The Sound of Silence
Do you ever worry about not doing enough for your kids or worry about doing it the right way? Or, if there is any down time, feeling like you have to fill it up???
You are not alone if that’s the case! But, here's a tip that actually requires you to do LESS 🎉!
I do A LOT of talking with my kids (my patients and my own), but one of the things I tell parents and teachers often is to pause and talk less….allow the silence from time to time! (This can be soooo hard to do 😬!)
Kiddos with learning and language challenges often have a hard time keeping up with conversations that happen quickly.
The pause allows more time for processing and it allows all kids the space to express themselves without attachment or to answer a specific question.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t respond, just hold back, and let them take the lead. See what happens when you release expectation and simply allow. You will be amazed by what you hear!
We don’t always have to fill up the space!
This goes for us, too, as parents and caregivers! When our mind is filled with the noise of business, worry, and fear, it’s tricky for us to “hear” our inner voice or notice what is happening internally. We have to turn down the volume of the world around us.
Take some time each week to listen, to allow yourself to receive information from your internal wisdom and from spirit (one in the same, right?)
I challenge you to go for a walk on your own, without listening to a podcast, or drive without music playing. Instead of picking up a book, lie on the Earth and simply listen to the wind blowing through trees and the birds chirping. What do you hear in the sound of silence? Let me know how it goes and any messages you receive!
Life is full of unknowns, but the last year has been, well, unprecedented in this regard! So, something to think about as we gear up for the upcoming school year is how to make transitions easier for our kiddos, at home and school. My son was virtual all year, so we are looking at a big change in our house and we haven't had much of a schedule 😬!!!
Not everyone likes surprises and our kids feel empowered when they have a sense of control of their environment and lives (hint: so do we 😉!).
The neurodiverse kiddos I work with particularly tend to have difficulty with transitions, or shifting from one activity to another. And truly, many kids do, but there are several strategies to help kids transition successfully and facilitate cognitive flexibility as they grow.
Here's what you can do to prepare your kids:
💬 Let them know what’s expected
⚠️ Give them multiple warnings
👀 Make it visual
😌 Keep language simple
💖 Connection first/Honoring feelings
🐢 Slow down
The more you put this into practice, the more flexible kids will become, because they will feel safer and know what is expected in their everyday routines.
I’ll be diving into some of this in greater detail in my upcoming 5 Day Challenge! Keep your eyes peeled!
With love and gratitude,
Amanda Nitschke, M.S. CCC-SLP, RYT200
CE0 & Founder of PachaYoga & Healing, Leaps with Language
Straight to the Heart
Happy summer, y’all! We just got back from a trip with our California family, which we hadn’t seen in over 2 years due to the pandemic!! We had an epic time exploring Zion National Park and the surrounding area!!
The indigenous Paiute name for Zion is Mukuntuweap which means “straight canyon” or “straight arrow”. On our first day, we hiked up the extraordinary Zion Narrows (with six kiddos ages 6-17). We were up at 5:00 AM, and it was REALLY crowded, but as I watched the throngs of people trudge up the canyon through the water, I felt I was witnessing a pilgrimage…a journey straight to the heart, a return to nature, to this sacred, healing space with its grounding rocks and flowing, cleansing waters and the healing presence of Pachamama.
We all need this, now more than ever, but the path isn’t always easy, just like the hike! It was a challenge, balancing tediously on the rocks to navigate a path through the chilly stream. (Thank goodness for the hiking stick provided by Auntie Jessica!) My little guy and his cousins were troopers…however stumbling into the icy water was the last straw for Jonah after little sleep, lots of travel, a super early morning and a tough hike. Yep, tears streaming down his face, full on balling in the middle of the narrows (echoing off the canyon walls lol). Rather than bolting to get him out of there (nowhere to go really) or fixing it, I just held space and let it flow and comforted him. We’ve all been there…it’s gotta go somewhere!
We found a spot for us all to sit and regroup as the littles and teens were ready to head back. It was concave area carved into the steep wall of the canyon with a few rocks to sit on.
As I held Jonah in my lap, I consciously connected to the Earth as a conduit for him, allowing the energetic “ickies” to flow through me and down into the Earth. I mentioned to him that it was like we were in Pachamama’s belly. He responded with, “more like her belly button!” And he was exactly right…We were in her “qosqo”!
