Start With Empathy ~ The Gift of Being With Others in Their World

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Start With Empathy ~ The Gift of Being With Others in Their World

Many years ago, when I was naïve and not exactly socially intelligent, I left an indelible mark on a relationship with one sentence. It began when a colleague shared with me that she had cancer. My response was something like this: “Well, you know it is all meant to be. There is something you are meant to learn from it.” Yes, I can hear you cringing from here. I don’t blame you. Fortunately I have learned since then—a lot—and am now teaching what I have learned. Here’s where I missed the mark. Resting in the receptive One of the core principles that I teach, as many of you now know, is the Spirit of Yes And. The “Yes” of Yes And is the receptive—it is […]

8 Ways to Tame Your Saboteur ~ Empowering You and Your Dreams

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8 Ways to Tame Your Saboteur ~ Empowering You and Your Dreams

“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: ‘Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.’ When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, the one I feed the most.’” ~ George Bernard Shaw We all have a Saboteur lurking in the dark corners of our psyche. It is there, ever-present, regularly offering opinions on how we should be and what we should do. It conjures up compelling images that shrivel our fortitude and distract us from what really matters, what we really want. Indeed, the Saboteur has a mandate—to keep us playing small, […]

Don’t Deflate Your Dreams

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Don’t Deflate Your Dreams

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission […]

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 […]

Releasing the Need to Be the Responsible One ~ Reclaiming Your Power to Choose, Create and Be Free

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Releasing the Need to Be the Responsible One ~ Reclaiming Your Power to Choose, Create and Be Free

The Responsible One is a role we took on at a very young age. It was a heavy coat that we wore to keep us safe, help us survive, prove our self-worth, and make us feel loved. It had a very important role to play at the time. But as we age, the role increasingly weighs us down. It becomes a burden that stifles our power to choose, create, and be the free spirits we innately are. Two Ways We Birth the Responsible One 1. No One But Me At a very young age you decided that you must be the adult in the family. Perhaps your mother died, and you were the oldest sibling, and you felt the need to take on the responsibilities of your deceased mother. Or, you had one or two dysfunctional […]

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 […]

When You Slow Down Enough

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When You Slow Down Enough

by Vince Gowmon From Wild Empty Spaces ~ Poems for the Opening Heart   When you slow down enough you no longer fear the silence of space and all it holds. In embracing stillness you discover that which you never knew existed or was possible, and you meet your Self and life perhaps for the very first time. When you slow down enough you finally feel the feelings and hear the words you have been avoiding all these many years. Those knocks on the door, those peering eyes that have been trying to capture your attention from the shadows, the long lost dream that once carried you away, far away, many moons ago. When you slow down enough you no longer fear your aloneness. You […]

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 […]

4 Criteria for Teaching and Learning ~ Empowering Both Teacher and Student

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4 Criteria for Teaching and Learning ~ Empowering Both Teacher and Student

In my playshops with teachers we have regular conversations about what structures support and limit education. We discuss how certain structures, that we think need to be put in place, may in fact get in the way of a child’s learning and development. Education is ongoing balance between structure and flow. Too much structure and we stifle the child’s creative spirit and capacity to make decisions for herself. Too much flow and there may not be a container, and enough guidance or safety. It is my personal opinion that for teaching and learning to thrive, any structure used should meet the following four criteria: Does it support the child’s safety? Does it support the child’s academic development? Does it support the child’s creativity and imagination? Does it support the child’s self-esteem and empowerment, including her capacity to be self-directed? […]