Earlier this fall before beginning my first year as a Girls on the Run coach, I considered what the experience would be like. I imagined leading conversations with the girls about important life lessons and self-confidence building habits which I, too, had taught to me growing up. I aimed to emulate the happy, contented woman we all wish for them to become. The other coaches and myself were not only to be helpers in the learning process but, even in a small way, representative of the GOTR vision.
Over the past year, I began practicing meditation. One Sunday morning, guided in group meditation, we were asked to close our eyes and focus deeply on the breath while envisioning tension, stress and negativity exhaled in the form of dark black smoke. With each inhalation, we imagined drawing in tranquility, calm and purity in the form of white light. It was a beautiful metaphor supporting mindfulness and the ability to change perspective through breath.
The following day was GOTR Lesson 3 “Star Power”. The girls began the lesson by laying on their backs in a circle, eyes closed, imagining themselves outside on a hill at night gazing at the stars, picking one bright star to represent themselves and focusing on its brilliance and uniqueness. They visualized clouds rolling in and covering up the stars, representing self-doubt and negative-thinking. As I lead the girls through the breathing exercise viewing each exhalation as the wind blowing the clouds away and re-revealing their star, the synchronicity was obvious; I was teaching what I was being taught.
Practicing mindfulness, positive thinking, and empowerment of choice will always be relevant. Starting the girls early on this awareness puts them on a good path continuing for a long time to come. I appreciate that while we are the leaders in class, we are also the students and I look forward to this opportunity to support and grow alongside our girls over the weeks ahead.
Blog post written by Coach Paula from the Loyal Heights A Team