We all improvise on a daily basis. We just aren’t aware of it because it happens so naturally. When we have spontaneous conversations with people during our daily interactions we are improvising. Our dialogue is not “memorized” or practiced. Tapping into this natural improv skill has helped me in dealing with my kids and with not-so-great life situations.
People tell me it makes them tired just watching all the adventures my kids and I have. We really don’t do that much. It just seems that way to those on the outside of our little world. By nature, I am an introvert. I love staying home; but I also know I want my kids growing up learning that you can turn just about anything into an adventure. Be spontaneous. Making things up as we go along is the ultimate adventure. It may not be possible to do this all the time, but with practice you can incorporate it at every opportunity. Our kids will learn how to tap into their own improvisational skills the more they see us doing it. By our example, they will learn how to turn the everyday into an adventure and how to cope when things don’t go their way.
Recently we arrived at an event that my kids had been anticipating all day. As we got closer to the building we saw a line that snaked around the entire building. There was no way I was going to stand in that line. Fortunately, Thomas and Lillian agreed; but they were still disappointed. This was an opportunity to improvise and save the situation. On the way home we stopped at one of our favorite places in Reno, Audrey Harris Park. The earlier excitement in the car returned as we made our way. It’s not really much of a park. It’s very small, with only a couple of benches and it sits at the edge of a ridge. It’s a special place to us though. I am in love with the amazing view of Reno and the skyline which infuses me with peace and awe. I take joy in the drive there and the drive back home. Thomas and Lillian enjoy the view too. More than that, it has become a special place for the three of us as a family. What a great day!
Being a single parent to Thomas and Lillian has indeed been an adventure. In fact, my entire life is a great improvising adventure. Being that I am a procrastinator, with an added pinch of spontaneity, you could say that I am quite the adventure for my kids. Even though I make much of our escapades up as I go along, it is perfect, and I look forward with a happy, smiling heart to every single adventure yet to come for me and my little family.
Tip for the Journey:
Find some time during your day NOT to have a plan. No planned activity, no schedule to follow. Wait until that specific moment and ask yourself what you would like to do for the next hour or two. If you are with your kids, ask them what they would like to do, what kind of an adventure they would like to go on. Kids can come up with some pretty amazing ideas for adventures. Most likely you will not really be able to have the exact adventure they suggest, but this is where improvisation comes into play. As parents, we improvise all the time, and don’t even realize it; when a toy breaks, or the scissors are missing, or they want something to use as a ramp to play cars. You name it! Practice transferring this great skill to other areas to create peace in your life.
When we aren’t happy or not truly living in the present moment, it’s hard to improvise. Practice keeping yourself in the present moment. As often as possible repeat thoughts and activities that help you to pay attention to the present moment, experience joy, and be inspired. When you live in the present moment you are better equipped to tap into your improvising skills, be spontaneous, and go with it.
Camilla See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!
The article I contributed to Interaction, which is a multidisciplinary journal for the Australian Institute On Intellectual Disability, has just been published. Here’s a brief description of what and why I was asked to contribute: “looking at creativity in how we work and interact with people with intellectual disability. The other theme I am interested in exploring is empathy and how this “works” within our relationship building within intellectual disability”
Excerpt from the article:
“One blood test, one phone call, one moment in time, drastically changed the direction of my life forever. I know more about genetics, chromosomes, DNA, motor skills, verbal skills, and now emotional and behavioural issues than I ever thought I would need or want to know. ……. I thought I had life pretty much planned at that point and for a while this brief phone call seemed to have caused my life to break apart like a melting iceberg with pieces scattering here and there. Looking back now, all that was brought into my life, all that occurred, all that began, and all that ended were meant to happen for my own growth and enlightenment. An enlightenment I feel spreads far beyond myself and my family as I believe we are all connected.”
… And continues to give the gift of himself every minute of every day …
Some people say, “I can’t believe (s)he is already 8 years old.” I think to myself, “I cannot believe he is only 8 years old!”
Having not been able to give birth to Lillian at The Birthing Center, I was so excited to be able to deliver Thomas there and for it to be a water birth also.
