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Guess who said,“This beautiful book goes straight to the heart, so rich with simple, powerful, practical things that children and adults can do to grow real and lasting resilience, compassion, and joy inside themselves.”
“This book is a wonderful treasure trove for all adults who live or work with children! It will not only bring joy but also harmony, well-being, mindfulness, and compassion into families and help give them a solid ground to cope with the challenges of the life they will grow into.”-Lienhard Valentin
Children will eat what they grow. On Friday, the Bright Lights chard in our little school garden plot had reached heights of over two feet. It has been a very hot week and the chard was bolting. The sun shone through the stalks stimulating curiosity among the children I was sitting with at recess. “What is this plant, Ms. Lilyanna?” “Can we eat it like kale?” The children in the school had nibbled the kale down to bare stalks and were looking for more greens. They are like deer! Having overwintered, the chard was a little tough. It was a moment for me of clearing the daily schedule and revamping the day…. with surprising ease. I had the children collect the greens, wash them in our tiny sink and chop the stalks up for a panfry. The whole group took turns two at a time and after a half hour we had a huge pot of greens scenting our room. The kids lined up with tupperware from their lunch boxes and students spooned the vitamin filled snack into the containers. Kids who told me that they had never eaten greens tried and commented on the plants they had grown from tiny seeds.
Planting seeds in the earth is one way of growing goodness another way is planting seeds of wisdom and inspiration in children. To read how one of my students was affected by a lesson I shared over 10 years ago. Click Here!
This is the time of year where things seems to speed up faster and faster. Take deep care during this month. Partake in naps and slow down. It will pay off in spades. Below are a few excerpts from my book with James Baraz, Awakening Joy For Kids, that will give you a few more ideas on ways to simply be present to yourself and your children. Last summer, spent a week at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California with James Baraz, Howie Cohen and Sharda Rogell. What an absolute delight to access my inner quiet again. In the quote below, James shares how to come back to our center.”The Gift of Your Beingness. One of the great benefits of accessing the joy of being is that you not only find peace inside of you, you also affect everything and everyone around you. By accessing that calm center, you remind others that it is there in them as well. Think of the most centered person in your life? How do feel when you’re around them? Doesn’t their energy affect you as well?
Think of your opening to being as giving everyone around you the gift of your centeredness. Your presence will awaken balance, calm and aliveness in others as well. You don’t have to go around fixing anyone. As Anne Lamott points out, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.
For the next week when you take time to meditate or be quiet in your own way, rather than trying to make something happen, let yourself just enjoy the peace that’s here right now as you become familiar with just relaxing. Enjoy the feeling of stillness and peace.”
How we can teach children to appreciate the simple moments? To get an idea, I asked children what they love doing the most with their parents when they were just relaxed and being. So right out of the mouths, fresh from the source, these are ideas kids have that are their favorite moments and some of their best memories.
“I like just sitting with my Mom doing crafts. We don’t have to talk.”
“When the bed is really fluffy I love snuggling my Dad.”
“We watch raindrops on the window.”
“The house smells good when we make cookies for no reason.”
“If I put my head on my Dad’s chest, I can hear his heartbeat.”
“I love it when my parents play with my hair and stoke my head.”
“My family lays outside and listens to the crickets chirping.”
Social Justice Projects: From Me to WE” I like to talk to my parents about important stuff like changing the world.“
“When I was little we blew up an air mattress and laid under the stars. I could see so much and it was so fun. I never forgot that.”
“My brother and I watched a whole army of ants for hours.”
“Sometimes I get to go for tea just with my Mom. Just the two of us.”
“We dance around the house and play.”
“We do a puzzle and just chat about nothing much.”
“We grab sheets and clothes pegs and build forts in our living room. We even ate dinner there.”
“I like to just walk with my family at the beach. We don’t really have a plan we just see what is there.”
“Well I like a good bonfire. We tell stories and eat marshmallows and hang out.”
“I set up a tea party with my stuffies and my Mom and Dad. They come and sit and we have tea.”
Think about moments from your own childhood that were times of relaxed non-doing. Moments when time stretched and the worries of the day evaporated. Use these ideas to inspire your moments of simply being.
Here are two more links that we offer to you to help you slow down and nurture yourselves.
Please visit our website www.awakeningjoyforkids.com which is filled with loads of tips and practices on how to bring more mindfulness and social emotional wellbeing to your loved ones and family. Our facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/AwakeningJoyForKids/. Our instagram page has many new pictures of mindful art activities.https://www.instagram.com/michelelilyanna/