Happy New School Year! Most of you are either back in the saddle at a full gallop or at least cantering as you take the reins during this busy time of starting anew with your school families! How will you say “Whoa!” every once in a while to ensure that you are staying in the moment, taking care of yourselves, your family, and what is most important?
In June, I had the pleasure of attending Catalyst University 2019 with my learning and thought partner, Jonathan Swegles. Catalyst University is held each year in Kalamazoo and is one of the largest leadership conferences in the State of Michigan. It is an inspiring and motivating day that I treasure as an opportunity to fill my professional learning cup.
Carlos Whitaker, one of the speakers we heard, shared the importance of Making Moments! He espoused that “You can live your life, or it will live you!” He reminded us that we have to create moments, be intentional about “inviting others into our story.” He shared that often we are so focused on the hustle and bustle that we miss “moments” in our life. His suggestion is to SLOW DOWN! Receive moments by opening your heart and your hands!
Whitaker shared a story of researchers studying the habits of people on an escalator, questioning what they would be doing while waiting to get to the next floor. Almost 97% had their heads down looking at their phones! He shared wonderful advice from his dad that in life, he should “GAZE UP! And Glance Down!
I experienced this phenomenon shortly after attending Catalyst U and stopped to get gas at Costco. While pumping gas, I have a habit of pulling out my phone and Gazing Down! I stopped myself and put it away and Gazed Up! The picture of the beautiful blue sky and puffy clouds is what I encountered in this wonderful mindful moment! I continue to be intentional about not having a “relationship” with my phone, but intentionally gazing up to ensure I am “living my life, instead of it living me!”
Roland Barth, founder of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Principals Center always reminded us that when we are in our office and heavy into the management and mind-cluttering stress of a principals work, we need to remind ourselves, “With what I am doing right now, how is it helping the learning of a child.” A simple reminder that intentionally can shift our focus from gazing down, to gazing up!
Caryn Wells, in her book How School Leaders Can Reduce Stress and Thrive on the Job shares some practical opportunities to intentionally carve out Mindful Moments.
Somethings I can do to practice a mindful moment . . .
- Enjoy and savor a . . .
- Take some extra time with . . .
- Choose one: In the morning/afternoon/evening I could . . .
- One ordinary thing I could slow down to notice would be . . .
- At work, it would be possible to . . .
- One ‘mindful moment’ thing I could do to take better care of myself . . .
- I have wanted to slow down my world to notice this ‘mindful moment’ . . .
MINDFULNESS How School Leaders Can Reduce Stress and Thrive on the Job Caryn M. Wells, Rowman and Littlefield, 2015
Before you gallop off into the sunset tonight to get home to the most important people in your lives, stop living life in auto mode . . . live life in manual mode and make moments remembering to Gaze Up, and Glance Down!