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Creativism is Valuing Creative Living

Often, as I’m engaged in one of my creative projects for my fellowship’s community like decorating the Christmas tree or the Sanctuary for a fundraiser, people exclaim,”Oh Shalagh, you are so creative.” If you were someone who said this, thank you. But  besides giving me a compliment, what I hear them saying is, “You can but I can’t”. And this infuriates me

As children, we are free, and maybe even expected, to find out who we are and explore our understanding of the world and ourselves through creativity. But I’ve heard many people tell how they’ve had their innocent well-meaning creative aspirations crushed by a work-ethic crazed adult who deemed their talent “Not enough”. Everyone now carries this concept of creativity as only something for the elitely creative to partake in. That only people with talent are allowed into the “artist club” is just a load of bunk.Creativism is Valuing Creative Living on Shalavee.com

On November 18th, 2017, between 10 -Noon, I’ve volunteered to conduct a Creativity Workshop because I believe that creativity belongs to everyone and the benefits to our mental health are irrefutable. My personal experience of granting myself creative permission has resulted in an incredible decrease of my anxieties and an increase in self-discovery, self-trust, and self-efficacy. Creative healing is powerful stuff and is there for anyone regardless of talent.

I also join many in the belief that creativity, and not consumerism, will help the world to heal and shift. That each person is already creative in their own ways of living and doing, they just need to discover and be mindful of this creative element in their lives. Creativism is a state of mind that trusts the flow of life and the discovery of truth.Creativism is Valuing Creative Living on Shalavee.com

I am not the most talented person I know at the creative tasks I do. But I strongly believe that everyone needs support and permission to live their lives in more creative ways and discover what they mean to their world and their world means to them. We will hopefully debunk some creative myths, begin to bring possibility and hope back for some of our inner artists, and have a chance to create some real permission slips and badges we can take home as keepsakes.

It is my hope to get people excited about their own creative projects as well as create a support network of people for our creative endeavors. Sometimes all creativity needs is permission, a jump-start, and a maintenance program.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

 

Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are?

My daughter is just starting elementary school now in Pre-K. I am again besieged by notifications and permission slips galore just like back when Eamon was in Kindergarten and there was “homework”. See my recent repost of my piece Kindergarten Homework here. All sorts of good intentions being bantered back and forth between educator and parent about how to best raise/educate our kids.

Within a hunk of papers distributed by the school this week, a subscription newsletter from a parents-institute, I read this headline:

“Parents Must Encourage their Children to Develop Self-respect”

Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are? on Shalavee.com

( I immediately thought, Well yes, and what about those parents who already see educators as bossy jackasses thinking, “you can’t tell me what I must do with my kids because I’m not going to be bossed by smartass educational type people”. Shut that down.)

Of course I knew it was well-meant and read further. Essentially, children who are disrespectful don’t have any self-respect. Sometimes that’s what hides behind lack of respect for authorities. If we don’t value ourselves, we’re certainly not valuing others. And eventually the justice system needs to show us our worth. This is what the article said self-respect came down to being composed of.

Self-respect comes from:

Competence – Being good at things makes your kid feel good. Children need lots of opportunities to master skills and feel good about themselves while they do. New skills from sports to art to chores can give them a chance to like themselves while they master those skills. And no one standing over them telling what a bad job they did either.

Accomplishments – They need their progress seen and noted.By everyone but mostly by parents. See above.

Confidence – This can be about pointing out how all the work paid off and acceptance that sometimes we falter to succeed. Mistakes can be learned from and we need to know we can rely on ourselves to make things happen.

Freedom – Allow kids to be independent and make their own age-appropriate choices. Let them chose when things can be done and how sometimes. Showing them you trust them makes them trust them.

Support – Accept your children for who and what they are. Let them belong to the family instead of having to fit into your vision of what they should be. Ask them about their day. Listen and witness their answers and help solve their problems if they ask for it.

Imitation – Be the person you want them to model themselves after. They will do as you do. So if you have low self-esteem and anxiety issues, they will too. Be kind to yourself and stand firm for them with their demands as well so that they may see what standing firm looks like.

Does “Self-respecting” Describe the Parent and Self-parent You Are? on Shalavee.com

Invisible sword fighting

If you paid attention to even most of these, you’d have a pretty great kid. Personally, I got lost between the family cracks and did not have most of these attentions paid me but yes, I’m paying them to my kids. And then I thought, what kind of parents are we to ourselves? I feel like I can tend to be on the side of almost abusive self-parenting if I allow me to continue to berate and judge myself for the myriad of things I seem to do “wrong”.

What if we took these steps above and applied them to ourselves, which is truly necessary if we are actually parents because our kids do as we do, not as we say. What kind of parents do we want to be to ourselves? Compassionate and kind or judgemental and punitive?  Just like these children, we go out into the society and make our own contributions based on our self-worth and respect so shouldn’t we give ourselves these gifts as well to give us an edge up on our lives? I could use with a little more self-respect in my world, couldn’t you?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Kindergarten Homework

With our enthusiastic “Go get’em” faces on, we waved our son onto the number 14 bus bound for Kindergarten. Maybe September allergies made my husband’s eyes water or maybe it was his relief that our child survived being stuck at home with me for the past 5 years. I contained my giddiness as I snapped that fateful picture of him waving back from the bus steps. We were each about to learn what going to school and developing new systems meant to us.

