• Student Life
Health and Wellness at Lincoln: Cohort 1 Begins Mindfulness Training: “Doing Nothing is Doing Something.”

As part of the all-school initiative on health and wellness, a group of seventeen faculty and staff began mindfulness training on Tuesday and Wednesday through Lincoln’s new partnership with the Center for Resilience. It was the first of a series of retreats that will incorporate mindfulness practices across all divisions. The first one-and-a-half day retreat focused on personal self-care and resilience, and this cohort will be “mindfulness ambassadors” to help facilitate mindful practices with the students. They will meet again in April to begin this work and will spend the next two months working on developing their own personal mindfulness practice.

Vanessa Weiner, the director of The Center for Resilience, is running this program for Lincoln faculty and staff. The Center, based in Rhode Island, seeks to “empower people to empower themselves through the practice of mindfulness which fosters success in the classroom, community, and workplace. Our trained staff, tailored curriculum, interactive workshops, and online resources help children and adults manage stress, overcome obstacles, cultivate compassion and thrive through adversity – outcomes that benefit both the individual and society as a whole.”

What is mindfulness? The working definition is “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment.” A mindful practice includes breathing and clearing your head in a specific way. There are multiple “anchors,” or ways to achieve mindfulness, many of which were explored during the workshop. For example, mindful walking when one only focuses on the sensory inputs under their feet and their own breath. Journaling and doodling are additional anchors that help achieve mindfulness.

After participating in the first retreat, Anna Painter, Lower School science teacher and the Quaker Youth and Education Committee clerk, commented,  “Doing nothing is doing something. I liked the reinforcement that we need to take time to let our bodies and minds settle and that we shouldn’t feel guilty about taking time for ourselves.”

Maggie Friedfeld, a Middle and Upper School math teacher, shared these thoughts about the training, “In the super busy world that we all live in, I feel fortunate to be learning ways to be more mindful and to realize that it’s not hard to fit it into my schedule. I am looking forward to being able to share this with my students down the road.”

The Lincoln School mission encourages us to embrace the opportunities and responsibilities of full citizenship in a complex world. A practice of mindfulness is a tool that will help our community members to lead generous, compassionate, and healthy lives.