Principal's Blog - 11 May 2017

08 May 2017

Dear members of the Marcellin College family,

Many would have heard of the personal wellbeing concept of mindfulness. A personal strategy which has gained a great deal of momentum around the world and even here at Marcellin.

Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment. It involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. Basically it is about being in tune with the moment whilst acknowledging other thoughts and feelings which enter our head. In their book Mindfulness for Life Dr’s Stephen Mackenzie and Craig Hassed speak of mindfulness as something which provides a reliable means of establishing peace and clarity amongst a complex and busy world (2012).

Mindfulness is taught and practiced here at Marcellin in Year 7 with classes conducted by Chris Pattison, one of our Student counsellors. At lunchtimes two of our other counsellors, Rose Chapple and Sherryn O’Brien support our Year 12’s by running mindfulness sessions, particularly during heavy SAC periods. Concepts of Mindfulness and Positive Education are central to our Colleges’ Student Wellbeing Program and we have previously run mindfulness activities for staff before school.

Like anything, mindfulness is a personal wellbeing technique which needs to be practiced consistently overtime for real benefit to become apparent. Having said that, mindfulness does not require lengthy periods of engagement; rather small consistent and focused blocks of time - between five and ten minutes.

It is interesting to note that, in part, mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation. Interesting too, that when you really think about it, people who practice any religious faith engage in mindfulness every day. We call it Prayer! Prayer is not an activity in which we tune out from the world. In fact prayer is something which requires us to be present to the moment we are in. To acknowledge all that is good and bad in the world and in our lives and then stand in the presence of God and allow his love, mercy and goodness to wash over us and bring us peace.

The Marists know all about the power of prayer and its positive impact on our wellbeing, not to mention our relationship with God! I have been blessed on a number of occasions to live in community with Marist in my travels around Australia and around the world. There is a particular rhythm to Marist community life where prayer is seen as the consistent thread which weaves its way through their day. It begins in the morning when Marists in community gather in prayer before breakfast. They begin with a special intention for the day, followed by the Gospel reading of the day, a reflection on the reading, contemplation and finally some prayers. A similar process occurs at the end of the day, although at this time the focus is more on reflecting on the day just gone and giving thanks to God for the blessings we have received during our day.

I know that in the busyness of life it is not always possible for us all to live up to this lofty ideal and I think the Marist know it too. So to assist us the Marist Team have developed a Prayer App. It’s aim is to provide us with a convenient and contemporary method for accessing daily prayer material which we can use at a time in our day which is most convenient for us.

Just search Marist Daily Prayer into either the App Store or Google Play and you will find it.

I encourage you to try it. You may just find that you feel better for it.

I leave you with the closing prayer from today’s offering on the Marist Daily Prayer app:
Cultivate in us a spirituality that flows out of Marian simplicity, humility and modesty.
Release in us wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement for your work in which we share.
Help us to set our gaze on those people and places most in need of Christlife,
Impel us to respond together, and lead us to be in communion with one another and with you
Like Mary, we set out joyfully and in haste to the hill country of the lives of young people
Like Mary, we build communities in ways that are Christ-centred
All loving God, come and live in our hearts.

Amen

Mark Murphy
Principal