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I'll be your Squeaky Wheel

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So here's the reality of our situation...

 

yes the school is providing Quin with the proper accommodations (extra time on a test, scribing, access to a chrome book, etc.) but these are merely accommodations (which certainly feel like bandaids at times).  What they are NOT providing Quin with is a long term intervention plan; a reading program that will teach him the decoding skills that he so desperately needs. 

 

Quin has dyslexia, and NOT ONCE has he been pulled from class for one on one reading. (Really think about that one for a second folks)  

 

Quin has dyslexia and they have only ever done 2 running records to assess his reading level. BOTH times were done because I called a meeting with them. 

 

Quin is in grade 4 and at both meetings they spoke about all the great accommodations that will be available to Quin in HIGH SCHOOL.

 

Quin is a smart, bright and 'good' kid.  And because of that he's the perfect candidate to fall through the cracks.

 

1 in 5 kids.  We need to do more. Our kids, these kids, deserve more.

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Can you hold my ring?

 'Can you hold my ring?'

It's the last thing he says to me as he's being ushered off by the nurse. Always.

And every time it kills me for the hours that he's gone.  Always.

And my chest will only finally loosen and relax once he's home and that ring is back on his finger.  Always.

And it doesn't matter if it's major surgery or a routine colonoscopy (like today).  It happens every time, and every time it kills me.

'Can you hold my ring?'

'Always'

#always #yesican #lovemycrohnie

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Super powers

I'm fairly certain my little Mr. could have a very bright future in inspirational writing. ;)


Came downstairs and found this on my kitchen table... 


This kid. 


Always an inspiration. 



#dyslexia #superpower

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Mindful Bubbles

Today in Mindful Kids class we took advantage of beautiful weather and got outside.  

Mindful Bubbles.  

Blow some bubbles and quietly watch the bubbles until they either pop or blow out of view.  

Blow, watch, repeat. 

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Change your point of view... Literally.

It's April, and I sure as hell can't be the only one that feels like running up to all the 'school moms' at the playground and high fiving them saying, "Yes! We did it!  We survived another winter!!"

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of winter, but what is a secret (not intentional at least) is that winter brings with her a frost that freezes my spirit and fogs my brain.  Let's call this "the Blues". 

But this year I was prepared!  I was going to be gentle on myself this winter, and I was also going to embrace my hibernating instincts.  And surprisingly enough, it wasn't so bad.  It's amazing what happens when we can just accept something for what it is, not for what we want it to be, or wish it could be.  

I did 2 things.

1) I changed my mindset.  This year I accepted winter as my 'not so favourite season', nothing more nothing less, just not my favourite. 

2) I changed my point of view... literally.  Our king size bed backs onto our window.  As in our window is our headboard.  (I'm a minimalist, and as a result, so is my house and furniture)  It looks pretty, but it wasn't practical or enjoyable.  If there was a draft (and there always was) it was on your face.  I would wake up to a view of my closest door and dirty laundry and all (ugh!), and I fell asleep the same way (double ugh!).  So one bright and sunny day, I looked at my husband and said "let's sleep at our feet!".  (and I love the fact that he just stared at me for a moment and said "ok!")

Here's my reasoning, I wanted to fall asleep looking at the moon and I wanted to wake up welcoming the day (rather than the laundry).   And do you know what?  It worked!  I was able to get out of bed each morning a bit more ready for the day.  

The sun flows into our room all afternoon... and most afternoons, that's exactly where you'll find me soaking it up.  Recharging... and surviving the winter.  

We did it!  *high five*  We survived the winter!

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Ass Backwards - How my 7 year old is my best teacher.

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Ass Backwards - How my 7 year old is my best teacher.

This kid.  

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Sits more than he skates. Falls more than he glides. Smiles more than he grimaces (in pain). He is my best teacher. 

At one point he had a wicked spill. He landed ass backwards and on his face. Ouch! 

I hold my breath as he gets up, my reaction will be completed dependent upon his reaction. I watch, I wait. His head hangs low, ego bruised. But as I start to move towards him his face meets mine, his eyes twinkle, a smile appears, and he yells from across the rink 'Mom, did you see that awesome twirl?!?! I didn't even do it on purpose!! Awe-some!'

