Far Rock Enchantress Empowers Mothers of Special-Needs Children

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From being an exotic dancer, special education teacher, improvisational actor, parent coach, and self-described enchantress, Far Rockaway resident, Shane Kulman defiantly, and regally embodies — “everywoman.”

Kulman, a Brooklyn native, seeking the ocean, moved to a bungalow in Far Rockaway in 2015. “After living in Brooklyn all my life, I started dreaming of living in my own witch’s cottage near the ocean. A friend told me to check out Rockaway. After reading an article about local artist and former president of the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association of Far Rockaway, Richard George, I was immediately wooed,” Kulman said.

Kulman corresponded with George, and was won over by his love for the community and preserving the bungalows, not to mention the thriving artists’ enclave living there. Months later, she moved in. “I am now living in a redone bungalow, my little dream home in a community that has become my family,” Kulman said.

So how did Kulman go from exotic dancing — to working as a teacher with children on the autism spectrum — to improv acting — to coaching parents with special-needs children?

Kulman, who has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a master’s in Special and Early Childhood Education, explained, “Believe it or not, exotic dancing was the stepping stone that inspired me. For 11 years I was an exotic dancer. During this time I learned that men and children give themselves permission to play, when women don’t. We often feel that we are not enough or too much. I got to really enjoy being seen. Being a stripper for me was a celebration of my body, my face, my personality.

“I could have been suicidal. I grew up loathing myself. These feelings haven’t all dissipated, but they are less meaningful. So I believe that working as an exotic dancer for all those years was really symbolic because I learned many things about myself and others. I am a listener. I focus on and absorb people. I never used to disclose my past as an exotic dancer, but I have come to the realization that I learned a lot about people just from doing it. It was a invaluable time of inflection and reflection,” she said.

Kulman decided to continue working with others, but this time with children. She began teaching, but hated the conformist structure of the public educational system.

“When I was a pre-school teacher, I knew that working in groups was not my passion. I knew how more helpful I could be if I worked with one child at a time. So I left and started working with the agency, Variety Child Learning Center in their Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) program, which specializes in teachers who work-on-one with special-needs children. I worked with kids ages three to five, either in their homes or in their schools,” she said.

Kulman learned a lot from working with children on the autism spectrum. “I was at first taken aback by how some of them did not automatically like me, when throughout my career most children did. For example, one child just preferred to line up his video boxes, rather than pay attention to me. After a while I learned to relax and be present with them, not to push any agenda or specific goals, but to meet them where they’re at.

“Then these children started to trust me. I learned that speech is not the only way to communicate. There is so much communication in behavior. So when I was working with nonverbal children, I was able to join their world, and appreciate their little quirks, and together we had the best time.

“I worked with this Egyptian family who came to the U.S. for the sole purpose of getting help for their nonverbal three-year-old autistic child. When I arrived at their home, the little boy is jumping everywhere, staring at the ceiling fan, and I felt the mother’s longing, like please help me. So I started working with the little boy by first using the overrated Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) technique. Getting a child to do what I want, and then reward them with a cookie, is just silly, so I decided to just play with him. One day, I sprayed this lavender spray I had in my bag and the next day he looks at me and makes the psssh, psssh sound of the spray. No words, but he was asking me for the lavender spray. He was curious about me, not my bag of toys or artificial goals that were set for him.

“It wasn’t about me teaching him the color red. It was about connecting with him, relationship building that made him want to learn. Who wants to hang out with anybody who just harps on the goals you can’t reach?” Kulman said.

Kulman went on to open her own business, Our Beautiful Child, to work exclusively with parents and kids. “I realized that the crucial work was working with moms. If a parent is not working on developing their own inner strength, they pass on their own issues in a nonconscious way. Parents who realize the power of support will learn how to introduce behaviors that set a child up for success.

“Simultaneously while working as a parent coach, I began improv acting, which was so helpful. There were exercises where we were mirroring our actions and learning how to be present, and with kids, you need to be present. I was learning how to pay attention to my own physical behaviors and the subtext of what I was saying versus what I was really saying. If I say to a child point to the color red, what they may be hearing is ‘this is boring and annoying, just do it so we could be done already.’ Children, autistic or not, sense what adults are feeling, and as a result shut down internally. So sometimes it’s not about the actual words, but the subtext of what we are really saying.

