The Dragonfly Forest

They have been given names such as devil’s darning needle, ear sewer, horse stinger, skeeter hawk, and the snake’s servant. Actually, Dragonflies are beneficial, peaceful, and stunning. You are a Dragonfly if you are: ADD/ADHD, dyslexic, dysgraphic, Asperger’s, NLVD, autistic…

Monday, August 25, 2014

Motivational Monday - Who are you?

So, who are you?  Do you live for yourself or are you living based on the perceptions of others?  In our media driven society we often live our lives based on some scary standards.  We believe that we are someone if people "like" our posts or we become some YouTube hit.  It is sad that people believe that we have to do something extraordinary to be of value in this world.  That is not true!  

You are not your belongings or material items either.  You are much more than that.  You are a wonderful human being.  You being alive is extraordinary not some skill you have.  Your life is of value because you are living it!  We need to stop measuring our lives by standards that are meaningless and start living our lives with purpose.  

Oh I see, you don't know your purpose and have easily fallen into the trap of the social media world.  Let me help you - your purpose in life isn't to become rich, famous, or infamous.  Your purpose in life is to live an authentic life with empathy and integrity.  I can help you do that but there are many other places you can search for your purpose - books, videos, counselors...  Please stop living life based on the standards of others & start living life that has meaning!  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Spiritual Sunday Importance of thinking of others

I am re-sharing this from Feb. 2, 2014 today because I'm shocked at the way some people are treating others.  I've been tempted to make a picture quote saying something like this: "I have no idea what 'life rule' you are following because it can't be the 'Golden Rule' because I'm sure you don't want me treating you as badly as you are treating me.  I'm also sure it can't be the 'Platinum Rule' because I surely don't want to be treated like this.  So since you are treating me so poorly all I can do is be glad that I believe in the 'Karma Rule."  I have not made the pic quote yet because I want to get the right words down & I need to let go of some of the anger.  It makes me angry when I'm treated disrespectfully by someone because I have integrity & I was raised to be respectful.  Obviously, the person who is treating me this way needs some serious help and must have some serious issues!  So here's a re-post of a thinking of others!  Have a great Sunday! 

Do you think of others or are you self-absorbed?  Do you think about how your actions impact the lives and feelings of others? Many people don't.  Many people are so caught up in themselves that they have a narrow and ego-eccentric view of the world and perception that others think and feel what they are feeling.

This kinda relates to what we call in psychology as-- the false-consensus effect or false-consensus bias.  This is when people over-estimate how many people are like them- an assumption that others have the same thoughts, beliefs, values, and experiences.  

We have to remember that everyone has their own frame of reference (personal experiences) that influence their perceptions on events.  If we assume that people are experiencing and event the same way we are then we most likely are wrong.  Yes, sometimes we do have shared similar experiences but most of the time we do not because we are all individuals.  Remember it is more important to follow the Platinum Rule & not the Golden Rule!

Today, when you are with others and they are talking to you about things think about what kind of perception the other people may be having instead of just thinking about how you are perceiving the experience.    

We need to think outside of our perceptions.  Similar to the exercise for "Thinking outside of the box" do this today: 
1.   Know you own perceptions of the world  (beliefs, values, experiences...)
2.   Embrace your perceptions (this is self-acceptance)
3.   Push outside of your perceptions and think about what it is like for the other person!
4.   Practice seeing the perceptions of others so that you can have more empathy and compassion (this needs practice because we revert back to ego-eccentric thinking until we are fluent in this skill)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why we should help students with learning disabilities

** This is being re-shared from a previous blog post because the school year is just starting and I honestly feel that some teachers do NOT understand that some students will NOT ask for help.  Please, oh please care about making sure these students are learning and supported.  FYI they are NOT lazy!!!!

Did you know that drowning victims rarely flail around or call out for help?  In fact, the person drowning is often unable to call out for help and just slips underneath the water and dies.  If you saw a boy silently slipping under the water would you just stand there watch him die and then say, “Well, all he had to do was ask for help,” or “geez if he would have just swam he could have survived.”  Of course no one would actually do that would they?  No one would really just stand by, offer advice but no real assistance or help and then blame the victim when he doesn’t survive. 

This actually happens all the time in school settings.  The student feels overwhelmed and completely “under water” with the assignments and tests and just gives up.  Teachers stand by watching the student not complete these assignments and fail the tests, yet blame the student for not working harder and not asking for help.  Some of these students even do ask for help but the support isn’t enough or consists of words not actions, so the student only slips further and further below the service.  Once the student is so far below, he drowns.  Even if resurrected he will never be the same again, he is now damaged. 

When students fail in school because they are not completing the homework, studying, and failing tests~ this is a cry for help.  This is not the student just being lazy and unmotivated this is the student drowning.  

Teachers can save these students from drowning by:

~noticing that they are avoiding assignments - these are difficult for them

~ provide positive support and encouragement

~ present information via explicit instruction - it is systematic, direct, & engaging

~ comply with the students IEP's or 504s 

~ Be consistent don't just offer help once and then stop offering help-- consistently provide assistance until the student is no longer failing and fully understands the materials.  

