Aimee Lamendola leads church and nursery school staff through mindfulness exercises
The interest in Mindfulness has escalated in recent years. In our own Mt. Lebanon community, there was an event in August that was sponsored by Mt. Lebanon School District and featured Dr. Christopher Willard author of several books including Growing Up Mindful. The subject has also appeared on the cover of magazines, including the September edition of the Mt. Lebanon magazine. Mindfulness practice is a topic of discussion that spans across industries and generations.
Business leaders use it to help prevent burnout, physicians encourage patients to use it to deal with pain, students use it to establish a sense of calm and our own staff and teachers at St. Paul’s have begun to use it in hopes of enhancing concentration, reducing stress, and improving overall sense of health and well-being.
So, what is mindfulness? According to UC Berkeley, Greater Good Magazine https://greatergood.berkeley.edu Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. ... When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Last May, as part of the nursery school’s year-end professional development, parishioner Aimee Lamendola shared information with the teachers to explain the science and benefits behind mindfulness and relaxation practices. The response from the staff was overwhelmingly positive and the interest in learning more about how to implement these practices on a regular basis was substantial. Working with young children brings great joy but also requires a great deal of energy and focus and can sometimes be very draining. The clergy and staff of the church also face challenges and stress as they work to respond to and meet the needs within and outside of the parish community.
We are thrilled that beginning this fall, in addition to working with Mt. Lebanon and Elizabeth Forward School Districts, Aimee will facilitate Mindfulness sessions for the nursery school teachers and the church staff. The hope is that by offering regular mindfulness and relaxation sessions staff members can experience reduced stress, increased concentration and a greater sense of mental well-being.
Eileen Sharbaugh, St. Paul’s Episcopal Nursery School Director