“I met a lot of moms who were depressed and did not know how to handle their special-needs child. I felt like parents expected me to fix their kid. So I really got to be in the minds of mothers. I observed that they were not feeling empowered to work with their children. They were trusting everyone else to do it for them. I want moms to see their greatness, which ultimately will empower their children,” Kulman said.

Kulman recently opened in Rockaway another business, Enchanted Embodiment, to help women embrace their power and “live a badass life and stop putting ourselves down. We deserve to own businesses, have lovers, feel good in our bodies,” she said.  Enchanted Embodiment will be hosting a women’s retreat at the Rockaway Retreat House on June 16 through June 18th. For more information visit: enchantedembodiment.com

“This retreat will be a magical weekend to really dive into and celebrate the divine femininity, instead of going through life exhausted and blaming ourselves,” Kulman said.

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Super parent capeI recently did a Super Parent workshop in Brooklyn. It’s a school that always has a great turn out for my workshop. I was excited! I had my cape, my crown, my mask! I was ready to play, and play we did!

Over the years my talks have gone from straight up talking, laser coaching, Q & A, and information giving, to us ACTUALLY playing. If you know me at all you know how I believe in the power of improvisational acting.

This time it was wonderful! Parents gently volunteered after I invited them up to stand in front of the room, and play out their parenting situations. Body language and instinct took over and I saw parents getting lit up on how they see the same stuck situation in a new light.

Why is role play so important? SO, against popular belief, our minds are not our friends. You are never going to get your child to see the world through your eyes. Everything has changed and is changing since your thoughts an beliefs developed. SO you must be able to see the same situation with a different spin and a difference of opinion.

Your children are born with their own principals and you have  your own. Your child is a stranger. Yes your child is a stranger, a combination of different DNA than you, and born in a completely different time and space. So if you BE with them as they are strangers, you will have a new curiosity.

Role play is the safe container where you can see a difference of opinion and get some new answers and some new insights.

Welcome, to play land for adults. Try role playing at home with your friend or your parenting partner.

Keep me posted on your role play!
Love,

Shane

For more info on a Super Parent Workshop in your community, contact us!

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Interview by Abiola Abrams Contributor for The Huffington Post

At any point in time, we are all in transition of some kind. The idea of keeping a stiff upper lip and toughing it out on your own is thankfully becoming antiquated. If it seems as though there is suddenly a legion of life coaches and empowerment gurus ready to assist, it’s the same reason that there exists a legion of doctors, lawyers and teachers. They are needed.

Shane Kulman of Enchanted Embodiment is the author of From Anxiety to Ease, The Feminine Way. She is also known as the Enchantress. The Enchantress of what, one might ask. Apparently, she is the enchantress of moving past survival mode and into thriving mode with feminine power. Yeah! Shane’s business is helping women to boldly step into confidence and overcome stress in every aspect of our lives.

Abiola: Shane, how did you become an expert with helping women and stress?

Shane: I come from a long line of worriers. It’s the climate I was raised in. I had no idea I was stuck in my thoughts all the time, I had never heard nor understood the term of “being in your body.” Once I began learning the difference, my whole life changed. I knew right away if I could get past stress and anxiety, I could teach anyone to.

Abiola: I come from a line of first class worriers as well! When did you begin teaching women how to work with their stress and anxiety? 

Shane: I started out my career as a school teacher, and I got buried in stress and a low grade feeling of depression and anxiety. I knew that lifestyle wasn’t going to last very long. I got sick often and was in a constant state of worry. I knew I had to do something, I found Yoga for the Special Child, and saw how much breath and moving energy was a catalyst for changing how I was internally feeling.

Abiola: I find that the most incredible teachers and coaches are those who have overcome their own challenges. So kudos to you. Why are you so passionate about moving past stress and women? 

Shane: I’ve been working with women for a long time and I see this epidemic of stress wreaking havoc on a woman ability to live in a way where she gets to shine. Everyone has stress, women in particular hold on to stress in a particular way, that gets covered up with caregiving and overwhelm which can “hide” the anxiety and stress, but really the body suffers and eventually breaks down and then has lack of ease, which triggers strong emotions.

