In this episode of The Conscious Classroom, we explore the art of contemplative writing, mindful journaling. It is a practice that can help us as teachers access our deeper purpose which sometimes gets buried beneath submitting grades and filling out forms for the District. Mindful journaling helps us untie knots, allow different perspectives, and take risks in our thinking. It creates the conditions for empathy for our students and insight into how to create a safe environment for our students to grow and thrive.Support the show
Welcome to the conscious classroom podcast, where we're exploring tools and perspectives that support educators and anyone who works with teams to create more conscious, supportive, and enriching learning environments. I'm your host, Amy Edelstein, and I'll be sharing transformative insights and ease.
The classroom supports that are all drawn from mindful awareness and systems thinking the themes we'll discuss are designed to improve your joy and fulfilment in your work and increase your impact on the world we share. Let's get on with this next episode.
hello. Welcome to the conscious classroom. My name is Amy Edelstein. Today is part of the restorative teachers series. We're going to talk about mindful journaling for teachers, not just what you can do in your class. It's a subject that's near and dear to my heart. I have loved to write ever since I was at least seven years old or eight years old and writing was always to me, a place.
Where I could work out questions, explore, express, and try out different ideas that I wasn't so sure about, but I allowed them to bubble forth from within me. And it created a means and method of dialogue with myself or to myself. The means of the written word and paper allowed so many tension knots and internal knots and external knots to unfold.
Let them unwind themselves.
We're going to do some mindful journaling today. So hope you have a piece of paper. And a pen nearby. And when we get to those moments, hit the pause button, allow yourself to flow, allow yourself to connect, and allow yourself to write for the love of writing. Writing is such a huge part of learning. It helps us articulate and form what we sense into ideas that we can communicate with one another.
In this age of texting and chatting, the written word is evolving really. There's a whole new language and lexicon. It's a whole new spelling, but the long-form written word helps us connect with something different. It allows us to slow down. It allows us to take time to pause before the ideas form.
And it allows us to slow down the pace of life, which has become so relentless.
I think about the years that I lived in north India. Mostly in small villages in the high Himalayan mountains where the villages were small, people worked hard, they were farmers or shepherds or weavers. They a Bogan worked hard. They seem to have much more time to be with each other and to be with themselves.
Then we seem to do in our culture
that are forms of communication, whether it's texts or emails have taken over the 24-hour cycle, we no longer stop when the sun goes down and we can't see anymore. We no longer stop when our body is wearied and our muscles need arrest. We no longer stop. When we need to prepare food, we keep going, keep the consuming language, information requests as teachers also, we feel that we have to respond.
Because we're aware that connecting with whoever it is on the other end can be so very important. So the idea of slowing down of slow journaling of allowing the thoughts to emerge and come forward, even if they're shy, thoughts and thoughts that are hiding. Insights intimations the quiet murmurings of our heart.
When we do a mindful journaling practice, we use prompts or we simply use the space to let, let our inner selves speak to us. And we slow down so that we have the time to listen.
What are the instructions for mindful journaling that make it mindful or contemplative rather than simply journaling? There is a specific posture in orientation, just like there is with our sitting, just say, And let the mind go with no particular, direction or aspiration or intention is not the same as mindful sitting, mindful walking with that intention to be very free of an agenda and very connected.
With our movement through space, our contact with the earth like Henry David Thoreau's sauntering, even though you saunter without a purpose or an end, you saunter with that intent to free the mind of its constraints and free the heart to speak to you and mindful journey. We allow what's hidden to reveal itself to us.
We allow the murmurings of all of our hearts and the aspirations of ourselves to speak to us through our writing. The instructions for mindful journaling are simple. You take the process. Or a question that you're sitting with, you put pen to paper and then you keep writing. Maybe you pause to reflect, to allow a different thought to come in.
That pause is an invitation, is a patient waiting
in mindful journalism. We let go of the desire to express ourselves perfectly to get the perfect word, the perfect sentence, construction, the acceptable thought, or even the right answer to something that we're considering and want to resolve in mindful journaling. You allow your thoughts to me. You allow them to ebb and flow back and forth from insight into rest.
From pause back to an idea, you allow your writing to turn into. Shapes or doodles. If there are no words to express, you allow your, your, your contemplation to flow into different subjects, ideas, relationships, memories, maybe worries, piggyback along or goals with mindful journaling. You allow that contemplative.
To embrace everything that you are unearthing simply as it is not for any purpose in and of itself. The practice of contemplative writing has a purpose. And that purpose is to allow us to slow down and connect. With our deeper intentions and our higher aspirations. And sometimes we have to Wade through the Merck and the shallows.
We have to wave through the stagnant waters to get the clear Springs, the intention of this contemplative. Right. Is to allow those clear Springs to show themselves and reveal themselves. And it allows us to trust that even if we are waiting through the tepid and dank waters of our concerns and worries and fears that that river's edge is being filled.
By that, which is pure.
The reason why I wanted to include this in our conscious classroom, restorative teachers series is that writing is something that as educators, we often ask our students to do, even in mathematics or something, Their explanations of how we solve problems or lab observations. And sometimes we don't get the opportunity to express ourselves as teachers.
And I feel that that self-expression those outlets, that ability to find our voice and to articulate what we care about is essential. To our rejuvenation and renewal from the daily demands of being there for others and teaching others. So let's get down to it and we'll do some practice right now.
