Change For The Better



New York State is one of the few states not to have anti bullying laws. Yesterday I added my name to a petition for the introduction of such laws.
Bullying, these day, has also come into the realm of the internet and, for those of you like me you were not aware of it; it is called cyber bullying.
I don’t know about you, but I only learned about cyber bullying when I went to the AFSP conference earlier in the month, and I was horrified to learn of several suicides resulting from cyber bullying.
Such bullying is perpetrated both, by boys and girls, and those who engage in it, need to be held accountable.

I am also glad to have had the opportunity of expressing my views on the needs of our schools, to a potential candidate for the school Board. Below is my email to him:

“… Nutrition, as we all know, is paramount to overall health, we are what we eat. I would like to see our schools serve nutritionally sound, organic, local, seasonal food. And, personally I would like to get rid of vending machines.

Also, as you may or may not be aware, my son Andrew died of suicide last November when he jumped from the 10th floor of Bobst, NYU’s library.
I have since learned that Suicide is the third leading cause of Death in children 14 to 25 years of age. There is much that schools can and should do to help this vulnerable population. In the case of New York State, we should all petition for anti bullying laws to include Cyber bullying which has become a serious and all too often deathly issue.
We must also address Mental Health, integral as it is, to overall health.

"Mental Health"

Positive Steps For Mental Health

Our children, from kindergarten onward, need to be equipped with real life tools such as Yoga and Meditation for instance, that will help them do well not only in State tests, but more importantly, in life.
I think it safe to say that there is no one person who is not aware that these are times of great change. The old paradigms are no longer adequate and one by one, individually and together we need to usher in new ones…”

And now, even though it is raining hard and everything that makes up “me” wants to stay right where I am, that is, sitting up in bed with my laptop or a book, from time to time look at the pictures in my room, stare at the windswept, soggy garden and go blank, hoping, hoping… for ADCs, but, instead of doing that, I’m off to Yoga.

If, unlike me, you are not blessed with tons of water falling from the sky, and instead your sun is shining, well then, you too can do some Yoga.

All the best,

16 thoughts on “Change For The Better

  1. Hi! How did you feel during and after your yoga session today?

    Perfect description of feeling grief but making a decision to get up and do something to heal.

    Great images for your post too.

    My day is just beginning… 🙂

    • Hi, I kept wanting to lie down and think of Andrew, but I got through it.
      Last night the light in the living room flickered a few times and I said: “Hello Andrew.” Then as afterthought I added: “Andrew if it is you (and I know it’s you) can you please flick the light 3 times? I waited and nothing happened. After yoga today, I got into the car and the CD popped out, I hadn’t even turned the car on by the way. “Hello Andrew” I thought pushing the CD back in. Out it popped again. Immediately I remembered asking him about the light and waited, I still hadn’t turned the car on and yes, the CD popped out for the third time and this time it didn’t wait for me to push it back in, it went back by itself and stayed there. When I turned started the card and turned the CD player on, al I could hear was static. And there you have it. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. I feel compelled to add this yet again. If children are not equipped with coping skills, and if they do not learn how to face and take natural consequences for their actions, then all of the yoga in the world will not be helpful to them. Yoga, relaxation, etc. has to be an adjunct to “life skills”, learning how to cope and deal with the world…

    • It is precisely by activating the right side of the brain, the creative, meditative, calming, soothing side, that we can cope with life’s challenges AND enjoy optimal health AND live peacefully AND happily. To live life with the left side of the brain, the fight or flight side, always engaged, is what causes problems.

    • Good for YOU Esmeralda! I was a distance runner up until the day Kerry died. I have never gotten back into the grove. I have a beautiful yoga studio in close walking distance, and I don’t go. You’ve inspired me to at the very least…stretch… today 🙂

      I did not see Hedi’s comments before regarding “coping skills” so I might not be understanding her point. Hedi…Are you implying that those that die by suicide were not taught “life skills” ???

  3. There was a story on the Today show this morning about a family who’s daughter died by suicide are being taunted by cyber “trolling” anonymous people leaving cruel remarks on her memorial page and even emailing her parents directly.

    Cyber bullying is a serious problem, perhaps those that do it were not taught how to interact appropriately with others, were not shown love and compassion on a daily basis.

  4. No, I am stating very clearly that in order to cope with the increased pressures children have today. and the fact that bullying has now taken on many forms, children have to be taught life skills in addition to what Esmaralda is advocating.

