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All of this is done through Love. A love that is unspeakable, unrequited, and unconditional. It all comes from that Core place called the heart. It is time to give to your heart, to only receive, and to breathe and purely be. You are a child too. You are loved and appreciated for all that you do even if you don’t hear it all of the time or enough. You are enough. You are perfect the way you are. You are perfect.

I have found this to be true as a child to an amazing giving mother. Not only is she a mom of two girls, but she is also a Hematologist, Oncologist. She is constantly giving and taking care of people who are very ill. When I was young, she would come home from a long day of work, and jump right into being there for us. We would sit as a family and eat dinner (when we could) and play and talk about our days. Then she always sat with me to work on my homework or art projects. Sometimes she would even stay up until 1 in the morning to help and still stay patient! She is a superwoman and I am forever grateful to her.

Even though I live across the country from her and am an adult, she is still as supportive, compassionate, and loving to me. I can’t imagine how hard it is to work two jobs and not have enough time for oneself. When I went to grad school for dance movement therapy, I didn’t know exactly what capacity I would practice it in. It wasn’t until I became a toddler head teacher that I realized both children and parents, (especially mothers) need time for themselves to relax, rewind, and express themselves. I found that one powerful way to do so is through the body. I am excited to provide mothers with easy tools that you can use throughout your day or when you go to bed to shake off what you don’t need, feel grounded in your feet, and bring your attention back to your breath which helps lower anxiety and brings your mind to the present moment. Simple tools that go a long way and don’t require anything but you and your body and a moment of silence. Of course, dancing it out to music always helps too! The more we care for ourselves and love ourselves, the more we can do for others!

racheal anne body

A Day of Joy

Who is the number one person that deserves a day of joy?

Mothers. A Day of Joy is an all day event with 4 workshops, lunch, and goody bags. Mothers get to spend a day playing! Dancing! Creating art! And most of all Relaxing. No talk of children, or schedules or what’s for dinner. This day is for Moms to recharge their fuel tanks…

The inspiration for this event came from trading stories with a colleague. While discussing funny things the children we work with do, we got on the topic of Mothers who don’t get to experience the fun. POOF! A DAY OF JOY!

Joy is what rules children. At the core of their existence, children have the capacity to experience joy every single day. As children get older and eventually become adults, they/we can lose our connection to joy, because of responsibilities, fear, judgment, self doubt, guilt, worry, shame etc.

Children experience joy naturally and spontaneously. It can be seen with a sudden skip down the street, a burst of laughter, or seeing a balloon. It’s physiologically healthy to be expressive and clear on what is felt and desired. Adults do not have the space or courage to let all this energy and emotion out, plus the police might be called or we could end up on the front of the local newspaper or for shame: on social media looking crazy.

Mothers’ are overwhelmed. I see the depletion of energy, lack of zest, and low emotional, spiritual, and physical states in Mothers, this is not the most worthy place to parent from, and children are directly impacted by this.

A Day of Joy is a day for Mothers to play and to tune in to their inner and outer Self. There are no expectations other than to show up on time, creating a sacred space. An important agreement we make at the start: “give no advice.”

Mothers attending A Day of Joy experience mind body connections that last in their lives beyond this one day.

I have witnessed women having soul connections, with no words spoken. Spontaneous laughing, hugging and dancing erupt. I have also witnessed Mothers eating lunch alone by choice, and really enjoying not being a caretaker for anyone else, free from any obligations and worries, even if just in the moment.

Mom’s reflect back on the day with peace of mind and disbelief on how good it feels to be free in their bodies and minds.

I know awareness reaches heightened states by having these experiences and opportunities. When some sadness, guilt, worry, bitterness, shame and sorrow get expressed, then real JOY has a place to expand. This kind of joy is the kind that makes life peaceful, makes the skin glow, brings blood pressure down, reduces anxiety and stress, and brings in hope and possibility. This kind of joy elicits the fact that no one is alone in parenting struggles. In place of stress and anxiety are thoughts of humanity, love, trust, compassion, and joy.

