Saturday, November 17, 2018

Family Mindfulness playgroup: Coming soon!

It’s been a long time coming. I believe that one’s path unfolds at just the right time, and I am in no hurry.

Today’s news:
I am excited to share that I am putting together an initial Mindful Me playgroup in Philadelphia this fall/winter. I will be meeting with a couple of community centers to determine a good location, and the plan is to let the whole thing evolve as organically as possible. As a long time nanny in Philadelphia, I know parents and caregivers are often looking for activities and socialization opportunities during the week and on weekends. The basis for the playgroup will be to create a community of like-minded individuals who seek support in their role within the family and larger community. This special playgroup will welcome everyone to respect the children with whom they spend their time as wholly capable beings in the world and will strive to maintain an environment of positivity for all. Mindful Me playgroups will hold space for those striving to be more conscious parents, grandparents and childcare providers, and we will all grow together, week to week, playgroup to playgroup.

Sessions will include a group gathering time, music, open-ended play and create activities for children and adults and space for adults to connect, get advice, and feel heard. Each session will include a new family mindfulness technique and will build on previous sessions.

Look out for more details in the coming weeks and comment below with things you’d like to see in a family mindfulness playgroup for children 0-5 (programs for older children are also in the works, so school-age ideas also welcome).

See what else I've been up to and connect on Facebook:  (Kimberly Grentz)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Learning about myself using Essential Oils

I am so excited with how much I’ve learned every day since I began my journey into essential oils.  I am finally doing things I’ve always wanted to do and am having a blast learning as I go, how to make this a real business. Because I’m learning things specific and non-specific to Essential Oils, I’m also embracing the opportunity to build the foundation for my business in family mindfulness, early childhood consulting, and family empowerment. Here is the long description that seemed to just flow right out of me the other night as I uploaded my ‘overview of essential oils’ to YouTube. I thought it was worth posting somewhere else since no one really reads those extended YouTube descriptions :-). If you’re interested in learning why I love essential oils so much, you can also check out the video!

Some think essential oils are just a trend, but if you look a little deeper it turns out they have been utilized in civilizations since ancient times! Today's shift by so many to find natural ways to live, has shone a fresh light on the power in essential oils. Essential oils are best known for beautifying the outer body, supporting the body systems internally, and providing safe cleaning options for body and home. If you ever wondered what all the hype is about, this video will give you an overview, but the power truly lies within the stories of the people. I'm Kim, an early childhood educator, life-long learner, meditator, maker of new friends and a huge fan of essential oils. As an educator, I know that the best way to learn something is to ask self-motivated questions and to figure out the answers on your own. If essential oils intrigue you, contact me and I will help you learn how to answer your questions. I will connect you to the stories of the people who's lives have been impacted. I will connect you to a community of people who are taking control of their families' health and wellness instead of simply defaulting to what they have always done before... accepting without question what society tells us is "normal" and "fine," but is it? If you want to talk about education or meditation or self-empowerment or spirituality... hey, I'm game for that too! I'm a big believer in that it takes a village to raise a human, and the raising never really ends. We are ever-growing, ever-changing, ever-evolving beings. I believe I'm here on Earth to have fun and to make a difference in whatever way I can- to build bridges with my fellow humans that we can cross together to find the very best versions of ourselves: mind, body, & spirit! I am Young Living Independent Distributor # 13914200 There is also an amazing opportunity to start your own business and with a team like ours, there's no way a motivated individual can't succeed. I do not really discuss this in the video, but shoot me an email for more info! EMAIL: Instagram @kbg109 To purchase a wholesale membership, click the link below and choose a Premium Starter Kit:

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Mindfulness and the Law of Attraction

Isn't it sweet when everything just comes together.  Have you ever had a day when everything just goes your way, like all day?! 

I felt this way on a larger scale when I finally "got" mindfulness and how it makes my life better.  I realized that everything was tied together.  

A favorite personal development/business book I read in college was Dale Carnegie's How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. He spoke of living in "daytight compartments"- not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, but focusing only on today.  He talked about being in the now.  He talked about presence.  He talked about mindfulness.  

