Mindful Agility

Mindful Parenting: Christina Smith Shares How Agile Methods And Frequent Feedback Give Her Children The Tools They Need To Succeed

October 04, 2022 Season 1 Episode 14
Mindful Parenting: Christina Smith Shares How Agile Methods And Frequent Feedback Give Her Children The Tools They Need To Succeed
Mindful Agility
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Mindful Agility
Mindful Parenting: Christina Smith Shares How Agile Methods And Frequent Feedback Give Her Children The Tools They Need To Succeed
Oct 04, 2022 Season 1 Episode 14

In this episode Christina Smith, a certified scrum master, shares how she started using scrum and mindfulness not only in her work, but also her parenting.

Like most parents, Christina wants her children to lead happy and fulfilling lives, both now and when they are adults. She also needs them to take out the trash now and then too. Stressed with trying to be a perfect parent, Christina decided to experiment and apply the same techniques she uses as an agile scrum master at work to her parenting, and the results were surprising.




  • Daniel Greening, host, agile consultant, software executive
  • Mirela Petalli, co-host, meditation guide, and neurocritical nursing instructor
  • Dan Dickson, business coach, executive and management consultant


Show Notes Transcript

In this episode Christina Smith, a certified scrum master, shares how she started using scrum and mindfulness not only in her work, but also her parenting.

Like most parents, Christina wants her children to lead happy and fulfilling lives, both now and when they are adults. She also needs them to take out the trash now and then too. Stressed with trying to be a perfect parent, Christina decided to experiment and apply the same techniques she uses as an agile scrum master at work to her parenting, and the results were surprising.




  • Daniel Greening, host, agile consultant, software executive
  • Mirela Petalli, co-host, meditation guide, and neurocritical nursing instructor
  • Dan Dickson, business coach, executive and management consultant


Cold Open 

00:00:00] Christina Smith: Your children are going to grow up to be thriving adults. And our job as a parent is to make sure that they are exactly who they're supposed to be 


[00:00:12] Matt Zimmerman: Welcome to the Mindful Agility podcast. I'm your host. Matt Zimmerman. My co-host today are Dan Greening and Mirela Petalli. If my voice sounds familiar it's because I'm the mat who kept losing his keys in episode eight. I also work as a sound editor on the podcast. I, when I'm out doing that, I direct digital platforms at the Springer publishing company.  

 I still lose my keys. But not as much as I used to.  

[00:00:37] Daniel Greening: And I'm Dan Greening, the guy you thought would always host this shindig. Wait a minute. You might've said I like Matt, but what happened to Dan Greening? 

Remember in previous episodes where we discussed T-shaped people, the ones with deep skills in one area, but broad skills in most areas? In order to create T-shaped people, you have to share responsibilities, so everyone learns all the skills.  

Well, if we're telling you that you should develop T-shaped people in your family or your company, we ought to demonstrate that in our podcast too. Matt did all the heavy lifting in this episode and is definitely the host. But that also meant I could do a little more research and even fix up the house. With T-shaped teammates, you get to take little vacations, deal with a health issue, or focus on that important thing that never gets any love.  

You can try it with your family, teaching the kids how to make dinner, or with your team by teaching your teammates how to do your job in exchange for them teaching you how to do their job. I can hear some of you getting a little anxious there. "What if I'm not needed?" We'll be talking about this issue in upcoming episodes.  

I'll inject a few clarifying remarks in this episode, but this was Matt's baby. Helpful feedback will help him and all of us get better. 

[00:02:06] Matt Zimmerman: And the mindful Julie podcast, we explore how mindfulness and agility together can help us in both our personal and professional lives. Mindfulness practices help us gain greater insight. Agile practices help us get results. Each episode is an agile experiment to see if we can help you, our listener.  

In this episode, Christina Smith, a Certified Scrum Master shares, how she started using mindfulness and agility together , not only in her work, but also her parenting. Like most parents, Christina wants her children to leave happy and fulfilling lives. Both now. And when they're adults. She also needs them to take out the trash now and then  

 Stress with trying to be a perfect parent. Christina decided to experiment and apply the same techniques she uses at work to her parenting. And the results were amazing.  

