Friday, February 25, 2011

Sticker Madness: Is Rewarding Kids With Stickers Really Teaching Them Anything?

This week I was faced with a sticker dilemma.  I noticed my child was overly focused on how many stickers he had (or didn't have) from the teacher.  I asked him what the sticker did for him.  He said, "I get them for reading books."  I noticed the response was not really answering my question.  What did it do for him?

Knowing how energy flows, I thought about this with a different perspective.  Energy is rooted in what you are thinking and how you are feeling and everything flows from there.  Is the "I do and I get" philosophy I see permeating our schools a good lesson?

Why was he being rewarded for something he should be doing, anyway?  He's supposed to be in school, learning and reading and excelling.  Period.

The sticker reward is temporary.  The value of uplifting a student from within has a far greater impact in my opinion.  I explained to my son that the reward sticker was nice to receive, but at the end of the day the sticker was likely going to be tossed out or lost, what then?  (No response).

I gently reminded him that he began the school year struggling to learn 5 sight words at a time to now reading and understanding chapter books.  

I asked him if the sticker reminded him of what he accomplished.  "No."
I asked him if he thought about this accomplishment at all?  "No."
Does it make you feel good knowing that you accomplished this?  "Yes!"
Does it feel good to know this about yourself?  "Yes!"
Does it feel good to know that you are doing a great job at what you are supposed to be doing?  "Yes!"

Later my son came back to me and said, "Your right, the sticker only makes me feel good for about a minute."  I responded with, "Every time you think about this conversation how will you feel about yourself?" He smiled and said, "Really good."

Now, I realize that sticker rewards are good to show achievement, maybe create a little competition within the classroom--all well and good.  But, is the "what will I get if I do this" mentality evoking the greatness from within?

Where ever you are in life be the greatest you can be.  That great feeling from knowing you did the very best will be the key that guides you and will open doors to even greater things.

Just a thought...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love and Appreciation: How Valentine's Day Became My Favorite Holiday

Before Valentine's Day became my favorite holiday, I used to dread it.  Except for my husband, I never had a special someone for this holiday.  And while, spending Valentine's Day with my husband is wonderful, the most memorable Valentine's Day I have, has nothing to do with romance.

At the college I attended, balloons were part of Valentine's Day celebrations.  One could buy one to a dozen (or more) balloons with a special message and have them delivered to that special person.  

Coming back to the girl's dormitory after classes, our hallway was filled with balloons.  Walking to my dorm room was comical as I dodged the balloons floating in the hallway awaiting for their owners.  

The last year I was there, a dozen balloons remained in the hallway--unclaimed--floating in front of my door.  Every time I left my room, I had to push them out of my way.   Annoying.

As we prepared to leave for dinner that evening, my friend looked at the unclaimed balloons to see if perhaps they were delivered to the wrong dorm.  She looked at the name and said, "Hey, they're for you!"  

What?...I had no romantic anything with anyone and as I recall this story, that year was a particularly bad year for me.  There was turmoil at home and I was in a very low place.  I kept it all inside and told no one.  On top of what was going on at the home front, I was the kind of girl that never felt deserving enough, good enough, thin enough, pretty get the picture.

I opened the note attached to the balloons and they were from a male friend--a male friend I had only recently began to get to know.  We just hung out mostly--watching TV, laughing, studying...nothing really special, but we enjoyed each other's company.  

The note was simple.  He said that he enjoyed hanging out with me.  He liked laughing with me and he enjoyed my sense of humor.  He thought I was a "cool" friend.  That's it.  No more, no less.

Little does he know that in his simple act of appreciation, how much he lifted my spirit.  It is a tremendous feeling to be appreciated.  That feeling was foreign to me until that day.  

Since then, I have loved Valentine's Day.  It didn't matter that I didn't share it with someone special.  I remember that day (many years ago) someone made me feel special and I have paid it forward ever since. A warm smile, a welcoming hello, a thank you, a compliment -- simple acts of kindness go a long way for the giver and the receiver.

Happy Valentine's Day.  :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Conscious Eating Is An Important Component To The Law Of Attraction

This week I recalled a question I got a few weeks ago.  "What are your plans with the blog?" Ummm...Plans?  Was I supposed to have a plan?  I sat down and started to think about it. Let's see...I want to share, I want to continue to expand my own personal and spiritual growth--and help you expand yours. Most of all, I want to share new ideas, I want to inspire a better quality of life, I want to spark a positive change and I want us to feel improvement.  To do this, we have to choose to live more consciously.  This week I want to share an important component I realized about food and the Law of Attraction.

