Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
I would like to challenge you all to find time each week to go on a spiritual walk or hike alone or with a mindful partner on a search for something more meaningful than you have ever experienced.
Many of us struggle with the day to day questions and long term challenges of finding our true place in this world and figuring out where we fit – what we are meant here for – and how to discover and live an authentic and fulfilling life within our current circumstances.
As you work on your spiritual connection through these transformational hikes, begin by taking one of the following truths into your heart and trying to keep your mind and heart focused on that one truth throughout your entire walk. Be sure to let silence be your guide, breathe fully and deeply and create an open awareness of all of the signs and messages nature is sending to you as you open yourself up to this process.
Life’s Pure Energy Lives Inside of Us
Despite our struggles, sorrows and challenges – deep down within every single of one of us is a Light – a source of creativity, joy and pure love… there is no exception to this truth. This is the
life energy – the gift we have been given from our very first moment of being and regardless of circumstances, experiences, resentments, anger, bitterness, pain or belief systems – underneath all of our layers remains this pure spirit-filled light burning inside each and every one of us.
Some of us were lucky enough to have been nurtured in a way that allows our light to shine brightly and just need to remind ourselves to stay centered. Many of us have experienced difficulties and events that may have created too many protective layers over our true selves and we find it hard to get back to that place. And, some of us may have had such extreme events and conditions occur as we carried through life, that there may be so many tough and thick layers, it
is difficult to even imagine a light can be found within at all.
But it is.
It is always there and it is waiting for you to peel back the layers, the protective barriers, the roles, the falsehoods, the past, the pain, the anger, the worry….
So it can once again be revealed and so you can begin again and the world can start anew.
So you can begin to experience a transformation. A change. A chance to be reborn in light.
Walk today and hold this truth within you, ask and receive as you experience the world
around you during this process.
You Already Have the Answers
One of the most amazing things about this light within you is that it knows all. We all struggle with hard questions in life – many of us are unsure of our current paths or how to handle a difficult person in our lives. Some of us struggle with addictions or habits that we are unsure of how to break. There may be choices presented to us and we are unsure of which way to go. We may have such sadness or pain that we feel we have nothing left to ask.
Often, we seek answers everywhere else but from within… in self-help books, from friends
or family, a trusted mentor, consulting experts or therapists – sometimes we choose not to seek at all and just give up.
The thing we fail to realize is that the answers are already there for us. They are within the light that we hold inside. If we can truly connect to this sweet source of energy, all we ask for will be received. All we want to know will be revealed.
As you walk today, hold this truth in your mind, body and spirit. Bring your questions and worries deep within yourself and let them be filled with your light. Breathe in the world around you, watch and feel for answers.
To Experience Your True Self You Must Open Your Heart
Oftentimes the reason we are unable to connect to our true selves and receive the answers we are looking for is because we are not living our lives with an open heart. We are closed off, we protect
ourselves by putting up walls, we use sarcasm or judgments to keep from communicating and connecting to others and life in a true, honest and raw manner. We do not want to be hurt. We hold past experiences in our minds as we analyze events or experiences that come into our lives and then we place judgment on them, sometimes even twisting them into something they are not.
Before you can connect to your light, you must work to let go of all negative thought and judgments about the world around you and your experiences within it. You must approach life with an open heart – taking in what it gives you, letting it soak within your true center and
waiting for the answers to rise up.
As you walk today, practice being open to all experiences in the natural world and all discomfort and annoyance that may come your way during the process – barking dogs, a loud lawn mower, cars passing. Let these things flow in and out of you without placing any negativity,
expectations or judgments on them. Accept them all as a part of your true experience without trying to change any of it. Wait and feel yourself deeply as you see that you can be centered and at peace in any situation, even those that would have made you feel stuck or frustrated in the past.
Try to move through your week in this manner, shifting your thoughts and judgments and allowing yourself to experience the truth of life without trying to change it or condemn it in any way.