I have also realized that when I walk around my neighborhood, camera in hand, I am intentionally being in the world, taking joy in my surroundings.  I pay attention, on purpose, without judgement (the gist of Jon Kabat-Zinn's definition of mindfulness) to all of nature and architecture- a brand new building or a graffiti-covered wall, a flower in full bloom or the dried remains of one way past its prime, I appreciate what is there. I capture its image. I take a snapshot of Now. Whoa!  Even as I type this it seems profound. Every shot is a different "now" and only the one being taken in the moment is really "now" at all.  The joy comes in the now, in the moment my finger pushes the button and the shutter clicks. Looking back at photos later is fun, but the joy, the adventure, the real fun is in the taking of the photos, the being in the Now. 

In December I found the Law of Attraction.  Like attracts like.  Birds of a feather flock together. You get what you think about.  I discovered that I am a deliberate creator of my Life.  This is some deep stuff, people. I learned that the way to attract desirable things is to pay attention, on purpose, without judgement to my feelings.  My emotions tell me how I feel.  When I feel good I think about the good things I want in my life.  When I feel bad, I think about bad things happening in my life.  Whichever I pay attention to, similar things continue to flow.  The bad feeling emotion is fine to have (hence the non-judgement) because it lets us know and sometimes reminds us of what we don't want so that we can redirect our energy, our focus on what we DO want.  Energy flows where attention goes.  

Think about your life.  Think about what it looks like when you start the day off in a great mood- good hair day, delicious breakfast, you got more work done before 8am than you usually do by noon, the friend you were thinking about texted to say hi just a few moments later... momentum feels so good- you feel unstoppable, nothing can get you down.  Its almost as if time moves slower.... you are enjoying yourself... things are getting done with ease and the "work" energizes you.  Now think of a time when something set you off on the wrong foot.  You spilled your coffee on your shirt on the way to work, traffic backed up, your cell phone gets no reception when you need to touch base with your spouse... how does momentum feel now?  Is there a way to turn it around?  There is!  Find a way to feel better.  

It is pretty hard to jump from utter despair to pure joy, but by intentionally and consistently focusing on things that feel a little bit better, and a little better and a little bit better, you will feel your emotions begin to shift.  Here's where the mindfulness comes in.  Sometimes you are in such a bad mood it feels impossible to think of anything at all that feels better.  So, you don't have to right away- instead you can not think. Imagine a car going 50 miles per hour headed west.  The driver cannot instantly be headed east with the simple decision to turn around.  First the momentum must be stopped and then restarted in the right direction.  Some people stop momentum by sitting down to meditate. Some people focus on their breath or the flicker of a candle, noticing thoughts as they come but letting them simply drift by as they return attention to the inhale/exhale or the flicker. Everyday mindfulness is another form of meditation. During the experience of day to day activities such as driving, brushing teeth, or washing dishes, one can pay attention, on purpose, without judgement to what is happening in the present moment.  For me personally, I finally grasped this one day after reading some of Eckhart Tolle's book, The Power of Now. In order to really take charge of my mind and keep it focused on the task at hand, I decided to try being mindful out loud.  I narrated my life. "My feet are touching the ground. I am standing up and putting on my bathrobe.  I am walking to the bathroom.  I turn on the light.  I grab my toothbrush.  I pick up the toothpaste and unscrew the cap.... you get the idea. The narration helped keep me in the moment for a prolonged period of time. My mind could not wander as easily because I was paying attention and speaking it out loud. There was no room in my mind for worrying about an afternoon meeting or the disagreement with a coworker yesterday.

All of this of course brings me back to my work with little people. If you happen to be around young children, notice how naturally this comes to them.  They are almost always in the moment.  Everything is about getting what they want to feel good. They have no concept of time; they enjoy the Now. I think I mentioned this in one of my first blog posts here, but this seems to be the source of my inspiration to work with very young children. When I was in college at Penn State I had my first job in early childhood ed and I loved it so much.  For a certain period of time each week I would go to the Child Development Lab, hang up my backpack, and turn off the world of exams and meal cards and laundry and making new friends. I would play, I would laugh, I would observe these little people who needed my love and silly songs more than anything else.  I watched as they learned for themselves what it means to feel good and what it means to feel bad.  Little kids know how to get what they want.  Often the hold up is that their desires don't meet the desires of the adult.  This is why understanding trumps patience any day when working with kids.  I love figuring out why a child is doing the thing that may be annoying me, and then suddenly it all makes sense.  Then I can easily redirect if necessary in a compassionate way that shows respect for my fellow human's feelings and desires.  

