Mandala is Sanskrit for ‘circle’. It represents wholeness and balance. The symbol’s purpose is to assist with healing through meditating on a central or guiding focus. Many cultures around the world use them as part of their spiritual practices and as a therapeutic art technique.
It was an honour to design hand-made mandalas for author, mama of three and creator of Happy Mama, Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. The mandalas are part of Amy's Divine Mama Circles, where mamas sit in circle together (physically or virtually, online) and hold space for each other. For more information on Matrescence and the transition to motherhood, please listen to her amazing Happy Mama Movement Podcast.
Colouring mandalas has numerous health benefits for kids and adults, used as a form of:
The psychology behind the therapeutic art effects of colouring such intricate symmetrical patterns is attributed to the use of fine repetitive motor movements that assist us to return to the central point of focus and put aside thoughts that arise.
The floral mandala pictured above was inspired by Amy's focus, 'Simplicity, Creativity, Connection' for a program currently underway. It is my hope that mamas connect with their innate creativity and feel inspired as they colour the pattern surrounding the focus. The buta mandala pictured below was inspired by Amy's affirmation, 'Rest to Rise' for another recent program. The buta is Sanskrit for ‘fire’. I hope mamas in this program feel relaxed and renewed with fiery energy as they colour and contemplate the mandala.
Colouring is one of the kids - and my - favourite activities. My kids enjoyed colouring in these mandalas over the school holidays :)
WHAT WE USE:
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
It was great to see my kids physically relax and get creative over which colours they would use. Be as creative as you like and unleash your imagination. The flowing and swirling patterns in the mandalas pictured here are especially helpful in reflective thinking and encouraged my kids to let go of the day.
To learn more about my mandala designs for your unique project or program, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below!
Who likes to daydream? Who has ever dreamed of flying? And who has ever tried to fly? Well, that is what Arya’s Flying Dreams is all about.
Who likes to read books? Who has ever dreamed of writing a book? And who has ever tried to write a story? Then you have just planted the seeds for your own book that you could be the proud author of! Because in dreams we plant the seeds of our future...
These were some of the discussion points used to engage 200 Grade 2 and 3 students during my Book Talks for Book Week at local primary schools.
We all have a story inside us that we dream about making into a book and sharing with the world. The feedback from the teachers, including my sister, was that students felt inspired with practical tips to write and publish their own children's book.
It was a fun family affair to help support and promote Arya's Flying Dreams with my older son participating in his Grade 3 Book Talk. Then, my middle son dressed up as Arya and my niece dressed up as Arya's Mum in their respective Book Parades.
Did you know that the word ‘inspire’ originates from the Latin word 'inspirare' meaning to ‘breathe into’, as in to breathe life into an idea? Our stories are simply ideas that we bring to life, using our imagination. Here's what I covered in my Book Talk to inspire you to breathe life into your idea - your story:
What I did:
The topics I covered:
I expanded on the above topics and included sneak-peaks of my original sketches that my illustrator, Valerie Bouthyette interpreted beautifully. In particular, I covered brainstorming ideas, creating structure for your story, identifying themes, utilising literary devices, practicing and editing your writing voice and the publishing journey.
Connect and Inspire...
In order to inspire the students to connect with and participate in the discussion, I set a simple challenge to listen for a few tips that would score them a few copies of Arya's Flying Dreams for their school library. I hope these tips encourage you to take small steps towards creating your dream story:
If you know a primary school, library or community that would be inspired by this discussion, I look forward to hearing from you at email@example.com.
Please share Arya's Flying Dreams with friends. It is available online at Amazon, Book Depository and Booktopia. Thank you!
Author Elizabeth Gilbert once said, 'A creative life is an amplified life. It's a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life and a hell of a lot more interesting life.'
Kids who often practice creative pursuits in life (such as writing, singing, crafting, painting and dancing) generally feel more empowered because they are more thoughtful, reflective, happier, interesting, better in problem solving, challenge the norm and build greater confidence.
Other benefits to raising creative kids include:
Encourage your kids to be creative, to use their imagination, and then praise them when they do. Build their confidence to present their creative point of view, their thoughts, and their feelings. In this way, you are not only empowering them and powering their brain, but you are also helping them to expand their childhood and hold onto it - just a little longer.