Lesson:
Next time life tries to throw you ass backwards and on your face... Twirl!!!

 

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Silver linings

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Silver linings

Silver Linings. Gratitude can be found in the strangest of places. 

I look at this picture and I'm actually bursting with love and gratitude! 

I am grateful for:
- Timing. Had this Crohn's flare happened just 36 hours earlier, we would have still been in Japan and things would have been far more complicated. 
- An amazing health care system. Although slow at times, it works and it's accessible. 
- IV's and modern medicine. 'Nuff said. They play an important role. 
- Father/son time. I swear there's times when we forget that we're even at the hospital. (Okay, not really. But almost!)
- Health. Hospitals are great places to realize not only how fragile a person's health can be, but also how good our health is in comparison. 

Hmm what else am I grateful for...

- Expensive parking. No seriously. I'm spending a small fortune on parking but I'm so very grateful that I have the ability to pay for that expensive parking. Which rolls into my next point...
- Being my own boss. This week my office is at the hospital. Because that's where I want to be, need to be, and where I can be. Family comes first, but luckily I never have to make those hard choices. If I can work from Japan I can work from the hospital. 

And finally...
- Tim Horton's. Because an end of the night donut just makes everything better. 

And finally finally...
- Him. I am so very grateful for him. He is one of the strongest and bravest people I know. And although I will never truly understand the pain and anguish this disease causes him on a day to day basis... I have a pretty good idea. And he, is a total rockstar. A sexy sexy rockstar. 

Now, step back and take another look. Can you see your silver linings? I promise you, they're there. 

Xo

 

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Such is my life

I am so very very grateful that my husband's health stayed strong while we were in Japan.  

But less than 24 hours of being home he had a huge Crohns flare.   

I spent my morning here...

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My afternoon here...

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And my evening here...

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But regardless I'm happy to be home and grateful that this flare didn't happen in Japan.  

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Confessions of a Mindful Tween

 

“My child suffers from anxiety and has been having issues at school.  Can mindfulness help?”

“My child battles with low self-esteem and we recently found out that he is being picked on at school.  He’s starting to become really nervous about going to school.  Can mindfulness help?”

I am constantly being asked these questions by concerned parents that genuinely want the best for their child.  According to Children’s Mental Health Ontario, the most common type of mental health problem in children is anxiety disorders. This disorder is present in 6-18% of the child population. When their stress and anxiety is ignored, children find themselves unable to cope with daily challenges as they get older. The results can be devastating.

So the question remains, “Can mindfulness help?” 

To shed some light on this question I bring you the words of an 11 year old mindful tween.  And within her words, you may, perhaps, find some answers.

“I started learning about mindfulness three years ago when in grade 4 and I've been doing it ever since.  First at home, and then my grade 5 (and grade 6) teacher started teaching us in class. To be honest, at first, I thought it seemed pointless. I thought, "I already know how to be calm. Why do we have to learn this mindfulness stuff."  At that point I didn't even know what mindfulness was, but it wasn’t long afterwards that I noticed a change in myself and that I was actually becoming more aware of my feelings and emotions.  That was kind of cool.

Mindfulness has not only taught me how to recognize how I feel, but it has also showed me how to manage those feelings properly and in a healthy way. I've learnt to think before I react and that has come in handy, especially this past year, in grade 6, when I was bullied. I lost a lot of my confidence that year and I started feeling really self-conscience about myself. I hated doing presentations in front of my class and I was afraid of what my friends, my peers and my teachers thought of me, but especially my peers. Mindfulness helped me to find the real meaning of why I was feeling this way and that was because I was letting this bully get power over me by not standing up for myself and getting upset, which was the reaction this person wanted. Throughout the school year this bully bullied me more and more and eventually (because of mindfulness) I stood up to him more and more.

Mindfulness has been with me for a long time and it has made me who I am today. It has taught me how to calm down, to be more focused, it also taught me to not worry about what other people say about me and best of all, how to respond to situations, ALL situations, especially stressful situations.

 I feel that I have my true identity now and I'm so much stronger and more confident. I'm glad mindfulness is in my life and I hope it will stay in my life. I'm going into grade 7, new school, new teachers, new routines, new classes, new friends and (hopefully not) new bullies. I’m a little nervous, but most excited.  Deep breath, and relax, I still have one month left of summer.”

