Like so many other children, my kids, age 7 and 10, are feeling the effects of the pandemic in the greater context of living in a country where tensions are running high. As a parent, occupational therapist, and trauma-informed yoga facilitator, I often view life through the lens of spirituality, especially when it seems like definitive answers are so far out of reach. The collective nervous system of our community is being asked to hold so much, and I want to validate each and every one of us for truly doing our best in such an unprecedented time.
Something I’ve been exploring recently, in efforts to hold a light toward hope, is how to best orient ourselves and our children toward healing. How do we stay in the present moment, present in ourselves, but also lean toward connecting our hearts to a future that is brighter?
It is said that we are in a time of great transformative power, a pause where many of us have gone great lengths to reprioritize and reflect on what we truly want for our lives. What follows can best be described as the potential for rebirth and renewal. Since we have no idea when that time will come, it is important to honor each moment, take one day at a time and to create small wonders from what used to be considered as mundane. But there is also something remarkable about opening to the idea of rebirth and its capacity for healing and creating change through personal expression.
It’s okay if inspiration is hard to find right now. It’s okay if creativity is a little lost. My son told me today that he is writing stories about sad pumpkins that turn out “all good” in the end. So simple and yet so complex is the narrative he weaves. It is okay to start small or wait until it feels right to begin, but my suggestion is that we cultivate an environment in our family systems where learning, exploring, expressing, and creativity are at the forefront. A time of revival and curiosity is ahead, and it is such a wonderful time to invite imagination back into our homes, stoking the passion of our hearts at any age. Let the warmth of winter be discovered in our creations, however big or small. This future time will call for our voices, it will call for our stories and our deepest learnings to be shared with the world, and it holds great possibility for unification.
As we hold hope toward the future in the context of our present reality, we also make space for all emotions that might rise. In my home, we made a little altar to honor the experiences and people we miss, creating a ritual of healing around our grief.
I am excited to share just a few resources with you all today that have directly touched my family’s life and/or the lives of some of our clients who we are so grateful to be supporting through this time. The ideas and activities listed below stimulate imaginative thinking, initiate discovery, inspire creativity and create movement toward meaningful self-expression and healing.
- Totem is a feel-good game that inspires connection and open expression, centering the participants around offering authentic affirmations for one another. This is a great game to play at birthdays or on family game night. https://store.totemteam.com/
- Using fabric spray paints and a large white bedsheet, create a family mural.
- Using glitter glue and paint on a canvas, paint the emotions that are alive in your home right now.
- Once per week, as a ritual, each member of the family can write an entry in a family journal. The writing can be any genre and can include illustrations.
- Take turns cooking a new meal or baked good.
- Fill one room with origami hanging from the ceiling.
- Connect to family heritage by creating a family tree, an altar with photographs and items from nature, or a collage.
- Create a family vision board or write a family song for manifestation of dreams in the new year.
- Create a sand mandala on a pizza stone.
- Design a dragon for each member of the family. Draw or paint symbols to represent what wakes up the dragon and what helps the dragon fall asleep.
A Recipe for Connection – No Bake Ginger Snaps
2 cups cashews
½ cup oat flour
½ TBSP ginger powder
1 tsp of pumpkin spice
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1 cup dates
¼ cup molasses
⅓ cup water
In a food processor or blender, mix the following until smooth:
Cashews, oat flour, ginger powder, pumpkin spice
Add rest of ingredients and blend until the dough is formed.
Put dough in a bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Remove and form into balls.
*Optional: Add protein powder to the mix.