Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April Rule

Hello April - we've got another rule for you!


This month we are nixing words and getting lost in numbers. "Count me in" is about making the connection between us and the greater world, from nature, art, music, science, even comedy!

Numbers are everywhere. Some numbers like the price of milk are obvious. While others like last night's homework and that pile of Oreos you ate, we'd pretty much like to forget. Still, there are so many more numbers that exist hidden in the everyday. Some may surprise you. 

So why numbers?

I wanted to give the kids a new view of their everyday short of asking them to stand on their heads. Math gets a bad rap these days. I wanted to show them math outside of the classroom and why it's so good for our brain and future's not just about smarts. 

Lastly, I wanted them to enjoy the language of numbers - the simple, the complex and the funny.

So this month we're going exploring. Should we count you in, too??

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Last thoughts on nothing

March is almost over. Before we say goodbye to our rule, "do nothing" we wanted to leave you with a last thought.

Good JOB!

We learned many things about our exploration of "nothing" this month but the one thing that kept coming up was just how hard "do nothing" is.

Welcome to the club!

To just stop and be is a challenge, within one's body and within one's mind. To understand this is huge but the even bigger picture to see is that we are part of a world that is addicted to being busy. 

No one gives out medals for doing nothing. No one says good job for a moment of silence. No one puts nothing on top of the list because busy is KING.
Just ask Tim Kreider, he wrote an article all about busy in the NYTimes called, The "Busy" Trap.

Read the complete article HERE - The "Busy" Trap by Tim Kreider -  NYTimes

"The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it."

Do you agree? Give his article a read and tell me if after reading it, you can look at your life with new eyes and spot the "I'm so busy" default of your days. 

If you can, good job! Let it be your next clue for where some "do nothing" is needed and see what YOU choose to do next.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nothing to see here

In our living room is a large bay window. It used to be a traditional space filled with picture frames, a bowl with colorful glass beads and the occasional bouquet of fresh flowers. Not these days!

If you drive by our house afterschool, you will spot something else occupying the window space - my children.

Yes, my growing children like to climb up onto the bay window and just hang out. They've been doing this years, slowly edging out all my collectibles.  

When I ask, "whatcha doin?" 

They always respond, "nothing" but it's never really nothing.

Ethan likes to do his homework on the window, especially on a sunny day. He'll read, play video games, draw comics, all for the world to see. And Reese, she likes to be wherever her brother is so she follows suit and makes herself comfortable. 

I just to joke that in a previous life my children must have been cats the way they liked to lounge here.


They have always gravitated to this space. It's the best view to gaze at the passing world. Some days I catch them in their nothing moments. looking out at nothing in particular but taking notice of everything.

"Hey mom, the clouds are moving fast today. I see a ship."

"Hey mom, someone just tripped along the sidewalk."

"Hey mom, I just saw a yellow bird. What's it called?"

Hey mom, when will the snow melt so we can see the grass, again?

And when they are just sitting and silent, the answer to any question I ask is always the same.

"Whatcha doin', now?" 


I love this empty window. It offers to anyone a much needed slice of nothing everyday. I know that the kids get more out of sitting at this window then if I pulled them to do something more zen. And that's okay because one of the best things about this window is that they found it, all on their own, crawling around as babes.

So, where's your slice of nothing?

Did you find it in a window? A cozy chair? A cup of tea? The outside world or in the eyes of another, full of wonder? 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2 Minutes - Meditate on this

Stumbled upon this web series and feel in love.

"The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koening. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the English language - to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don't yet have a word for."

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: For Lack of a Better World
                   Web series on Youtube

Nodus Tollens - Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
2 Minutes, Meditate on This - Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Just Breathe

These days, when I nudge the kids to take some time to "do nothing", they often groan back, "how do I do THAT?"

"Just breathe," I tell them, "just breathe."

They are no stranger to this task, this phenomenon. In fact, they've been little yogi's in training since they were tikes. Both got exposed to yoga in pre-school on a regular basis. In fact, Reese had a wicked tree pose that always ended with her shouting, "TIMBER"!

And on nights when they couldn't fall asleep, I would teach them about their breathe by placing a stuffed animal on the belly and having them notice the up and down movement. So simple, they liked this because they could do it all on their own. Other times, I'd take them on a magic carpet ride through the neighborhood with a visualization technique that also focused on their breathing. All for a return to ZZZZZZ's.

Just breathe. It might sound like such a boring, simple thought but in the end, it really is all you need to do to begin and what you will keep coming back to, time and time, again.

When you do it enough, this "do nothing" business, you find SOMETHING that you need. And in those moments, especially the most stressful ones, you will be very grateful that it is so simple. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Keep Calm...

I'm stealing away for some extra "do nothing" time to celebrate today
but still wanted to share with you some interesting reads/views.
Life has been BUSY, lately, but what else is knew? 
The need to do nothing has never been greater. How about you?

Busyness is a Sickness - Huff Post Parents

Five Reasons Why We Should All Learn How to Do Nothing - Guardian


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Why is "nothing" so hard?

Remember our donothingfor2minutes website?

I shared it with the kids and had them check it a few times for some "do nothing" time. When I asked them if they enjoyed it, they flat out said NO.


"It's boring, they said, 'the website doesn't really do anything."

