Breathing in, breathing out- Warren Easton High School students

Breathing in, breathing out- Warren Easton High School students PDF Print E-mail
On April 14th-16th, 2011, a group of twenty senior students and two teachers from Warren Easton High School from New Orleans, LA made a psychology trip to Magnolia Grove Monastery to practice mindfulness and meditation with the monastic Brothers and Sisters. Instead of going to Florida for the senior trip, the students decided to have an adventure to the monastery instead. Below is the letter from Jenny Rious, the psychology teacher of the students, sharing her feelings about the retreat. We wish you much peace and happiness while reading it.

I want to let you know how wonderful our trip was to Magnolia Grove Monastery. It did so much for the students and so much for me. My friend Ann Marie has nicknamed me Sister Puddle because of all my crying, but I can assure you every tear I shed at Magnolia Grove was one of joy.

There are so many wonderful things that happened there for my students, that even if just one of them had happened the whole trip would have been worth it.
The children spent time with their own thoughts
They ate in silence with respect
They tried vegan  food
Their stereotypes about Vietnamese people have been shattered
They practiced sitting meditation during a thunderstorm!
They were able to breathe fresh air

They were able to play like children, without worries
They walked through nature
During deep relaxation, loving people sang them lullabies!
They were made to feel very welcome and utterly accepted.
They were able to have a discussion with a wise older brother about sex that was, to be sure, the most positive way in which they have ever heard this topic addressed.
They sang together
They were able to come back to their breath.
They learned to apologize to each other.

New Orleans Students

Happiness is here and now.

Truly we are so grateful. I am particularly so, because I know that in the 12 years that I have been teaching, this was the loveliest thing I have done for my children. I can never thank you enough for making this possible. I am confident that even though the students were able to practice for such a short time, their experience will stay with them for life.

You may also love to know that prior to the AP exam, I suggested that we all take a walk to get our blood flowing and minds clear. It so happened that we walked past a yoga studio. One of the students suggested that we go in and ask if they would allow us to do some sitting meditation. The proprietor agreed, one of the students found a bell rang it we meditated for a bit and then we all sang 2 rounds of “Breathing in, Breathing Out”. Proof positive that your loving kindness has found a permanent place in their hearts.

With gratitude for which there are no words,

Jenny Rious

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