It's been awhile since I sat down to write. I began teaching mindfulness to my 3rd grade students this week. I love teaching them this practice. I wish someone had taught it to me when I was younger. I was often asked and told to sit still, but it was always with impatience or worn out patience because I was always moving. Asking me to "sit still" was like asking me to pull a magical rabbit out of a hat I didn't have. I never felt comfortable sitting still when I was younger and honestly, I never knew what it could do FOR me. It always felt like someone was doing terrible things TO me when I was required to sit still. I just never knew what to do with the urges to move and the thoughts to share or ask.
On the first day of practicing mindfulness with this year's class, I recognized a familiar face in the crowd in front of me. It was a face of discomfort. One of my students looked the same way I imagine myself looking when I began practicing a mindful body and mindful listening. Nose scrunched as if something hurt, eyes squinting tight, and body looking as tense as if she were trying to bust out of a straight jacket. When our minute was up, I asked how they all felt. She was open and honest in sharing that she did find it very uncomfortable. Once others shared some things they noticed, she relaxed again and we discussed several benefits of this practice as well. When we practiced the second day, I noticed very little discomfort. She shared less displeasure as well. I know from experience, it takes some getting used to. I also know from experience that the benefits of being able to sit with oneself far outweigh the discomfort in the beginning.
It took me a bit when I started as an adult, but I can't imagine the difference being able to sit with myself would have made if I had began practicing years ago. Once I developed a regular practice of mindfulness, my confidence improved. As did my self-talk, my level of awareness, my relationships, and my focus. My anxiety and stress decreased as well. I am better able to handle daily struggles and big challenges. I communicate better and have more empathy. My life has changed for the better with my ability to sit with my body and tune in to my thoughts and feelings and all the sensations in my body. These benefits are widely experienced by people of all ages and backgrounds. Do you already practice? If not, are you ready now? I am here to help, it's never too late to start! Improved health and well-being can be yours!