Before the first session
I happened to be in the Grade 9 building, leaving a classroom and there she was! A homeroom teacher came up to me before the first session of Semester Two.
“There are a few boys who registered, and I’m not sure they’re choosing to participate for the right reasons. Just keep in mind that if any discipline problems arise, let us know and we’ll handle it”.
I nodded, commenting that it was fortunate that I had run into her. She assured me that she would have found a way to relate the info. (Serious, I thought)
And there it was. I arrived at the Nofei Habsor Library a little before the lesson and a bunch of boys were there to greet me.
“Hi boys. Are you waiting for me?”
“Yes” As they popped off the concrete bench at the entrance of the library to come towards me.
“We’re going to begin at the sound of the bell at 13:15. I’ll get the room ready and then come to call you.”
And there I was back in the sunny round room, arranging cushions in a circle and setting up my personal space. The boys had seemed sincere and eager. I wondered which of them were the ones in question. I sprayed some lavender aromatherapy mist around the space and decided to adjust the temperature of the room. I opened the door and there they were, ready for meditation. I guided them to remove their shoes, put away their schoolbags, their phones and to sit quietly.
As the bell rang, two of my favourite participants from the first semester arrived to join in. Hugs and we were in.
I introduced myself and we went over the rules of our sessions – speaking and listening from the heart, keeping what is said within our walls, the one with the talking piece is the one with the right to speak.
I asked them what they thought of when I told them we were going to learn the language of attention, mindfulness. They shared: listening to the environment, listening to others, to themselves. Being a better person.
And we began with Take Five, the easiest way to pay deliberate attention to the breath. “How was that for you?” I asked.
“Relaxing” was the consensus. Only one boy refrained from speaking.
I asked them to document their expectations or wishes for our workshop – through words or illustration. Those who wanted to, shared with the rest. I saw illustrations of sitting in lotus, the circular room, the idea of a sweet, peaceful break in a life of waves of activity. I heard things like: being relaxed, being quiet.
I invited them to find a space, lie down, to avoid touching someone else, and we embarked on a body scan.
That same boy kept looking up, checking out others. Apparently, this was the homeroom teacher’s suspect.
We returned to the circle, did a ‘Dry Shower’ of body tapping to wake ourselves up.
Those who wished, shared their experience. They were respectful and positive.
They agreed to form a What’s App group so that I could offer reminders during the week. Same boy didn’t offer his phone number. I quietly spoke to him: I noticed that you’re not sharing. Are you interested in participating? He shrugged and left quietly.
At the sound of the bell, our session slowly melted away like a magic curtain.
A few boys began to play with a doll, a comfortable wrap-around doll, removing it from the room and immediately incurring the wrath of the librarian in charge of the space. She rushed over to reprimand the boy caught with the contraband doll.
She and I looked at one another – and how at the sound of a bell, presto! magic! return to 3 years old!
May we be happy and healthy!