Thursday, July 28, 2011

Random Act of Kindness Day

Yesterday, July 27th, was International Kindness Project Day(tm) by the MISS Foundation. As most of you know, I am a MISS Foundation HOPE Mentor. A few weeks ago, I had the great fortune with another blogger and HOPE Mentor CLC to meet the Executive Director of the MISS Foundation, Kathy Sandler. She is a compassionate, loving soul and being with her was easy and wonderful. She invited me and CLC to tell our stories over some dinner with another non-profit director to explain why the MISS Foundation is so important. It was wonderful to be in a place where our birth stories are listened heard and our babies are honored.

This year, I wanted to do something special for Kindness Project Day, and I was drawing blanks all day. Beezus has been taking gymnastics camp all week from 9a to 1p, so this is kind of the lead up to pre-K, which she starts in the fall. (gulp.) She was fine. She walked into the room and didn't think about me again until I showed up waving on the other side of the window. Mama, on the other hand, was a little beside herself. If this week wasn't so dang busy, I probably would have been emotional. As it was, I couldn't wait to pick her up, scoop her up in my arms, and gobble her.

Yesterday, I suppose, I was a little emotional already when I dropped her off. Then Thor and I headed to Starbies for my first random act of kindness. I know STARBUCKS??! The Evil Empire of Coffee?!?! Go ahead, get indignant. Sadly, Starbucks plays a role in my grief as perhaps the only place I would go that wasn't absolutely necessary. Perhaps because it was a corporate, anonymous place where I could walk in, have a latte and no one was going to ask me about the baby. So, in that way, Starbucks kind of became a bit of a wooby. I should also add, apropos of nothing, that it was the first and only place I have gotten hit on after Lucy died. Yes, it was by a lesbian. And yes, it felt damned good, and helped my mood immensely.

Anyway, yesterday, I went in and asked for my iced latte, my sister's coffee, and a fifty dollar gift card. And when she was going through everything, and I was paying, I asked her if she could keep the gift card and buy the people behind me in line, and all the next few people who came in, coffee with it, until it was gone. And then I eeked out, "My daughter died, and I'm doing it in her name. Here are some cards to explain." And by that time, my voice was breaking up, and my hands were shaking, and I realized that even though I have said it many times, in many different ways, it sometimes still knocks the piss out of me to say that my daughter died, because some days I still cannot fucking believe that this is my life.

I ran out of there, even though the lady cried too, and gave me all my coffees for free, and doubled my giveaway, which they did last time I did this in a Starbucks, which is what is also cool about Starbucks.

I went to my sister's house to cry, and help her sew something, which got me out of my head. I am counting the helping sew as part of my kindness project, because I suck at it.

Then I called my husband and he told me it wasn't kind at all to just spend money on people, particularly money for our family. We had the discussion beforehand a few weeks ago, but I guess the fifty bucks came as a shock, because who spends fifty bucks at Starbucks? And why is it related to Lucy? And I just cried and hung up on him, and was feeling very not kindly at all. In fact, I felt like I caused more pain than not.

I came home and realized that I needed to do something for other grieving parents, and so I put a call on Facebook to paint free mizuko jizo altar paintings for anyone who wanted them. I received twenty-five requests, which is amazing. I started immediately last night, and began with my friends who lost their first baby Luna, and then between their second and third baby, they lost a set of twins all after twelve weeks. And both of them were so present for me after Lucy died, that it was an honor to paint for them. And really it is an honor to paint for everyone. It feels selfish that I should get to paint so many jizos and be in a state of meditation for so long. I am grateful for the opportunity to spread kindness and hopefully I inspired someone else to pay it forward in Lucia's name.

First five jizo paintings for International Kindness Project Day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On Going Nuts and Play Stations

When I first decided to stay home with my daughter Beatrice, people asked me quite frequently what I did all day. It was generally said like this: "What do you doooo all day? I would go nuts." I generally took it as a well-meaning question. One of genuine interest. To be frank, all of my friends were single, young, and didn't have any idea what you did with a kid for ten minutes, let alone 24 hours. Now when I am asked that question, I feel a surge of sympathy, which I don't mean condescendingly, but it is hard to think and be creative after you have been working in a corporation, or for other people, for so long. Your day is laid out clearly. You know what is expected of you. You get feedback. The reason I know this is because I wondered the same thing before I stayed home. I decided to stay home, but it seemed like it would be overwhelmingly boring.

