Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wisdom 2.0

“We do not fight the darkness.  We are farmers of the light.”  Jewel Kilcher

Inner Explorer was chosen to speak on the People’s Stage at the recent Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, CA.  I was asked to accompany my teammates to the Palace of Fine Arts and share in the opportunity to make contacts and engage in conversation with hopes of furthering our efforts of bringing mindfulness into classrooms.  I had no idea what to expect.

I am very much an observer.  My brain works best when I can watch people’s interactions and conversations.  My strengths lie in percolating thoughts and piecing them together to form new ideas and directions to enhance our current methodology.

Wisdom 2.0 was not a meeting of brains; this was a meeting of hearts.

I found myself face to face with people who were making a positive impact in this world by raising awareness of the importance of mindfulness.  There is nothing more energizing than charismatic souls joining forces to serve the greater good.  An urgent feeling of action pressed me forward from the comfort of the background and into introductions and conversations with like-minded individuals. I found myself fueled by other’s own enthusiasm, questions and ideas to deepen connections and provide details about Inner Explorer and the impact we have in the classrooms that use our program.  Specific examples of situations where children have shared their stories of how mindfulness has impacted their lives surfaced in every interaction with conference attendees.  There are so many stories to share; we have had beautiful feedback from students of all ages that highlight the importance and growing need of better social and emotional learning tools to break through the toxic stress that so many children are exposed to regularly.  Each and every one of these stories is authentic, touching, and inspirational and emphasizes the importance of continuing to meet Inner Explorer’s goal of reaching One Million Mindful Children.  Every story was received with empathy and a passion to help.  There is so much love and concern for teachers and students; each encounter was heartwarming.

There is a variety of other work in the field of mindfulness to help raise awareness of the benefits of a daily practice.  I had the opportunity to witness expert speakers, see and hear presentations of other efforts working with different audiences, and learn about future collaborations that will continue to emphasize the importance of mindful awareness.  The highlight of the conference for me was witnessing the telling of her life story by the musical artist Jewel. One of my biggest takeaways was when Jewel mentioned that she signs every email with the quote “We do not fight the darkness.  We are farmers of the light.”  This message encapsulates the idea of the work we do at Inner Explorer; we cannot destroy substance abuse, poverty, or the unhealthy living environments of every child.  But we can work each day to reach tens of thousands of children and give them the tools they need to survive stressful situations.  Let’s give our teachers peace and cultivate hope in our younger generation.  Let’s help our children develop a greater sense of self-worth and an enhanced sense of empathy and compassion for others.  Most importantly, let’s empower our teachers by creating an ideal environment for learning with a daily mindful awareness program so the students of today can break through the barriers that restrain them and replace them with an abundance of opportunities.  Let’s inspire an entire generation to become “farmers of the light.”

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