No Technology Weekend

Last week did not end up being the massive overwhelm I was mentally and emotionally preparing myself for. Multiple clients dropped off my schedule leaving me ample time to complete all the documentation I was working on without adding any new documentation to my load. I don’t get paid when I don’t see a client since I am not an hourly employee so I lose out in that respect, all in all I think it created a much needed balance for me though and I was definitely sending my thanks to the Universe.

Because I was expecting this hectic week to happen my husband and I made plans for the weekend that were sure to also offer balance. It was a tech free weekend in our home (with the exception of one hour of TV last night to watch Game of Thrones).

The tech free idea for the weekend actually wasn’t an intentional plan we made, it rose of out necessity more or less.

Saturday we went and picked up our niece and nephew in the morning and brought them to our house for a play date.

We got to my parent’s home where the kids had stayed the night and were greeted by my nephew charging out of the house ready to go, hold on buddy let us say Hi to Mimi before we leave. I could sense that he was in a mood. When I opened the front door I understood why, the house was awake and busy and my nephew gets easily overstimulated.

My niece, Moo, ran to the door, tablet in hand and excitedly told me to come dance with her. She was playing that dancy Justin Timberlake song, I don’t know what it’s called. We jumped around letting our arms fly free while my husband collected the sports equipment that my nephew wanted to bring with him. When we finally got to the car and got everyone strapped in the kids both immediately retreated into their tablets. I hopped in the front seats, leaned back, and took both tablets. Let’s talk.

I told the kids we were going to have 10 minutes of social time then I would give the tablets back for the remainder of the car ride.

They did well, my nephew struggling a bit more than my niece.

When we got home I put the tablets away because the second we walked in the house my nephew asked me if there was a quiet room where he could play on his tablet alone. Um No. We are going to spend time together doing activities and playing games.

This is what he does at his house and when he comes to my parent’s house. I feel like I never see him anymore because he retreats into the tablet. I don’t know if it the fact that he is on summer vacation so he doesn’t have that structure of a daily school schedule or if all the changes taking place in his life are becoming too much (he went from a child with one sibling to a child with three in less than three years plus his family is in a major transition time with getting ready to move out of state). It might also be the age, he is going on 11. It is quite possibly a combination of everything listed and many other factors I have not considered. All I knew is that I was not going to lose him on a day when the weather was beautiful and we had plenty of ways to be together.

We tie-dyed shirts together, then my husband made the kids grilled cheese with milk for lunch, after lunch my husband took my nephew to the park to play all manner of sports while Moo and I painted together in the living room. After painting and sports the kids both played with my husband and Lu in my canvas tent while I cleaned up a bit. Then my husband and my nephew played a game at the kitchen table while I took Moo to the park for a few minutes.

tech free1

On the way back to my parent’s house rather than give the kids their tablets for the car ride we played car games from my husband and I’s childhood. The kids had a blast and were both super engaged. I am not knocking tech for kids, this will probably be our last play date with these two before they move out of state though so I really wanted to have them fully, without distractions. It was a great day.

When got to my parent’s place one of the twins, the one I call Banana, was being extra clingy to me. We have never done play dates with the twins because of their age, we started with Moo when she was three and the twins are not quite there. I think Banana would have come though if we let her.

So Banana and I spent sometime together that evening. It began to rain so I picked her up and we went on the back porch where we stuck a hand out past the railing to feel the water on our fingers. Banana looked around the yard as I pointed out and named all the plants that were being watered by the rain.

I was glad to have a little time with each of them on Saturday, even the baby and I had our moment. I have a feeling that may have been my last big day with all of them like this, I am grateful for the memories.

