Archives for posts with tag: caregiver

For the longest time, 8 years, my kitchen faucets temperatures were reversed. I asked my Superintendent  to fix this, but it didn’t happen, and I understood it wasn’t a major priority. So I adjusted. I knew this was the deal in my kitchen, there were some water burns along the way, and when I approached my sink, I had to physically and mindfully stop and think, “Ok this is supposed to be cold but it’s hot” and then turn the water on. Eventually I completely adjusted. It didn’t affect how I approached any other sink anywhere else in my apartment or elsewhere, just in the kitchen.

Recently I had a leak and the super not only fixed the leak, but also corrected the hot and cold knobs. I am now newly adjusting to this updated version of hot and cold. It’s not easy and once again I must slow down, physically and mindfully and only then can I turn the water on. Several scalding hot experiences later, I must  use this sink at an even slower pace.

Why am I sharing this? I asked myself; “what can I learn from this sink ordeal?”  Along with slowing down to do a task. I realized how getting into a known routine feels safe and comfortable. I adjusted to WHAT DOESN’T WORK. One perspective is: I can find the correctness in any situation, the other perspective is: Why do I have to adjust to what doesn’t work?

08-kitchen-faucetsI think and work on and with families on radically relating to each other. How much of our relationships within our families DON’T WORK, but we adjust and work around it, ignoring the issue or challenge. How many feelings and priorities are burned along the way? Why as a society is it the norm to act as-if all is good, when it’s not?

I see and know the difficulties lie in the idea of being uncomfortable. I myself like to be comfortable. Getting the family to open up and change (getting my faucets fixed) will bring some awkwardness, some strange silences, but most of all it will bring up FEELINGS. Why are feelings avoided? We disagree, we have the same conversations over and over, nothing changes. It’s easier this way, it’s easier to adjust, but it’s not healthy and it doesn’t promote growth.

Here are some ways to integrate change or growth to radically relate to family…

  • Give compliments – offer them in a nice tone of voice, don’t expect anything in return
  • Offer help – even if it’s turned down, the offer matters
  • Do what you don’t want to do –  when a “chore” or activity pops up with family, and it’s exactly what you DON’T want to do, do it. Breathe and get through it
  • Let there be awkward silences – if a family member constantly has negative comments, let them have them, no response is warranted. Being defensiveness never feels good
  • Create limits and boundaries – Your actions will be more powerful, talking about limits and boundaries can be passive aggressive, or received as ultimatums. Not everyone is ready to make changes
  • Receive – Being able to receive anything in a heartfelt way – Be aware when family members are “giving” you something, if you can find a way to receive it without judgment, it can create a moment of peace and appretiation

I wish you all the power to DO YOUR BEST, with your family this holiday season!

Happy NEW YEAR!
Shane B. Kulman, MS SpEd

People frequently ask me; Are you always happy? The subtext of the question sometimes has  annoyance or disbelief in it, “like jeez, your life is so grand?!”

Actually while I’m sure there is an intrinsic part of me that is naturally happy. The truth is, I have worked and continue to work on feeling my feelings all the time, (and they are not all happy.) It’s like anything you want in your life. It could be working out to get muscles, learning karate or knitting. Being happy (as happy as I am ) takes work.

What does work mean to you? Does it mean a job?  Work to me is: life’s work, working on my Self,  what I do to be real, grounded and present as much as I can.  My perspectives in life have now permanently changed, I have been trained, and now make choices  to keep seeing the light in all situations,  I am  responsible for having created this shift /change. My judgmental and negative thoughts absolutely come up, except now I know what to do with them, and overall they just mean less.

I know that every human being is powerful and has the ability to go deeper into their authentic happy selves. Everyone has happiness buried deep inside. Do you have the patience and energy to uncover your greatness? Time will tell, and so will your actions. The world is waiting, your children and family members are waiting. When your ready to open up and train in your own happiness, you need no ones approval, just begin your journey. Why not right now?