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The Beauty of Waiting Rooms

The beauty of waiting rooms is that they're the perfect place for a little mindfulness.  Tuck yourself in the corner are you're all set.  Breathe in, breathe out. 

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A Mindful Marriage

What if the way you communicated with your spouse or significant other directly affected their health and well-being.  Are you communicating mindfully?

My husband was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease over twelve years ago at the age of 21.  Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract and although stress doesn’t cause Crohn’s it does however make symptoms worse and may trigger flare-ups.
 
Now let’s break down what exactly that means for both my husband and I, and our marriage as a whole.  Simply put, stress makes my husband sick, very sick, hospital sick, and in order to cope with this we have had to learn different techniques to not only deal with stress but more importantly avoid stress all together.

 The most effective technique that we have implemented into our lives is Mindful Communication.  Mindful communication means to listen and speak with compassion, kindness and awareness.  In order to engage in effective communication using mindfulness, we have to listen mindfully and speak mindfully.  Easy enough, right?   Here are some tips to help.



Cultivating Mindful Listening

1)      One Focus

Clear your head of any thoughts that are occupying your mind.  Clear your hands of any devices that are occupying your fingers.  Don’t look at your feet or a spot on the wall.  When someone is talking to you, look into their eyes.  It shows that you care about them and that they have your 100% attention.


2)      Don’t Assume


We all know the saying about assuming, so just don’t do it.  If the person says something that you don’t understand and you need clarification, don’t assume but rather ask them to clarify their statement.  Just be sure to come from a place of compassion. 


Cultivating Mindful Speech

1)      Pause, Breathe and Respond

When responding to either a question or comment, don’t just immediately start talking.  Pause, breathe and then respond.  Be LESS reactive and MORE responsive.  It’s amazing what this one little technique can do!


2)       Be Honest

The best thing you can do for yourself is to be yourself.  That means speaking your truth.  This doesn’t mean that you have to be mean or rude.  You can speak your truth with compassion and kindness. 


Cultivating a Mindful Relationship

1)      Lose the Ego

This isn’t a competition or a battle to be won.  This is your significant other and although you may not see eye to eye right now, ultimately the end goal is the same.


2)      Be Gracious and Grateful

Too often we focus on the negative.  You love this person; seek out the good in them and in the relationship that you’ve built together.  Seek it out, write it down and TELL them, over and over again.  Gratitude can cultivate some pretty amazing things.



My husband and I quickly learnt about the importance of 'picking our battles'; pick the wrong battle and communicate it poorly and you'll hear his gut grumble from across the room.  The physical effects of stress on my husband's body are immediate and severe.  But Crohn's or not, stress that's left unchecked can contribute to long term health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and short term problems such as headaches, insomnia, and indigestion.


So let me ask you again, knowing now that the way you communicate with your spouse or significant other directly affects their health and well-being, are you communicating mindfully?




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Perspective

It's all a matter of perspective.   
My wedding day was perfect.  We forgot the marriage license at my parents house, along with our flowergirl's dress shoes and very beautiful (and expensive) angel wings.  During our outdoor ceremony there was a skateboard competition blaring punk music throughout the entire park.  As we recited our vows you could faintly hear a blink 182 song play over the skatepark's sound system.  
It's all a matter if perspective...
We signed a fake license (and the real one later that evening) and had a good giggle.  Our flower girl was beautiful, neon pink sandals and all.  I love Blink 182. 
Our wedding day was perfect... It's all a matter of perspective.  

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10 Minute Mindfulness


Today I had an important meeting at Grand River Hospital.  A busy and hectic day, but I was still able to get in 10 minutes of steady mindfulness.   
Sometimes it's not about 5am meditations, sometimes it's about a 10 minute piece of zen during your lunch break.  
Find what works for you, and do that. 


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Mindful Kids - A Year in Review

A Year in Review!

Wow!  Exactly 1 year ago I officially launched the first ever Mindful Kids series.  12 months later and nearly a thousand students under my belt, never in my wildest dreams did I think MK would grow into what it is today.   I am so grateful.

