Archive for April 2020

Conflict resolution for superheroes

April 28, 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to resolve personal conflicts recently.

The COVID-19 crisis is testing us in many ways – emotionally, physically, and financially. We are more isolated from others and yet closer to the people we live and work with.

Inevitably, personal conflicts will arise and relationships may be strained.

It’s a good time to remind ourselves that we can resolve conflicts peacefully.

When my son was in the third grade, he was a big fan of superhero movies, especially “Iron Man.” I found a free poster for kids about Superhero Conflict Resolution: I Messages.

The poster focuses on “I Messages” and gave us four easy tips to resolve conflict:

  1. Say the person’s name.
  2. Tell how you feel.
  3. Tell why.
  4. Tell what you want.

Here’s is my then 8-year old son’s idea for resolving conflict between Iron Man and Killian from “Iron Man 3:

Iron Man says, “Killian, I feel angry when you burn people up. Please stop burning people. Thank you.” Killian responds, “Iron Man, I’m sorry. I will roast marshmallows for people.”

We may disagree and we may argue, but Hawaii will get through this together.

Have you used “I Messages” to resolve disagreements? What are your tips for resolving conflicts?

Coping with stress during a pandemic

April 21, 2020

In these challenging times, it’s especially important to find ways to cope with anxiety and stress that work for us. We need to identify the practices resonate with us, and make them part of our daily or weekly routines.


So I was enthusiastic about participating in a “talk story” about “Coping with Stress During a Pandemic” with Anisa Wiseman, Program Director at NAMI Hawaii, in partnership with Samaritan Counseling Center Hawaii. It was very much a participatory webinar – Wiseman encouraged us to have paper and pen in hand, and gave us time to reflect and write down our thoughts.


Wiseman’s presentation focused on emotional intelligence – being aware of and able to manage our emotions and the emotions of others – and building our “tool kit” of self-care practices. She began by reminding us that we need to make ourselves vulnerable and dig deep to find the truth, and asked us to make sure that this “talk story” is a safe place for everyone.


Imagine that everyone has a stress bucket filled with worries, fears, and hardships. If your bucket starts to overflow, you risk getting sick, injured, and depressed.


Here are just three of the journaling exercises she shared that can help us take charge of our mental health:


Journal #1: Set intentions. By making a statement of your intentions, you are giving yourself a purpose. By putting it in writing and visualizing it, you will start looking for ways to make it a success. For example, you might set an intention for a long-term goal, the steps to get there, possible obstacles, and why you want to achieve this goal. Or you might set an intention for this time at home, what you want to learn or learn about yourself, what resources you have at home, and who you can ask to support you.


Journal #2: Write a love letter to yourself. Thinking about a day when you felt your worst – what would you have needed to hear? Tell yourself you’re beautiful, remind yourself of who you are and what your values are. Give yourself permission to feel, process, and grow. Be there for your future self by using the lessons of your past.


Journal #3: Create a gratitude inventory. In moments of crisis, we often can’t remember the things we are grateful for. Make a list of the people and things you are grateful for, including basic needs like food and shelter, and specific things like a hug from a family member or a dog’s exuberant greeting.


I learned a little about the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Tapping technique, that involves identifying and naming your emotion and then tapping on acupressure points. This gets you out of your head and into your body.


At the end of the webinar, Wiseman shared ideas to put together our personal coping “tool box,” things that evoke all the senses. We might include things that give us a quick boost such as a gift card to a favorite restaurant, a favorite food, a photo, or letter; things that make us feel good like essential oils or a scented candle; and things that ground us, such as a leaf or shell.


How are you coping with stress right now? What works for you, and what will you keep doing when the crisis is over?

Painting a tropical island

April 14, 2020

“I find inspiration in all around me.” – Joni Young

Last year, my husband, 12-year old son, and I followed along with a Bob Ross episode and created our own versions of “Reflections of Calm.” Bob Ross made it look so easy (it wasn’t), but we didn’t give up, and we created three works of art that we are proud of.

In these challenging times, when we’re living with each other 24/7, I wanted give us another chance to express ourselves through art.

Once they agreed, we browsed through YouTube to find an acrylic painting for beginners, something that would remind us of Hawaii’s beauty – a beach, an island, a gorgeous sunset.

We decided on a tropical island painted by artist Joni Young.

I was ready with everything we needed: 11”x14” canvas panels, acrylic paints, and art brushes. I reminded them that we didn’t need to follow the colors and images… we could make it our own.

Here are versions of the tropical beach created by my son B and myself. You’ll notice that B didn’t even put in an island and added only one tree, and I created a white sand beach with a park bench.

Our second attempt at a painting party went much smoother than our first. We knew that the artist would paint much more quickly than we could paint, we were comfortable changing colors and elements, and we all finished and signed our paintings.

Best of all, we spent a creative, enjoyable afternoon that we’ll remember for years.

How can you add more art into your daily life? Where do you find inspiration?


Artwork and tutorials are the property of Joni Young Art and are intended for personal enjoyment and learning of a student. Watch “How to Paint a Tropical Island” on YouTube at or find out more about Joni Young at

You are essential

April 7, 2020

In these challenging times, I am grateful to all of you who provide essential services, goods, and operations. You keep us safe and healthy.

And I am thankful to all of you who are staying at home. Though you may not be able to work right now, I believe that

We may be stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed, but please know this:

You are essential.

You brighten our days and lighten our hearts.

You protect us, heal us, and ease our paths.

You keep us in business and on track.

You make us look good and feel good.

You keep us entertained and informed.

You help us become our best selves.

You are essential.


Take good care of yourself and each other.