Abiola: Yes! When I was doing research on this for my last book, I found that in the 1960s feminist icon Betty Friedan called this “the problem that has no name.” Thankfully, we now have a name that is now commonly known. Where do you see the most stress coming from? 

Shane: Money, love, health and body image, and work. The pressures of being perfect, and of achieving and success so life “looks” a certain way. This creates an overall feeling of never doing enough. This triggers all kinds of insecurities and impacts the way a woman shows up in with her family, with her work, and most importantly with herself.

Abiola: In your new book, “From Anxiety to Ease, The Feminine Way,” you share many tips on how to move past anxiety in less than 10 minutes. What are your favorite strategies? 

Shane: For women it must be easy, practical efficient. My ultimate favorite is a dance break, it sounds so simple, and it can be! It can be a finger dance, or a sitting down bop around! Having a playlist that is readily available can switch a mood right away. Another is to give oneself a scalp and ear massage, this can be done anywhere anytime. Often stress comes from overthinking, and giving relief to where information goes into, is a major helper. My third easy and favorite is to tense your whole body really tight, clench, squeeze for 3 seconds then completely let go, repeat as much as you need.

Abiola: Yes! I am all about the dance break. What do you wish our readers to know if they are dealing with stress, and are feeling hopeless? 

Shane: I have a background in theater acting, non-violent communication, yoga, meditation, dance, authentic relating, mind-body movement, traditional therapy, parent and transformational coaching.

I would advise your readers to keep a running list of simple and easy actions to take that feel good and can be done immediately. Keep that list readily available. Also, always have “call a friend” available, a friend that knows how to listen and not give advice.

Abiola: Beautiful advice. Thank you, Shane.

For more information on Shane Kulman, visit EnchantedEmbodiment.com where she is currently offering private coaching and workshops on overcoming stress and stepping into self-confidence.

 

Childhood. Yours, your child’s and the combinations of them together.

SO in my work with supporting women in their sensuality, their parenting skills, creating realities they desire. I have a divide, Mothers and Non-Mothers. I see all women as women, as humans that cannot be “successful” while doing it alone. The biggest common denominators challenges between women with children and women without are:

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  • Self confidence (and confidence)
  • Self-doubt
  • Fear of not having their sh*t together
  • Fear of being seen in not having their sh*t together

Of course the biggest difference is women with children have little beings depending on them. SO is there a difference in the support they receive? Not really, all women need other women. The way our TV and society raised us was to compare, and compete. I find that this is still a thread in many women relationships. When there is competition and it’s unhealthy competition or competition that is extreme; jealousy can happen, as well as self deprecation. Parenting from a place of “I’m not a good enough parent,” “I don’t have my sh*t together like ______,” or working so hard to appear like you have your sh*t together, is exhausting and your children feel it.

Operating as a woman (without kids) it is just as harmful to compete and compare. It creates a scarcity mentality, “there isn’t enough for me,” “I couldn’t have ALL the things I want,” and the famous; “if only….”

UGH! It’s enough. No one has to live this way. I would say with all the work I’ve done with and for myself, I live in a non-competitive and non-comparative way for at least 70% of the time. Occasionally when I’m already being hard on myself, and then I scroll FB with that energy, everyone is living a “better” life than me.

If you are a Mom, I am here to tell you having the thoughts, and eventually actions based on comparison and competitiveness are felt by your children.

I see it when I work with children in their classrooms. Most of the comparison talk shows up in the Housekeeping or Kitchen Area in the classroom. Some examples I’ve heard recently are: “My brother does that better than me.” “My Daddy is stronger than yours,” “I get to do that also, you’re not the only one.”

Many children are naturally competitive, some are just mellow and lean more towards being in their own world.

A good way to address your child or if you don’t have children, your inner child. Is with a kind and open, neutral voice. More important than your words, is your tone of voice. That’s what your children (and inner children) hear. So how do you motivate your child/inner child?

  • Do you use punishment to motivate? “Do you want me to take your game away?”
  • Do you use comparison to get your child to listen? ex.”your friend Nick would never do that.”
  • Do you use your parenting authority? ex.”I am the parent and you do what I say!”
  • Do you use fear? ex.” Just wait until I tell your teacher/father!
  • Do you shame your child? ex. are you going to be the only child to not do their HW?

