education, Positive Parenting

Sensitive Souls in the Classroom

More and more, I am hearing stories from parents and educators of an epidemic in our schools.  Seemingly on an upward trend each year, mainstream school classrooms are more packed with children with IEPs (individualized education plans) or needing additional services like counseling, than ever before.  They may be given labels like high-functioning autism, ADHD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or are anxious or depressed. There are times when a single diagnosis fits perfectly for these kids and leads to the access of appropriate school services and therapies. But for more and more of these children, there seems to be a blending and overlap of symptoms in diagnostic categories, leading to unclear diagnoses or more than one diagnosis, or only a few scattered characteristics with no clear diagnosis. They may not fit in with their peers, often struggle with their emotions, and have difficulty with a traditionally structured school day, or even shut down, refusing to attend school all together. They may demonstrate high intelligence, high creativity, high emotionality or empathy, but combined with oppositionality, anxiety, sensitivity to external stimuli, attention problems, or obsessive thinking and perfectionism, it makes functioning in traditional classrooms difficult to say the least.

Parents and professionals in the psychological field are struggling to understand this growing group of children who don’t fit into traditional special education services, yet aren’t quite served by the mainstream model either.  We are coming to terms with the differences we see children facing today than when we grew up.  Children now are exposed to screen time and smart phones at a younger age, with more access to immediate sensory gratification and are used to rapid attention shifting and peer scrutiny through social media. They are being asked to memorize more information from a younger age for state testing and are being placed in an academic pressure cooker of expectation by well-meaning parents and school staff who see the competitive road these youngsters face in future college and job applications. Meanwhile, they are faced with an outdated, overly structured school system, not rising to meet the needs of their increasingly stressful world and overworked, sensitive emotional systems.

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creativity, Emotional Enlightenment

Accepting the Invitation

I find as I commit to write more that writing is my healing. I never considered it in this way before.  I thought that I’d start a blog because “I like to write,” and writing seemed like a useful tool to convey information in a way that gets my viewpoint across.  Yet, I never considered that the mere flow of the words on a page, finding the exact right word that fits each second in time could be an exercise in healing.

You see a page is a blank field.  There is nothing there in the beginning.  The battle begins when the first word emerges.  Was that what I wished to say?  Is that exactly the right way to convey it?  This battle often heats up when I have a plan in mind.  When my analytical left brain thinks it knows what I’m supposed to say or supposed to write about, it somehow ends up jumbled up, not emerging exactly as planned.

And I fight it.  I fight the very flow the page is inviting me into.

You see, I’m learning that each blank page and each moment in time seem to have a specific mandate.  A specific thing is wanting to be said.  And this specific thing may be very different from what I think I’m wanting to say.  Perhaps this thing is emerging from my right brain, the intuitive, emotional side of myself, from which creativity seems to spring unbidden.

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Emotional Healing

Totality is the Path

I’m just emerging from a summer blog hiatus into a full-on end of summer hangover, realizing that September has hit…already!

One of my summer highlights was an eclipse trip to the Path of Totality in Columbia, South Carolina.

I’m still trying to digest it…

The weeks leading up to the eclipse carried much anxiety and mental confusion for me. If you could have opened my brain, you would have found a back and forth ping-pong game over decisions and next steps….an inner struggle that promised no winners and no victories.

Just when I think I have it all figured out (“I’m awesome, I’m the best,” my mind shouts from its shadowy corners), life hits me over the head with new developments that seem best left to someone else to deal with…someone stronger, someone lighter, someone braver.

And so, as I headed down to the greet the Path, listening to a podcast by Neil deGrasse Tyson, I resolved to end the mental warfare just for this small period of time.

And with that proclamation, my body relaxed.

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Spirituality

Animal Totems and Synchronicities

When I thought to myself about how to write a post on indigenous wisdom in our everyday lives and how it applies in my life, I didn’t quite know how to start.  After all, my background is not of native, indigenous culture to the land that I now occupy.  I am Irish American, yet I have found myself drawn to the deep wisdom of Native American cultures and shamanic traditions, particularly in their relationship to nature and animal symbols.