If you're new to scrum, there may be some terminology in the episode that you're not familiar with. But in a nutshell, scrum is a project management method, used originally in software development, that focuses on breaking projects down into short, usually two weeks sprints.  

And getting feedback about the product and the team after each sprint.  

If you're interested in learning more about scrum, check the links in our show notes, where we provide resources. Including a simple tool. You'll hear Christina mention, a kanban board  

 after the interview. Morella will lead a 10 minute meditation.  


[00:03:32] Christina Smith:  


[00:03:32] Christina Smith: My name is Christina Smith. I am originally from California and I now live in Orlando. I am the mother of four children 16, 13, 10, and 7. And all of them are super nerdy, real science minded, focused on stem and all things mathematical and engineering. I studied English literature and then I got a master's in theological studies while in San Francisco. And uh, that's where I'm met my husband. We've just had an adventure for the past 20 some years. 

[00:04:09] Daniel Greening: You're currently a producer at CAVU, a company in Birmingham, Alabama that teaches agile techniques, both to existing corporate employees and aspiring candidates from underrepresented communities. That's how we all met. I was teaching a scrum course with your boss, Christopher Sims. You were producing the course and a couple of Mindful Agility teammates were taking the course. How did you end up at CAVU? 

[00:04:38] Christina Smith: Seven years ago I was a stay at home mom. And we were struggling financially because we were a single income family with four children. I thought with my English literature background and I studied some linguistics know, maybe I can learn how to be a developer. I can learn how to do coding because it's just languages, there's syntax and structures. So I went online and I consumed all of the free resources that I could. 

[00:05:03] Matt Zimmerman: And you're able to translate that to a job in technology.  

[00:05:07] Christina Smith: I found myself finally employed at a nonprofit that supported tech companies in the city of Birmingham. We were able to create some training programs to help women who had come from similar backgrounds as me . We were able to pave the way to create some programs, to make the tech field a little bit more equitable. 

So did that then lead to your role at Kaaboo?  

[00:05:33] Christina Smith: Actually I had gone through training with Cavu. I was a graduate of the boot camp. And we worked to create some pathways for women to take scrum training. And that's what I wanted to do full time was just work on helping develop the Cavu community because I wanted to see more companies like that. 

That has been a gift for me to encourage these people to say, look, yes, you've taken time off. You do a lot of unpaid work, but that doesn't mean that companies cannot, benefit from that value. I tell moms all the time they make great scrum masters because they have juggle a lot of different plates and they have to make sure everyone stays on task. 

[00:06:15] Daniel Greening: So now that you're a scrum master, do you apply those skills in your daily life, at home with your family?  

[00:06:22] Christina Smith: Yes we do. Especially on the weekends our sprints are usually Saturday mornings to get all the chores done we'll get the stickies out and, everyone puts in the backlog what needs to be done. Bathrooms cleaned laundry done mopping sweeping all of it, it goes into the backlog and then I give them an incentive. 

I'll tell them, you know, if we can get. Everything done by lunchtime. And Then we get to do X. So sometimes it's going out for special ice cream. Sometimes it's going out for special pizza, or going to a park or something, you know, something that they get to choose to do for their reward 

[00:07:02] Daniel Greening: How often do they make their sprint goal? 

[00:07:04] Christina Smith: very often because I let them decide what is it that you want? 

[00:07:08] Mirela Petalli: you cave in and take them out for special cream or pizza, even if they don't make their sprint goal sometimes. 

[00:07:16] Christina Smith: No, but we'll do a consolation something. Or, sometimes we have to move the time box, we recognize, okay, we're not gonna get this done by lunch time. So what do we do? We'll move the time box so that, yeah. Lunch will be a little bit later today. 

[00:07:30] Matt Zimmerman: So we're interested in your story about your son. Can you talk a little bit about him and his relationship to the rest of your family?  