Your own inner child is how you parent, so again, whether you have a child or your inner child is one that needs motivation, here are a couple of languaging suggestions in your tone of voice; The tone is one of loving kindness

  • I care about you, and you will feel better after getting it done
  • I understand it’s annoying, and you’ll feel proud to show up
  • I love you, and am here to help you do your best
  • It would be easier to skip it, but you will be hard on yourself if you do

Our inner children of all ages, are alive and well, they show up at different times and at different angles. They have wisdom, so yes listen, but then tweak the tone every time.

Happy Parenting!

Love,

Shane

 

 

Use the smell of your morning coffee or tea to remind you to take some deep breaths to start your day. When there is global and national unrest, we all experience a nagging anxiety that just won’t …

Source: Double Down on Self-Care

Life hacks for parenting thriving children

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I am always looking for ways to improve the lives of students. I can’t walk into a classroom or a home without doing so. I have been privileged to be working in the field of education for the past twenty years. I became a Certified Special Education teacher in the late 1990s, right out of NYU, and since then I have problem solved and have figured out how to change instruction to reach all kinds of learners. I taught in New York City public schools, the private (Independent) schools, and acted as a field supervisor at Hunter College for special education graduate students. I have worked privately with families for about a decade. All of these experiences, and my insatiable appetite for learning how to improve the experiences for parents and children contribute to the ideas I’m about to share. My wish for you is that you learn ways to thrive and can empower your children to do the same.

Be informed.

Read. Listen. Find out information about child development and education. Learn about what happens in your child’s every day life. Attend classes and webinars. You don’t know it all and information changes over the years — so keep learning.

Observe.

Watch your child without judgement. What does he or she do? Be in awe of him or her. Watch before you input your demands or ways of doing something. See what he or she can come up with.

Ask questions.

Shane Kulman, this is my shout out to you. I’m taking her Mothers/Daughters webinar. It’s amazing. Take it. Shaun taught me how to better communicate with my children. State an observation and then ask a question about it. “I notice you didn’t check your punctuation on that writing, what’s up with that?” or “I see you are spending a lot of time on that assignment, can I help?”

Empower problem solving.

Also credit to Shane on this one, and so many awesome parents and educators who facilitate great opportunities to problem solve. Allow your child the opportunity to come up with his or her own solutions. Problems happen every day — sometimes every minute. “Oh, I notice you can’t find your socks, what should we do about that?” or “I hear you whining, how else can you tell me what you want?”

Require standards.

Goals and standards are paramount. I love telling my kids to employ “The Miele Way” — what is that? Well, quite frankly I made it up (don’t tell my kids), because to them it seems as though this notion is something sacred passed down generation to generation. When really it is a code I want them to employ in every situation. It involves being kind, generous, hard working, honest, helpful, and engaged. It means doing your best, even when the odds are against you. It encompasses making good decisions, being healthy and respectful. When you set standards which apply to your family, your child has the opportunity to rise to those standards.

Have skills for handling stress.

Stress will happen. The best plan is to have a plan for when it does. Families can practice mindfulness techniques such as breathing and meditation. They can engage in healthy habits such as eating well, sleeping well (going to bed at the same time every night), and exercising well.

Lead by doing.

Many children I know who are thriving have parents who not only teach their children to be strong students and all around great people, but also practice doing so in their own lives. Moms and dads who take good care of themselves at work, socially, emotionally and physically can demonstrate how to do so for their children.

Get support that works for you.

Everyone needs a support network and a way to access it. I built my career and business on providing individualized support — so it makes perfect sense to me that every family and every child will benefit from unique support. It is worth thinking about the type of support most helpful and also teaching our children to advocate for support when they need it. A new friend of mine and colleague was telling me that she learned she had a learning disability at the age of forty. I asked her how that was for her. She told me it was completely amazing because for the first time she could tell people how to give her information. For instance, when she was in a corporate meeting and people were firing off information, she would slow them down and ask for time to write out each step.

This is what we want for our children — to learn how they work and learn best and to ask those around them to provide information to them in a way which is best received.

Don’t accuse.

