No matter what’s happened beforehand, or what might happen afterwards.
This is what drives us. Morning class relax sessions have been conducted as usual.
No matter what happened before
I was invited into a seventh grade class by Ricky, the homeroom teacher. She wanted a few minutes of focused breathing. It was to precede a discussion and support session concerning a 9th grade pupil who had committed suicide the evening before.
Earlier that morning, teachers had been told to share with the students that the exact details were still unreported and that there was an ongoing investigation. So, when I walked into the class, turned on the computer to upload Class Relax and then faced the kids, the first question to me was: “Is it true that he hanged himself?” I latched onto the catch-phrase we were told to say: “We don’t know all the details yet” but inwardly I was reeling. I breathed a few good sized breaths. I hadn’t heard how he’d done it. Often the pupils know way before we do.
I introduced the idea of meditation as a way to pause, to disconnect from the past or the future, to focus on our breath as an anchor. To practice when we can and then if we need to pause for whatever reason during the day, we will be more skilled at remembering the technique. Especially together. We support one another.
And we did our 10 breath breathing exercise. I was grateful to be able to breathe together with them and their teacher, Ricky. She was in for a heavy homeroom period and she needed all the grounding possible.
In other morning classes, I preferred the short listening meditation as a way to focus on a sound outside of the body- for re-focus, for finding silence and for re-directing attention. When we need to clear our head, if we focus on a sound, whether it’s a Tibetan Singing Bowl or the sound of the Air Conditioner, we can clean our mind from extra thoughts and re-charge.
No matter what comes after
Listening works for me. I used that same meditation before the 7th grade exam. I noticed that my heart was beating quickly and that I needed a grounding session. For me it was first aid and for them it was an open invitation to participate. For such situations, I use ‘Listen to the Sound‘ because it’s short, accessible and requires no guidance.
At the end of the school day, we had a meeting of the 8th grade kids vying to be chosen to represent our school in Albany in the Spring. They were in need of a re-set. They asked me for a Class Relax session.
They turned on the computer and they knew what they wanted: specifically The Wonderful Waiter. I understood. Whenever I do it, I feel such a sense of well-being. It works on body, mind and breathing all at the same time. This one is the one they chose.
Slowly, each day with repeated Class Relax experiences, the new classes in 7th grade are looking with smiles when I enter the room. For me, it’s a chance to share a few moments of something other than the usual school tone. It’s a chance to remind myself of how accessible is the habit of a few mindful breaths during school time.
May Class Relax re-birth into its new form soon, and may it reach out to brothers and sisters with similar ideas for classroom energizers, or energizers of all forms!