Yesterday my husband and I took care of a few chores as per our usual Sunday routine. We allowed plenty of time for quiet as well. I took two naps which felt a bit overindulgent AND needed. The second one barely counts though because Lu horned in on my napping spot ten minutes in which woke me up.

tech free

At the end of the week my brother-in-law is flying in for a visit so today I am readying our home for company. Tonight I will attend Red Tent and am excited for the connection. It’s funny because this is my second time going, I expected my nerves to be less, that is not the case though. Half of the nervous feeling is just unbridled excitement, the other half is regular old nerves though. It is not easy being new, it is not easy to put yourself out there and show up alone to an event where you know few people well and allow yourself to be truly seen and experience real connection with other women. It is not easy AND it is worth it.

Luna Moth

I had a meditation recently centered around the moth which I recognize as one of my chakra animal symbols and from there was inspired to paint. When I was browsing reference photos I found this beautiful picture of an almost translucent green moth who felt half fairy/half animal to me. After doing some research I found that this stunning creature is the Luna Moth and everything I read about it completely hit home.

This is my piece honoring the Luna Moth.

luna moth

Expressive Arts Therapy

Expressive arts therapy/expressive therapy has been a very big part of my own healing journey and it is definitely part of who I will be as a therapist as well. I have a few personal truths about why this approach to therapy is so valuable, that is a post for another day I think. Today I want to share visually what my own healing journey through art has looked like.

I created 4 new pieces over the weekend and rather than put them away to explore deeper with my therapist when I see her again I decided it was time to put everything together. I took out every piece I currently have in my home, some pieces are in outside of my home, and put them together to see what it makes.

healing art

It is a beautiful patch work quilt made of passion AND pain AND healing AND loss AND inspiration AND frustration AND intuition AND love AND nature AND wisdom AND shadows AND spirituality and the list goes on and on, all stitched together with “ANDs”.

This is me, me and all of my beautiful parts, all that have desired to be seen in this way up to this point at least. This picture is not complete and never will be because there will always be more to express in this way.

I feel whole when I look at this picture. I felt whole when everything that came out of me laid together as one in front of me. I see my growth, the depths of my love AND my pain and I think it is all beautiful. I am capable of such amazing things.

I am capable of amazing things.

Self-Love Can Survive Any Drought

self-love can survive any drought

Over the weekend I spent a lot of time in quiet meditation creating. From that came the inspiration for a piece I painted this afternoon.

Cactus came up during my creating over the weekend and when I started thinking on what symbolism I see, this is what I came up with.

Cacti are like all other plants in that they need water to survive, that need looks different for them compared to many other species of plant however. Cacti are able to survive barren conditions and drought thanks to their ability to self-sustain by storing water inside. Cactus are not only able to survive these harsh conditions, they grow. They grow in conditions that would cause most plants to wither and die.

I related this back to inside love versus outside love. We have no control over the love we receive from others, much like plants cannot control the weather and when it will rain. In times of emotional drought/disconnection those who depend on that outside love and validation may struggle while those who can self-validate and experience love from within/self-love will not only survive these times of solitude, they will continue to grow and bloom because of the love they are able to show themselves.

In this way self-love is this self-sustaining property that allows us to operate with little fear of outside disconnection for we know all we need to thrive and grow lies within us.

For a long time I was much like Gerbera Daisy, finicky in every way imaginable and very dependent on my environment to provide me with everything I need to feel love and connection/survive and grow.

Now I know I am evolving into my own breed of cactus. I still enjoy being showered with love AND when drought comes my way I am able to self-sustain with my own inner supply of love stored up just for me, my own special gift from within.

My prickly spiny exterior is equivalent to my boundaries and assertive attitude, protecting me against all who would mean to harm me.
My root system underground is my way to connect with others who are willing to go deep rather stay merely on the surface.

At the end of the day what keeps me going is me. I am the love that keeps my heart beating, I am the love that will help me grow. If water is the source for life to grow and love is equivalent to water, I am the source from which my biggest growth takes place.

Summer Sleepover

Moo Sleepover

We do summer sleepovers with my niece and nephew every summer. It gives them something to look forward to in their final weeks of school and it gives us an opportunity for meaningful one on one time with each of them.

