Join us for the next three weeks by sending two thoughts a day to our jars: one positive happy thought to the “I love You” jar, one negative yucky thought to the “You are Gross” jar. (Ignore that other one completely.)
You are invited to to send a message to the rice by posting a comment on our Web site.
If you share the experiment with your friends via Facebook or email etc., leave a comment to be entered into our drawing to win Monkey Chi Fun surprises.
Doing the experiment yourself, let us know, and we’ll send thoughts to your jars too.
Blessings and happy thoughts of you, our readers…
Becky Jaine and the Monkeys
Hiya Creative Monkeys!
Welcome to Week ONE of the BIG online Monkey Chi experiment. Sparkle, Twinkle and I made a video to tell you ALL about this month’s togetherness project. Click image below to play.
Yes, this is different AND a bit ironic don’t you think? but this month we decided to bend togetherness project guidelines because we think it will be really AWESOME to do a project WITH YOU!!!!!
A 30-Day Rice and Thought Experiment
It’s our intention to share this experiment with YOU to inspire a conversation both here online and in your homes, about the power of words and how our thoughts and words impact our reality. Sound crazy Woo-Woo? Play along with us OR do the experiment in your own home and see what happens.
1. View the video above or on Vimeo or Youtube.
2. Starting Monday, March 12th, every day think about the rice. Write a ♥ note on your bathroom mirror, by your kettle/coffee pot to remind you. (be sure to remind yourself how FABULOUS you are too!)
3. Think. Send a positive thought to the “I love you jar,” a yucky negative thought to the “You are gross jar,” and completely ignore the “ignore jar.”
4. Come back to our Web site for weekly updated photos of the rice.
5. Post Comments below.
6. After 30 days we’ll share the results via our Monkey Shines newsletter.
The more people and thoughts we have about our rice jars the more dramatic the results will be. If you share our project and video with your friends and family via e-mail and/or social media like Facebook and Twitter post a comment below. Each person sharing will be entered into a drawing to win a Monkey Chi Fun Pack including a DIY Paint Your Family Kit and Hide and EeEeEek Monkey game and other surprises. (Drawing will occur at the end of our experiment. Winner will be notified by e-mail.)
What will happen to each jar of rice? What do you think about this experiment? Comment below.
Love and presence,
Becky, Sparkle & Twinkle
If you hear a voice within you say, “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.
~ Vincent van Gogh
Are YOU creative??? Oh, Darling …. YES you are! If you don’t think so, we’re about to share a simple and fun Togetherness Project that will change your mind. This is for anyone young, old, daring arteeest or stick figure etcher-er.
Being a writer, I ADORE words. One of my favorite simple creative things to do to relax and unwind is to add flowy colors and glitter to words, be they quotes from inspiring people, lyrics from a song, lines from a poem, or sentiments captured from my children. If we pay attention and look for positive things, we may notice we are surrounded by inspiration and happiness muses*. When you write them out for yourself and then add some color …. OooooohWeeeeee! These words can take on even greater meaning in our lives.
(*If you don’t find inspiration around you, you may want to reconsider what you are reading, watching, or listening to.)
Do you have a special message you’d like someone near and dear to you to remember? Are there a string of words that when you hear them, you just simply feel good? Is there a poem you’d like to recite to memory? YES, these are the kinds of words worthy of becoming Word Art, words to stick in your brain AND on your fridge.
♥ card stock, watercolor paper, or heavy weight paper
♥ favorite words, songs, lyrics, expression, quotes, poems, anything that makes an impression.
♥ pencil and good eraser
♥ permanent ink, like Sharpie markers OR Indian ink pens (my favorite are Faber-Castel PITT artist pens) We suggest permanent ink so they don’t bleed when you are adding the colors.
♥ watercolor paints, oil pastels or colored chalk, watercolor pencils, or crayons. What you choose needs to have a bit of transparency to it, so the permanent ink letters show through.
♥ paintbrushes and water (if using paints)
Gather materials, turn off and ignore phones, pads, Tellies, computers, and all other teleportic devices; hug your dear one(s) and invite them to make some Word Art together. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (What are Togetherness Projects? Check out our description here.)
Practice writing your special words on scrap paper to get the alignment and letter size as you likey, then rewrite it in pencil on your special paper. Once you’ve written the words, retrace your words with your permanent pen. You can also do ink squiggles, stars, hearts, and confetti around the words. Have fun, experiment.
Then get out your colors and play play play. Color a few words the same color. If using paint, try flicking assorted colors of paint all over the page (my favorite, that’s how I made the Happy Splashes background for our Web site). Move over Jackson Pollock! Experiment, play. There are no right or wrong ways to do this. Silence your inner critic and have some fun with words and color.
