Finding a domain name was a bit of a challenge…. I wanted a .com and so there were not a whole lot of choices for a reasonable price. Much to my surprise I found mindfullyconnect.com and bought the domain name right away. I wasn’t even sure if I made the right choice for my blog… but as life goes, today I found meaning behind my domain name choice. Validation that this really was the domain name that would and will inspire my writing about mindfulness and also grow with me on this journey…
My philosophy has always been that we have certain life lessons to pursue and when we are on the right trajectory we get, what I call “God Winks” along the way. You guys know what I am talking about, it’s like doors open exactly where they are supposed to be when you are moving along the right path at the right time… My mindfulness journey has been filled with this kind of light for my path and confirmations and today it happened again…..
The lesson I was teaching today to my class was about connections and heartfulness.
Please note: I am a graduate of the mindfulschools.org, mindfulness educators course and in that (life changing) class they provide us with an amazing curriculum for integrating mindfulness lessons into our classrooms.
I had not looked ahead to see the lesson I was to teach this week…
This morning I opened up my binder for what I call, “Wellness Wednesday” and begin to wing the mindfulness lesson. I know, I know, I hear what you are saying right now….I should of looked ahead but it is the first week back from winter break and, well, I almost forgot it was “Wellness Wednesday”.
So, I open up my binder and the title is Connections. I felt a wave of joy wash over me and my eyes watered.
Then we talked about our thoughts and how they connect us.
They connect us to ourselves, to others, and to the world.
We talked about how, when we are upset at another person we start to chase down angry, sad, or disappointed thoughts.
We talked about how those negative thoughts make us feel tense, anxious, agitated, and generally unhappy. We talked about the toxicity of negative emotions and how our brains are hard wired to troubleshoot….but with mindfulness we can train our brain to look for positive thoughts.
Then, with most of their eyes shut and with mindful bodies the students practiced sending loving, kind, joyous, peaceful thoughts to a person that they were not totally happy with at the time.
The 6th grade students sat in silence. In beautiful stillness.
Those not participating were asked to take this time to just be….
To be still.
I reminded the students of the power of that brain break to be still. I reminded them that we are constantly on the go…on our phones, our worries, our responsibilities, our tasks…a never ending stream of stimuli….
To practice sending heartfulness connects us.
If we send hurtfulness we only hurt ourselves… and they all agreed.
Then I asked the students to notice how they felt. What thoughts were they having surrounding this person. When they thought of the person initially…and through the exercise how that feeling and those thoughts may have changed.
How did we feel when we picked the person to send heartfulness to? The person we were unhappy with or disappointed with?
I told the students that if they felt discomfort with sending that person heartfulness and positivity then they chose very well.
I reminded them that with their mindfulness practice , any where that we are noticing resistance, is where we need to work the hardest.
Negativity is something we all know does not feel good. It seems our mind want so badly to protect us. Without mindfulness we aoutomatically react when we feel threatened. Fight, flight, or what my adorable student O said today… we make a posture. Our amygdala works hard to protect us and works quickly.
Our brain needs to be trained to shift our thinking to the positive. And research proves that we can make big changes with mindfulness practice.
I teach ancient history so I have the rare opportunity to constantly refer back to our history lessons with the students. The hunter gatherers, we discuss, were not happy if one of the men in the tribe sat down and would not go out to hunt kill the mammoth I told the students. Surely, they would be agitated, annoyed, or angry if one hunter did not contribute as much to the community. There is somewhere a biological reason for everything our brain does. I alway remind the students that I am a 6th grade teacher not a neurologist and I playfully encourage them to go out and become scientists so that they can come back and teach me the research of why and how are brain so badly wants to attach to negativity.
Empowering the students with mindfulness tools gives me an immense sense of joy. The connection I have to my students after a lesson is hard to explain.
We Mindfully Connect….and yes I just got the chills.
It’s this mindfulness connection that fuels my passion for the study of mindfulness in education.
It’s the way after 20 years of teaching there is a subtle and noticeable shift in how I relate to and teach my students.
I have always had a passion for teaching and facilitating success and growth for my students…and for me mindfulness is the essential tool to have in my teacher tool box.
It is the foundational tool for connecting to students, to myself, to others…to humanity.
It is a tool that I wish I had as a child, which is another great motivator for sharing mindfulness with my own children and with my students.
The smiles surround the room. The energy is peaceful…. still 6th grade silliness but sprinkled with a peace that is noticeable.