This morning I met with reception children. We did a range of activities, from imagining blowing up balloons and watching as they floated away, eating strawberries mindfully, to lying down for a beach meditation. It was really interesting to hear their thoughts about what they were eating. They used each of their senses to engage completely in the process, which came to them happily and naturally, without any awkwardness. They talked about how the strawberry had started off as a seed, explained to each other how the seed grew and that there was no such thing as a strawberry tree, and how the rain and the sunshine had helped the strawberry to grow.
When they chose a strawberry to eat, I asked them to feel the texture, weight and shape. Then they used their sense of smell to identify what sort of aroma they picked out ("sweet-smelling"), before licking it, which they found most amusing! Next, rather than taking a big bite out of the strawberry, I asked them to take a tiny nibble and let the flavours move around the taste buds, so that they could identify any different flavours ("tangy", "bubbly"). I asked them to close their eyes to find out if the flavour changed ("stronger").
They all enjoyed this activity. I wondered if they would have been as happy to try doing the same with a piece of food they didn't like or had never tasted, before. Perhaps that's one for another day!
We moved on to some quiet time for a beach meditation. I was taught not to expect young children to lie still, but to allow them to move and wriggle around if they needed to. I was happy for them to do this, although it does feel a bit counter-intuitive! However, despite the wriggling and the fact that most of them kept their eyes open (not a problem) they did lie quietly. We visualised a special pebble which each of them put in their pocket, and then they got up and did a bit of grounding exercise before heading off to lunch. With an extra strawberry as a treat, of course! I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the children, and felt privileged to do so.
This afternoon I did some mindfulness work with older students. This time it wasn't bread-making, but working with "Zentangle". I asked the students to come up with an intention before they started, and to think about their intentions as they doodled.
It was quite a challenge for them I think, but that's good. My intention for the session was for them to do something that would take a lot of patience and to persist, even if they found it difficult. To realise it doesn't matter about the mistakes, but to carry on regardless of whether it is "perfect" or not. I am sure they were proud of their efforts!
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