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An Invitation to Slow Down

by Gena Adams-Riley, Health & Wellness

To our Faculty, Staff, Students, and Volunteers:

An Open Invitation to be Mindful

The Patrick Dougherty Art Installation taking shape over the next 18 days in the heart of campus is an invitation simply waiting for your mindful presence. An outdoor experience amidst these gorgeous fall days, where you are welcome, welcome to show up, sit quietly, simply watch and be. Watch the beginning of this artful process, watch something new taking shape. A collaboration of skillful guidance with a gifted sculptor plus willow saplings plus volunteers.

Maybe you have some belief that you’re not really outdoorsy or artsy. Maybe you hold the belief that you really don’t have time to stop and watch. Well, let’s be clear, the pleasure of your mindful presence is requested. Your quiet and your curiosity, your courage and your vulnerability, your imperfect, somewhere-over-the-pandemic-self, the holy wonder that you are is cordially invited to witness this wonder. Mindfulness is about paying attention; making your attention muscle stronger. That’s it. No secret technique. Mindfulness can happen inside a quiet room and outside on a bustling campus. Show up and pay attention. Notice your attention as you watch saplings turned into art. Notice what you notice. Notice the quality of your attention. Notice your body. Notice what you’re feeling without writing a whole story about why you’re feeling that way. Begin again when you realize your rascally mind is no longer right here. You are equipped with a wonderfully curious, resilient mind.

Curiosity and Kindness

Essential to Mindfulness is both curiosity and kindness. Mindfulness is knowingly paying attention to all that’s unfolding right here and now. With practice, you skillfully hold space for life happening on life’s terms all the while developing kindful awareness around any inner narrative that’s simultaneously making itself known. And, as you pause to really see and listen, you become aware of the voice in your head. Like a sports announcer, your own mind is narrating its way through I like this. I don’t like that. I want that. I don’t want that.

Your mindful presence is needed to hold space, lend support, and to strengthen the CCES community united in love ready to take loving action to heal suffering in this world. The pleasure of your mindful, masked-up presence is requested. 
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Christ Church Episcopal School (“CCES”) admits students of any sex, race, color, national or ethnic origin, creed, religion, or sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at CCES. CCES does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national or ethnic origin, creed, religion, or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, financial aid or other programs, or athletic or other school-administered programs and activities.