Not only will 2013 be filled with more classes, but this year I will be offering workshops, retreats and training programs!! 

I have made a conscious decision to continue to focus Mindful Kids privately, to continue to provide small group classes for both children and parents, and to offer both private and semi-private sessions to those that need it most (both in person and via skype).   We, as a society, are at a pivotal point with our children and NOW is the time.  Kids are overwhelmed by their busy schedules and they are having a hard time coping.  They are finding it increasingly difficult to “calm down” and “pay attention”, and as a result their self-esteem is at an all-time low.   Mindful Kids take you from chaos to clarity, creating calm, confident and focused kids.  The next series starts the second week of January.  Register early to avoid disappointment.


Testimonials

I am looking for comments, feedback and testimonials for my new website.  Be a part of this Mindful Movement and send me your testimonials!

Please email your comments, feedback and testimonials about this program to sheena@blue-bamboo.ca or put together a family package and I would be more than happy pick it up.  Children's quotes and drawings are also welcome. 




Registration IS Open

Hard to believe that we are in our last week of Mindful Kids.  Wow!

Registration for the next Mindful Kids series opens THIS WEDNESDAY! BUT early registration is available to PAST AND PRESENT Mindful Families NOW. Classes are $120.00 and run for 6 weeks. Monday’s classes run from January 7th – February 11th and Wednesday’s classes run from January 9th – February 13th.
Mindful Kids
Monday: 4:00-4:50pm
Wednesday: 4:00-4:50pm
Wednesday: 6:00-6:50pm
Mindful Parents
Wednesday: 7:30-8:30pm
Abraham Erb P.S. after school pick up is available.
Payment plans are now available email sheena@blue-bamboo.ca for more info.


And as always, please feel free to pass this along to anyone whom you see fit.  Your continued support is always appreciated.   Thank you.

Have an amazing holiday!  
Relax and take time to really truly enjoy the simple things in life.  


Sheena Bounsanga
The Mindful Kids Movement
www.blue-bamboo.ca
646 Wild Ginger Ave.
226-868-1634

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Sometimes I'm Speechless... So Grateful.

Wow!   What a great series, with such a great group of kids and parents!  This was unlike any other Mindful Kids series that I have taught.  Through my course in San Fran I was taught to really get back to the basics, to keep it simple and to not overwhelm (both the kids and myself), and that is exactly what we did!

The Wednesday night class ends today, and the Monday night class ends next Monday.   The new series starts the week of November 12th.

In this series we learned about:
Week 1:  Mindful Bodies and finding our quiet space
Week 2:  Being Mindful of our breath and where in our bodies we can notice that breath
Week 3:  Heartfulness - sending kind thoughts
Week 4:  We created our own tornado and talked about different ways to get still and calm
Week 5:  Mindful Eating (always a fav!) - really experiencing a meal, slowly, mindfully, with all of our senses.
Week 6:  Mind the Music - Taking something as simple as a song on the radio and turning it into a very deeply relaxing mindfulness experience.

Each series is built in such a way that :
A) past students can continue to build on the skills they already have and learn brand new techniques along the way.
B) new students can join in and start their own journey of Mindfulness: Calm, Confident and Chill.

Think of it as a yoga class... the more you come, the more natural the techniques feel.


SNEAK PEAK!
Here's what's coming up in series 2!!

Week 1:  Quick Review & Body Awareness
Week 2:  Mindfulness of Breathing using base words to focus
Week 3:  Heartfulness - Generosity
Week 4:  Our Thoughts
Week 5:  Mindful Seeing  (& back by popular demand, a little bit of mindful eating as well)
Week 6:  Mind the Music - Making our own mindfulness cards for focus

EARLY REGISTRATION ENDS TONIGHT, AND FULL REGISTRATION WILL OPEN TOMORROW AT 9AM!!  
These spaces will fill up very quickly, so book your spot first.... then go tell all your friends.  ;)

Mindful Parents
We had an amazing group of mindful mama's in this series, and I was honoured to spend every Wednesday evening with them.  And although I can't tell you everything (what happens in Mindful Parents, stays in Mindful Parents ;)  ), I can tell you this...
We had some great laughs, a few tears and lots and lots of amazingly insightful conversations.


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