Conscious Eating and Positive Energy
Before I dive right in, it's important to understand energy.  When I teach people about energy during a Feng Shui consult, I explain that energy is ever-present, ever-flowing and never-ending.  The importance in knowing this empowers you to notice whether the energy is fluid and positive or low and stagnant.  This is where specific Feng Shui techniques can assist you to align the energy positively and you are actively participating in making a positive energy shift.  So, if you are using positive thoughts and daydreaming (or journaling) for a few minutes a day as a means to put the Law of Attraction into action, Feng Shui is another component where the techniques enhance this for you in a more constant way.  But how about food?

Photo by Ximena Brunette
Did you know that food also carries energy?  It sure does.  Obviously, you will have improved health by choosing foods that are organic and natural.  However, because energy is in a constant state of flow, buying fresher foods, natural foods, along with cooking these foods from their natural state allows you to receive their positive "fresher" energy (and I'm not just talking about nutrition).

To add to that, because we are consciously purchasing and preparing these foods we are also then FEELING GOOD (integral for the Law of Attraction to stay in action) about what it does for us and for our family to consciously be living a healthier lifestyle.  We are FEELING GOOD because the action of buying produce that is grown locally helps our community and local farmers.  We have consciously placed ourselves in a flow of positive energy and we get the sweet blessing of eating the pure goodness of it.

This is beyond "you are what you eat."  This is actively making good decisions resulting in FEEL GOOD emotions.  Remember the definition of Law of Attraction is like attracts like.   It is always responding to you no matter what you are thinking and feeling (good or bad).

Foods, for me, represented my approach to life.  As I saw food and eating from an energy perspective it made sense:  Conscious eating leads to better health and clearer thinking which leads to better meditation, better intuition and better moods and better able to access a more positive flow of energy.  As a whole--mind, body and spirit--we are better for it.

Be Realistic
I'm not saying give up on pizza and french fries, go ahead and enjoy it!  I certainly do.  I am saying that food like that is not good if it is part of your daily regimen of dangerous foods contaminated with preservatives, refined sugars, bleach and other chemicals, trans fats, meats and chickens injected with antibiotics and fed genetically engineered grains or foods that are "man-made" and processed merely for profit, long shelf-life and falsely leading us to believe that it's inexpensive in a neat and colorful little package (which by the way, only adds to our overflowing landfills).

Unconsciously eating these dangerous foods on a daily basis does not necessarily clear the path for positive energy to usher its way in.  In fact, I can attest to the fact that it is lower, slower and clouded energy and I knew it simply by how I felt.  Is it any wonder we use phrases like "crashing" after meals.  Or, feeling a "sugar rush" only to "crash" in the end.  Or, feeling bloated, run down, tired....shall I continue?  

I often write about aligning yourself with the Divine.  Eating such highly processed foods is miles away from connecting with the most important part of you--the Divine you.  The light within you desires to shine bright, so why not give it the energy it desires from what is already Divinely in place for you to eat?

Is This the Right Decision for You?
It was for me but we are not created equal.  I work with others to help them feel their best, therefore, it is important for me to be at my best.   If this post doesn't resonate with you and you have been living well and feeling well...then stay on the path that works for you.   If, however, this has been something you've been thinking about or you've been getting a "tug" to do, then I encourage you to follow that Divine intuition.

A Few Ideas to Consider
  • A complete overhaul isn't necessary to achieve healthy habits.  Start slowly and use what you have.  As you run out of items in your refrigerator or pantry replace it with a healthier alternative. 
  • Experiment with recipes.  I have done my share of that and some have been complete flops which only leads to a good chuckle at the dinner table.  Many recipes, however, have been complete successes.
  • To get my kids used to new tastes, for example, I removed peanut butter completely for about 2 months then replaced it with organic peanut butter. This way they had forgotten what high-fructose unhealthy peanut butter tasted like compared to the new healthy version.  They never noticed the change.  
  • I removed rice for a couple of weeks, eventually replacing it with brown organic rice--everyone loved the flavor.   When I make chicken soup (from organic chicken and vegetables) I add extra water to it and then remove the extra chicken stock and store it in the refrigerator.  I use that stock to cook the rice.  YUMMY!
  • As for pasta...I find that whole wheat angel hair pasta tastes bests and absorbs the flavors of your sauces easier than thicker whole wheat pasta.  
  • Plain organic yogurt is excellent with raw honey and really good when you add fruit to it.  The health benefits to this treat are too many to list here. 
Food is a part of life and we must eat to live.  The question is, are we consciously living or are we on auto-pilot?
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