As I practice being more mindful I’m also finding that “defining” things isn’t always our best option… During the summer months I enjoy “playing” with mindfulness techniques that I’ll bring to my classroom in Sept. … Many of these are already things I practice with my students , or at workshops that I present, and some, are just for myself. However, I’ve found that I can no longer “define” what it “Workshop-worthy” and what is “for the classroom” – for example, two years ago I was knitting outside during my lunch and a few students came over, asked and watched… Afterwards I offered a few basic knitting classes instead of “mindfulness sessions” after school. These students were the same ones to tell me months ago that mindfulness wasn’t for them, but , apparently, knitting was. I let them know during one of our sessions how grateful I was for them teaching me something new – I wouldn’t have used knitting in a mindfulness session, just didn’t seem, to be something I thought they would enjoy – but it was. In my eyes it didn’t “define” what a teenager might enjoy. I asked as they knit, that they just enjoy the practice, with no expectations,,… And while they weren’t able to create a full length hand knit cable coat in a day (something I couldn’t do in a year!), they felt great, more relaxed, and happy , after 45 mins of quiet needle and yarn time. After the 2nd session they realized that mindfulness wasn’t just sitting and breathing, it could be a part of much more… Sometimes the tactile work brings us closer to learning more about mindfulness too. The hands on part truly helps to “define” the mindfulness sensations. It’s part of why art “therapy” is so popular too. Try working with some clay sometime, let go of the idea that you’re making a ceramic masterpiece, and just feel the clay and watch it transform. Take a paintbrush and some watercolors and watch the colors glide onto the paper – without “trying” to create an image… it’s an amazing mindful technique.
Of course there are numerous other “techniques” and methods – I even add washing dishes to my mindfulness practice these days !
Take your time this summer to enjoy your favorite things – and if it’s lying on the beach – create an amazing, breathing visualization for yourself , so you can savor those moments always.
Some of my favorite mindful summer activities are:
-hikes through lush trails by the river
-yoga in my backyard
-sitting by the pool with some knitting
-making fruit smoothies
-spinning yarn on my spinning wheels
-bathing our dogs outside with lots of bubbles
-reading a good book on the porch swing
Enjoy a wonderful, mindful summer!