100 love lights at Camp Dart-Lo

On Tuesday, August 10, I was invited to spend the day at Camp Dart-Lo, the Campfire Day Camp on the banks of the Little Spokane River in North Spokane. Under a witness cottonwood that shades the camp’s fishin’ hole, I met with nearly 100 children, ages 3 to 14, to talk about this past year and a half and how it has felt for them to live through it. No surprise: it’s been tough.

After talking a bit, I led each small group in a short guided meditation that they can repeat on their own whenever they need — whenever the world and life feel out of control, whenever they feel small or unsure or anxious or afraid or powerless. In this meditation, we learned to stop, to find ourselves where we are. Then we learned to calm our bodies and minds through deep breaths and connecting with the Earth at every point our bodies are touching it. Then we turned inward to find the spark of light that lives in our hearts, our love light, even if it is hiding behind dark clouds or tall walls. When we were ready, we grew our lights — past bones and through blood and all the spaces in-between, all the way to the edges of our skin. We held it there inside us, healing, strengthening, until our skin simply couldn’t hold it anymore. Then, with love and empowered bodies and voices, we allowed our light to burst through and shine like a star.

When we know where we are in the world and we feel safe again, our bodies can relax. By helping our bodies, we help our minds. Then when we turn on our inner power, we really do have the strength and wherewithal to handle anything this life has in store for us. We cannot control others and we cannot t control all that is happening in the world right now, but we do have the power to control how we respond. And when we are empowered to do that, whatever comes next will be better.

After our meditation, we all spent time sitting on the ground in the forest, drawing ourselves with our love lights shining full blast. Because that’s how we’re going to connect with each other, and that’s how we’re all going to get through whatever it is that’s coming next.

Love lights, on.

Grounding Art Hike for Families with Friends of the Bluff

It’s challenging enough sometimes as adults to navigate all that we are experiencing in this world right now, just think about how hard it might be as a kid. We are emerging from a long year of change and isolation and, in lots of cases, heartbreak, and it’s been hard for all of us. For little people, who often feel like they’re just along for the ride, it’s been a time steeped in seeming powerlessness.

On the morning of July 18, invited by Friends of the Bluff to kick off their first annual Brush on the Bluff event, I led a group of families on a grounding art hike. We took a short walk into the woods from the base of Spokane’s High Drive Bluff Park and found a shady spot under the Ponderosas. Then we started talking about our year. Through conversation, a guided meditation, and an introspective session of drawing what we see, we learned that when the world starts to seem hazy or dark, and we feel emotions of anxiety or fear growing inside, and we start to feel that we have no power to do anything or change anything, it’s time to stop and reconnect. When we do stop and find connection again, with ourselves and with the world, we allow our bodies and minds to calm down and we can find within us our own unwavering light, our own power, and our own hope. When we reconnect with that love at the core of us, we know where we are again, and who we are, and we can move with confidence into the fray. It was a helpful lesson for the kids, ages 5-11, and a hopeful reminder for all their big people too.

I’m grateful to Friends of the Bluff for allowing me to be part of such a beautiful community event.