Do you think creativity can help your kids in some life skills? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!
Once upon a time, boys who engaged in creative play and hobbies that were perceived as feminine, like crafting or cooking, were ridiculed. They were often dismissed as 'being boys' who did not have the patience to sit still for long periods or follow instructions in order to create. They were not given the opportunity to express their true potential.
So, many boys stopped channeling their creativity and turned off an intrinsic ability that all infants – boys and girls – naturally possess.
Thankfully, we have moved on from believing that boys are limited in their abilities to create and innovate! However, studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270278/) still show that boys are more successful at Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). One of my greatest intentions is to debunk the facts and tune into my boys’ creativity, using STEAM (including Art within the acronym), instead.
Kids who often practice creative pursuits in life (such as writing, singing, crafting, painting and dancing) generally feel more empowered because they are more thoughtful, reflective, happier, interesting and build greater confidence.
Today, creativity is acknowledged more than ever as a vital life skill to make connections between concepts, learn to inquire, problem-solve and challenge the norm in new and exciting ways for future-ready employees.
After inspiring creativity in both my boys and delighting in experiencing their creative juices flow, I have the pleasure in proving my prediction and have curated my creative insights to help empower you to engage with your boys, here:
Who would have thought 9 years with my two beautiful boys would help to affirm my own creativity? I am grateful to do it all over again now, with my toddling daughter!
Of course, little boys are naturally active. To help increase your boy’s attention span and keep his focus, it is best to start early and encourage experimenting with different creative pursuits for short periods of time.
How do you get creative with your boys?
When kids engage in creative pursuits in life (such as art, craft, writing or dancing) they are better at self-expression and have higher emotional intelligence. This is because they have a safe and welcoming (creative) space to explore and understand their emotions. Read more about how Creativity can Empower your Kids here.
Dr Laura Markham, trained clinical psychologist and founder of Aha Parenting advises we teach our kids that:
When my younger son has trouble expressing his emotions, he sometimes act out by yelling his frustration. This is because his brain has not developed fully to physically control his wild emotions. He doesn't even know his behaviour is inappropriate in a full-scale meltdown. Child development expert, Daniel J. Siegel suggests that “connection should be our first response in virtually any disciplinary situation.”
WHAT I USE:
It's not easy to drop whatever I am doing and become very present and empathetic to my son's needs but it is my most successful way in making him feel safe enough to express his tears and feel the fears that may be driving his anger. Holding him close, I acknowledge how he is feeling. He knows someone understands, which makes him feel just a bit better, so he's more likely to cooperate. He knows he doesn't have to yell or act out to be heard.
Engaging in creative ways together with my kids is also an integral part of my connection with them. In order to help them cope with their emotions whilst limiting their actions, I connect with them via a visualisation technique I created. When my son is willing to listen, I compassionately invite him to visualise an Airport Control Tower trying to help land planes safely, during stormy weather at the airport. The Airport Control Tower is his brain's Emotional Control Tower and the planes are his hands, feet and mouth.
I help him understand that just as we can't control the stormy weather, we don't usually have a choice about what we are feeling. However, the Airport Control Tower can control the planes flying around it and similarly, our brain's Emotional Control Tower can control how we use our limbs and voice. Our brain can choose to land our limbs safely by our sides and control the volume of our voice, during the storm. In time, the stormy weather will pass and so will our stormy feelings. They always do.
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
This holistic visualisation usually engages my son's imagination because he loves aircrafts and begins to focus on what types of planes his limbs could be. This dissipates the desperation in his emotional outburst and helps him to feel in 'control' of his emotions, which he often expresses to me when he is ready. That is, until the next time a new challenge filled with new emotions he is unable to control comes his way!
Before that happens, it's time for a big glass of water to boost my own oxygenation and patience power...knowing that one day he will be able to 'control' his emotions because he has a healthy, expressible emotional life (like my older son) makes it worth the effort and wait!
Read Ice Excavation & The Art of Distraction for another technique your kids can use to let go of tension and release energy. How do you help your kids with their emotions? I would love to hear from you in the comments section!
© 2019 Creative Mama
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