BEYOND THE BLUEPRINT
REPLACING EXPECTATION WITH MINDFULNESS
T here’s a concept in Buddhism that suggests suffering comes from an attachment to our expectations. We want or expect things to be a certain way, and when reality doesn’t match our expectations, we get frustrated or disappointed. I believe we’ve all experienced this at one time or another. Even if we don’t have clear expectations of the future, most of us have these internal blueprints of how we think things are supposed to be. These ideas come from our upbringing whether we realize they’re there or not. While our internal blueprints can be helpful in keeping us motivated to achieve our goals, they can also be a source of difficulty when things in life don’t align — especially in terms of interacting with other people. This goes double for raising kids.
chatter and the outside voices, we can gain stronger insight into where we are at that moment.
My kids are young, and sometimes they have emotional episodes. If they’re having a moment at home, I tend to handle it a lot better than if we’re at the grocery store. That’s because at the grocery store, we’re surrounded by external voices telling me I need to help my son or daughter calm down as soon as possible. But that isn’t listening to what my child is experiencing at the moment. Feelings are hard when you’re so young, and while I don’t want my kids to feel upset, sometimes you just have step away from the situation and
process your feelings. My kids haven’t learned how to work through their feelings yet, so if I practice listening and being mindful in tough moments, I can better teach my kids how to make it through those situations. A few weeks ago, I downloaded the meditation app Headspace to help build mindfulness habits. It is powerful to be able to mentally take a step back in a situation and to find silence in yourself
I can’t turn my kids into someone they’re not. I love my kids to death and would never want them to be anyone else, but as a parent, it can be hard to let your kids just be sometimes. I have this blueprint in my head about how raising kids or being a dad is “supposed” to go, but it rarely matches up. It’s my job to raise Finn
If we can learn to tune out our internal chatter and the outside voices, we can gain stronger insight into where we are at that moment.
and really listen to what’s going on. The brain is really powerful, and when you give it the chance to be quiet and focus, overwhelming moments aren’t always so overwhelming.
and Harlow to be kind, constructive members of society, and ideally, that’s by giving them the freedom to be the best Finn and the best Harlow they can be. To do that, I have to throw out the blueprint and replace it with mindfulness and listening. Recently, Nicole had me read a book called “The Awakened Family.” This is an incredible book about how to raise resilient, emotionally intelligent kids. The author, Dr. Shefali Tsabary, presents a lot of interesting parenting resources, but the one that really stood out to me was the importance of listening and silence. How often do we really listen to other people and not think about the next thing we need to do or say? If we can learn to tune out our internal
The real secret behind mindfulness and listening is to understand that things aren’t always going to go your way and that you aren’t always going to hear
what you want to hear. That’s okay. When we get rid of our internal blueprints and let go of expectations, we can learn to be the best versions of ourselves.
SCIENCE WANTS YOU TO STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
The Benefits of Spending Time Outside
In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get kids outside. Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author, and broadcaster Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk-reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments. Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self-esteem.
Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centers and watching “Planet Earth” are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists. These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside.
OUR CLIENTS SAY IT BEST “Case is an honest and knowledgeable attorney who helped me out with my car accident case. I always felt like I was talking to a buddy when he called me. No B.S., just straight answers. He knows his stuff and actually cares about his clients.” –Shannon S.
“Great service and amazing support staff. I actually used Case’s cellphone number and had direct access to him, which seems unheard of for an attorney. I always felt like I was important to Case. He spent so much time with me both in person and on the phone. The entire office made sure I always understood what was going on. Because of the positive outcome of my case, I am able to finally move on and get closure on a terrible accident that happened to my son. I highly recommend Case Barnett Law.” –Sara H.
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A Very Special Valentine FINN AND HARLOW’S STORYTIME
Finn and Harlow here! This month’s story is so cool that we decided to tell it together. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and this year, our mom found an extra special person we can send valentine cards to.
