Saturday, June 2, 2012

I've Moved!

You can now find me at my new home here.

Please follow me there.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What Feeds My Soul/Spirit

As I write this I have the back door open to keep an eye on my boy who is digging in the dirt while the next door neighbors play basketball.  It is a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures in the mid 60s.  If only it would stay this way.

Awhile back I sat in church and in my little journal wrote a list of all the things that feed my soul.  I keep this journal with me almost all the time to jot down everything from a to do list to quotes to words that strike me in some way.

Last week I set aside some time while in my office at work to take my feeds-my-soul-list and find miniatures and place them in my sand tray.  (Incidentally, this sand tray was a gift from a former student who had remembered that many semesters before I had mentioned in a play therapy class how much I was coveting Eliana Gil's sandtray in her family play therapy video.  So very grateful for this gift.)  The ironic thing about this activity is I had just come from teaching about socioemotional development in infants.  It was another beautiful day but the air conditioning wasn't working right in the classroom.  I was nauseous.  Perhaps I should have just gone home, but I was determined to do this tray.

What Feeds My Soul/Spirit

All things creative:
music, drama, books, visual art

young children for so very many reasons

being in nature:
the trees, flowers, and water

sitting by a roaring fire,
looking up at the sky,
walking along a bridge,
listening to a water fountain

the beach:
the sun, the sand, the waves
finding shells
making sand castles

the grace, the freedom, the nurturing of birds and butterflies

fresh, local, organic food
sipping tea with a friend while having a heart-to-heart talk
I need to find a little table for those tea cups

be still.
my meditative like figure just seemed too big
so Gumby came to the rescue

The other two items in the tray were a bottlecap that said "play" and a knobby, colorful ball.

What do these things all have in common?
Taking the time to be quiet
to listen
to reflect
to be grateful
to remember what is really important.
To know we are all connected.


Monday, February 20, 2012

What I Believe with a Capital B

taken with my iPhone

Play, creativity, and self-expression in all its forms:
poetry, prose, storytelling, visual arts, drama, music, photography, dance, humor, and physical touch are the antidote to all the ills of the world.

They make us feel alive.  We are valuable.
They remind us there is beauty and goodness in this life.

It takes courage to play, be creative, and express oneself as an adult. 
We might be criticized.
We might be rejected.

But it's still very important indeed.

my daughter's doodle

Friday, February 3, 2012

Doing the Important Work of Self-Care

on my way to play academic at the library
all photos in this post taken with iPhone
I really must get out the dSLR
An update.

I’m still here.  Making important life changes.  It’s like going to the dentist.  You dread it but afterwards you are so glad you did, and if you put it off you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.  So much of these changes truly fall under self-care.  Like the commercial… 'cause I’m worth it.

This would also fall under practice what you preach/teach.  I’ve been teaching one or two sections of 30+ students in undergraduate Lifespan Development for the last 12 years.  For each stage of the lifespan the students learn about what to expect for that age physically, cognitively, and socioemotionally.  So here’s where this early middle age person is lately.
From Lori Portka's 2012 calendar

the wish for January
Physically—I get up each morning and walk quickly on the treadmill while watching something I’ve recorded on the DVR.  It’s usually the Colbert Report or The Daily Show so I’m also literally LOL.  Trying to eat better.   Less bread, sugar, etc.  More veggies and fruit.  You know the drill.  Smaller portions.  Eating less.  Not stuffing myself.  Have tried to change my work schedule so I can attend yoga and pilates classes at least twice a week.  My wish: to be strong and healty.  And if I lose several pounds, that'll be nice too.

Cognitively—I’ve been educating myself more and more about politics and our political system.  It seems quite depressing at times and I have fantasies of being some kind of activist and changing the world.  I’ve been watching Bill Moyers new show on PBS and recommend Tavis Smiley’s Poverty in America special.  My wish: never stop learning.
above the bar at the local joint
Socioemotionally—Hubby and I are trying to spend more time with one another and with friends.  Kids, responsibilities, and life can get in the way if you let them.  So this is an example of play for me.  Going to a movie (we saw The Artist) or hanging at a local place listening to live music.  Having long conversations with friends.  My wish: meaningful connections.
play related journals via Instagram
Play therapy career—Wrote another Mining Report for APT--I "mine" for play therapist intelligence and summarize it for other play therapists.  Was asked to apply to be on the ballot for the Board of Directors of APT.  Submitted 2 proposals to present at the next APT conference and was included on a third.  I enjoy presenting at conferences.  My wish: isn't it obvious? 

Work—planning my play therapy center’s 4th conference, supervising graduate students, teaching, attending committee meetings, seeing clients, and on and on.  Not much new here.

Spiritually--I try to follow #spiritchat on Twitter on Sunday mornings.  Virtual connections with people from all over the U.S. and the world.  They make me think and inspire me.  Some will even send me tweets throughout the week.  It's nice to know someone's thinking of you.

Here's hoping you're doing the important work of self-care.  And if you're not, what's stopping you?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Scenes from Around Here

From the last 3 (?!) weeks and mainly through my iPhone...

the kids

the bundle on fire on the Winter Solstice

A high school friend of mine gave this to me for Christmas many, many years ago.  I told her on facebook that I still have it.  She was incredulous.  And it seemed to make her happy.

My fortune after eating Chinese on Christmas Eve.
I could use a refreshing change.  We'll see if it comes to fruition.

I still don't get this shirt but it's what she wanted.

My boy was so very happy to get this.
He is definitely a unique kid.

Flew to Texas for a few days.  My 93-year-old grandfather was in town.

Found a street in the Dallas area with my boy's name.
He was excited to see it.

My boy thought we needed a New Year's cake.
Why, of course!

A new year, new calendars, a fresh start.

