Posted in administrators, BUddhism, Business, cause and effect, education, enlightenment, Ethics, fears, happiness, love, Mindfulness, self-help, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged art, chain story, creativity, developmental English, ego, fears, feelings, focus, friends, fun, health, inspiration, Jan CHozen Bays, learning, life, Mindfulness on the Go, poetry, questions, relationships, Say YES, school, science, sharing, students, thoughts, training, Truth, work on February 28, 2017|
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All great teachers have the ability to make learning fun. It not only helps the student learn more easily and retain the information better but it makes our jobs more exciting and fun! Who wants to be bored at work, who wants work to be drudgery? No one I know. I want to be excited every morning as I wake up thinking about the great things I can do at work. To hear the students laugh, see them smile, and to see them waiting with bated breath at what I’ll do next!
Even in my adult corporate training classes I play games, I surprise them with treats, compliments, and more. They soon begin to expect the unexpected when they are in a class with me. This encourages them to want to come to training, to realize that making life at work less tedious for themselves and their team will help them live longer and increase the team’s productivity and decrease its sick days! Yes, live longer and healthier!
I don’t believe the adage that “The good die young and the obnoxious live forever.” I believe that laughter is the best medicine and it opens my mind to creativity!
In my developmental English classes I have them write a “chain story” and in one class the last student actually killed the teacher off at the end. Yes, the class killed me off! I just loved the story it was such fun and they all expressed themselves so well. They were able to see how creative they could be in just a sentence or two and how teams can work together easily and without their egos or fears taking over. Even the shy and quiet ones got to participate fully.
In Jan Chozen Bay’s book Mindfulness on the Go, she has a great little exercise you can use with your classes she calls it “Say Yes.” Find every opportunity to say “yes” to people. She invites us to put stickers up with the word “YES” in spots where you’ll notice them in your home and workplace. She even encourages us to write “YES” on the back of our hand so we can see it frequently. She writes, “This task helps us see how often we take a stance that is negative or oppositional. If we are able to watch our mind when someone is talking to us, particularly if they are asking us to do something, we can see our thoughts forming defenses and counterarguments (page 127).”
She shares some examples of how people have used her technique. “One person noted that an external ‘yes’ might not match the real attitude of ‘no’ inside, and that the task helped him detect a hidden constricted state of mind (page 128-29).”
So say YES to life, say YES to FUN and begin to bring it into your classrooms, work rooms, and living rooms and watch what happens. Try it I think you’ll like having FUN for a change!
Let me know how it goes!
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Posted in administrators, BUddhism, Business, campus unrest, cause and effect, Christianity, discrimination, diversity, education, enlightenment, Ethics, fears, happiness, hate speech, human race, love, meditation, Mindfulness, oppression, planet earth, prayer, protesters, psychology, religion, self-help, sickness, suffering, training, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged Buddhism, Christianity, creativity, culture, faith, feelings, focus, friends, health, Health and Wellness Fair, humanity, inspiration, Islam, Kaplan University, learning, Lynn University, nature, politics, prayer, questions, rage, relationships, religion, school, Serve-A-Thon, sharing, spirit, stress management, students, The Virtual Difference Makers, thoughts, training, Truth, violence on February 19, 2017|
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For anything new to emerge there must first be a dream, an imaginative view of what might be. For something great to happen, there must be a great dream. Then venturesome persons with faith in that dream will persevere to bring it to reality.
Some ideas whose time has come will spread as in a forest fire. But most need the help of a teacher. I had the good fortune to have an extraordinary one. He dreamed a great dream of how servanthood could be nurtured in the young, and he spent his best years in bringing it to pass (page 9-10).
Where I work at Kaplan University they encourage not only the students to volunteer and make a difference in their communities but they encourage all faculty to do so as well through The Virtual Difference Makers. Here is a list of some of the things they did in 2016: ran a Spring Virtual Serve-A-Thon, hosted a Stress Management Series, a Virtual Celebration of Rio, sponsored their first annual Health and Wellness Fair, held a Fall Serve-A-Thon and more!.
I have been invited to Lynn University to participate in an interfaith dialog and will be back there again in April for another interfaith dialog. The hall was jammed with students! Standing room only! They asked wonderful questions of the panel.