The energy shifted, he had a few bites of sandwich and was ready for his return journey, singing away as we hiked back and encountered the “super social squirrels”. On the trail back, he expressed that he liked hiking because you can feel proud when you do something hard.
It's not about the challenge, but how we journey through it!
That goes for us grown ups, too!!
With love and gratitude,
Amanda Nitschke, M.S. CCC-SLP, RYT200
CE0 & Founder of PachaYoga & Healing, Leaps with Language
P.S. I highly recommend a walking stick, or two!!
The Breath of the Moon
In and out, in and out,
Slowly, mindfully, intentionally,
And listen to the breath of the moon.
Ceremony is often done in conjunction with the full and new moons, but have you ever wondered why? Recently, I was working with a patient on blowing bubbles…a seemingly simple action for most, and while witnessing the challenge in initiating volitional breath, I recognized how working with the breath parallels our ability to work with the energetic cycles of the moon via ceremony.
When we are first born, the wave of the inhale and exhale generates the first cry in life as our soul embarks upon this earthly experience. Thanks to the autonomic nervous system, our breath generally flows effortlessly to survive, to speak, to sing, and to cry out. But the breath serves an additional purpose and is often an untapped resource. Through the practice of breathwork, or pranayama, one can increase the effect on the body by lengthening the breath cycle, retaining, or suspending the breath. We can actively and intentionally shift our nervous and energetic systems entirely, altering our mental and emotional state, and even consciousness.
Engaging in ceremony in conjunction with the moon cycles is akin to working with the breath, but on an energetic level as a tool/vehicle for change and moving energy and to consciously interact with the energies of the Earth and cosmos as well as our own energetic system…riding the waves of that cycle. Ceremony is the way to work with the breath of the moon. We essentially have a bigger wave to ride.
We often hear that a full moon is a time to “let go” or move on, but it is more like an energetic exhale, part of a cycle. A full exhale squeezes out residual air, literally clearing out waste left over from the respiration process and leaves us with greater lung capacity to take in more life giving oxygen. Through ceremony, we energetically clear out the residue from what was created, good or bad, so we can keep the cycle going. We then have the energetic space to bring in the creative forces and energies that assist us in cocreation. When we understand the bigger picture of cycles in nature, and how we are truly a part of it, we can better interpret and shift mental, emotional, and energetic states. Of course, you can survive without knowing how to work with the breath, and you will survive without delving into the world of developing a deeper connection with the energetic forcers of our universe, but, you can dive deeper and deeper and find your innate power when you access these tools.
Exhale fully!!!! Be ready for that glorious inhale bringing new life and new energy into your life and into the new year!
Reflecting on being Cour-age-ous: Abounding in heart, full of heart
-ous: possessing the quality of…full of…abounding in
Living in the space of the heart
Full of heart
Full of love
Your heart ready to burst
Bursting with joy Or ripped open
Both an outpouring of love, yet so contrary
So painful, erupting with so much love
Just so much damn, fucking love!
If it’s full, it may overflow…
Springing forth through tears, tears of sadness, anger, grief, frustration, fear, happiness, gratitude, humor, bliss, beauty & LOVE
Bursting at the seams
A broken heart may appear irreparable
Just fucking feel it.
Let the love gush out & allow it to flow in
The same flow
Rising & falling of the tides
Be bold, be tenderhearted
Have you had a broken heart? Do you feel it?
You are full of heart! You are letting the love flow! Feel it. Your sacred heart.
Let the love pour out into the rivers and streams until the oceans are full and surge over the land.
That’s the kind of climate change we need.
Fire in the Belly
I love affirmations and synchronicities, especially when they occur in the midst of quotidian activities like taking out the trash! I had been contemplating this intense Texas heat along with the fiery Leo energy that we have been experiencing, bringing attention to our inner fire, our solar plexus...our ability to burn bright. I recalled an incredible healing experience I had in my first ayahuasca ceremony in the darkness of the Peruvian rainforest and was thinking about how to make it relatable and tangible for others.
