BC Teachers’ Strike Leaves Kids In Limbo

Posted by Alyson Jones.

The back to school ads are on television, school supplies are filling the store aisles, and the kids have grown three inches over the summer. Parents are beginning to organize shopping excursions to outfit their children and stock up on needed supplies. The mad dash to register for activities and coordinate the schedule has begun. Yes, August is moving along quickly, and the natural flow of the season has us thinking about change and gearing up for the beginning of the school year.

There is usually a mixture of feelings at the end of August; disappointment that the summer is coming to an end and the anticipation of what the next school year will bring. But wait…something is wrong with this picture! Children who attend public school in British Columbia, along with their parents, are ready to start planning but the reality is that we are hanging in suspension.  There is no confirmed date for the beginning of the new school year. Many are forging ahead and trying to plan as usual, but most are experiencing some sort of disorientation due to the unresolved teachers’ strike.

Hanging in suspension is the antithesis of movement and vitality. Humans do not do well in suspension – we need movement. The lack of resolution with the teachers’ strike has created a mass uncertainty in this province. We just need to look to nature to understand why movement is essential. Both nature and humanity are at their best when experiencing ‘flow’. Time moves much like a river; as long as it is flowing it brings energy and creativity. Without movement things become stagnant and the energy wanes, and often becomes destructive. When water flows it creates enough energy to light a city, but when water becomes stagnant it breeds unhealthy bacteria.

How to Accept the Human Moments

Posted by Alyson Jones.

Are you able to accept the human moments?

The door slams, and the books are thrown on the counter. I ask somebody how they are and they respond rather harshly to me. I do not like their tone of voice, and my feelings are hurt. How can they speak to me like that? I deserve to be treated better than that. We have all experienced these moments. Not our prettiest of moments, but certainly our most human of moments.

We all struggle with accepting ourselves and each other.  We often set expectations and standards that are based on idealism and perfectionism, and then quickly experience disappointment and frustration. It is time that we stopped setting ourselves up for this.   We are all human – the truth of the matter is that each and every human is flawed, and we will disappoint and frustrate each other.  The human condition is that we will always make mistakes and let each other down, so we might as well learn to become reasonably comfortable with this.

It Is Time to Let Your Children Get Bored

Posted by Alyson Jones.

I remember the long hot days of summer kicking a ball along the dusty Saskatchewan roads, looking for friends to play with and wandering around town searching for an adventure. There were many times when my adventure would go unrealized as I could not find something to entertain me or fill my summer days. I remember the mixed feelings of relief to have no activities on my plate that day, but also the desire to get out and do something. There would be days when my brother and I would plan a big adventure to the store once we had enough money for a Slurpee or ice-cream. Sometimes we would pack a lunch and a book and just get on our bikes and ride around town, unsure what the day would bring. I also remember just stretching out on the lawn and watching the stars emerge at night, feeling a bit bored but also intrigued by those shining diamonds in the sky that drew my attention and my thoughts.

Parents nowadays seem to have children programed into continual summer camps and endless enriching activities, to the point that we do not leave them enough time to just get bored. This generation of parents seem to feel that we need to entertain our children, and that it is our responsibility to make sure that they are being filled up with information and action all the time.

When the Laughter Dies: Robin Williams’ Death

Posted by Alyson Jones.

So many laughs and images are conjured in my mind when I think of Robin Williams. Whether he was shouting “Good Morning Vietnam” or giving a whole new image to cross dressing as Ms. Doubtfire, Robin Williams brought heart and soul to the roles he played. His iconic face is an image that rests somewhere in most people’s minds, and his performances have moved many of us to both tears of laughter and loss. My favorite character of his was probably one of his more serious roles, as psychologist Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting. In Hollywood films it is unusual to see the role of a therapist played with authenticity. As I am a Therapist, that may have been the reason that I enjoyed his performance in that film so much. Possibly it was also his ability to bring levity to a serious topic that etched Good Will Hunting in my mind. Well once again this week Robin Williams has touched us on a deep level by bringing our attention to a very serious issue through the tragedy of his untimely death.   It has been reported that he died from suicide, and the news has sent shock waves far and wide. Many of us are struck by the tragedy and loss of this great performer, while also feeling the gratitude for the moments of joy and laughter he brought to us.

It was well known that Robin Williams suffered from depression and struggled with addictive behaviours for much of his life. His death again brings awareness to how depression can be a silent killer. I have worked with many depressed individuals through the years and it has always struck me how intelligent, creative and sensitive these individual are. Depression is not a character flaw; rather, it is a complex mental illness that affects people on many levels. Sensitive people are more prone to depression and anxiety. Many people who suffer from depression cope by using substances to blunt the pain, and this of course leads to a whole new set of complications. Another coping mechanism often used by bright and creative people struggling with depression is humour. Sometimes the most powerful humour is the laugh that has an edge in it. Humour can be the best medicine in many ways, but it is not a substitute for medication and therapy when it comes to depression.

5 Steps to Quiet the Chatter

Posted by Alyson Jones.

evgenyatamanenko via Getty ImagesWe look forward to summer all year long. We plan our holidays and await those moments when we do not have to be so busy. The rest of the year is filled with deadlines, expectations and the logistical juggle of a full life. Finally summer arrives – however all too often we forget that it is not just the arrival of summer that helps us decompress. We actually need to find ways to center ourselves and let go of the stress of the year. It is not unusual to be in the midst of a fabulous life, but unable to be present in that fabulous life.

Summer does bring an opportunity to put aside some of the “doings” in life, and focus on just “being” in life again. In order to do this we need to be present and anchored so that we actually experience the joy that summer can bring. But if you approach the de-cluttering of your mind as just another task, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment and more stress. It is important to be realistic in our expectations and to be kind to ourselves. Summer is not the be all and end all of relaxing – it is just an opportunity to experience change, approach time a bit differently and be reminded of the environment around us.