So you might be wondering if I fell off the edge of the Earth since it has been so long since I last posted. The answer is no but I did feel like I was at the vortex of a tornado as I wrapped up the end of the school year, my son’s baseball season began, daughter’s dance recitals took place and on and on! Things seem to have settled down a bit and I have been able to focus again on my mindfulness journey. What I did realize through the whirlwind is how my growing mindfulness practice allowed me to calm my mind in the craziness and be fully present for the experience. Now, I would not be truthful if I said I did this all the time because I didn’t. There were times when I was so busy thinking two steps ahead that I missed out. However, I am getting better at it with practice. Isn’t that what really works for everything, more practice?!
My practice continues with a new course from mindfulschools.org. I am in week #1 of Educator Essentials where we begin by making sure that we can explain in our own words what mindfulness is and the goals of practicing it. We are to practice our explanation on a few people so why not practice with my readers. Here it goes:
Mindfulness is bringing awareness to your experience. You do this on purpose, focusing on the present moment and doing so non-judgmentally. By making yourself more aware of what is happening right now, in this moment, with no judgment call but rather just acknowledgment, a few good things happen. First, you become more self-aware with thoughts like, “Wow, I didn’t know I really felt that way when this happened”. In realizing and naming the emotion you are better able to regulate it. That moment of focusing on the present moment gave you just enough pause between the stimulus and your response to think and thus control your knee-jerk impulse. By practicing mindfulness you get better at focusing your thinking making you more able to control your attention and become more aware of when your mind begins to wander.
So, what do you think? Does my explanation help you better understand what mindfulness is and how you can benefit by its practice? Might you want to make time in your day, even 5 minutes, to experience it? Do you want this for your students? I sure hope so!! I am currently reading Marching Off the Map by Tim Elmore. I highly recommend it! It is a book about Generation Z and how to inspire them. In the first part of the book Tim gets the reader acquainted with this generation. While they have many talents, they are also dealing with some real tough stuff. He states that according to Dr. Michael Leahy, “Today’s typical high school student endures the same anxiety levels as a psychiatric patient did in the early 1950’s.” Could mindfulness practices help them?
Over the next few weeks I will be learning a lot about mindfulness in the classroom and will also be practicing mindfulness myself. I will share my learning and insights. In the mean time:
This week’s challenge is to take something you do daily and bring mindfulness into it. Focus your attention on the experience in the moment without judgment, just acknowledgment, and see what you notice. I would love for you to post your experience so we can all learn from each other!