Mindful Opportunities

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Monday, July 18, 2016

I'm baaaack! Another retreat and creating space.

Well, I hadn't planned on taking a year off from blogging, but life happens!

But, I am back and committed to creating weekly posts to spur meaningful discussions.

Again, I have returned from a week long mindfulness retreat at the beautiful Garrison Institute.  Upon reading my posts from last year's retreat, I must confess that my experiences this year were quite different! Although eating in silence was still a challenge, there was no dramatic walk to try and find civilization - or at least a Coke!  I DID drive this year instead of fly, so I had access to a vehicle.  That might have had an effect on me, knowing that I could escape if so inclined! And, I DID take a drive one evening to explore the nearby towns, and I MAY have brought a snack or two along with me . . .

The bonds that can be formed between 80 virtual strangers with a shared vision within a few short days boggles my mind. We shared laughter, tears, and lots of hugs.  We bared our souls, shared our individual goals, voiced our concerns for the future. We taught each other and learned from each other. Most importantly, we created strong bonds of collaboration and friendship.  And, our students will be the beneficiaries of all of this. It is so exciting to hear about the amazing things happening in schools all across the country, and throughout the world. I am frustrated that the Midwest is so far behind the east, and especially, the west coast, but its coming. The need is there. Our teachers need mindfulness. Our students need mindfulness. We all need mindfulness.

It was especially meaningful that we were all together during this difficult time for our country.  The violent actions that are happening throughout our country weighed heavily on our hearts.  My thoughts were drawn to one of my favorite lessons of the mindfulness curriculum.  I shared the following on Facebook as soon as we came out of our 3 days of silence:

"Whether you buy in to mindfulness or not, if I could leave you with one idea that you could bring into your life it's this: create space. Now, I'm not talking about space between you and the people around you. I'm talking about the space between the things that happen to you (stimulus) and your reaction to it (response). We live in a knee-jerk reactive world, and each reaction is intensified exponentially. You say something to me, I give you attitude. You push me, I shove you. You threaten me, I shoot you.
Just one deep breath. That's all it takes. Just one deep breath to create a space long enough to prevent an argument, start a conversation, show compassion, change a life, save a life. Just one deep breath can mean the difference between "What is the best thing for me to do right now?" and "Oh God . . . What did I just do?"
That's it, folks. It's that simple."

As always, I would love to hear what you think.  A blog is no fun without replies!!

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