gratitude

Now: Washing Away the Lines

kindness-one-of-the-greatest-gifts-you-can-bestow-upon-another-if-someone-is-in-need-lend-them-a-helping-hand-do-not-wait-for-a-thank-you

 

To pursue the commitment to be a teacher:  to share knowledge and fill young minds with ideals of love in order to grow our world into a more enlightened place. Encouraging confidence in who they are and not what they have. Inspiring them to appreciate the little things, along with the big. Refocusing them in hopes that they observe their lives as a gift: where each day their world is filled with experiences simply worthy of gratitude.

 A mutual choice. I chose to be a teacher, or did this beautifully creative challenge choose me?

Recently, these young beings have been the teachers. I have learned about how easy it is to override basic appreciate with heightened desires. To constantly want more and “what is” will never be able to satisfy. The frustrations that have accompanied these lessons have been consistently growing. I feel anger where empathy should lie. I dislike that I am unable to accept my own personal reality of what is – I am living in a system where more is the normal and less is unacceptable.

So that is my challenge. Encourage appreciation, community, love of self and equally of others. Oneness- where no matter how many “things” you possess; the value of self does not falter.

These where always my goals, yet I learned that I had my work cut out for me on a recent field trip. The concept of this trip: to build community between two different “types” of schools. The private and the public. Such a thick line drawn in the sand for these diverse environments, yet the students are just that.. students. Their love of soccer, Pokemon, scary stories, arts and crafts, watermelon, and excitement all meshed and corresponded perfectly to that of any second grader found around the world. Then why this rift between the “have” and the “have nots”? Why were some of the students able to appreciate every moment while others needed what they desired right at that moment. Without fail. The give me now attitude.  I found that while sharing was a main objective of this field trip, the demand required from some  was shocking. Patience shown and smiles on one side of the fence while impatience and desire rained on the other.

With this information digested it is now time to create ways in which showing the students that material items do not determine the value of a person, although the world might brainwash us differently. Goodness, truth, and our intrinsic value come from the self. It is found within the individual, and surrounding ourselves with souls from all “walks of life” makes us more predominately aware and relateable to those around us.

The most important lessons in life we learn from the lives of others.  From my teachers I was reminded of the gift of giving. Giving of ourselves to better the lives of others and giving of love to all those we come in contact with.

Love will allow the lines that we draw to be washed away and replaced by communities where we are not judged based on our haves but on our hearts.

Now: Mindfulness in Children

14721564_1801597840129204_3415128670002018220_n60 eyes are closed around the room showing respect for self and others. Deep breaths inhaled and as the exhale is released so is a bit of stress from earlier in the morning. Thoughts of love fill the room, a complete shift. Peace. All agitations from earlier are washed away, opening up my core to receiving that love as well.  The innocent are shifting my energy as I stroll among them.

As a teacher we wear many hats. On any given day they may vary from guardian to  guide, cheerleader to caregiver,   nurse to counselor, and comedian to disciplinarian. On those days that I tend to need just a moment, a chance to feel human- all hats are required on deck.

It is 9:00 am-Students and parents alike fill my hemisphere with questions and callings of “Ms. Carolyn” ring in the air just as my computer screen breaks. 5 minutes and counting before 30 students will grace my presences ready to learn about mindfulness and the practice of meditation, and I am the opposite of zen. My ears are ringing with words that at that moment sound of simple noise, my mind is cluttered with how am I going to get the music to play, and my body is racing out the door to meet the students who patiently wait in the hall. My stressfilled smile invites them in and ask that they sit nicely as I run to find another computer… and take the 30 seconds needed to clear my mind.

An open-heart conversation began our practice. Discussing the past, present, and future- using visuals to show how much we miss in life if we are constantly in the past (at Spanish class) or in the future (at snack). We talked about when we are constantly in the present we always get to the future without missing anything along the way. As we talked my own feelings of frustration and “overwelmedness” began to wither away.

Meditation: the act of calming the mind and connecting to the true Self.

Magic: Thirty 1st and 2nd graders sitting quietly fully connecting to self.

The breath, our vital connection to life. Seeing the rainbow rise from the grown to the top of their head and releasing through the front of their body back into the ground. Imagining their balloon filing with air and very slowly deflating as they release all worry from their bodies.

Our last minutes were spent on “Love”. Feeling, thinking, imagining and filling the room with this healing force. That is when it shifted. My hats were removed. All of them. Accept the one of passion where everything I adore and believe came rushing into the space. Where my best practices and most proud teaching came into play and I felt alive.

A circle: the shape of connectivity-oneness.  Hands stacked on top of each other, words of gratitude feel the air, shared compliments to our friends and self while feeling the community build in the room- our closing to a mindful practice.

A closing to the feeling of frustration that welled up within me throughout the morning. An opening to receiving the love that filled the classroom and came from near and far.

And now we entered the new present, and they are off to snack time…