Ready, set…blastoff! Or, not?

At first glance, this may appear as a rocket getting ready to blast off. In fact, this may be the first thing many of us think about when we see a rocket ship – launching, blasting off, taking off to faraway places. (Oooh…can’t help but think about, Calgon, take me away, right now). Our youngest daughter (the primary creator of this rocket ship), however, thought differently. Here’s a bit of the story…

Last weekend our 7-year-old was looking for something to do. Kiwi Crates (themed activity boxes that are mailed to us…brilliant!) are like special adventures here at our house and she had already worked through every last bit of material of the most recent one, or so I thought. The box, however, remained and soon became a launch pad.

She asked me to help her make a rocket ship and her older sister asked to join in, as well. As you know, 7-year-olds and 11-year-olds can see a creative process very differently. I found myself supporting more problem-solving than creating, and as the different ideas exploded, so did the connections.  For a moment I felt irritated by this. I was enjoying being part of their play and felt happy to be invited in. I was also feeling calm and found myself lost in unwinding while helping create red flames with pipe cleaners.

It was as if this box was somehow offering me a creative hug and in a flash, the hug was gone.  At this very moment, I also heard my daughter say, “…I guess Sproket will just have to stay like this. It’s not ready. It’s not grounded. It has nothing to start from or to come back to.” As she started to walk away, I realized that I, too, was not ready in this moment.

Following some deep breaths, empathy, perspective-taking and generating of solutions, Sproket was deemed finished. The combination of connected circles and upside down triangles all made from pipe cleaners had given Sproket a place to eventually launch from and return to. We were able to talk about what it means for Sproket to be ready to launch, the possible adventures, saying good-bye, and seeing beauty in Sproket’s imperfections. (This reminded me of the Japanese concept of wabisabi – an eastern philosophy of living that accepts and finds beauty in the imperfect. Note to self – take time to learn more about this).  I was even able to highlight a growth mindset moment and the power of ‘yet’ in our thinking (thank you Big Life Journal! Sproket was now grounded and interestingly enough, never blasted off.  Hmmmm?

This moment led me to some different thoughts and wonderings…

I wonder why Sproket never blasted off? What did being grounded represent and mean for the girls? For me? For me alongside the girls?

Jane Austen – “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” Spend some time thinking more about this.

It’s a new year; am I going to move forward with my resolutions or pick a guiding word this year? (Maybe I should try something new given that I haven’t been super successful in the resolution department??)

If I stick with the resolutions I set, will they make me feel the way I want to feel? (I think I’m starting to lean toward a guiding word instead this year…)

What was the creative hug all about?

In what ways was I paying attention to knowing, doing, and being?

What about those positive emotions? How can I pay closer attention? Where can I get more of them? They really can help act as powerful brakes on our stress response system.

Through being present to this playful moment with my daughters and some (maybe a lot!) of introspection, I think I have it: my guiding word for 2019. Grounded.

Little did I know this is where I would land at the end of this creative adventure with two of our girls. I learned about them; I learned about myself. I learned that I desire slowing down and being part of these everyday moments and feeling ready to turn down a path I may not have taken before. I feel ready to be ready and believe that my guiding word, grounded, will…well, it will help guide me.

Just saying it out loud (“grounded…g-round-ed..grounded”) brings a sense of calm. While different than being centered (which is more about the place you know you have to get back to), grounded includes being centered, aware, connected, and present in moments with yourself and others. Yes, this is it…grounded…and remembering in growing deep, not just tall.

This word of the year will be my guide. It will help me stay focused on my intention and remind me of how I want to feel and behave with others. In fact, it’s already leading me to possibilities both offline and online. Be sure to take a peek at my resource page and stay tuned for more information on Giving and Getting!

I feel excited to see how this year unfolds and how this guiding word, grounded, plays a role. One word can be so powerful.

If you have chosen a word for 2019, I would love to hear about it. Please feel free to share by posting in the comments below!