Bio: Shane Kulman, MS SpEd is the founder of Your Beautiful Child LLC, private practice. She offers workshops nationwide, as well as local women’s groups. For more information on Shane go to http://www.yourbeautifulchild.comjoy

How One Mother Learned to Find Balance and Joy (NY Metro Parents Magazine).

by Tiffany Caldwell October 16, 2014

One mother of a daughter with autism was going through a lot of changes in life when she found something that seemed empowering, new, and different. Her story, as told to Kaitlin Ahern, shows how a day of joy helped her release negative feelings and embrace the power of self-care.

watercolor woman

My daughter is 7½ years old, and she has autism. She was diagnosed a little over 3 years ago, and caring for and raising her is still a learning process for me. About six months ago, I was told she wasn’t progressing in school. The process of finding her a new school where she could thrive was stressful—it was like a weight, a burden on my shoulders. I live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and at about the same time I was having problems with my landlord and saw my rent increase dramatically, so I decided to give up my home.

I was going through a lot of changes in my life at that time, and I was open to something that seemed empowering, new, and different. So when I heard about the A Day of Joy workshop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I thought I’d give it a try. The workshop was presented by Shane Kulman, M.S. SpEd, founder of Your Beautiful Child, whom I had met at an Autism Chalk Festival in Prospect Park earlier this year (she is a beam of light!). Shane is a special education therapist and family coach, and the A Day of Joy workshop was meant to empower parents and caregivers of children with special needs, as well as the professionals who work with them, with a sense of self-care, self-love, and a feeling of community.

I woke up the morning of the workshop optimistic and excited to see what it was all about. When I got there, I found a small, intimate group of parents and professionals and noticed the positive vibes. We did some meditation, breathing exercises, and journaling, and we had open conversations. I felt like I really connected with people who I had met for the first time that day.

Afterward, I felt lighter, like I had just released a lot of the negative emotions we all experience—doubt, fear, uncertainty. And I left feeling like a new person with a different view on life. Since then, I’ve had good days and bad days, but I keep telling myself that in due time, everything is going to be alright, and that I just have to stay focused. I keep revisiting that day, and it puts a smile on my face.

I continue to try to find a balance between caring for my daughter and caring for myself. When she was first diagnosed, I was a total wreck and completely overwhelmed. Even sitting down for a few minutes during the day to take a breather made me feel guilty. I’ve learned over time that it’s not a crime to take time for yourself, because you need it—I need time to recharge so I’m able to take care of my daughter to the best of my ability. I know that if my child senses that I’m stressed out, sad, or overwhelmed, those feelings project onto her. Still, it’s hard to find that balance and beat down the guilt and doubt that rise up when I do something for myself. I try to keep in mind that I’m just human, I’m only one person, and as long as I put my best foot forward, that’s all I can do. I know I need to care for myself so I can be around to care for my daughter in the long run.

I’m still learning every day, from workshops and seminars and especially from the amazing people I’ve met along this journey with my daughter. As the parent of a child with special needs, it’s easy to feel lost, alone, afraid, and overwhelmed. That’s why it’s very important to reach out to others. You need people in your life who can relate to what you’re going through, and who can help you along the way. Everyone needs a support system and someone to talk to. It can be a lonely and challenging world, so it’s important to stay connected and know that there’s always someone out there to guide you and give you advice. I feel that the more people you’re connected to, the better off you are, because no one can do it alone. And like the saying goes, “it takes a village.”

Tiffany Caldwell is a Brooklyn mom, a mental health therapy aide, and a passionate advocate for her daughter, who has autism, and for the special needs community at large. She enjoys spending time with her daughter in the plentiful green spaces throughout Brooklyn and watching her child’s imagination blossom through art.

happy new year

Year after year, for most of my life, I would set resolutions for the new year, ways I will change, things I will start doing. These were typically things I never wanted to do, I was not consistent at, and usually failed at.

I found that setting these resolutions were just another way of beating myself up, keeping myself a failure.   I say setting a resolution of ACCEPTANCE. Acceptance of ALL PARTS OF MYSELF. Radical acceptance of:

  • my treadmill ignoring self,
  • my non-waking  up early self,
  • my always arriving late self.