What you may find is that by doing this – by not changing anything at all – you begin to transform your experience while staying in the exact same place.Ask and You Shall Receive
Regardless of your spiritual and religious beliefs, holding these truths within you as you seek answers to life’s difficult questions and every day challenges will lead you on a path of true discovery and knowledge.
When you have practiced opening yourself up and holding these truths within you sufficiently, take a specific concern with you on your next walk.
Remain open and filled with love while you walk, breathing and watching for nature’s signs to you. Listen fully to yourself, feel your emotions and your body. Hold your question within you – open – and bring it deep within the light inside to keep. Ask for answers that will also
help you serve others. Ask for answers that can not only change your life, but answers that can help change our world.
Your answers may not come immediately…. It is important to remember this is a spiritual journey and you have just begun an amazing process of seeking within, rather than without. If you remain open and connected each day, you will find that the answer will be very clear to you
When your truth has been revealed to you, take action.
If you have discovered that it is time for a career change, seek a position that fulfills you and also makes a difference in our world. If you have found that you must forgive someone to be able to remain open and loving moving forward, let down your guard and do so. If you are still waiting
for an answer, keep practicing openness and non-judgment each day and keep your heart and mind open to receive. It will come and in the process you will find peace and really, that is what we are all truly seeking.
***This piece was originally published in the Little Acorn Learning May Enrichment Guide
Thursday, January 26, 2012
We first experimented with using syrup but the seed did not stick well so we went back to the tried and true peanut butter hold and we were in business. Lilah enjoyed buttering up her bird feeders all by herself.
After dipping each piece into birdseed we sang a little birdie song:
Like magic, it started snowing as soon as we got outside.
A symbol of good work, I think.
And Brianna is such a sweet helper. Visiting here, I think, to teach me so many lessons.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
In our society, we have often taught our children that to be “number one” or the “winner” is the key to success. Many parents and teachers even feel that competition can be healthy and create a drive in children which is necessary to succeed in our fast paced world.
In fact, the opposite is true. Teaching children to compete against one another is actually sending the message to them that they are not good enough - that they must work harder than someone else to be better. When two compete, only one can win and one must fail. Losing creates feelings of inadequacy and winning sometimes creates a false sense of self-worth based on external factors rather than an internal knowing of one’s true self worth and value.
When we think of what we hope for our children it often includes a healthy self-esteem, a giving spirit, intelligence, health, close relationships and self-love and acceptance. Yet when children are asked to constantly compete against one another in all areas of their life, they can learn to define success and something to be ‘won’. And the desire to win and get that recognition and response from others can become quite addictive and feed the ego rather than the soul. What we should really be teaching our children is how to recognize their true beauty and potential within and how to work with others to create.
This is not to say that a child cannot enjoy being on a sport’s team or be taught to focus and work hard at school. It is not to say that they should not be met with excitement when they win a game or bring home a winning art project. But putting the focus constantly on being the best and beating the rest is sending the wrong message.
When we are able to teach our children to value true cooperation rather than competition, they will feel true success and the magic that sparks when a group of people work together and share ideas toward a common goal and help one another reach their true potential.
How can we as parents create a non-competitive environment yet also prepare our children to cope in a competitive world? This is not an easy task but the values the children learn within the four walls of their home are the ones that tend to follow them into adulthood.
*Do your best not to compare your children and their accomplishments to one another – try not to say things like “Did you see how good John was playing the clarinet? That’s
why we tell you to practice all the time!"
*When you speak watch what you say… things like: “Who is daddy’s favorite little boy in the
world?” or “Your mommy’s little super-star!”
*When your child does his or her best but does not succeed, let them feel as if they did. Success
should be measured by effort rather than end result.
*Watch how competitive you are and what you are modeling for your children. Do you jokingly compete with your spouse about who cooks the best? Do you sometimes talk poorly of others who have not succeeded?
*Purchase cooperative games to enjoy together at home. These games encourage players to all work together to get to a common goal.
*Create opportunities for working together by cooking as a family, doing yard work together and guiding children toward helping one another. If a child is having trouble reaching a glass, ask her sibling to get it down for her. Teach them to help one another and model the same.