It was my first experience with plant medicine, and it took awhile to take effect...not much was happening. Then, a warming sensation began in my belly as if a fire were being gently stoked. There was no pain or burning, just a glow. In my mind’s eye, I saw yellow, growing bigger and I felt as if I had an umbilical cord connecting me to a universal womb. A steady stream of beautiful, nourishing, relaxing, warming light poured into me for several minutes. It was breathtaking and unfathomable, however as undeniable as feeling the heat from a campfire when roasting marshmallows. It also had a very practical feeling, like stopping at the gas station to fill up your tank. As this extraordinary bliss came to an end, I saw a “vehicle” disconnect from me and slowly drift off into space. I wanted to reach out and say, “No, don’t go.” It was so powerful, yet I knew it was leaving because it had done its job.
At the time, I remember thinking this “prana refill” was a boost to make up for an intense school year as a speech pathologist working with lots preschoolers and some intense parents. Six years later, I firmly believe that the universe was preparing me for the tumultuous years that were to come, which have stretched and pulled me in so many directions of beauty, heartache, sadness, love, loneliness, faith and growth through creating a new life, dismantling relationships, forming new ones, pursuing spiritual studies, and changing careers while staying aligned with my soul’s path. I have thoroughly drawn upon that reserve of golden prana, that I know was “source energy”. The plant medicine remains within as a teacher and healer.
So, back to synchronicity. I was thinking, how do I make this out of body yet in my body journey relatable? As I was taking out the trash, I remembered the intention that I had put into the plant medicine for the ceremony and began chanting it in my head as I walked out the front door, and exactly at that moment, an owl began chattering away. Share the intention, share the journey. I smiled and laughed to myself.
“You are on the right track,” he appeared to hoot.
“Yes, yes,” affirmed a second owl with a different sort of call.
(By the way, our English translation of owl doesn’t do it justice. It’s a beautiful, enchanting sound.)
I couldn’t believe that there were two owls and that they were so close. I looked up to see if I could spot them. There, silhouetted with the branches and leaves against the dusky blue sky, the two wise beings were perched peacefully on a limb of the grandmother tree in my backyard. Right there above my house. We looked at each other, and I offered them gratitude. They flew silently away together. Magical, fleeting moments that sometimes cannot be captured anywhere except in the heart.
All of the beautiful, spiritual, and esoteric experiences one may have are tools to make the most of our opportunity to learn, heal and grow on this precious Earth. This is what the owls wanted me to share. This was my intention with the medicine. May you open to grace and allow the light to pour in!
Angel's Prayer by Ty Burhoe
Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
English translation taken from anusarayoga.com (There are various translations.)
I open my heart to the power of Grace
That lives in us as goodness
That never is absent and radiates peace
And lights the way to transformation
My four-year old is hopping excitedly down the trail of streamers that the Easter Bunny left. He races ahead to see if the carrots were eaten, then back to my room to read the notes the Easter Bunny left on the presents, then tears open a present and then back to the trail. Oh my God, he is magical! His life force is boundless...seriously, he gives the Energizer Bunny a run for his money. I want to capture it, this effervescent joy and excitement, his unique comments bubbling forth. But, with a sense of deflation I realize, as I am in the process of filming his sweet words, that my phone storage is suddenly full. I try to delete some things quickly, and it’s still too full. Ugghh. I’m not going to have any adorable, pics to post on facebook or look at in twenty years!!! (Ego doesn’t like this.) I miss documenting it, but I don’t miss it.
It's a perfect reminder to stay in the moment, but there's something more. I just have to listen. As I clean up the confetti from the cascarones, I’m overwhelmed by the way the universe, speaks to me. Synchronicity. My 68G iPhone I’ve had for almost two years is suddenly full, today, a day when there is pure magic to capture which coincides with the day people across the world celebrate the MOST miraculous event in Christianity. What is the universe communicating?
Miracles lie within unseen magic and transformation...all the time!
See them! Pay attention to the magic that is not “visible”. Sometimes it cannot be captured. Have faith in your awareness. Be your own witness to the constant miracles that occur on the internal scape and in the world around you. Often they are imperceptible to others, and they are not bound by religion or culture. Envisioning peace, love and miracles for all, every day!