It’s that time of year again. Teachers are preparing their classrooms for their new students, parents are taking their children shopping for school supplies and back to school clothing (last years jeans have become high waters), and administrators are preparing pre-school meetings for staff and the arrival of their students. There is excitement, anticipation, and for some, a bit of uneasiness.
Yes, going back to school often brings up uneasiness for children. The uneasy feeling about meeting a new teacher. The uneasy feeling about starting in a new school. The uneasy feeling about who will be in my classroom. The uneasy feeling about whether or not the work will be too hard. There are any number of uneasy feelings that surface and not just for the children. Parents, teachers, and administrators all have their own feelings of uneasiness related to going back to school. BUT there are things that can help to dissipate the feelings of uneasiness or at least soften them.
How can one replace uneasiness with at-easeness? I have found that one tool that has proven helpful to many children and adults alike is finger-walking a labyrinth. I use this technique with the children I work with privately and with the adults I meet in my Peaceable Classroom and Peaceable Living workshops. It’s a very simple yet effective tool for quieting the body and mind. (A black line master of a Cretan labyrinth may be found in my book Creating the Peaceable Classroom.)
First of all, a labyrinth is a unicursal pathway to the center and out again. It is different form a maze that blocks your way if you take a wrong turn. With a labyrinth, you can never take a wrong turn for the path will always take you to the center and out again even if it looks as though it won’t. You just keep moving forward, and eventually, you arrive at the center. It is like your journey through life. The path may have twists and turns, but if you keep on moving forward, you will get to where you are going.
As you circle to the center of the labyrinth, you come to your own center which is a place of peace and stillness. And then, at the center, you leave behind any emotions that may have been interrupting your ability to focus, to concentrate, or to relate to others in a good way. As you circle out, you bring that peace and stillness with you as you move into your day, your work, your life.
Finger-walking a labyrinth can help young and old quiet their uneasiness. Children can learn to use this tool when they feel their personal uneasy sensations inside their bodies, i.e. when they have to take a test. When they have an argument with a friend. When they are sad because their mom or dad is away for a week on a business trip. Parents, teachers, and administrators can use a labyrinth to quiet their uneasiness too, i.e. Parents, when they have to leave work and pick-up their child on time for an after school lesson. Teachers, when they have to complete report cards and prepare for a parent conference all at the same time. Administrators, when they have to do more or the same with less funding. Finger-walking a labyrinth takes only a few minutes and is transforming. I notice that when I finger-walk a labyrinth, I take a deep sigh after the first or second curve of the labyrinth. Tension is released through the breath. One of my young clients sat his mother down to finger-walk his wood labyrinth when he noticed that she was quite upset . “Mom, try this,” he said knowingly. Guess what? It did the trick! She felt more at-ease after her finger-walking.
Neal Harris from Relax4Life has created some wonderful wooden labyrinths. I use his Cretan labyrinth myself and offer it to my clients as a calming technique. He also has a double wood labyrinth, the Intuipath®, that I use in my private practice with children. We finger-walk together at the start of our session. It helps to quiet us, open us to better communication, and I believe, helps to get us in sync. When I asked one of my young clients who used the Children’s Cretan Intuipath® for the first time how the experience was for him he said, “I think our energies are one.” I believe he was right for as we finger-walked our separate labyrinths and circled to the center, we were connecting to our own centers that are formed of the same energy!
In addition, Harris is currently heading up a national, non-medication, in-home study to determine if children and adolescents, ages 7-17, diagnosed with ADHD (and either on medication or not for it) might show a reduction in behavioral symptoms commonly associated with the conditon by using a mirror image, double wood finger labyrinth known as the Children’s Cretan Intuipath®. For more information, visit: www.relax4life.com/research.htm.
I suggest that you try using a finger labyrinth or Intuipath® to help your children, students, staff, yourself transform uneasiness into at-easeness. May at-easeness be yours. . . .
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