What Feeds My Soul/Spirit

As I write this I have the back door open to keep an eye on my boy who is digging in the dirt while the next door neighbors play basketball.  It is a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures in the mid 60s.  If only it would stay this way.

Awhile back I sat in church and in my little journal wrote a list of all the things that feed my soul.  I keep this journal with me almost all the time to jot down everything from a to do list to quotes to words that strike me in some way.

Last week I set aside some time while in my office at work to take my feeds-my-soul-list and find miniatures and place them in my sand tray.  (Incidentally, this sand tray was a gift from a former student who had remembered that many semesters before I had mentioned in a play therapy class how much I was coveting

Eliana Gil

's sandtray in her family play therapy


.  So very grateful for this gift.)  The ironic thing about this activity is I had just come from teaching about socioemotional development in infants.  It was another beautiful day but the air conditioning wasn't working right in the classroom.  I was nauseous.  Perhaps I should have just gone home, but I was determined to do this tray.

What Feeds My Soul/Spirit

All things creative:

music, drama, books, visual art

young children for so very many reasons

being in nature:

the trees, flowers, and water

sitting by a roaring fire,

looking up at the sky,

walking along a bridge,

listening to a water fountain

the beach:

the sun, the sand, the waves

finding shells

making sand castles

the grace, the freedom, the nurturing of birds and butterflies

fresh, local, organic food

sipping tea with a friend while having a heart-to-heart talk

I need to find a little table for those tea cups


be still.


my meditative like figure just seemed too big

so Gumby came to the rescue

The other two items in the tray were a bottlecap that said "play" and a knobby, colorful ball.

What do these things all have in common?

Taking the time to be quiet

to listen

to reflect

to be grateful

to remember what is really important.

To know we are all connected.


Doing the Important Work of Self-Care

on my way to play academic at the library

all photos in this post taken with iPhone

I really must get out the dSLR

An update.

I’m still here.Making important life changes.It’s like going to the dentist.You dread it but afterwards you are so glad you did, and if you put it off you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.So much of these changes truly fall under self-care.Like the commercial… 'cause I’m worth it.

This would also fall under practice what you preach/teach.I’ve been teaching one or two sections of 30+ students in undergraduate Lifespan Development for the last 12 years.For each stage of the lifespan the students learn about what to expect for that age physically, cognitively, and socioemotionally.So here’s where this early middle age person is lately.


Lori Portka's

2012 calendar

the wish for January

Physically—I get up each morning and walk quickly on the treadmill while watching something I’ve recorded on the DVR.

It’s usually the Colbert Report or The Daily Show so I’m also literally LOL.

Trying to eat better.

Less bread, sugar, etc.

More veggies and fruit.

You know the drill.

Smaller portions.

Eating less.

Not stuffing myself.

Have tried to change my work schedule so I can attend yoga and pilates classes at least twice a week.  My wish: to be strong and healty.  And if I lose several pounds, that'll be nice too.

Cognitively—I’ve been educating myself more and more about politics and our political system.

It seems quite depressing at times and I have fantasies of being some kind of activist and changing the world.

I’ve been watching Bill Moyers new show on PBS and recommend Tavis Smiley’s Poverty in America special.  My wish: never stop learning.

above the bar at the local joint

Socioemotionally—Hubby and I are trying to spend more time with one another and with friends.

Kids, responsibilities, and life can get in the way if you let them.

  So this is an example of play for me.  Going to a movie (w

e saw The Artist) or hanging at a local place listening to live music.  Having long conversations with friends.  My wish: meaningful connections.

play related journals via Instagram

Play therapy career—Wrote another Mining Report for APT--I "mine" for play therapist intelligence and summarize it for other play therapists.  Was asked to apply to be on the ballot for the Board of Directors of APT.

Submitted 2 proposals to present at the next APT conference and was included on a third.

I enjoy presenting at conferences.  My wish: isn't it obvious?

Work—planning my play therapy center’s 4th conference, supervising graduate students, teaching, attending committee meetings, seeing clients, and on and on.Not much new here.

Spiritually--I try to follow #spiritchat on Twitter on Sunday mornings.  Virtual connections with people from all over the U.S. and the world.  They make me think and inspire me.  Some will even send me tweets throughout the week.  It's nice to know someone's thinking of you.

Here's hoping you're doing the important work of self-care.  And if you're not, what's stopping you?

Picture the Holidays -- Days 4 and 5

Theme for Day 4 was You Hold the Key.  Most of us already have within ourselves "the keys" to know how to care for ourselves during the holidays and throughout the year for that matter.  I remembered that I recently bought these keys at a parent-teacher store thinking I could use them at some point in a creative way.  On each key I wrote down reminders of things I can do to unlock self-care in my life.

Theme for Day 5, today, is The View from Here.

So here was my view earlier today while sitting at my desk.
A reminder (via zena moon candles).
The label says
There is more to life than increasing its speed.