[00:07:40] Christina Smith: Son, Colin, he is number two in the family. He's the second oldest and he and my older daughter are extremely close and everything. Chloe does, , he wants to do too. Ever since they were little, they've had a dream about going to Mars together and they even drew out spaceships and she joked for a while and said that she wanted to work for NASA so she could send her brother to Mars. 

she wanted to be a, an engineer and build rockets to send her brother to Mars. So, 

[00:08:13] Matt Zimmerman: I love it. 

[00:08:14] Christina Smith: so she, At 11 years old, she said, I wanna go to space camp. Having four kids we couldn't afford to send her, so we found that there were scholarships. She applied for a scholarship and she did all of it by herself. She did not want any help. She was very independent and her independence and her tenacity paid off, she earned a scholarship for space camp. Then my son, when he was old enough to go looked at all of the requirements for the scholarship and he was so overwhelmed. There's a lot in this application for the scholarship. It's the questionnaire that the student has to complete. It's two letters of recommendation, a patch two essays and a science experiment. For an 11 year old who wasn't accustomed to doing such big projects. It was overwhelming. And All of a sudden, my scrum master brain kicked in and I said, okay, well then let's break it down. Let's break down each of the different components as a different part of the application and that way it's bite size.  

 Each piece became an epic. The essays were an epic and the patch design was an epic and science project.  

[00:09:26] Daniel Greening: We should point out here that epics are just big sub projects, I guess. When you have those epics in order to actually do a little bit at a time, maybe every week or every two weeks, You break that down into something called a backlog item. A backlog is a list of things to do. And that list of things is rank ordered. So the thing at the top of the list is the thing that you must do next. And the thing that's after that you do after you finish that first thing on the list.  

[00:10:02] Christina Smith: Then, we would tackle each piece. Little by little. I got a big poster board and I created a Kanban board for him.  

[00:10:09] Daniel Greening: We put a reference for Kanban boards in the show notes.  

[00:10:14] Christina Smith: We wrote out everything that needed to happen and we put it in the backlog so it was, the backlog in progress and done that kept him on track and he loved moving the stickies from, column to column.  

He would get so excited and so he wanted to rush to make sure all those stickies got over to done, but while he was doing all of it, I'm like, okay, so do we want to review this? Do you think, we wanna go back and see if we wanna change anything before we send it. And he's like no, no, we're fine. We're fine. We're fine. . We sent it as is, and then several months later we received the notice that he did not get the scholarship.  

They simply said with the amount of applications, they just couldn't take everybody and they had stronger applications. That was a moment that, we had to retro this.  

[00:11:10] Daniel Greening: Our listeners might not know what a retro is. It's short for retrospective. Retrospective means that you go back and you look at what you've done, you look at all of the metrics, or any kind Information or feedback that you've gotten about the work that you've done, and you reflect on it to decide what you might have done better and what you'll do differently in the future.  

[00:11:38] Christina Smith: We finally got the results from the stakeholders and it was a very painful, reflection for him, where I had to go remember when I asked you about your patch and, and I said, do you think maybe you could have added a little bit more colors or, what if we had redid it so that there weren't all the eraser marks , and I wasn't trying to be mean, I was trying to help you see, maybe this isn't the best work you could have done. If you had taken just a few more minutes to, look through it and, you know, maybe fix some of the changes that we suggested, maybe there could have been a different outcome we looked at, all the pieces of the application and we coached him and said, maybe next time we could have read through the essay a little bit more and, added some extra words or added some extra examples. And he walked away and he understood that he could have put more effort into it  

[00:12:37] Daniel Greening: can he apply again? 

[00:12:39] Christina Smith: he can apply again. 

[00:12:40] Mirela Petalli: How did you ensure that while you were doing this retrospective and exercise on looking what could have been done better? How did you ensure that this was done with compassion and he wasn't feeling like a failure? How did that go? 

[00:12:55] Christina Smith: We had copies of everything and we would ask him okay, let's look at this, is there something you feel that you could have done more? Making sure that we framed it as, did you put your best effort into it? Rather than shaming him, we just asked him, you know, was this truly your best? Did you actually put in your best effort to this? 

