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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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Happy Place

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Posted by pam on January 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Originally published September 19, 2008

Reprinted with permission from Bay Area News Group – East Bay.

Recently, I was in a bad mood and a friend offered some advice.

“You need to go to your happy place,” she said.

In today’s lingo, she was telling me to use my mind to focus on a pleasing thought or image. That’s something I’ve never been able to do because, no matter how hard I try, my mind just surfs from one thing to another, like a man who has control of the TV remote.

So, I decided to take her advice more literally by actually going to a place that makes me happy. These days, it’s the preschool my child attends.

The moment I arrive, the sound of a twittering bird greets me. As I move about the classroom, the bird’s singsong chirping follows me and, in no time, I find myself whistling along. Some days, I can hardly resist breaking out in song, like a Disney princess in the company of a perky animal friend. Now I can see why nothing – not a poison apple, an evil stepmother, or a lost slipper – gets a princess down.

Along with bird sounds, there’s the unmistakable hum of happy children. To me, it sounds an awful lot like “om”, the chant you hear in yoga class after everyone strikes a lotus position. Here, the children find their inner peace by playing with the water table, Lego village, life-size boat, tire swing, play kitchen, dollhouse, shovels, wheel barrows, and truck fleet. Their contentment is contagious. “Om.”

Also, the positive energy is infectious which, I think, has to do with the feng shui found at preschool. Feng shui, an old Chinese practice, is loosely described as arranging objects in a room to create good energy flow. As a mother of three, I describe feng shui as being able to walk across a room without tripping over a fire truck or getting Mr. Potato Head’s eye stuck to your foot. Here at preschool, there’s a place for everything and, when the children aren’t in the midst of playing, everything’s in its place. Seeing the meticulously labeled plastic boxes containing all the preschool essentials such as “fire trucks”, “toy fruit”, “doctor’s kits” and “Mr. Potato Head” makes my spirits soar.

But what really lifts my spirits, more than anything, is the sense that no problem is too big. When problems inevitably crop up — a potty accident, a scraped arm, or crying for mommy — the teachers fix them with ease. Watching a teacher handle a problem is like watching your favorite actress on screen in an Oscar-winning performance – she makes it look so easy, and it’s over before you know it.

At preschool, I’ve also seen that anything is possible. Starting school for the first time this month, my son cried hopelessly, begging me not to leave him. It didn’t seem possible he would ever stop crying. But he now looks forward to going and there are no more tears. Yep, I’ve found my happy place.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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