Finish by signing your work of Word Art. Display in your window, on your fridge or wall, or gift to a friend. Scan and use the art on your Web site–if you have one–or e-mail the scan to a friend or post on Facebook.
Here are a few wonderful powerful beautiful quotes, lyrics and words I enjoy from my Word Art list.
You are powerful beyond measure. (inspired by Marianne Williamson’s essay Our Deepest Fear.
I am enough.
I love you!
I am perfectly imperfect.
A little bit of feel good goes a long way. (Jamie Lidell)
Send your love into the future. (Sting)
Good Day Sunshine! (the Beatles, of course)
Mahna Mahna (remember that fun silly Muppet Show song? Thank you, Twinkle!)
There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
What are some of YOUR favorite words? What makes YOU feel good? Please share your inspiration and your Word Art with us.
We hope you have lots of fun with this simple creative colorful togetherness project. Mahna Mahna… do do dah do da. Mahna Mahna, do do do doooo….
Wishing you LOTS of love and paint on your hands!
Becky Jaine and the Monkeys
“The only gift is a portion of thyself.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson (my hero)
When my daughters were babies, a dear friend gave them a beautiful ceramic piggy bank. For months I looked at it in their room, wondering when I’d be able to make some deposits–coins or dollars–for their future. Other than a few pennies, the dollars never came.
Fed up, I created a new possibility for the beautiful pink swine: a Memory Bank. Whenever my children did something exceptionally funny, loving, or remarkable, I’d savor the occasion by writing on scraps of paper and labeling them with the child’s initial.
Twinkle (my 9 yo) found the piggy memory bank the other day and started pulling out the old notes. She reminded me of the time she crammed a teeny doll’s nail polish applicator up her nose, and my Hubby and I had to stick tweezers up her nose to remove it. (I taped the evidence to the memory; a relic for later amusement.)
I read about Sparkle’s (my then 7 now 10 yo) philosophical questioning of the purpose of war: “Do we want to be the only ones left on the planet?” she asked. Mmmmmm. Yes, that’s why I often declare my children my teachers.
Twinkle and I read together about the time she and Sparkle were cuddling in bed with me and she unintentionally bit her sister’s finger, as an expression of love, or so I had documented on the scrap. (They say there is a time in a toddler’s life when biting is a natural loving response, and they should know, shouldn’t they.)
Precious memories. Significant moments. Joyful tidbits of our family’s history that my now 41-year-old brain has been unable to consciously retain.
Rediscovering this collection led me to this next Togetherness Project: Our End of the Year Family Memory Bank.
♥ a large jar, box, cylinder, tub, or an empty piggy bank
♥ paint, stickers, ribbons, glitter and anything else you have to decorate
♥ ample scraps of paper to record the memories
Together (without distractions), decorate the container and talk about different things you’d like to remember about your life together the past year. Cut small pieces of paper to record the memories. Leave the Memory Bank, crayons and pens, and the paper prominently on the dinner table, so EVERYONE can write whatever memories they have from year 2011, and deposit into the bank.
Encourage everyone to keep writing the 2011 memories as long as you like, days, maybe weeks, then replace the cap and keep on a bookcase, as you would a photo album, for easy access to soon-to-be-last-year’s memories. At the end of every year, create a new memory bank, then you’ll have one for every year. Imagine the stories and new memories you’ll make from the old?!
The older my darlings become, the faster it seems the years goes by. This is a precious way to invest in and send your love into the future. I hope this will become an annual tradition at our house AND yours!
Wishing you love, blessings and many happy memories ….
P.S. Today I heard an amazing radio program … I had to share with you. Dr. Pier Forni a professor from Johns Hopkins and author of the book The Thinking Life discussed the importance of (and I’m paraphrasing) focused thinking, without distraction of technology. It was such a phenomenal interview, and thankfully the show maintains an archive of programs for free. Here is a linky to interview. Click on “LISTEN” link at top of page, and IF you do, PLEASE e-mail me! I’m just bursting to talk with someone about the brilliant thoughts he shared.
“Keep your hands open, and all the sands of the desert can pass through them. Close them, and all you can feel is a bit of grit” ~ Taisen Deshimaru
I’ve been talking about this togetherness project (click here for a more info about togetherness projects) for weeks at my house: Hunting for a family Touchstone, a simple communication tool that will help my us stay closer amidst the chaos and busy-ness of our lives.
Historically, touchstones were pieces of stone that were used to determine the quality of gold or silver based on the mark it left behind. In our modern culture, touchstones are used as a reference point which other things can be evaluated against.
