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My family has been utilizing the amazing resources at Go Noodle to bolster learning with movement, to create needed dance breaks in the middle of studying and to create opportunities for greater mindfulness. Go Noodle is really worth exploring! A household favorite has been the calming "Bring it Down" video of a balloon which you imagine is tethered to your hand. You sit down in a comfortable position; use your imagination or the simple imagery on the video to slowly bring a balloon down to each of your hands and gently release it to the air again. Please click on this image to go directly to the video.

As a way of solidifying, communicating and making a tangible reminder, I asked my daughters to illustrate what was the most memorable part of this experience to them. We drew on index cards and collaged felt balloons on the picture. This video is only approximately 3 minutes in length, but the insights it inspired are powerful.

One illustrated a large rainbow balloon, which began to take on the shape of an umbrella. She liked pretending the balloon held her "hard feelings" which she could release and hold on to as it became an "umbrella-balloon for protection." Another expressed comfort in being connected to something bigger than herself when tethered to a large balloon. It was also important that she is not alone in her image. Finally, my youngest made an elaborate picture of an "unreal world." While her balloon floats away she welcomes, with open arms, things that sometimes scare her like lady bugs, spiders, and bees... because "they are part of nature too." She is "crowned a queen because she is being brave."

We are hanging these little cards on the fridge to remind us, again and again, that we can connect to calm. But also, that we are tethered to each other, to love that is bigger than any one of us, to protection that sometimes takes the form of rainbow-umbrella-balloons, and that it is okay to be have hard feelings, to be scared, to be calm... and all of that all at once. Drawing and listening to the stories of our drawings is such a powerful tool of expression and connection. I hope there is time, even just a little bit, to draw and listen to each other today.

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