And he would go no . So he knew, that he didn't do his best effort. And I have seen, now with those big projects, he will come and ask for feedback and he'll ask me what my thoughts are. And if I think there's anything else he could do to improve it. And so he really did take it to heart. 

[00:13:41] Daniel Greening: After not getting into Space Camp he's coming to you and asking for feedback. 

[00:13:46] Christina Smith: He'll come and ask, does this look okay? Or you. What else do you think I need to put here? 

[00:13:53] Daniel Greening: In scrum one of the big problems we have is that at the end of a sprint, you should have had at least one increment and gotten feedback from customers. And we find that more than 80% of scrum teams don't do that. So they don't get any feedback at least on a regular basis. But the other thing, that struck me in this conversation was. There's feedback from mom, but there's also, as he gets better, there's feedback from other people, right? Like other stem people, you might bring into the picture or academics or, things like that. And it's nice that he's now asking you for feedback, because that will be beneficial for him going forward with other people as well,  

[00:14:39] Christina Smith: I've never sugar coated anything for my kids. They need to hear, the truth. you know, I feel like a lot of their educators may have been overly complimentary on some of their work and skills. And so I'll, and I'm not trying to hurt his will, I want him to recognize we all have ways that we can improve and we all need to improve.  

[00:15:03] Mirela Petalli: I love that. And it shows that you were very skillful in how you dealt with it because what could have happened, especially in that young age is that they get demoralized. And they're like, oh, I can do this. I'm a failure. And they stopped trying, that did not happen. Your, son is able now to come and look for feedback and wanting to improve. And that will really serve him very well in the future because now he can look at himself with honesty and say, okay, this might need some more work. That's a great tool to have to make him successful in whatever he does in the future. 

[00:15:39] Christina Smith: Thank you. 

[00:15:40] Matt Zimmerman: It reminds me a bit of the whole college application process now and how hard it is. I'm 50. I went to college in 1989. Not sure if it was like this for everyone, but back. You had decent SATs, did it. Okay. In high school, you filled application, you know, you could get into a college, maybe not Harvard or prince or something. 

 But it's so different now. And the idea behind scrum is, things are incremental and you're experimenting and it seems like the college application process, or you could look at something like space camp, like this as like an all or nothing, you either succeed or not. 

 I'm wondering how we can make all those processes not all or nothing. And that it's incremental and you learn things along the way. I don't know if that's possible or that would relieve some of the pressure 

[00:16:19] Christina Smith: I told my daughter, my oldest, she is a, junior in high school, but she's starting to look at colleges and doing college application work. But I told her we can, look at her college application process and the scholarship process and scrum that. 

So that at least I can teach her some of these skills before she goes to college. I wish I would've known of scrum before I had gone to college. I think I would've made different choices. But I want her to have those skills, but I think what you're saying, Matt, touches on a larger issue is that now it's a common app. You do one application and you pay, for what schools you want it to be sent to. And you get no feedback on that. And so we do S a T prep. We do coaching on how to write essays and whatnot, but I don't know if there's a whole lot of feedback on what a completed application looks like. Maybe that is something that needs to be built. 

[00:17:21] Matt Zimmerman: And the acceptance process at colleges is often this black box that no one even knows what makes a successful application.  

[00:17:27] Christina Smith: Yes. 

[00:17:27] Daniel Greening: Who could you get feedback from, that would be useful. I suppose it would be people who used to judge college applications or still do it, And have to make decisions between one or the other. This is one of the challenges with underrepresented people from different classes is they may not have knowledge of a person who is in that role. Whereas I can identify a few people who are in that college application process, or I can even dig around on the web and find sources like that. But that is the important challenge, right? If you're going to incrementalize applications and the end result is a big bang sort of thing that you have to apply and it's a black box like Matt mentioned what could we have as approximations for sprint outputs along the way. Like I did this crappy application and now I'm getting feedback and they're telling me all the things that I can fix.  

Writers talk about how important it is that they complete a first crappy draft. And then they put it in front of people and then the people tell them the good things and the bad things, because, we don't often know, as writers, for example, what people will resonate with. And they might resonate with stuff that we had no idea, or they might hate stuff that we thought was amazing. 

