Many schools and districts are focused on building inclusive and equitable systems that better meet the needs of all staff and students. Certainly, this requires a focus on academic outcomes, but these are not sufficient to prepare our students and our educators for success. We also have to work proactively to build learning environments that are trauma-informed and embrace social-emotional learning. Creating a climate that celebrates social-emotional learning helps to create conditions of mindfulness and nurture that pave the way for more positive academic outcomes. One concept that comes up repeatedly is the importance of mindfulness. In my own practice, I struggle with being more mindful as it is a difficult concept to define. That was, until I read a post by my cousin, Jessie.
Jessie Dwiggins is a yoga teacher who specializes in the ABCs of movement so practitioners can feel better in their bodies. In her work, she often shares the importance of mindful practice. When I read her Facebook post, I thought of all my educator friends and colleagues and asked her if I could share. With her permission, here is a beautiful definition of mindfulness. Hopefully this helps you to realize that you are exactly where you need to be.
How to know if you’re doing mindfulness correctly
Those of you in the know might be like, “ah, ha, trick question.” But, this is a legit question because people aren’t sure if they’re “doing it right.” And it’s sort of a trick question because there is no right way to do mindfulness. It’s not a steady state that you stick like a balance beam dismount and stay forever.
Mindfulness is non-judgmental awareness of the present moment (that’s one of many definitions).
Can you feel the weight of your phone in your hand right now? Maybe you thought, “That’s what my phone feels like.” That’s mindfulness.
Often your mind will be making a grocery list, arranging your schedule, and answering an email at the same time. The moment you notice your brain doing all of those things, you’re mindful again. You might go right back to the mind chatter, but for that moment you were mindful.
With practice - deliberately paying attention - you can string together many mindful moments.
The mere fact that you question if you’re being mindful means you’re practicing mindfulness. Don’t worry about doing it right, you already are.
Want to know more about social emotional learning and its connection to UDL? Join our 30-hr or 10-hr course.