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ONE RAISIN AND ONE MINUTE: ONE WAY TO MORE MINDFULNESS

 

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”   

~ Jo Walton
 
This post is not just about appreciating sunrises and sunsets. The question is: how present are we each day? How mindful? How aware are we of beauty, our senses, and all that we sense?
 
Consider this simple activity as one way to be more mindful.
 
You can do this in one minute. All you need is one raisin. Before eating the raisin, hold it in your hand. Roll it between your fingers. Examine it as if it is the first raisin you have ever seen. Then close your eyes and place it in your mouth. Keep them closed for the entire time you are tasting the raisin. Chew the raisin very slowly. Notice the taste, the changing texture, how your mouth fills with saliva, and more. Pay attention to all the little things you are experiencing. Give the raisin your full attention for a full minute, or for as long as you can, before swallowing all of it.
 


Let this mindful minute lead you to pay closer attention to some other things you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste today. Be like a child, full of curiosity and wonder.

Seize and savor this day. Every day.

 
With joy,
Charlene
 

PS – Try this another time, using an almond or other nut. Try an olive. What else might you use? Do this as a family and share your experiences. Talk about sunrises and sunsets too. Which do you prefer and why?

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HELP CHILDREN FEEL VALUABLE: THREE LESSONS IN STONES

“Thank you for helping me feel like a shiny stone instead of a plain old worthless rock,” said a third-grade boy in Tucson, Arizona.

An effect and reaction like that is what I hope for when I offer a polished stone to children in classrooms – adults in audiences too – after we discuss the message of The Twelve Gifts of Birth. If you’re familiar with the book, you know that the story, illustrations, and photographs help children of all ages recognize their inner gifts and feel valuable.

To anchor the message and help make the intangible gifts of inner strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love and faith feel more touchable and real, I use a bowl of stones in a show and tell way. You can do this too in a one-on-one way or with any size group.

When speaking with groups, a clear fish bowl is an ideal container. Fill it at least halfway with medium-sized polished stones of all varieties. On top of all the shiny and colorful stones, place a regular, rough rock, the kind you might pick up from a street, sidewalk, or hiking trail. For a one-on-one talk, a handful of polished stones and one rough rock is sufficient.

The bowl of stones does a good job of grabbing attention and stirring curiosity in groups.  I present the bowl after the reading, discussion, and the question, “Who feels valuable in this moment?” All (or nearly all) hands shoot up.

That opens the door for THE THREE LESSONS IN POLISHED STONES.

The plain rough rock is used to acknowledge that we all sometimes feel like that: plain, ordinary, maybe even worthless. The truth is that we are all like the polished stones. Like them we’ve been tumbled. For them it was in a machine. For us it is in life.  The keepsake polished stone is meant to remind us that no matter what we look like on the surface or what we feel like, we have strength, beauty, and other valuable qualities within us always.

The second lesson the stones offer is the beauty of all their various colors, shapes, and sizes. We too come in various colors, shapes, and sizes. No matter. Like the stones, in that way too, we are all valuable.

The third lesson comes from taking a very close look at one or any number of the stones. Upon close examination, we see little cracks, nicks, scratches. While they are indeed beautiful, strong, and valuable, they are not perfect. Neither are we.

And those are three lessons for all of us to remember for ourselves and to share with the children in our lives.

Parents, teachers, counselors, all readers who may use this activity in any way, I’d love to hear from you.

I’m guessing that a collection of colorful stones can carry other meaningful messages. What do you think of the three I described? What other life lessons do you see?

Toward dignity for all,
Charlene

 

 

 

 

WELCOME TO THE WORLD PROJECT IS LAUNCHED

Welcome to the World coverThe Twelve Gifts of Birth Foundation has launched a “conscious parenting” project that involves giving Welcome to the World keepsake folders to hospitals and birthing centers to pass on to moms of new babies.

The Welcome to the World keepsake is designed to encourage parents to nurture the inner strength, compassion, hope, joy and other natural gifts and talents in their children.

