Yesterday I dropped my two year old off at pre-school and one of her classmates was crying. I watched my daughter's teacher shift the other little girl's mood by scooping her up, settling her into this gigantic plush teddybear chair, and reading a book to her.
The two year old quickly quieted.
Anyone who's dropped a child off at preschool has witnessed this scene themselves. What clicked for me this time was
the role that the senses played in clearing the way for a fresh state of mind. In this case the child was engaged in touching the fluffy bear, hearing the teacher's voice, and seeing the colorful illustrations in the book.
Recently I was at meditation retreat led by Jon Kabat Zinn, and when he introduced mindful walking, a kind of meditation practice, he said, "Put your mind in your feet." At first I found this instruction difficult, my mind didn't quite get it. But after walking, I think my feet did.
It seems to me that following the instruction to put our minds in our senses, to the extent that we are able, can produce a quick shift in mood. Next time you need a shift, what would it be like to put your mind in your nose while smelling a lavender eye mask or your mind in your hands while washing lettuce?
In this picture I'm pretty sure my two year old has her mind in her fingers and in her eyes and in her nose. Inspiring!