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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Mindfulness

Posted by on in General

I had an extraordinary day yesterday. Did you? And I can hardly wait to tell you what happened. You be the judge. 

Here in America, the Labor Day holiday weekend is an end of summer opportunity to reflect and make observations about past and future. Lessons always surround us when we watch, listen and learn. That proved to be so true for me yesterday. Here's how it happened.

We go through phases and stages in life where it seems like stuff is just rolling downhill faster than we can keep up. So I needed a break. A pause to savor life's beauties, feel the joys of each moment and relish my 'happy'. I spent most of the summer getting healthy, and figuring out the next phase in my life post cancer. I also had some heartache and disappointments, don't we all?

A time of mindfulness, dance, watching sunsets and listening to rapids. A summer of promises made- some met, some not, some hurt, some joy. Best ever, notably the day I learned I am finally cancer free, with unmet life yet to be fulfilled. Still here, giving new promise to my legacy. Let's start with a lesson in love.

My kids created an end of summer family weekend activity. It was tough to plan for camping with unexpected road closures, questionable day to day air quality from the wildfires and restricted burning, which meant no marshmallow campfires. (Overcome by a last minute switch to propane).

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Posted by on in Education Policy

Repentance: A radical change in mindset and heart, a promise to do better, surrender, a confession filled with remorse

In every school or education organization there must be people you can trust. In spite of bureaucracy, complacency, high-stakes political frenzy, we must guarantee a safe space, a place where anyone can find the rhythm and pulse of our collective humanity. Maybe it takes the form of a kind eye, a warm embrace, a second glance or a genuine asking. Or maybe it’s a kind individual who quietly finds clever ways to make things fair, who listens to truth, who reminds us of the right-minded pathway.

When a tragic incident occurs such as the Ash Wednesday school shooting in Broward County, Florida I think about all the inside people who were perhaps too busy, preoccupied or turned the other way. How could a teenage child be so lost and unfound, so unseen? How could there be such a wide open, emptiness of space for such violence to occur when schools are so micromanaged, organized and contained? What are we looking at in our schools if so many children are lost, lonely and afraid, left to slip away in the fury of desperation, hate and insurmountable shame?

There is something to be said about the loss of humanity inside our schools and education organizations. There is something to be said about our stubborn blindness. This is yet another cry out for change, a desperate plea for us to reconcile with ourselves, our true purpose in education and our moral obligation to design schools that are responsive and sensitive to the inner lives of children and adults.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

Authentic teaching is magical balance. A good teacher knows how to reveal the essence of our existence so that we are moved to compassion, so that we respond with kindness and humanity even in the face of adversity, so that we are aware of the beautiful now, while our eyes are wide open to the potential of tomorrow.

How do we find this magical balance and inspire students in an age of uncertainty? This has been an intense year for all of us. I wonder a lot about the long-term impact of world events on our individual and collective well-being. How will social, political and environmental upheaval influence how we approach teaching for the future?

My work with teachers this week gave me joy but also concern. I was reminded how vulnerable teachers are in our collective struggle, loss and disappointment. I admire how teachers continue to find humor in any situation and courageously inject honesty at unexpected moments.

I met a kind teacher who does outstanding work. Sadly, she faces an overcrowded class of special education students every day without any support in the classroom. This is not unusual. Still, I get impatient. I want to embolden teachers like her to advocate for themselves, to challenge the conditions of their schools and classrooms, to believe in the possibility of a balanced, healthy life and professional working conditions.

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Posted by on in Teens and Tweens

students walking4

Walking is a tonic for body, mind, and soul.  (Rubinstein, 2015, p. 251)

Walking With High School Students

The Walking Curriculum offers learning activities designed to simultaneously develop your students’ sense of place and to enrich their understanding of cross-curricular topics and core competencies. Walking curriculum activities reflect the principles and practices of Imaginative Ecological Education as they connect engagement of the body, imagination and the local natural and cultural context through outdoor learning activities. The following walking-based activities have been specifically designed for secondary school-aged students.  Topics include connections between walking and mental health, mindfulness, and awareness.

2 Walks For High School Students: Practicing Mindfulness & Awareness  

#1 Mental Health Walk(s)

Walking has been called the “magic pill” for wellness as it can positively impact so many aspects of our physical and mental health. This walking theme will focus on the practice of walking to reduce stress and anxiety. Begin by asking students: Why walk? What are the benefits? Have a general discussion about the positive aspects of regular walking. Students may already know that walking builds muscle strength and bone density, lowers blood pressure and risk of heart disease, burns calories helping in weight management, and eases back and other muscular pain. Walking has also been shown to slow physical signs of aging (e.g. by keeping the body subtle and the heart healthier) and also supports brain health (cognition, memory) into old age. Walking is also an effective means to lower stress and anxiety. Discuss some of these commonly known benefits of walking with your students but then challenge them (as a follow-up) to independently research one more benefit of walking that is less well-known (e.g. recent studies associate walking with retinal health--I did say it was a magic pill). 

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

Stressed student

Stress Impairs. Stress Damages. Stress Kills.

Stress stinks really bad.

Fear, anxiety, shame, powerlessness, hopelessness. These are all feelings that can lead to stress.

But are they real? 

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