Since 1949, May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month as a way to educate and inform millions of people through the media, local events and screenings about the importance of mental health. 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime- I find that statistic astounding. While many of us don’t technically fall into that category, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. This is a harsh reality and uncomfortable for many.
When I decided to host a Mindfulness challenge the first week of June, I felt that timing was perfect- to continue the work that was already being done in May to spread awareness about an important topic, and also to teach ways that we can work to improve our own mental health alongside our children. (Not to mention the fact that we are all looking for meaningful ways to spend our summer days as they look quite different than what we are used to!)
This past Monday when it began, I decided to change the challenge to a call to action. We all need to take action in supporting each other to develop essential skills that foster positive, impactful, loving members of the community. I put a hold on things Tuesday as my emphasis was on anti-racism. I was committed to finishing, and the week ended strong with mantras, the power of the pause, and a moments of gratitude. Each of these topics are meaningful to me and hopefully each of my followers.
I learned many things this week that spoke to me. One little boy told his dad that breathing in through your nose and smelling the flower pushes the button on your brain that helps you be calm. (He is learning about the para-sympatheic nervous system early!) A rising sixth grader told me that she is learning how her breath can trigger a sense of calm within her. A set of twins shared that learning to be mindful is getting easier already. In my opinion, these are the little wins that can change the world.
So now what? I am confident that my work is powerful, meaningful, and impactful, and I am even more confident that we ALL need more of it. I will continue working with individuals and groups, primarily children, to listen to their needs and support them in any way I can. The Books and Bends curriculum that I am continuously teaching and writing will include new books that are diverse and relevant to the world we live in. I will continue teaching that love always wins. Personally, I will continue to advocate for what I believe in, support men and women of color, and teach my children through example. I recognize that I, like many, am a work in progress.
Thank you for your support today and always, as we move forward together.