Compelling, Cutting-Edge Research
“If you want to serve your students, to help them in the path of transformation, healing and love, then you have to improve the quality of the administration, the faculty, the board of trustees.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, scholar and human rights activist. In 1967, he was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr., for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mindfulness & Schools
Interest in mindfulness, the practice of nonjudgmental awareness in the present moment, has grown rapidly over the past 15 years. Within the school context, mindfulness trains the mind to pay attention on purpose, moment to moment. From its initial application in medicine, mindfulness training has spread to psychology, business, and education among other fields. An extensive body of medical, neurological and psycho-social research data supports the contention that mindfulness training may be an important intervention for school leaders, teachers and students. Over 250 mindfulness based stress reduction clinics now established at hospitals and medical centers worldwide and hundreds of peer-reviewed studies on a wide variety of populations, indicate that mindfulness training is a accepted intervention for stress reduction and mood problems. In the classroom, school leaders, teachers and students face a cascade of stressors that require support to build resilience and social-emotional competencies. Such interventions can lower the risk of burnout due to emotional exhaustion.
Mindfulness & Leadership
While technical skill is a critical part of leadership competency, study after study indicates that great leaders possess skills beyond technical acumen; they possess the social-emotional competencies grounded in mindfulness:
- Self-awareness—the ability to recognize and understand one’s mood in the moment
- Self-regulation—the ability to suspend judgment—to think before acting
- Empathy—the ability to understand another’s emotional state
- Social skills—the ability to manage relationships and build networks
“I have been stretched, broadened, deepened.”
—Mindfulness Retreat Participant
“Spirituality has largely been cast into a separate department of my life. How refreshing it is to discover that spirituality pervades all realms of our being: that when I mindfully wash dishes or fold laundry, it’s part of my spirituality….I was an unbeliever. To be vital, awake and aware in all areas of one’s life is quite a challenge…For the world to benefit from my coming alive, I must be in community and mindful of how my vitality can be shared in a gentle way.”
—Open Heart, Peaceful Mind: A Retreat for Rest & Reflection Participant
“Valerie feels and speaks the truth. I felt exquisitely well held, safe to explore and stretched. Valerie’s generosity is vast. She has done the spade work to qualify as a guide to all.”
—-Open Heart, Peaceful Mind: A Retreat for Rest & Reflection Participant
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