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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Seven Pillars of Mindfulness in COVID-19 Time

Art by Basia P., COVID-19

A few years ago, one Saturday, I attended a mindfulness workshop sponsored by my employer, the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center. I did this professionally as a speech-language pathologist and casually as a mom. As a speech-language pathologist, I doubtfully looked forward to learning more about mindfulness practice, since there is evidence that it helps with stress management, attention, efficiency, self-control, and happiness. As a mom, I felt guilty that I was going to focus not on my child during a free day, but on relaxing and having fun with my friends.

No more visitors in our empty, COVID-19 apartment, 2020

It turned out that the workshop changed my life significantly. Now, years after that, when we are prisoned at our houses due to COVID-19, I remind myself to practice all seven pillars to stay calm, happy, and thankful for what I keep receiving from life every day. I pass the knowledge to my daughter and husband as well.

Remote Learning, March 2020

Spring break, 2020

Remote Learning, April 2020

Remote Learning, May 2020

Remote Learning, June 2020
The end of the school year 2019-2020


Summer, 2020

Back to Remote Learning, September 2020

Back to heavy-duty masks, Fall 2020

I will list the pillars that form the core of mindfulness and share my reflections.

  1. Non-judging: That’s fairly easy. As an educator, I practice this every day with the families of my clients. I cannot possibly know or even understand what each caregiver and child experiences and how this affects the choices they make in their daily lives. My starring role is to support and navigate them towards their goals, not to make judgments about what they have accomplished.
  2. Patience: Nowadays everyone needs to work on that one, especially when we are stacked in front of a computer for hours, losing an Internet connection, shooting technical difficulties, missing the zoom meeting, kept on hold, dealing with household noise, smiling to the camera, and so on, so on. I have to continue making more visible progress in that area.
  3. Beginner’s mind: Is an attitude easy for me to nurture. I am curious about my work and my life and love discovering what each moment brings without preconception. I do find a miracle every day in many things.
  4. Trust: This is tough especially if it is related to my child's future education. Do I trust my mayor, governor, Department of Education? I am so scared about my daughter’s new high school, new admission criteria, whether she will get to a proper school. Nothing is certain these days nether for me or my clients’ families. Nevertheless, mindfulness, particularly our breathing teaches us that after every inhale comes an exhale. I can trust in my breath, and then in my desire for assisting children, and my sense of wonder, and the strength of our teamwork, and the love I have for my family and clients.
  5. Non-striving: For the parents of children with special needs, not striving for better, most effective treatments and practices all the time is near impossible. But mindfulness reminds us to focus instead on every moment as it is, without always thinking about the next step. After all, even when my 13-year old daughter tells me I’m wrong again and don’t know anything that she is doing, she is asserting me in her independence, something I dream about when she was small, when in elementary school. I will not strive so hard to be needed for a lifetime.
  6. Acceptance: Anything but accept failure, a missed zoom meeting, hurt feelings, broken dish... Just to remember that tomorrow is another day, hopefully, a better one.
  7. Letting go: This is the hardest part of the mindfulness training for me. Letting go of grief for a lost sister, a wave of anger for leaving the kids behind, bitterness, disappointment, and expectations are hard. It hurts because I hold onto them even though I know that if I cannot let go, I will not fully share this wonderful life with my family, incredible friends, or my patients. I just have to practice the song more and more: “Let It Go, Let It Go…”

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Life Lasting Lessons - “Make Your Bed. Little Things That Can Change Your Life and Maybe The World” by Admiral William H. McRaven

Monument to The Merchant Marines at Battery Park City, Manhattan

Former Navy SEAL Admiral William H. McRaven gave 10 lessons to the graduates at The University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014.

He outlined the lessons of the bed, paddle, heart, cookie, circus, obstacle, shark, dark moment, song, and bell. Each one was a metaphor for an important life part.
  1. Make your bed - Making our bed seems simple, but if we don’t do the simple things well the big things that come with time will overwhelm us and paralyze our existence. If we can get the bed part of our day right every morning, most probably we can get our lives right as well! 
  2. Find people to paddle with you - The more paddles the better. Getting along with the team players takes time, patience and perseverance but in the long run, it’s worth an effort and it brings a great result. It will ease your paddling. 
  3. Measure the size of heart, not flippers – It doesn’t matter how strong and handsome someone is, what matters is how big heart he has. If the person has a good heart he will do good things for the others and gain people’s trust, respect and support. Motivation seems to outperform intelligence.
  4. Get over being a “sugar cookie” and keep moving forward - Some days no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, things go the opposite way. Therefore we need to prepare ourselves for that bad day, a failure. A Navy SEAL trainee is ordered into the surf to get good, cold, and wet, and then to roll around on the beach until he is completely covered in fine white sand – resembling a “sugar cookie.” A Navy SEAL trainee stay that way for the rest of the day, reflect on his weekness. If case of a bad day we have to push through it and look forward to having a better day tomorrow.
  5. Don't be afraid of the circuses - When the Navy SEAL fail a daily physical training he has to do two hours more of additional calisthenics - designed to wear him down, to break his spirit, to force him to quit. But that extra training actually can help build strength and stamina if he don’t quit. We all live though our own “circuses” in life and they can be wearing, perplexing and often discouraging. When you do an extra work, you become stronger, experienced, and confident. Doing the minimum is not enough, we have to practice the maximum.
  6. Sometimes you have to slide down obstacles head first - Twice a week an obstacle course was required for McRaven’s SEAL training. One of the most feared obstacle course challenges was the “slide for life.” It was dangerous and it put the SEALs at high risk. While it’s good to be frightened, if fear paralyzes our intellect and our motivation, then we are truly lost. Sometimes we have to take that chance and “risk” it, but it needs to be with our full awareness and purpose.
  7. Don't back down from the sharks - The lesson 6 reminds us that fear can weaken our capacity but if we prepare to meet face-to-face with “sharks”, our response may surprise us.  Attackers prefer to attack the weak not the strong. Your sharks could be physical attackers, so self-defense training can give you some confidence to avoid being easy prey. If your sharks attack you verbally, try to be adequately prepared, take a stand for yourself and others. Lock in your values and ethics.
  8. You must be your very best in the darkest moments - The Navy SEAL training missions require trainees to perform dangerous underwater operations in complete darkness. All of their training needs to carry them through that moment. We don’t have a SEAL training but we do have our principles, mysticism, and relationships to pull us through these darkest moments of our lives. It’s not important how do we start but how do we finish.
  9. Start singing when you're up to your neck in mud - The ninth week of the SEAL training (“Hell Week”) consists of six days without sleep, continual physical and mental harassment, and an woeful day at the mud. It is one of the most difficult Navy SEAL part. Often, many SEALs quit right there, but some find a way to get through it.While Admiral William H. McRaven’s group friends were up to their necks in mud, one SEAL trainee started singing and others joined him. Unity in singing was an affirmation that gave them hope. We can use your voice to transform a dark moment into hope.
  10. Don't ever, ever ring the bell - Any time a Navy SEAL wants to quit their training and leave, all they have to do is go up to the bell and ring it. Ringing a bell, even on a bicycle is a sign of weakness. Be tolerant, be patient, be persistent on you way to the finish line!

