Archives for posts with tag: your beautiful child

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 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.

My husband has just kissed me goodnight, “Don’t stay up late,” he says. I tiptoed across the hallway to peek into my son’s room; he slept heavily with his mouth wide open.   It was 11pm and an array of fabrics, zippers, needles, pin-cushions, yarn and crochet needles flooded our living room table. I had nowhere to rest my cup of tea so I held it tightly and slowly sipped the sweet midnight fuel that sparked the creative engine that allowed me to work on my latest project. I was designing a new purse for my on-line retail shop on Etsy called “MadebyLuella.” Hours later, I pulled the sateen covers over my head and hoped for a restful four-hour sleep, yet deeply aware of the many roles I will play the moment I arise.

Motherhood has been the most important role I’ve undertaken since the birth of my son, Samuel, who is almost eight years-old. Just like other parents, we celebrated his accomplishments. My husband and I reveled when Samuel took his first steps at 2 ¾ years old; we rejoiced when he babbled his first word at age 3 and celebrated when he read his first word at age 4, hit his first tennis ball at age 5, and wrote his full name at age 6.   However, we have also faced unique challenges. Samuel has Down syndrome. When he was 5 months old, he underwent open-heart surgery and since birth has been under the management of numerous medical, special educational and therapeutic services. As the years progressed, I worried incessantly about his health, his academic performance, his social life, and especially his future until one day I had to worry about me.

I was already then in the middle of what I now know was a progressive ailment that affected my balance, energy and mood. Ironically, the day in which I came to a peaceful realization that I had to start listening to my body coalesced at an event called, A Day of Joy in Oct 23, 2011. Special Education therapist and parent empowerment coach, Shane Kulman facilitated this unique day devoted to mothers with special needs children. I had immersed myself completely into Samuel’s life, even neglecting the basic elements of good health such as eating well and exercising. Events from that day, which included movement, musical, dramatic, and art-making activities propelled me to cry out, “Listen to me, there is something amiss!”

Mothers perform their jobs so thoroughly that we neglect our plight and well-being as individuals. A Day of Joy had unleased moments of truth that allowed me to understand that I needed to address my physical, mental and emotional well-being.  It was a long and arduous process, but a year later, November 2012, at the age of 43, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects movement signified by the lack of dopamine production in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls motor function. Though there is medication to manage its symptoms, there is no cure. I grieved over this diagnosis in the same way that I grieved over first discovering that Samuel had Down syndrome. The things I worried about for Samuel were things I now worried for myself! I mourned the loss of my idealized future self. How was life going to be with Parkinson’s disease?

I learned early in the diagnosis to find the right doctor and experiment with different kinds of medicine to treat the symptoms associated with the disease such as rigidity of the muscles, lack of balance and the inability to walk properly. In addition, I learned to cultivate a practice of strengthening my body, mind and spirit.   A subset of that work focused on creativity, which involved finding a joyful activity that allowed me to carry peace everywhere I went.

The effects of the medication coupled with a positive attitude proved staggering for my physical, mental and creative pursuits. It was during this time that I re-discovered crocheting and painting. By February 2013, I was making scarves, by March a yoga mat holder, and by April, I crocheted fabric-lined purses. In the meantime, I was also writing my business plan for my project, Luella Adan’s artTalk. Immersed in this flow of creativity I learned to knit and embroider! By October 2013 I had also painted a series of mandalas, round images like flowers with intricate designs used for meditative purposes by monks in Tibet.

I found peace in the process of creation and received great fulfillment in the act of finishing one product. This creative journey was conceived as a means to assuage the effects my diseased self and it has impacted my life in ways I could not have ever imagined.   The hobby of making purses and painting mandalas grew into an obsession, which I turned into a constructive enterprise. In April 7, 2014, I opened my online-shop on Etsy, “MadebyLuella: Carry Peace Everywhere,” in hopes that I may find a home for each of the objects I have created.

Entrepreneur was the last word I would have used to describe myself in the past. The word connotes someone with a keen sense for business and deep knowledge of risks and profits. Recently I have come to understand the word in its original French interpretation, entreprendre – meaning “to undertake.” This definition encompasses what I believe is the key to understanding my role as both mother and entrepreneur.   It means engaging in any novel enterprise whole-heartedly, a process from which we discover and learn something new about our self and others.

Image

Entrepreneurship addresses the ways in which one undertakes the challenge of running a business but I will go out on a limb and say that we are all entrepreneurs undertaking the most serious business of all, running our lives. As the roles of motherhood and entrepreneurship intersect, I pose this question: How can one create an enterprise that will support, cultivate and encourage another person or entity’s needs while retaining one’s authentic-self intact?

I have always felt the positive impact that creativity has weighed in my life. Tonight, after my husband and my son are both asleep, I will reach out for that cup of tea to keep as my companion amidst the tapestry of notions displayed on my living room table. I will design and create the latest addition to my Etsy shop, and reflect upon the lasting rewards that will come from the fruits of motherhood and entrepreneurship.

This writer’s Bio

Luella Adan is an experienced classroom educator who honors various modes of learning and values meaningful integration of real world and classroom experiences. A passionate museum educator, she launched her own blog in the fall of 2013 called, Luella Adan’s artTalk, an initiative that promotes safes spaces for dialogue about art. http://luellaadan.wordpress.com/ Luella opened her online Etsy shop, “MadebyLuella: Carry Peace Everywhere” this spring 2014. http://www.etsy.com/shop/MadebyLuella?ref=search_shop_redirect   She is a staunch advocate for Down syndrome awareness, and currently co-chairs the Dance for Down Syndrome Fund Raising event which benefits programming at GiGi’s Playhouse, NYC. She resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Michael, and their amazing eight-year old son, Samuel.