The first few months of Beezus' life, I breastfed in front of the television. I watched daytime television programs over and over again. Television was my entertainment and staying home drove me nuts. It seemed impossibly impossible. And every day I thought, "Next week, I will go back to work." As Beezus got older, I turned the television off. I realized later that the early days felt like I was just on long weekend. I needed that period after birth to relax and zone out as much as possible. When I finally de-worked, I could see that life at home was going to be a beautiful, amazing, creative adventure.

One thing that staying home hasn't done is drive me nuts. It does the opposite. It makes me calm and gives me focus. Going out in the world makes me a little nuts now. It's so loud. People are rude. And I am a weirdo. The parenting nuances and philosophies my husband and I have adopted came about organically as we have learned to parent one newborn through four-year old, through the loss of our second daughter and into the birth of our third son who is turning sixteen months in a few days.

My husband and I didn't read a lot of parenting philosophy or dogma before we became parents. We did what felt natural, then gravitated towards philosophies like our own. We tend towards Waldorf toys and philosophy, because they tend to be simple and beautifully made and inspire creative play. One thing we were sure about it that we didn't want big bright red and blue plastic toys all over our house. Kids live here. That is obvious, but we didn't want to feel like only children live here.

I guess the other element of that is the noise of children's toys. My husband has degenerative hearing loss and wears hearing aids. Background noise upsets him. Life feels chaotic when there is some whirling dervish of a toy beeping and clicking and screaming and playing carnival music. It is so chaotic and uncomfortable. Being at houses with all that crazy noise make me feel claustrophobic, like I am suffocating by sound. When Sam and I first got together, I was someone who came home and turned on NPR for some background noise. So, being mindful of his hearing loss has taught me to turn off one thing before turning on the next. When we sit to eat dinner, all music, television and toys go off. When we sit to talk, we talk. We don't listen to music as well. When we listen to music, we don't play games, we listen. It has been very good for me, because I am a multi-tasker and it helps me to be present with the task at hand. Bea's little friend came for dinner one night, and during dinner she said, "It is really quiet here." And I hadn't thought about it before, but it is quiet.

But besides just the noise chaos we have quelled, we quelled the toy chaos by organizing our house into play stations, though we never intentionally called it that. That was something that also came about organically as I learned to stay home and introduce creativity into our daily lives. I dare say it is the thing that saved me from going nuts and kept our day moving and creative.

What I mean by stations is that there are areas in each room designated for play and that contain toys. Nothing was formally introduced to our children as, "Here, Children, this is the only place you may play. The other area is Adult Human area." Rather, we just kept all the toys contained in one place, and each room has a different type of toy/play. So, throughout our day, we move throughout the house. That keeps us from being bored.

In our living room, for example, there are two baskets stuffed with toys. One for Beezus' toys, and one for Thor's toys. There is also a Rody, and a wooden castle with some princesses, horses and knights. Both kids love both of those toys. I pulled out the Rody for this photograph, but generally, he is in his stable, which is the space between the red couch and the secretary. We also bought this sweater ball, which is easily made out of old sweaters. It is fun to kick and throw, and it doesn't hurt when you get nailed in the nose. So the kids feel free to play ball in the house.

This bookshelf in the living room is one  most people don't notice. It is under one of our sidetables. But it contains the homeschooling and craft books I have collected. When we feel bored, we pull one out and pick an activity. The best books I have on that shelf are Celebrating the Great Mother, which has seasonal based spiritual activities and crafts, and The Kids' Nature Book, which is 365 activities for kids for outside. That book is listed by every day of the year, and is dictated by a Northern Hemisphere weather system and seasonal nature book. We try to follow it a few times a week when we are interested in an outside activity. Celebrating the Great Mother also has guided meditations for children, which my daughter LOVES, perhaps more than anything else we do during the day, and ways to customize seasonal altars, which we do. Guided meditation with children is a wonderful way to inspire storytelling and imagination as well as calm them throughout the day.

