Teaching Labyrinth Workshop held at Brentwood Bay Elementary in Central Sannich followed by sharing at the World Children’s Summit on Peace and Nature Event held in Greater Victoria on Sept. 21, 2015
Somatic experience & a pathway to connection
Renee Lindstrom offers a somatic learning experience for leadership development for children and teens that includes mindfulness, logic, perception and movement patterns. These tools can reflect the skills to connect that begins inside while, at the same time, connecting with others in a respectful way regardless of differences. These techniques turn blocked and closed experiences into open expansive opportunities.
Sharing the Teaching Labyrinth at St. Andrew’s Regional High School was a powerful experience to observe a shift from being closed and guarded to open and receptive in a group of teenagers. There was ease and simplicity using these tools that created a shift that was noticeable to view. They were noticeably acting with deeper qualities of inclusion, respect and connection. Checking in with the students afterwards this was what they described. Their experience of this was tangible.
The purpose of the somatic exercises was to give these students a model and the opportunity to experience this shift using these integrative tools so they could then duplicate it with ease and simplicity in the future. After exploring personal and group movement patterns we moved on to exploring a labyrinth pathway. A labyrinth has no barriers. It is a pathway into the center (heart) and back out again. It is not a maze which is confusing and a challenge requiring one to use their thinking. A labyrinth shifts a walker from the chaos of their thinking into a calmer somatic experience.
The suggestion for walking a pathway in an inclusive and grounded way was it could be a more subtle and meaningful form of support in conflict resolution. The concept is that everyone has differences and that if we include an opening shared experience for connecting deeper individually while walking together before talking, this may open the space to be more willing to hear these differences.
In communication practice I urge my students to stop and check in before reacting and speaking out. The purpose is to pause and translate what they are thinking into a connection that the other person can hear. This pathway reflects this process and together with some movement techniques for clarity and groundedness, walking this pathway becomes a pattern reflecting this process.
I recommend these patterns as tools in organization and educational institutions:
- as a preventative experience to cut conflict before it happens
- as a way to connect before trying to resolve differences
- to create respect and acceptance in a community experience
- to bring together a community
- to support making decisions
- to cut anxiety before events, meetings, challenges
Support your school, business group or community organization to explore connection before solutions. Cut thought the labels creating enemy images such as victim, perpetrator and bullying and support ways that are easy and simple. Move from the chaotic mind into mindfulness of acceptance and respect.
Inquire about school integrative labyrinth programs
Copyright 2014 – 2019 Renee Lindstrom, GCFP,
Feldenkrais® Practitioner since 2007, Value-Based Communication & Empathy Coach since 2004, Art of Placement since 2000, Founder of Greater Victoria Peace & Intercultural Celebrations since 2010 & Greater Victoria Labyrinths since 2012, #yyj Peace Week Calendar Founder – 2014 & 2015
Posted in Labyrinth
Tagged Communication, Conflict Resolution, Connection, Empathy Nature, Green Behavior, High Schools, Labyrinth, leadership, Logic, Mind, Mindfulness, Perception, personal experience, Somatic Education & Connection, Somatic Experience
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
A student attending Think, Speak, Act workshops, a series of getting InTouch Communication, is a Buddhist student and has practiced meditation for many years. After a short series of workshops and a few private empathy sessions to learn and practice self empathy and empathetic listening and speaking skills, a comparison was made with what I was sharing with their recent retreat teacher dialogues.
Hearing this I made a request to have some points written down so that I could have more clarity. With luck another retreat was scheduled. As promised here are some notes of how they integrated our Think, Speak, Act practices and how it aligns with their Buddhist retreat learning.
- It is to communicate or to speak kindly, to pay attention to the inner voice.
- Our ability to respond in a friendly way.
- It is to be aware, knowing what is going on. Communication affects us and others.
- It is a language of respect. It is sharing and opening to other.
- It is getting to know our self better to see what is our state of mind moment by moment.
- When you observe closely you gain insight and recognize the truth in the present moment.
- It is training the mind.
- It is to be able to stop our habitual response, calm down our nervous system, relax and be less reactive.
- It is to get familiar on how do we experience our feeling and how it impacts on us and others.
- Loving kindness or Meta fill our needs by opening the heart and wishing us and for other positive statements.
- When we express our feeling or needs the receiver is more receptive.
- Compassion is honesty, to say the real inner feeling. (There are no judging or blaming). There are not too many words to explain “compassion.”One of the statements of compassion is: “May I have ease (space) with this difficulty.” Stay in the feeling and say: “I care for that pain or difficult time.”
- When we practice Metta or getting InTouch techniques the circuit in the brain runs differently in different parts of the brain.
- The point of Metta and getting InTouch is to extend your kindness, your compassion to others around us and in the world.
- Metta or getting InTouch is responding to the feeling and the needs in a gentle way.
- It is helping the little self, “The ego” to not be involved. To see things as they are…….
- Self Empathy is to observe to see what is happening and connecting with the stimulus without being caught in it.
- It is helping us for a liberation and not being caught in the thinking mind.
- This approach of Metta or getting InTouch cares about us, it is to see with the “big mind, the big picture.”
- We react the way we react because we do not know other ways until we learn the new way of communication. We often say and do things we regret.
- One of our deep needs is to understand to see the stimulus with “big eyes.” Take the problem or conflict and understand really what happened, observe, identity the feeling in us.
- Be able to see more than to react to the stimulus, see the old story, the hold picture.
The compassionate communication of getting InTouch is a tool to respond properly to our self and to others. To be awake is to be able to respond appropriately with loving kindness.
A final comment was that they changed their personal Buddhist affirmations (mantras) based upon having more clarity on how to achieve success in connection to the statements. To understand them with concrete actions and making them doable!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Buddhist Perception, buddhist retreat, different parts of the brain, gain insight, getting InTouch, Loving Kindness, Metta, Mind, opening the heart, parts of the brain, Perception, Self growth, thinking