A special place
We are right half-way through the training at the moment. I have to say today was s-p-e-c-i-a-l. The students are already familiar with the four different greetings: some ask for a hug, some prefer high five, some want it all!
After greeting one another the students are invited to walk nicely around the room and listen to some music. They are invited to think of a special place where they feel safe and they like to go to. And when the music stops, find a partner and tell them about their special place.
Why do they like this place so much?
When they have done that we all sit in a circle and share in turns. They are growing more and more respectful little by little. Learning how to active-listen to their classmates while they are sharing thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Like I said, today is special. They seem much more calm and mindful, which makes me happy as you can imagine! They are great kids.
I tell them about my special place, and why I like to go there. What it makes me feel like and how I can bring that feeling back to my everyday world. Then we do our Mindfulness practice: a safe place (from Sitting still like a frog).
They are calm and focused during the practice. They listen carefully. Some have their eyes open. Some closed. Their bodies seem soft and tender on the floor. When this practice is finished they are asked to write a few lines about how they felt during the «safe place» practice and they come up with: happy, calm, relaxed, and like a flying fish!!
They are reminded they can always come back to this place. To this safe place. Wherever they are this safe place is always within reach. All they need to do is direct their attention to it.
The second practice today is mindful eating. They are invited to talk about when they last had an ice cream and how much they enjoyed that. I explain to the children that sometimes we eat so fast that we cannot really appreciate the flavours or anything! Then it all goes down to our stomachs so fast that it sometimes aches.
They are offered heart-shaped biscuits. And they are asked why they think the biscuits are Green. Extraordinary answers are given: green means peace, calm, happiness, relaxed, friendship, or because it is St Patrick’s. Until the smartest answer pops out in the end: «They come from Miss Frog!»
One by one we all take tiny little bites. Enjoy the taste of the green biscuits from Miss Frog. I just loved watching the students take their time to eat the biscuits. Slowly. While we were sharing how it tasted and what it felt like to not eat fast. The conversation moves on to when is Miss Frog coming and does she really exist… We keep building up the excitement of maybe meeting Miss Frog and I say when she comes, if she comes she would like to know how much you know about Mindfulness. Their eyes shine. They give the best answers: we have learnt how to build up the attention muscle, and we have learnt about our reptile’s brain and how to press the pause button, we have learn to be grateful, and to go to our favourite place where we feel safe, we have learnt how to freeze and then melt, the spaghetti test.
I just found it amazing that by imagining Miss Frog’s visit to school we were actually brushing up all the things they have learnt since week one. Impromptu.
In this magic moment the girl that was going to facilitate our last Mindfulness practice of the day offers her turn to one other boy because she really wanted to finish her biscuit slowly. As it was so nice. The boy took the bell and did his job. Very well done in fact. He gave his «breathe-in breathe-out» instructions in a very imaginatively manner. Superb day indeed.
La vida, sin prisa