My Mother's Legacy
On February 10th, my mother’s light joined the heavens. Her spirit is now free of earthly constraints and I imagine that she sparkles with the radiance of springtime. As March arrives and her favorite season gently unfolds, I’m especially aware of the sights and sounds that thrilled my mom. Every morning I think of her as I lie in bed and listen to the birds greeting the dawn with their beautiful songs—or when I see a hummingbird flutter outside my bedroom window.
Last winter, I was fortunate to have been able to dedicate The Floppy Sleep Game Book to my mom. Now, as springtime arrives, I’d like to share the dedication with you. In doing so, I hope to honor my mother and pass along her legacy—the gift of recognizing and appreciating the wonders of our beautiful Earth.
Jeanette Grace Jones.
My mother’s middle name is very befitting. Never have I met anyone who is more appreciative of life’s small graces. The sound of a bird’s song or the soft shade of a blooming rose would stop her in her tracks. “Look,” she’d say in awe, “have you ever seen such a glorious shade of yellow?” Alerted to the rose that I’d been oblivious to, I’d admire its delicate beauty. But what really touched my heart was the loveliness of the rose reflected in the glow of my mother’s radiant face. In my eyes, my mother’s soft beauty rivaled that of the rose, which so enthralled her.
I’m fairly certain that my mother never read a book about “living in the moment,” but then, she didn’t need to. She never lost the wonder of a child, nor does she long for what most people would consider a grander life. Her flower garden or a newly ripened tomato are the things that bring her joy. My mother has lived a humble life, but it is no less worthy than that of a prophet or a saint. By simply being in her presence, those of us around her will catch a glimpse of the world through her eyes—and see the beauty in what we foolishly think of as “the little things in life.” Thank you so much, Mom, for teaching me that the small graces in life are more than enough.
Celebrate the Seasons of Life
Growing up on a farm in Nebraska, my mother and her family were dependent on the cycles of sprouting, growth, fruiting, decaying, dying and then sprouting again. This reassuring cycle taught our ancestors to trust the promise of rebirth and renewal and to honor the process of death and decay. In times past, children helped to plant and harvest crops and were included in the daily life rituals of a community that honored Mother Earth’s gifts. But today, most families get their food from the grocery store and are further removed from Mother Earth’s important lessons.
As parents, it’s up to us to teach our children to value the
Earth and to treat every living creature with love, reverence and respect.
This type of compassionate awareness and empathy is necessary in order
for us to grow individually, and as a planet. Parents can keep a child’s
inherent sense of wonder alive by sharing the joy, excitement and mystery
of the world we live in. This spring, let the kaleidoscope of Mother
Earth’s vibrant colors and shapes entice you to celebrate the
season with joyous family activities and rituals.
Activities to celebrate spring:
Have a spring scavenger hunt.
Fly a kite.
Bird watching and listening.
Plant seeds and tend to them.
Observe the tiniest creatures.
Take a walk in the rain.
Celebrate the first day of spring. (Vernal Equinox)
Plant a tree and watch it grow.
Announcements and Requests:
Please share your expressions of peace at www.MotherHearts.org
I’m honored to be part of a newly formed circle of women, whose mission is to inspire and promote peace. On Mothers Day, together with the Veterans for Peace, we are organizing a ceremony at a stretch of beach in Santa Barbara, CA, dubbed Arlington West. Here, the devastating cost of war—the death of young men and women, is all too clear. For on each and every Sunday morning, individual white crosses are placed in long straight rows, one for each fallen soldier of the war.
Were you aware that the first Mother’s Day was created for the purpose of encouraging women to speak up and voice their desire for a world without war? Not about cards and flowers, this was a day meant to hear the collective feminine voice in a call for peace.” Therefore, on Mothers Day, I’d like to invite you to open your hearts and inspire others to resolve conflicts peacefully through your musings, stories, poems or art. Expressions of peace will be posted and shared at Arlington West on Mothers Day as well as on our upcoming website. Please send your submissions to Patti@PattiTeel.com.
National Sleep Awareness Week
The National Sleep Foundation is raising awareness about the importance of sleep by dedicating March as National Sleep Awareness Month. It’s a crucial message because for years our culture has underestimated its importance. If you’re a parent, it’s important to realize that in order for your child to be physically and emotionally healthy as well as a successful student, it’s vital for him to get a sufficient amount of quality sleep. Unfortunately, children’s sleep problems are extremely common. In 2004, the National Sleep Foundation reported that a whopping 69 percent of children under the age of ten have sleep difficulties. Factors that contribute to this modern day malady include lax rules, difficulty transitioning from the family bed, stress, overstimulation and the media.