Honestly, I had a rougher pregnancy with Thomas than Lillian. He was absolutely healthy, but I felt horrible. I was so nauseas and tired the entire time.
In the late afternoon on November 13th, I began having contractions. Naturally, I decided that this was the very time I had to get caught up with the Wall Street Journal print editions I had gotten behind with reading! There I was pacing around the house reading WSJ and stopping to have contractions in between!
We met the midwife at the birthing center about 9:00 pm. Things were moving along pretty quickly as I was doing my best to stay relaxed so that things could progress. After she checked us both and filled the huge bathtub with water, I got right in. I was having tremendous labor pain in my back but kept visualizing this young man making his exit and relieving me of my pain!
I didn’t have to wait too long as he moved his way right along and joined us pretty quickly! After waiting for my temperature to get back to normal, the three of us made the 10 minute drive home. It was about midnight when we arrived and Lillian was sleeping so she got to meet Thomas the next morning!
Today, November 13, 2013, on HIS special day he came and got me, told me to close my eyes and led me to his room. He said he had a gift for me. When I got to his room I removed my hand from my eyes and he had beautifully made his bed! Take my breath away … HE had a gift for ME on HIS special day! This was more of a gift than a nicely made bed.
I feel that ALL children are a gift and that some of us fail to see the gift they bring to us. Not on purpose. We just seem to forget all that we knew about life when we were young. As some of us get older, we lose the pure love, compassion and generosity that were our nature during childhood.
In the beginning of motherhood I did not get this or choose to see and receive the gift. Being in my 12th year now with this parenting journey, coupled with my own awakening and learning journey, I see it so vividly.
Almost daily I have moments where a gesture or words spoken by Thomas bring forth the feeling that time does not exist, we are engulfed in a wave of silence and I have just been given a lesson that I needed right at that very moment.
By the words of wisdom and gestures I share with him, I am teaching these things to myself. For this young man doesn’t just act like he’s listening, he comprehends my words and actions and shares it with me at a different moment in time.
Yesterday he asked so gently if he could have an ice cream as a birthday treat while we waited for Lillian to finish her therapies. I reminded him we had ice cream at home and that he could have some. He said, “Okay, that sounds good.”
Lillian’s therapy center is only seconds from the fast food place that has soft serve ice cream. After I parked, I filled my mind with thoughts of abundance and generosity and changed my mind. After all, it was only a $1 cone.
Thomas had gotten out to play so I asked if he still wanted that ice cream cone. As I turned into the parking lot a homeless person was sitting on the curb.
In addition to ordering the ice cream for Thomas, I ordered a chicken burger. At least, I think it was me. I felt an overwhelming urge to order that burger and give it to the person we had just passed. I had Thomas hand it to him as we pulled next to him. I have NEVER done this before.
The man thanked us many times. As we drove off, I told Thomas that it doesn’t matter the reason that man is sitting there or even if he is really homeless. I felt moved to share kindness and I did.
I explained that we never want to NOT share kindness due to judgment of another or for fear that our kindness will not be well received. Once we perform an act of kindness it’s really no longer our business. I’m sure Thomas will remind me of this beautiful moment just when I need it most.
“The sage is kind to the kind and kind to the unkind.” -Lao Tzu
My heart is so full of love for Thomas. It adds to my own love of self and truly causes my heart to skip a beat at times. No matter what paths he chooses for his journey or where it leads him, I will always love him.
This amazing child with his wise old soul has brought much into my life. I am blessed daily by his presence, his love, his wisdom and his humor. I LOVE that I get to be his mentor and his mother and that HE gets to be my mentor and son! We knew what we were doing when we chose one another for this journey.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one …. And … It’s really none of my business what you think of me … xoxo
★★★★★ Get ready to change your mind! D iz for Different not only addresses how to accept the things you cannot change, but how to become aware of and embrace the joy and beauty every day and in everyone. Oh…if you can’t find it…Camilla will show you how to create it!
