LOVE vs FEAR
Without going into details regarding studies, research findings, scientific evidence and such like, found on the internet and elsewhere, I will note that while Yogis have reported 1000s of years of, at the very least, anecdotal evidence, science is now proving the health benefits of mindfulness, meditation, positive thinking, gratitude and many other yogic and spiritual practices. The miracle you are hoping for might be just a few breaths away.
Mindfulness, Meditation and Miracles
THOUGHTS BECOME THINGS! (Mike Dooley)
The one thing you can control in a world that seems out of control is your breath.
BALLOON BREATHING: Inhale deeply and slowly, through your nose, expanding your body. Exhale, even more slowly, contracting your body. This is one of the most effective ways to calm anxiety, stress and fear. Do not underestimate the power of the breath. Try to mindfully and consciously breathe as outlined above.
* A health professional has said that sore throats are on the rise. It seems that many people are breathing through their mouth while wearing masks. This is not a good practice. Please be mindful that breathing through your nose is more efficient and healthful. The hairs in your nose filter out allergens and other particles helping to reduce allergies and infections. Nostrils, being smaller than the mouth, control the amount of air intake with each breath.
Take a few minutes each day to purposely breathe mindfully. Set a timer, or choose a reminder, (recess bell, red light, phone ringing, anything), stop, breathe, proceed. If something is likely to trigger a reaction, instead, stop, breathe and respond more calmly.
By helping your body, mind and heart stay out of flight, fight or fear as often as possible you are actively increasing the potential of well-being.
If the Dalai Lama believes that by teaching children to meditate, world peace can be achieved within one generation, imagine how meditation could stop the war within each of us, potentially promoting greater health and well-being. While meditators, of any age, are not guaranteed they will never get ill, never experience challenges, never face sadness and loss, the benefits of meditation are widely recognized. Meditation promotes less stress, reduced anxiety, better sleep, more kindness, inner peace and more pathways that lead toward better health. Meditation promises the hope of calm regardless of what life deals out. Children (and adults alike) do not need to spend long, tedious minutes in absolute quiet and stillness. Even a minute of mindfulness (once or several times a day) or a lovely visualization or a walking meditation may all lead to the benefits that boost the immune system or help recover from dis-ease.
Two sessions a day (morning and night) of about 20 minutes each, sitting in stillness, going within, while breathing mindfully, without judgement is a common prescription for adult meditation. However, several planned or spontaneous mindful moments throughout the day, taking 1-3 slow, deep breaths, paying close attention to a task, whether washing hands or eating lunch, or consciously practicing kindness, gratitude, empathy or visualizing an outcome, offer similar benefits to a long seated meditation. First create a mindfulness/meditation practice yourself and then teach children to find their own calm, still, peace within for their own well-being and for that of those around them. This does not need to take long. No one has to sit on top of their desk, as cool as this may be. Everyone alive breathes all day long, just be mindful of some of those breaths throughout the day.
Athletes do it. Actors do it. Academics do it! Whether to win a medal, get to first base in little league, get the lead in community theatre, win an academy award or ace a test, visualization has proven results. If you can close your eyes and see, hear, smell, sense and/or imagine your office, your bedroom, your kitchen, your classroom, you can visualize. There are many audio, YouTube and written visualizations that you can listen to or read to your children (and do some yourself). Because children have not lost their ability to use their senses, imagine or create pictures in their minds, a visualization is a fabulous form of mindfulness meditation or relaxation technique for them. Google or pick up a book at the library and enter the world of imaginary journeys. Seated or lying down, focusing on muscle groups or doing a body scan can set the stage. With body awareness, mindfully release any tension before beginning. Helping children feel or see their Happy Place gives them a reference to return to when big emotions take over. Reducing anger, stress, fear and other feelings go a long way in creating a happier, more centred and resilient child (adult!). Look some up; make some up. Again they do not need to be long. Get them started with a short beginning. Give them a setting and continue or let them fill in the middle. Compose a gentle ending to bring them back if they're still awake. This might be a nice way to wind down before bed to encourage a restful night's sleep or during the day when it allows time to explore their journey through journal writing or drawing a picture. Visualization has many applications from sleeping better to standing up to someone in a challenging situation.
Visualizing getting to first base is one thing, "seeing" your body recover or stay well is another. I heard of a young girl who envisioned healthy cells to help her body get over a bout of flu. She sang all day, "The cells in my body are healthy and happy, the cells in my body are healthy and well. The cells in my body are healthy and happy, the cells in my body are healthy and well. My cells are happy. My cells are well. Every little cell in my body is well. My cells are happy. My cells are well. Every little cell in my body is well. (Tune Mama's Little Baby Loves Shortnin, Shortnin" - or use a different one, make one up, make up your own lyrics but visualize your body healthy and well!)
TEACHERS who start the day or add little songs throughout, be sure to add this one sometime during each day. Tired of the Happy Birthday song, try this when kids are washing their hands.
Love Bubble: Some children are pretty adaptable so wearing a face mask or playing six feet away from a friend might just become old hat to them but there are others who may experience very real, very terrifying anxiety. Help them feel safe by visualizing (imagining) they are in a safety bubble of love and light. Let them choose the colour for their bubble. Encourage them to sense this bubble all around them even if no one else can see it. Explain that they are so powerful that they have created a bubble that only the people or things they like will be allowed to get through. They can see it surround them however they wish; they can imagine it growing all around them so it is really big; they can leave it pretty empty or fill it with rainbows, unicorns, dragons and ice cream cones. This is their bubble and they can do what they wish with it, except that it should be filled with LOVE. If age appropriate you could explain that love is greater than fear. Words, feelings, thoughts, everything is energy. Energy is vibration. Love energy is a higher vibration than fear. Higher vibrations are braver than lower vibrations. Just think about it fear is not very brave. Be Kind. Be Happy (as often as possible). Be Your Best Self. Keep your vibration high.
Shield: In the same way as children can surround themselves in a bubble of light and love, they could imagine putting on armor or wearing a shield. First thing in the morning as they brush their teeth they could also put on their shield. ("Shields up Scotty!")
Force Field: My friend Sam was doing yoga with me when he decided he needed to put a Force Field around him, It worked wonders for keeping skunk spray, animal attacks and other imaginary dilemmas at bay. I am sure it would have also kept the virus out but that day we had other things to worry about. He used lightning, frozen spears and so many creative ways to enhance his Force Field to be safe from so many dangers. That day he even jumped up and kicked to show me that he was completely safe inside his Force Field. It was a mighty invisible barrier to the outside world.
Invisible cloak: Harry Potter fans may like to envision themselves wrapped in an invisible cloak to keep them safe.
Visualizing a safe haven whatever it resembles is confined only by the imagination. Bubbles of light have been a favourite in spiritual circles, often including angels, unicorns and dragons for decades or longer. But it is important to remember that it is the intent that helps these invisible safety features to work. Believe what you will but believe (and wash your hands!) These are to augment the layer of protection that you can create physically. Energetic bubbles however they are made are added dimensions.