Awesome! A word we use so casually that it seems to have lost its original meaning and power. Remember what ‘awe’ means? A feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder. Sometimes we’re so caught up with our lives that we forget to feel awe – to stop and marvel at life. Today, I’m inviting you to take an awe walk.
A heightened state of awareness comes when we look, and then look again, and then relax into whatever situation we are in. When we have a capacity for fascination with simple things, we are able to sit peacefully for hours on a park bench, or in an airport, engrossed by the different gaits and gestures of people as they walk, talk, and stand. We develop the ability to be patient as we stand in line at the grocery store because we have the ability to look with fascination and wonder at all that surrounds us. -Charlotte Davis Kasl
Take An Awe Walk – find out more here: http://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/awe_walk#data-tab-how
Could your life be more awesome? Find out by taking the Awe Quiz on Berkley’s Greater Good in Action website.
Here are some samples of my awe pictures:
If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away. Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life and Everyday Gyaan give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up between Friday and Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.
Feel free to add our Friday Reflections badge to your post or sidebar! Follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group. Share your post on social media with the hashtag #FridayReflections.
Don’t forget to come back on Monday and vote for your favorite post!
Prompts for 5 May 2017
1. Thing you most wish you were great at
2. Imagine you had to parent yourself as a child. What would it be like? Get as creative as you can!
3. Cheating partners – forgive or flick away?
4. “You must go on adventures to find out where you truly belong.” – Sue Fitzmaurice. Use this quote in your post or as an inspiration for one
5. Picture Prompt (credit: Living my Imperfect Life)
It’s my pleasure today to welcome a blogger friend, Menaka Bharathi to Everyday Gyaan and have her share Steps to Introduce A Mindfulness Practice To Children. Thank you, Menaka.
Is there a need to introduce mindfulness practice to children? This is one question parents ask me whenever there is a counselling session on mindfulness.
Times have changed, children have advanced, parenting has totally transformed!
This, though might look like a casual comment, is not exactly so. The media, changing food habits, social and cultural shifts and busy parents, eventually have brought about serious changes in children and their behavior.
Where children were once called naughty and playful, are now being called as hyperactive and/or suffering from ADHD.
Parenting has become demanding and challenging!
Introducing Mindfulness Practice in Children
In theory one could easily say – Embracing Mindfulness and practicing mindfulness can calm a busy mind. However when it comes to children, it is easier said than done!
You would find it difficult to make the calmest of the child to sit still for 10 minutes at a row. Children have thousands of memory cycles running through their minds every minute. Making them sit quietly for a while, does take quite a lot of effort and patience.
For parents my mantra is – “perseverance”!
Children can be made to sit still and parenting can become fun – but this takes systematic practice, endurance and consistency.
Advantages of practicing mindfulness for children
Katherine Weare, Emeritus Professor, Universities of Exeter and Southampton in her research on kids and adolescents, has confirmed that practicing mindfulness brings about changes in the meta cognitive forms of awareness.
Children practicing mindfulness have been seen to have a commendable overall behavioral change. Some advantages of practicing mindfulness for children include
- Improved awareness
- Non-judgmental perception
- Better understanding of situations
- Quicker decision making ability
- Stillness of mind and heart and so on
The advantages are so impressive that you would want to jump into the mindfulness wagon immediately. Well, again – IT IS NOT EASY.
They say “If you cannot explain a thing to a 6 year old you actually do not know about it” Mindfulness can be interchanged as ‘the thing’ here, in this context. You need an unfathomable understanding of mindfulness practice so that you would be able to answer the why, what, when and how of the practice.
I always recommend parents to follow simple steps that can be easily monitored. I conduct weekend classes in schools and have found that early mornings work best for young children.
You can begin mindfulness classes to child from 5 years onwards. However, do not impose; make the sit with you when you practice.
The steps given here are a combination of steps followed worldwide, which have been carefully siphoned down as an adoptable one to every age group, especially the younger children.
First things first
Before introducing mindfulness practice to your children I would advise parents to follow the steps, gain enough experience and then begin asking your children to follow. This is advantageous in more ways than one.
- You personally get the basic know-how of practicing mindfulness
- You induce the basic vibrations in your home for your child to practice.
- You can guide by showing your indulgence in the art.
7 Steps to Introduce Mindfulness Practice To Children
Here explained are seven steps to practicing mindfulness. Take them one by one, slowly. These instructions are for the parents (and children who can follow them) so that they can try themselves for a week or two and then teach their children.
#1 Choose a time
It is a common belief that when you practice something at a fixed time continuously for 45 days, you would practice it throughout your life.