The little guy loved school. Early in the year, I paid a visit to him and his 17 pint-sized classmates in their new classroom. I wanted to meet his teacher and to gather context for my son’s random, and sometimes jarring, disclosures of daily happenings. I’d been told she ran her classroom as smoothly as a Barney episode and I agreed after seeing her in action. She was generous with her praise and commendably judicious with a spastic group of five-year-olds. I felt my heart burst for all their sweetness and hardships. I wanted to wipe the pizza sauce off their faces and tie all their dirty untied shoelaces. And then I had to leave. Better her than me.Kindergarten Homework on Shalavee.com

Why was I surprised when the ridiculous quantity of paper began to flood our house? We got monthly activity schedules and cafeteria menus earnestly printed on green and pink papers followed by the “homework” sheets for the math and reading “clubs”. After a twenty-year hiatus, I had “homework” because it would take a herculean effort for my five-year-old son to list ten books we read in any given month plus their authors. Instead, he drew pictures for two books he liked. His reward was tattoos and bookmarks. I was rewarded with the return of these same drawings caught up in the paper river flowing from his “Dolphin” folder.

I absolutely loved my son’s drawings of primitive smiling suns and the stick people who suddenly had on pants because one of his bossy girlfriends proclaimed them necessary, although his stick figures soon returned to their original nakedness. And, of course, I liked the pictures where I was a part of the action. Sadly, only five percent of the rest of the book bag busyness consisted of these. Instead, I got glued, cut, colored, and constructed things of all sorts randomly based on holidays or nursery rhymes. Paper dolls tenuously perched on Popsicle sticks, sticker books, cereal cemented to construction paper, and drawings from his classmates. These barged into our home and tumbled out of his green backpack onto the kitchen table, sofa, and floor. And each and every loving one of these papers was suddenly and forever my responsibility.  

If I had kept every one of these suckers, in twenty years I’d have ended up on one of those hoarding shows, walking between mountains of papers and being buried alive under them. And, left up to my son, each little scrap of paper he’d ever put pen, crayon, scissors, or marker to was precious enough to keep forever. So, I smiled and nodded as I placed everything in the basket on top of the refrigerator, the paper avalanche repository. I had a secret stealth plan called The Purge, the goal of which was to land all the papers worth keeping into an out-of-sight place in an orderly fashion because the opposite of an overwhelming landslide is doable chunks.Kindergarten Homework on Shalavee.com

The three-step Purge system started with the placement of the papers in the basket atop the fridge. I then stealthily moved them to a drawer upstairs and, after being sorted essential from non, they would go into a portfolio in a closet. My theory was that if you were to mark the start and end of the monthly paper ocean with a ribbon marker in the basket, after a week I feel pretty sure the child would have forgotten about that hunk of stuff between the markers. There’s an official month of paper stuff to sort then. But out of sight means out of mind; I couldn’t let the child become an obstacle to The Purge.

Only when I was alone in the house, did I attempt to ruthlessly sort and cull this mess for the essence of my child. Parental wisdom must fight that guilty voice. One drawing of trees and kitties and a page of E’s are great but twenty of them are not. Into a paper recycle bag went the extras plus that which does not at all show the talents and charms of my child. I felt guilt-free when I pitched the gigantic paper penny, nothing against my man Abraham. And while I may have been kind and offered my in-laws the opportunity to take from the bag any art they may have liked, then Hi Ho Hi Ho off to the grey recycling container it went.

The final step was to create the holder for everything I’d culled. For his daycare artwork, I’d made a giant cardboard pita pocket portfolio and taped up the edges. It worked out nicely. Poster-board would work with packing tape seams. Certain well-known crafty people have made these attractive with fabric covered foam core and ribbon ties. I saved the pretty for later after I’ve mastered the simple de-clutter. This was the trench-work for the kindergarten homework clutter attack and it was all about biting off only as much as I could chew.Kindergarten Homework on Shalavee.com

I visited his classroom again that year. His lovely teacher and I spoke about educational mandates. All the busy work is still proof to the parents and legislators that the children are learning. And conversely, the clubs’ homework proves the parents are working with and reading to their children. She said if she had her way, there would be two recesses for her kindergartners (and 7 years later she would finally get that when she taught my daughter in Pre-K). Maybe there are too many cooks in the educational kitchen substantiating the price of their ingredients, but they’ll never pay this magnificent teacher enough. In fact, she’d been saving his “special” work from his year in a scrapbook she gave us parents at the end of the year. Why was I doing any of this when she’d had it covered? 

None the wiser for his mother’s devious deeds, my busy-brained boy continued to be overly stimulated as he dumped out his paper laden book bag. One day in March, he came home excitedly talking about Rosa Parks and Harriet “Tubb-s-man”. Apparently, he’d learned a lot about civil unrest and the Underground Railroad for black history month. They sang freedom songs, made paper buses, and discussed the mistreatment of the slaves. I was a little thrown by the sudden candidness of the subject and I commenced with a serious “discussion” about the ramifications of slavery and the inherent rights of all human beings to their freedom. After a long thoughtful silence, he said “Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s play slaves!” Nothing new there.

