A few Thursdays ago Deer Park was privileged to host a fifth grade class of twenty-two children and six adults including their teacher, Ms. Walker, from the Waldorf School of San Diego.
Our coordinated, special program with, Ms. Walker's, class included: an introduction to mindful breathing, listening and inviting the bell, cracker and tea meditation, walking with the regular Thursday Day of Mindfulness participants, a silent lunch under the Oak Trees, and total relaxation. We also spent forty minutes doing pebble meditation which carried us on a journey through a dry creek bed to find four stones. One of each stone represented the freshness of a flower, solidity of a mountain, clarity of a calm lake, and the openness and freedom of space.
The children particularly enjoyed walking meditation, the mint tea especially brewed for them by two sisters of Deer Park, and eating meditation. They commented after our time together: “The food tasted so good,” “I had so much fun,” “this was the best field trip so far,” “I would like to go on field trips like this everyday.” When they first arrived we asked them how they felt knowing they were going to come to Deer Park. Most said they were excited and some said they had no expectations. When asking how they felt after arriving at Deer Park they answered: “I felt peaceful the moment we drove up,” I feel calm,” “relaxed,” “comfortable.”
I Love the Roses, a children's song with coordinated hand gestures often sung at Deer Park was a huge hit with Ms Walker's class. The children sang it on their own without the facilitator's help after hearing it just a few times. Their joy and happiness made everyone feel so alive. It touched our hearts so deeply to hear the voices of children echo through the meditation hall and spread out into the open sky, the valley, the mountains, and the oak grove. Our time was an opportunity to water seeds of joy, happiness, and freedom in all of us. With their peaceful steps in walking meditation and holding hands together in noble silence, we experienced the gift of joy and happiness right here, right now. We offered the gift of peace to ourselves and to future generations.
The joy and happiness of children is infectious. Their joy and happiness spreads and soaks into the earth and sky creating ripples that lay a foundation for a happy present, a peaceful future, and even heals the past. Through offerings such as these, we offer a next generation a chance to live more freely than we have lived, with less anger, fear, violence, regret, and hatred. More opportunities to experience and ground ourselves in joy and happiness grows the potential for more warmth, togetherness, compassion, love, singing, and dancing in our lives and in our world.
Peace is possible if only we give peace a chance. The miracle of children is that they are naturally open to receive and to immediately put into practice a way, a life based on understanding and love. Their minds and bodies are fresh and new. Their life refreshes our own commitment to live and practice what we teach. The laughter, singing, and dancing of children is a precious, wonder of life, a world wonder.
Thank you, Waldorf of San Diego, for the blessing you have offered us. Thank you Ms. Walker's fifth grade class.
Sincerely, Deer Park Children's Program