So I’m thinking if a spider can make a replica of itself without a mirror and know that it needs to do it for survival – then should we all be able to trust and allow things to unfold without having to worry about the result.
I didn’t know how this was going to turn out. I allowed the design to flourish in a way that ‘it’ felt it needed to go.
The spider does so using what it has around it. Debris, insects, etc. Just so it can survive.
We have so much to learn from nature. Reading about them here .
As always I love to read your comments. And don’t forget to post your work under the #mindfulartwithsy
I was thinking about this a lot this week. At the moment we are restricted by what we can and can’t do. Where we can and can’t go. We are suddenly in a position where we seemingly have no control over things. Faced with the greatest imposition of our lifestyle to date. It got me asking a few questions about the restrictions I’ve put in my own life. How have I restrained myself by limiting what I could possibly achieve?
I used to be very much a fan of schedules. When my girls were younger I used to be very strict on the time they go to bed. Wake up. Naps in the day. etc. Now there is nothing wrong with that. It’s necessary to have any kind of order and ‘you time’ when you choose to bring children into the world. As they started to grow up I continued to impose these restrictions. To what detriment? Well there were times when family would be around and it would be a strict- straight to bed at 7pm even through they had arrived at 6.50pm.
Anyway a few years later and a few countries later we decided to home school the girls. It was then that my eyes became open to my restrictions I had put in place. I was seeing through the eyes of what ‘ should’ rather than what ‘could’. I forgot that I was in a position to create my own rules. Decide what would be best for us as a family. This changed significantly during that time. Bedtime restrictions became more flexible. Learning environments more fluid. Learning in itself switched from government mandated work to enquiry and discovery.
I constantly look at my girls as a reflection tool. During my art sessions I ask myself questions such as:
What am I holding back form?
What am I resisting?
Am I feeling genuine Joy?
Have I expressed deep gratitude?
Am I fearful of my own ability to flourish?
Am I ready to reveal find the essence of me?
This week is no exception.
The truth is we’ve never been in a better situation to make the changes we want to see.
When all ‘this’ started I personally wasn’t one of the people who were cowering with fear about being ‘locked down’. While I do care about what is going on and the effects it is having on the population as a whole I didn’t panic…
I said thank you.
Thank you for health. Thank you for vitality. Thank you for family. Thank you for helping me realise how much I enjoy what I do. But most of all – Thank you for giving me the time. One of the greatest gifts that anyone could give.
Time has no expectations. It’s where you can make your own rules. Where you can be free of the imposed restrictions of what was our previously normal lives. Were everyone is on a level playing field. We’re all trying to figure things out.
We got the opportunity to figure out what was going on in our metal prisons.
The problem for many people and even if you’re reading this now is that we never really understand our true capabilities.
Many will be confused. Angry, sad, annoyed. Whatever you’re feeling this time is an opportunity to review the restraints we have put ourselves in.
Now I’m not saying that this is the way for everyone. But what I am saying is that during this time it’s an opportunity to reflect upon areas where ‘ restraint’ may be manifesting.
It starts with simple questions.
What am I doing?
Why am I really doing this?
Who am I doing this for?
Is it helping or hindering?
What’s working, what isn’t?
Is there another way?
What if I try this?
How might this look if we tried changing this to…?
That’s the beauty of Mindful Art. You get to shed those expectations and lead with feelings. You get to explore the answers to these questions and acknowledge what comes up.
In this weeks video we create some restrictions for ourselves, but we work outside of them. We explore what happens if we go beyond. Guided discovery.
When we have the time to explore these feelings it allows us to make changes and move forward. It reminded me of this verse from the Bible. A time for everything.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV)”
We are locked in by what we see, hear, smell, touch, taste. We know ‘that’ and ‘that’ only. We fail to look beyond and ponder ‘what if’. Restricted by what is rather than what could be come.
Getting out of this restricted mindset takes time. Time that we have just been gifted.
So this week’s video is about taking the time to unpick our restrictions. Moving away from what we ‘should’ and trying out what if. We’re moving outside of our walls and creating from a place of wonder.
During our time at home my daughter and I started looking at words and considering their derivatives. Let me give you an example:
Rest – Restore
Regulate – Regulation
While I’m sure when I return to work my English colleagues will assist in the term for this – it lead me to think about this pair.
Revolve – Revolution. It was also followed closely by the words “Sometimes the world doesn’t revolve entirely around you”
Well it got me thinking about the way we see things impacting our lives. We all see through our own lenses.