Not entertaining enough, I thought, blame their young, addicted electronic minds. But, that might only be half the story.

I read a Wall Street Journal article recently that talked about the basic point: Why is it so hard for us to do nothing?

Newsflash, it's not just the youngest demographic who struggle given their world is the most plugged in. When they did an experiment that involved just sitting and doing nothing, college students, even middle aged church goers struggled.

Things got even more interesting when they introduced an electric shock button to the mix!   

Read the full article HERE.

So, it's not just my kids, but I'm not giving up. We're going to keep up with our daily two minutes but we may have to look into a change of scenery since oceans and sunsets are not our boat.

Oh well, as Dory would say, just keep swimming!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

master of nothing

Gotta love Seinfeld, the show that became synonymous with nothing.

Interestingly enough, "nothing" was not the original premise for the show. The quote, "show about nothing" was just a tag that caught fire with the media when the show skyrocketed in the ratings and went on to dominate TV programming for the next 9 years.

The original idea for the show was to follow a comedian's life to show how they came up with material.

See, that's something. But, what seems like nothing is actually the use of a very particular skill. It's nothing special but it's the best of comedians that know to use it.  

Simply put, they pay attention. Nothing more.

The seemingly ordinary of moments that most people would gloss over become play for an observant eye like Jerry Seinfeld.

Did someone say PLAY? We like this idea so that's where we will begin this week with our March rule, "Do Nothing". We're going to pay attention and report back.

Wanna play along? There's still room at the table at the diner. We'll save you a seat.

Happy Monday!!

The above video may not play on some is the direct link

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March Rule

Do Nothing.
Yes, you read that correctly. Do nothing, that's our new rule for March.
You might be wondering well, what EXACTLY will you be doing?
Answer, a WHOLE LOT of NOTHING, if we're lucky.
Let's start at the beach...CLICK HERE.
(You can thank me later.)
If you are having trouble with our CLICK HERE button, here is the direct link

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Breakout Poetry - Reverso Poems

I found a new book to add to our china cabinet library!!!

Marilyn Singer is the creator of Reverso Poems, poems that can be read down a page as well as up! With minor changes allowed in punctuation and capitalization, you'll be amazed to see how these poems read differently.

"The form is especially appropriate for telling two sides of one story. It is a form both challenging and fun - rather like creating and solving a puzzle. Try it yourself and you'll see what I mean!"
                                                                               - Marilyn Singer

Her most recent poetry collection, Mirror, Mirror is a treasure of reversos based on fairy tales, so enchanting. Great inspiration for children to "play" with words.

I thought this would be a fun send-off to our month of "Yes, you can break it". My favorite reverso poems are Cinderella's, you can read them below.

May Ms. Singer's challenge inspire some upside down thoughts for you, as well:-)

Cinderella's Double Life
Isn't life unfair?
Stuck in a corner,
while they're waiting for a chance
with the prince,
dancing waltz after waltz
at the ball,
I'll be shining
these shoes
till the clock strikes midnight.
Till the clock strikes midnight,
these shoes?
I'll be shining
at the ball
dancing waltz after waltz
with the prince
while they're waiting for a chance
stuck in a corner.
Isn't life unfair?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What is your box?

“Freedom” by Zenos Frudakis

We're at the end of our February rule and I have to admit that this rule has been a challenge for the kids to take hold of and make their own.

They get the overall idea of "Yes, you can break it", making your own path and embracing choices that exist outside the norm but I don't think they feel compelled or rather inspired to take this rule and run with it.

A complacent bunch, perhaps.

Maybe it's the lull of a long, snowy winter with one too many cold days? Or maybe it's the news of a baby on the way, that's got them (and us) holding on a little tighter to the ho-hum of days?

Doesn't everyone like to hideaway, now and again - the comfort, the ease, the control - so what's the problem?

Well, we may not have done much in the way of "breaking" this month, but I did come to see how we build our little hideaways.

One box at a time.  

Recently, my nine year old daughter had plans to get her ears pierced. Really, she's had plans to get her ears pierced for years now. The trouble is that she can't get passed her fear about the pain. We talk, I joke, I cajole, I bribe - nothing - so it gets pushed off another week which turns into another month, another season, another year.

But this time, I really thought she was going to "just do it".

She was so determined in the morning, but then at the last hour, she broke down in tears. We've been here before but this time, she really surprised me with her words. 

"Mom, I don't think I should get my ears pierced. I'm a tomboy. I don't think tomboys pierce their ears. Maybe, it's just not me."

My daughter, prides herself on being a "tomboy". She loves the title and takes no offense when someone calls her one. She still has a pink side, too, but the tomboy label, she wears it like a badge of honor, but not today.

Granted, I think her fear was making excuses and reaching for anything to hold on to but her reaction got me thinking about our February rule in a different light. Yes, you can break it, you can break anything but what about fear? Does it ever really go away?

This was a small moment, a small fear but it wouldn't be the last. How many more moments like it would follow? And what would the chain reaction be? 

When our fears get the best of us, do we get smaller or is it the box that grows?

In the end, she's not alone. Everyone has to learn to deal with their fears, big and small. It's a learning curve, it takes time, but looking at my daughter that day, it was hard not to see myself. I saw my fears and damn, I saw my box.

But that's it, that's the point, because, we all have to see the box before we can strive to break free.