We are so excited about our next speaker in the 2016-2017 Parent Education Series. Alumni parent, Dr. Leslie Kaplan, is an expert in the areas of nutrition and adolescent eating disorders, and she will speak on these topics -- including how to promote a healthy body image -- on April 13th at 8:00 a.m. Invitations will be sent out soon.
Last week, alumni parent, Jo Pessin, spoke to parents about living (and parenting) mindfully and how she has been teaching mindfulness to our Laurence faculty and students over the past year and a half. Jo discussed that mindful (or thoughtful) living is about living in the moment with awareness, curiosity, and openness. Sometimes things are right in front of us, she explained, but we don't really see them because we come to the table with expectations, thoughts and opinions. "We set ourselves up to see and hear only what we are expecting," she said. "It takes practice to be open and leave your expectations, thoughts, and opinions aside - to set aside your judgment."
Jo talked about how living mindfully affects parenting. She explained: "With our children, every moment is a new moment. They grow and change all the time. If we embrace each moment, one at a time, see it as a new moment that might be different, we open ourselves up to new experiences and having compassion for what's really there."
Parents in attendance also had the opportunity to engage in some of the mindfulness practices that Jo has been teaching in our classrooms, including mindful breathing, "Karate Chops," and mindfully using different senses. You can find instructions for practicing these activities at home at the links below:
Jo also explained that mindfulness can be practiced both formally and informally. Informal practice can take place during many daily activities, for example, while doing the dishes, driving, listening to music, or eating. Formal practices, she said, can start with just one to five minutes a day. The goal is to create a practice and find ways to be more mindful throughout the day. Our teachers are encouraging this in the classroom and parents can model mindful living, too. Over time, this mindfulness helps to create new neural pathways in our brains, improving emotional and physical well-being.
One tool that Jo uses herself is a "meaning to pause" bracelet - a beautiful beaded bracelet with a little mechanism that vibrates every 60 or 90 minutes, reminding you to pause and live mindfully. If you're interested in getting one for yourself, you can click here and use the discount code ATW15 for a 15% discount.
We are so grateful to Jo for all that she is doing to help the Laurence community live more mindfully! For more information about Jo and her practice, you can visit her website.
Please note that this speaker event was not recorded on video due to the private nature of the mindfulness activities.