Mindfulness is magic!
Recently, I listened to a podcast featuring Morgan Freeman, speaking about the meaning of life. He makes an attempt at providing an understanding of why we really start to live in the “now” when we are dying.
Somebody is diagnosed with cancer or has been given months to live due to a terminal illness, and all of a sudden life becomes about making the most of that time, to live with purpose, dignity and support, to connect with long lost friends, spend time with family and to make the most of each moment, rather than getting to caught up in regrets of the past or fears of the future.
This is when bucket lists, dreams, one last wishes etc. come into play. The commentary is great, but listening to this made me wonder why the majority of people wait until they are dying to learn how to make “now” the focus of their life. When “now” is all we have. There is never a time in our lives that isn’t “now”, this very moment. The present moment is, in fact, life itself.
As Dr Leo Buscaglia, expert in special needs, once said “Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here right NOW. Don’t miss it”.
How can you make the most of “now”? Well it’s all about learning how to be mindful. As a teacher you have the most powerful role in the universe. By being mindful you can ensure the most important lessons are learnt by your students, as well as being happy and feeling alive.
At this point, you may think that mindfulness is an incredibly complex process to help you alter your mind and take you to a better mental place. In correct. Mindfulness does not require complex meditation. Mindfulness is not about having an empty head or not having negative thoughts or feelings and it does not require years of practice with your legs crossed in the lotus position in a golden robe high a top a mountain.
The beauty of mindfulness is that there are two ways to practice: the formal and informal way.
Personally, I started a few years ago by simply using some informative mindfulness practices in my daily life and as time has gone by I have become better at both formal and informal mindfulness. I truly believe everybody can find the benefits of mindfulness in different ways.
I am here to help teach you how to become more mindful, which I know will help you become the very best teacher. Your students are going to be so lucky and you’re family will have struck gold, by you becoming the gold.
Formal mindfulness, better known as meditation, involves following well established practices, taking time out of your day to be still and silent, to focus on your breath, to be aware of sounds, senses, thoughts and feelings. Meditation has been around for thousands of years and its benefits are infinite for your quality of life.
Informal mindfulness requires no lesson plan or marking key. It is simply bringing mindful awareness to everyday life, to daily activities such as drinking your coffee, walking to work, driving, housework, cleaning your classroom, marking assessments, planning lessons etc. This also makes up part of your interactions with other people in your life.
Sure it can be a good thing when we can think back to great times in our past or get excited looking forward to upcoming events in the future. Unfortunately, this ability to think backward and forward isn’t always a blessing.
Life is fast and increasingly faster, technology has also just increased the number of thoughts and feelings a day. How can you experience what’s happening now when you’re too busy thinking about what needs doing tomorrow or you’re distracted by thoughts about yesterday.
Why do we need mindfulness in our lives so much?
At its worst, worrying about the future can lead to anxiety disorders. Dwelling the past can lead to depression. Feeling overwhelmed by the past or future takes us away from living in the now, in the present. It’s easy to waste “now” time, missing what’s happening in the only moment that really exists. When you’re at work, for example, you’re thinking about being on holiday; on holiday you’re thinking about all the marking and planning you should be doing.
As a teacher I would hope you are aware of the rising impact mental illness is having on our schools. We are encouraged to have well being programs in place and this is fantastic, but what about the teachers? I believe teachers are the most influential person in a child’s life. Some of our students may have broken families, be victims of abuse or suffer from a range of their own health problems.
How can you the teacher be in the best state to respond to your student’s needs? By being mindful. How can you the teacher create a positive learning environment for all students? By being mindful.
How can you the teacher take responsibility for your own health and wellbeing? By being mindful.
How can you the teacher/spouse/mother/friend/father be present and enjoying moments with loved ones? By being mindful.
How can you the teacher live your best life and appreciate the amazing job you do? By being mindful.
I want you to consider honestly, how mindful are you?
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Be Happy, Teach Well