A typical scenario is for me to meet a family during a time of crisis. Something is not working and I have been called in to figure out what is going on. Typically, there are behaviors going on which elicit certain accusations. These accusations are common assumptions adults make about kids. For instance, “You have failed English(gotten a C), you are so lazy!” or “You hit your brother, you are so out of control!” or “You are so disorganized, you just need to get it together.”

I rarely practice black and white thinking or view points, but shame and accusations are on my big NO NO list for parents. Go back to the start of this list and do that instead — observe, or ask questions. When we assume the reasons behind our children’s behavior, we are not helping them to become problem solvers or empower them to make good decisions. Instead, by accusing our children of being something, we have closed their ability to communicate. And the feelings around this are bad and hard to overcome.

What can you do if you have accused your child already? If you are human, you’ve done it and that’s okay — what matters is what you do in response to your own actions. To me, the next step is simple (albeit humbling)— own up to what you said, and say sorry. “Darren, I’m so sorry I said that you were lazy and that you didn’t care about school. I actually don’t know why you are not doing well in English. Can I hear from you so we can figure this out?” or “Tony, I’m so sorry I screamed at you and said you were wasting our money in private school. I feel frustrated that you are not excelling there and I actually want to find out how I can help.”

Make time.

I work around the clock. It’s a crazy, hard (fun) job to run a small business — especially an education service business. I have a marriage, three children and myself to care for. I also have an amazing extended family and friends. I have to schedule in time for me to check out of work, to go out with my husband, to be with each of my children, to see my family and friends. I have to make time to go to the doctor, to rest when I’m sick, to exercise. The take a way here is to make time — plan time for work or projects, relationships and you time. You will demonstrate to your child how important it is to manage time to take care of all aspects of yourself.

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dd0Research and surveys from Mothers. I have been reading and thinking about the feedback, the answers about the worries and challenges, there are many and the most popular challenge is daughters (of all ages) “strong emotions.”  Don’t we ALL have strong emotions? I know we do, and I see how I numb them out. Numbing the strong feelings out with food and shopping are familiar to me. I see the fear in Mother’s about how to raise strong and independent daughters in our political climate today. It’s scary and I don’t have answers, I do have insight and ways to empower young and older girls.

I have been meditating on how exactly to support Mothers, along with manifesting, I have been beta testing a course on this very much needed support. This course is designed for 2 sets of age groups pre-school age and daughters 6-11. Seven steps to more ease and peace in stressful moments.

What I’m also learning is there is tremendous disrespect and power struggles that create patterns that Mothers can’t seem to get out of, and feel guilty about the way they are reacting. I have learned they also feel they cannot change the pattern because either their daughter reminds them of themselves younger, or their own Mothers.

I am excited about this course; Desperate Mothers ~ Defiant Daughters.

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It is a week course and includes Q & A, and is recorded for future reference.

Interested, please contact us, so we can see if this course is a right fit for you.

Love,

Shane

holiay-plateHow can you have a WHOLE family holiday? How can everyone’s needs be met? Everyone happy? Everyone well fed and relaxed? Is that even possible?

I’m introducing a concept of an ALL IN holiday celebration time. It starts with you, it starts with the person whose eyes have landed on this page. The concept of “making a child happy” is one I would like to explore.

Let’s start here. NO one can make anyone anything. Literally, if someone is making an angry face, no one can change their face.  I can see how this can seem true, but as parents, you actually “train” your child to be certain ways based on your behaviors.

If you say “it’s raining” with a somber tone, your child learns rain means, sad, or something low energy. If you live in the Middle East and it rains, it would be more like “it’s raining!!!” with joy and enthusiasm.

As women, we love control. When everyone and everything is “out of control” we actually have the power to pull in our energy and gain control, of ourselves.   This is key with children. If your holidays are with 10 people, 3 or 40, your energy and your disposition matters. Self care is critical at this time. It’s different. It’s different than the way you were raised, so it’s simple but not easy.

What I’m talking about is, taking care of yourself before taking care of your family. This does not mean to ignore them, or put them off completely. Baby steps, integration. Here’s the big secret, you are in complete control, they will adjust. They will learn how to take care of themselves by watching you take care of yourself.

I invite you to release yourself of being a servant, a martyr. If you are constantly serving your children, especially if they are under 8 years old, you are showing them the role they will play as they get older. I’m inviting you to witness your actions and behaviors, and to check in and see if they are a choice or an obligation or habit, and are they serving you?

