Saturday, January 16, 2016

2016 the year to MINDfully MOVE!

How do you hold awareness in the moment? This morning I found myself juggling my ambitions, its day 4 of lessons at the ABM center in CA, Archer a bit cranky missing the comforts of home and me striving to chicken poke at the screen of the iPad quick enough to share a few thoughts. Ok, little bug wasn't going to nap, so a sacrifice, put down the technology and get some fresh air. I love following Archer's lead, his intuitive nature seems to bring us to gratifying outcomes. We were gently bouncing on the mini trampoline, taking in the view, looking out into the distance of the bay, listening to the sounds of the city, browsing the variety of lush green foliage,
when the tiniest speck of red caught my eye. Sure enough it was the breast of a hummingbird. The optimal moment to embrace, by having enough awareness to view the beauty of a hummingbird landing on a flower, wings beating rapidly, one focus, an essential, FOOD. A moment of unity, the tiny bird in need of food and my boy in need  of nourishing bond of love with his momma, fulfilling their essential needs. Lesson to take home, it's all in the experience!

What does it mean to have experienced learning? Do we learn what has been taught to us, or do we learn when the opportunity to experience the action arises? While here at the ABM center I have had the time to sit back and observe the subtle affects of movement within Archer. After reading the Kids Beyond Limits book by Anat Baniel, founder of method, I began to apply some of the essentials into Archers routines, to be truthful I didn't fully grasp how or what I was doing. I needed more, I needed to experience the lessons. For those of you that know me, I'm a researcher and desire to fill my mind with knowledge in order to master concepts, yet I need to be more free in my approach, and, ok, with not being a master. It comes back to the concept of experiencing the movement, and that is when we truly learn. For lack of better terminology I referred to our trip out here as intense therapy, but the correct reference is "lessons" of learning how to find movement. We are on a journey, one of brain plasticity; the ability to grow, change, adapt and creatively map unique neuronal pathways. Are we walking away from the center (literally) NO. Have we gained valuable insight into where the journey will be taking us, YES. I have dropped my desires to professionally advance myself, but ABM just may be the red thread to launch both Archer and I's lives. We are not taught to move, we must experience the movement for it to be mapped in our brain, and when there are a few less parts or roadblocks along the way what are we to do?


Most approaches would say, well let's try to keep reaching those typical goals and adaptive equipment to reach them. So, we did and we helped map the technique of standing. We couldn't be more pleased with Archer's skill. Two days before his second birthday he even pushed the wheels of his stander across the room to get to his dad. He showed us that he has the will to move independently. I was in tears, daddy disguisingly let his glasses drop down his nose a little further and we upheld Archer for his actions to meaningfully push across the room, but he was bound to metal with straps and Velcro forcing his position.

We started the year off with a visit to Shriner's hospital, where our toddler got the green flag that his bones where forming, growing, and aligning correctly, yet we were advised to make a wheelchair fitting. Of course this is their line of work, thankfully the department is booked out until August. I made the appointment, but held in my heart my little boy wouldn't need the device. It is a word that has been haunting my future, an action I'm not sure I'm comfortable with or succumbing to. After lots of self talk and discussion with Brandon, I put the idea in a cloud and let it float away, as time will tell us where to go. I quickly had to move on with the daily tasks, prepare and celebrate Archers second birthday, go on our first real date since moving, and pack for CA.
The anticipation grew throughout the week but clearly there was enough going on to keep me focusing on the moments as they happened. Sunday morning greeted us with a couple inches of snow, which of course I wanted to stay, throw on our snow boats, put Archer in his sled and go for a ride in the untouched snow. There's something so magical about the glimmering snow in the single digits that touches my heart, may it be the warmth in my heart that keeps me warm externally? However, I loaded up the last few things tip toeing around the snow in my Chaco's, as we were headed to the west coast, and it's only right that my feet are bare.

In his second year of life (2015) we focused on Archer's CVI. With lots of travel, experimentation of toys, angles we present them, lighting of objects, and reducing the complexity of the background (in controlled environments), and many, many, more attempts to engage his vision. Alas, we feel that his vision is becoming functional. SO, onto the navigation of movement in 2016. Before our trip Brandon and I got some alone time and of course what did we do, talk about Archer (not the entire time)! I'm very headstrong when I share my ideas for Archer, most of the time B agrees and goes along with it. That evening though, he voiced that he feels like we are enabling Archer to be dependent on us. Exactly what we don't want to do! The timing of his comment couldn't have been at a better time, as I delved into this idea on the 8 hour drive I to came to the realization. We are skewing our little guys experience of learning how to move mindfully in order to gain his independence. The fact that I'm OK with him being with us for the rest of our living days is not, ok. For goodness sake he needs to be independent. Have I unintentionally became a helicopter parent?

This boy is very bright. His road map consists of pinpoints, some of his experiences have lead him down a dead end road. Sadly, we embraced whatever actions, movements, interactions he made, some of these patterns have created deep groves. Tada, ABM turned on the engine, he is building bridges, mapping on and off ramps to provide varation in his experience, reconizing speed zones, structuring a network of syncronization. He is learning not to crash into roadblocks and to slow down in the constrution of his experiences. Think of movement beyond physical, the movement of neurons in the brain, the connection with his central nervous system to sequence his speech, his sight, his touch, his taste, his hearing. We are teaching mindfulness and focusing on being flexible. This is our time to slow our ambitions of walking and get back to the basics of a beginner's mind.

We were eager for Archer to reach those traditional milestones and did anything, used anything to make him appear he was getting there. Along the way we pushed passed Archer's inabilities and imposed on his opportunity to build a relationship with his spine and pelvis. Here this week, he has experienced his own abilities to preform graceful movement. The practitioners and ABM method are embeding pathways for Archer's brain to organize and gain functional knowledge of his own energy to move. His central nervous system is lighting up, his sparks are becoming rays of light, and he couldn't be more proud of himself when he feels this from within.  Here at the Anat Baniel Method center Archer's lights are lets call it getting a "re-wiring," inturn he is opening the doors of a lifetime to shine upon his own authentic nature. We are not looking back. We are clearing our closets of adaptive equipment. He is mindfully moving into space, bonding with gravity, finding independence, all with the charm he holds in his heart and the mighty ignition of neuronal pathways. We will no longer be creating the movements for him, he has the power to navigate his own movements and use it to his advantage for purposeful connections. 

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