We (uh-hem, ok… honestly it was ME) wanted to find a “touchstone” to help my family stay connected, especially during times when we are too focused on the computer, TV or some other seemingly more important activity. I wanted something physical we could grab to call a family meeting to order, and demand everyone’s attention especially for moments when it would be emotionally easier (or lazier) to stay tuned out.
Simple Guidelines (how to use a Touchstone)
When a member of our home needs everyone’s full attention, she/he will retrieve the touchstone and summon complete presence from everyone at home. (By presence, I mean, giving full attention–energy, eyes, body, mind and spirit–rested upon the person holding the Touchstone. We all must oblige, without exception.) gulp–what have I done?!
Each person will take a turn holding the touchstone and sharing their thoughts and feelings, without interruption, making sure that each person is fully heard and feels connected.
Simple, right? Sometimes giving our complete undivided attention to someone is anything but easy. I dare you to try it when you’re in the middle of an e-mail, blogpost, or text message. Huh … huh??? Gotcha! You see… That’s why a touchstone will be valued in your home, especially to help the children in our lives to feel important and deserving to fully command our attention.
Today the Autumn leaves were having a party with the sunshine in the woods. After school we were determined to go out in search of the perfect rock to symbolize our Touchstone–an attention-getting device.
The photo opportunities were beautiful. Autumn in our neighborhood is such a feast for the senses! For weeks I’ve envisioned my family going on a touchstone hunt. It would be fun, happy-go-lucky, smiley and joyful. Sounds completely possible, right? Well, that’s not quite how it went down.
As we were walking, Sonshine–my 2 year-old son–found a stick (what is it and boys with sticks??). I asked him to hold my hand and he said “Go away, Mommy!” and then smacked my leg HARD with the stick. YOW!!!! Horrors! That really hurt. I had to put him in a time out in the middle of the woods! He was not happy and neither was I.
Then, someone–who shall remain nameless–turned into a complete cranky uncooperative miserable mess! This person dawdled, whined and accidentally dropped a potential touchstone into a deep part of the river, and then fell apart sobbing and agitated.
Uh… Not exactly what I had in mind for our nice family togetherness project.
Cue the frolicking deer… I said “CUE THE DEER!!!” They too were a disappointment.
My ever-so-patient and grounded husband and I kept glancing at each other, trying to quell our looks of despair.
I tried to breathe deeply and not over react to the unfolding drama. It was beyond ridiculous! At one point, I started laughing–to which my beautiful nameless family member yelled, “You’re laughing at ME!!!! boohoooooohooooo!” More sobs. I hate to say, but I laughed even louder as my mind recounted my original plan for a beautiful, perfect, peaceful, happy walk in the woods to retrieve a meaningful symbol for our family. (Think insane Quasimoto type of laughter.)
I took another deep breath and took it all in. The emotion, the disappointment, the bruise on my shin, my oh-so-very-upset nameless child. The good the bad and the ugly.
I could’ve elected to edit the not-so-happy-imperfect stuff out and basically provide an outline of my brilliant perfect idea, but somehow I don’t think that would be as interesting or real, do you?Perhaps it would’ve been prettier but definitely boring.
One of the biggest lessons my children have taught me since formally incorporating Togetherness Projects into our routine: I cannot control the journey, nor can I control my children’s emotions. I can only control my intentions and how I choose to respond in the moment.
I completely let go, committed to trying to enjoy the elements that were pleasurable: the smell of the wet earth and the crunch of the falling leaves beneath my feet, the humour and irony of the situation, the sound of the stream, AND the ridiculous fact that it’s flippin’ hard to find a rock when the ground is covered by all those leaves! Basically I had to give up my perfect dream and accept the beautifully imperfect reality.
Somehow we found our touchstone. We plan to paint it with some fabulous design– something we’ve yet to create–but that’s a project for another day!
Ultimately, the Touchstone was fully tested and passed our first test: serving it’s purpose for the first time to bring us together–in honesty– fully in the moment, be it good or bad. Perhaps our future touchstone gatherings will be less dramatic and surprising? Hmmmm, I can always dream, right?!
What do YOU think of the idea of having a touchstone with someone you love? Are you going to hunt for one? Please share your ideas, comments and stories in this idea’s comment section or e-mail me. PLEASE!!!! I’m begging you… I’d love to tell my family that there really are other people in our world committed to doing unusual things to disconnect to reconnect… other than their CRAZY mother.
Love, love, and bursts of uncontrolled moments of presence…
Becky and the Monkeys