And here's to the first week of the new year!  Wonder what 2012 will bring.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Stream of Consciousness (Sorta) in Honor of My Birthday*

*These are my Morning Pages for today, January 5, 2012.  And I share them with you.  I say "sorta" in the title because they aren't entirely stream of consciousness.  I have gone back and edited them in a few places.  For more information about the practice of Morning Pages click here and here.

Dear Blog,

I know I have neglected you for many reasons some of which I may get into in this blogpost.  Today is my birthday.  When I was much, much younger I hated that my birthday fell on this day.  Right after Christmas, actually the 12th of day of Christmas.  People tended to forget or would give me a combo Christmas/bday present.  Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, it feels good when we’re remembered, when others think of us.  Someone cares for me.  Someone thinks I make a positive impact on their life.  (Thank you Stephanie for letting me know that I do!)  In the past, and still sometimes even today, good ole sensitive me has taken it personally when someone forgets.  My gremlins and insecurities start showing up.  And it’s probably just that people truly are busy or that remembering birthdays just wasn’t such a big deal to them growing up.  (In fact, last October and November were so crazy busy for me that I didn’t send out birthday cards or even acknowledge certain people on Facebook on their special day.  And I hated not doing it.  The first of each year I write out everyone’s birthdays on my new calendar.  It’s been a New Year’s ritual for me for quite some time.  So I at least saw their names and sent them positive energy out into the world.)
Darn, I didn’t want to go off on a diatribe about my birthday.  The point is that now I kinda like having a first week of January birthday.  While others are feeling the blues after the holidays, I have something to look forward to.  At the beginning of the new year and end of the old year I am reflective.  My birthday makes me really reflective.  And you may know that I’m already a very reflective type so I’m REALLY reflective today.  Not to mention that 2011 was an extremely difficult year for me.  A big kick-in-the-ass kind of year.  I had a few big highs but some even bigger lows.  The last half of the year I found myself in survival mode.  Even though I know that’s gonna happen at different times of my life, I. Just. Don’t. Like. It.  Not one bit.

So that’s one reason for neglecting the blog—survival mode on top of the busy holidays.  Most people love the holidays.  For me they are a lot of work.  I much prefer Easter.  But that’s another story.  So in my reflecting I’ve been thinking about this blog.  And one big thing comes up, the thing we all wrestle with—FEAR!  Fear of what others will think:  Bloggers are just self-absorbed and selfish.  Don’t they have better things to do with their time?  (I used to think these things about bloggers until I started reading some really good blogs.  And I’m so very grateful that they take the time to blog.)  Why isn’t she doing her real work (i.e., stuff for the College)?  And my own insecurities about myself:  Why would anyone be interested in what I have to say? 
And there’s the biggie that I know many, many bloggers wrestle with: how much of myself do I put out there?  What will people think?  Will I piss someone off?  Will I lose my day job if I say what I really think?  Will I be rejected?  What if no one (or very few) actually read what I have to say?  What would that mean?

Meanwhile, I’m aware of how we put everyday people (doctors, firefighters, mental health professionals, clergy, college professors, etc., really anyone who is in a helping profession) up on pedestals.  Not to mention what we do to our cultural and local celebrities.  I’ve also noticed within the creative community that I follow on-line how certain bloggers can be put on pedestals, too.  I know I do it.  I’ve got a few girl crushes.  Add the fact that I live in a small town, the “everybody knows your name” kinda town.  (Yet, there’s A LOT of good things about living in one.)  I really don’t want to do or say anything with this blog that would prevent me from helping others or hurt those I love.  Damn!
But then I feel I have SO. Much. I. Want. To. Say.  I'm not totally for sure why.  Perhaps it’s because I was so shy, quiet, introverted, and insecure for so many years.  So many years of keeping my mouth shut while thoughts swirled around in my head.  Perhaps it’s a curse (or blessing) of being a creative individual.  I have so many interests.  So much I want to put out there.  So much I want to express.

Then there’s the inspiration piece.  So many bloggers have inspired me.  It feels good to inspire others, to be liked.  Even if you’re not a blogger yourself, if you’re on Facebook and you get a lot of “likes” to something you post and it makes you feel good, you may have experienced what I mean.   I know a behaviorist would just call this intermittent reinforcement.  But whatever, I’m not a behaviorist.  I’m not into rats.  The principles of behaviorism can be helpful, but I am more of a humanist for sure!
One more reason I wish to blog or Facebook or tweet.  It’s about connections.  Sometimes I miss the depth and richness of the connections I once had.  Like when I was in college.  And then there’s things like grad school, career, work, marriage, and kids (you know—responsibilities) and you start to lose a part of yourself.  Plus I’ve moved far away from my college friends and don’t get to see them nearly enough. 

One thing I’ve been doing over the last year is making lots of new connections on-line.  And yet, I don’t care what anyone says about on-line anything, It. Just. Isn’t. The Same. as face-to-face, human interaction.  Yes, I know on-line is cool and helpful—you can connect with ppl all over the world and I've learned so much from others.  People may open up more on-line. Etc. But even if I can see your face on the web, I can’t truly feel the emotion.  I can’t experience physical touch or perhaps, even the energy of our connection.

Half my life ago I turned 21.  Remember when you couldn’t wait to turn 21?  A bit serendipitous for me today.

Okay, this blogpost is wearing me out.  I’m taking myself and life too seriously.  Time to go take my beautiful, creative, imperfect self out to play a little on my birthday.  :)

Hope you are making meaningful connections in your part of the world.  And yes, playing together is a great way to do it.  See, I had to add play in there!  And hug those closest to you.

P.S. I'm trying to be brave with this post and not experience what Brene Brown calls a "vulnerability hangover."

P.S.S. How could I forget this big high from last year?