~ A student who is giving up and drowning no longer has effort and energy to keep his head above water so provide as much assistance as necessary until the student has the ability to do it on his own.

~ Provide the student's parents with up-to-date progress so they are aware of these difficulties and can provide support from the home side as well.  Since the student is drowning in school and not at home parents may not even be aware of the problem until it is too late.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Spiritual Sunday - How to save a life

Today, Sunday, August 10, 2014-  I want to touch base on empathy again - hey, remember it is the "Year of Empathy!"   We all have personal problems and challenges. Life is not all happiness and joy.  We must have the bad times along with the good times - the yin and the yang!  This is just the way life works.  

The problem is when people are so egocentric that they judge others as having a perfect life or things always working out better for other people.  People tend to think they are the only ones with problems but that's not true - we all have problems.  

Sometimes people don't say anything about their troubles to others and people just assume that they don't have any problems. Sometimes these people are in such pain that they wear a mask to cover the pain and pretend they are just fine.  Sometimes these people are afraid if they really share their pain or bad things they are going through with another person that person will judge them and leave them.  Or the person doesn't want to share because facing the reality of the problem is so scary they don't think they will be able to survive.  

I just wanted to bring this to your attention today so you can start thinking outside of your own troubles, know that others are dealing with troubles too, and some small acts of kindness can help you both.  

Assignment for the week is to do one random act of kindness each day.  Don't tell anyone what you are doing or did do - keep it to yourself and just enjoy knowing that you made a positive influence in this world.  You have no idea what a small act of kindness can do to a person who hides their anxiety, pain, and shame!  You may even save their life!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Feature Friday: Why you should read Gary Karton's book "The Last Akaway"

I haven’t posted much lately because I’ve been productively busy.  One of the things I have been doing is reading the book “The Last Akaway: A Spirit Animal Adventure” by Gary Karton (the first in a trilogy). Check out his website: Brody Boondoggle & Facebook page.

As a nature lover, psychology enthusiast, and adventurer- I connected with this book on so many levels.  The story is about an 11 year-old boy, Brody Boondoggle, who is bitten by a unique but magical creature called an Akaway.  Getting bitten by one of these rare creatures allows you to connect with your spirit animal.  I so want to get bitten by an Akaway-- don’t you?  Well, Brody must experience his own Hero’s Journey and Gary Karton does a great job taking us along with him via his well-written words.   The target audience for the book is ages 8-12 but I recommend this book to anyone no matter what age because we could all live vicariously through Brody; learning and relearning important life lessons. 

(Love this quote from the book)

Gary is on his own Hero’s Journey.  Like many of you, my Dragonfly Friends, Gary has a learning disability – Dyslexia. School was tough for Gary and he struggle with reading.  Even in college, Gary found it difficult to study and read.  Because of these challenges, Gary discovered he had superpowers of his own.  One of his superpowers is his ability to interview people and then put their words into stories, papers, and projects.  This special ability was what helped him get a job working as a sports reporter at The Washington Post and then later channel the voice of Brody into this book.  Okay, I know that Brody is not a real person so he couldn’t be interviewed, but Brody is a real inside of Gary.  Gary just had to interview Brody, along with the other characters, inside his head so he could effectively tell their stories. 

Like many of us who never quite felt we fit in and/or had to hide by pretending to be someone else, Gary connected with Superhero stories.  He hoped he would be bitten by a spider so he could have special powers like Spider-Man.  What Gary had to learn the hard way was we don’t choose our superpowers.  If that were the case, I’d be changing the weather right now because I’ve always wanted to be Storm from X-men.  When you read Gary’s book you too will discover that our superpowers are inside of us, unique to us, and need to be awaken by mindful enlightenment (maybe…bitten by an Akaway).  Not everyone is able to see their superpowers but I assure you that we all have them. 

Gary’s stories (his life story & the ones he writes about in his books) are lessons we need to be teaching our children.  It is my hope that schools around the country have Gary come in to speak to the students on an Author’s Visit- (click here to contact Gary). He's great with kids by the way!

Remember that 1 in 5 is a student with Dyslexia and there are many other children in schools that feel they don’t fit in and/or have to hide by pretending to be someone else because they learn or look different.  They need learn about Gary and be exposed to his books (the first one is published but there will be more on the way).  One of the best ways we influence the students is by allow them to learn lessons vicariously through the experiences of others (real & characters in books, movies, TV…).  
When we unite together and share our stories we are helping others find their own inner superpowers.  

For those of you who like taking those 'quizzes' on the internet here's one for you that will tell you Your Spirit Animal!  Enjoy!

**This book is available for those who like to eye-read as well as in audio format for those of us who prefer to ear-read!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Motivational Monday - listen to the sound of inspiration Luca Stricagnoli

I'm a sucker for the Acoustic Guitar and The Last of the Mohicans so I have to confess this video made my Monday.  I hope it makes your Monday too! Thanks Luca Stricagnoli for doing what you do!

Share his link if you like what you just saw!