Camilla continues to take each day as it comes and make the most of it and everyone she meets. Read her journey and tips…her life was not always this way. Everyone can benefit. I recommend this book highly. – Diana Michelotti, May 25, 2013
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” -Albert Schweitzer
The screen shot above is the Gratitude List from page 2 and 3 of “D iz for Different“. During the books Kindle debut from April 28, 2013 – April 30, 2013, the book had about 2,500 downloads and reached #1 Best Seller in Special Needs Parenting and #2 Best Seller in Self Help Motivational on Amazon.
I am overflowing with gratitude for everyone who helped make this happen. All involved donated their time and services to help make this book a reality and all of YOU have helped spread the word. I deeply thank all y’all for helping me live my purpose, share my story and help others to see things differently.
The book is not only for those parenting someone with special needs, it’s for anyone who is struggling with acceptance, needs to align with the courage within, and/or someone struggling to see the gift in a situation. Thanks from the depths of my soul y’all! All my love. ♥
She said, “Thank you! I needed that!” … Recently I had coffee with a local Reno facebook friend. We had never met in person and she is also the mom of a special needs child (teenager). I do what I always do when greeting someone … I gave her one of my hugs … Anyone who has received one of my hugs knows they are filled with love, caring, and warmth … I lavishly share my hugs with anyone I can … This one was extra special because many of us moms don’t get these types of hugs from our special needs children. They just simply have sensory issues and warm hardy hugs don’t mix well with that.
Why do I share this? Just simply to encourage YOU to share more hugs. We are human and we like to be touched, especially when it’s filled with love and caring. Go hug somebody today!! May I suggest that it’s a soulful hug, not one of those half leaned into hugs, where you pat the person on the back. Be STILL … Be QUIET … And give a Hug full of caring for the person receiving it. They just may say, “Thank YOU! I needed that!”
I enjoy taking the time to share information with y’all that I think is helpful and give you ideas to live an Inspired Life. So, if you feel this helped you in any way, toss a tip into the tip bowl on the way out of Inspired Living.
If you can’t afford to donate, please feel free to pass this article along to others who might get some help from it. Thank y’all to everyone who has donated and shared in the past. I don’t always get a chance to respond, and the donations, shares and comments are my indicators that what I share is helpful. Thank YOU!
It’s always fun and useful to look back through the previous years posts and pull out the most popular. I really enjoy when those I follow take the time to pull together the most popular posts on their sites just in case I missed something or want to revisit a post that is thought provoking. So, here ya go! Just took the time to take a stroll down my blogs memory lane!! Enjoy!
Special Needs Book Review is pleased that yet another author agreed to introduce her book to our readers. This guest post is by Camilla Downs the author of D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance. Since the book’s publication, Camilla Downs has undergone her own professional transformation with a career change from social media consultant to special needs parent coach and mentor, offering hope and guidance to others parenting kids with special needs. Congratulations Camilla on all your achievements! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. First, who is Camilla Downs?
……….. “Feelings of isolation and overwhelm keep special needs parents stuck, especially when coupled with deeply ingrained erroneous thought habits,” said Ms. Downs. “Special needs parents can unknowingly isolate themselves and begin viewing their lives in a negative way. These findings from the discussions and interviews that went to the writing of D iz for Different have been further confirmed by the hundreds of discussions that have been generated since its publication in May of 2012,” she added.
On November 15th, 2012 I was fortunate to be able to attend The 7th Annual Caregiver Recognition Celebration! It was a double fortunate as my step-father, Frank Romano, had nominated me to be recognized! Thanks tons Frank! My Mom, Patty, and Frank attending the luncheon with me. It was GREAT! I was so moved by the event I wanted to post all who were nominated as well as the winners in each category. It was definitely a very inspirational luncheon!
Edwina Taylor- Caregiver for Child or Youth with Special Needs
Kathy Carpenter- Double Life Caregiver
Bonnie Timmreck-Family Caregiver
Rosa Moala- In Facility Caregiver
Megan Riley-In Home Agency Caregiver
Janet Hatch- Hospice or Community Volunteer Caregiver