Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Tara, Beth, Anna, Kathleen & Deb for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Be. Present. Now.

There's too much. Life is too fast. It's hard to catch my breath. I'm in the middle of two planning days between first and second quarter. I love the end and the beginning. It's time to reflect. Readjust. Renew...usually...but the words, "too much" keep floating around in my head as I worry about fitting it all in. My attention is distracted with new initiatives and techniques. I'm overwhelmed and failing at mindfulness.

This thought shifted my thinking to mindfulness. Am I in the moment? No. I worry and plan and check emails...what can I do? The first thing I did was to stop checking emails multiple times a day. In the past, I would check my work email ten or more times a day!

My notebook helps me with my mindfulness. It's like my security blanket. When I feel like there's too much coming at me, the pages of my notebook save me from that. I dive in and remind myself what's important and the calm returns quickly.

As this school year started, I noticed that I only checked email once in the beginning of the day, during planning and as the day ended. A couple of weeks into the school year, I caught myself checking in between classes and found myself getting very distracted and frustrated. It was that lightbulb moment that told me, "Checking email takes you away from your students and instruction. STOP!" That's tip number one to move closer to mindfulness...Don't check email during the day. BE present with your students. They notice!

Teachers, we need to practice mindfulness. We need to model it for our students. Life moves too quickly. Slowing down and savoring the moment is vital to enjoying life. How will our students know how to do that if we don't show them?

Wanting to know about the practice of mindfulness, I have a couple of books...
The Little Book of Mindfulness by Dr. Patrizia Collard and The Zen Teacher by Dan Tricarico.

I'm searching for interesting and informative videos too. I found this one from TED. He challenges us to do nothing for ten minutes a day. NOTHING. Does that cause you stress just thinking about it like it does for me? I think that means we need it! Take ten minutes and listen. Let his words sink in and do something to practice mindfulness today! 

Do you practice mindfulness? How? Some of my other mindfulness practices include...
walking, coloring, yoga, writing. I'd love more ideas!


  1. This is such a needed post I just found out about the Zen Teacher! Time to get on it. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. It is the journey we all need to be mindful of. What matters is right now.

  2. There are quite a few books out now about mindfulness for children. I didn't look at my e-mail except in the am & after school either. It is distracting, & typical teacher, you want to 'fix' immediately, right? Good for you for reflecting & seeing that you want to change Michelle. I assume you know the Zen books by Jon Muth-all wonderful. Best wishes in your changes.

  3. A bit of yoga helps to bring you into that quiet place. I use the movement with students to help slow them down and create focus. Good Post for these busy times.

  4. My new picture book find, I Am Yoga by Susan Verde and illustrations by Peter Reynolds is a great book for children to think about mindfulness. Susan is going to speak at my association's spring luncheon. Thanks Michelle for keeping the topic fresh in my mind. I like the direction you took with being at peace for 10 minutes. We all need to be aware of how to slow down our lives.

  5. Michelle, I just received a gift from a colleague and it is a whole book dedicated to short essays on Mindfulness. It's from Flow magazine. There are actually Mindfulness workshops. Google it. :) I need to practice more Mindfulness myself. I need to SLOW DOWN.

  6. In addition to the books mentioned I recommend "Mindfulness for Teachers" by Patricia A. Jennings. Mindfulness sounds easier in theory than it is in practice. What I have understood the most important thing is the daily practice - it can take many forms and be in different length but the regularity of it matters to the brain in the long term. Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the leaders in mindfulness movement. There are speeches and meditations available when you google him. The best would be to find a teacher with whom you could meet. Kind of dream. I believe mindfulness in education (both for the teachers and the students) matters a lot for the emotional health.

  7. What a great ah-ha you had about checking email! That's huge and so important. Your post reminded me of a mantra we have in my house/family: "be with the people." Such good thinking, Michelle. I hope you have a great second quarter.

  8. Oh so much truth in this! I just returned to teaching this year, and find the perceived immediacy of email to be frustrating. I too have had to limit myself on when to check/ respond to emails. And to carry over my mindfulness from teaching time to parenting time! thank you so much for posting!

  9. Oh so much truth in this! I just returned to teaching this year, and find the perceived immediacy of email to be frustrating. I too have had to limit myself on when to check/ respond to emails. And to carry over my mindfulness from teaching time to parenting time! thank you so much for posting!

  10. Michele, so good that you recognized the effect the Emails were having on your mindful living and interaction with the world. When I started out on my mindful journey, I set my alarm to go off once an hour to remind me to pause and look around and see if I was fully engaged in the activity at hand.

  11. I love this post. You're so right, we need to slow down and be present. Like you, I love to go to yoga for this - my fave class is at Core Power Yoga and it's called Hot Power Fusion, where you constrict your internal organs one at a time, but after you constrict them, you stretch them - so it's this balancing act with all of them, and meanwhile, we're meditating to an intention yo set for our practice that day. Its a remarkable way to be present in the moment! I need to try out coloring though!

    I appreciate your book recommendations, too! Thank you for sharing!


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