Tag Archives: mindfulness

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5 ways to embrace the spirit of Rosh Hashanah

At sundown on September 25, Jews around the world will begin observing the holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

Translated as “head of the year,” Rosh Hashanah is one of four, yes, FOUR, Jewish “new years,” and is marked is a time for renewal of mind, body and spirit. The holiday leads off a period of deep prayer and reflection concluding with Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement.

I have long found the timing of Rosh Hashanah to be more auspicious than the secular new year that begins in January. The timing of the holiday alongside the start of fall and, for many, the transition from a more leisurely summer to the busier days of work and school make it an ideal time for checking in on where we are in our lives.

There are many aspects of Rosh Hashanah most Jews, myself included, would find appropriative if those with no affiliation with the religion were to adapt, however, anyone, regardless of religion or lack thereof, all of us can use this time to set our intentions for the coming year. Note, these aren’t resolutions, such as “lose 20 pounds” or “earn more money,” but rather a mindful path toward achieving our best selves.

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Buddha Board brings mindfulness and creativity home

Throughout my life, I have used creativity to ease my mind, reduce stress, and turn off the world for a moment.

I enjoy oil painting, for example, and love how I can get lost in the mixing of paints and the strokes of my brush on canvas.

Oil painting, however, involves a lot of prep work, and sometimes, I don’t want to be bothered.

Sometimes, I just want a quick and simple way to express myself artistically.

Enter the Buddha Board, an art and meditation tool, I was introduced to a few weeks ago.

The Buddha Board enables the user paint freely using only water. No need to find paints or clean brushes between strokes. All you need is your brush and good ole H20.

After a short time, your creation evaporates away leaving a blank canvas waiting for your next moment of inspiration.

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Tech-free player helps kids relax and reset

My oldest is a highly sensitive child, who feels his emotions with deep intensity. When he is happy, he is exuberant, when he is sad, he is distraught, and, when, he is angry, he is furious.

My youngest is a go-go-go type of child. His mind is always wandering, he is easily distracted, and he often has trouble calming down and focusing on what he needs to do.

For both of my kids, I have found helping them be more mindful of their bodies, their breathing and their feelings, has made handling some of the more challenging moments of parenting much easier.

When either of my children are inconsolable, I often sit with them and breathe with them until they are calm enough to talk about what is wrong and work on a solution.

I am always looking for tools to assist me in encouraging my children to learn how to regulate emotion, and for helping them get into the right mindset for sleep.

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Exploring The Rubin Museum of Art with mindful intention

Editor’s note: This post is about my experience attending Mindfulness for Families at The Rubin Museum of Art. My family’s visit was compensated by the museum. All views expressed are my own.

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My two boys and I are exploring The Rubin Museum of Art, absorbing the various paintings, sculptures and architecture. We are tasked by mindfulness expert, Archimedes Bibiano, to move through the space, sans electronics, and take mental snapshots of whatever inspires us in the moment. There are no rules — only a time limit — and everything from the chairs in the cafe to the color of the walls is worthy of consideration.

My six-year-old wants to discover the sixth floor, so we ride the elevator up, anticipating what exciting treasures me might find.  We walk out on the floor, and we catch a glimpse of the floor below, which is visible from the top of the spiral staircase, which climbs up the center of the museum. From this perspective, my son notices a pool of water with wooden cut outs floating inside. He sees some visitors stepping from piece to piece and is eager to try this himself. Continue reading

Changing our morning changed everything 

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Difficult, stubborn, strong-willed, a free spirit. All of these words describe my oldest son. He is only four, yet he often pushes me over the line between parent and child. I am not ashamed to admit I have lost my cool on occasion. I have found myself sucked into battle after battle. I resented him for not being a more easy-going child. On many days, I was just hoping to make it to bed time before becoming emotionally exhausted and physically aching.

If you have a child like mine, I am sure like me, you looked for ways to change his or her behavior. You read the blogs, sought guidance from your own parents and shared your struggles with your friends. All have good intentions. Phrases like “positive reinforcement” and “be stern, but fair,” are constantly buzzing in your ear. You try everything to get your kid to change, to just be a little easier. To be like your friends’ kids. Maybe you see a change, and maybe you don’t. Maybe when things don’t work, you question everything you have ever done as a parent.

I was that parent. I asked, “Why me?” When it seemed like I spent day after day trying to reason with my son. I turned my frustration out on him, and that just made things worse. It was a horrible cycle leaving everyone tired and unhappy. I thought, if only I had more help, if only my kid was easier, if only I had more peace and quiet.

Something had to change.

That something was me.

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