Namaste,

Shane B. Kulman

  • Why do you go on vacation? 
  • Why go to the spa?
  • Why do yoga?
  • Why go out and party?
  • Why excersize?
  • Why meditate?
  • Why pay for a massage?
  • Why go for drinks?
  • Why see friends?

The answer is: TO RELAX.

How much time, money and energy is spent on any of these activities listed above. Does it balance out? The time spent thinking and talking about relaxation versus the time and actions actually spent  doing it?

What if relaxation was easy? Would it be enjoyed so much? What if you could relax every day guaranteed? Would it be enough? If you didn’t have to save, and work and pray and complain about not having time to relax, would you want it anymore?  Your body would, and your mind wouldn’t. Research shows, as a society, we want what we can’t have and vice versa. If we don’t have to suffer to get something than we don’t want it? Isn’t that crazy?  When exactly do we learn that suffering will lead us to what we worked so hard for.

I am here to say NO. No to suffering, NO to working hard in order to achieve relaxation. If one has to work so hard, and so long in order to relax, how will it ever balance out? If  money has to be spent in order to achieve relaxation, there will never be enough money,   if we are always making relaxation happen with external activities, we’ll never be relaxed enough…

relaxandchill

How balanced is it when people count down 67 days until their vacation that lasts 7 days? It’s simple math. The answer is we MUST find ways to incorporate relaxation that comes from the inside every day. We cannot wait for others and perfect timing and specific situations to relax. It’s unfair to our bodies and minds.

If integrating relaxation could be a goal for everyone, there would be less high blood pressure, hypertension, physical pains, less traffic accidents, and less poor choices made.

There is a ton of research on how yoga and meditation are relaxing and beneficial. What if being quiet and still make you more anxious?  I use improv acting class to be loud and intense. What can you do to relax?

We can achieve full relaxation when our minds and bodies are connected.   If our body is physically resting, but our minds are thinking of what should be doing instead, we cannot achieve deep relaxation. This includes watching tv or hearing the radio. Any kind of input into our minds keeps our minds too busy to completely rest.

Happy relaxation… Taking that first action is the most important step.  Thinking about doing something and doing it are miles apart. It’s the physical action that counts.

So yes to vacations, massages, yoga and dance classes, yes to tennis, bowling hanging with friends etc. BUT also consider including relaxation that comes from the inside.

Here are some easy ways to find inner relax daily:

  1. exercise every day, get it done and over with in the morning, involve your children.
  2. write in a journal
  3. breathe into your belly and drink water
  4. self massage (neck, shoulders feet, scalp)
  5. take a bath
  6. turn off the TV and lay on your back in Shavasana
  7. give yourself a foot massage, or ask for family volunteers
  8. Pranayama * Conscious breathing

Happy Relaxation!

Shane B. Kulman, MS

How do you handle trauma in your family?  Do you watch the news with your children and then leave them to figure it all out on their own?  Are you talking about how you lost everything to the neighbor with your child standing next to you?  Are you trying to shop for all what was lost and buying new things out of guilt? Even if your home was not affected, are you letting this catastrophe be passed by without using it as a great lesson in empathy and compassion for your children?  Pass the salt, oh hey yeah that hurricane happened, whats for dinner?”

Like everyone else I sat and watched the news about Hurricane Sandy, and waited to see what will happen next, who is without and what favorite beach town was washed away.  I felt empty and lost, like what can I do right now to help?

What I also realized is they were not showing children responses and rightfully so, it would be overwhelming for the child. When I finally left my house, and got on the bus, I sat near a boy who was about 4 years old, he was talking to a girl next to him, he exclaimed, “I saw a fish on the sidewalk, and it came from the ocean!”  He said it really show and all big eyed.  It sent a complete chill up my spine.  It was the first child’s experience I was hearing from a child  of  his experience.

A recent guest on my show shared, “as soon as our lights went out, Emily (7 years old) demanded that the family dance!”  Seeing a catastrophe through children’s eyes is  interesting.  What effects them the most is how their adults around them speak, and act after the situation.

I found out via social media that I have several friends that, had monster floods and lost cars, a whole basement and in one case a whole house.