This year my 6 year old niece, Moo, decided she wanted to ride the train. Her brother did this with us when he was about her age and loved it. Friday we picked Moo up at her house and, by way of a café for some lunch, we headed for the train station near our home. The train station is on the hospital property which she found very impressive as this hospital campus has many large interesting looking buildings.

The train ride was a huge success. Her eyes were wide with wonder throughout and I was completely tickled by her questions and our train conversations. She and my husband spent the entire time talking about math and science in the form of how the earth turns on its axis while following its path around the sun. They then calculated together how long it would take Moo to run around the entire earth if she were running 5 miles per hour without ever stopping. Then it was Moo saying how what if everyone who lived on earth could fit on a train together and what that would look like.  It was all very cute to listen to and I always love watching my husband teach, the man is natural born Bill Nye the Science Guy when it comes to breaking down big topics for children.

After the train Moo had a long list of things she wanted to do. We started with her glitter sensory bottle. I learned how to make these because they can be a good expressive arts therapeutic tool. My sample is blue and when shaken up it reminds me of a galaxy full of stars, and as intended I feel calm watching all the beautiful glitter dissipate back to the bottom of the bottle. Here is a link that will walk you through how to make different kinds of sensory bottles if you are interested: DIY Sensory Bottle . I do mine a little different but the way it is explained in that tutorial absolutely works as well.

Moo loved this art project. She made a rainbow glitter bottle.

Once we finished we made naan pizzas for dinner and all sat down to eat together. After dinner we started on Moo’s big project. Moo told us over lunch that she wanted to make a book so that is what we did. I had told her over lunch to be thinking about what story she will tell in the book, and the girl delivered HUGE. I was so impressed. Moo has been writing stories for a while now. It started with her having me draw her a picture and then based on the picture she would make up a story. Then she graduated to making her own illustrations and stories. She has never been given the time, attention, or supplies to make her own book though so when she brought this up over lunch I wanted to make sure to empower her to follow through.

She told the story of Coral the Invisible Mermaid. Coral is a mermaid who lives in Coral Bay and is friends with all of the fish. One day Coral finds a magic necklace and makes a wish to be invisible. The wish comes true and every time Coral puts the necklace on she becomes invisible. Coral is then able to use this magic power to save her fishy friends when coral bay is under attack by a crocodile. Coral uses her power of invisibility to sneak up on the crocodile with a net and capture him. The book closes with Coral and her fish friends celebrating.

On the back cover of the book we did an About the Author, wherein Maddie wrote that she chose to write this story because mermaids are fun and it would be fun to have a super power and help people.

I was just so impressed with her and I know she was super proud of herself which is such an important feeling for a kid to have. Yes, it is nice when they make Mommy and Daddy proud but for a child to feel pride for themselves, separate from anyone else, that does so much for them.

The  next day we picnicked at a near by park we like and fed ducks before heading home. I think this was our best sleepover with Moo to date.

Moo art

I Like a Little Room to Wiggle

neil

Today my husband and I went to a lecture about motherhood; it was amazing. More about that later.

During our trip to and from the lecture we listened to one of our favorite podcasts, Startalk! with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Last night when we were driving home from my parents house we were listening to an episode where Bill Nye was the guest host, I love Bill Nye too but not quite as much. Bill Nye to me seems very literal, black and white, whereas Neil seems to allow a little wiggle room, more likely to embrace the gray. I like my science with a little wiggle. I like my everything with a little wiggle.

I chose an episode this morning about the dark mysteries of the universe. On the way home my husband chose an episode about the relationship between art and science. It was in the latter that you really saw how Neil makes room for the wiggle. He was discussing my favorite artist of all time, Vincent van Gogh. I share his enthusiasm for van Gogh’s works. It was interesting to hear him talk about it from his perspective as an astrophysicist. I was compelled to walk around our home and look closer at the recreations I personally own; I was able to see them in a new light.

Listening to Neil talk about science and art reminded me of how awesome it is when we are open to experiencing life in all of its intersections and overlaps and many many forms.