It’s 2020. Are you in as much disbelief as I am? For me, it’s that last little reminder that my 30s are beyond me and my 40s are full speed ahead. Ahh! My heart used to race when I thought about the age of forty and I’d quickly push the thought out of my head. But as I repeat “twenty-twenty” over in my head, two words keep ringing: clear vision. This is the year to welcome clarity. To welcome clear, 20/20 visions of what experience lies in front of you. Not what you think is there or what you wish was there, but what is truly, authentically there...no matter what age we may be.
Often - without intention - our thoughts hijack the present moment. They pass judgment on the situation or make unfair assumptions. Our emotions then begin to overshadow the present and our mind begins to race away from what lies in front of us; the presence. And before we know it, an entire story has been told that is completely different than what the experience was intended to be.
As we move full speed ahead into this new year, this new decade, I welcome you to consider the mantra of “twenty-twenty.” I wonder what could happen to our relationships if we commit to starting with this clear vision communication with our children. For example, when they come to us with a concern, we apply the STOP method as adults (which works wonders for kids!). We...
*Stop what we are doing and turn to our child
*Take a breath - and breath in “twenty” and out “twenty” as our mantra
*Observe what is happening. What emotions are they displaying? Who and what is around them? Does it match the words they are expressing?
*Proceed without assumption or judgment of what they need, but proceed in response to what is authentically there
Mindful communication can be challenging in our busy world. We are often trying to accomplish too much all at once that we miss out on the intended message or lesson that the presence brings. What could have been a 20/20 experience turns into a 40/88...or worse. However, it doesn't have to be this way. We have the power to change the experiential murkiness into precision. Is it easy? Of course not, but think about the ripple effect of such authentic communication and presence…
Wishing you peace, prosperity and presence in 2020 - Happy New Year!
P.S. Want to learn more about Mindful Parenting? A new online course is going to be released this month (January 2020) to support the quest towards living with more presence, equanimity, compassion, emotional regulation and attention.
We are approaching a new school year. This often brings about new goals and dreams - for yourself and your students. What if you considered picking up a consistent mindfulness practice for yourself? Like REALLY doing it, not just here and there when you can? Consider this...
Mindfulness is a practice-just like learning a new instrument, picking up cooking, or trying out a new sport. It doesn't just happen. It takes time. It takes practice. It is always evolving. And you know what, it is not easy to do everyday.
Let's say you just turned 40 (like myself) and you decided to set a goal to run a half marathon (I just may have done this). If I was to sign up to run 13.1 miles on a whim and tried to do it with little or no training, I would be in a lot of pain. And quite frankly, I'd feel like a miserable failure.
This is such a parallel story to many people's first experiences with mindfulness and meditation. "Ugh...I tried it but I can't sit still for 5 minutes - and certainly not 20 like they recommend." I hear this at least three times a week.
Okay, then don't. Don't do it for 20 minutes. Don't do even do it for 5 minutes. Try it for one minute. And then build up your endurance. Just like I can do with the half marathon training. I'm sure you wouldn't recommend running 12 miles on day one. I'm pretty sure I'd hear to start with a mile - and then two - back to one - up to three...and so on.
Just like my heart and quads immersed in running, I need to give them time to build up. But with more practice and training, the stronger they become and the more enjoyable running is. The same goes with our brains. Our brains are plastic - that is, they can reorganize and form new connections with repetition and new learning. If we are more deliberate in what we choose to focus on, we can ultimately have more control over our response to experiences, impacting not only our own and happiness and well-being, but our relationships and the well-being of others. But in order to do this, start small. Start realistic. Start with sitting in peace for just a minute or two and slowly build up. Your brain will start to reap the benefits, as will your entire body. And remember, it's a practice. There will be some easy days and some tough ones. Just keep going.
You've got this,
Wondering how the brain can actually change? Check out this 4 minute video from Professor Richard Davidson from the Center for Healthy Minds.
Summer is freedom.
Summer is exploration.
Summer is playful.
Summer is family.
Summer is connecting.
AND soccer, t-ball, swimming, vacations, birthday parties, picnics...the list goes on. For those of us with summers off from school, we find ourselves inadvertently cramming in as much as possible into our “summer of fun.” This can often become even more stressful than the other ten months of the year. Crazy! With that said, here are a few mindfulness based “de-stressing” tips for you - and for your kiddos…
Enjoy soaking in the sunshine!!
P.S. If you are looking for a summer challenge, consider getting up 15 minutes earlier and engaging in a 15 minute sit for two weeks straight. Reflect on Day one’s stress level and the stress level on Day 14.
the blog space
I'm obsessed. This is fabulous. LOVE that you are doing this. The new way of being a student forces us to think outside the box and approach how we teach more dynamically.
~Derek, Father of 2 and Elementary School Principal
Just a girl with a dream to collectively build a healthy mind space for children, while creating a healthier mind space for ourselves.
Copyright Healthy Mind Space 2019