(This piece of creative non-fiction was one of the very first as I began to write on-line and Published on Divine Caroline, a writing site that gave me reason to write. I then began this blog a year later but never republished it here. This Kindergarten Homework’s grand edited revival.)

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

 

Feeling Your Pain Versus Being Your Pain

Since being a mother, I’ve had many “growth opportunities” to rethink how I express how I’m feeling about myself or my children. These are called AFGOs (another fabulous growth opportunity). Today, instead of yelling at and being impatient with my daughter for crying again for the umpteenth time about her pain which I perceived as nothing , I chose compassion instead.

Honestly, I tend to shut her down sometimes in expressing her feelings because I’m not allowed to. I am often blindly uncompassionate for myself. And her pity parties are so exhausting but she’s four and that’s what it is.Feeling Your Pain Versus Being Your Pain on Shalavee.com

When Fiona takes it to the next annoying level where she seems to draw her real identity from her “boo-boo”, it’s worse. She’ll milk injuries for drama-filled days and it’s truly annoying. Baths are miserable as even the thought of getting the boo-boo wet will throw her into shrieking fits of anticipated pain. My bathing duties are just too hard then.

So the other day, when I saw we were headed into a series of fits and drama over a perceived boo-boo, and that my usual tactics of “knock it off or else” were again not going to work, I shifted. I asked her if she thought her boo-boo made her more special and she said “Yes”. And then I slyly refuted that theory by explaining that her boo-boo wasn’t as exciting as how good she could write her name and set the table and make up cool songs. Feeling Your Pain Versus Being Your Pain on Shalavee.com

And I probably went on to say how all the people who loved her knew she had these marvelous talents too. And you wanna know how quickly that boo-boo didn’t hurt anymore? I shifted from fearing she might be someone who’d cut herself just to prove she was alive to gladly seeing her back as a normal little 4-year-old whose boo-boo suddenly wasn’t so bad after all. I just had to out think myself.

It seems a cautionary tale too about how we can be so used to an injury or a mental trauma from our childhood, that it becomes who we are. I recently outed myself for this very scenario using the past as an excuse to keep me from fulfilling my potential. If we over-identify with our pain, we become the pain. And I’d like to be a person who’s mending from my injuries, not someone who’s stuck a victim state for which nothing will ever make it better.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Hide and Seek : The Invisible Woman

The process of valuing myself and what I have to offer the world all comes down to visibility and on choosing whether to be seen or whether to stay the invisible woman. Fear of unspoken imagined horrors like public ostracization will keep us from coming out and being our truest selves. We’ll put on “I’m fine” shows for our perceived audience while all the while hoping no one gets wind that we are anything but fine. I am so guilty of that.

I’ve written many times about how I felt I was invisible. I couldn’t see myself in a mirror because I had no value. And then I came into the public eye online. And as much as you’d think I’d think myself so so visible now with Twitter and Instagram accounts and two Facebook pages plus a blog, I still manage to stay hidden.Hide and Seek : The Invisible Woman on Shalavee.com

I maintain my own status quo. I write three posts a week which may or may not be read. And I show up on Instagram everyday and repost that to Facebook, but I am still very hidden. Crazy considering the content I share is very deep right?

But I am holding myself back from risking more rejection to gather more readers. I do not care for playing the numbers and counting my followership. I care about providing real people with the real truth I have to give and hope that it will be of help to them. But if I do not reach outside my comfort zone and risk to write for a bigger audience, I am stifling my reach and my writing. I am choosing to stay invisible. And I think my message and many other messages in the world are worth receiving.

So, as with many of the moments when I find that what I am doing is no longer serving me but feel stuck against changing them, I am going to make myself a challenge here. A hundred days of visibility challenge. Yes, I’ll post for a hundred days in row on my Shalavee.com Facebook page about the stuff I’m doing to be more visible or tell the public telling things about myself. I will risk. And I’ll do it daily. I honestly didn’t think of doing this until I began writing this post so WOW. We’ll see what this does for me. I will start my challenge today so if you are on Facebook, I encourage you to find my Shalavee.com Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ShalaghblogsatShalavee/ .Hide and Seek : The Invisible Woman on Shalavee.com 

How does one be more visible you ask? Instead of doing constantly for others,you choose to do things for you and for the greater good and you own those self goals out loud. You ask for help for yourself claiming your worthiness in your community. You tell people about feeling scared or vulnerable. You show your imperfections. You apologize for your mistakes. Be truthful and see how quickly you are freed from your fearful bonds of the “what ifs”. You see yourself as being there for yourself and reliable and trustworthy to have your valuable needs met.

And you risk rejection in the places that mean the most to you if you win.

So here’s to not being the invisible woman anymore. Here’s to being read and celebrated and supported for my talent. Here’s to no longer fearing just being myself.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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