Tag Archives: Heart of a Toddler

My 20 Favorite Facebook Quotes from 2012

13 Dec

My favorites are not Facebook’s favorites.

Facebook gathers information about all of us as we use it. What we like, comment on and share is all collected in a database and analyzed by advertisers. BOOK Cover Facebook Logo

As this year comes to a close, the collections are being shared. Facebook will share some of what they gathered about you and what their formula has concluded to be your “20 Biggest Moments”. Go to your Facebook home page and check it out. Do you agree with what they came up with?

Yesterday, I watched as Katie Couric hosted an episode of Katie where these “biggest” stories were discussed. The stories that had the most shares, likes and which were mentioned the most. Then today, on Facebook, I read a quote from claypotideas that let me see all this information with a new perspective;

“What people think about you is none of your business.”

So much of our time is wasted worrying about what others think about us. Facebook’s “20 Biggest Moments” feature is reinforcing this destructive behavior by selecting out only the stuff that your friends have liked, shared and commented on.

Define Yourself

Young children, on the other hand, like, share and comment on everything that is emotionally important to them. Kids feel everything and will most likely tell you all about it. “My neck is itchy”, “I have to go pee”, “I have balls in this box” etc. The examples go on and on. In my book Heart of a Toddler: The Zen in Them this is :

Lesson 25: If you see value in it, share it.

The key word above is “you“. If you see value in it. So, I test out this theory of the importance of personal value.

I ask my preschooler, “If you think back about this entire year, what do you remember the most?”

“You!” He says quickly, pointing at me with his entire arm.

I know that’s not an answer that would score high up on the Facebook charts, but it’s one that scores high up on mine. For while it will calm our hearts to free ourselves from what others think, it can also empower and inspire us. Even negative comments have something to teach us, as long as we can manage not to let them hurt us or be roadblocks to our growth. It’s all about our perspective and how we choose to take it.

My Top 20 Favorite Facebook Quotes for 2012

I’ve gained a lot of insight and inspiration from quotes that have come to me through Facebook and which I have shared there. Facebook didn’t however and most aren’t accessible from there anymore.  I see defining value in them however, so I have dug through some of my favorite pages and here I am sharing these quotes with you. Enjoy.

1. “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” –Life Tastes Well

2. “Don’t explain your philosophy, embody it.” -Epicurious reposted by PositiveAtmosphere.com

3.”If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution. Never whine. Whining lets a brute know that a victim is in the neighborhood.” -Maya Angelou

4. “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

5. “An anthropologist proposed a game to children of an African tribe. He put a basket of fruit near a tree and told the children the first one to reach the fruit would win them all. When he told them to run, they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying the fruits. When asked why they ran like that, as one could’ve taken all the fruit for oneself, they said, “Ubuntu, how can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?” ‘UBUNTU’ is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as “I am because we are.” -The Great Spirit

6. “What screws us up in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.” -posted by Zen Parening Radio

7.”Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~Eckhart Tolle

8. “I Love You. I am your PARENT, you are my CHILD. I am your QUIET PLACE, you are my WILD. I am your CALM FACE, you are my GIGGLE. I am your WAIT, you are my WIGGLE. I am your DINNER, you are my CHOCOLATE CAKE. I am your BEDTIME, you are my WIDE AWAKE. I am your LULLABYE, you are my PEEKABOO. I am your GOOD NIGHT KISS, you are my I LOVE YOU.” – Joy of Mom

9. ‎”It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.”
~Ann Landers reposted by I Love Being a Mom

10.”The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” ~Peggy O’Mara reposted by I Love Being a Mom

11. “When nothing goes right, go left.” -Daily Dose

12. “Do not educate your child to be rich, educate them to be happy, so when he grows up he’ll know the value of things, not the price.” -Page101

13. “People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.” -Open Mind

14. “Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.” -Zen Parenting Radio

15. “Read this slowly: LIFEISNOWHERE. What did you read? “life is no where” or “life is now here”? My friends, life is all about how we look at it! -Daily Gratitude Challenge

16. “It doesn’t matter how old or gangster you are- if a toddler hands you a phone, you answer that shit!” -George Takei

17. “Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most live the longest.”

18. “Food reform begins in your kitchen, not in Washington.”

19. “Metal bits in your cereal. Yummy!”

and last but certainly not least….

20. “Super-risk-it”: when something is good, super good, super, super, super good, as in terrific. -Adam Potter, 2012



Such a Thing As Too Many Hugs?

11 Jan

“Hugs Heal” I wrote in Heart of a Toddler, but hugging had a hard time of it this week.

The hugs have increased in number and ferocity. What was once a special and tender moment has evolved into an object of scorn for many.

Running around hugging every one of the children in the playground was sweet the first few times my now three-year-old did it. His hugs were spontaneous and genuine, showing caring and an attempt to bond with all of the other children around him. Absent was any hesitation when it game to age or sex of the recipients; he hugged peer boy playmates with the same compassion that he showed to the fragile baby and the 6 year-old girl.

