right now?
Embroidery samplers and beading! I love the meditative element of stitching things by hand. I recently rediscovered the symbolism of spirals and I am stitching these onto linen right now. Making each stitch by hand helps me find a sense of peace and calm and really brings me into the present moment, sort of like the yoga of sewing!
As for the beading, I have always enjoyed making jewelry. I’ve had a lot of long-term projects on my plate this year and I was craving something that could be completed quickly. I became fascinated with the wooden mala beads used for meditation so I figured out how to make these myself. So in case it didn’t come through, you can tell from these answers that I am really into deepening my meditation and yoga practices right now, too.

4. What are you looking forward to this season?
Spending time in my kitchen making soup, roasted vegetables, and banana bread. I love that Fall is a time to turn on the oven to warm up the house and make something delicious and nourishing. My big soup pots and baking sheets get quite the workout in the Fall and Winter! My favorite soup right now is Chorizo, white bean and collards. When it comes to roasting vegetables, I am in love with broccoli, Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. And banana bread is something I love experimenting with in the kitchen, always playing around with different add-ins like dates, pumpkin seeds, crystallized ginger, and chocolate chips. You can’t go wrong with chocolate!



Feathering the Nest Images
Feathering the Nest is a beautiful, two week journey created to guide you into making your home a beautiful space that mirrors the love & dreams you hold in your soul. 


Your guides, Leah Kent and Stephanie Perkinson, want to guide you to finding ways for your home to not only reflect the beauty inside of you, but to nurture and give back to you, in a way that transforms how you move through each day. This class is an eclectic journey through your home, a sensual path to self-discovery. We will be creating beautiful things for our homes with our own hands, getting cozy with intuitive writing exercises and cooking up some delicious recipes.


Because the journey is so meaningful when we share it with others, Feathering the Nest includes membership in a sacred online space to share your experience, pictures and inspirations with kindred souls.


Whether you space is large or small, rented or owned, we think you are going to love learning how to infuse each corner with your essence to create a sanctuary for you and all who inhabit it. If you’d like to learn more about the class that starts on September 30th, just click here.



We are delighted to offer the MamaScout community a special price on the course tuition. Please use the code MAMASCOUT at checkout to receive a 15% discount. Click here to learn more and join the gorgeous circle that is forming: http://skillitri.com/feathering-the-nest/.



How to enter:

Leave a comment about why you would like to participate in these classes. 

That is it. 

I will pick a winner this Friday.

Friday, September 20, 2013

"I lost my life"


These are the words a woman spoke to me in an art class I recently attended. They are not unusual.

If you listen where women gather, you will hear this song.

I wish I took more time for myself.

I always wanted to do _______. And now it is too late.

I was so busy taking care of others.

I lost myself...


I listen and collect these cautionary tales from both older and younger women. The younger woman are sad and drowning. The older women are angry.

We are so caught up in doing what we think is expected or acceptable, that we often forget what is true to us alone. 

That is what my labs are all about. Helping women remember who they are beyond titles (wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend...) and learning to create the space, the vessel, to hold that essential smoldering fire of our souls. To not let it go out.

To not lose it.

When we meet each other in online circles and more importantly when we meet ourselves on the journal page, we are feeding the fire. Keeping it alive and ourselves vibrant, hopeful and alive.

My newest lab, Dream Lab starts October 4. You can read more about it here.

I am sending a little something in the mail ahead of time. Something that will connect this international tribe of women energetically, so if you are interested, now is the time to sign up.

I can not wait to hear your story and celebrate your journey.

xxoo,
Amy

Saturday, September 14, 2013

{life lab} when the storms roll in :: go tiny go vast



How are you?

Really?

Our family has had a year full of wonder and stress. And I do not think it is just us. It seems like many people I know are struggling. With divorce, family strife, losing things that thought they had a tight grip on, and willingly giving up stuff they no longer need. Deaths, moves and crushing disappointments seems to be in no short supply.

So, what do you do when you are sad and depressed? Frayed and bruised?

I was thinking about this recently. What is the difference between the people who can weather the storm those who get pulled under the wave? Is it just personality? Or are their skills and strategies that can help. I would guess it is probably a bit of both (most things are a bit of both, don't you think?)

