The Gift of Full Attention

Cindy (center) and two of her colleagues, all of whom participated in our recent Mindfulness for Educators weekend at the Still Meadow Retreat Center.

Cindy (center) and two of her colleagues, all of whom participated in our recent Mindfulness for Educators weekend at the Still Meadow Retreat Center.

Cindy Ewers is a Special Education teacher who participated in our recent Mindfulness for Educators weekend. Here's her beautiful reflection about the experience.

The Mindfulness for Educators workshop provided an opportunity for me to deepen my personal mindfulness practice so that I can be more grounded and present in my work with middle school students.

It is so important for us to slow down and give each other the gift of our full attention, even if it’s only for brief moments. Two of the skills we used, compassionate listening and reflective listening, have increased my ability to effectively communicate in my personal and professional life. When the focus is on listening fully, my busy mind doesn’t need to become distracted with formulating my response, making the conversation about me, or coming up with unsolicited advice. Focusing on what the other person is trying to convey has allowed me to become less emotionally reactive in stressful situations. I’ve come to understand that I don’t need to take others’ behavior or struggles personally, even when it’s directed at me.

It is so important for us to slow down and give each other the gift of our full attention, even if it’s only for brief moments.

The workshop was the perfect blend of introducing and practicing mindfulness skills ourselves so that we can bring more mindfulness to our students.

As exemplified by the instructors, our own mindful presence can be the most powerful tool in teaching mindfulness, or in fact any content. The instructors’ embodiment and modeling of vulnerability and authenticity allowed us to experience firsthand the possibility of creating deep connection with our youth.

Having a personal mindfulness practice can reduce the stress that so many educators endure and it has helped me to experience more joy with my students.

I am grateful that I was able to attend with two of my colleagues so that we can create momentum in sharing mindfulness in our school (with students and staff). They are both newer to mindfulness and the workshop allowed them to personally experience how powerful it can be to practice mindfulness as it increases our capacity to connect with others, be more present in our daily lives, and as self-care. 

I am hopeful and optimistic about the change that is possible when we are able to bring mindfulness into our lives and classrooms in this way.

Want to bring mindfulness into your life and classroom? There's still time to register for our 8-week Mindful Teaching course!