There was so much fun, enthusiasm and excitement today at Magical Mindful Me: Mindfulness & Wellbeing for 7-11yr olds!
With the gorgeous backdrop of the sand and surf of Killcare Beach, the kids & I explored how mindfulness is a really useful tool to use when we want to become aware of our feels and experiences in order to be in a position to select more pleasing ones.
We worked out that we have something called an ‘iBRAIN’.
Much like their iPads, their ibrain is a computer- some pretty sweet machinery but essentially useless until there’s someone using it.
The kids clued on pretty quickly that THEY are the programmer in charge of what thoughts (codes) they use to create their apps (beliefs).
These apps, when installed (focused upon), tell their body how to feel, and influence the experiences they have (just like the game experience!)
So, as a team, we worked out that the best way to change the game they are playing or app they are using – a situation, feeling, relationship dynamic (maybe a sibling is annoying them or a friend is being unkind) is to go back to the programming!
…and here comes the ‘coding for wellbeing’…
We worked out, together, that MINDFULNESS could be a pretty useful tool to help us become aware of what apps we’ve got installed in our brains!
Once we know what’s there, we can then decide what stays, what goes, and what requires an upgrade.
We explored how we can create our own upgrades- one way is to add a few more codes (positive thoughts) or for a whole new app we can flip the belief over like a coin…’I’m bad at maths’ becomes ‘Maths is ok and I can do it!’
From here, we work backward to figure out what coding we’d require to build the software we want to end up with…smaller thoughts (coding language) like ‘maths is useful’, ‘I can make it fun’, ‘theres pretty patterns in maths’, ‘my teacher is kind’, ‘when I’m feeling good I understand better’, ‘theres no rush’ and ‘I’m doing great at maths’.
Now we’re ready to spend some time building this app so that it’s ready for installation (no rush with this, it’s best to get our app just how we want it;-).
So, we get creative!
Out come our journals and we write our our coding, cut out pictures from magazines that represent our new belief (app) visually, use stickers, crayons, texts…anything to really bring our new app to life for us (we just check with mum & dad that they’ve finished reading that magazine before we cut it up ;-). In short- we make it really MAGICAL….using our image-in-aCtion!
Once that’s done (our ‘homework’ for the week until next lesson), we’ll select our self-created awesome app. How? With our intention & focus…enter in mindfulness (present-moment awareness) + heartfulness (generating positive emotional states).
Finally, we INSTALL it via taking action, action in our outside world that SHOWS us it IS installed in our ibrain- like showing up more positive to maths, enjoying the patterns in numbers, tutoring a younger child (to build our own confidence & emphasis what we DO know).
But, as we all know, our iPads, iPhones, and in the case of ourselves, our ibrains, can become too full- that’s where we can use mindfulness once again to create space for upgrades & new apps…this mindfulness thing is suddenly becoming MUCH more appealing to these wellbeing-coders in the making!
Daily Mindfulness Practice is a daily cleaning software for our ibrains, ensuring that there’s always plenty of available memory for any new app we’d like to install.
So, we do have a brain (or now it’s an ibrain!), but it’s not the boss- WE are. Our ibrain RESPONDS to our direction (or app selection), giving instructions to the body to feel, move and interact in certain ways (behaviours) which have certain outcomes (situations).
The REAL boss is our larger ‘mind’
And what exactly is this ‘mind’?
It’s a creative space, (consciousness) of awareness, neutrality, acceptance, non-judgement, curiosity.
And it’s very, very cool…as these kids are learning.
We can use Mindfulness to both foster states of calm, peace and self-acceptance (noticing what’s been installed with our focus in the present moment, de-installing some apps with our breath- the breath is very magical like that…we delve more into ‘the breath that dissolves all faulty apps’ next week ;-).
We can also use mindfulness as a way to create more space in our brains for funner apps! (this is the incentive that this age group needs to really invest their time into mindfulness.
In Magical Mindful Me classes the children and I combine Mindfulness (becoming aware of their current thoughts/apps AND making space for new ones) with Heartfulness-generating intentional states likes gratitude and kindness (the codes behind their new beliefs (apps). I totally join in with the kids for the 30min activity part of the class because it’s important we are ‘learning about this together’, rather than me teaching them- children learn from what we do (95%), not from what we say (a measly 5%). I participate in the coding process because it’s so ridiculously fun! (as you can see I want more time for guitar practice).
Pretty complex and beautiful stuff made simple, understandable and relevant with a really cool metaphor that’s also gender neutral.
Lots of fun art supplies and some time and space to practice the process together, and the magical mindful 7-11’s are already discovering- or rather un-covering, their magical mindful coding abilities.
There’s room for a few more children next week at the 4:30pm class at Community Connect Killcare SLSC, but do let me know if they’re coming along so I can have their journal ready for them.