Around the fireplace is our music stations, which is a big basket of instruments. See, it's not that we don't like noise, we just need to do it mindfully, and purposefully. Every day, we play music at some point. Beezus has taken two Music Together classes, and the CDs from those classes are great for leading our music time. Our favorite song is The Earth is Our Mother, which is the hippiest song in the world, but the kids just love to play drums to it. I haven't gone out and bought every instrument together, but have sort of amassed them over the years.
 When I took the picture of the basket, I decided to lay out all the things in that basket. Lots of stuff fit into it, and it is great to have an open space for the kids to reach in and play music whenever they like. We also love the play scarfs, which we bought on Etsy. We dance to some of the instrumentals on the Music Together CDs, and use the scarfs to dance, for picnics, for superhero costumes, for our altars...if you don't have play scarfs, get some. You won't be disappointed. Give a kid a scarf and see what happens, because that is what creativity is about.

The play kitchen is unsurprisingly in our own kitchen/dining room area, and the kids make dinner when I make dinner. We also have a shopping cart for them to use the area like a market. Kids of all ages love playing in pretend kitchens.  I think the great thing about play stations is that I don't micromanage my kids' play. I merely move from room to room to do my daily chores and duties, and they switch gears to play. It also makes clean up so easy, because we use a lot of all purpose baskets, so we can sweep everything up and put it in the basket and return it to its corner. Our shopping cart works in that way for our kitchen area. I do find wooden eggs in my pots and pans, but in general, the kids are good about keeping toys with toys.
My art studio has a ton of kids art supplies, puzzles, legos, games, and other stuff. I see a clock on the floor for learning time, and a piano and the play phone. There is so much here, because sometimes I need to paint commissions and don't have a babysitter. So, we all hang out together, and they can explore their own worlds.

I also have a little easel for them and a table to draw and do crafts. We sometimes move the easel into the basement, then bring it back up in a few months. This space is a space that can get splattered with paint, glitter, glue and mess and there is no screaming. It is a mess-welcome space. I think that encourages mistakes and true art.
 Even our guest bedroom downstairs has a play element, it has a trunk filled with costumes. This area is actually the side of my son's crib. We removed it to create a day bed for him. I took the crib, and turned it 90 degrees, and use it as a costume rack. Beezus has a lot of different kinds of princess costumes and play things, and this is great when she is having a playdate, so the little girls can look through the dresses.

Lots of hats, bonnets, and hoop skirts in that trunk, which gets stuffed and closed when we have company. It doesn't look like the children go into that room at all when company is arriving. Though, funnily, my mother came to stay one weekend, and turned down the sheets, and Beezus' little stuffed elephant was in a sling taking a nap.
In the basement, where our washing machine is, we have toys that we received that blink and make noises, and the kids love going down for chores, because they can play with new toys, or old toys that have been forgotten, or are just a little below their age level. In their room are books, and baby dolls, and stuffed animals. All in all, there isn't one area of the house that doesn't have something to play with, and there is no area, save their shared room, that there isn't an adult element to. Even the bathroom has a basket of Schleich animals that they play with in the bath and beyond.

I guess to wrap up, part of what makes staying at home wonderful is giving yourself the freedom to figure out what makes you nuts and preventing it. I hate clutter and noise, so I got rid of the noise, and solved the clutter problem with play stations and baskets. I still step on little toys, and as you can see in the pictures, some toys end up in the dress-up area, and costumes end up in the music basket, but before I set up my house this way, I was going nuts collecting all the toys to move them to one area with toys. Hope this is helpful to someone. I would love to hear about your experience figuring out some of this stuff.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Did I mention that my work is going in a show next January at the Mulberry Art Studios in Lancaster, PA? I am starting working on some pieces. I'm doing a series of my girl with stillborn baby. I guess I started painting them because I felt like a three year old, and also like a fifty year old woman. I recreated my She is not an Angel piece on a 16"x20" canvas in acrylic. It was originally 4"x6" watercolor.  I want them to be really graphic and poster-y and japanimation-like. But they say all the things I wanted to say but could never articulate to people. I hope they resonate with people.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

chai concentrate

Perhaps everyone already knows how to make fresh or homemade chai concentrate, and I was the only sucker out there buying bags of floor blend chai, steeping it for too long, then drowning it in cream and sugar. It is amazing how much taste paper has when you have bagged tea. Must. Buy. More. Loose. Tea.

Needless to say, during the summer, I really don't even make bagged chai tea for myself because the whole icing process takes so dang long and gets watery, and meh. I'll just drink iced coffee. Yes, yes, I know I can buy chai concentrate at the market, but it always is too sweet for me.

