Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Sage in the Page: A Tale of Self-Acceptance and Appreciation

When I look in the mirror, all that I see
are all these flaws looking back at me.
Not good enough - No! No! Not at all!
these thoughts feel like a thick, iron wall,
imprisoning me in this mental cage,
with no space to see the perfect sage,
seemingly written in permanent ink,
always affecting what I see, feel, and think.

And even though, I know deep down inside
there is no reason I need to hide
who I am to the world and yet I see,
a horrible, slimy thing looking back at me.
A thing with claws of anger and regret,
parts of myself that I don't like yet:
confusion, desire, pride, envy, and rage,
appearing on the ground of the perfect sage.

And yet I know that the thing and the sage,
are somehow linked, like the words and the page,
We get lost in the words as they appear,
forgetting that the page is - Oh, so near!

For the words, they form the story being told,
but the page is the primordial ground of old,
the ground of all my not-good-enough thoughts,
of my should-have's and should-have-not's.

The words appear, but it is I who creates
the story that spins and propagates.
It is the story that's reflected on the page -
not who I am; just the bars of the cage.
The cage itself is not a problem, you see,
as it is not as solid as it appears to be.

I am not what I think or feel,
but I made it all a really big deal,
creating a tale, a tale that is tall,
when, really, there is no problem at all!

With closer inspection and skillful recollection,
I finally see my true nature, my true reflection,
seeing through the story being told,
seeing the perfect sage of old,
knowing that although the words appear,
the ground of the page is always near.

And so I look in the mirror once more,
and see much more than I did before.
With an open heart and a resting mind,
the perfect sage I finally find.

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Angela Dawn MacKay 

I am Here, Now

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Angela Dawn MacKay 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The River of Healing

The River of Healing ebbs and flows,
where it goes, no one knows.
With no beginning and no end,
and surprises around every bend,
flowing at its' natural pace,
for natural healing is not a race.

Go with the flow and you will find
natural ease and peace of mind.
Drag your feet and you will see
much more pain than need be.

Move too fast, speeding along,
faster than the River's song,
you will find it tires you out,
exerting effort because of doubt,
not trusting enough to go with the flow,
not trusting you'll be where you need to go.

Pushing the River doesn't get you as far
as accepting the moment, wherever you are.

Does the river need to know
where it's going in order to flow?
Must it reach the sea on time
in order to have peace of mind?
Is the river of today
the same as it was yesterday?

Who you are changes as the river flows,
with every breath that comes and goes.
It doesn't make much sense, you see,
to do so much, so much easier to be.

The River has peace of mind
because it has no self or time,
just flowing along, here and there,
flowing along without a care,
not thinking of what it should be,
or when it should finally reach the sea.

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Angela Dawn MacKay 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homework Helper 101

     As a parent, how do you balance helping your child do their homework, but at the same time, ensuring that the help and support you offer is actually benefiting your child in the long run? Here are some guidelines that may help you help your child more effectively:

  • Keeping the communication lines open is the best way for you to be involved with your child’s schooling. Encourage your child to discuss their homework with you and any difficulties they may have.
  • Set a specific time for homework, preferably before leisure activities, such as television or computer usage. This allows for consistency in your child’s routine and sets up clear expectations regarding homework.
  • Help your child get organized by setting up a calendar with the due dates of projects and exams. Encourage them to break down assignments into smaller steps that are more manageable.
  • Be supportive, but encourage autonomy. It is important for your children to be able to complete the tasks on their own. If your child struggles with a particular question, encourage them to continue to try before providing them with help.
  • Encourage your children to seek extra help from their teacher if they struggle with a particular subject. You may also want to communicate with the teacher about how you can help.
  • Make homework fun and quality time with your child. If children learn that homework can be enjoyable, then they will be more motivated to complete tasks on their own without your encouragement.
  • Be aware of your child’s emotionality when doing homework. Difficult tasks can be a source of frustration and low self-esteem. Encourage your child to separate their ability to complete one task from how smart and capable they are overall.
  • Encourage your child’s strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses. With a little creativity, just about any roadblock can be dealt with through finding a new way to conceptualize a task, using visual aids or analogies.
  • Have reasonable expectations for your child. Individuals vary on their ability to sustain concentration and complete tasks. Set your child up for success.
  • Encourage your child to study in whatever manner they find most effective. Some children prefer to quietly study at a desk while others prefer to curl up in bed while listening to music.
  • Develop a contract with your child regarding expectations about completing homework and have consistent consequences, such as losing computer privileges, if homework is not completed. This eliminates the need for constant reminders that can lead to familial conflict.
  • Ask to see the completed assignment and discuss it with your child if he/she has a history of not being honest about homework. This enables parents to catch any academic concerns sooner rather than later.
  • Do not do your child’s homework. Teachers need to know what your child understands and struggles with.
  • Focus on the task at hand, rather than commenting on the importance of doing well in school. Children experience enough pressure to succeed and so discussing the consequences of low marks is not particularly helpful.

     Following the above suggestions may improve the way your child approaches school as well as decrease the typical arguments over completing homework. Most importantly, be supportive to your child, but give them space to have their own successes and to learn from their mistakes.

     If your child continuously struggles with a specific subject, contact a professional to determine if a psycho-educational assessment is necessary.