I am inspired to write this blog after I read one post from a girlfriend who I felt is a POWERFUL PARENT after Hurricane Sandy.

Here is an excerpt from what she wrote:

Still feeling overwhelmed and saddened by what we have been through going through for the last few weeks. Waiting on adjusters is maddening. Waiting to hear from car companies is annoying. But I took my boys to Bell Harbor, Rockaway and breezy today. I was amazed at their outlook on things. All they wanted to do was give toys to kids. Wanted to put smiles on their faces. I know we didn’t lose our home like so many others did but we lost a lot. The saddest part for me was the terror in their eyes when water started RUSHING in our home. It was filling up the basement at a scary speed. They thought they were gonna drown in their own home. Yet, when the dust settled, they raised money for others and wanted to put smiles on other kids faces. I am proud of my boys for many reasons but this really warmed my heart and made me feel as though I really am doing a good job with them. Thank you god for blessing me with my boys.” LCD Brooklyn, NY

So amazing!  Taking her children to volunteer in a neighborhood where the people lost more then they did, was brilliant, it helped put in prospective what they have is amazing, even if they lost toys and “stuff.” I am a huge fan of volunteering. Volunteering alongside your children is payment into the blueprint of the way they grow up. Its priceless.

Many people have suggestions on how to speak to your children about Hurricane Sandy or any disaster. Doing speaks volumes, speaking often confuses a child and doesn’t get the point across as much as the acting of helping a peer.

All the love and light to all the parents who are handling their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It’s not easy, but the ways you do handle your life teaches children what REALLY matters in life. ~LOVE

When you don’t know what to do, just look into the eyes of your child, they will tell you…

touched on this a little bit yesterday.  I think that, in general,  special needs parents, myself included, carry around a great deal of guilt.

More often than not,  the guilt is not warranted.  That doesn’t make it any easier to cope with though.

I carry around so much guilt for things that I know I had no control over.  Rationally,  I understand that but it doesn’t make the guilt go away.

I’ll give you an example.

I hear all the time from people how I’m doing such an amazing job and what a wonderful father I am.  However,  the truth is that I don’t see that.

I tend to focus more on what I do wrong instead of what I do right. I compare my short comings to other people’s strengths. Guess what.  I lose everything single time.

I would guess that I’m not the only one out there that does this.

I was thinking that we could all share what we feel guilty about.  Perhaps we can learn something and maybe,  just maybe,  learn to move past some of this guilt. Maybe we can gain some perspective by listening to each others reasons for feeling guilty.

I’ll go first.

I feel guilty because……..I can’t take away my wife’s constant pain.

I feel guilty because………we have decided that it’s best that we send away one of our children for residential placement. Even though it’s the right thing to do, I feel like a complete failure and that I have let him down.

I feel guilty because………it took so long for me to come to terms with having to send Gavin to residential treatment.  In that time,  my wife and our other kids have paid a very high price.

I feel guilty because……….I haven’t moved my family out of this neighborhood yet.  No one feels safe here,  including myself.

I could go on and on.

I imagine that some of you are sitting there thinking that I have nothing to feel guilty about. Am I right?

Logically I understand that,  however,  as a parent and husband,  I don’t always think logically.  Sometimes I expect myself to work miracles and when I can’t,  we’ll….I can’t forgive myself.

Having said that,  I am asking you to bare your soul a little bit and answer the following question.

I feel guilty because……..

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HA HA!

No really, proving that even the most obnoxious comment can be learned from.  Let us digress for a moment and think of what a tree does…

  • it grows
  • it provides home and shelter
  • gives shade
  • rooted in the earth
  • provides beauty
  • does not complain
  • open to abuse and negativity
  • can be decorated for holidays
  • it breathes in carbon dioxide
  • gives out oxygen

The more I think of this and write about it, the more obvious it is that WE as human beings are trees.  Just by being alive we are vulnerable, we cannot control anything. We can learn from everything that abuses us, or attempts to break our branches.   We grow, we can be ugly or blossom beautifully, we can be grounded, (not reaching for anything) if we work hard to grow, beautiful things will be attracted to us, and we will be able to provide.

