From September, 2015

Why You Need to Touch (or Hug) a Tree Today

“You didn’t come into this world.
You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here.”

– Alan Watts, Shirin Yoku website

As I become aware of what actions, behaviors, habits and practices are life-giving for me, I find that I am drawn to spend more and more time in nature.  In the mornings, I feel compelled to breath deeply the air as I leave the house, open my window when I am commuting, slow down enough to bask in a moment of sunshine before I enter a building.

The more time I spend in world of nature, the richer my interactions become.  A sunset will fill me with a sense of emanating warmth.  Mornings of low-hanging fog over dewey grass will fuzzy my sense of here and there.  Soft blankets of grass will move me to visceral connection, my fingers (or toes) moving through the strands.

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Student Empowerment: Goal Setting and Grit in the Classroom

SMART Goal Graphic

Mind tools describes the acronym SMART goals in the following way:

“S – Specific (or Significant), M – Measurable (or Meaningful), A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented), R – Relevant (or Rewarding), and – Time-bound (or Trackable)”

I like that there are multiple interpretations of these categories according to this definition.  For example, in any context, goals that are significant, meaningful and rewarding are factors that should be considered if one is going to take the time to plan and reflect on a new practice or strategy.

A few weeks ago, I worked with Laura Garber in the classroom on a lesson where she wanted students to explore grit as a way to meet meaningful SMART goals.  The lesson had the following learning targets:

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Mindful Creativity Workshop for Teachers: Oct. 16, 2015

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I am hosting a workshop at the Wexner Center for the Arts for Capital (or COTA) day on October 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. called Mindful Creativity which is FREE and open to ALL teachers!

Here is a blurb about it from the Wexner Center website:

What does it mean to be “present”—to notice the colors and textures of our everyday surroundings? How does this “presence” apply to one’s process as an artist, a writer, a thinker, or an explorer of the world? Answering these questions and more will be the focus of this year’s Capital Day, Mindful Creativity. Learn how mindfulness works and what it looks like in practice. Investigate creativity through this lens to explore the world of art and artistry together using the exhibition After Picasso: 80 Contemporary Artists as inspiration. Consider ways that you can take this new knowledge to your students to enhance their own presence in the world and their abilities as explorers and artists. Come prepared to write, discuss, reflect, and practice mindfulness strategies.

You can register for the workshop on the Wexner Center website at this link.  There is a gray box in the top right corner that says “register.”

Sky Lanterns and Fires: Practices for Wishes, Healing and Release

Our divine souls when illuminated
with purity and grace, fly high 
as sky lanterns in the dark skies
the flame never going out 

– by Yasmeen Khan

I have written previously about my interest in the use of ritual as a way to enhance awareness of, and bring intention to, the mundane and profound experiences and passages in human life.

Melissa shared with me the idea of using paper lanterns, or sky lanterns, as part of a ritual to release “old stuff”- things we want to get rid of but keep hanging on to for some reason- longings that no longer serve us, habits that have proven to be harmful, or memories that cause pain and suffering.  I thought the idea was really beautiful, so we set a date and I ordered the lanterns.

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