September Session: Directing Your Attention

SEPTEMBER SESSION (#1)

Our September session introduces us to experiencing our power to let go of thoughts running through our heads and consciously:

DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION

The moment we take our seat, settle in to focusing our attention on the breath, something happens. We remember our power to pay attention and be aware & conscious whenever we want to.

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Stress, the go-go-go, and the chronic hurriedness of life and teaching causes amnesia. Worse yet, it causes this amnesia without us even realizing what the hell just happened. We can forget that we have the power to direct our attention, and that when we “wake up” and notice that we always have the power to focus our attention, we regain our control. Losing control is what freaks us out the most.

So this first session is all about reminding your mind and your body of what it FEELS like to pay attention to the self, that you have attention, your attention has a quality to it, and when your attention wanders (’cause it will), you can always gently bring it back and regain control.

The WHEEL of AWARENESS and the Eight Senses

At our first session, we did a HUB meditation. This special mediation is designed by Dr. Dan Siegel, and it introduces us to our “wheel of awareness.” Hub meditations are fundamental to our mindfulness work. Jennings goes into detail about them on page 12 in her introduction about mindfulness.

The HUB is the inner circle of our awareness and the rim of the hub (think of a bicycle wheel) contains any and all possible objects of our attention and awareness: feelings, thoughts, and much more.

 

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[Image from www.drdansiegel.com]

meditate

 

Click here to check out Dr. Dan Siegel’s website for more information about the WHEEL OF AWARENESS and check out his 3 free guided meditations here. 

Here is another meditation I created and suggested you try this month that trains the attention to become more agile. A must for all teachers!

Out-In-Out Meditation (15 minutes)

As teachers, it is essential to have attentional agility. That means we need to get really good at being able to move our attention out and around our classrooms in a very seamless and fluid way and then move our attention into ourselves and our inner experiences of the moment. Since teaching is a relational profession, our students pick up on our inner states, thus we need to keep ourselves in check and open up to noticing how our emotions or thoughts may be either helping or hindering moments in our instruction and our capacity to connect with our kids.

integreation-work

 

At each monthly session, you will be given several different suggestions for practicing during the weeks until our next session. We cal this ‘Integration Work.” This is the heart of your personal practice. Try out the meditations and the practices for self-awareness while you are teaching, but don’t try too hard. Remember, this is all too serious to take seriously (I once heard Jon Kabat-Zinn say that, and it has always stuck with me).

If your mind makes this too difficult or tries to perfect it, it’s best to come back to it at another time. So remember– with this Integration Work, always:

Try easy.

SEPTEMBER INTEGRATION WORK:

  • FORMAL Practice: (intentional time designated to be still) Daily BODY SCAN or Guided Meditations (shoot for the 10-15 minute range)

  • INFORMAL Practice: (mini-moments of mindfulness in your day) Being mindful of every day moments– tuning into the sensation: brushing your teeth, taking a shower, walking the dog, tasting your food, listening in a conversation, folding the laundry, greeting your students in the morning, listening to laughter on the playground….
  • CLASSROOM Practice: Establishing your BREATH BASE (see below)

  • READING: Jennings (Forward, Intro, Chapter 1)

  • DATA COLLECTION: Daily Self-Care Log (noticing habits of self care– examples below)

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    Sample Self-Care Logs

    *Google Doc that can be shared with you if you like to log your data electronically

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