If your survival is day to day - and you really need to get out of your mind for a while and find some perspective, try this:

Go tiny or vast.

Get out of the middle and drift towards the edges. That is where wild creatures of change reside and they will welcome you in with gifts of full bowls of awareness and clear vision.

Part meditation, part entrainment,  focusing on the minute or the huge - very often jolts or cracks you out of yourself long enough for the fog to lift and variant views to emerge.

go tiny ::

lay on your belly in the grass and watch the ground
look closely at anything, for a long time (shell, seed, feather, your hand, dust motes)
and my very favorite, microscope some pond water
make a window seal altar
investigate the corners of your home
look under the leaves and rocks in your yard
sprout some bean seeds in a moist paper towel in a jar
write a secret under a table or in a door jamb
pray
watch a bug
make a miniature world with your kids using plastic figures and blocks
go to the library's biology section, get a book about microorganisms and draw them
watch Microcosmos, Genesis, or The Fox and the Child
read The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

GO VAST ::

people watch, forget yourself and absorb the energy of a crowd
lay on your back and watch clouds or the stars
sit at any water's edge (lake, river, sea)
climb a tree
visit the planetarium
release a sky lantern (safely)
take a boat ride (canoe, kayak, paddle boat...)
draw on butcher paper
play on Google Earth (look up your childhood homes and foreign cities)
go to a concert, play or sports event feel the energy of the crowd
fly a kite
pray
buy a rocket kit at the hobby store and send it off
watch Carl Sagan, Jaques Cousteau or Stephen Hawking

_______________________________

Please share your ideas for going tiny and going vast. 

What do you do when you just have to grit your teeth and soldier through?





Interested in uncovering and pursuing the creative inklings that wake you up at night? 

Wondering how to launch your own projects in the midst of a swirling, chaotic family life? 

Check out my newest project :: Dream Lab. We are registering now and would love to share and support your ideas - tiny and vast.


Friday, September 13, 2013

{journal notes} i live in an emerald


if there is any color that describes florida, it would have to be green. verdant, pregnant, lush green.

live oaks, festooned with spanish moss hang over my street, holding hands in the middle, so that when you travel down the road it is like you are in a live, green cathedral

in the summer it rains so much, you have to mow your grass twice a week

paths in our woods become overgrown overnight.  you are grabbed by animated vines and palmettos as you wander around 

humid air and cacophonous tree frogs ensure that you breath and hear the green too

all this situates florida perfectly within its historical reputation as a place on the edge of inhabitable nature

if we were not able to artificially pump cool air into our homes/offices/stores/cars, we would not live here. or - better said - the people who might live here would be special, essential, deeply connected to the land

in the humprey bogart film, key largo, a hurricane threatens a motley mix of characters and forces them to hole up in a hotel. the only people who are not afraid of the "big wind" are the natives.

the people before, who can read the sky and sea and know how to survive. 

everyone else is just stumbling around, gulping the aqueous air and self igniting from untempered passions and relentless mosquitoes





Saturday, August 31, 2013

{Wellness Challenge} :: Learn Something New Everyday



I really loved last month's gratitude challenge! I think the group participants did too. We not only benefited from feeling and sharing the things we were thankful each day BUT we also got to reap joy from the other shares. It was a month full of noticing the littlest things and celebrating some really big things (death, cancer, near misses). We will do this again as a group, I am certain.

But, this month, we will change gears a bit. We will still being looking close at our lives and environment. This time for what we learn each day. As an un/homeschooling mama, I am very aware that we are all learning all the time. I journal these things, take photos, discuss nonstop, and pose and answer questions all day. Even on days when it seems like not much is happening, if I stop and think for just a bit, I am usually blown away at what we have learned. It ranges from academic knowledge to how to do something to peeks into our own self knowledge.

I challenge you to post with us each day at least one thing you have learned. It can be quirky or poignant. Frivolous or frightening.

Anything goes!

Learned a new word? a hack? a bit of history? Share it with us!

And encourage your kids to participate too. This could be the dinner topic each night or a journalling prompt. Keep the juices flowing and and be attentive to all that you are learning.

And please do post, it is so much more fun that way.

You can join the free Facebook group here. (That is where everything happens).

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