    You cannot just teach them things like yoga witout also teaching them how to cope.


  5. …sorry for the typos…I am not able to correct them…

    GM, there has to be an entire “consortium” of things available to children, if not through the activities they are do with their family/at home, but also at schools for children that are not there now, and by children, I really mean through young adulthood.

    So many kids grow up with a sense of isolation, with feeling as if they “do not belong”, feeling as if the normal pressures of life are too much to bear, let alone the more serious ones, etc.

    I completely agree with Esmeralda and you that things like yoga can help children tremendously; however yoga is but one small piece of a larger issue, which is that kids nowadays are seeming to have more trouble coping; You can see this in any school you walk into….what was normal for my generation is now “stressful” for them, in addition, they have things to deal with that we really did not, like cyberbullying, etc. (Yes, we had bullying, but it was not amplified and put out for the world to see by the computer…)

    I think that the feeling of being utterly overwhelmed can lead to people making decisions that, say two days later, when feeling less overwhelmed, for example, they might not make…

    • Let us agree to disagree. My deep understanding of Yoga, Meditation, Eastern practices, has given me an entirely different outlook than yours.
      My son, on the other hand, was of a more scientific bend of mind. Scientific as in physical science. Yoga and meditation on the other hand are sciences too, but of a different kind. I warmly encourage you to delve into it, read and practice as much as you can and then tell us how you feel. Thank you for contributing to this important dialogue. Take care, Esmeralda. 🙂

  6. Well, my understanding has come from decades of working with children and teaching, and also being a dispute resolution professional (labor negotiator). It’s why the “school without walls” notion failed also; you have to have rules and expectations for children along with allowing them to be artistic and having outlets and finding themselves through things like yoga, and to have other outlets like sports. It is a “yin and yang” type of thing, you cannot have structure and expectations and be able to cope if you are doing nothing to nurture yourself, but you cannot just nurture yourself without looking out around you and seeing how you fit into the world, and how you need to cope with what life throws at you.

    I will agree to disagree with you as I advocate both structure and outlets for children, and I am a very strong advocate of teaching children coping, life and problem solving skills from a very young age.

  7. Aloha, Hedi’s Angel. What I understand from your posts is that you agree with Esmeralda that there is a place for yoga and meditation in the school day. (Actually I see both as additional “coping / life skills.”) They promote self-understanding, stress/anxiety reduction, self-confidence, ability to concentrate…

    But I also read that schools / families need to explicitly teach children and youth certain critical skills they will need to use proficiently to cope with modern life as we cannot even imagine. I actually think Esmeralda would agree with you here too. Skills such as critical thinking, decision making, problem solving, conflict resolution, and others you may have referred to. As you know well from your work most adults have far to go in learning these skills. (May our children lead the way!)

    I work in a small charter school that actually tries to do what both you and Esmeralda advocate! We are trying each day and year to do it better.

    Esmeralda, take a look at HeartMath. This might be a “palatable” curriculum to administrators and educators that gets at some of the things you would hope for youth to learn. Google “heartmath for children”. There are videos and a facebook group, HeartMath My Kids.
    Rayo 🙂

    ps Any idea why the blog no longer sends my email account notices of follow up comments. I am having trouble knowing when people are posting comments replies to something I shared including yours. I’ve only been getting notices of what you originally post.

    • Hi, no I don’t know how that works, maybe you need to sign up again? But I really have no idea.
      Let me see if I can articulate this simply and plainly. I believe that the MOST important thing we can do for our children is to let them keep the innate, unerring judgment they are born with. Also, yogic exercises prior to meditation allow our focus to be drawn inward, and meditation helps us remain centered and connected to our higher Self and That, gives us all the coping tools we need. I would rather allow children to look for and see the best in people than to fear the worst.
      I will look up HeartMath.

  8. Giving children skills is not synonymous with “seeing the worst in people”. Giving children coping skills means that they are able to cope with what life may “throw at them”, whether it involves bullying or not.

  9. “See the best in people” and be prepared for the worst. I work with children ages 18 mos to 18 years, I have seen that we need many tools in the tool box as facilitators of learning to educate the whole child. From the view “in the trenches” I see the value of what both E and HA advocate. I’m done commenting on this topic bc I don’t see a disconnect between the two.

    Thx E for the simple explanation.

    • It is the “be prepared for the worst” that negates seeing the best in people. To the degree that we give our attention to something, we attract it into out lives. It is the Law of Attraction.

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