Featured in Elephant Journal: “How Magic, Meditation & a 9-Year Old Child Awakened Me during the Pandemic” By Mary Chang


Originally published on World Meditation Day, May 21, 2020 in Elephant Journal: “it’s about the mindful life, an online mindful life magazine”.

My writer’s heart will dance if you click on the “heart” on the bottom of the Elephant Journal article page, leave a comment or follow me on EJ, my own blog here or share my story to show that you believe in me, writers, community and the beauty of true encouragement.

Read my debut article on EJ posted here: Elephant Journal: How Magic, Meditation and a 9 Year Old Child Awakened Me During the Pandemic

We’re all human beings supporting each other in some way — in our village, earth, universe. Gratitude for reading. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Mary Chang Meditation taken by my son IMG_6953
Read here: Elephant Journal: How Magic, Meditation and a 9 Year Old Child Awakened Me During the Pandemic

The “C Word”: *Six Word Story Time Capsules* by Our Children

The “C” Word: Six word stories written by children, ages 6-14 to document these uncertain times (a 2020 time capsule snapshot) and the importance of friendship.


Nine years ago, I became a new mother shortly after I moved to the North Shore. The early days of breastfeeding, endless diapers and sleepless nights left me confined to the house, exhausted and — lonely. I was in love with my newborn son, but a piece of me missed part of my previous world, adult companionship.

A few months later, I discovered a local StrongStartBC centre, a free early learning drop-in program in my neighbourhood. (“It takes a village to raise a child”) It was in that bright, welcoming activity-filled room that I formed lifetime friendships with a group of strong, independent, super women and mothers (and a few super dads) over daily cups of hot tea, coffee and freshly baked cheese biscuits. When StrongStart closed each summer, we invited new and familiar families who lived both on and off the Shore to join us for play activities we organized throughout summertime and expanded our village over the years.

We shared tales of wisdom, headache and heartache about the chaos and the joys of raising little ones while our children formed their own playful friendships. Together we hosted play dates, exchanged free babysitting, confided, cried, offered advice, spoke of dreams and fears about parenting. We shared pieces of our inner selves (the humans we were before parenthood) which revolved around fragments of time sketched in between crying babies, toddler tantrums and defiant five-year olds.

It is because we became parents that we became friends the day we all met in that bright sunlit room in Norgate, or were introduced on that first day of kindergarten, or when old friendships revived upon parenthood. That community connection transformed into a foundational piece of our friendship and parenting history.

Over the past five years, a handful of the families moved away from our community to distances as short as a two-hour ferry sailing to as far away as a plane trip to see kangaroos. It’s not often I visit the friends who still live nearby because of our busy lives. Now, it will be much longer before we see each other again or be granted permission to hop on a ferry or book a plane trip to see the others.

We’ve all been faced with the rules of isolation and the notorious “C word.” We can’t visit in person – even if we stand two metres away and may only interact through phone calls and social media. We inevitably pass through time lapses where we don’t attempt to reach out to anyone at all – because we’re overwhelmed with anxiety, fatigue, homeschooling or struggling to remember what day of the week it is.

Here I am nine years later feeling – lonely again, for adult friendship. But today, we hold hands together in spirit because I know we’re all thinking of each other and all of our children.

Some of our kids still play together and I see them grow, while others are “mind’s eye Polaroids” captured at the ages, stages and varying degrees of cuteness of when they last played together or before they moved away – as if they haven’t grown over the years although I’ve seen countless new images of them on FaceBook.

The “C word” affects lives worldwide and it’s clear that during these unsettling times we’re in the midst of making history. Today we’re reclaiming our village that we built nine years ago and reconnecting ourselves through the words of our children across the globe. When our children grow up, it is my hope that they develop similar meaningful friendships that will provide them with the support they’ll need when they become parents, or maybe their playful friendships of today will blossom into adulthood.

I asked the children to write six word stories about how the “C word” has impacted their lives in order to document their emotions, expressions, thoughts, feelings, discoveries and observations during the pandemic and to enable them to share these “six word story time capsules” with their own children someday.

This is what the children of our village wrote:

Caden Age 9
“The roads are much more quieter.” By Caden, Age 9.

