Sixth Day (continued with Earl) Kohala Winter Camp
Some people think it is impossible to teach children to put their attention to feelings inside while they put their attention outside onto others. Earl proved he could do even more.
“No one will play with me. I asked Simon if he would play with me and he’s not paying attention,” Earl complained as he reached for his lunch box.
“Earl we aren’t having snacks now. Please go get Simon and come here,” I replied. Earl continued to fiddle with a baggie of carrots.
“Simon, could you please come here a minute,” I called across the playground. Simon, a five year old with a sticky blond Mohawk haircut and angel blue eyes came toddling across the field.
“Simon, Earl wants to share something with you but first I want you both to find home.” Both boys closed their eyes and did the Home Breath lesson.
“When you find Home put your hand where you feel it in your body and see if you can still feel it when you open your eyes?” I asked. Earl and Simon repeated the Home Breath three or four times. Earl placed his hand on his heart. Simon placed his hand on his upper chest.
“What does it feel like inside when you find Home Earl?” I asked seeing his attention inward with closed eyes.
“It feels warm,” he replied.
“What about you Simon, what does your Home feel like inside?”
Simon said, “It feels happy”.
“Ok, now we are going to let own Homes talk about what upset us. Keep your hand on your body where you feel Home so you can remember your Home is the one that is going to talk. Earl, you share first. What did you feel out on the playground?”
Earl’s eyes opened and the minute he did his attitude shifting to blaming and complaining… “Simon is mean.”
Simon jumped in, letting go of his upper chest and mindlessly pulling at the top of his Mohawk pointing the tips of his hair straight up like a cat ready to brawl. He shouted, “I just want to play!”
I stopped them both, “Oh wait, look what just happen! Can either of you still feel Home?” I looked at Earl.
“No,” Earl innocently replied.
“What does your Home feel like now?” I asked.
Earl flashed big sad eyes and said, “It feels cold.”
I asked Simon, “What does it feel like when you went out of Home? ”
“My Home feels empty,” Simon curiously responded.
Both boys went inside to find Home again.
This time they tried to talk from their hearts. They were calmer but still upset. It turned out Simon didn’t mind playing together with Earl, he just didn’t want Earl to keep asking, “Will you play with me? Will you play with me? Will you play with me?”
Simon repeated more gently, “I just wanted to play.”
After the boys talked and both understood each other’s position I asked Earl, “What does Home feel now?”
To my surprise Earl lifted his index finger to his heart region and outlined half his heart and replied in a half-hearted manner, “This half feels warm, but this side still feels cold.” I just wanted to hug him… then I noticed the region of his chest that “felt cold” looked more protruded and tight.
Background of Earl at the Camp
Earl missed the movement games to soften the ribcage and improve the posture for sitting. If our bodies hold tension in a familiar character of behavior, it can feel like a magnet sucking us back into the very action we don’t want to go into.
We reviewed a little of the past movement lessons with the whole class later that morning, to help change Earl’s posture. However he also had difficulty breathing through is nose. The tension of ribs and sinuses affect each other.
Later that afternoon I noticed Earl’s way of listening and sharing seemed separate from the content of the discussion. Earl seemed to be again in his own little world. I wondered if it had to do with the discomfort of his stuffy sinuses.
Where we left off and how I would proceed if Earl were my son is to practice the feeling of Home with him and in myself.
The Home Breath lesson isn’t a breathing technique to change how we feel inside and than forget. It is a feeling that needs to be recalled through our day and applied. Just as those who meditate or pray and feel powerful insights but forget to apply to their day.
Finding Home for a second can be really exciting. When the children do they want to jump back into the game forgetting the feeling. However if they for the state of mind of Home they are missing the whole point of the game. Attention must be balanced inside with the outside. The mastery we all strive for is to enjoy life but the tricky part is the joy like aloha starts from inside.
The last day the children made a beautiful card thanking us for the program. As I opened my card Earl pushed through the crowd of smiling faces and pointing to his note on the paper.
It said, “I love you.”