While the number of children with sleep problems is staggering, by
improving sleep hygiene and teaching children to relax, the majority
of them are relatively easy to solve. But most parenting books on the
subject focus on babies and give scant attention to the most useful
long term solution for children—which is to teach them to purposely
relax their bodies and minds so that they can relax and fall asleep.
For more information, visit my website at www.pattiteel.com.
The Dream Maker's March Dream Starters
Dream Starters are visualizations which promote relaxation, imagination and well-being as they guide children into the world of dreams.
To prepare for these dream starters, (or visualizations), create a quiet comfortable atmosphere in which your child can relax.
Step One ~ Progressive Relaxation (Tensing & Relaxing Muscle Groups)
Have your child lie down in his bed. Have him lift each arm and leg individually, holding each limb tightly before loosely flopping it down on his bed. Then have him wrinkle his face and hold his eyes tightly closed, before relaxing his face. (Tense each muscle group for at least 5 seconds.)
Step Two ~ Focus on the breath
Have your child get very quiet and watch his own breath.
Step Three ~ Creative Visualization
Now that your child is relaxed, read (or tell) the following visualization. Of course, feel free to modify it according to your child’s age and interests.
Signs of Spring
Read visualizations in a slow, relaxed voice. Pause to let the scene “set” in the listeners mind. The tone of voice is also very important; lowering it a few tones can create a more hypnotic, restful mood.
It’s time to go to Dream Land. When you arrive, The Dream Maker and other dreaming children have gathered around Willow, the wise and strong tree that stands next to the Dream Academy. The Dream Maker excitedly tells you that the Forest of Dreams is showing signs of spring. The secret door leading to the Forest of Dreams is on Memaw’s trunk. It slowly opens. The Dream Maker beckons you and the other children to follow her as she ducks inside. You follow the Dream Maker down a long slide, towards a glowing light. You and the other dreaming children continue to follow her, sliding down, down, down—towards the light below. The light is coming from Memaw, the Mother Tree. When you reach the bottom you step outside and gaze at the gigantic tree. Her branches are covered with beautiful glowing buds which twinkle like the lights on a Christmas tree.
The Dream Maker asks you and the other dreaming children to watch and listen for signs of spring as you follow her down a moonlit forest path. You notice that along the edge of the path, many small plants are shooting out of the ground. The flowers aren’t blooming yet, but when you look at them closely, you see tight little buds on their delicate stems. Looking towards the treetops, you see a red winged blackbird. In the distance, you hear frogs croaking, but when you get close to them, they are silent.
You step out of the forest and into a meadow that’s covered with the short, green grass of springtime. In the center of the meadow, there is a circle of large rocks. The Dream Maker invites you and the other dreamers to sit down on one of them. Then, she uses her magic to start a roaring campfire in the center. The Dream Maker asks you and the other dreaming children if you’d like to share your favorite springtime memory. A girl talks about a little bird that built a nest in a tree outside her bedroom window. Then, a boy remembers flying a kite higher than the highest tree. It’s your turn share, if you’d like. (Pause)
During the campfire, friendly clouds have been moving in—and the moon barely peeks through them. Soft raindrops begin to fall gently fall on your face. The Dream Maker reaches into her pouch and sprinkles dream dust into the air. Magically, small colorful tents appear in a circle around the campfire. You and the other dreamers each choose your own tent and go inside. The air is cool so you are eager to warm up in a thick, cozy sleeping bag that has already been set up for you. The sound of the rain softly splatters on the outside of the tent but inside, you are cozy and dry. Shut your eyes and listen to the soft rhythm of the rain.
Splickety splickety splat—splickety splickety splat,
The sound soothes you. (Pause) You are getting sleepy. (Pause) As you fall asleep, the rain continues to gently fall. You think of our beautiful world and the grateful plants and trees that are enjoying this lovely spring shower. (Pause) The rain cleans the air and it smells fresh and new. (Pause) Breathe in the clean spring air. (Pause) Breathing in, breathing out—breathing in, breathing out. (Pause) Continue to breathe in the springtime air. (Pause) Ride your breath and let it carry you through your own world of dreams.