Book Club: The Clinician as Neuroarchitect Part 2

Check out Part 1 first!

The doors for Sanctuary close on Monday April 22. If this work interests you, then come check out the program. Presence and self-compassion are woven into every aspect of Sanctuary. PLUS, we will practice how to find the time and then actually incorporate these practices!

Resources from this video:

Journal article

Dr. Dan Siegel’s work

Loving kindness meditation

Book Club: Inheritance Part 2

It’s just been so much fun to dive into these books with you. Here are the two writing prompts I came up with from the second half of Inheritance by Dani Shapiro:

  1. Are there things we know, subconsciously, before we know them? Why do we put of pursuing the truth or acknowledging what’s happened?

  2. If we are striving for understanding and healing, maybe we must revisit our stories time and again. What story of your needs revisiting?

I’m teaching a new, free class next week. It’ll be different than these Facebook live videos - I’ll have slides (ooh la la), be a tad more organized, and I created a beautiful workbook to go along with the class. If you can’t attend live you can sign up to get the replay. Get all the details and sign up: https://www.orchidstory.com/

This brave person shared her story with me.

Remember the prompt I sent out a few weeks ago: What is one thing that motherhood has taught you this month? Our friend Michelle wrote on the prompt and sent it to me! You guys - this is what I have been asking of you and one of you actually did it - YAY!! Please use Michelle as an example and try it. You don't have to send it to me, but if it's as awesome as I think it will be, I would love to share it. I really hope to add other voices to this newsletter on more of a regular basis. 


Questions by Michelle Small

The other night I saw something that just didn't seem right.  I ask, "What happened today?"  Silence follows.  I ask, "Did this happen at recess?  Who were you with?" She stares at me with her lips as straight as a line and her eyes completely glossed over.  I tell her I love her and I am only trying to help and she holds her hands up to her ears and walks away.  Exhausted, I want to just yell after her “Fine! Forget it!!”  I look down and there is my five year old, laying on the ground incredibly lethargic - an instant sign sickness is coming since he rarely ever is still for more than 20 seconds. 
 
I give my daughter some space for a moment while I try to get my son to get up and put on his pajamas, knowing tomorrow I will likely be taking him to the doctor’s office.  He refuses so I ask him “What hurts?”  “How do you feel?”  “Are you hungry?”  He stretches his arms out and whines, “Momma.  I want momma.”  I give him a hug and then he lays back down.  I let him lay there while I go search for the thermometer and check on my daughter. She is in tears and yells, “Don’t ask me anymore questions!!!  It is too hard to talk about it!!!”  

Reflection on my quest to help them both, I am realizing that asking a bunch of questions - a strategy that always helps me and also my students with their comprehension - is not always helpful.  In motherhood, I am learning, sometimes silence can produce the answers.  Sitting quietly with my son after taking his temperature (he didn’t have one at the time), I was able to check in with my gut feeling to know he needed to go to the doctor (he wound up having a high fever the next morning and an inflamed throat that needed medicine).  Since the blow up with my daughter, I have stopped the constant peppering of questions and wait for her to cue me she is ready to talk.  Amazingly, last night, she asked if she could read to me a part from a book she was reading.  This book is one I actually recommended to her and, for the first time EVER, she took me up on the recommendation, AND now she wants to show me a part she likes and connects with.  I feel like I finally have a win.  

I learn and grow by questioning, but I am learning that isn’t how my kids necessarily learn or grow.  It also does not seem to be a method to helps them to open up to me about what is going on in their lives.  For my kids, the more questions I ask, the more unwilling to share they become.  My daughter gets tense and stressed and my son just flat out ignores me and/or dances around (sometimes with underwear on his head) repeating my question or words in a sing song voice and refusing to answer them (He is feeling better today!).  

It is SO hard for me, but I am learning to look for those opportunities to sit in silence or just side by side, waiting for them to be ready to share.  I won't stop asking questions, but I will start pausing more before I do.  It will help me decide if the questions I am bombarding them with will produce the answers I am hoping for.   

Dementia Made Me My Mom’s Mom, And It’s Devastating. Here’s Why It’s Also A Gift.

Find something to hold in your hands.

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Another tough week here in America. Even for those like me who have not been directly affected by a natural disaster or a horrific act of violence, these events touch us on a deep level. We are trying to grapple with the enormity of these occurrences and we are also trying to figure out how to work through our own personal hurricanes and forest fires. Those that rage behind closed doors in our homes or consume our minds. 

How to deal with it all? We need to figure out how to be present. We need to figure out how to slow down. We need to figure out how to serve our community. We need to figure out how to speak up. We need to figure out how to find joy. And on and on.

It's enough to make anyone want to hide in bed or head straight to the freezer for the Snicker's ice cream that's lying in wait. (Or the kids' Halloween bags - I know you are with me there.) I know what works - get outside for a walk, write in my journal, find things I am grateful for. But there are moments when I can't conjure the energy even for these things.

So, here's something I did that's helping in these moments of stuck-ness; when I feel the raincloud over my head and it just won't go away. I bought myself something that I knew would make me feel good. We could argue that spending money on material things is not a healthy way of dealing with feelings. But I'm not going to. I'm here today to say that it might boost your mood to purchase something for yourself for the sole purpose of your own enjoyment. I bought Bella Grace Magazine, pictured in my photo. The images and words within conjure a sense of peace and spaciousness everytime I pick it up. It will surely not solve all the problems of the world, but if it can get me out of shutdown mode, it is worth it. I encourage you to find something that does the same for you. Because we have work to do. xo