Reflection on Reflecting

So here we are, several weeks in since the summer break and back in to  school and work. As much as the school holidays are fun they also come with their challenges. How do you keep your kids entertained for such a long period without indulging them to excess and spending a small fortune and how do you deal with the return to routine and the changes that a new school year brings?

If anyone can answer me that I would be grateful for the answer.

My 7yo is not coping well at all with the transition to year three, a new head teacher, new class teacher, and the upturn in work have made his anxieties go through the roof and has been displaying behaviour that somewhat challenging and surprising. I have had to really adapt to cope with the behaviours and have been drawing on my knowledge of mindfulness to help me. The school are familiar with his ways but in the last few weeks I have really had to pull out of my hat all the strategies that I as a parent and we as a team (his former teachers and I) have used in the past to help the new staff members become adept at handling the situations appropriately but even with my knowledge to draw on it is exhausting.  I sat last night in quiet mindful mediation for about 30 minutes just listening to the tail end of hurricane Ophelia swirl overhead just to calm my mind and release the worry I have at the moment. I felt so at peace. I went to bed calmly and took on the chin this morning the reluctance to get ready for school much better than I might have done ordinarily.

I know I am not alone in the struggle with change, I am part of a learning support group where we take our kids to learn therapeutic play techniques and language. So many early life experiences can disrupt normal emotional development but when I joined the group some 19 weeks ago I  had no idea to what degree and was really sceptical how a short play session could help with the various behaviours of emotionally challenged children.  But I have to hold my hands up now and say that I was wrong.

Play that is focussed solely on the child in a non judgemental and reflective manner is so powerful. That simple action of acknowledging a child’s facial expression i.e “I can see that you are really enjoying that” or “oh, you are not pleased with how that is going” goes such a long way with them in helping them understand that you are there with them, in the moment and really enjoying them. There is no praise but also no criticism, just time and reflection. It has been the most cathartic experience for me, and I have met some of the most inspirational people that I am now proud to call friends.

Try: Beginning to Breathe, a practice from my Beginners Series

Have a great mindful week everyone.

Google: Filial Therapy, Play Therapy, Family Therapy.




Beginner Series: Continuing Your Practice

And here we are at week six! Over the last five weeks we have looked at posture, breathing, body scanning,  listening, and walking.

As you begin to develop your mindful practice you will start to find that you automatically begin to put all of these aspects together quite naturally. Your spine will become longer, you will walk tall whilst paying attention to your surroundings, your breath will be regular and rhythmical, and you will notice how your body is feeling.

Don’t be disheartened if somedays you struggle with any one or all of these aspects. Mindfulness is a work in progress. Some days, even after months of mindful practice my mind remains scattered and I can feel frustrated whilst in practice, other days it comes so naturally and I can find myself happily seated for a long while completely focussed on my present place.

Over the coming weeks I would encourage you to keep practicing each one of these exercises and journaling how they made you feel. If you have been keeping a journal since the beginning, go back and compare how your earlier practices felt to how they feel now.

Take the opportunity to have some mindful me time each day, take a short walk at lunchtime and appreciate your surroundings, or go and sit in a quiet corner with your lunch and enjoy it rather than gobbling it down whilst working. Invest in a mindfulness app for your smart phone or download a podcast or even just listen to some relaxing music. Take a bubble bath and just be at one with the warm water. Do some yoga. Go for a walk with friends or play mindfully with your kids……….the possibilities are endless.

I am always happy to answer questions, so please feel free to drop me a comment. I am working on a PDF version of the beginners series for you to download, so watch this space.

Thanks for being with us over the last six weeks. Have a great mindful week everyone.