I love how it all comes together: business/self-help books, mindfulness practice, photography/art/creativity, young children, education, and law of attraction- this is me. I used to think I was just all over the place, unable to focus, a mess. But now I see that they are all the same- parts of a whole- parts of me- one.

Some of the influencers of this post:
Dale Carnegie- How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Eckhart Tolle- The Power of Now
Abraham Hicks- Ask And It Is Given (seminars & audio programs on YouTube)
Tony Robbins- Awaken the Giant Within (seminars & audio programs on YouTube)
Jon Kabat-Zinn- Full Catastrophe Living

I Am Not Your Guru-  Tony Robbins movie available on Netflix

The Secret- movie and book by Rhonda Byrne
available on Netflix, is a little over the top, but hang in to get the message!

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)- search for programs at your local university

Insight Timer Meditation App- my favorite online meditation community & timer/journal

👋 Visit ThreeLittleBirdsLOA!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Announcement: Relaxation Story is published on the Insight Timer app!

The Insight Timer app is an amazing global community of meditators, free of charge. There's a simple timer, a huge library of guided meditations, talks, and music and community groups where people ask for and lend support, write poetry together, share resources, etc. I use it every day and it really rocks!

I'm pretty psyched about Relaxation Story being published, because I've been saying for quite some time that I should do this. Well, one rainy evening in October I pressed record, figured out how to submit my audio to the app, and today when I sat down to meditate I was pleasantly surprised to see my image and title listed in the New Today category.

I first started using this guided body scan (you can read about and hear an earlier version in older blog post here) to help my little ones settle down and relax at nap-time and bed-time. The results felt really good to everyone, parents included, and the routine gave us a chance to learn about and begin practicing other forms of mindfulness. Hence this page was born!

I hope you enjoy this first submission and don't forget to follow the contributor (me!) "Mindful Kids," to be alerted within the app when Inoost something new.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Getting focused!

Happy Autumn!

I don't know about you, but this is my favorite season of the year, with beautiful leaves cascading down from the tall Philadelphia and South Jersey trees.  The rain that has lasted all day today is even enjoyable, especially if you get to stay inside and watch/listen from the comfort of home.  I am missing so much, Yuma and my amazing family and friends that live there.  I'm sending a little autumn spirit to you all!

I'm writing a little note to say that I am doing some life-organizing.  I plan to keep both this blog and Lifetime Learning: Building with Blocks to Building a Business.  The entries on that site are slightly more up-to-date, but I will post more in both places soon!

Stay tuned for new things in life and tell me what is happening with you!  Keep breathing and take some time for yourself every day.  This prescription really does have the potential to make everything better!

Blog about directing your own education:
Lifetime Learning: Building with Blocks to Building a Business

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A new chapter in Yuma, AZ

Hello Friends!

For those confused by my blog address, I will one day purchase the "mindfulyumakids," domain to add to "mindfulphillykids," but for now we'll stick with what's in place...

I made it!  I'm 10 weeks in to my new life in the southwest of the US, and what a roller coaster its been so far.  I am the preschool teacher at a lovely little Catholic School, Immaculate Conception, in Yuma, AZ.  Yuma is in the southwest corner of the US, just minutes from the borders of California and Mexico.  It is a three hour ride to San Diego, and three hours to Phoenix.  The families and teachers at IC couldn't be more friendly and welcoming, and our classroom is HUGE!  The two assistant teachers I am blessed to work with are utterly amazing, embracing the same holistic approach to education that I hold dear to my heart.

This is my first experience teaching at a Catholic School and, prior to moving to Yuma, I had been focused on secular mindfulness practice.  I knew that the transition had seamless potential, but I just didn't know where to start.  I have spent the first two months of school re-integrating into classroom life and forming relationships with the children and staff at our school.  The more I learn about teaching the Catholic faith, the more I am able to also bring tools of mindfulness into the classroom in the form of Christian meditation.  This week I will reach out to parents of our class to share what I am finally beginning to see clearly.  I hope to work together with families to implement Christian meditation, also known as contemplative prayer or prayer of the heart, into our classroom and into family life at home.