Many parents I work with question “why was I given this child?” in many different ways.  Many other parents I work with are able to see the blessing their children they are.  I have heard “I hate autism,”  “I wish my kid was just normal,” “when will he snap out of it?”  When you plant a negativity seed, it will grow if you feed it, and you will be an ugly wilting tree.  In those moments of weakness when you begin questioning “why this, why that…?” ask yourself which tree you want to invest time in growing.  You should allow yourself all the negative thoughts you want.  By giving yourself rules about negativity will help you avoid becoming insane.

  1. Don’t physically act on it
  2. Allow yourself a set time to feel negative
  3. Find a healthy way to stop (journal, meditation, mantra, be creative)

Trees cannot hide, you cannot hide, trees must stand tall, you must stand tall and be proud, trees do not want to be cut down, you cannot run away from your child.

In the meantime as you continue to work on yourself and keep your branches “growing” and keep yourself learning about yourself, your child is watching you, they are feeling your growth.  You will attract other people who are growing as you are.  The best way to live is to have a community of like-minded people who make conscious decisions and who aren’t afraid to question everything. They will be open to listen with an open heart.

I went to Storm King Art Center this past fall. I saw the most magnificent trees ever.  This is an outdoor museum with colossal  sized sculptures.  I came up with a theory that these were the best trees growing anywhere because of the beautiful art that is surrounded by them.  Surround yourself with beautiful people, beautiful ideas and objects, create the life you can be excited and joyous about.  Your children can only benefit from the beauty you provide for them….

Namaste,                                                                                                                                Shane, founder of Your Beautiful Child

Aloha beautiful friends!

I am eager to share some ways  of chilling-out that you can incorporate in your life.  Your  child, regardless of their special need is constantly learning from what you do, so show them how to chill out!

Shoulder bounces – sit up tall in your seat, relax your shoulders so they are even.  Lift your shoulders slowly up to your ears and let them drop back down. Gradually pick up the speed of our bounces, until you have a comfortable rhythm.  The benefits loosen up the chronically tight shoulder/neck area,  teaches your child that movement doesn’t have to be structured or complicated to have an effect on your state of mind.

Tighten and Release Take one or two breaths, start at the top of your body and work your way down.  Inhale and squeeze your face as tight as you can, and then release all that effort with an exhale. Draw your shoulders up, hold them up for a beat, then exhale and let them drop back down.  Pull in your belly button as strongly as you can, hold for a moment, then let  go.  Clench your bum, thighs, calves, and your feet hold for a beat – and let go.  Once you’ve swept your whole body, repeat the process another time or two. Each time you do, you’ll root out more stress and tension. The benefits target the entire body and systematically release tension from every corner.  Helps you refrain from escalating the situation, and helps you actually do something instead of  just thinking or saying “I need to relax.”

Count Your Breath This is a great stress re-leaver when your running late.  When running late, which I am all too familiar with,  is the perfect time to let your self-importance to run out of control as well as beating yourself up.  Neither contribute to health.  Breathing in for 4 seconds and out for 8 will help to keep you grounded and avoid paying attention to the minutes as they go by on your watch or the dashboard.  This will re-direct your mind. The benefits of this exercise will get new oxygen into your lungs, recharge your brain with more oxygen and lower your blood pressure, which is probably sky high at that point.

Swim In Your Own Sea of Tranquility Locate the indentation between your breasts, about three fingers from the bottom of your breastbone. Bring attention to that area with slight pressure.  If your in public, pretend its an itch. Aim to take twenty breaths while pressing. Release gradually. The benefits open the chest and invites your breath to deepen which triggers the bodies relaxation response, helps regulate your heart beat, and calms the mind.

Seated Spinal Twist Keep both feet on the floor, take a deep breath, sit up tall and twist your torso, each exhale try to twist more. I like this exercise  while waiting in an airplane. You can place your child on your lap, or physically help them twist. The benefits of this are wringing tension of the muscles that support your spine, helping to prevent back pain. It stimulates the abdominal organs responsible for digestion and detoxification so you don’t get an upset stomach that will usually accompany stress.