It was when he jumped them from behind, grabbing ahold of their heads and dragging them to the ground to hug them that it became a problem. Hugging has been proven to help heart health, reduce stress and depression, but I learned this week, only if some “Hugging Etiquette” is followed.

Hugging is a two-way street where both participants must be open to it, or its power is lost. Dive-bombing a person with a hug isn’t the way to do it. Clinging, desperate hugging isn’t going to do it. Both are too passionate, too much to deal with.

On the other hand, the shallow half-hugs I find myself giving out to acquaintances because etiquette dictates it is no way to approach hugging either. Easier to deal with when you don’t really want to be delving into the intimacy that a real hug demands? Definitely. But still not the way to appreciate the power of hugging to heal.

As I was being reprimanded for letting Adam over-hug, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was doing it because he was hoping for that one true hug from these strangers that he’d just met. At 3, 4 and 5 years old were they already giving him that superficial half-hug? I thought back to the children that really hugged him back when he doled out the first round of hugs and then to the few children that he’d gone back to and over-hugged. These last children were the ones that, to my quick judgement, were the least receptive to being hugged but sorely in the need of them most.

Could it be that his over-hugging was not only a need in him to be filled but in them as well?

A quiet sort of heaviness settled into him as I explained that he was hugging too rough and that he needed to ask people first before hugging them. I was telling him how to hug more like everyone else just as I was wishing that I and everyone else would hug more like him. Hug freely and with abandon. Hugs that just knock us over with their intensity and that are returned with the same vigor.

I hope that he has the courage to ask and keep asking. We all so much need the hugs that he’s willing to give to us. For that matter, I hope I find the courage to ask more too. I hope I find the presence of mind to be there for each hug fully, whether asked for or not.

Delighting in Dads

16 Jun

With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to reach out to all those underappreciated dads out there and say, “Yeah for You!”

Research has shown that children that have dad as a positive force involved in their life (whether part-time or full-time) are happier and more successful than those that do not.

It is easy for dad to feel left behind however, especially in the first few years of a child’s life. I’ll be addressing this in my speech: Answering the BIG Questions: Money, Health and Handling Bad Behavior to these dads at a FREE Father’s Day event on Saturday, June 18th at Dog Ate My Homework in Glens Falls, NY from 10:30am to 12:30pm. Topics to be covered at the event, dubbed Bonding: Birth and Beyond will also include: Birthing Your Baby, presented by Lisa Cartier, Birth Doula and Surprise! You’re Home with Baby:The importance of skin to skin contact and your role in breastfeeding, presented by Bridget Epiphanie.

My book Heart of a Toddler: The Zen in Them as well as all the ones on my Recommended Reading List for Dad and Recommended Books for Dad to Read Aloud will be on sale at 15% off the cover price.

Hope to see you there!

Reading at Willow’s Bistro

8 Jun

Boiling red blood threatening to explode from my chest and face. uncontrollable shaking. This is what reading aloud does to me. Reading aloud has never been easy for me, especially if it’s my own stuff. My emotions are raw and laid bare when I read my own stuff. It makes me nervous.

Come see the calamity in action, this Thursday, June 9, 2011 7 p.m. at Willow’s Bistro 3749 Main St, Warrensburg as I read from my new book Heart of a Toddler: The Zen in Them: 51 Lessons Learned from a One-Year-Old on Enjoying Life.


A Mother’s Day Gift to Myself

9 May

Mother’s Day started out just the way I was hoping it would. I threw a sweater on over my son Adam’s blue dinosaur pajamas and headed up to our lakeside country store to pick up a copy of the paper and a cup of coffee. The talk at the store was already abuzz from an article that appeared that day. My son was the star.

He is the gift I allowed myself to have that I get to enjoy everyday and Mother’s Day is a great time to think about that.

Anyway, that’s my little bit of sentimentality for today. Here’s the article. Enjoy!

Mother recognizes the Zen mentality of son

By Doug Gruse dgruse@poststar.com The Post-Star | Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011 12:15 am

Megin Potter has learned that every emotion is temporary.

It took a child to teach her that lesson.

In “Heart of a Toddler: The Zen in Them,” Potter writes about 51 principles she discovered from observing her young son.

“You have to be present in the moment,” Potter said. “It’s hard when you have a million errands to do or you have to get your kid dressed and teeth brushed and then off to play group, but you need to take that minute and sit down and be present to what your kid is trying to communicate.”

Potter, who lives in Argyle, remembers the stress and frustration she felt being a new mom, especially after her son Adam reached his first birthday. Instead of getting mired in the chaos, she chose to embrace the unpredictability of life.

As she began reading Buddhist philosophy, she realized that much of Zen thought applied to her situation.

“I was surprised at how well Zen ideas fit into the art of raising children. I combined what these ancient masters said with this intuitive wisdom that is in our young children,” she said.

During the day she began taking notes as she observed Adam exploring the world. At night, she transcribed her journal entries and scrawled passages into something more concrete.

“I would stay up after he went to bed, and I started making it into a book,” she said.

