The aim of mindfulness is to build a pause before reacting and transform your habitual reaction to a more conscious response. Viktor Frankl sums up this simple shift:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
The “space” that Frankl refers to can be compared to building in a “pause” as described in mindfulness practice. Building in this “pause” to promote a conscious response is a simple concept but not always easy. As with most new behaviours or skills it takes practice.
Mindfulness is about noticing and observing emotions and thoughts without judgement; viewing yourself from a place of compassion. With practice, you may realise the power you have to consciously respond with kindness, to yourself and others.
Invitation to practise
To enhance this practice you can actively engage in activities which help you to slow down and gain an awareness:
- peeling and eating an orange
- breathing and brewing when making a cup of tea
- melting chocolate in your mouth
- breathing in for a count of 5, holding for a count of 5 and exhaling for a count of 5
Once you become accustomed to slowing down you can build a framework to notice how it feels to guide attention in a purposeful way. By paying attention to a thing/ situation and seeing it for what it is, rather than becoming drawn into its inertia, we are able to respond, rather than simply react. Mindfulness is a simple, but subtle tool. It is simply bringing to bear the power of our attention, establishing awareness of body, mind, and breath.
Journey sticks have been used for a long time by many native peoples around the world. The idea is that they can help you record and retell a story / journey with items that are collected along the way.
A journey stick is a wonderful way to help your child (and you!) creatively and mindfully record the story of a journey - it could be a walk or even a whole summer.
To start with, all you need is a stick some coloured wool and your imagination.
As you journey simply find wonderful things that you find on your adventures, they might be feathers, leaves - it doesn't matter what they are, just that they mean something to you. Use the wool to attach them to your stick and keep collecting.