The folder includes a congratulatory letter, a Twelve Gifts Birth Certificate, and a Ways to Nurture the Gifts in Your Child mini poster with 60 simple yet powerful ways to cultivate self worth and positive character traits in children.

Both the birth certificate and mini poster Ways to Nurture posterare ideal for framing and featuring in scrapbooks.

Signed copies of The Twelve Gifts of Birth book are also given to the babies born on the launch date at each participating hospital. The project further includes a method through which participating hospitals can receive on-going donations from The Twelve Gifts of Birth Foundation.

The first institution to receive the Welcome to the World keepsakes is Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, Florida.

For more information about Welcome to the World and how to obtain the keepsakes, please visit www.thetwelvegiftsofbirthfoundation.com

Suggested ways to nurture The Twelve Gifts in children can be found at www.thetwelvegiftsofbirth.com

Launched with much love for all the little ones!

WHAT’S BEAUTY, NANA?

WHAT'S BEAUTY?Both of my four-year old grandchildren, Alexis and Anthony, recently asked, “What’s beauty, Nana?” It was after hearing the chorus of the song, I See Beauty.

I see beauty, all around me
Inside you and be
I see beauty.

I found it tricky to answer. What would you say?

It’s interesting that they asked “What is beauty?” because they will often say “That is beautiful” about many things, such as the sky, trees, flowers, rainbows… the natural world. Already a girly girl, Alexis also comments on pink clothing, shoes, and princess items as “beautiful.”

But since we’ve been playing the song now and then, I think that are starting to understand the essence of beauty itself.
The rest of the lyrics are helping:

I see beauty all around
From the sky down to the ground
in the flowers in the trees
Inside you and me.

I see beauty every day
In hugs and smiles that come my way
In everything we say and do
It flows through me and you.

Yes, The Twelve Gifts of Birth Music is a help. So is the book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids. Check them both out for the children in your life.

We can also watch for opportunities to comment and say things like, “Ah-ha. I see beauty right now in the way you are… being kind, helping your sister, caring about your friend, sharing your toy, being truthful, apologizing, forgiving…

As the song goes, let’s aim to see beauty everywhere, especially inside you and me.

I LOVE YOU JUST THE WAY YOU ARE

  kids for blog“I love you when you’re happy. I love you when your sad. I love your when your silly. I love you when your mad. I love you when your grumpy. I love you when your glad. I love you all the time. I love you just the way you are.”

                                            ~ C. C.      

Who is C. C.? Me. These are the words of a song I made up to sing to my grandchildren. When I do, they always smile or giggle and take in the loving like little flowers opening to the sun. And they ask for “more.” More ways that they can “be” and be completely loved. Like when they are scared, surprised, goofy, stinky, burpy…etc. They are three years old, by the way; so, in addition to being loved unconditionally, they love silliness.

Today I realized that I could sing this song to myself.

Sometimes I need to sing or, at least, say words like this to me. I need to truly let myself know that I am lovable and loved just the way I am, in the midst of anger, frustration, exasperation, sadness, feeling not good enough…

Do you love yourself when you’re feeling frazzled? Angry? Sad? Worried? All the time, no matter what? Or do you tend to love yourself only when you’re feeling great?

I think we can all benefit every time we pause and give ourselves a dose of unconditional love… when we love ourselves the way we love a small child… the way I love my twin grandchildren.

You can’t hear me but right now I’m singing this song to you.

May we love ourselves through thick and thin and all the ups and downs today.

May we aim to do this everyday.  

CONSCIOUS PARENTING (AND GRANDPARENTING): WAYS TO NURTURE THE GIFTS IN ALL CHILDREN

Reading to NewbornAll children are born “gifted and talented.” While every child may not excel in athletic skill, artistic expression, or academic performance, every child does possess the resources of inner strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love, and faith.

 

 

 

Poets, prophets, and philosophers have, for centuries, been pointing the way to true prosperity and successful living by using our inner gifts. We hear this wisdom in all of the world’s religions. We can even find guidance in fables and folk tales.

 

 

 

Consider the classic Sleeping Beauty story, for example. The princess, named Beauty, pricks her finger on a poisoned Continue reading