Empathy is the gateway to compassion. As we grow in mindfulness we become more aware of others and their needs and of the pain and suffering that mirrors our own experiences. We also gain the insight to understand our own potential and capacity to act to redress pain and suffering in others – our ability to show compassion in a way that is reflective of our life history and unique skill set.
This was certainly true of Goldie Hawn who acknowledged that, as she grew in mindfulness through mindful practice, she developed a deeper empathy for the plight of children who were lacking in joy and suffering from stress and fear. This deepened empathy led to the insight that she herself could do so much to redress the pain and suffering of school age children in a unique way – she could show compassion in a way that was built on her own life history and skill set.
This, in turn, led to the development of MindUP™ – mindfulness for teachers and children. In establishing MindUP™ through her Hart Foundation, Goldie had some very clear goals in mind:
I created MindUP ™ with educators, for educators. I wanted to help them improve student focus, engagement in learning academics and give them tools and strategies that would bring joy back into the classroom. It is my greatest hope that every teacher who uses MindUP™ will find it beneficial in their work and in their life.
Goldie realised that she had to work through teachers to develop a new curriculum based on mindfulness and to give the teachers experience of the benefit of mindfulness so that they were motivated to share this with their students. The program with its curriculum and framework consists of 15 lessons for Pre-K-8th grade children. It exposes the teachers and children to “neuroscience, positive psychology, mindful awareness and social learning”.
An experiential approach to mindfulness is embedded in the program through daily mindfulness practices. Children are taught “activities around topics such as gratitude, mindfulness and perspective taking”. Goldie was able to report that the science/evidence-based program, which has been evaluated over a ten year period, has impacted the lives of 500,000 teachers and children.
The outcomes of the MindUP™Program, identified in the ongoing evaluation, are reported as “drives positive behavior, improves learning and scholastic performance, and increases empathy, optimism and compassion”.
This program shows you what mindful leadership can lead to and what impact a single individual can have through their own growth in mindfulness.
Mindfulness for children is becoming critical because of the increasing loss of the capacity to focus and pay attention, the growth in depression and mental illness in school aged children, the disastrous impact of cyber bullying leading some to suicide and the underlying lack of skills and resilience to deal with life’s challenges.
Goldie Hawn, through her MindUP™ Program, takes action to redress these issues for children. She shares how her own life is now filled with joy and happiness. What she has effectively achieved in her own life through mindfulness practice, are the essential elements of happiness:
- work or activity that utilises her core skills and experience
- meaningful work/ activity
- working towards something that is beyond herself.
Personal happiness can be an outcome of mindfulness but it also provides the foundation for the active pursuit of some goal that will bring happiness and fulfilment into the lives of others.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of Khamkhor on Pixabay