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Mindful : June 2014
6 mindful June 2014 San Diego is my new favorite place. For one thing, my hotel’s pool was designed by Olympian (and Tarzan-por trayer) Johnny Weissmuller. I could roll out of bed, swing open the double doors, and dive into a pool heated by solar cells. To add color and ver ve, the hotel was hosting a drag queen conven- tion. There was discussion of jumping into the pool in gowns. San Diego is also world capital of the taquito, a cigar-sized tor tilla roll filled with beans or cheese or meat. Mexican cannoli. What’s not to love? What’s also great about San Diego is that it’s home to UCSD’s Center for Mindful- ness, which was sponsoring a gathering of educators using mindfulness in their schools. The highlight for me was taking par t in a discussion about how to talk about mindfulness to people who aren’t quite sure what it means. In our circle were several teachers, principals, a mother who ser ves on the board of her public school, and college faculty. No group of theorists, these were pragmatic folks who deal with students, parents, and administrators. They are people who are interested in mindful- ness as a result of a clear and present need they’ve felt, and they continue to feel it daily. As we batted around expe- riences of talking with people about mindfulness, several simple guidelines emerged: 1. There is no tex tbook defi- nition of mindfulness—it’s not a thing; it’s experiential, so speak from your experience. 2. If someone wants to know about mindfulness, listen to them more than you talk; find out what mat ters to them. Speak to their needs—don’t sell it as if it were a product. 3. Don’t preach and prose- lytize. That’s a sure way to turn newcomers off. 4. Cite promising scientific research but don’t overstate it. Science moves slowly. Research into mindfulness is in its early stages, and results are promising, but much more work needs to be done. Science and cheerleading don’t mix. It’s inspiring to see such hard-working people taking time to reflect wisely on what they’re doing. As things were wrapping up (taquito time!), Cindy Mar ten, the San Diego school superintendent, made a surprise visit to offer her sup- por t to the teachers and assure them that their work is not a fad. Mindfulness has a real role in our schools. Never Too Cool to Be Schooled — Barr y Boyce, Editor-in-Chief barr