For many of the 8th grade Omega students, centering has been part of their educational experience for 9 years. This means that they have experienced approximately 1,500 centering practices during their time at RCS.
When Omegans begin their 7th grade year, a new ritual is invited into the centering practice. Words of wisdom, a quote, a lyric, or an invocation serve as the seed out of which the Centering lesson is born. These wise words are displayed on a white board and the Omega students are asked to connect to them in a deeper way by recording and reflecting on them in centering journals. A volunteer is asked to recite the quote and then at this time the teacher fishes for any student reflections, questions, insight or comments. Students are encouraged to offer their own wisdom, tweeze out meaning, making connections, share a personal story, give an emotional reaction and/or new perspective to the quote- ultimately this is how they breath even more life into the words.
On a Tuesday morning in January, the quote of the day came from none other than Winnie the Pooh. His wise words offered the students a chance to reflect on their fortunate friendships as true gifts- not to be overlooked or undervalued. Winne the Pooh says, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” One student reflected that “there are so many people that don’t realize how lucky they are…” “another mentioned that you don’t know you love something until it is gone” even still another noted that she recognized there have been many times in her life where she only saw the true gifts of something once it was gone. The teacher leading the centering shared a personal story which helped to create a safe and vulnerable place for the rest of the kids. At this time they were guided by several prompting questions and asked to think, pair, and share among their peers. Some of the prompts included: What qualities do you look for in friend? What are a few of your own qualities that make you a good friend? The room came alive with exchanges. The kids listened to one another with a mutual respect and spoke from the heart.
This culture of deep reflection, critical thinking and empathy didn’t develop overnight. The culture of uncovering personal truths and speaking them with confidence emerged from years of exposure to centering and contemplative practices, it was born out of the safe space the teachers worked so hard to foster, it evolved out of the deep relationships that guide all the work of a holistic education.
How can what we do at RCS inspire your own personal or professional work? Consider these questions.
How do you invite deep reflection into your life?
How do you access your inner wisdom and how do you create a sacred space for this?
How may you adapt this centering practice or one like it so that it may be used in your life?