He’s not interested in me because he’s ignoring me… well actually he’s worried about a lump that he found in his hand and is too scared to talk to anyone about it.
Why is she letting the kids just run wild over there? Doesn’t she know anyone else is around… er well she’s just found out that her husband has died and is trying to muster up the courage to talk to her children about it.
And then there’s the OMG he just cut me up on the roadDo they not know how to drive?… Well his son has just had an allergic reaction and has swollen up like a balloon and needs to get to A&E fast.
My point is we don’t know what is underneath the surface.
When we see with just our eyes we forget that there’s a whole load of other things going on with other people too.
The word revolve acts as a reminder to see thing differently.
Turning around. Making a shift.
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Why did they say that to me…? becomes… what I wonder what they were thinking why they reacted like that.
We will never know the reasons so we have to act in good faith.
HOW CAN WE CHANGE THE WAY WE LOOK AT THINGS?
As with anything. The best way to start is by working on ourselves.
It helps me to not get so hung up on the judgements.
Oh I made a mistake… so that must be bad.
Think about it. The Earth moves around the Sun. Slowly but surely. Different seasons. Different time zones are made. Night and day created.
Life is one cycle. Constant change.
In today’s work of art you will see me demonstrate that exact same thing
I make a mistake in creating it live. Well it’s not a mistake it just involves taking a moment to realign and see things differently. How can I best make use of this. How can I adapt it? Well you can see how I deal with it!
So this week you will need about 50 minutes of you time.
You will also need a pen or pencil, circular object and a plain piece of paper.
You can download your pattern sheet and template below
It’s the first thing I ask myself as I rouse in consciousness every morning as I get used to this new lock down lifestyle.
It’s definitely a strange time. As the schools broke up 4 weeks ago it’s been the first time in a long while that I’ve had the time to really sit and think about things.
Reliance has been on my mind this week.
Reliance – The unequivocal belief in someone or something.
At this time I have had to have self reliance.
What exactly am I capable?
What are my superpowers?
What is my true capacity for greatness?
How on earth am I going to get there?
Without the need for going out… shopping for no apparent reason… obliged to leave the house because the sun is out… inundated with a to do list as long as my arm… the expectation to meet family and friends….
Life has taken a different turn.
Acceptance has been the most important step in this. While self reliance has been at the forefront of the transformation. Acceptance and surrendering has been the path that has lead me to this place.
An entirely different perspective.
Putting faith in ME.
It’s like all the things I have been doing over the last few years has lead me to this point. It’s all been for now. Finally a time to use every tool I’ve been acquiring and put it into action.
Wake up – water & meditation
Move/ stretch- open up
Coffee & phone
Showered and dressed before 10am
Feeling tired at 2pm -move again.
8 hours of sleep.
Courage to learn/do something new.
Compassion – understand we’re all going through this.
So many opportunities. So many lessons.
“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.” ― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays
Developing a mindfulness practice has been the greatest tool I could have ever accrued.
But as ever there is a need to challenge. Getting out of the comfort zone helps develop self Reliance. Knowing that you can cope with whatever appears in front of you will help strengthen this muscle.
So reliance is key.
Not just self reliance. But helping others to develop their reliance.
Their ability to, accept, surrender and then trust in themselves.
So today is all about the Mindful Art with Sy Stobart challenge.
Here’s how it works.
The courage to create 10 patterns from scratch. There’s no pre-made version of this – you’re watching me do this live.
You will need
-a piece of lined paper ( plain, squared or dotty is fine).
-A pen or a pencil
You can do this challenge alone. – find a quiet room. Play some lovely music. See if you can create 10 patterns.
You can follow along with me. Watch and press pause after every one.
You can watch for inspiration and then go it alone.
I’ve even created this PDF for you to print out and have next to you.
Well I have decided to represent myself using my artwork as a medium for expressing myself.
My Dad asked me what I would have taken for A levels if I had the chance to do them all over again. I said I would choose Art.
My Mom responded by saying ‘You never did anything arty”.
I said ” Yeah but I had never been exposed to it, so how would I know if I was any good at it?”
She went on to say “Yeah but we had felt tips in the house”.
It got me thinking.
My art knowledge consists of a secondary school education, GCSE in Graphic Design and an understanding of how my art work helps me express myself, keeps me mindful, present, calm and alert- all at the same time. It’s taken me on a journey to complete an Art Therapy course and then create this.
I know that my heart feels alive when I walk around an art gallery.
