7.03.2017

Fully Present, Mindfully Aware, Incredibly Blessed

Right now I'm feeling cheerful and grateful ... 


and incredibly blessed.

But the morning didn't start out like that. Our son came home from his two weeks of service at Camp with an outbreak of poison ivy. We treated it and took him back to Camp for his week of Discovery but this morning we got a call that he didn't sleep at all last night and was on his way to the hospital for a steroid shot. Enter worrisome thoughts like "What if the rash gets to his eye?" and then the berating ones like "What kind of a mom am I?" and I started to head back to Camp to pick up him and make things right, but then Kaitlyn, who's at Camp volunteering called us to say, "We've got this!" They'd gone to the hospital up there for treatment and were waiting for his prescription at the local pharmacy. They'd call us, she added, if they need us. We may have to head that way, but, for now, we're on standby.

 Now. Here. This. 
The perfect time for some mindfulness.
Do a body scan and see where the tension is.
{Um, everywhere!}
Practice some mindful breathing to relax.
Inhale deeply: Smell the flower.
Exhale fully: Blow out the candles.
Use a mantra to center compassionately:
May I enjoy forgiveness, wellbeing, and peace. 
Walk into a happy memory.
Savor the emotions of a wonderful time.
Go back in time and feel the positivity again.
Am I feeling relaxed yet? Restored? Ready for the day?

Such a blessing that I went to that mindfulness learning session two weeks ago at the Wisconsin conference; huge thanks to counselors Mauria Turkowski and Amber Hill for sharing their wisdom.

Mindfulness is paying attention, 
on purpose, 
without judgement, 
in the present moment.
It's a great way to practice self-care and compassion.
It's important to get to know our brains.
Because besides just feeling really good,
mindfulness benefits our brains.
The amygdala, in charge of the fight, flight, or freeze reactions to fear, shows less activity and gray matter density after mindfulness is practiced. The hippocampus, which controls the amygdala and acts like the bank which stores our memories, see increased activity after mindfulness exercises. And the prefrontal cortex, which controls our thinking, our memories, and our emotions because it's the boss of our brain, also sees an increase in activity after mindfulness.    

They gave each educator a Hershey's Kiss
 so we could do this mindful eating exercise.
Go get a Kiss; I'll wait.
Don't eat it yet.
Look at the Kiss with curiosity.
What do you notice?
Weight? Color? Texture? Temperature?
Peel one side and focus on the sound.
Listen. Then smell what's inside.
Move it closer and breathe in deeply.
Inhale through your nose.
Hold it for four counts.
Exhale through your mouth.
Hold that for four counts.
Now open up the rest. 
Place it on your tongue without biting it.
Hold it on your tongue. 
Move it around.
Don't bite it yet!
Pay attention to urges.
Travel flavor down as far as you can.
Can you feel the texture of the warm, melting chocolate?
Savor. Just savor.
Now go ahead and eat it. Slowly.
Open your mouth slightly and breathe in.
Pay attention to the flavor.
Try closing your eyes. Does it taste better?

They said once they learned about the benefits of mindful eating,
they stopped eating fast food in the car. Interesting ...

Then I met Wisconsin educator, Susan Baumgartner, on Twitter and she sent me a copy of this Mindfulness treasure that she wrote. 


I felt so peaceful and pensive as I read through her thoughtful essays, all of which are paired with a picture-perfect photo by Marlene Oswald on a page with a prompt for your reactions and reflections.

Dr. Patricia Jennings reminds us that it's important to be mindfully aware of our own thoughts and feelings so that we can be fully present for our kids. Our emotions, both positive and negative, influence our teaching and are a big part of our classroom environment and our relationships. Mindfulness practices help us recognize the subtle signs of our emotions and model regulation and mastery for our students. 

Check out these rich mindfulness resources:


And now I have this book on order; I'll review it once it's in.

Click image for Kirkus review 

How do you incorporate mindfulness into your home or classroom? 







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