What are some ways that you feel we can help change our world by teaching children the value of cooperation?
Monday, January 23, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Join Us and Read Along!
Our First Book to share together will be ‘Weapons of Mass Instruction’ by John Taylor Gatto. Regardless of your schooling choices – this book will get you thinking about our current educational system and model!
Order the book from your library, Amazon or download it to your reader… read it and in between come on over with a cup of coffee to sit in on our Virtual Book Club Facebook Page! Pop on over any time to chat – you’re never behind!
In addition, our first ‘scheduled’ book discussion will be hosted by bloggers Eileen Straiton, Valarie Budyar and Joy Blaser on February 4th where we will cover the Prologue through Chapter 1 of our book, asking questions and inspiring others as they read along.
Today was little Fiona's very first day at Little Acorn Playgarden :) - she did great and really loves playing with the children. She is so very sweet. We are so excited to have her join our program.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
After an amazing show at the Planetarium and checking out meteorites, we soon traveled over to the dinosaurs. They are absolutely mind blowing. Just to imagine that these creatures once roamed the earth. Glorious.
The entire trip, while based in science of course, only strengthened my belief in Divine creation. It is all just too amazing - from the stars in the skies aligning, bursting and recreating just so... to these magical creatures that evolved, disappeared - then us, and our very beautiful planet. It just seems so very intentional, designed - engineered to me. That's just what I feel inside.
To think that we are the only living things out there, to me, seems impossible. Doesn't it? Outside of our solar system... how much more is there? Can you only imagine all that we have yet to discover... all that we will never know? Our knowledge is so limited. In so many ways - beyond the stars and the bones... And still, it is all so amazing and breathtaking each day we live.
How lucky we are to have been able to visit for awhile in this beautiful place at this particular time!
Five Enormous Dinosaurs
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Enjoy this free calendar for January 2012 created especially for Caregivers of Children. This is a free sample for you to enjoy - the entire calendar will be released this week. The calendar includes important festival and holiday information, the full moon, color and grain of the day, artistic activity for the day as well as a tip/activity or inspiration for each day of the month.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Once there was a little raindrop that thought it had played long enough up in the clouds, and said it would go down to the earth and see what it could do. So it started.
While it was falling, it had to pass through a cloud that was very cold, and this funny little raindrop, instead of shrinking together as we do when we are cold, stretched out and stretched out, until it was not round any more, but was long, and thin, and hard like a needle; and that is just what it was, a little ice needle.
As it went on falling, it met another just like itself. The second said, "Little Ice Needle, where are you going?" "Down to the earth, to see what good I can do." "I'll go, too." So it joined the first needle, and they fell together.
Pretty soon they met a third, who said, "Little Ice Needles, where are you going?" "Down to the earth, to see what we can do." "Then I'll go, too." So it joined the others, and they fell together.
Then they met another, and another, and another, and another, who all joined them. Then there were six little ice needles falling together, and they had a new name; "Snowflake".
Little Snowflake met others who were also snowflakes but each and every one was different than the other. The snowflakes asked Little Snowflake where it was going. "Down to the earth, to see what good I can do." "We'll go, too. But where shall we go?" "I know," said one of the little flakes. "Last summer, when I was warm and round, I saw a place where a poor little sick boy had planted some seeds which a kind lady gave him. Let us fall on that place and keep it warm, so that the seeds in the ground may not freeze, and the little boy may have some flowers next summer." "Oh! so we will," said they all; and they fell faster and faster, so that they might get there sooner.
Other snowflakes saw them and went too, and the ground was covered more and more thickly with snow, till there was enough to keep the seeds from freezing during the winter.
When the weather began to be warm, the snow turned into water and ran down into the earth, and the seeds drank it, and swelled and swelled, until by and by, little leaves came out above the ground, from each seed. Then other leaves grew, and, when summer came, little Frank had his flowers again, and all because one little raindrop wanted to do some good in the world.