[00:19:01] Christina Smith: Exactly.  

[00:19:03] Mirela Petalli: Christina, first, I would say like you have four kids and it is interesting how, they have each their different personalities, like you said, your daughter needed minimal to no help at all to do the application for the space camp and your son needed more. He's got a different personality, a different way of working through things, neither of them is right or wrong. 

And your job as a parent is to recognize those specific personalities and help them in a more tailored way. How did this little experiment you did with your son? How has it changed your way of parenting and how you see things when dealing with stuff like this with your children, 

[00:19:41] Christina Smith: When my kids were younger I feel like I made a lot of parenting mistakes. I had no idea what I was doing. And constantly second guessing myself and uh, calling, other moms and asking them for input. And some of the advice that I would get was helpful, some of it wasn't. 

 One day. I realized I was putting too much pressure on myself, to be the perfect parent, because there's no such thing as a perfect parent. Even in my pursuit of being perfect, I was unintentionally hurting my children, by enabling them, by thinking I needed to do everything for them. 

 Someone gave me a book called raising your spirited child. . And the whole premise of the book is that your children are going to grow up to be thriving adults. And our job as a parent is to make sure that they are exactly who they're supposed to be. As a parent, when my child is being willful or opinionated if I looked at those same traits in an adult, like someone who is decisive is independent takes actions. 

 I would admire those things in the adult, but because I'm the parent and I'm supposed to be in control and. My child is not conforming to what I need them to do at this moment. It's seen as a negative, there's something wrong with the child.  

 Recognizing that it's yes, my daughter, while her teacher will say, she's bossy. If she was an adult woman, I would say, she has leadership skills. She is good at giving directions. She has a plan and she knows how to execute it. 

Why on earth would I try to change that? 

[00:21:30] Mirela Petalli: dam on it. Yeah.  

[00:21:31] Christina Smith: My job is to redirect that for something positive. If she's going to tell everybody what to do let's give her the tools to use it in a way that's constructive, rather than you're not doing it right. How about, let's reframe this and maybe it would be better if you did it this way instead of telling her brother, no you're doing it wrong let's train her with her language on how to change that. So that it's positive.  

And then, with my son, he needs a lot more guidance. I recognized, he needs to work in a community. He needs to work in a group, for projects. And he doesn't like a lot of independent work, but he's great at doing the work when there's a structure. That's when I can come in and say this is the acceptance criteria for how this job needs to be done. Do it, however you think you need to do it, but it, this is what the definition of done is if you can things then that's done. 


he's able to. Be a lot more independent and to take initiative himself because he knows when I say take out the trash. Exactly what I mean by take out the trash before, you know, we would have these conversations like, okay well, where do I take the trash? And you know, who would ask all these questions? 

And I thought my goodness, it's just common sense. And then I realized, but it's not, my job is to teach him what the common sense in our family is, he needs very clear understanding of what the parameters are, what done is, and so that has helped. And it has forced me to slow down, like when I'm asking him to do something extra for me, I have to make sure that I'm very explicit. 

Okay. I need you to do this and I need you to put it here and then I need you to do, whatever the steps are so that it is done. And once I give him that he does it and he doesn't complain it's one of those things where you sometimes life is, happens so fast, but then you have to make the choice to slow down and take the extra, minute or so to work out those details so that it can start accelerating again, and in the long run, I find that when I actually am Mindful and I stop, 

I spend less time talking about something mundane and being frustrated and having these, a very frustrating interaction with my child. If we can, take those two minutes beforehand and get it right the first time around, and then he can, go and do what he needs to do. 

[00:24:10] Mirela Petalli: you mentioned two important a Mindful and an Agility concepts there. The first one, the mindfulness one it's really big that we slow down. And stop so we can actually gain speed later. It reminds me of the expression that says, if you have time, meditate for 20 minutes, if you don't have time, then meditate for an hour. and the Agility part of it, or if you recognizing that a child needs different directions and making sure that they get what they need, they get those clear instructions, those incrementals, and what the definition of done is so he, it can make the work so much easier and the results so much better. 

