The Core Reason We “Ready” Children Too Early and Too Much

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The Core Reason We “Ready” Children Too Early and Too Much

The Guest House — by Jellaludin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks  This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whatever comes. because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.   A playshop participant of mine recently told me how challenging it was for her daughter to enter grade […]

12 Ways Children Live and Love Fearlessly (and Teach Us to Be/Do the Same!)

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12 Ways Children Live and Love Fearlessly (and Teach Us to Be/Do the Same!)

Children are closest to God It has been said that children are closest to God. Whether you believe in any kind of God or not does not really matter. What we can all agree on is that children embody purity, love and freedom. They move and engage with lightness, abandon and gentleness. They live with what seems like an inexhaustible amount of energy that is incredibly vital, curious and imaginative. In a nutshell, they live and express themselves with far less fear than adults do. They live lovingly as free Spirits! Our Spirit, our authentic Self, the God within, in my opinion is not fearful. Fear is part of the existing human condition. The ineffable Spirit we are all a part of lies beyond the fears […]

6 Ways Children Live in the Present Moment

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6 Ways Children Live in the Present Moment

One of the simplest ways to live in the present moment is to be ‪childlike. Children are such wonderful teachers. If we want to remember ourselves, and what life is all about, we just need to observe a child for a few minutes. It won’t be long before we appreciate the joy, simplicity and presence that the child exudes, and perhaps we may even wonder, “How can I be more like her?” The quality of being able to enjoy life’s simple moments is not far away. In fact, it is our natural state to do so (or should I say, be so!). Children in their innocence and purity are powerful mirrors that show us what is innately within, and what we long to reconnect to—a presence that […]

Why We Need to Initiate Play More Than Ever!

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Why We Need to Initiate Play More Than Ever!

Consider this: The average child spends up to 8 hours a day on technology. It’s addictive nature, combined with the increasing busyness of our lives, makes it difficult for parents to pull children away from their screens, and get them playing. And yet, it is more necessary than ever to do so! The more the toy does, the less the child does. I was recently invited to a dinner party at a friend’s place. One of the adults there – also a friend – brought her two young girls with her. Instead of doing the adult thing and chit chatting around the dinner table, I played with the girls… for four hours! We played hide and seek, turned yoga blocks into boats and forts, created […]

Doodle, Dream, and the Dance of Co-Creation ~ 3 Stages to Unlocking the Gifts of Free Unstructured Play

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Doodle, Dream, and the Dance of Co-Creation ~ 3 Stages to Unlocking the Gifts of Free Unstructured Play

“Drawing/doodling can help us to focus on the task at hand. Listening or reading with pencil in hand leads to a 29% better memory recall. Draw/doodling offsets the effects of ‘selective memory blockade’.” ~ Journal of Applied Psychology, February 2009 A few years ago, I was walking along the streets of Summerside, PEI, when I spontaneously began to make some funny noises with my mouth. The sounds were a combination of gibberish and rapping. As I allowed myself to explore and play with these sounds some more, I eventually sank into an eccentric and rhythmic beatbox that I thoroughly enjoyed! It was then that something unexpected happened. A thought appeared in my mind: This is doodling! This is what children do when then draw, except I am […]

Remembering Joy ~ Touching the Immeasurable Essence of Life

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Remembering Joy ~ Touching the Immeasurable Essence of Life

The more you teach the measurable, the more children will feel like they can never measure up. Since our early years, we have been inculcated with that which is measurable. We have not been fully supported to gaze in wonder at a butterfly, and explore the feelings and insights it gives us. Instead, increasingly we’ve had to know about it – to understand what kind of butterfly it is, how/where it flies, and what it eats. Rational thought and knowledge has indeed surpassed the purity of wonder. Knowing about has usurped our ability and desire to just be with—to commune with our surroundings, to be present with life. With pressures from parents and schools, and influences from society as a whole, we have become gatherers of the information age, conquers of time and […]

Play is Training for the Real World

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Play is Training for the Real World

What skills and attitudes are needed to live in the real world? “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” ~ Woody Allen When you look at the two paths expressed in the image above, what would you say are the skills needed to travel the path above versus below? How do we need to be? What attitudes are necessary? In considering the path below, I would guess one of the first skills or attitudes you thought of was flexibility. (I say this because when I ask my playshop participants the same question it seems to always be the first answer shared, not just by one person, but many, which I find personally interesting!). I would also guess that you might […]

Give People Something to Play With ~ Enrolling Others into the Spirit of Yes And

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Give People Something to Play With ~ Enrolling Others into the Spirit of Yes And

The more you give people things to play with, the more they can give back to you, and the world! When you practice the Spirit of Yes And, you discover how easy it is to make people smile in the simplest ways. Their smile opens them up to their heart, and more fully allows them to give back. I was standing at a grocery checkout line waiting to purchase a whole pie for a potluck, when an elderly lady in front of me turned around and said, “That looks like a yummy pie!” I was happy! She was inviting me to play! “Yes it is,” I replied. “I plan to eat it all myself!” Grin! I passed the ball back to her. And then she smiled and laughed. I […]

How to Turn a Snake into a Sword ~ From Reasoning to Playing Along

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How to Turn a Snake into a Sword ~ From Reasoning to Playing Along

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt A three-year-old girl was attempting to play with her older brothers who were messing around with swords. The mother didn’t know why she was bothering her brothers’ boyish fun, and was tempted to redirect her to something more suitable. In that moment, however, she caught herself. She went on to say, “Instead of reasoning, I met her in her world.” The daughter had a toy snake in her hand, and the mother moved next to her and suggested that maybe she could use it as a sword. She played along with her daughter’s imaginative impulses, and validated her in the process. Mom parked her […]

Go Outside and Play!

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Go Outside and Play!

“Go outside and play!” said God. “I have given you Universes as fields to run free in! And here – take this and wrap yourself in it – It’s called LOVE and it will always, always keep you warm. And stars! The sun and the moon and the stars! Look upon these often, for they will remind you of your own light! And eyes… oh, gaze into the eyes of every Lover; gaze into the eyes of every other for they have given you their Universes as fields to run free in. There. I have given you everything you need. Now go, go, go outside and play!” “Go Outside and Play” – from Home Remembers Me: Medicine Poems from em claire ©em claire All Rights […]