Emotional Intelligence – Yoga For The Mind


The Importance of Channelling Your Child’s Gifts

Two children are sitting in a corner of the library. The first says, “Do you seriously believe that Shakespeare didn’t plagiarize everyone from Bacon to Marlowe? He should be considered exemplary for his purloining abilities alone.”

“That may be true,” answered the other, “but new research turned up by the British Museum, and interpreted by Professor Bartlett of Oxford, would seem to indicate…”

Individuals who tour Synapse often overhear such remarks and comment “What a pleasure they must be to teach.” And they are a pleasure!

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Windows of Opportunity

Kittens that are, between their third week and their third month of life, kept in a room lined only with horizontal stripes will, as adults, have no trouble romping from table to floor, but they will bump into table and chair legs. They behave throughout their lives as if vertical objects do not exist.

White-crowned sparrow chicks must hear their species’ song between their tenth and fiftieth day of life. It is only during this critical period of time that they can tape and store the parental songs in their brain — and so be able to reproduce the song later in life.

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Half A Brain

I have always been fascinated with the brain. The rest of the human body is ruled by the brain — it commands every sensation, every movement, every thought, every memory, and every dream. Sir Charles Sherrington wrote that within this “enchanted loom millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern, always a meaningful pattern, though never an abiding one.”

My interest in this instrument was intensified during my son Caleb’s seventh grade year, when he and another boy decided to do their science project on a comparative study of the brains of various animals vs. the human brain. So they (really, we) began. They went to many butcher shops and collected the brains of rats, sheep, dogs, cats, pigs, and cows.

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The Isle of Play

“We do not stop playing because we are old, we grow old because we stop playing.”

Simple, mom, it’s ‘work’ when you tell me to do it, it’s ‘play’ when I want to do it.” Or maybe not so simple? I think of all the times I’ve seen children hard at work, but treating it like play; the same is true for me, and for most adults.

Plato said, “Life must be lived as play.” In ancient Greek, the word for education is “paidiae” and the word for play is “paidia.” Perhaps they saw that at play the mind is at its most energized its most active.

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We Are What We Teach, We Teach What We Are

Thirty-two sixth graders, five rows of seven desks each, paper and boxes flying, noise abounding, a look of panic in the teacher’s eyes. The climax of The Three Stooges Go To Grade School? No. My own classroom on the first day of my teaching career, 33 years ago.

After that first day, I did not plan to remain a teacher for long — only until I could find another job. Sitting in the teacher’s lounge after classes ended, my confidence in myself was at its lowest.

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My Ten Favorite Books

When someone asks me what my favorite book is I usually answer, “The one I am reading right now.” I am clearly a bibliophile. I have been since my first grade teacher, Miss Rice, with her marcelled hair pulled back into a bun and those golden-wire spectacles, took us to a place called the library. I stood in the children’s section and said to myself, “I’m going to read every book in here.” That never happened, but I had fun trying.

I recently got challenged on Facebook to list my favorite ten books of all time. I thought you might like to know what I came up with.

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My Tribute to Robin Williams

I was lucky enough to know Robin Williams and be exposed to his comedic brilliance—that unbelievable ability to free association on an any subject or topic introduced into the conversation—even weird or rare ones.

Here is how I met him. 

The receptionist of the school where I was the Executive Director came in one and said to me, “Anabel, there is a Marsha Williams on the phone.  She is interested in placement for her son; however, she wants to speak directly to the director.  I do not know why.”

“Okay,” I replied and I picked up my blinking line. I am usually open for an adventure.  “Hi, this is Anabel.”  The disembodied voice on the line began.

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What is Self-Science?

I heard the term “self-science” for the first time approximately 34 years ago.  I had no idea that this new term would have such a profound effect upon my life.

The year was 1979 and some of the following things were happening:

  • the UK elected their first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher;
  • Sony released the Walkman at $200 a unit;
  • the Three Mile Island nuclear accident occurred after a reactor fire;
  • the Sahara Desert experienced snow for 30 minutes; and
  • China instituted a one child per family policy to help control their exploding population.
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What My Son Caleb Taught Me About Courage

emotional intelligence, anabel jensen, caleb jensen, adversity

It was two days after Christmas 1998, and my son, Caleb, and I were sitting in front of a roaring fire with cups of hot chocolate and we were reminiscing about previous Christmas days – those memories that made us laugh or cry. And I said to Caleb, “And what during all these years (Caleb was then 23) was your favorite gift from me?” My brain was actively wondering whether it was his first bike at eight, or those Nike shoes (they probably cost more than the bike) at ten or the Star Wars Space Station when he was six.

When I shared this thought, Caleb looked at me, raised one blond eyebrow and said, “Mom, you have got to be kidding!” I was really stumped. I couldn’t imagine what he was going to identify.

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Why You Should Pay Children To Develop Their Emotional Intelligence

Have you ever tried to tell a child to ‘Be nice, darling?’ It doesn’t work does it?

From the dawn of time, parents and teachers have been trying to corral kids into showing concern for their fellows. If I could gather all the energy that has been spent on this over the millennia, I could have traveled the universe and swooped back to earth several times without any problem at all.


But it doesn’t work because children are essentially ego-centric. They believe they are the be-all and end-all of the universe. And it is our job as their guides to becoming a grown-up to disabuse them of that notion.

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