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Tag Archives: children

Plant a Healing Garden

Have you got a few extra feet of unused real estate at your home?   We transformed the unused boulevard in front of our home into a fun project for the neighborhood kids, planting a healing garden and installing a sitting bench in front of our home.   Creating the healing garden was a fun bonding experience that helped the children understand the beauty and power of nature to help us to heal.  Plants are after all, the the oldest medicine that exists.

Here’s how we did it:

Here’s all you need:  

One Flower box, approximately 5 feet x 5 feet.

A variety of plants with healing properties (see below)

Garden Markers

Paint & Stencils (we used the colors of the chakras)

Instructions:

1) If you are doing this project with kids, have everything assembled and ready to go before you engage the children, so that you have their full attention for things they can do, like planting and painting.

Preparing the Stencils

2)  Buy or build a simple flower box, or prepare a flat soil area for seeds and plants.

3) Talk to an expert at your local nursery about native plants that have healing qualities.  We chose these plants, based on availability at our local shop:

-Chamomile:  Most commonly used in tea, it’s leaves and flowers are full of oils that have natural relaxing, sedative qualities and it’s also used as anti-inflammatory for arthritis, rheumatism, etc.

-Aloe Vera: used externally as a natural astringent and emollient for the skin (and it has many internal uses as well!)

-Echinacea:  Used in teas, etc to increase the body’s immunity to colds and flu

-Sage:  the natural oils and tannins in sage have a variety of homeopathic qualities, including being a great antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic.  And and most likely anyone reading this website knows the power of cleansing the house (Smudging) with sage.  Check our article on how to perform a Space Clearing Ceremony here. 

-Lavender: Can help clear up headaches and calm anxiety.  Around the house, lavender is a good insecticide. Pouches of dry lavender put in the drawers among clothes keep clothes smelling good and can keep moths away.

-Lantana:  add to steam for a great natural expectorant, and the oils are also used as an anti-inflammatory in tissue healing

-Poppy: The California poppy has similar medicinal benefits to the opium poppy, although it is much milder, gentler and less addictive. It is even mild enough to be given to children. As an herbal remedy, California poppy tincture or extract is a relaxant and antispasmodic. It has been used to treat such ailments as insomnia, delirium, motion sickness, stress, nervousness, tense jaw and attention deficit disorder.

-Peppermint: Commonly found in everything from toothpaste to gum, sweets, balms and cough medicine, Peppermint can be used to freshen everything from your breath to your home. It’s also used to relieve indigestion, heartburn, allergies and more!

(This is just a short list, there are literally HUNDREDS of medicinal plants you can grow at home :  http://www.liveandfeel.com/medicinalplants.html )

4) Plant and water according to instruction.

The Planting Team. Princess Attire optional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Label the plants with your Garden Markers

Choose the team member with the best penmanship to create the markers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6)  Paint your plant box, make it fun.  The kids helped us designate “words” to describe healing plants, and we stenciled “HEAL,”  ”GROW,”  ”LOVE,” and “NURTURE.”

Stenciling our Healing Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young Herbalists

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) We paired our Healing Garden with a Bench the kids call “Sit and Be” and stenciled “SIT”  ”PAUSE”  ”DREAM”  and “BE” on the bench. The drawer contains small toys that we’re recycling for the little ones in the neighborhood.

Sit and Be Bench

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve transformed an otherwise unused boulevard into an art and education project for the kids (and big kids) on our street.

Do you use any healing plants at home?  Which ones do you find work well?

 

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On Children, By Kahlil Gibran

child bow and arrow vintage

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

-Kahlil Gibran (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) was a Lebanese artist, poet, and writer.

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A Blessingway: Shower the Mother-To-Be with Actual Blessings

The world is buzzing with the excitement of Kate Middleton’s royal arrival.  Countless businesses await baby details as fashion lines, books, baby products and toys all plan to launch goods inspired by the royal romper.

Now, more than ever, pregnancy is viewed in a glamorous and glorified light (as it should be).  However, much of the baby mania revolves around fashion, the latest baby products and nursery design.  We gather for baby showers and open gift after gift, often letting the tradition blind us to the very reason we have gathered…to shower the mother and baby with enough love and support to carry them through their relationship together.

A Blessingway is a Navajo Ritual created to spiritually support and empower the new mother for her journey of birthing and motherhood. In recent times, this beautiful ritual has been adapted as an alternative to baby showers, where the focus tends to be more on the gifts and the baby, rather than on the mother and her experience.  Support doesn’t stop with the Blessingway — mothers frequently pray for the mom each day until the baby arrives… or even light a candle when they hear she’s in labor. This support can mean so much to a laboring woman.

Most of the time a Blessingway is specifically for women. You should consider your guest list carefully. Invite only those very close to the mother, or those older women that she looks up to. It may be best to work on the guest list with the mother.

