My formal mindfulness practice has slipped a little lately. I've definitely lost my mindfulness mojo. My good friend and mindfulness teacher, Bella Glover (BeingWell) used to say “if you’re too busy to find 10 minutes for meditating, you need to find half an hour”. This always made me giggle as it felt so incongruent with the work/life balance I was struggling with, and yet I could completely see the logic. It hits home the crucial message that busyness is not to be worn as a badge of honour, but more as a warning sign.
I met Claire Kelly (Director of Mindfulness In Schools Project - MiSP) when we were both speaking at a Wellbeing conference a couple of years ago. I am so grateful for this chance meeting, which has allowed me to follow the journey of MiSP and join with many others at the MiSP conference on Saturday 16th June, 2018 to explore the question "What is the future of Mindfulness in Education?”
Over the course of the day, I heard many great inspiring passionate speakers and I wanted to share with you some of my key take-aways, and how I plan to rediscover my mindfulness mojo. If you’ve lost yours, or mindfulness continues to be on your To Do list but you’re just not there yet, I hope this may be helpful to you too.
Be here now or miss the good stuff
The day kicked off with the legendary Jon Kabat-Zinn. Often hailed as the man who brought mindfulness to the west. Having read Jon’s book, ‘Wherever You Go, There You Are’ over 20 years ago, Jon has been very much at the heart of my own learning. In his keynote he reminded me “running on thinking is exhausting”. We do need to make the space to BE. To train our active thinking monkey minds to occasionally come to a place of focus and stillness, paying attention to this moment so that we don’t miss the infinite possibilities of now.
Mindfulness mojo goal #1 - Set an intention to practice.
Busyness is not an excuse
Cathie Paine explained in her authentic and heartfelt keynote how she has built a regular daily mindfulness practice by setting her alarm to allow time for this. She talked about it feeling ridiculous to sometimes be setting an alarm at 4.30am in order to fit her practice into a busy day, and yet also essential. She explained, “you can’t weave a parachute whilst you’re falling, you have to have it done before you fall”.
Mindfulness mojo goal #2 - Make my practice part of my daily routine.
Let mindfulness and technology be friends
Often, I think we can feel frightened of technological advances, especially in relation to mindfulness. Will they distill the essential ingredients, will something get lost so the cake no longer rises? App designer Rohan Gunatillake brought a breath of fresh air with his approach to this area. He feels we need to innovate to allow mindfulness to adapt and be authentic for the 21st century.
Mindfulness mojo goal #3 - Find a good app*.
*I’ve got quite a few mindfulness apps on my phone including Headspace, Calm, Mindfulness For Children, and most recently Buddhify - which I tried out for the first time this morning. I enjoyed Buddhify, and one reason for this was that I was listening to Rohan’s voice, the person I was actually in a room with on Saturday, and this made the experience feel more real.
Luisa Martin-Thomas offered a bright and passionate keynote detailing how she had taken others along on her mindfulness journey. This sense of connection that rippled through her school underlies something that feels fundamental to a mindfulness exploration.
Mindfulness Mojo goal #4 - Connect with others on their mindfulness journey*.
*I’m going to be regularly checking back in with Bella to share my reflections. If you’re hunting for people to connect with try the hashtag #MiSP18 to find others who were at the conference or connect with me #mindfulnessmojo and we can do this together.
We must start with ourselves
Maya, a primary school student wowed us all with her final reflections that "teachers can’t expect children to be happy, if they aren’t happy themselves”. We are all teachers. We must take care of ourselves.
Mindfulness Mojo goal #5 - Start with myself.