Suddenly life seemed simpler and more harmonious.

Lesson No. 13: Constantly test boundaries.

Lesson No. 29: Laugh all day long.

Lesson No. 33: Wear your emotions on your sleeve.

Even the most difficult occasions of parenting began to create opportunities rather than obstacles.

“I find the most challenging moments with him are the ones where I sit down and say, ‘What am I supposed to be learning form this that I am not doing?'” said Potter, a former freelance writer for The Post-Star.

Before she released the book, she began posting some of her parenting thoughts in her Babbysitting with Buddha blog.

“I had been working on the book for about six to eight months, and then I started the blog just to have something for everyone I was telling about my theories to look at right away,” she said.

A recent entry reflected on the significance of the “Mommy Bag.”

“I was looking for a receipt to add to my scattered collection of expense reports when I made the mistake of reaching into the depths of the black hole I carry around with me daily, fondly known as my Mommy Bag. Originally it was called a ‘diaper bag,’ but it has become so much more than that. It is the ‘diaper, wipes, extra set of clothes, activities for when boredom strikes, money-holder, snack and drink carrier, toddler exploration exhibit I sling on my shoulder and have at all times’ bag,” Potter wrote.

Even a disorganized carry-all has something to teach, if you listen closely.

Potter finds disappointments often are self-fulfilling.

“One of the main ways to maintain a calm sense of balance and peace and connectedness is to drop the expectations. Go more with what your core is saying to you,” she said. “A lot of time we focus on what the people around us might be expecting from us or we let our own desires, expectations and fears lead the way.”

Potter said the lessons, while geared toward parents, are universally relevant.

“Children’s wisdom is so intuitive, and we tend to move away from that as we get older. If we go back to it, we can relearn a lot of the things we have forgotten,” she said.

Adam is now 2 1/2, and Potter said she still learns things from him every day.

“Everyone can be our teacher, no matter how old or young they are,” she said.

An impromptu hug or a twirl can be as inspiring as the entire parenting section at the library.

“There is someone here to teach you, and it is the child,” Potter said. “We can do more than survive the toddler phase, we can let it revive us and energize us.”

And even when things do seem out of control, one toddler-inspired tip can come in handy.

Lesson No. 2: Scream.

The Heart of a Toddler is Available

10 Apr

The heart of a toddler is available, but the key is us tuning in to recognize it, hear it and react to it.

I can tell I’m not doing that when I feel a scratchy headache irritating my brain and tension grating at my nerves.

When I feel that stressed-out feeling, I try to remember to humble myself. I try to stop and catch myself from wondering,

“Why is my kid acting so badly?”

and instead  ask,

“What is it that I could be doing differently to bring harmony back into my home?”

A toddler’s heart is available and open to doing what feels good.

“If a toddler has to do something they don’t want to do, like remove those hands from the above-mentioned places, or surrender a toy they’ve been playing with, they let you know they’re not happy about it. Crying, whining, pouting, temper tantrums, throwing things, general mass destruction; these are all employed to demonstrate unhappiness.

Do people around you even know when you’re unhappy? Do you? Have you sealed yourself off from doing what feels good simply because other people have told you that’s what you should do?

I recognize myself employing the just “grin and bear it” technique quite a lot. My toddler has taught me however, that it is not always necessary as much as I once thought it to be. He’s taught me to find what feels good and to do that instead.-Lesson 28, If It Feels Good, Do It.

Go figure, despite hints to the contrary, my book Heart of a Toddler: The Zen in Them: 51 Lessons Learned from a One-Year-Old on Enjoying Life became available for purchase in paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon.com this week. 

In Heart of a Toddler, I talk about how it is the youngest children that can be our greatest teachers, akin to Zen masters.

What I’ve enjoyed most is the great dialogue about positive parenting that talking about this book has opened up. Availability and openness allows the good stuff to flow in.

Painting a Picture of Zen Peacefulness

21 Mar

Today I stopped and felt the sun on my face. My third eye opened wide, gulping in the sweet milk, soaking up the sunlight as it dribbled down and out all over my face.

My brain was enlivened by the sensational artwork of Alex Grey and reignited by the images he has created.

It has been a long winter. The clocks have been turned back but the snow still lays heavy and knee-deep. It is easy to see time as suspended, filled with the tension of the clock springs just before they tock.

It is also the precipice before the release of my highly anticipated new book Heart of a Toddler and the many more changes that spring will bring.

While I was familiar with Alex Grey’s pyscodelic work before today, seeing the collection of his paintings all together and in succession brought a new and ultimate clarity to them that I had not yet experienced. They are truly awesome in their perceptiveness.

Alex Grey’s pairing of the physical body with the emotional and spiritual one is definitely descriptive. His initimate portraits in Progress of the Soul of “Kissing”, “Painting” and “Healing” were particularly intuitive.

This Spring I once again marvel at the enormous energy that I am a part of and that I am able to create. I experience it every moment I craft together a bit of Zen peacefulness and when I see art like that of Alex Grey.