The Exorcism of Clenched

There is a young child I am working with right now that perfectly portrayed one night, exactly how I had been handling recent stress at certain points throughout my daily life.

He had a meltdown I could relate to on an almost spiritual level.

You see, I am this kid’s pusher. I am the one who celebrates his abilities while pushing him outside of his comfort zone. I am the one who changes the schedule when he gets too comfortable with routine. I reward him for taking risks, and I keep him going when he melts down with perceived failures. I am the one who plays with him, but also has to tell him it’s time get back to work. I surround him with love. I piss him off.

I make sure he is learning, and growing.

I am to him, what life is to me.

The night this was made clear I had decided to reward him after completing a non-preferred task with using “okay Google” on my phone. He was thrilled! He got to ask one question. He got to see the answer. We got to talk about it.

And then I put the phone away.

Tsar-Nuclear-Explosion

With a red-face, and body contortions so extreme I thought we might have to call a priest, this kid proceeded to writhe all over the couch. I stood there calmly, taking loud enough breaths for him to hear. After what seemed like an eternity later he slithered onto the floor and started to breath with me. He wiped his tears, sharply stood up, and with raised up arms he said with a smile,

“OKAY I AM DONE!”

After a big hug were able to transition to the next activity. He was done, but he was not finished. Realistically, his meltdown did not take anything away but a few minutes of awkward observation on my end. It was more of a physical release than anything else.

For most of us, surrendering to an internal struggle is the best thing we can do to release it.

When you are brought down by life it is okay to meltdown for a bit with the intention of repairing so you can get back up stronger than before. Make friends with your breaking point, and even go a bit nuts. If you are thrower-lover find something appropriate to further release the tension, if you enjoy exercise do a bunch of frustrated push-ups, or sprint down the street. Do yoga. Call a trusted friend to word vomit to, or if you are a writer like myself, pick up a pen and without judgement jot down what you are really thinking.

Do something with your body to support your mind.

Because guess what?

We are not robots. Even the most ultra spiritual person can’t possibly have enough sage to smudge away certain stress.  Who knows? You might find a vegetarian eating bacon on their worst day. Or the most poised person yelling into their pillow when it all feels like too much.

This is all okay.

We all feel, we process, we absorb, and we carry on.

This is what it means to be human.

Maggie xo

It is surprising how sane you will become when you allow yourself to go a bit nuts.”

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M.A.S.H.

I have a student at my work who is a little negative Nancy. She never seems entirely happy from moment to moment, nor easily satisfied. For example, one day we were coloring during free time, and she mentioned wanting to have her old teacher back. I asked what did she like about her that made her want be back in her class? She replied “Well she let me draw and color during free time.”

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Gotcha…

A few days ago it ended up being just us two girls and a handful of boys in program. For first period they all wanted to play basketball. Normally I play with them (grandma shots and all), but of course, my negative Nancy was unhappy that we all wanted to do something physically active…during physical activity time. She slumped onto a bench nearby and crossed her arms. I decided to see if I could help shift her mood.

“Have you ever played M.A.S.H.?”

I took out some paper from my work binder and gave her first turn. She chose potential jobs, number of children, pets, and “types” of future husbands. When it was time to count off she declared that picking a type of husband was the hardest part.

I might have to agree with her on that one.

When we finished the first round she was appalled at the job she landed. “Whyyyy did I get THAT job?!” Imitating her signature whiny tone I answered.

“Becaaaause, you CHOSE that job!”

Then, it was my turn.

Now this is where it got kind of cool. My girl initially picked some pretty mediocre shit. She had never played the game, and was understandably unfamiliar with how to fully engage it. So as my turns went on, and I had named a horse as one of my pets, “a wild warrior” as a potential husband, and one of my jobs getting paid to travel it started to sink in for her.
There were no limits.

What were her dreams like at this age?

Amazing!

We played back and forth for the entire period. By the time we got to her last turn she was clapping in delight, as she landed an “artistic guy,” a pet dragon, zero kids, and a job as an artist. When I asked if she thought these things could come true she shrugged, but then mentioned with a slight smile, “But it’s what I WANT.”

 Later that night I thought about our time together and how my turns went. The initial ones were more in the area of magical outcomes, more silly to reflect the lightness of the game to my Nancy, but also with a hint of truth to which I would not share with even the closest of friends. Sometimes children keep the best secrets. One turn midway I realized was what I thought I wanted, and the very last turn ended up being most of things I currently, really wanted.

Well, maybe I can’t have a pet wolf.

But perhaps one day I will have the opportunity to pet one.

Maggie xo

Saturday

My first thought when I woke up this morning was “I haven’t thought about anything to write for the Sunday blog post!” My brain has been a little mushed because this was my last week of work. No “See you in August,” or “Is this your last year?” This was it, and with that goodbyes were in order all week long. My mind has been consumed with memories over the last ten years with both my coworkers, and the students that have come through. I thought to myself to be kind, and if nothing came to me just skip this week and something epic will certainly come up for the following Sunday.

As I lay in bed-relieved from that thought, I finally gave myself a moment to really pause. I let it sink in that I was no longer an employee with a place that I linked a major part of my identity to. Reflecting on what exactly I would miss nothing momentous came to mind, but after a few minutes I realized why. I jumped out of bed straight to the computer, and wrote this in one sitting. It actually goes back to the very first post I made when I started this blog. Which I find compelling; because once again I have no idea what I am doing, but am continuing to move forward.

It was all the small things.

 It was the quick interactions and brief encounters. Like being able to run to my coworker’s house on break after one quick text because my pants had ripped in the back and I was unknowingly flashing our students. It was the five extra minutes another aide would give me to go down and grab a coffee in the staff room before they ran out. Being able to pee during lunch duty because another coworker was watching her students and would gladly keep an eye on mine. Given space first thing by the teacher to decompress because she knew I was going through a rough time, and crying every morning on the way to work.

It was the words of encouragement in passing from one of our speech pathologists when I was trying to lose a bunch of weight. The students who screamed, “HI MS. M!!!” waving in excitement from afar. The teacher who offered to let me lead her class in a lesson and she would watch my student because she knew I needed a break. The parent who replied “Ahhh of course, always helping others Ms. M,” when I told him I wanted to be a life coach.

Sometimes in life, all the small things add up to being one enormous, important, positive, and necessary big thing. It is the combination of being yourself, and going the extra something. Going the extra moment to compliment the cashier’s hairstyle when it’s all she has because she wears a uniform, the extra mile to drive your friend home who had one too many, extending a smile to a stranger in passing without expectation, or that oh so important extra minute of coverage for a coworker so they can pee.

I would like to leave you with this thought. As much as we might embrace the small things others do for us, and as much as we might do little things for the ones we love…what about you? What if you did small things for yourself? What if you looked in the mirror for a moment and smiled? Took a walk around the block because the sun was shining and you wanted to feel it on your face? Or took out a few minutes while the kids played to call a friend that always makes you laugh, and leaves you in a better mood?

What if everyday you did just one, small positive thing, for you?

Imagine what that might add up to.

I woke up this Saturday morning thinking I had nothing for Callavida this week, and while lying in bed I paused to tell myself that was okay. Look what came out of that one small, comforting thought.

smallthings

Magdelena xo

*Dedicated to my Foothill Family. All the small memories will keep our hearts connected.