Self-Care through Nature: An Elemental 2017

Happy New Year to everyone…happy looking forward, moving further forward, and being more forward in 2017. I won’t take any time to reflect on 2016, because here we are, right now, right in the middle of January, and this is where we will stay as you read! Thanks by the way, for reading. You are awesome. You could actually be amazing if you sign up to follow my blog. Go up. And right. There ya go.

I would like to share my experience connecting with nature on a daily basis and how it has helped me make wiser decisions in my life. Simple answer-nature makes me pause.

When I pause I take a mindful moment, and when I take a mindful moment I listen. I listen to my gut. For some their “gut” might be simple logic, others perhaps a god, or for some like myself, may find their gut to be a combination of inner knowing, and gentle outer guidance from various divine sources.

Here is my version of connecting the elements of nature with our senses, and how this combined with a little self-care can be applied into our every day lives.

Earth=See=Pull up pictures of family or friends. Take a moment to reflect on good memories and looking forward to the next time you will see them. Find a piece of jewelry, an valued object or go outside and pick a flower you like. Look at it and see what about it is enjoyable from your own personal view.

Air=Hear=Make a music playlist labeled “now.” Play it when you feel stressed or you need to take time out. Pick songs that make you happy. Go outside for a sec. Listen to the wind. Listen to the neighbor’s kids playing. Or even the sound of the brakes on the bus.

Fire=Smell=Sweetgrass is my favorite smell in the whole entire world. It is invigorating and brings back memories of rolling on lush hills at the park with my father. Find a smell that makes you feel invigorated, or/and brings back a fond memory. Have it handy in your home or even in a purse, or a work bag. Give it a whiff as needed, or desired.

Water=Taste=Buy a water drinking device that you are excited about. I am not kidding. Whether it’s a silly mug at home, a large cup, or one of those fancy BPA free non-GMO gluten-free bottles find one you think is awesome. How do you like your water? Figure it out. I personally love mine with lots of ice first thing in the morning. Drink more water. Drink more water.

Lastly,

Feel=to be all four: You are a part of this Earth, parts of you are made from it. How will you take care of yourself knowing that this will reflect on our planet? You are Air with every breath you take and every word that comes out of your mouth. How will you enrich your experiences with the air of your words? You are Fire every time you feel complete love, passion, or even upset with something. How will you use that fire to create change in your life, and the lives of others? You are Water when you go with the flow and find peace with the waves of change. How will you nourish yourself enough to hold on to that center that is the catalyst for maintaining a healthy flow, and peaceful feeling?

It is my strong belief that nature is a simple, and hola…generally FREE way to have a healthy mind and heart. We go out to work every day and don’t listen to the birds, but we for damn sure hear them chirping when it’s 6:30am on a Saturday and we want to sleep in, right? Try listening when you leave for work. Take…one, two, three seconds. Count to 3 and listen. See how you feel when you go from there.

Go ahead and try some of these things sometime. Any time.

beachplease

Maggie xo

P.s. Thanks Mother E for your collaboration!

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Real Genius

I’m back teaching summer school

and my TA is a T.N.

Total. Nerd.

I don’t mean the cute Joseph Gordon-Levitt type. I  mean the kid who wears a shirt that has a periodic table with the quote “I wear this shirt periodically,” a joseph-gordon-levitt-02mouth full of braces, is as pale as he is skinny, and doesn’t know how to answer a simple question such as “Do you like working with kids,” but can go off on a tangent about the chemical composition of carbon dioxide in an alka-seltzer tab we’re using to make lava.       I am not even sure I know what that last sentence means.

He drives me crazy.

For 3rd and 4th period I teach a Chemistry in the Kitchen class to 1st and 2nd grade children. We basically put together  stuff that comes from the kitchen in hopes of the following:

1) An explosion.

2) An overflow of ingredients.

3) That it is something we can eat.

It’s a SUPER basic class, and because my specialty is reading and language arts I pride myself on having kept it simple for the last 4 years I’ve taught it. Now this kid shows up and does one or more of the following every day:

1) Corrects the terms I use like “pyramid” to “tetrahedron.”

2) Half cleans up when I ask him to clean up stuff. He only seems to focus on the immediate area around him, and not the entire classroom.

3) Spends 1-2 hours coming up with formulas for simple experiments I ask him to set up like making soda with a bit of baking soda, fruit punch powder, and water.

Let me touch on the last one and finally get to my point. Again this kid drives me crazy. He can be hardly helpful at times because he will sit at the back of the classroom writing out formulas or doodling pictures of the experiments he is supposed to actually ya know, be setting up in real life.

However, the day we were supposed to make the fruit punch soda I taught him something, and he taught me. After spending the first two hours of school writing out formulas and doing taste tests to see if there was a perfect scientific calculation formula thingy between the baking soda, water, and fruit punch he told me it was impossible to make the fizz without the drink tasting super bitter.

So asked him,

“Hey…did you just put the two into the water to taste? Like did you NOT calculate anything and just add in what you thought might work?”

“Um…huh? I tested a few samples from my calculations and-“

That’s a nope.

We went into the classroom. I put a teeny bit of baking soda, half a cup of water, and most of the fruit punch packet in the water. Voilà! Fizz, and a horrifyingly too-sweet drink any kid would love. He tasted it, paused, and replied “Uh ya that tastes pretty good.”

What did he learn? Sometimes its NOT about the perfect calculation for the perfect formula for the perfect result.

The real genius in life is understanding that sometimes the perfect result comes from an imperfect process.

Kinda like my life…

What did I learn? Patience. Although he drives me crazy this is a 14 year-old kid still figuring things out. Rather than forcing any ideas into his head I allow him the space to explore his position in our class in his own nerdy way. I also make sure to praise him highly in the occasional occasion his expertise come in handy.

I’m sure one day this kid will turn out to be just as cool as I am.  He will blossom into one of those confident nerds and meet someone who finds his interest in YouTubing Chemistry crash courses fascinating (this is a current hobby of his).

nerdblog2

and he’ll be just fine.

Maggie xo