Such a practice can be set in your body clock only when you practice it at a prefixed time. It is always better to practice mindfulness in the mornings; this is mainly because your mind is fresh and ready to do anything you want your mind to.
Set the alarm clock at least half an hour before you begin, you don’t want to rush yourself or start clumsily.
Complete your morning chores and then set yourself in the right place for the practice.
#2 Select a Place – Getting into your Mindful Self
I always suggest parents to make this simple, in fact I would favor sitting on your bed or on the carpet below. This makes the practice easier than to go to another room and then start.
You are here starting some positive vibes, so with your loved ones around, you may as well share some with them.
For those of you, who would want a separate room, well, that is not a bad idea though.
#3 The Bell Technique – Hear Bell Go Still
For children, I have found the bell technique to set the pace of mindfulness very helpful. It gives them an instant push to enter into mindfulness. You can use a physical bell or a bell sound on your phone.
- Sit comfortably, there is no need to restrict yourselves to any postures that is uncomfortable, however combining certain yoga poses such as Padmasan or the lotus pose would enhance concentration in children. Ask your child to sit in Padmasan only if he/she is comfortable otherwise sitting on the chair with the spine straight is fine too – comfort is the important point here.
- Close your eyes, this is just to make sure the wandering in your mind can be reduced by closing your eyes. Of course there will be a lot of thoughts rushing in, watch the thoughts, do not try to push those thoughts away. Be watchful of the thoughts that arise, it might be the day’s work, previous days occurring or anything that you have watched in television.
- For the initial days do not try to do anything with your thoughts, let it wander. After two to three days use the bell a few minutes after you close your eyes, all that is now needed is to breathe slowly.
The body needs to get ready for the next step – give three minutes for the breathing to get into a rhythm.
#4 The Nose –Heart – Nose Technique
Deep breathing is the basic mantra in mindfulness!
Reduce the speed of your breath and start following your breathe. It needs to go from your nostril into your lungs, take a few seconds for the gaseous exchange to happen there. You must mentally be feeling the air going through your nostrils.
Listen to your heart beat – you need to count five heart-beats – 1,2,3,4 and 5.
Now the air returns through your nostril.
This complete cycle of Nose – Heart – Nose is the only cycle you should be concentrating on. Every time you inhale, make it slower, longer and deeper.
Children find this technique easy to follow. In fact they can set into a rhythm faster with the Nose- Heart- Nose technique.
Practice this for 5 minutes (lesser for beginners – if required)
#5 Visualization – Seeing through the Minds’ Eye
Now begin instructing your mind (loudly for children) to visualize a beautiful flower or a lamp, a flame – a point that you can divert all your concentration to.
You can guide your child to visualize the flower, I want you to describe slowly in a calm voice the flower that he is seeing, a beautiful one, vibrant color (choose a color of your child’s choice) and its fragrance.
Give a detailed description of the fragrance. This is important to make your child concentrate deeper, the smell involves a meditative state and you will find best results when your child can really enter that phase.
Describe the flower for at least 10 days, stick to a single pattern every day, Do Not Change.
Practice this for three minutes.
#6 Bring Out The Smile
At the point when you (your child) are getting the fragrance, smile (ask him to smile).
You must feel the smell surrounding you – going around your, brushing past your body, your face. Smile slowly enjoying the fragrance. Feel positive energy in form of fragrance entering your body through every single breath you inhale. Feel the slight heat you are emanating just till a few inches around your body.
You have become positive, a very positive energy is encircling you, engulfing you – guiding you to start your day.
Smile – and feel the pleasure.
You should be in this state till you hear the bell. Ideally 2 to three minutes – the mind will start wandering for the first few times, with practice you can increase the time.
#7 Ring the Bell
The total process would be about 15 minutes. You can set a small vibrating alarm for the timings of different steps so that you can give instructions at the right moments.
After 2 minutes of feeling your aura around you and smiling – the bell needs to be rung.
Make it one simple –TING sound. Do not speak as soon as you ring the bell.
Wait for a few seconds, then – begin uncurling with rubbing your palms together and transferring the heat to your eyes. This gives the eyes the required light and heat difference to adapt to the light in the room.
That’s it – we have completed the practice – simple 7 steps to Introduce Mindfulness Practice To Children! Simple Right!
In my workshops I have found that children practicing mindfulness begin becoming responsible and better individuals within a week’s time. They start planning their day and also concentrate more on studies.
Parents have found it easy to connect with their children and guide them better, it takes only 15 minutes every day.
This is very easy, you just need practice and sooner you would find your child becoming a new individual you never actually imagined he could be!