This transition has not been easy for me. From east coast to west coast, from established friends and family to new friends and different family, from working with just a handful of children to a whole classroom of children (albeit a small one- only 12 children to start the year, whew!), from having daily interaction with my one-day-husband, to embracing a long-distance relationship- this transition has been a doozy!  It is has been hard, but it is a good kind of hard.  I feel myself learning and growing everyday, and I really can't ask for anything more.

Thank you to all who support me day in and day out, especially my dear Mom, who makes this experience possible with her ongoing love, support and sharing of a beautiful home and delicious meals!

Here's a new video I just watched about mindfulness in the classroom.  I'm hoping to be able to take this training soon:  Mindful Schools In-Class Instruction-

Peace from me to you!  -Kim

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A call for clarity- early childhood education & mindfulness practice

Good morning friends,

As some of you might know, I am planning a relocation in the coming months. I'll be leaving my beloved neighborhood of West Philly and heading west to be with my sister and mom. My sis and her husband have lived in Yuma, AZ for ten years and have two beautiful children who I clearly do not see enough. My Mom packed up and sold her house in Jersey to be a closer Bubbie, my Dad and stepmom June have been making yearly extended PopPop & MomMom trips, and I now find myself needing to be an everyday Aunty as well. This means that my career trajectory will also change a bit as I move from the familiarity of PA to the yet unknown of Arizona.

I have, for quite some time, felt in my heart that I am meant to share my passion for early childhood education by creating, or at least helping to create,  a high quality early learning program.  Despite tremendous support from colleagues and families with whom I closely work, and a year of intense research and planning in the Philadelphia community, I have not yet taken the startup leap.

Since around the time of this blog's creation, as I continued to experience the powerfully transformative effects of mindfulness practice, I decided that my next professional step will be to throw myself fully into sharing its benefits with early childhood teachers and families with young children. I am working on a business plan for a community-based nonprofit where I will be able to offer services to the Yuma community within a space that could also be used for much more.  It is a plan I am excited to grow. But as autumn (my season of relocation) moves closer, I also realistically understand that I will need to continue bringing in an income as I develop my business. I therefore began to investigate the early learning community in Yuma and I feel both encouraged and disheartened at my early observations, both from the standpoint of an employee and as an enrolled child.

In Philadelphia I have always had employment options.  I am qualified to work in a classroom, but most recently I have chosen to work one-on-one with several families as a private caregiver and early childhood educator, a nanny.  The flexibility, autonomy, and immense impact I can make in becoming so close to families has just felt right for me.  There have always been plenty of families able and willing to pay for my level of attention and I have not ever had to worry about finding work.  There does not seem to be much of a nanny market in Yuma, and so I began looking at early learning programs for which I might work.  There are many childcare options for families with young children, but my initial research did not find a great many high-quality options.  Not only do the expected wait-lists abound at the limited programs available, but there are also qualifications to be met in order to enroll, whether income or employment-based.  In a world where families often need to supplement care of even very young children, the decisions about how to do so can seem trying at the least.  There is a great deal of research that informs us of just how important early experiences are to the growth and development of humans.  Not only is there the issue of outside care and education of the children, but also that of parent understanding and growth.  Where or how can the average family ensure an optimal daily experience (daily life experience = learning)  for their children?  I now find myself wondering, "Where will I find myself upon first moving to Yuma?  How can I make the most vital impact? Is my most logical first step to open a mindfulness studio, or would I be of more value working directly in early childhood education?" That heartfelt message just keeps coming back to me.  I did not start a school in Philly, but maybe Yuma is where I was meant to be...

And so as I sit on a bench in Clark Park today, shielded from the spring raindrops by the tree umbrella above, I seek clarity.  I still have so much to learn in the field of early childhood education and in the practice of mindfulness.  Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed at the books to be read, the conferences to attend, or the certifications to attain.  After some moments of silence this morning, I remind myself:  Practice.  Life is about practice, in all that we do.  Practice makes progress, and progress can only occur if we commit to the practice.  With a deep breath in... clarity, and with a slow exhale... peaceful practice.