These were the words on the Flyer for the event: Healing the Divide: Interfaith Dialogue.
In a world where religion so often is the cause of hate and intolerance, we stand together at Lynn to create a world where our religious differences are not simply tolerated but celebrated. This event is precisely that; where religious leaders from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Atheist traditions will come together in celebration of our diverse faith traditions. Come and be amazed!
Imagine the great education the students are receiving at both Kaplan and Lynn and many other colleges around our country when their faculty and administration support such events.
If you are able to create similar events on your campuses I encourage you to do so. Create a Virtual Difference Makers club for students and faculty, run interfaith dialogues, offer training for faculty on meditation and mindfulness. Be the change you want to see in our world! Be the catalyst for peace, love, and kindness spreading around your campus and beyond! The time has come to spread the message of servant leadership at all levels. Change has always come from the bottom up not from the top down! Be the change you want to see in the world!
Good luck with that! Let me know how it goes!
 Greenleaf, R.K. (1987) Teacher as Servant: A Parable. The Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership: Indianapolis, IN
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Posted in administrators, Business, cause and effect, diversity, education, fears, happiness, love, Mindfulness, psychology, self-help, training, Uncategorized, wisdom, tagged art, children, coloring, contentment, drawing, Earth, environment, feelings, fun, health, inspiration, laughter, life, love, magic wand, mindfulness, music, painting, peace, poetry, school, science, sharing, simplicity, students, teaching, thoughts, time, writing on January 31, 2017|
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Teaching students about simplicity is very difficult in a world where there is no example of it in their lives. We live in a society that is complex, busy, noisy, and filled with to-do lists and projects and school, studying, and working toward promotions and more. And this is all happening today!
But to live a life of peace, joy, and contentment we will need to slow down, increase our ability to focus on one thing at a time, and find time to meditate and be mindful about each word, thought, and step we take. When we accomplish this we will be living in a world that is full and complete and filled with peace, love, and compassion. Fears and frustrations will diminish and laughter will appear in their place.
When was the last time you heard yourself or your children or students or co-workers actually laugh with a loud squeal, saw them roll on the floor, and hold their tummy because it hurt so much from laughing? When was the last time you laughed so hard tears rolled down your face like the picture you see here?
Below is an exercise for you to share with them to help them think about simplicity and how it appears in their lives. You may not be able to use it with very young students so you may have to revise it a little bit to show them how to work on one thing at a time and finish it before they go on to the next thing. You might illustrate that idea with two pictures, one that is a very simple picture of something i.e. a glass of milk, and the other that is a very busy and complex picture such as a table full of dishes and food with a glass of milk among the items on the table.
Script for Exercise:
Pretend that you have a magic wand and that magic wand allows you to recreate your life and yourself– to invent a new you. I am going to give you a few minutes to meditate on a word and think about what it means to you and how it appears in your life, or doesn’t appear in your life. The word is simplicity. (short pause)
When I ring the bell I am going to give you several minutes to create something with the art supplies that you have gathered that will illustrate what you discovered about yourself during the meditation. Be as creative as possible in expressing what you discovered and even what the new you, both internally and externally, can look like. Feel free to draw, write, color, express yourself in your own unique way.
Keep track of the time. Give the students 3-5 minutes, longer if they have experience meditating, before ringing the bell. After ringing the bell remind them what they are to be doing for the next 10-15 minutes. Keep track of the time because you will want to save time for debriefing the activity.
You might even try this exercise yourself. Reflecting on simplicity might lighten up your day and brighten up your life! Try it I think you’ll like it…
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Posted in BUddhism, cause and effect, education, enlightenment, love, meditation, prayer, religion, self-help, training, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged Buddhism, Daniel Goleman, feelings, fun, health, learning, life, MASCC, Mindful Games, Pema Chodron, questions, religion, school, Susan Kaiser Greenland, The Mindful Child, The Wisdom of No Escape, Truth on January 20, 2017|
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“In The Wisdom of No Escape, Pema Chodron, one of the foremost American teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, writes…Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already (page 67-8).
