Here at the CMA we’ve been pausing to connect as a team this summer, as we do strategic planning for the future. It’s easy to get caught up in the goals, plans and details of such a process and overlook all the accomplishments we’ve had along the way. Taking a moment to notice those large and small victories connects us and provides renewed incentive to continue with our mission to bring mindful awareness to underserved people and those who support them.
I am always encouraged by the feedback I receive about victories participants in SHINE have experienced in their lives. Staff members at PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs who completed the SHINE program earlier this year have begun to integrate and implement mindful awareness practices into their work, to deliver the best service to families and children. Here are a few of the positive changes they are seeing as a result:
- Several staff members were recently experiencing stress related to giving presentations at a multi-day workshop. They used mindfulness every night to help them settle, re-balance and prepare for the next day with less anxiety and greater focus.
- After a SHINE group for families with medically fragile children that introduced Breathe Easy, one of the foundational mindful awareness practices, a mom asked: “When is that lady coming back? I tried it, and it really works.”
- Marcella Jacobs, an Occupational Therapist at PACT, learned about the Sesame Street “Belly Breathe” video from the SHINE program. She reported using it with a mother and her children, including one young child who hit a lot and banged his head. While he sat on his mom‘s lap to watch this playful, yet powerful video about using the breath to self-regulate, he calmed down. Marcella shared with us, “There was no more hitting for the additional 20 minutes I was there. I hope she tries it without me.”
As I reflect on these victories, this beautiful quote comes to mind that I learned from Andrea Wenger who works closely with me at the CMA as our Program Coordinator. The Elders of the Hopi Nation wrote, “All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
In what way might you pause to celebrate your life this day?
To what one breath can do,
Amy Bloom Connolly