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Musicals were part of our lives as children.  We went to many films and live shows.  Records of the ‘Sound of Music’, ‘Mikado’, ‘Funny Girl’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ were often played.  We enjoyed singing along and knew many lyrics by heart.  One song from ‘My Fair Lady’ I will never forget is ‘Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man’. Professor Higgins sings to Colonel Pickering:  “Can’t a woman learn to use her head?  … Straightening up their hair is all they ever do.  Why don’t they straighten up the mess that is inside?”   Lyrics are by Alan Jay Lerner, 1964.  No one would dare to write these today!!

Removing any sexist overlay, it is worth pondering some wisdom from this song.  So often, attention can be taken up with an external focus:  hair, clothing, tasks, profiles and possessions (irrespective of gender).

In sharing Mindfulness with others and embracing my own meditation practice, I am increasingly aware of how incredibly precious the mind is. A life- long asset, worthy of deep respect and care.  Worthy of ongoing mindful attention! When the mind is aligned with the heart, the potential for inspiration, kindness and creativity is boundless.

As we grow an appreciative, compassionate mindset towards the habitual machinations of our mind, we can notice what is really going on. Then we can make choices to re-focus, reframe and retune the mind.  These choices culminate in creating a more open, flexible and happy mind.

Despite what is going on in our life, being mindful helps us to make wise choices: for the self, others and the world.  Pondering this, the life of Stephen Hawking comes to mind. Despite living for decades with Motor Neuron Disease, he cultivated one of the greatest minds in the world.  Stephen has transcended the daunting limitations of a grave illness to triumph as a scientific luminary.

Life is filled with inspiring people who have endured trauma, illness and disability and triumphed over all kinds of adversities by using their creative minds.  A meaningful life is possible with a resourceful mind, irrespective of life’s circumstances.

John Beecher observed ‘Strength is a matter of a made- up mind’.  It is such a privilege to share Mindfulness with children. Regardless of the developmental, emotional and social challenges they may face, any age is a fertile entry point. Mindfulness can be tailored and adapted in a variety of ways. All kinds of fun possibilities exist to help them ‘make up’, nurture and celebrate their youthful minds. Benefits include improved concentration and focus, effective engagement, impulse control, increased optimism and empathy.  These benefits can be shared by teachers, parents and the family unit as Mindful practices grace daily life.

 

Enjoy the everyday blessings of your Mindfulness practice!

Warm wishes,

Janet Etty-Leal