Ms. Joanie, can I show this to the class today?"
Two others students are also saying my name and another one is running around the room. A parent walks in who wants to chat for a moment. In my head, I'm wondering when yoga turned into show and tell and what the small jewelry box has to do with it.
I finish placing the blankets in a circle, put the journals and colored pencils out, take a deep breath and turn my attention back to the little girl who so sweetly asked about sharing...
"Hi:). Yes, we'll end class a bit early and make time. Be sure to remind me again before Savasana."
The organized chaos of arrival settles, kids begin coloring their journals and filling out their gratitude page. Now I can check-in with a few parents before class officially begins.
More or less, this is the wild and crazy start to a typical class. The reason I share is not the chaos though. That's pretty normal and we've all experienced it as teachers or parents.
It's the little girl.
The one my past self may not have fully listened to or acknowledged because I was too busy setting up. The one my past self may have said, "I'm not sure we'll have time today." The one my past self would have quickly said "Sure" and then forgotten.
Yoga and mindfulness have taught me to slow down and truly listen. Not just to my students, but my own thoughts as well. When the voice in my head tried to convince me there wasn't enough time and yoga wasn't for show and tell, I listened and then responded back with...
"No time?" What do you need time for? More downward dogs? Or, can you adjust your plan and let one of your students connect with her peers?
And so, it became crystal clear, I created the time. We ended early that day and joined in a circle again for the share.
The class was more engaged and focused on her than they probably ever were when I was teaching. One by one, she pulled out delicate fairies and fairy houses that she had drawn, then color photo copied and cut out for each student. She explained in detail about a fairyland that came to be during Savasana the week prior. This is what she pictured in her mind, so she went home and drew every last detail imaginable. Then, brought it back as a gift for the class.
Imagine if I had not given the time for this magical moment because of my own silly agenda. It brought me to tears and does again as I write. So often we rush our students and children because we think we don't have the time.
What might we learn about them if we listened a bit more? What might we learn about ourselves? What joy might we experience together?
Here's to embracing the practice of mindful listening this week.
xo Joanie Plake Founder of B&L | M.A. Childhood & Special Education | E-RYT 200 www.breatheandlearn.com
p.s. Interested in an afternoon of mindfulness, connection and pumpkin succulents? Join us for our first Mother-Daughter Breathe & Craft at The Well Fitness Studio from 2:00 - 3:30 this Saturday, Nov. 16.
Pumpkin succulents are the perfect Thanksgiving gift and festive decoration. Not to mention, a lot of fun to make! Each participant will get to design their own pumpkin. All materials included. Click here to login and register. Space is limited!