Crane School Blog: Focus on Learning

Featuring articles written by Crane Staffulty

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Mindfulness: A Journey Back to Our Roots
Tray London

Think about a moment you remember vividly. Maybe it was the winning goal you kicked in that championship high school game or the first time you rode a bike on your own.

Think about a moment you remember vividly. Maybe it was the winning goal you kicked in that championship high school game or the first time you rode a bike on your own. These memories come back to life almost instantly in our mind’s eye as we recall every detail from how hot it was that day to the smell of fresh cut grass in the air. We also connect to the emotion of the moment--the exhilaration, the joy, the wholeness of a moment fully lived.
 
Over spring break, we headed to Joshua Tree to soak up the quiet and the beauty of the desert in bloom. I am a nature girl at heart and no stranger to the great outdoors, but even I was touched by the stark contrast of living outdoors for a few days. The pace of the day was structured around the sun’s light, hunger, and the energy level of our youngest child. Meals were simple and there was ample time to rest, to daydream, and to just notice the world around us. And, of course, there were campfires, which always seem to foster the best conversations. On hikes through the park, the girls were keenly focused on seeing everything. We never found the elusive desert tortoise, but we saw much that we would have just walked by had we not been paying attention. This short excursion into the desert turned out to be a series of mindful moments that I will definitely store as vivid memories.
 
Our early ancestors used to live more mindfully all day long. Their survival depended on being present and observant. On the drive home, I couldn’t help but be struck by how far we have strayed from our more simple and connected beginnings. My contemporary conditioned mind and my working-harder-is-smarter upbringing are a force to be reckoned with when trying to live more mindfully.
 
Greater Good Magazine lists the numerous benefits of mindfulness including how mindfulness boosts the immune system, reduces stress and depression, increases the density of gray matter in the brain, fosters compassion, and combats bias. We know we need to live this way and yet we constantly spread ourselves thin and fall prey to distraction. Raising children and working with children in these times is a constant reminder of the need to choose the road less traveled: choose to put the technology away, choose to show up fully when your child wants to share, and choose to put the to-do list away at some point everyday. Luckily, there are some great role models for mindful living right in our own Crane community. Many teachers incorporate mindfulness practice into their daily curriculum, and Staffulty practice yoga together after school. As the adults, we set the pace in our Crane community. Let’s make sure to set course for a life lived well and mindfully.
 
Happy Trails,
Tray London
LS Teaching Artist

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