Archives for posts with tag: empathy

I invite you to read this with an open heart and an open mind. It’s clear and beautiful…

The Beautiful Truth.

 

joyJoy a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

What brought you joy before having your child? Several parents I work with have difficulty with this question. “It’s hard to remember,” and “sleeping,” were the most popular answers. I see parents being run down, overwhelmed and turning to outside pleasers to feel good. Food, shopping and having a glass of wine. While I know these activities are socially acceptable ways of relaxing and having fun… they do not feed the soul, which means they are short  lived joy.

Waiting behind two Moms in a discount store.  It was close to the time to go pick up their children from school.  It was a medium sized line, and they were “high” on the bargains they had found. As the line got closer to their turn, they began taking turns to go get one more thing, run away and come back with a new score. Along with the time crunch of paying and having enough time to get their kids.  I felt the energy rising. At one point, the woman who was on the line, began grabbing things nearby looking at them, tossing them in her wagon, then taking them out, leaving some… Then she grabbed some chocolate covered almonds and went at it. The friend came back and they both began eating their eatable find until it was their turn. WHEW!

I knew these feelings, I know these feelings, and I am aware of the compulsive shopping and food challenges. There are many false feelings of fulfillment, joy, excitement, deserving,

“Outer joy is more like excitement, involving a quick flash of pleasure. It stems from either thrill or some animated feeling.” –WWW.PRAJNAYOGA.NET  This is an exact description of the ladies in from of me. The truth is, I can see this outter joy, because I spend many years only knowing of this joy.

Inner joy suggests contentment, contentment that is more refined than the quick pulse of pleasure.

What are the benefits of this inner joy?  Pshhht! Many! Here are a few:

  • Improving heart health, less risk of heart disease
  • Better overall health, (both in individuals and communities, to include families)
  • Positive thoughts flow
  • Emotional vitality: a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness,

Are any of these a priority for you?   There is no Dr., no shooting, no amazing bottle of wine that will help you attain this inner joy. Here are a couple of practical and easy ways, to insert joy into your day. Tricking the body into joy is REAL, and it has actual impact on the brain.

  • Start laughing, even if it feels weird
  • Look in the mirror and smile
  • Look in the mirror and make absolutely wacky faces (your kids or anyones kids will love it.)

Laura Kubzansky  “State of mind = State of body”

What awareness does this blog bring you? Do you resonate with it? Have you witnessed it? Are you that shopper?  Know this. You are not alone! I think we all have felt these shopping highs, purchasing impulsively or compulsively. We do live in an age where you can text someone hello, just as easy as you can buy airline tickets on our smartphones.. I hope your biggest take-away is awareness. Nothing has to change, nothing has to be done different, just an awareness of the activities we engage in. Your state of you mind correlates to the state of your body. 

Respectfully,

Shane

 

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

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…

Aloha friends!

As April is right here, we should all be aware of Autism month.  Every person that I meet and “what I do” comes up knows a someone with Autism. EVERY PERSON.  Today I read that 1 in 110 Americans are born with Autism and 1 in 70 are boys. These figures are amazing and calling our attention whether we like it or not.  Let today be the day that you become more aware.  Involve your children and let them know of children with Autism, even if they don’t know anyone…. yet.  Teaching them awareness is such a wonderful educational lesson.  People with special needs are all around and they are usually amazing people with a lot of great qualities to share.   A great way to teach your child EMPATHY  is to show/model this for them in a natural and organic way.  Carry groceries for an elderly neighbor, or someone who just needs help, recycle and explain why you are doing it, find volunteer opportunities and explain to your child you are doing this and not getting paid in dollars. Many children I have worked with when I was teaching, had these responses to questions about their parents working;

me: “where does your Mommy work”

child: “she is a Nurse”

me: “what does Mommy do at work?”

child:” Mommy goes to work to make money.”

Hmmmmm, this is a lesson that a child has learned that we work to get paid. Now of course this is true BUT in addition to making money a Nurse cares for sick people and people having babies etc.  If you teach your child the world revolves around money, well then, they might have a pretty sad future.  As we’ve all heard money does not buy happiness. I know there is never enough money to do EVERYthing I want and to buy everything (I think) I need.

Teach your child that happiness stems from our inner-selves. Reading a great book makes me feel happy, as does yoga, or painting a picture and framing it.  I have been notoriously happy by building something like a bookshelf!  This always reminds me of the children who are so happy when they build something in the block center.

In looking for guests to interview on my radio show, I have come across so many organizations that look for volunteers. I know there is “no time” for this.  Well I beg to differ, some of these volunteer opportunities revolve around recreational activities and children!  Imagine how good you will feel by getting involved with new people, (outside your social world) helping others and getting fresh air!  Guaranteed happiness, for sure!

Here are some events going on during April is Autism Awareness Month

April 1st The Empire State Building is lit up Blue as well as worldwide prominent buildings                                                                                                                    Your Beautiful Child Radio Launch Show @ Tribeca Grand 7-10pm

April 2nd – World Autism Day Wear Blue

April 21 FREE Developing Socialization Skills 6pm at Brooklyn Autism Center Register at Tcardenas@brooklynautismcenter.org

April 23 Adventureland in Farmingdale NY “A Special Night for Special Kids” Closed to the public.

April 24 Sesame Place – Autism Day

Ongoing events

www.keennewyork.org – participate or volunteer -Recreational opportunities @ no cost.

Drama Therapy group for teens with Asbergers call 212 414 5105 Meets @ NYU after school.

www.SNACK.com\- Participate or volunteer – Yoga, music, art etc. Meets after school and weekends

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