Inspired by The Minimalist Baker Date Truffles
Major Bill White lives at The Oaks at Inglewood, an assisted living community in Stockton, California. He’s 104 years old, and he earned a Purple Heart for serving in World War II. That’s just one of the many amazing experiences Major White has had in his life. Last month, the news
did a story on him and showed all the cool photos, medals, and other memories he’s kept over the years. This year, he asked for people from all over the world to send him Valentine’s Day cards! When Mom asked us if we wanted to send him a Valentine’s Day card, we got so excited. We’ll be making homemade cards to send to Major White and all the other people living at his nursing home. It’s a pretty big project, but we think we can handle it. In fact, our mom and dad might even drive us to the nursing home so we can deliver the cards in person! How cool is that?
1. Using a food processor, blend dates and sea salt until dough can be formed into a ball. Slowly add enough warm water to mixture to thicken dough. 2. Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Freeze for 20–30 minutes. 3. In microwave, warm 1/4 cup peanut butter for 30 seconds, then drizzle peanut butter on top of balls. Freeze balls for another 20 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, in microwave, warm chocolate with coconut oil until melted. Stir well. 5. Coat balls in chocolate and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 6. Top with additional salt and freeze for 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature. • 1 lb medjool dates, pitted (about 1 1/2 cups) • 1/2 tsp sea salt • Warm water • 1/4 cup peanut butter • 1 cup bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted Valentine’s Day is all about love … and chocolate. Enjoy these chocolate peanut butter date truffles with your date this Valentine’s Day. Ingredients Directions
Last year, we got to exchange Valentine’s Day cards with other home-schooled kids from all over the world. That was really fun. This year, we’re excited to do something special again. For the last few Thanksgivings, Mom and Dad have invited Marines from a local base to join us for dinner. They’re always really nice, so we’re glad we get to send Valentine’s Day cards to a Marine veteran and all his friends at the nursing home!
If you’d like to send Major White a valentine, too, you can mail your card to:
Operation Valentine ATTN: Hold for Maj. Bill White, USMC (Ret)
The Oaks at Inglewood 6725 Inglewood Ave. Stockton, CA 95207
Don’t worry if you’re not good at crafts. You can send store- bought cards, too!
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This publication is intended to educate the general public about personal injury and elder abuse. It is not intended to be legal advice. Every case is different.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Page 1 Hey, Listen
Page 2 Stop and Smell the Roses
Our Clients Say It Best
Page 3 Who’s Your Valentine This Year?
Page 4 The Effects of Love on Your Physical Health
CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE? THE SECRET TO LIVING A LONGER, HEALTHIER LIFE
as healing wounds quicker. Small injuries inflicted on a wide test group at Ohio State University Medical Center healed nearly twice as fast on people who experienced consistent warmth and care than those who experienced hostility. In fact, the latter group needed almost a full additional day to achieve the same amount of healing as the first group. LONGER, HAPPIER LIVES Being surrounded by love may even save your life. A statistic from the National Health Interview Survey states that single people face a 58% higher risk of mortality. Further bolstering that claim is the Harvard Health Blog, which claims happily married participants experience better health as they age when compared to peers in unhappy partnerships. In fact, the blog asserts, “People in stressful, unhappy marriages may be worse off than a single person who is surrounded by supportive and caring friends, family, and loved ones.” So, it seems the results are in: Loving someone is a healthy lifestyle choice. Even having a strong network of friends and family boosts your odds of living a long life by 50%. So, get out there and make the healthy choice for yourself and those around you by leading a life full of love.
The human brain is an incredibly powerful organ. It solves complex problems, recalls forgotten memories, and triggers a dizzying array of emotions. But its most incredible power is the effect it can have on the rest of the body. When it comes to love, well, our brains certainly love it, and our bodies reflect that. LESS STRESS Human beings thrive on a sense of connection and belonging, and studies have shown that love actually has positive effects on a person’s physical health as well as mental. The security and commitment felt in a loving relationship are shown to reduce stress by stunting the production of cortisol, the body’s stress-inducing hormone. Less stress means lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, and a lower risk of stroke, especially in men. HEALTHIER IMMUNE SYSTEMS Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that calm, happy people can fight common colds and the flu more easily than those who are anxious or depressed. The physical benefits of love even go as farPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
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