A Mindfulness Practice – What? Why? How?

Especially HOW? I have a busy life, and I know I’m not the only one. Three kids (and a husband) in school. He’s a teacher and coach; even bigger responsibility than the kids, right? I’m also Outreach and Energy Generator for Next Step Adventure; sometimes I’m not sure where that energy is going to come from. I also teach Pick a Better Snack classes for Des Moines Public Schools and tutor students at DMACC.

Whew! Makes my heart race just a bit when I write it all down! And where would I fit a mindfulness practice into all that? Well, as strange as it may sound, my mindfulness practice actually makes it easier to keep all those balls in the air. It helps me remember that only one thing happens at a time. Reminds me how to come back to my center when I get scattered. And to JUST BREATHE!

Heart and Belly Breathing Activity Card
Shelly's daughter Mary fishing

The journey of our Next Step Team into the world of mindfulness has helped me develop and continue my own mindfulness practice. That journey began with centering breath and guided meditation for leadership groups at Drake University, development of the first set of Mindfulness and Movement cards in 2018, and teaching yoga classes. To kids. And yes, with my daughter Mary.

*A few of my favorite cards/activities are Zentangle, Caring Feelings Meditation & Balloon Breathing.

Ashley and I presented at the 10th Annual Midwest Mental Health conference, hosted by Please Pass the Love. We shared our Mindfulness and Movement resources with educators, administrators, counselors…As a result Ashley will be teaching mindfulness skills to kids at the Des Moines Art Center Thanksgiving weekend.

Last summer our team revised the original deck, and renamed it the Foundation Deck. In 2021, we published the Growth Deck. Both decks offer resources to help develop your own mindfulness practice. They are designed to build connections with self and others through activities grouped into connect, breathe, focus, move, play, create, and settle activities.

We’re also working with the Iowa High School Athletic Association on content and presentations for student athletes. We hope the ripple effect will bring mindfulness to education and youth development all over the place. We’re very excited and proud that educators in Louisiana and Rhode Island are using our cards, and we’ve recently made them available on Amazon!

Let me know if you have questions about the decks or the activities included. I’m sure you’ll find something(s) helpful for you and the young people in your life. Take good care, and as always…let me know how I can help you with the next steps of your mindfulness practice.

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