It's exciting to be offering the new children's workshop, "Playing with Mindfulness," at The Center for Mindful Living starting in February.
Families intrigued by the idea of introducing their children to the contentment, calm and resiliency of mindfulness and meditation will find this an easy, fun way to start.
In fact, fun and play anchor this mindfulness workshop. What do we mean by fun? How will the kids "play" with mindfulness? Picture this in your mind's eye...
First, a favorite neighborhood playground.
Clusters of swing sets, merry-go-rounds and jungle gyms... a baseball diamond or basketball court... a grassy expanse.
These spaces are friendly, stress-free, social and lighthearted. They provide a safe container for exploration, free play, enjoyment-and learning about the natural world and life.
The workshop will offer children this same type of welcoming, freeing space.
Now, imagine climbing on the swing... Your hand grasps the metal chain, your seat finds the swing. You take a deep breath and push off. You fly back-and-forth, the wind brushing your face, the sound of your own laughter dancing in your ears.
This sort of experience is ripe with opportunities for present-moment awareness and mindfulness of touch, sound, sight, smell and even taste.
Through mindfulness in motion and sitting still, the workshop will invite children to practice awareness during similar kinds of life and play experiences.
Finally, imagine finding your friends at the park too-and their new puppy! You might feel excited. Your heart might open and feel a warm gladness. The puppy jumps to say hello, tripping over his paws. You and your friends laugh together. Maybe the feeling you have now is gratitude... for friendship, puppies and parks.
This experience stirs what we might call "heartfulness." It can take many forms: gratitude, compassion, generosity, kindness, well-being, and empathy.
The workshop will provide children with mindful moments to connect with and grow their own heartfulness and other positive qualities.
Mindfulness of thoughts and intentions will provide a doorway to self-understanding and self-compassion.
Very recently a teacher specializing in living and speaking mindfully, Oren Jay Sofer, suggested that "teaching" mindfulness is like sharing your favorite park. The only way to bring it to life for someone-to allow them to experience the reality of it rather than the idea of it-is to take them to the park and let them come to know it for themselves.
In this spirit, the Playing with Mindfulness workshop will take children to visit the "park" or the space of mindfulness... to have their own experience, discoveries and insights about their own mindfulness and heartfulness.