My husband has just kissed me goodnight, “Don’t stay up late,” he says.  I tiptoed across the hallway to peek into my son’s room; he slept heavily with his mouth wide open.   It was 11pm and an array of fabrics, zippers, needles, pin-cushions, yarn and crochet needles flooded our living room table.  I had nowhere to rest my cup of tea so I held it tightly and slowly sipped the sweet midnight fuel that sparked the creative engine that allowed me to work on my latest project.  I was designing a new purse for my on-line retail shop on Etsy called “MadebyLuella.”  Hours later, I pulled the sateen covers over my head and hoped for a restful four-hour sleep, yet deeply aware of the many roles I will play the moment I arise.

 

Motherhood has been the most important role I’ve undertaken since the birth of my son, Samuel, who is almost eight years-old.  Just like other parents, we celebrated his accomplishments.   My husband and I reveled when Samuel took his first steps at 2 ¾ years old; we rejoiced when he babbled his first word at age 3 and celebrated when he read his first word at age 4, hit his first tennis ball at age 5, and wrote his full name at age 6.   However, we have also faced unique challenges.  Samuel has Down syndrome.  When he was 5 months old, he underwent open-heart surgery and since birth has been under the management of numerous medical, special educational and therapeutic services.  As the years progressed, I worried incessantly about his health, his academic performance, his social life, and especially his future until one day I had to worry about me.

 

I was already then in the middle of what I now know was a progressive ailment that affected my balance, energy and mood.  Ironically, the day in which I came to a peaceful realization that I had to start listening to my body coalesced at an event called, A Day of Joy in Oct 23, 2011.  Special Education therapist and parent empowerment coach, Shane Kulman facilitated this unique day devoted to mothers with special needs children. I had immersed myself completely into Samuel’s life, even neglecting the basic elements of good health such as eating well and exercising.  Events from that day, which included movement, musical, dramatic, and art-making activities propelled me to cry out, “Listen to me, there is something amiss!”

Mothers perform their jobs so thoroughly that we neglect our plight and well-being as individuals. A Day of Joy had unleased moments of truth that allowed me to understand that I needed to address my physical, mental and emotional well-being.   It was a long and arduous process, but a year later, November 2012, at the age of 43, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects movement signified by the lack of dopamine production in the brain.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls motor function.  Though there is medication to manage its symptoms, there is no cure.  I grieved over this diagnosis in the same way that I grieved over first discovering that Samuel had Down syndrome. The things I worried about for Samuel were things I now worried for myself!  I mourned the loss of my idealized future self.  How was life going to be with Parkinson’s disease?

I learned early in the diagnosis to find the right doctor and experiment with different kinds of medicine to treat the symptoms associated with the disease such as rigidity of the muscles, lack of balance and the inability to walk properly.  In addition, I learned to cultivate a practice of strengthening my body, mind and spirit.   A subset of that work focused on creativity, which involved finding a joyful activity that allowed me to carry peace everywhere I went.

The effects of the medication coupled with a positive attitude proved staggering for my physical, mental and creative pursuits. It was during this time that I re-discovered crocheting and painting.  By February 2013, I was making scarves, by March a yoga mat holder, and by April, I crocheted fabric-lined purses.   In the meantime, I was also writing my business plan for my project, Luella Adan’s artTalk.  Immersed in this flow of creativity I learned to knit and embroider!  By October 2013 I had also painted a series of mandalas, round images like flowers with intricate designs used for meditative purposes by monks in Tibet.

I found peace in the process of creation and received great fulfillment in the act of finishing one product.  This creative journey was conceived as a means to assuage the effects my diseased self and it has impacted my life in ways I could not have ever imagined.   The hobby of making purses and painting mandalas grew into an obsession, which I turned into a constructive enterprise.  In April 7, 2014, I opened my online-shop on Etsy, “MadebyLuella: Carry Peace Everywhere,” in hopes that I may find a home for each of the objects I have created.

Entrepreneur was the last word I would have used to describe myself in the past. The word connotes someone with a keen sense for business and deep knowledge of risks and profits.  Recently I have come to understand the word in its original French interpretation, entreprendre – meaning “to undertake.”  This definition encompasses what I believe is the key to understanding my role as both mother and entrepreneur.   It means engaging in any novel enterprise whole-heartedly, a process from which we discover and learn something new about our self and others.

Entrepreneurship addresses the ways in which one undertakes the challenge of running a business but I will go out on a limb and say that we are all entrepreneurs undertaking the most serious business of all, running our lives.  As the roles of motherhood and entrepreneurship intersect, I pose this question: How can one create an enterprise that will support, cultivate and encourage another person or entity’s needs while retaining one’s authentic-self intact?

I have always felt the positive impact that creativity has weighed in my life.  Tonight, after my husband and my son are both asleep, I will reach out for that cup of tea to keep as my companion amidst the tapestry of notions displayed on my living room table.  I will design and create the latest addition to my Etsy shop, and reflect upon the lasting rewards that will come from the fruits of motherhood and entrepreneurship.

This writer’s Bio

Luella Adan is an experienced classroom educator who honors various modes of learning and values meaningful integration of real world and classroom experiences.  A passionate museum educator, she launched her own blog in the fall of 2013 called, Luella Adan’s artTalk, an initiative that promotes safes spaces for dialogue about art.  http://luellaadan.wordpress.com/ Luella opened her online Etsy shop, “MadebyLuella: Carry Peace Everywhere” this spring 2014.  http://www.etsy.com/shop/MadebyLuella?ref=search_shop_redirect    She is a staunch advocate for Down syndrome awareness, and currently co-chairs the Dance for Down Syndrome Fund Raising event which benefits programming at GiGi’s Playhouse, NYC.  She resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Michael, and their amazing eight-year old son, Samuel.

%d bloggers like this: