Written by Mariann Primus
Can you believe we are firmly into the Roaring 20’s, as an art mentor of mine coined it. This new year made me want to throw a 20’s themed party complete with flapper dresses and feathered hats and boas! The idea of the “Roaring 20’s” makes me think of fun, relaxing times, throwing caution to the wind and donning our dancing shoes. And why not?! A new year isn’t just for committing to eating healthier or exercising more. So much of our life is about serious responsibility so why not throw caution to the wind and find something fun or relaxing to enjoy this year. Take a new class, learn a new hobby, take a chance in love or travel. The possibilities are endless! I, for one, decided to tap into my creativity for 2020 and signed up for an on-line multi-media art journal class. I really didn’t even know what that was, exactly, when a friend told me about it. However, when I first looked into it, it resonated with me and the time of life I find myself in right now. I knew, within me, that I needed to give my self the space to express myself creatively and use it as an output for some personal challenges I’m going through.
Talking about trying new things and inviting more spaciousness into our lives brings me to my word for the new year: Mindfulness. I will be the first to admit that I can always add more mindful moments into my day and I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you likely could, as well. And really, who couldn’t?? We rush. We plan. We adjust to changes on the fly. We sacrifice. We work hard as a an employee, a business owner, a mom or dad, as a caregiver, a student, even as a student of this thing called life…it’s all very hard work. Adding a few moments a day to be still and go within can look different to everyone and there is no right or wrong way. Ok, the wrong way might be not doing it at all because that is just a recipe for a stressed out, over-worked human!
Mindfulness does not necessarily mean a sitting meditation practice. If you can find 20 minutes a day, or even 10, to sit in a quiet space with eyes closed and let the thoughts float by like clouds in the sky then HURRAY for you!! That is my meditation goal for this month but if you aren’t there yet, don’t throw in the towel! Mindfulness is being in the present moment, the HERE and NOW. That can look like a mindful walk on your lunch break or in the evening with your dog. Take a few minutes to mindfully listen to the sounds around you without judgement or action. Mindfulness can be sitting outside and mindfully attending to the breeze, the birdsong, or the clouds, letting your worries and plans for the day just be for a few minutes while you attend to nature with awareness and nonjudgement. Mindful journaling, drawing, doodling or doing any kind of art mindfully can all be part of a mindfulness practice. Whatever you choose, try to do so with present moment awareness and non-judgement of your surroundings, activity, and of yourself. Try not to get hung up on the moments you lose awareness. When the business meeting, dinner plans, and doctor’s appointments pop into your mind and you become aware of it, take notice of your breath and return your attention to your mindful activity.
What is your favorite way to practice mindfulness? If mindfulness is new for you, try starting with one of the afore mentioned ideas. Do you notice any changes to your ability to respond instead of react to triggering situations? Do you notice things that used to irritate or aggravate you pass you by like weather, with a growing ability to let it go? Mindfulness, including but not limited to meditation, has an untold amount of positive benefits but it’s often the tangible, most noticeable benefits that brings us back to it, again and again…and that is what makes it worthwhile.
Once you get in the habit of practicing mindfulness, do you have a little or a class full of littles that you could share it with? I used to take a mindfulness break with my students after recess before we jumped into the last couple classes of the day. Have them practice mindfully walking on campus, or mindfully counting their breaths, for one minute. Any of the mindfulness activities mentioned in this blog can be taught to the littles in your life but I’ll devote the next blog to mindful activities specific to children. In the meantime, you can be a mindful model. Enjoy a Mindful Year!
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Mariann is a former ESE teacher from Florida and a certified kids’ yoga teacher through Kidding Around Yoga. She currently is in the Marion County area. She creates yoga sequences with a literacy connection and social skills activities and yoga brain breaks for her Teachers Pay Teachers store, https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Ommazing-Kids and on her website, https://www.ommazingkids.com/
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