have you tried pipe cleaners?

Jan 26, 2021

“You look like you’re on a mission”.

Out of breath and not really in the mood to chat, I reluctantly slowed down, stopping about 10 feet away from the person who called out to me. I replied that I was walking at a good pace to burn off some nervous energy on a brisk January day after spending the morning unsuccessfully trying to avoid the weight of world news that left me with a buzzing mind and a clenched body.

“Have you tried pipe cleaners?”

I had to admit that I hadn’t.

“Pipe cleaners?” I asked.

Apparently pipe cleaners can be used like soft fidget gadgets that are comforting to manipulate when feeling anxious, according to this kind stranger.

Char, as I came to know her, told me that she is autistic person and is always looking for new ways of self-soothing to help her stay calm during stressful times. Pipe cleaners remind her of the satiny soft edges of a baby’s blanket and that comforts her.

I told her that I had never thought about using something soft and that I have a few stones and gemstones to hold when I work at my desk.

After she offered a few other suggestions, I thanked Char for her generosity in sharing her calming ideas with me and continued on my way thinking that there are teachers everywhere!  And that I would have missed this unique moment in time if I had power-walked right passed it.

What are your favourite fidget objects for managing stress? What other soothing manoeuvres have you that found that comfort you through when you’re feeling anxious?

If you need a few other ideas, check out my YouTube series called Soothing Manoeuvres: Calming Practices for Chaotic Times”.

What would it look like to keep your heart open for the teachers who show up unexpectedly in your life?



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