Last week, I went on vacation with my in-laws, and my sister-in-law showed me how to make chai from scratch. Well, chai concentrate. I was hooked on a feeling--of chai. I can warm it without losing taste, or just pour it over some ice with a bit of milk and call it an afternoon (caffeine boost).

So, let me just preface this entire post by saying that whenever I say that I want chai, I think of that Kajagoogoo song, Too Shy, except I change the words to "Too Chai Chai". I blame my wacky sister for that one. But just so you know this is what is going on my head right at this moment.

You're too chai chai. Hush Hush. Ay?You?Ay? Eye To Eye? Eye Ooooo I? I do AYE!

If you have any ideas what that last line of the refrain is, I would appreciate insight. The hair in that video, and the dancing for the love of all that's holy, my Lord. Remember, kids, prolonged cocaine use results in that. Just. Say. No.

That was my PSA today.

Alright, onto chai. Firstly, I consulted Le Google for other chai recipes/ideas, and people are very passionate about the correct and proper Indian way to make chai. I just like how it tastes, and thusly, I make it in a way that reflects no tradition or ritual. I just make it.

So, the herbs and spices for chai are cinnamon, black pepper (now, I am thinking of Cibo Matto's White Pepper Ice Cream, who incidentally, I saw in 1994 and they were wearing silver spacesuits with skirts while they performed. I heart Cibo Matto. I should have linked them instead of the too chai chai song.) So, let's just pull out the mortar and pestle and talk about ingredients in there:

One cinnamon stick snipped with kitchen shears.
Some (I used six) whole tellicherry black peppercorns
One star anise
Three pods of cardamom
Six whole cloves
Two bay leaves

I then ground it together, roughly, but still mortar and pestled the shit out of it.

 I then put it in the linen tea bag, which actually is a bouquet garni bag from the kitchen store. I used about six cups of water in a saucepan. I sliced fresh ginger, about 1/4" of it and put it loose in the water (I can pull those out fairly easily, unlike all the other spices). I put it on a pot to boil. Your house smells awesome, if an awesome tea isn't incentive enough.

Once it began boiling, I started my timer for about five minutes. After the five minutes were up, I turned off the heat and added my loose organic assam tea in one of those metal tea infusers. You can use any black tea. I have read on some websites that you absolutely are not to use leaf tea for chai (there is an Indian pellet type tea as an alternative), but I think it tastes good. I used two tablespoons in a tea infuser. Steep for ten minutes. After removing the tea and spices, I added sugar to taste. I use raw sugar for everything, so my measurements might not match yours. And incidentally, if you don't have all these infusing helpers (linen bags/infusers), you can put them loose in the water, then run them through a strainer. I just am not too coordinated with that type of pouring. As it was, I spill a quarter of my chai when getting it into a mason jar.

I use mason jars for just about everything and my chai concentrate is no different. I couldn't pass up hot, perfect chai tea even on a 95 degree day, so I had a small mug with 3/4 tea, 1/4 milk, because that is how I roll. But only you really know how much cream you like. Experiment. Next batch, I may add some vanilla bean. Holy cow, that sounds good.

This is what I am enjoying as I sit and write this post--iced chai tea with half and half. Yummikins.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crayons and other stuff

Sometimes I think I should transform this blog into our home crafting, Angie-art, weekly goody blog. You know, I make a lot of stuff at home that I used to buy and we craft our asses off. Anyway, I didn't paint much on this past vacation. I tried, but it wasn't in me. I did get motivated to make some stuff around the house, like baba ghanoush with freshly roasted eggplant, a large batch of garbanzos to make a ton of hummus, goat's milk yogurt and other stuff for the kids. I am going to bake some dog biscuits this week, since I have never done that and the dog misses being at my mom's place. Must. Win. Love. With. Food.

Before I left, I was packing and Thor wouldn't be put down, so I had the laptop and googled "scherenschnitte waldorf stars with kite paper." See, I have the kite paper. And the scissors. And I like waldorf stars. I finally found what I was looking for, but the page was in German. I used Google Translate feature, which is a godsend, and made it with Bea, while Thomas slept on my back. I guess I probably could have packed, but I really was mostly done, just needed to double check crap, and I didn't want to be bothered. I can definitely snip and glue stick with a kid strapped to my back.

Please ignore my overgrown flower beds. I almost mowed them yesterday and called it even.