[00:24:50] Christina Smith: Yes. For instance, the other day we had guests coming, I said, go clean the bathroom So he goes in and he did what he thought would what clean was. And I was about to, fuss at him a little bit. And then I realized that I didn't tell him what the definition of clean is, so in his mind it was clean, but it was not clean in my mind. So I had to take responsibility because I know that with this one child in particular, I have to give extremely clear directions and I did not take the time to do that.  

[00:25:24] Matt Zimmerman: These conversations spark so many things. It started off with space camp and then going to like reforming the education system. I was wondering if there's a parent listening right now and they think, wow, this sounds great. Do you have a simple way they could start?  

[00:25:38] Christina Smith: For me, it started as simple as just getting chores done on a Saturday morning. And it can be as simple as taking some sticky notes and putting it on the wall with all of the chores that need to be done. Whoever takes responsibility for that sticky, they move it to another column that says in progress or doing, and then, when it's done moving it to the done pile, then you can move up to, I guess more complicated projects with your children. For sure, making sure to listen to your children, they are humans. They were put on this earth for a purpose and. Extremely meaningful to develop a relationship with them as children they're only gonna be children for a certain amount of time, and they're going to be adults for far longer than that and, recognizing that early and committing to making that part of your mission as a parent, getting them to adulthood with all the skills that they need in order to fulfill whatever purpose that they're supposed to fulfill. 

[00:26:49] Mirela Petalli: I want to bring back to what you said earlier that you didn't start off as a perfect parent. you tried and made errors and tried again made had experiments going on and learned on the way. And I think it's important to mention that to every parent or prospective parent out there that you're not gonna start off knowing everything. 

 And this is what scrum is about. And this is also what mindfulness is about. You have to learn, you have to pay attention to what's going on. And as long as you continue to learn from your mistakes and continue to grow, there's always gonna be progress and things are going to get better. 

[00:27:29] Christina Smith: Yes. And one thing that that I realized is that. It's okay for a parent to apologize for making a mistake. I think it's modeling, for the child taking responsibility. And so I've had to apologize a lot to my children when I lose my temper when I first started parenting, my default was to yell. That was, my default . And so it's taking a lot of making sure that I am being Mindful, doing my own Mindful practices to fill my cup. Also asking my children to give me a little bit of grace, because I've never parented before you are my first children. so all four of them, I've never parented other children before. Asking them to have grace and compassion on me. I think that has really helped all of us and I rarely have to yell at my children anymore. 

[00:28:25] Matt Zimmerman: It seems, you've been able to bring some of your things you've learned from agile scrum into your home, and I'm wondering uh, has the reverse happened or are there things you've learned by using this with your family that then you've applied at work knowingly or unconsciously? 

[00:28:38] Christina Smith: I think it gives me a great amount of empathy for my teammates. Because things happen and rather than get frustrated, oh, you didn't do this thing. Just to take a pause and go, okay, that's not normal for them to not do that. 

So is there something else happening? Do I need to come and swarm with them a little bit more? Again, it's that pausing so that you can accelerate faster, taking that extra time to work out those things. It's improved communication. I try to always remember Everyone has the best intentions. 

I have the best intentions. They have the best intentions. And sometimes we fail even with good intentions.  

 I spend a lot of time with learners and so trying to meet them where they are and realize that they have lives outside of learning scrum. And I need to acknowledge that and help them where I can so that they can be successful at becoming a scrum master and a product owner. . 

[00:29:40] Daniel Greening: What do you hope uh, people will take away from this conversation, Christina. 

[00:29:47] Christina Smith: I hope that maybe they could give themselves a little bit more grace on parenting their small ones and recognize that it's not too late to change if they are unhappy with how they're doing it. And I hope that, they gain some skills to make things a little bit more manageable with big projects for their children. 

[00:30:08] Mirela Petalli: Thank you for joining us was a real pleasure getting to know you and I'm sure lots of parents out there are going to relate to what you shared with us. Thank you for sharing with us. 

