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“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”

— Alexander Den Heijer

Given the unspeakable events of school shootings, bombings, and violent acts, it is time to discuss the issue before another one happens.   How many unspeakable events need to occur before we wake up and find solutions?

Someone among us is personally raising or knows the next shooter or bomber. While it may not be you or me, it is in all of our best interest to engage in finding ways to contribute to stop this behavior, once and for all.

It appears that the blame is usually on one or two things at least in school shootings: gun control and mental illness.  While these may be part of the problem, they are only the tip of the iceberg and these two topics bring only fire to the discussion and no solution to the deeper, underlying issues.  

If we are willing to move beyond the  shock and horror we find ourselves in, we have to stop pointing fingers and inflaming each other’s rage. It is time to roll up our sleeves and find ways, many ways,  toward an outcome(s) that can help our  young children make choices that sustain life, and not take it away. What measures can stop these terrible acts? 

We can start by diving deeper to identify all the underlying issues and seek to find positive life changing solutions.  While many contributions may not be an immediate fix, I believe there are many contributions that we can engage in with our children that could make a significant shift in lessening these kinds of behaviors.

I have found that when children are afforded the opportunity to have direct influence in creating their own space, that that can help them make a shift in their mindset and in their behavior.

I would like to share one of my many experiences over the years as a holistic Feng Shui Designer and life coach: 

Raphe was the teenager of a client I had several years ago.  He was according to his mother, a bright creative child when he was young but as a teenager, he started to take a dark turn.  She was very concerned about him and he agreed to talk to me about decorating his room.  He had recently become intrigued with the gothic look; everywhere in his room were gothic images, posters, and personal items, mostly black in color.  He loved the dark so much that he placed black paper over his windows and had very little lighting in the room.

I began our session together by sharing that is was my intention to help him discover his ideal environment and style that would unlock hidden potential.  I shared with him that I believed that each of us are born with a higher aspiration and purpose and that the environment we created could help him or drag him down.  He was very willing to find his ideal place.  I followed with asking him only a few key questions and he began to share what was underneath his current style choice and provide clues for his ideal place.

The key questions I asked him were aimed at finding clues as to the lines, shapes, lighting, images that are necessary for him to experience a feeling of heaven on earth.   “What place do you imagine, when you close your eyes in the entire world past, present or future, that is the most ideal space for you?” I asked him.  “This place may be a space you have visited or only imagined, but imagine something that makes your heart sing?“

I had him then do a fast drawing of that space and helped him to further identify this place.  I began a brainstorming exercise around how we could begin to implement those ideas within his room.  He talked about a place that had soft green grass and I suggested a rug near his bed that felt like grass to him that he could place his feet on first thing in the morning.  We discovered that it was sunny in his ideal place and I asked him if his current room had the amount of light that would make his heart sing.  After only a short time, less than 30 minutes, we had plotted and planned some changes for him.

A few months, I later ran into his mother who said her child was a totally different person.  Together they bought a new bed, painted the walls a green color, and bought a blue and green rug near his bed.  She said he stopped wearing all black and joined the theater group after discovering that the gothic design was only mirroring his desire to create and didn’t really reflect all of who and what he wanted to be.

“First we shape our buildings and then they shape us.”  

~Winston Churchill

Churchill stated “First we shape our buildings and then they shape us.”  This alludes to not only the built-environment, but to the lifestyle.   As an expert in human potential, Jean Houston says that we must prepare to live a fuller life that not only enhances us, but our family, community, profession and our planet.  I think decorating thriving environments for our children is one way to foster creativity that can lead to a fuller life experience.  Expert Judith Herger, Ph.D., talks about increased productivity, health and creativity, within the environment,  and says that failure to satisfy survival needs may lead to serious illness or death, but failure to satisfy the well-being needs produces a gray life filled with the psychosocial maladjusted.

I believe we don’t often know how to create spaces within their environment on how to help them live beyond the gray life is part of the problem.  The gray life produces feelings of the need to survive: “a me against you” culture within the overall environment of our homes, families, and communities. While a thriving environment produces greater contributions of talents and gifts.  The latter is the kind of world that I can imagine living in and having my children inherit.  A world in which we cultivate life-sustaining and thriving environments that allow us to strive to challenge ourselves and to show up with our passion and purpose to do the work we love to do.   While this is only one solution to our growing issue of the underlying reasons why school shootings and other acts are happening, I believe it can be part of the solution.   After all, I witnessed Raphe simply by redecorating his room is now sharing his gifts and talents in the world making it a better place. 
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