Okay. Let's give it a shot. This journal prompt is an easy one to work with. The prompt is when I go outside. I dot. dot. So contemplate, take a sip of water. Take your favourite pen or pencil and your journal, press pause and write. And allow that sentence stem to draw from the richness of yourself, the richness of your soul, the richness of your being and work with it.
We'll be back. Great. Welcome back. Notice what's happening. When you're teaching your students and asking them to write, and they get that concentrated, look on their face, they get quiet. Some of them put their heads down. Some of them chew the end of their pencil. They're allowing themselves to access a different sensitivity, a different part of themselves.
That part seems to draw language. From nowhere that draws out ideas and substance and content from the amorphous pool of knowing, sensing, memory and vision.
When you practice contemplative journaling on your own, you let yourself go into that. And it's a very gentle and delicate and sensitive place. So as you start becoming brief familiarizing yourself with it, when you're giving those writing prompts to students or getting them, to work on an essay, you'll be more familiar with the qualities that you want to bring into the.
The qualities of waiting and allowing the qualities of trusting oneself to have something important, to say the quality of validating yourself, these really important qualities to reinforce with your students. They don't automatically have. And there's so much competitiveness and insecurity and self-doubt and criticism that when you ask students to write, you want to draw from your own experience to create a very supportive environment and an environment where they can flourish and bring forward their ideas.
Now let's try a different type of problem. This is one way there's a conundrum
I feel perplexed by your prompt, or I feel concerned about your prompt. Allow yourself to write and get the worries out. Allow yourself to consider that problem from different perspectives. Try to take. Someone else's shoes, maybe it's your shoes from the future
or somebody else involved in the issue pauses you write, what are positives in this situation that are confusing or perplexing that you haven't wanted to see, even if they're much smaller. What are some positive outcomes that can come now, this is not to whitewash. This is not to deny hurt and harm. This is not to wipe away anyone's challenges, but it is important that we also keep looking for all aspects.
And again, this is not to condone or excuse even the most horrific situations. No. As the Dalai Lama has said at different points and he speaks, with deep pain about the genocide of his people. A million were killed, how the monasteries were destroyed, and greatly revered masters were tortured. But at other times he will talk about how, because of that, it was time also for Tibet to open up to the world and for its culture to be influenced.
Western science and for Western science to be influenced by its culture. And even though it's a small, positive, millions of people in the west have been influenced by his personhood and his kindness and his compassion and his forgiveness. He's authentically able to see both without, in any way, reducing.
Or minimizing the devastation and also being willing to see some unexpected positives, new friendships and collaborations and influences that wouldn't have happened otherwise.
So pause, and take a sip of water. This one might be harder. Pause. The audio and let yourself, right. I feel perplexed by, or I feel concerned about and write everything you can about it. Let it go, let it flow express all of the different concerns, extrapolate out, and express as many different points of view as you can.
And allow yourself to open up to even a tiny glimmer of positivity or growth and compassion that can come out of even the most horrific of situations.
Don't take a pause now in the audio, do your writing and we'll come back.
that's great. Welcome back. Reflect on how it went. What are you feeling now? What emotions do you have? What sensations do you have? Did you hate this? Will you resist?
Did you think that the instructions were naive?
we're doing our best to cultivate our empathy towards ourselves and the students we teach. We're not trying to cultivate platitudes or superficial. We are trying to cultivate a multi-dimensional engagement with life
and an ability to see paradoxical or contradictory experiences at the same time.
Again, this will help bring empathy to our students. Understanding for those who are in very challenging situations or painful situations who also feel conflicted emotions.
this is an auto prompt. I encourage you to do it all of the time, but it is in times when we're too. With the issues and conundrums, we do want to be able to see beyond them.
And then our final prompts.
I'd like you to allow yourself to rejuvenate and restore with this. My heart fills up when and completes the sentence stem or I care about
allow yourself to be free. Allow yourself to be open. Allow yourself to range far and go close. Allow yourself to consider. Aspects of your life, your family, your work, the world, my heart fills up when and complete the sentence over and over. Let your thoughts flow and allow yourself to become, be in dialogue with your own deeper self.
Be in dialogue with that, which you care about. Be in dialogue with that, which is most important to you. You can pause the audio, have a drink of water and let yourself.
Or reminder about why we do mindful journaling for ourselves. It's an easy restoration tool. It's an easy practice that we can do. We're paying attention without judgment. We're allowing ourselves to feel what we feel and we're allowing ourselves to sink beneath the surface layer of experience. Beneath the flotsam and jetsam on the top of the river of our minds and to access those currents of our heart, those currents of the self that are there.
If we pause and turn our ears inward,
it's part of our restorative teachers series. Helping you restore just as you are. But of course our ability to be free with our writing, to express ourselves, to allow ourselves to be creative, innovative, visionary, and impactful in what we write and say and do. We'll create that environment for our students.
It will invite our students to do the same, whether we're teaching physics or algebra two or geometry or English or history,
the point is to become more and more conscious of ourselves so we can create more and more conscious classes. And so our students can become more and more conscious, which goes hand in hand with being more and more caring than IX, that ability to explore in a choir and be curious goes together with a delicate delicacy, a gentleness, and compassion for ourselves and others.
And that compassion means that we can. Simply because that's our groundwater. We care about other beings. We care that we, create a world where we all co-exist in harmony. So thank you again for tuning in to the conscious classroom.
Please leave a review. It helps other teachers find the podcast, get inspired, explore and be celebrants of life. Enjoy. Stay healthy and be well till next time. Thank you for listening to the conscious classroom. I'm your host, Amy Edelstein. Please check out the show notes on inner strength, and foundation.net for links and more information.
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