By: Carolyn Thomas "Be happy in the moment, that's enough. Each moment is all we need, not more." - Mother Teresa
We live in a world that seems to be stuck in fast forward, we are easily distracted by all that is happening and at times forget to disconnect and enjoy the simple things in life... the warmth of the sun on our skin, the smell of rain, a baby's laughter, the sunrise/sunset and the list goes on and on. You can begin your mindfulness journey by taking a break from the auto-pilot mode and being present and fully engaged in your surroundings. Start by closing your eyes taking three deep breathes, paying attention to how your body feels when you inhale and exhale.
What does "mindfulness" mean to me?
To me, mindfulness is being fully present with my current situation(s), good and not so good, being aware of how I choose to respond to circumstances and being cognizant of my breath. My experiences in life lead me on a quest to find ways in which to be truly in touch with my inner being and present during times of adversity and just dealing with life in general and gaining tools to take better care of myself. My practice has taught me to be right here, right now, because that is all I can control. I set the tone for the day by practicing a 3 part morning routine: 1.) Practice gratitude, taking time to say "thank you" for all that feels good and is going well in life. 2.) Meditate, 5-10 minutes, get myself grounded and setting the mood for attracting good energy. 3.) Set intentions, asking, believing and receiving that good things are coming my way.
Our children are constantly being bombarded with this and that. The Montessori environment provides the children with the tools to develop mindfulness skills, for children to become mindful adults, Montessori plants and waters seeds of compassion, peace, caring for oneself, others and the environment as well as nurture the spirit. The materials in the environment invoke mindfulness, the tracing of the metal insets, the pouring of water, the washing of hands, and the caring of the environment call to the child to become one with the materials and environment, to experience and explore using all fives senses.
In the classroom, encouraging independence aids in developing the skills of mindfulness, we introduce and practice mindfulness through games, breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques. A popular activity in the classroom is called the "Nothing" work; the children get a rug, place it on the floor and sit. They can either practice their breath work and/or sit in silence doing absolutely nothing. We promote mindfulness in the classroom by providing the opportunity for children to give lessons to one another, staying focused on how to be good role models. Taking the time as a community to work together in strengthening mindfulness, compassion, caring, and independent skills.
Maria Montessori once said, "The children are now working as though I did not exist." This is mindfulness at it's finest, the children totally present and fully engaged with their environment.
Want to know more about Mindfulness? Come experience and learn some simple techniques and tools on how you and/or your family can start a mindfulness journey at our next Montessori U event entitled Mindfulness. Looking forward to you joining the conversation on Thursday, October, 22 at 6pm.