Here are some ideas from Natural Birth and Baby Care on how to structure your own Blessingway ceremony:

  • Prayers, poems, and blessings: a traditional way to bless somebody is to say a prayer for them, to write and/or read a poem for them, or to say or find a special blessing for them. Something of this nature is ideal for a Blessingway. You can ask each participant to bring something they’ve found or written to bless the mother.  You can compile the prayers/poems/blessings into a small, beautiful journal or notebook for the mother. If some prayers are going to be created on the spot you could record with a small tape recorder and later transcribe them to be given to the mother.
  • Every guest is asked to bring a flower that reminds them of the Mother. These flowers are used to make a simple crown for the mamma which is then placed on her head at the beginning of the circle, while everyone is talking and getting acquainted. At a certain point everyone can say which flower they brought and why.
  • Guests are also asked to bring an offering from nature like a small crystal, a feather, or a rock. These are offered to the Mamma and placed in  a box or on a special altar plate that she can keep to remind her of everyone’s well wishes for her during the birth.
  • Beads: A favorite Blessingway tradition. It is so simple and anybody can do this, even if they cannot attend the Blessingway. Have each person invited bring or send a bead that they have picked for the mother. The bead should be something the guest has picked with the mother in mind.  At the Blessingway string all the beads onto a cord for the mother to wear during labor. Many mothers have said that these birth beads give them strength and focus during labor. It is a powerful and tangible way to show your love and the community support that surrounds the mother.
  • Belly Cast: A belly cast is a fun activity that can be done at the Blessingway. Many mothers enjoy having a belly cast done. It’s a slightly messy and light-hearted activity that will bring smiles to everyone. It also gives the mother a lovely keepsake of her body full of baby. Later the mom can decorate the belly cast however she likes, or she can leave it simple and untouched.
  • Belly Painting: Another fun activity is to paint the mother’s belly. You can use henna paints or any non-toxic (preferably natural) body paints. The mother may have a design she would like, something of special significance. You can talk it over with the mother beforehand and decide what she would like. Henna paint may work especially well because it could last until the birth, if the mother wants.
  • Lighting Candles: Lighting a candle at the Blessingway is a lovely way to bring a sacred feel to the atmosphere. Or you can ask each guest to bring a candle to light during their blessing for the mother. Afterwards each guest will take her candle home and light it when she hears the mother is in labor.
  • Washing Feet and Brushing Hair: Washing a mother’s feet in warm water gently scented by essential oils is a lovely way to show support for her. Many mothers also love to have their hair brushed. This feminine activity is very soothing and empowering to the mother.
  • Make “Help” Lists: Though not truly part of the ceremony, you should consider having each guest write down a meal that they are committed to bringing for the mother after her baby is born. Alternately each guest can bring a pre-made frozen meal, if the mother has space in her freezer. Each guest should also sign up for a period of housework in the days after the baby is born.  You will be amazed how much this simple gift of food and time will bless the mother and her child. It is a gift given with a servant’s heart, and it brings peace, love, and joy to the new family.
  • You or another guest take responsibility for organizing and overseeing the help. The mother shouldn’t have to do anything. At the Blessingway tell her of your plans and assure her you have it all taken care of.

Creating this sacred space of honor and blessings is something the child or mother will never outgrow. Create a meaningful passage for your next little soul.  Life is about supporting one another, and what better way to start than at the beginning.

If you enjoyed this article, you will also like: “3 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Live Their Life Purpose”. 

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The Young Deer Whisperer

This is the latest in viral inspiration (and adorableness) brought to you by a little girl named Maya and her friend, a cute and curious fawn.

Maya was playing in her family’s yard when suddenly a baby deer appeared. He immediately approached Maya with trust and affection.  She made the little fawn feel safe and eventually led him back to the woods where his mom was waiting… an incredibly touching moment where two innocents connect.

The Deer Whisperer:

If you enjoyed this video, you will also like: “10 Reasons Kids are the Best Teachers“. 

(If you did not enjoy this video, you need to check your pulse and this article).  

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10 Reasons Kids Are the Best Teachers

Their bold ideas, wild creativity and unlimited optimism are just some of the characteristics our little ones freely display to us on a daily basis.  Here are 10 additional reasons to consider life with a child a continued learning experience:

1) Children embody “lightness”. They are not heavy with seriousness and rarely intense.  Life is a carefree breeze to be thoroughly enjoyed.

2) Children are present.  Like animals, children are not aware of the past, the future or consequences. Their attention, focus, and action is only in the “now.”

3) They BELIEVE.  And not just in the Tooth Fairy or Santa, but also in their own, personal power. They certainly can fly.  Why not? Of course they will grow up to be an astronaut.  Why wouldn’t they? They have not yet absorbed societal perceptions. No one has ruined bliss-based thinking for them yet.

4) Their love of PLAY.  One day I asked my daughter what the most special thing was about her “Papa”, and she said, “He just understands kids, mom. He knows all we really wanna do is play, and what’s wrong with that?”

5) FREEDOM.  Kids live a world where they are freely (and unapologetically) able to be themselves.  They tell it like it is. Sometimes it’s hard not to censor them. We move away from pointing out that someone is ‘fat’ by saying that they are ‘a bit unhealthy’.

6) Discovery.  EVERYTHING is interesting. Especially butterflies, flowers, dirt, sticks and rocks.  The world is a fascinating place and we often overlook its wonders.

7) Unbiased LOVE. It’s true that even an abused child loves their mother. Children are naturally empathetic and affectionate. Their unbridled honesty and unawareness of motives assures you their love is as authentic as it comes. They run to you with good news and trust you with their deepest fears.

8) Self-Value. Kids remind us we are perfect, worthy and special beings…just the way we are. They admire us so much, they desire more and more time with us. They are proud of us and remind us to have pride in ourselves.  Check out these infant twins who can’t wait to see their dad as he walks in the door:

 

9. Self-Awareness. Kids remind us to watch our intentions and actions because you never know who is innocently watching.

10. “Surprises” happen.  Children keep us in perspective that sometimes, life is unexpectedly messy.  You can either be angry and resentful about it, or find the underlying humor in it all.

BONUS learning experience  brought to you by a 9-year-old:

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see” -Alexandra Trenfor


We know you’ve got some great stories on how the children in your life enlighten you daily. Do share!

 

If you enjoyed this article, you will also like our other features on Mindful Parenting

 

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