I love the way it looks like stained glass. Black cardstock and kite paper, though I think you could definitely use tissue paper. Kite paper, though, is more like vellum, and stands up to a lot more abuse than tissue paper, and with the way Beezus cuts, you need abuse-friendly paper.

Today's morning project was making some new crayons from some old ones. I read this on my friend Miri's blog Here We Are Together. Funnily, I just clicked over to check the link, and she has tissue paper stars over there too. Her blog is beautiful and creative. She's a homeschooling mama, and explores all kinds of beautiful crafts.

So, this is what I started with a tupperware filled with half bits of crayons. I also had a mini muffin tin, which is here on out going to be designated as the crayon tin. Even though the crayons are all non-toxic, I still don't want my mini-muffins to taste like crayon, or my crayons to have any weird muffin attributes.

I peeled most of the paper off the crayons which still had paper. I also found some chalk, which was a score for the Beezer. She thinks chalk is cool. Then I put it in color order, which I am wont to do. How in the name of all that is holy did I end up with so much orange? I did have all the purple lumped together, then I realized that there is a blue-violet and just a violet. I separated them out before their unnatural mixing left us with a blue-violet-violet. The horror.

I took the broken pieces and added them to the tins. Some of the colors had very few broken pieces, so I broke them all by myself. I read that you should spray the pans with some kind of oil/non-stick spray, but I forgot, and this pan is non-stick. I didn't have any trouble getting them out, but just thought I should share that.

Bake at 275 degrees for 7-9 minutes. I went with the seven minute time frame and still had some lumps, but they are crayons, not mini-muffins. They look fine. Lumps doesn't really matter in the end, I wouldn't think. It absorbs into the crayon. I mixed them and the lumps disappeared. It also occurred to me that you could probably use candy making molds, which come in fun kid shapes, like cars or cats or something. Beezus received some crayons "rocks" from Santa, and I think we could probably make all kinds of cool shapes.
I stacked them for effect when they cooled. I know you can fridge them to cool faster, but it was only ten-fifteen minutes before I felt comfty getting them out. They were the perfect size for Thor to color with. He is a little, uh, violent with the crayons, so this seems perfect for him. (Please ignore the fact that Thor changed the order of yellow and orange. It is disturbing me in this photo, even though his cute tootsies are making up for it.)

Bea liked rolling her new pink crayons, and watching what happened. I liked how you could cover large swaths of paper easily with the side of one.

We had a ton of crayons left over, so I made another batch of mixed color ones, like red, orange and yellow. This is my second batch. And please do not be alarmed by the molten wax all over everything. That was my own dang fault for pulling them out all hot like they were, in fact, muffins rather than molten wax. Gentle is not really in my nature.

This craft was awesome, easy and quick. I also think you can do them in the microwave with paper cups. Probably google-able. I am doing this with all the nubs I can find. I just loved how they turned out and how easy it was.

Monday, July 11, 2011


This post originally appeared on my blog still life with circles on april 25, 2011 called meditating with the childrens

I don't usually do posts like this, but I write fairly often on here about meditation and Buddhism, and meditating with my children, and so, today, I was thinking that maybe I should do a post about my experience with teaching Beezus to meditate and what that has been like. Teaching meditation to my children has taught me more about meditation. I like what Albert Einstein said, "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it." So, if you struggle with finding a moment of calm, maybe this can help you too. I frequently use the same techniques when I meditate that I teach my children.

When Beezus was a year, I bought a book called Baby Buddhas, which is meditation techniques for children. And it has been an amazing resource. I just didn't even know why anyone would teach children meditation. Or really how they could do that. Meditation is difficult for most adults. But now I actually think it is much easier for children. If we can set them up for finding ways to deal with their stress later in life, awesome. Basically, know this starting out, you are not meditating, the children are meditating. So, you will guide them. It is relaxing, but not your meditation. You are helping them stay in the moment. So, think of this as learning how to guide meditation for your children. If I begin meditating with Beezus, and she is unfocused, I just stop and ask if she'd like to try again later, or what we can do to focus.

I had an adult colleague, who used to use similar techniques on herself. Guided meditations, that is. She read them out of a book. She recorded them on her computer with her webcam, then made mp3s out of them, then put them on her Ipod and listened to them at lunch. I think she did the same thing with yoga workouts for the gym, since in the moment, she felt silly and forgot which move was next. I always thought that was an awesome technique.