When I write about the MASCC in teaching one of the letters stands for mindfulness/meditation. It is ironic that although we sit frequently in order to be different, to change who we think we are, or to find our “higher” self, or achieve enlightenment it is a false assumption. We are already each of those things without spending one minute on the “cushion” as they say in Zen Buddhism.
It is about “befriending who you are, loving ourselves with all the patience we can muster, with all the love we can imagine, and with no criticism. We sit simply to sit. We quiet our minds simply to help shut down the chatter of the “monkeys” as we talked about before. When we do that the rest comes naturally. The divine being that we are simply shows up. Our words become kinder and gentler, our compassion grows for all people and things, and we begin to live a life of peace, love, and compassion.
We don’t have to “throw ourselves” away because the parts of us that are hindering us in life will quietly leave and go bother someone else! We will suddenly be living in a kinder gentler world.
So when you offer your students a few moments in each class to simply do that 60 second 3 Breath Exercise I wrote about before you are helping them discover their true self, to expand their self-esteem, to believe in themselves, and to know that with time, effort, and love, they can succeed at any goal that they genuinely want to attain.
If you are working with children and using the 3 Breath Exercise you might want to take another tip from Susan Greenland from her Mindful Games book. She gives us two great tips.
Lying down is often children’s favorite meditation posture, but Mindful Breathing can also be practiced sitting or standing.
“If it’s difficult for kids to stay still when they practice Mindful Breathing while sitting or standing, they often find it helpful to sway from side to side slowly and with control (page 70). 
You may not be a teacher or a kid but if you too feel sitting practice is difficult try her other two techniques and let me know how it goes! Wear your MASCC every day and watch what happens!
 Greenland, S. K. (2016) Mindful Games. Shambhala: Boulder, CO.
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Posted in administrators, BUddhism, diversity, education, fears, happiness, love, meditation, Mindfulness, self-help, training, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged art, artfulness, autobiographical, blog, breath work, Buddhism, creativity, Deborah Schoeberlein, drawing, environment, feelings, fishbone, fun, health, inspiration, learning, life, meditation, mind mapping, Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything, mindfulness, Mindfulness A guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything, music, Ph.D, poetry, questions, school, science, Suki Sheth, thoughts, work on January 14, 2017|
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I can’t say I am very talented in the area of art in any way from drawing, to painting, to music, or dance. However, I love to look at great art, listen to great music, and watch people dance from classical to Hip Hop. But to help your students grow in all areas of their lives it is important for us as parents, teachers, and coaches to expose them to art in all its forms.
Here is another great tidbit for you from Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything by Deborah Schoeberlein (with Suki Sheth, PH.D.). This exercise gives the students time to discover the artistic talents that they have hidden away in the recesses of their minds. She calls this exercise “Drawing the Mind: Enhancement for Take 1 (For Students) (pages 93-94).
Part 1: Current Mental State
- Sit quietly. (Give students about thirty seconds before giving the next instruction.)
- Notice what’s happening in your mind: are there thoughts, feelings, or sensations? None, some, or many? Do they remain the same or change?
- Draw a picture of your mental state right now in the left-hand corner of your paper. (Give students a minute or so to complete their drawings.)
- Return to sitting quietly.
- Fold the left-hand third of the paper (with the drawing) face-down, so the two remaining blank sections remain face-up covering it .
Upon completion of the three sections of this exercise she invites the students to share their drawings and reflect on their experiences.
I have an exercise that I do in my classes with my adults and it helps them learn how to use a mind map when asked to write a report, essay, or article. I read a one page mini autobiographical blog post that I wrote entitled “Sometimes a horse looks like a cow.” Next, we take our three breaths and then I invite them to think of a time in their life that they could write about. Some write about something that happened when they were young, others about high school or college or marriage, or the day their first child was born. Once they have created the mind map I have them write the story.
They are all shocked about how much fun they had remembering this event, how easy it was to write the story after they took their three breaths and wrote their mind map out. They discover that artfulness and creativity are in everyone if they just take the time to foster them, to let them appear, and to be free to grow!
Let me know how it works for you and your students!
 Schoeberlein, D., Sheth, S. (2009) Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness A Guide for anyone Who teaches Anything Somerville, MA:Wisdom Publications
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