[00:30:19] Christina Smith: Of course. This was a lot of fun 


[00:30:23] Matt Zimmerman: Many, thanks to Christina Smith for joining us in this episode. You can find out her contact information in our show notes. If you want to try Christina's techniques, but need a little help. You can contact us at info@mindfulagility.com. We'd also love to hear your results.  

If you want to help us out, our priority is building a bigger audience.  

So if you liked this episode, please pass it on with your recommendation to friends. 

 There's also a Mindful Agility community, Facebook group.  

We meet occasionally and sometimes excerpts from those meetings and up in our podcast. We'd love to have you join us. 


[00:30:58] Matt Zimmerman: Amarelle did you hear about the new restaurant on the moon?  

[00:31:01] Mirela Petalli: No. What about it?  

[00:31:03] Matt Zimmerman: Well, the food's pretty good, but there's no atmosphere. Get it no atmosphere  

I'm Matt Zimmerman. See you next time.  


Meditation Introduction 

[00:31:13] Matt Zimmerman: For those of you still with thisMirela will lead us in a 10 minute meditation on mindful breathing 


[00:31:21] Mirela Petalli: Thank you for taking this time to meditate with us today.  


[00:31:26] Mirela Petalli: Mindfulness is the skill of paying attention to what is happening without judgment. It allows us to be aware of the present moment after moment. When we are sitting, we know we are sitting. When we are walking, we know we are walking. When we are eating, we know we are eating. And so on. When we are mindful, we can pause and respond skillfully instead of reacting. Regular mindfulness practice helps us cultivate calmness, peace, resilience, clarity, insight, awareness, and happiness.  

In today's meditation, we will use our breath to calm and relax our bodies and minds. Mindfulness of breathing is a simple, yet powerful tool. If you are not familiar with this practice, you'll discover that it is very difficult to maintain your attention on the breath, especially in the beginning. This is perfectly natural and it happens to all of us. The practice is about noticing that we have been distracted, being gentle with ourselves, and bringing our attention back to the breath. Over and over again.  

With time, we train our mind to notice when it has been pulled away by thoughts emotions and sensations and come back to the present. We then take this new skill off the meditation and may notice that we are being more mindful and present throughout the day. We might feel a sense of presence, clarity, awareness and calmness that benefits us and everyone around us.  

And now let's begin.  


[00:33:46] Mirela Petalli: Find a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down.  

You can close your eyes or keep them slightly open, focused downward in front of you.  

 Let's start by taking a few deep, long, slow breaths to settle in our bodies and relax.  

Now allow your breath to return to normal.  

 Bring your attention to your body.  

Relax your jaw. 

Your shoulders . 

Let your arms and legs feel heavy. Relax your back.  

Your chest.  

 And belly.  

Let your whole body rest.  

 There is nothing to do right now.  

Now bring your attention to your breath.  

Notice the body breathing.  

 the air coming in through the nose.  

The movements of your chest and belly.  

 In this meditation, we are going to be curious about the breath without trying to change it, without judgment. It can be slow, fast, shallow, deep.  

That's okay.  

We just notice and follow the breath.  

Breathing in we know we are breathing in.  

 Breathing out we know we are breathing out.  

 Let's spend some time following the breath from the beginning to end and try to bring some relaxation with each out-breath.  

 If you get distracted by thoughts, sensations, emotions or sounds, just notice that you have been distracted and gently bring your attention back to the breath.  

Breathing in we know we are breathing in  

Breathing out we know we are breathing out.  

 Now, bring your attention to where you feel the breath the most.  

 The tip of your nose, 

 the back of your throat, 

 your chest.  

 or your belly.  

Try and keep your attention there lightly.  

As you allow the breath to happen naturally.  

This way we cultivate focus and awareness.  

If you get distracted  

by thoughts, sensations,  

emotions or sounds,  

just notice that you have been distracted and gently bring your attention back to the breath.  

Now we are going to slowly get out of meditation.  

 Bring your attention back to your whole body.  

The room.  

Start slowly moving your fingers and toes.  

 And whenever you're ready.  

You can open your eyes.  

 Thank you for taking the time to meditate with us today.