Oh, right, the childrens. We sit cross-legged on the floor in a circle, or Beezus sits on my lap. She most frequently sits on my lap when we do guided meditations when she is upset, or exhausted and having a hard time. Sometimes I guide her on walks through the woods, to meet a spirit animal. I know it sounds hokey, but kids love that they can be a player in a story we create, and she turns the corner and tells me the animal she is feeling most like. That meditation is incredibly insightful into the place my daughter is at mentally and emotionally. When she is feeling like a giraffe, or a panda bear, or a tiger, I understand what she feels like a little better. Alright, totally hokey, but it works.

So, here is a basic meditation. We often start with a meditation gong, or bell. The meditation gong we picked up at the new age bookshop in Philly, and it was less than ten bucks, and well well worth the money spent. I try to make meditation fun, interesting, a time of finding strength and renewal, not a burden. So, I have the meditation gong, which both Thor and Beezus ring. I often catch Thor at the altar, ringing the gong on his free time. Children are attracted to music and beautiful sounds, so that helps to get them interested in this time. I change who rings it, and sometimes they both ring the start of meditation. One right after the other. Who cares? There are no rules, so make it fun as you go through it. What works for your family is most important.

Thor is a little young, but he likes to climb on us when we meditate and it is fun to try not to move or giggle when he is exploring us. That is a form of meditation and focus that is good and fun for kids to learn too.

The guided meditation I use most frequently is just guiding her breath and learning gratitude. So, first, we sit in a circle with the gong. And I say something like this, "Let's cross our legs, sit up straight, smile, wiggle our toes. We are having a fun meditation for compassion and to give thanks. First, let's imagine ourselves like trees, our back extend down down down into the earth, the spine, which is the hard bone in your back, goes into the ground, and sprouts roots, and soaks up all the goodness and strength from the earth, and then your head will move upwards towards to clouds, to capture the rain. We are a big tree. sturdy and strong, and ready to watch the world around us. Now, we start to mind our breath and slow down. We will breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in love. Breathe out madness. GONG. Breathe in love. Breathe out sadness. GONG. Breathe in love. Breathe out badness. GONG. I am so grateful we are here together in this circle, listening to this bell. Let's breathe quietly for a few moments, then when you hear the gong, you can open your eyes." And in about a minute, I ring the bell. That is it. You can go as long as your child can handle it, but I try not to overextend my daughter's patience. Short and sweet, and sometimes she asks to do it again, so we do.

Today, we created mind jars, from the book Moody Cow Meditates. It is about a cow who has a bad day and his grandfather comes to help him deal with his anger and mixed up feelings. So, they create a mind jar, and use it to focus on meditation. It is really easy to make. Basically, you get a jar--spice jar, baby food size, or even a mason jar. First, put some glitter in the jar. Little glitter is better than like star glitter (which is heavier), but either works. Fill the jar 3/4ths full with warm water, then the rest of the way up (with some room for shaking) with glycerin. You can get glycerin for really cheap at the craft store, or grocer. It is used in baking to brighten up icing color, so they sell wee little jars of it, which is perfect for this craft. After the glycerin, add four drops of liquid soap. Put the lid, tightly on the jar, then shake it. It is essentially like creating a snow globe, but you can help you little one pick colors, make it their own. The goal is that when they are feeling out of control, they shake the jar, then sit and watch the glitter settle in the water. It is like our minds when we are angry, frustrated, things feel impossible--our minds and emotions are all shook up. I help Bea stare and not stare at the jar, that middle gaze. When the glitter settles, we finish our meditation. This one is a really great technique to use in lieu of timeout. When our minds are shook up, we can easily get shaken up again, and that is what the jar is useful to show, how our emotions can be shook up and crazy, but we don't have to shake the jar. Beatrice loves her mindjar, and it works great to help calm a crazed kid.

Hope that was useful for someone out there. If anyone has any questions for me about meditation, or anything else really, just put it in the comment section here. I am trying to write more and could use inspiration.

*This post was edited to add to add some pictures. After I wrote this, I thought maybe you'd like to see what a mind jar looks like and the meditation gong. We made two yesterday. One for upstairs and one for down. The shorter one was shook up right before I snapped this picture. You begin meditation with the gong, but gently hitting the side of the bowl, the bigger the bowl, the longer the ring. And you stay quiet until the end of the bowl's sound.