Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Would you expect a person without vision to learn to see by poking them in the eyes?

Learning to see the trail by walking in the forest

What wires together fire together and for our WHOLE lives our brains continue to grow as we continue to experience new things. In Live Abilities natural classroom program we mark trails for self-discovery. Joyful self-discovery allows a person the greatest learning opportunity. Because our learning strategy begins with a trail guide marking trails our participants must first learn to look and see the markers of opportunity.

A forest is filled with exciting experiences-a line of ants helping each other carry a dead insect carcass to their hill, the calls of different birds, the chatter of tiny creatures, footprints heading in unknown directions...  

Nature allows us to think outside of our inner thoughts. 

Natural movement in natural settings through play allows us the opportunity to GROW NEW BRAIN CONNECTIONS.

   "Scientists are discovering that physical activity alone is enough to trigger a boost in brain cell proliferation and that specialized exercise programs may help repair damaged or aged brains.  For twelve years in Denmark, an experimental School in the Forest for kindergartners proved an innovative and effective way for children to develop school readiness skills. The children climbed trees, ran, played games, developed their imaginations, explored and learned about their surrounding world with their teacher. The results were first graders ready to learn.
    Getting your arms and legs moving and the heart beating faster increases the blood flow to the brain. This blood keeps our brains healthy by feeding our neurons with oxygen and nutrients.
    Our yard became a playground with balance structures, hammocks, tire and porch swings, hula hoops, bubble blowing sticks, chalk and jump ropes as neighborhood teens joined in the fun to help Liz. We all had a reason to go back to child’s play and have fun doing it. Who said any of us should outgrow childhood?
    The sun smiled on us as we climbed new mountains and planted gardens.  Fourteen years after Liz joined our home, she finally rolled down hills and played sidewalk games. Liz smiled at the snowflakes as they fluttered down on a cold night. She stuck out her tongue in a rain shower and caught raindrops on her face. The time arrived to make snow angels and take walks in the rain."
Can we create new neural pathways? What can you discover in these two pictures? There are thousand of opportunities to learn  through experiences in a natural classroom. Click each photo to see what you can discover when you look deeper.

Many thanks to Jim Strohecker ( ) for his original idea about the sensory awareness walk listed below. In honor of the people I love I keep sharing what I learn. Blessings to families and persons living with prenatal exposures to toxins—together we can make a difference.

Try a Sensory Awareness Walk this week and leave a comment about your experience. In the beginning and perhaps for some people forever - please do not mix the modalities.
  • Begin by allowing your mind to focus on your breathing as you walk. Simply notice your breath. Don’t try to do anything with it. Just notice.
  • Where in your body do you feel your breath? Your abdomen, chest, back, or even high in your collar bone?
  • What do you notice? Is your breath smooth, rhythmic and easy? Is it hesitant, sporadic, or labored?
  • What else do you notice that perhaps you haven’t noticed before?
  • As you focus on your breathing, does anything change without you having to purposely try to change it?
  • Shift your focus to what you see.
  • What are the shapes, textures, movement, and colors that you notice?
  • Can you look without naming the objects you see, even for a few seconds, but just see them as shapes, textures, movement, and colors?
  • If you are in familiar territory, are there things you notice that you’ve never seen before?
  • Shift your focus to what you hear.
  • What sounds do you hear?
  • Listen more and more deeply, what are the sounds underneath the sounds you normally hear
  • Even for a few seconds, can you hear what you hear without naming the sound?
  • What are the nuances of the sounds? Are there aspects to the sounds that you never noticed before?

  • Now shift your focus to what you sense in your body.
  • As your body moves, what do you notice? Gently scan your body as you are moving, starting with your feet and ending at your head.
  • Can you feel your muscles as they move?
  • Can you feel the touch of your clothing, air, or sun on your skin?
  • What can you notice that you’ve never noticed before?

  • Now see if you can bring breathing, seeing, hearing, and sensing all together as you mindfully enjoy your walk.
  • Don’t worry if you find yourself quickly shifting between these channels of awareness. Just keep practicing and see if you can, even for a few seconds, be aware of them all at the same time.  What do you notice that you haven’t noticed before?
Want some more great ideas also visit Integrated to Live Blog

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