I imagine a holiday where your whole self matters, all your requests and desires come from a place of receptivity, not doing and going and getting sh*t done. Imagine a “wholy holiday? What could that look like for you?

  • Would there be more creativity?
  • Would there be more music and dancing?
  • Could you include more unstructured activities?
  • Would there be more chill time?
  • More family games?

It might mean you say, “no thank you” to some invites, it might mean you do things different that you had growing up, it might mean that new challenges arise. Here is the good news, the impact of your choices create shifts for the next generation, your children.

Have a beautiful holiday season,

With love,

Shane B. Kulman, MS SpEd

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anxiety-coverAnxiety is awful, to me it feels like I’m on a roller coaster ride, I don’t want to be on, can’t get off and it’s never ending. Laying down is all I want to do, which makes me feel my heartbeat and in the stillness I’m more uncomfortable.  As far back as I can remember, I would wake up with my heart beating fast and my mind racing. There are times I knew why, and other times, I had no idea, and stories of dread would form, and go on automatic repeat.

I’m inspired to share my goodies, my tools and my secrets, to absolutely changing these feelings. I have the theory if I can do it, anyone can. This is not to say I don’t occasionally have anxiety, but it is so reduced, AND when I am full on anxious it never goes into a full on downward spiral.

I offer you action steps that lead to solutions and at the minimum some ease with the anxiety you are experiencing. There are many ideas in this book, choose what works for you. Create accountability with a chart or with a sister friend. Keep this book nearby, use the sight of it as a reminder, that you are not alone, you are never alone, and anxiety is the number one complaint of women. Right now in this moment, all is ok, (re-read this as many times as you need.)

This book gives you the foundational  into the basis of the work, to move away from the roller coaster of anxiety, the roller coaster that you didn’t wait on line for, the ride that you are ready to exit.  

These tools are a great starter experience. If you are interested in more, I WOULD LOVE to GUIDE and SUPPORT YOU!

Here is how this book works.

Bolded words = actions/tools to do on your own

Pink= Journal/workbook activities,

Let’s begin! – Take a deep breath, take a few more, and make a sound, or sounds, relax you physical body, stick your tongue all the way out and flutter your lips.

I welcome you with all my heart  and a deep knowing that if I can reduce and eliminate anxiety so can you.  You are not alone, as a society we are overwhelmed with information and tragedies. Right now all is well, and you are ok.

These are the biggest anxiety causes, we will work with them in this book.

Ø Money

Ø Love

Ø Body

While there may be other seeming causes, research shows these are the biggest. If you had to put them in order, which causes the most? I recommend looking at that section first…

All of what we feel, think and predict are results of our experiences and our conditioning. There is no way around it. What we heard as children helped create a blueprint of our belief system. Two things can happen:

Ø One complains and blames

Ø One can take action and stay curious.

If you are reading this, I imagine you are desiring to take action and stay curious.  YAY!!! This is your second celebration (your first was saying YES to yourself and getting this E book!) Being open to change is a major celebration. It counts if you feel like you’ve hit bottom and you have no choice. Some folks stay in that victim mode, with the “no-choice” feeling for a very loooooong time. So BRAVA! You’ve made it.

WANT MORE?!?!?! Pre-order now  (CLICK HERE) for $21.00 the book will be released in December!

Warmly,

Shane Kulman

Want to get inspired RIGHT NOW? Mamas read up…

artistmommylife

Today was full. Open eyes. Meditate and pray.  Pillow talk. Get my beautiful brown flower child ready for school. Make her favorite breakfast a pot spoonful of yellow grits and fried plantain with eggs like auntie Vu. Finish cornrow plaits from last night. Luckily, these will keep for a full week. Off to sweat cleanse and facilitate my physical healing. Hot yoga for two hours and a power meeting with a mentor. A  friend and visionary. Then project and event planning for the corporation. Check list stuff. Check. Check. Check,. Then the checklist that cherry blossoms into  more checklists that pour out like ghetto ancestral rituals. Then one errand and another pick up the child. We read and write, she asks “What does prioritize mean?” and I get a small token of being on the right path because after my succinct explanation she says in her four year old voice…

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