Mini Loving Kindness Meditation So you’ve never meditated before?  Here is a great way to begin…. A screaming baby/child — screaming back only makes it worse.  Come up with a short sentence, or you can use; May the baby be happy, may the baby be free from suffering. Say this in a quiet and relaxed voice.   Find a rhythm you are comfortable with.  Use this with anyone, your Mother, your boss etc. Say it out loud or in your head. The benefits allow you to feel compassion, instead of hating the moment (or the baby) send him/her some love, you will also feel connected to the child/baby, and not just sit and suffer.

Elephant Swing is a way to beat feeling lethargic.  It’s fun and your children will enjoy the body movement. While standing about 2 feet apart swing your arms and twist your body, the key is to let your arms be loose as possible. Only your toes should point forward, otherwise let it all hang loose, and swing slow in a twist.  Elephants do this when they are nervous. The benefits are tremendous and loosens things up so the energy in your body can travel more freely around your nervous system.

Focus Pocus will calm your mind and relax your monkey mind;) Press between the eyes firmly. This is an amazing technique to show your child how to do. Depending on the age of your child, he/she can do this while taking a test in school. Closing your eyes and deep breathing will add to the experience. The benefits calm the mind, reduce anxiety and confusion and promote clearer, calmer thinking.  This is also used in acupressure to relieve headaches, insomnia and sinus congestion.

Legs Up The Wall Lay with your bum against a wall, and your legs up the wall, your body is at a 90 degree angle.  This will relieve stress and that “heavy leg” feeling. Breathe and relax here for up to ten minutes. The benefits are relaxing and energizing, your legs being higher than your heart creates a relief for your circulatory system and all the hard work it does.  Usually the circulatory system has to work hard to get blood from your heart to your feet, and now you will be helping this system run better! Your body will be thanking you. This is also reversing the effects of gravity, which is what causes wrinkles and varicose veins.

So start a practice of incorporating these steps.  Draw a beautiful sign of reminders to put in your car or in your house.  It’s not easy to start a new regimen, but if you remember how your body will thank you, and what an amazing role model you will be for your child, chilling-out will be common sense.

Aloha and thanks for reading!

Aloha on this beautiful NYC day!

Attached you will find several workshops that you should look in to and attend.

Besides just posting these, I would like to discuss why it’s important  to attend any conferences as a parent.  I pass on all the information to the families I work with and I can say about 90% of the time, they do not attend.  Besides the obvious reasons of great information being passed on here are some  other reasons to attend workshops/talks and conferences.

  • Inspiration to work with your child
  • New parent friends, who feel like you do/networking
  • Learn positive parenting strategies
  • Brainstorm old ideas into new ones
  • Freebies
  • Recharging with time away from home
  • Bonding with your mate
  • Bring a family member/friend=educate them about your child

A well known question that comes up is “who watches my child while I’m at a meeting?”  This is a great opportunity to introduce your child to a family member that is up for the challenge.  I recommend as many trials as your child needs to stay with another person.  Depending on the development and behavior of your child, begin slow.  Leave the house with the beloved family member or trusted friend for 5 minutes, go mail a letter, get something from the car etc. Upon your return tell praise your child.  By adding more and more time away from home, you are preparing your child towards independence.

It is an important lesson your child learn that Mom and Dad have time away, this will alleviate any spoiled child from always getting what they want, special needs and typical alike.  As I always say regardless of physical, developmental or mental disabilities, a child is always a child first.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.1&thid=12816651a1484495&mt=application%2Fpdf&url=https%3A%2F%2Fmail.google.com%2Fmail%2F%3Fui%3D2%26ik%3D2ad43f4bde%26view%3Datt%26th%3D12816651a1484495%26attid%3D0.1%26disp%3Dattd%26zw&sig=AHIEtbSI4FNBC5iWDIPUTNIxNL8ZjGWuNg&pli=1

Your child has an IEP, Now what? http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=115351888492473

Sensory Integration Talk http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=115212021840232

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