The comments on my last post were so very thoughtful. A couple, in particular, led me to think about the entire issue of feelings and emotions and how important expressing them is to a healthy and happy family.
When we get upset at someone, it’s often because they didn’t respect our feelings. Maybe we were a bit off track but our feelings are still our feelings. When we try to hide our feelings from those we love, we often come off as not caring. When we seem like we don’t care about something or someone, that’s when real, long-lasting hurt can develop.
There’s no sense in dismissing anyone’s feelings, especially our own.
Here are 5 Family Activities to Express Emotions:
The Talking Stick — We have one of these lovelies at our house and it’s one of my favorite things we’ve ever made together. It sits on our book shelf in the living room, waiting. The girls aren’t ready to use it much just yet but when we’ve had tough times, we’ve sat in a circle and who ever had the stick could share what was on their mind. Easy brilliance from the Native American culture.
Emotion Rocks — Lyndsay at Our Feminist Play School created emotion rocks for her family to use. I love this idea so much. This can easily be adapted for older kids by having them paint their own happy rocks, sad rocks, angry rocks or whatever feelings might fit on a rock.
Feelings Check in — I’ve probably written about this before, but I’ll use it again. On the way home from school — or anywhere for that matter — we often play a game we call the Feelings Check-in. This is when we talk about everything in our day that made us feel sad, happy, excited, anxious, mad, disappointed and jealous. My girls absolutely love this game, and they are in Kindergarten. I love this game, and I’m not in Kindergarten.
Get Musical — Few things stir emotions quite the way music does. Strings, Keys and Melodies has created a lovely idea of using music to help understand emotions as well as others emotions. This is a great idea that I had never thought to do. We listen to a lot of music. What a lovely way to think about emotions as a family — while in the car on a long road trip, even — and while listening to a song that evokes happy feelings.
Create Together — Being artistic together as a family can really be one of the most relaxing ways to connect and learn together. I love the idea of creating art and discussing emotions. We do this often at our house. But, we’re not alone. One of my FAVORITE activities when my girls were little was asking them What Color Was Your Day? Click to read more about this great concept for toddlers and pre-schoolers. You can also create a photo book using real pictures of your family members demonstrating real emotions. We’ve done this before and it’s a ton of fun.
Do you have any special times for your family to engage long enough to share feelings? If so, please share so we can all learn from your ideas and rituals!
Spring is here.
Rise early. With a hot cup of coffee, walk outside. Close your eyes and listen for the birds. They seem to wake happy every day no matter what. Their songs will bring you instant joy if you let them.
Breathe in the smells of the trees and the grass, both dripping with tears from the night sky’s beauty.
Let the crisp, cool air fill your lungs.
Sit quiet and let your mind wander. And wonder. Let it rest before the day begins.
Do this as many mornings as possible.
In the middle of your day, walk outside and look up.
Float with the clouds. Smell the flowers. Sway with the trees.
Feel that glorious sunshine pour into your way-too-busy mind. Stay there and let it pour through you until you’ve recharged and reenergized.
Do this as many afternoons as possible.
Stay up late. Take a cool glass of iced tea onto your front lawn. Listen to the darkness. Listen to the quiet. Honor that neighbor who is rushing to mow before tomorrow’s rain. Honor that dog barking in the distance.
Listen to the rain drip into the earth, quenching the bugs and worms beneath us.
Feel the night air soak into your skin. Watch as the stars twinkle and whisper sweet everythings into your ears.
Do this as many evenings as possible.
Stay awake. Spring will fly by like a flock of geese. Summer will be here soon.
It’s not too late to fall in love with spring.
“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace”.
Every week, I choose a different mindful topic to focus on as a woman, a parent and a creative soul.
This week’s intention is peace. But every week it should be peace, shouldn’t it?
In his book, “Peace is Every Step,” Thich Nhat Hanh writes that “Anger is an unpleasant feeling.”
“It is like a blazing flame that burns up our self-control and causes us to say and do things that we regret later.”
He goes on a bit later in that same paragraph to say, “A mind without anger is cool, fresh and sane. The absense of anger is the basis of real happiness, the basis of love and compassion.”
May you have peace of mind this week. May you have peace in the heart. May you have peace with what is and what isn’t and what may never be.
Peace for what we have and peace for what we will never in a million years find.
May you have peace when angry feelings rise to the top and want to burst out of you.
May you have peace when the noise level is so loud you can’t hear youself think.
May you also have a minute’s peace.
Peace for others who struggle.
Peace between siblings. Peace in the family.
Peace in knowing that right here, right now is perfect just the way it is.
Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. John De Paola
Peace comes from within.
And may you find it everywhere you look this week.
Even in the middle of chaos. Even in the middle of an argument. Even when you know you are right but lose the argument anyway. Even in the car stuck behind a slow driver, a bad driver. Even when you watch the news and you hear things you do not like, even when you want to plug your ears at the sounds of it all.
Practicing peace is simple. It is a matter of closing your eyes, breathing deep and uttering these words:
I am peace.
I am peace.
You can read about more weekly intentions HERE.