Sampson, Age ??
“Do I have allergies or Coronavirus?” By Sampson, Age 11.

Magnus Age 7
“Dino wants to make a friend.” (on missing friendship) By M.R, Age 7.

Magnus Age 7 photo 2
“Carl found a friend named Dino.”  By M.R., Age 7

Griffin Age 6
Two 6-word stories: “We are making a tree house.”  And “Corona virus is stupid and sucks.”  By Griffin, actually age 7, because he forgot he just had a birthday!

Griffin Treehouse Age 6
“Griffin’s Tree House” By Griffin, Age 7.

Ashton Age 9 2
Three 6-word stories: “I rode my bike alot today.”  “I made a bow and arrow.”  I like to play Pokemon cards.” By Ashton, Age 9

Sophie Age 9 2 6 word comics
Two 6-word comic strips: Comic #1: “I’m out of t.p.” “It’s working!”  Comic #2: “I only got one.” “Oh yes!”  By S.R., Age 9.

Sophie Age 9 More than six
Some needed more than six words: “I wish I could play with my friends. I’m sad.” By S.R., Age 9.

Isla, Age 9
“Covid is boring and not fun.”  By Isla, Age 9.

Rowan, Age 11
“Don’t get to see my friends.”  By Rowan, Age 11

Koltyn & Cyanna
By siblings K.S, Age 10 and C.S., Age 12

Dylan 6 words
“Family is every thing you need.”  By Dylan, Age 9.

Rose, Age 10
Rose needed more than six words. “I feel awesome to be able to spend more time with family.” By Rose, Age 10 (and a half)

Avery Age 7jpg
Avery told these seven 6-word stories to his mama and she wrote them down for him. “Seven 6-word Stories” By Avery, Age 7.

AnnaAveryDrawCombo
Artwork by mother & son. “What we’ve been doing during Corona” By Anna & her son Avery, Age 7.

Screen Shot 2020-05-01 at 2.55.51 PM
Eli told these four 6-word stories to his mama and she wrote them down for him. “Four 6-word stories” By Eli, Age 6.

Ema Age 11
“Stay strong and it’ll be okay.”  By Ema, Age 11

Ryo Age 7
“I miss my friends and school.”  By Ryo, Age 7

Kai Age 14

Phoenix Age 7
“I want to go to school.”  By Phoenix, Age 7.

ty age 12
“I’m locked out of the world” By Ty, Age 12.

Kathrine age 9
Home, in Pandemic of 2020: “Since Covid19, home became my life.”  By Kathrine, Age 9.

Lucas Age 9
“Find the good in every situation.”  By Lucas, Age 9

Screen Shot 2020-04-26 at 10.03.51 AM
“Love can cure people from Corona19” (written in Korean and English) By Siyoon, Age 9

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
– Winnie the Pooh

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”
– Woodrow T. Wilson

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.”
– Unknown

Featured photograph: “Ready to fight Corona!” (girl in orange jumpsuit) Isla, Age 9. Photo by Jennifer Morgan.

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Family, Friendships and Love Relationships in Six Words


Family, friendships and love relationships deliver love, heartbreak, happiness, sorrow, conflict and understanding. If I reflect on the past, sometimes I understand the meaning behind my struggles and challenges I face today, knowing those relationships form a part of who I am, but do not define me.

If I embrace the present, I possess the choice to make a positive change or slip back and trigger the anxiety of yesterday by reliving it along with any guilt, shame or anger I experienced during those moments or relationships. Most days I make the brighter choice; the anxiety doesn’t disappear but my perspective shifts and gives me hope. Six words tell my truth.

Opening space within myself for love.

Change initiates from self, not others.

Peace finds way through common ground.

Love Branch
“Olive branch of love” (artist unknown)  Photo by MC.

Reconnecting without judgment of past wrongdoings.

Forgiving self and others for failing.

Light at end of the tunnel.

 

IMG_5960
“Finding light.”  Photo by MC.

Reuniting families brings hope to soul.

Relationships blossom when our hearts connect.

Holding hands together as a unity.

IMG_2451
“United” Photo by MC.

Feature photo: “LOVE. It’s all you need.” 2007, sand artist unknown. Photo by MC.