If you have difficulties in guiding your child you could join my audio classes that I conduct online. I have a seven module class where I give you one module each week to practice. It can be used to set your child into mindfulness.
Menaka Bharathi a.k.a Simple Indian Mom is basically an Agricultural Microbiologist. She is an Organic Lifestyle Enthusiast and Organic Food Producer who markets it under her own brand –SIM Organics. Mother of two energetic boys she blogs at simpleindianmom and is a Parenting Consultant and conducts online and offline workshops on teaching mindfulness to children and mind-mapping for a better future for children.
Connect with Menaka on Facebook – Simple Indian Mom and Twitter – MenakaBharathi
Image of child learning about Mindfulness via Shutterstock
If we were having coffee, I’d wish you and yours a very happy and creative New Year. I’ll ask you how your year went and talk to you about the many things I didn’t achieve or complete in 2016 and Some are personal, some blog related. Incomplete projects on this blog, almost abandoning the Write Tribe site in the last few months, missing my book reading target for the year, giving up my regular gratitude posts….just some of the ‘failures’ of 2016. My word of the year for 2017 is ‘happy’ and happiness means starting over too.
Happiness Means Starting Over
Just yesterday, I came across a new blog – Christine Everyday – and loved her words about the New Year: “Don’t expect your life to change just because the year does. You have to make change for yourself.”
Yesterday, as I sat down to write my ‘vision for 2017’ and create my bullet journal (yes, I’m trying out a bujo this year), I realized that unlike past years, my feelings were of anticipation and not of regrets. Practicing gratitude and mindfulness have certainly helped me to go easy on myself and not beat myself up about things I didn’t achieve in the past year.
“Mindfulness, or the ability to be present with our experiences without the intrusion of so many old habits, cultivates our inner resources. And when we develop those resources we become not so defined by the things that are going on around us, and we’re more able to let go gracefully, we have a sense of grounded-ness, and I think that makes us very happy.” — Sharon Salzberg
I have many ideas for 2017, but I want to start over some unfinished projects on this blog.
1. My Happiness Project that I started in 2014 and shared here but abandoned
2. The Artist Way series that I started last year and didn’t complete
3. My #everydaygratitude posts.
I also want to create a lot more resourceful content here. I tried a few such posts last month and was happy with the response. In case you missed them, here they are:
1. 7 Ways to Find Joy at Work
2. 7 Simple Ways to Design Your Day
3. 7 Steps for Perfecting Your SEO Campaign
4. 7 Simple Everyday Habits For a Healthier Life
It does seem like I’m hung up on the #7 but believe me, it’s just a coincidence. 🙂
Be warned. You can expect a lot more posts from me this year.
Is there anything you would be starting over in 2017?
Motivational quote image via Shutterstock
In a world where multitasking is king (or queen), slowing down to get creative does seem a bit odd.
We read enough about how to organize ourselves, how to make sure we carry out all we set out to do, how to keep up and stay ahead. But what if our frenetic activity, our attempts to be on top of things, our desperate need to be seen and heard on social media to showcase our creativity is the very thing that keeps us from being creative?
There’s much to be said for mindfulness and slowing down to be creative. I’ve experienced this in my life. But it’s easy to forget and once again get caught up in the rat race.
Perhaps our need for speed comes from a fear of missing out. Ironic then, that it is exactly what causes us to miss out.
Creativity requires focus, attention, and slowing down. Here are some things we can do to slow down.
Setting aside some time every day to turn off devices and notifications is a good way to start. Try making time for a break during the day – during which you sit down and dream, go for a walk, read a book, or trying your hand at doodling. Actually, a one day a week of being ‘disconnected’ is the best.
Living in the present and not worrying about the future or regretting the past can do a lot for creativity. Learning to eat mindfully and being present to others or taking in the surroundings on a walk are all important too.
Learning to say “no” more often to things that don’t really matter, helps in slowing down. We don’t have to accept every commitment and invitation. All of us need space in our schedules to create.
Start Doing Less
Life is not a competition or a marathon. We must start being easier on ourselves. Stop comparing. Stop beating yourself up. Ditch those ‘to-do’ lists and instead make ‘These are the only things I’m going to do today’….
Learn to single-task. Take one job at a time and focus on it until completion. It takes a little time to learn, but I promise the rewards are great – you can actually be more efficient and your mind will be less harried.
If you’re having difficulty coming up with new ideas, then slow down. For me, slowing down has been a tremendous source of creativity. It has allowed me to open up–to know that there’s life under the earth and that I have to let it come through me in a new way. Creativity exists in the present moment. You can’t find it anywhere else. – Natalie Goldberg
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Image of lunch at office via Shutterstock