I have a huge sense of warmth when I see work that people have created.
I can sit for hours creating something not knowing where it’s going to take me but just having a go.
I have a natural affinity with the subject. Why not explore it further?
Over time I continued to just have a go. Do things that were outside of my norm.
Art has become my therapy. It’s my mindful tool. Along with a few others, but it represents my state of mind. My feelings. My ability to connect with the world around me.
At a time like this we need moments in our day that allow us to connect.
Mostly with ourselves.
At the time of writing this we are in a world that nobody has ever experienced in their lifetime. I haven’t lived through a world war. The closest I’ve been to experiencing major disruption was 911 and the Ash cloud. This is new. It’s a state of adjustment. It’s the next stage in our adaptation to life on this planet.
This is forcing us to strip away our identities.
It’s taking us right back to our skeleton.
It’s allowing us to think about what we represent. What we stand for. What we believe. But most of all, going forward how do we want things to be?
So this is super scary- but I’m sharing things with you.
Sharing my methods. My journey. My ideas. Things that are unique to me… but may be of benefit to many out there, and if not many- at least 1.
So, this video should be the first of many. I’m keeping it simple:
Do you relish in the unpredictability of your next class?
Do you cower in fear of the repercussions of your last encounter?
Do you bounce into class enjoying every moment that the students give you?
I’ve been asking those questions recently.
I’d like to think that I am a Happy Teacher!
Recently I have found myself bouncing into my class, singing and dancing, treating the classroom as my personal stage. Offering awe, engagement, love and fun. I love the interaction with the students.
However for a few years I struggled to muscle up the enthusiasm. I did it because I’m actually really good at it. Good to Outstanding actually! But I often felt very resentful, drenched in comparison and a strong desire to try another profession.
I’ve moved several times to different schools around the world. You see by doing this I’ve been fortunate enough to meet the most amazing people and this move has been no exception. On this move, I’ve been blessed with the gift of laughter, making great friends and actually seeing the clarity of what I do what I do.
I’ve learned some pretty hard lessons in self care. I’ve learned methods to help me in my daily routine. Methods to get rid of the thoughts. Break the cycle and just enjoy the journey.
THE most important thing I have learned in this move is that I have finally found what makes my room zing!
No matter where I am around the world, the one constant is …guess what… ME! You see when I got my funny back- Not the sarcastic horrid snippy funny at someone else’s expense. The silly little funny things that actually put a smile on your face for hours later. I’m actually enjoying a positive environment with my peers. It feels absolutely amazeballs! I am so grateful and celebratory of what they offer me.
So with all this pent up happiness the question is, how can you make your classroom a happy one?
The truth is it’s taken a long time to figure it out.
But the truth is I’ve learned the art of Celebration in class to help create a classroom that Ilove. No lie!
So now I’ve finally found some tips to help you create a classroom that if full of life (that’s despite everything we are facing as a collective).
You can get your happy back and ensure that your classroom is full of happy dance time? And here are a few secret steps to get you started.
Be Open. Let your guard down. Yep. That old don’t smile before Christmas is so. 1970’s. If you haven’t smiled yet this term I dare you to tomorrow. See how the energy shifts.
Talk with the students on their core values or social norms as a colleague used to call them. Please thank you and Pardon ( the latter is such a big bearer for me). But what are the common courtesies that we need to give each other as human beings sharing a planet.
Having clear goals and expectations make a huge difference. I’m not talking about classroom objectives here, but talking with them about long term goals. Whether it be the grades they want to get at the end of the year or a whole school fundraising mission.
Now there is a lot of talk about building character and helping them grow as individuals. Helping students feel more confident and responsible makes a huge difference. Positive statements make a huge difference and make an excellent classroom management tool.
Shine like a star! Every time I show up in that room, I connect and really enjoy and embrace the process. It’s all about enjoying the moments… whatever they may bring.
Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! Everything!
You need to remember that you are a Creative Genius empath, parent, mentor, guide, etc.
You are a for want of a better word ‘Saint!’
Remember YOU are responsible for the smile that the kid gives you when they figure out something. YOU are the one who makes them bounce out the room smiling on the way home thinking about that thing that they learned today. YOU are 24 carat Magic as Bruno Mars says.
So over to you.
1) Download your free gift. Download this February 2019 desktop calendar
2) What other tips and ideas can you give to other teachers to help them put the zing back into their classrooms. You can write your comments in the box below.
3) Did you like this post?
If so send it to at least 3 other people that you think will benefit from this.