I am embarrassed to admit that Facebook tipped me off. In my memories section at the top of my news feed, there was a reminder that one year ago yesterday, I shared the seed of my mindfulness project: a cover page for the website. Just the words "wise minds. big hearts." and a "coming soon..." Now, as I read over my blog from the past year and reflect on the work I've done for so many amazing staff and students, I can't help dance a little dance in excitement. I'm doing it!
I partnered with 10 schools and organizations, served over 250 preschool, elementary, middle, and high school students and over 400 educators this past year with face-to-face programming around New England. I developed my own 1-2 hour, 6-week, 8-week, and 10-week curriculum for high school students, 1 and 2 hour workshops for teachers, and am currently developing a graduate-level course for teachers that I will teach this fall. I started a Maine Mindfulness Educators Network. I have written extensively about these experiences in hopes that others may be inspired to try it themselves. I attended my first 5-day and 10-day silent retreats and continue to educate myself with an MBSR course, a Difficult Emotions course, and countless hours reading the current research, theory, and practice in the field.
While it can be hard in our culture as a woman to say it, I will:
I am proud of the work I'm doing, dang it.
Now, I have found that doing the work I love means doing a lot of work that I don't love. I never set out to be a small business owner, but the only way I could pursue my passion for mindfulness in education in my beloved state of Maine was to strike out on my own and hope someone was interested. Running a small business has been incredibly challenging. It necessitates a level of business acumen: networking, planning, accounting, marketing, public speaking, and self management and motivation that teachers aren't trained for, and I certainly did not possess when I started this journey. I still have a tremendous amount of learning to do in this area, and find myself at a loss more often than I'd like. However, if I've learned anything this first year, it's that it's less about knowing how to do everything and more about knowing how to find the people who know what you don't know. I am so grateful to the Small Business Development Center at USM and Cori Holt with SCORE for supporting me in those areas.
In that same vein, I am grateful to those who introduced me to their friends and colleagues and those who invited me into their schools.
To the teacher who used her own time to write a grant to bring me, the staff who voted to have me come work with their kids after I ran a workshop for them, the assistant superintendent who unhesitatingly signed her district up for programming, and so many more individuals and organizations that see the value of this work and entrusted me to share it with them,
To my friend's who pitched me to their administration, those that field my mindfulness programming questions, and my partner who reads my blogs and emails to make sure they are intelligible to the rest of the world,
To the organizations who provided scholarships for my trainings,
I thank you.
I am not just proud of me, as I could not possibly have shared mindfulness with as many folks as I did this year without the help of countless individuals. I am proud of us.