A commonality across most native cultures and shamanic healing traditions is a deep reverence for the Earth and the wildlife that inhabits it.  Animal totems in Native American culture are looked at as spiritual guides or symbols representing a tribe, family or individual.  Often, Native American hunters would ask permission of the spirit of the animal before the hunt and send prayers of gratitude to its spirit after taking its life.  Peruvian shamanism in turn also has great reverence for nature and invokes animal allies, such as the jaquar, the hummingbird, or the eagle, in spiritual ritual to provide healing and guidance to the initiates who call upon them.

Ted Andrews writes, in his book Animal Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small:

There was a time when humanity recognized itself as part of nature, and nature as part of itself.  Dreaming and waking were inseparable realities; the natural and the supernatural merged and blended.  People used images of nature to express this unity and to instill a transpersonal kind of experience.

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Emotional Healing, Health & Wellness

Energy + Psychology

These are two words that, traditionally, appear to have no relation to each other.  Yet, Energy Psychology, as coined by the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, is a new and growing subfield in a therapeutic space traditionally dominated by analysis on couches and behavior modification techniques.  As the psychological and mental health field opens itself up to a broader spectrum of healing modalities, focus on the human energy field is beginning to gain more prominence and research support.  And science is beginning to show what many practitioners like myself already know: there is more than the eye can see (or the mind can access) when delving into human consciousness and healing.

Energy is not a new concept, nor one limited to our comic book heroes…

Our quantum physicists have uncovered, on a scientific level, that all things are made of small subatomic particles called electrons and protons.  When these “particles” are examined at a closer level, we find they are actually not made of matter at all.  They are simply spinning so fast as to mimic solidity (much like a tornado whips dust into a solid, formidable structure).  Interestingly, in experiments, when these subatomic particles are “split” from each other they can be observed to affect each other’s behavior, even at great distances.  From these findings the “quantum field theory” was born, which in simplest terms, postulates that we (humans and all things) are nothing more than a field of energy waves following a specific set of quantum rules.

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activism, Spirituality

The Great Awakening

We are in the midst of an awakening.

As Trump and his colleagues continue to bulldoze their way through governing, more and more people are recognizing what’s valuable and important in true leadership and waking up to the potential of leadership within themselves.  Many are waking up to the state of the world as is, versus what we know it could be.  Despite outer appearances, we are seeing the traditionally individualistic worldview of America beginning to crumble.  We have always known the value in promoting prosperity and peace for ourselves, but now we begin to ask, does that extend to our neighbors too?

“Oneness” is a principle not commonly discussed beyond spiritual circles, and it has now become a primary linchpin of political discourse.  What is the point of extreme division, either via racial, national, or political lines?  Should we or can we wish the same for others we wish for ourselves?  Why would discrimination and inequalities continue to make sense in a world that is rapidly embodying the inter-connectivity and speed of communication that has always existed under the collective surface…

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activism

Marching is the Start

This is the force that will change the world.

I truly believe that. Women and those who stand with women in genuine solidarity will be the impetus that forces changes that have been too long in the making. Spreading love, compassion, and tolerance as opposed to bigotry and separation consciousness is not the purview of special snowflakes or “weak crybabies.” It’s actually the hardest thing we will ever do or ever undertake on this planet of ours.

It is much harder to love and accept the neighbor you disagree with than to spurn and hate them. Liberalism and conservatism are false divides and beyond the point in the larger picture of this planetary play of ours.

What is in our hearts? What is it that we really want to see?

These should be the questions we ask of ourselves and each other everyday. We may differ on how we wish to achieve it or the political talking points but partnering to create movement and change is the important part, even on a very small micro-scale or individual level, regardless of the inevitable dissent and bumps along the way.  And those who oppose equal rights and tolerance for all should be opposed with all the might and force of our ancestors behind us who lived this reality and rejected it.

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