The Immigrants Monument at Battery Park City, Manhattan

Admiral William H. McRaven also said:

“Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up - if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.”

“It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward - changing ourselves and the world around us - will apply equally to all.”

“Changing the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it.”

Watch in his speech on YouTube:

To read more check links below:

Friday, July 31, 2020

Teletherapy Hints, Evidence, Consent, Up-dates


Ctri + Cilck to follow link



Ctri + Cilck to follow link
·       SLPA Supervision Log
·       Virtual Meeting Etiquette
·       Virtual Session Etiquette
·       Weekly Agenda Sample
·       Consent for Teletherapy

Ctri + Cilck to follow link


Great Things To Do With Your Kids This COVID-19 Summer

Basia at the Catskill Mountains 

I would like to share great ideas collected by Katia Hetter and presented on CNN Health

Have a Snick Pick:

OLD-FASHIONED FUN
  • Family game night...
  • Family movie night...
  • Family dance party... 
  • House or neighborhood scavenger hunt...
  • Face painting...
  • Lego challenges...
  • Raise a glass to freedom...
  • Each one, pick one...
LET’S PLAY OUTSIDE
  • Create a splash pad...
  • Balloons fight...
  • Grow herbs, lettuces and flowers...
  • Welcome the birds...
  • Smash the virus...
  • Chalk art museum...
  • Map the neighborhood...
  • Hike the park...
  • Let’s have a picnic...
  • Outdoor game day...
FOOD AND DRINK
  • Cooking challenge...
  • Random birthday cake night...
  • Pantry challenge...
  • Ice cream social...
  • Host a Meatless Monday dinner...
  • Host a teatime...
  • Make a fun drink night...
  • Bake for a neighbor...
  • Historic recipe hunt...
  • Eat someplace else...
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
  • Make music...
  • Spanish, Chinese, Russian...
  • Time to learn science...
  • Take a happiness class...
  • Play video games...
  • Use that equipment...
  • Hire an intern...
  • Get down to science...
  • Dance, dance, dance...
DO FOR OTHERS
  • Phone a relative...
  • “Get well soon” cards...
  • Hand out snack bags...
  • Food donations...
  • Walk a dog...
  • Make food to share...
  • Lemonade stand...
READ OR WRITE SOMETHING INTERESTING
  • Pick a book...
  • Family reading time...
  • Book/movie combo...
  • Head to Hogwarts...
  • Write a book...
  • Your kid’s story...
  • Hit the road...
  • Raising girls and boys...
  • Broaden your worldview...
  • Baby books...
STYLE, ART AND ARCHITECTURE
  • Give your wall(s) a fresh coat of paint...
  • Declutter...
  • Arrange your books...
  • Mini-Marie Kondo...
  • Play/art/music...
  • Geek out on art apps...
  • Plan a photoshoot...
  • Paint with your family...
  • Try art-inspired recipes...
  • Make ornaments...
CONNECT AS A FAMILY
  • Would You Rather?...
  • Cut your bangs...
  • Do an at-home manicure...
  • Do yoga together...
  • Question a day...
  • Family meetings...
  • Clean the house together...
  • Play Roseand Thorn at dinner...
  • Sing together...
NIGHTTIME FUN
  • Camp out in your backyard...
  • Fort night...
  • Pillow fight...
  • Have a s’mores night outside...
  • Nighttime tag...
  • Capture the flag at night...
  • Go to the drive-in...
  • Glow-in-the-dark treasure hunt...
  • Look for the stars...
  • Go to sleep early...
For more details check:
https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/22/health/100-things-to-do-this-summer-wellness-trnd/index.html “Summer is not completely canceled. Here are 100 things we can do with or without kids.” By Katia Hetter