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What Do You Do?

What do you do when you feel lost? What do you do when you feel disoriented or confused? What do you do when you or your mind wanders so far you can’t find your way back to yourself?

When I was younger I used to try and muscle through those moments. I tried to pretend they didn’t exist. I tried to ‘fake it until you make it’, but then one day I realized that I was just running. I was running from myself and I was running from life.

That day I made a choice. I chose to stay. I chose to be present. I chose to explore what I needed to change so I could be present and make a difference. On that day, my life changed.

Now when I find my mind wandering too far, I stop and ask myself what am I avoiding? What do I need so I can approach life in a more present manner today? It is a simple question and a simple step, but it has made a huge difference in my life.

There are many ways to help you come more fully in the moment and find your way back to yourself. I personally turn to some of the ICWIB activities because they are simple, easy to use and very effective for me.

With this in mind, I invite you to explore some of the FREE ICWIB art activities and videos.

Since the ICWIB program has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to help even young children reduce stress, release bottled-up emotions, resolve internal conflict, and learn to self-regulate and place their mind in a learning ready state, I think it should be available to any teacher who wants to actively use it in his or her classroom regardless of their ability to pay for the training.

Would you like to hear more about how we are working to make this a reality?

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If you would like to read previous posts, you can find them under resources.

Restoring Your Inner Peace

When I was growing up, my mother often tried to end battles between siblings by saying, “Peace begins at home.” In those situations she was referring to peace in the house. I think the statement is accurate, but I actually think “home” refers to our body. When there is peace and harmony within us, we can effortlessly weather storms and also be a catalyst for peace in others. However, when we are stressed or out of balance the process becomes more difficult.

Mitchell Gaynor in his book Sounds of Healing states that “…illness is disharmony–either physical disharmony or mental disharmony; the one acts upon the other.…” Stress, or the lack of harmony, affects our clarity, creativity, health, and ability to live effective and positive lives. Since life is filled with so many external stresses, is there a way to restore inner peace quickly?

Yes!

Most people have at least one activity they like to do that helps them reconnect with themselves and reclaim a sense of inner peace, but is it adaptable or transportable? Let me give you an example: Lets say you discovered that you are able to regain clarity and reconnect with what is important or bothering you if you went for a bicycle ride. This is wonderful, but what happens if you are at work and something happens that throws you off balance? Your mind starts reeling, your inner peace dissolves, you lose your clarity, and you find yourself getting upset and maybe even reacting poorly. What can you do in that moment? You can’t get on your bicycle and go for a 10 mile ride—at least not until after work.

What you can do though is the next time you go riding, or do any other activity that helps you reconnect with your essential self and restore inner peace, is pay attention to what part of the activity is most pivotal. Is it the change in your breathing? The rhythm?  The stillness? The movement?  Physical exertion? One-point focus? Feeling of freedom?  Or is it something else?

Paying close attention to your body’s sensations and emotions while you are doing it can help you identify what part of the activity helps you move out of stress and back into clarity the quickest. Once you have uncovered that information then take that awareness and use it in situations where you can’t use your bike.

I found that movement helped me shift my mind-state the quickest. I also discovered that with clear intention, the movement did not have to be as big or as physical as when I rode my bicycle. It could be as subtle as moving my pencil, my crayon, or my foot.

Now when I find myself in challenging situations, I purposely move—even if only my foot or pencil. This relaxes my body, changes my breathing, and subsequently my mind clears. We can’t control life or the behavior of others, but when we are aware of what helps us maintain clarity we can respond to external events in a manner that doesn’t disrupt our inner peace and also helps us generate more peace in the world.

If you don’t currently have a simple and effective way to restore inner peace, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB art activities and videos for FREE because they are a wonderful way reconnect with your true nature and create inner peace.

If you enjoy these messages, Like us on Facebook and share it with others to enjoy. If you would like to read previous posts, you can find them under resources.

Do We Need to Endure Boredom?

Are you bored? Do you believe that boredom is part of life and you need to endure it?  Or are you aware that boredom, like confusion, discontentment, and frustration are signals from your body saying your current situation, or your belief about the situation, is not good for your biology.

Boredom is not something we want to ignore or teach our children to endure. It is more effective to look at what message the body may be trying to convey when anyone feels bored. Boredom often occurs when there isn’t enough, or the right kind of, stimulation to engage the brain in learning. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to increase the volume or quantity of stimulation. It could just mean the approach is not engaging.

When you hear someone repeatedly express boredom, it would also be good to realize that what he or she is really saying is, “Help, my brain is going to sleep or starting to waste away!” Benjamin Gottlieb, in his book, Coping with Chronic Stress, demonstrates that under-activity in the brain can produce a health risk by encouraging atrophy of nerve cells in the hippocampus––a region of the brain that is essential for spatial and verbal memory.

Understanding what it feels like when engagement is taking place in your body and mind is important, but how can we develop that awareness? The process is quite simple. Reflect on an activity that you enjoy and ask yourself what about it you most enjoy. Is it the physical, mental, emotional, or creative challenge that engages you the most? Then reflect on the situation that is boring you. Does it contain any of the same qualities that previously engaged you? If not, is there a way you could approach it differently so it would possess some of those qualities?

For me, physical motion is the most essential. I am engaged and the happiest when I am moving around. So if I am bored, or feel stifled in any way I always try to move my body. Clearly I would prefer going for a long bike ride or hiking but when that is not a possibility, I will pick up a pencil and scribble, doodle, or draw. The composition is not important. What is important is how the movement of my pencil and my fascination with what is emerging on my paper affects my mind.

When I was growing up my mother always told me that I needed to listen and follow instructions. Regrettably, she was telling to me listening to her, my teachers, and all other authority figures and doing exactly what I was told to do. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t. Not because I was stupid, bad, or incapable, but because my mind organized life differently and I had a very unique learning style.

I struggled for many years until I realized that this “one-size-fits-all” approach to learning was ridiculous!

Learning how to use my pencil to keep my mind engaged and relax my body changed my life! Now when I find myself frustrated, confused, uncomfortable, or bored I just pick up my pencil and in the process I uncover what isn’t working for me and what I need to change. This is exactly what both children and adults students learn to do in the I Create What I Believe! art program. With this in mind, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE.

If you enjoy these messages, Like us on Facebook and share it with others to enjoy. If you would like to read previous posts, you can find them under resources.