Once I began accepting these things I considered what was wrong with me, GUESS WHAT!? I changed.

Have a precious beginning of this New Year. As dear friends of mine say, “enjoy this trip around the sun!”

I have been writing a book for a couple of months now.  I have never called myself a writer, although I’ve also been writing this blog for some years now, and have published a couple of articles.  Why do some people comfortably state, “I am a writer?”  Is it because they majored in it in college?

Did someone in school tell you, “you can’t write?” or “you have difficulties writing?”  Where are those people now? How important are they now?

I value the use of  THE JOURNAL, I’ve even been called a “born again journaler.”   Journaling was introduced to me when I was young, my Aunt Myriam gave me a journal to write in when I was mad or angry. I used it alot. I stopped, only to really come to love it in the last couple of years.  When I began to write I realized how judgmental of myself I was.  It made me realize how much self-depricating I did.  I saw I “felt stupid” and judged my writing and thoughts so harshly, and this was never going to be shared with anyone, just myself.

Children have been using journals for quite some time in school now. It’s a place they keep their work, but are they given a chance to write their feelings? Ever?

ImageUsing a journal as a parent is powerful. I recently heard that if you are a parent, your heart is always some where outside your body.  WOW. I heard this while I was traveling in California and practicing being present.

Is it ever possible to be present as a parent when you always have your child’s well being and health on your mind?

After the big tragedies with shootings, and the “small” ones locally happening every day. How is a parent ever to feel fully present, unless their child is attached to them physically?

I have friends with teenagers, they often talk about how they are always worrying about what their children are doing until they are home safe in bed. Yikes. I would be endlessly journaling if I had teenage children.

If your choice is a journal, a blog/vlog or actually talking to yourself;) Its’ great!  It’s healthy and very insightful.

If you are a beginner, you could start your writing   “I love and accept you exactly as you are.”  Louise Hay suggests writing it 25 times! I follow her suggestion when I need to and it works! So start!, write your:

  • stories
  • your feelings
  • your imagination
  • the truth
  • your wishes
  • poetry & songs

I find it a great healing tool, clearing space in your head for more ideas, and to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression…

Happy writing! And I thank you with all my heart for reading,


True Colors, Cyndi Lauper

I have been speaking with parents and educators of adolescents and teenagers.  And the consistent word I keep hearing is “control.”  Who IS in control?  Are the parents who pay the bills in control of their children?  I agree.  Are the children in control of their choices?  I agree.  The answer that is completely absolute and a fact is, we are all only in control of ourselves, (and even then we are not always.)  There are millions of variables that happen all the time, every second and minute of the day, which prove we are only in control of our own choices and actions.

The younger children I work and babies  make obvious choices and we are constantly concerned with what they want, and because they don’t speak, we verbally give them choices, and really respect their answers.  As children get older and start to use their own words, many parents back off.  They may take note of what their child is doing, but not talk about it.  Teenagers have real physiological hormone action going on that makes them a little nutty:) Lets remember our own experiences….  As a teen these days, there is amazing amounts of pressure on where to fit in, what material items you have and if you are cool enough… Remember now? Having flashbacks?  This is why we must be the super consistent ones.  Know that an adolescent and teenager will not help your self-esteem, and will not cater to your ego.  In fact they will do the exactly the opposite. This is why we (educators alike) must help ourselves and include mandatory feel good times for ourselves.  Here are some simple ways to show love to yourself…

  • Take a bubble bath
  • Write in a journal
  • Take a yoga class
  • Meditate/meditation class
  • Hang a love mantra in your home
  • Take a dance class
  • Attend a workshop about loving yourself/ or a satsang
  • Use crayons and color in a book
  • Read a book

You get the idea….

The positive effect that will happen is your child will see that you trust them to be alone or alone with another adult,  shows them you respect yourself so they should too,  lowers your blood pressure, gives your child a positive role model,  has your child  realize they are not the most important person, and most of all it gives you recharge time, so you can deal.

You may be the only one who sees your child’s true colors, support them in their time of need, even when they don’t want to admit they need you.

Find a way to enjoy everything…

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