I heard from a lot of girls that they had the back-to-school scaries and I felt it too. Getting into the swing of things can be difficult after break (and now a snow day).
So I decided to make a list of all the resources I had for girls to help make their transition easier, but it turned into a moment where I began to reflect on what I have created. It reminded me of when I used to choreograph for dance. I would hear music and be able to see how I wanted everyone to move in my mind. After months of practice, it was complete on stage. What was once in my head, had become something greater than myself with the help of others. It conjured awe and that’s what looking at my mentoring practice feels like for me. I am in awe.
Last spring while I finished up school, I started to babysit a precocious two year old. I would try (and fail) to define awe. When we would look at the clear New York City skyline from Hoboken, I’d try to convey awe in terms of wonder. One night we chased a big full moon. Awe in terms of vastness. How I wouldn’t see him for a week and by the next time I was over, he’d have all these new words in his vocabulary. Awe from being amazed. This is what I feel when I look at the girls I’ve mentored. The feeling of being blown away, largely thanks to all of you.
I encourage everyone to seek out moments of wonder, not only because it feels good, but studies have even found, “connections between the experience of awe and enhanced critical and creative thinking faculties, improved health, a sense of embeddedness into collective folds and an increase in pro-social behaviours such as kindness, self-sacrifice, co-operation and resource-sharing,” (Psychology Today).
Thank you for all the awe and wishing you a 2018 full of wonder.
Last week, I held a Holiday HangIn in Hoboken where my students and I reflected on our milestones of 2017, shared what we are grateful for, and set intentions for 2018.
A fun way to look at all the different ways that the girls have grown is to use a blank calendar and fill it out with all the big (both positive and negative) milestones that have happened over the year. It would be fun to fill out one as a family!
Wishing everyone a happy healthy holiday! I’m so appreciative of all the girls that shared themselves with me this year. I am so lucky. We have new mentoring and yoga classes happening in January! Can’t wait to spend time with you in the new year!
I always remind the girls I work with that people online only show you what they want you to see and I’m included in this. There are a million things I’m not sharing here. I haven’t shared that I was robbed a few weeks ago in my own building or that I have about zero holiday spirit since my grandparents passed away. Even now, I’m purposely leaving things out of my story both good and bad. With how easily it is to mindlessly scroll through social media, it’s important to remember that what we see isn’t the whole picture.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we share ourselves and how much time I spend online after reading statements from an interview Sean Parker, the onetime founding president of Facebook and co-founder of Napster, gave about social media:
“We need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments… It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology… God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
I am hypocritically posting publicly, but Parker’s comments made me think about how I don’t want to be addicted to the dopamine hits of “likes and comments” especially when the forum is inherently inauthentic. Why do I zone out of my own life to watch other people’s fake lives? I’m in my 20’s and struggle with this. Imagine the susceptibility of adolescents who are searching for identity and seeking the approval of peers during an incredibly transformative period of time. Of course, there are benefits to social media, but this is something that has shifted my online usage and that is something I want to share.
I wanted to share a story that I’ve used with my girls in my mentoring sessions. Recently, I saw a man with a shirt that said: Good Vibes Self Made and it inspired me! Sometimes I think we get really stuck in looking to things on the outside to make us feel good on the inside. We want the people and situations around us to change in order to make us feel better. Any emotion that you want to feel can be yours if you choose it. This can happen despite external circumstances because everyone is responsible for their own happiness. Good vibes are indeed are self made.
Even though much of my work is focused on mentoring teens, I spend just as much time speaking with moms. I hear about their hopes and worries for their girls. One common theme that’s popped up centers around raising capable kids. Everyone wants their daughters to be able to take care and advocate for themselves. It might seem backwards, but one of my secrets to raising capable kids is to let them fail.
I was given permission to share the following story:
I had a mom recently whose daughter was really excited and motivated to try out for the school play. The mom was concerned because her daughter didn’t have play experience before and the kids in the class could be particularly cruel. She wanted my advice about what to do. I suggested that if her daughter was excited and wanted to do it then she should let her. If she made the play it was a great learning experience. If she didn’t make the play it was a great learning experience.
Even though we want to, we can’t protect our kids from everything. We can guide them and help pick them up when they fall down. I think it’s important for girls to know that even when things don’t work out the way they hoped, they can learn and grow from experiences. Capable kids have the ability to trust themselves, which starts with their parents trusting them too.
Did you watch the eclipse today? I was working with a student so we got to witness the event together! So cool! I wanted to share an eclipse ritual (I share this on Instagram too) that I’ve been doing. It’s so good to do before the start of school. It’s to let go of the old to make way for the new!
✨Eclipse Magic✨ The big eclipse today makes it the perfect moment for a little bit of magic.
🔮Cast your spell by releasing anything that has been holding you back (feeling not good enough, unworthiness, lack of self-love) and set some positive school year resolutions.💫 Write down what you’d like to let go of then rip it up or burn it. After set the intention of what you’d like to bring into your life like feeling more confident, taking care of your body, picking friends that make you feel good, cultivating inner peace… possibilities are endless! 🌙
Let me know if you do this and what magic happens in your life! Happy eclipse-ing!!
MD: I really wanted students to have resources to help them feel better, especially around managing stress. I run all these great groups and work with students one-on-one and wanted to give girls tools to have at home. Everyone is so stressed and I think we overlook how debilitating it is. You can’t be doing your best or working at full capacity if you’re stressed and anxious.
I’ve wanted to write this for awhile now and since it’s the beginning of November, I felt it was appropriate to say thank you. I’m so grateful for all of your encouragement as I build this community to help raise happy girls. To my students, thanks for letting me be your big sister! To all the moms, thank you for allowing me to guide your girls. I don’t take it for granted. Your support, whether it’s a referral or always trying to feed me when I come over, is more meaningful than you know. It takes a village! Thank you for allowing me to pursue my dream!
In the spirit of being an ever-growing mentor, I’d love to hear from you. What topics would you like me to cover? Got a group idea? Any questions for me? Feel free to let me know how I can best serve!
Today, I’m getting a little personal and sharing part of my morning routine. I believe happiness is a habit. Just like we have to work at dance, sports, school, and more to deepen our practice in those subjects, we have to be willing to put in the time when it comes to happiness. Today I’m sharing my tip for training your brain to have a good day.
I’ve received so many SOS texts about Halloween that I actually feel bad that I’m just doing this video now. Between group costumes and parties the drama has been all over the place. Halloween is a holiday that brings up a lot of issues around inclusiveness, which is HUGE and important to middle and high school girls. Today I’m talking about my two approaches to Halloween stress.