Mind Jar for Centering with Kids

MindJar_Amy

Our minds are busy! Even when we are perfectly still and feeling relatively calm, we find that our thoughts continue to chatter. This is what Buddhists call “Monkey Mind”. One of the reasons that meditation is a spiritual practice is that it can help us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings.

All ages benefit from taking a deep breath and being “mindful” even if it is only for a moment in a busy day. In this way we train ourselves to be able to find a place of calm even in the midst of challenges or overwhelming feelings.

A Mind Jar is a simple spiritual tool. While watching the glitter swirl, sparkle and settle, your mind, body and spirit will feel calmer. As a parent or caregiver of children, making a Mind Jar together is a way to introduce spiritual practice at home.  Download the “Mind Jar Instructions” for what you’ll need, what to do and how to use a Mind Jar.   Enjoy!

Mind Jar Instructions (PDF)

What you’ll need:

  • Mason Jar or Jelly Jar with a top
  • Water
  • Corn Syrup
  • Glitter—size and color of your choice! (Fine glitter stays suspended longer.)
  • Strong holding glue or duct tape.

What to do:

  • Clean the jar and remove any labels
  • For this recipe you will need one part water and one part corn syrup.
  • Before you start, measure the amount of liquid that fills your jar.
  • Heat the water on the stove—do not boil!
  • Once it is hot, stir in the corn syrup.
  • Let it cool.
  • Put the cooled liquid in the jar.
  • Add glitter—at least 2 Tablespoons but as much as you wish.
  • Secure the jar top with glue or duct tape.

How to use:

  • Shake the Mind Jar!
  • Put it down on a flat surface like a table or the floor.
  • Watch as the glitter settles to the bottom.
  • A Mind Jar can be enjoyed any time! You can use it alone, with others or at bedtime for a centering moment.

Special thanks to Kristin Stiles-Hall for sharing her recipe with us (she tried six kinds!) and for teaching Mindfulness in our RE program.   Kristin is a member of First Parish in Concord and is a Holistic Integrative Counselor/Healer.

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Finding Happiness

Scientists are revealing what mystics have known for centuries, there is a profound connection between the mind and the body. People who are happy have lower blood pressure, more energy, and tend to live longer.  Join me on Sunday, June 3, 10:30am for a joy-filled service with music, meditation, and simple practices that can increase your sense of well-being.  UU Congregational Society of Westborough, MA

What Matters Most?

Memorial Day weekend is about more than a good barbeque!  It is a time to open our hearts and minds to our interconnectedness.  The world’s religions and great moral teachers offer the same life lesson: KINDNESS is what matters most.  Join the Rev. Amy Freedman for a service upholding this universal teaching, Sunday, May 27, 10:00AMFirst Universalist Society 262 Chestnut Street, Franklin, MA


Centering Prayer

O Creator, who creates life and to which all life returns,

you are as close as our beating heart and the cycle of breath.

Where there are unresolved troubles in our minds

may we find clarity of purpose.

Where there are heavy burdens in our hearts

may we discover a healing path.

Where ever there is pain,

whether in our lives, in our circle of loved ones, or in our world,

May we become divine messengers

through our prayers, our actions and our words,

Peace to all.

Life to all.

Love to all.

Amen.

Universalist Valentine

“Live as though the essential power and force of the universe is love, goodness, truth, and beauty. Then you shall discover the faith for which you so ardently long”.–Robert Miller, Universalist minister 

To believe “God is Love” means the sacred is found in relationship, in connection. This is a process that continues through out our daily living. True happiness lies not in individual attainment, but when we discover a power that is deeper and wider than self. When we are conscious of the intimate relationship of all beings, to act with justice and mercy in the world leads to personal fulfillment. Together we can build a better world. The Divine is not the goal of life but the very path on which we travel.

Beyond the Old Church Model

Liberal religion is not an institution; it is a movement in history, a set of values and a way of life.”  Dana McLean Greeley proclaimed those words as the opening statement to “The Free Church in a Changing World” in 1963.  The report, written by several Commissions of the recently formed Unitarian Universalist Association, reflects on the role of tradition, the free spirit, and leadership during a time of rapid change.

Today the digital revolution is changing how people connect, collaborate, learn, protest, and make decisions about our lives.  While bringing people together in new ways, the population of the United States is more socially isolated than ever before in human history.[i]  Jobs, education, family structures, and systems which once seemed solid are in the midst of flux.

Unitarian Universalist communities are remarkably suited to engage with the issues of our times.  The liberal religious values of acceptance, justice, equity, compassion, and use of the democratic process require our constant care and practice in the Sanctuary, on the streets, and through new media.  This is a critical time for us to be bold in creating new initiatives beyond the old church model.

In order for our religious movement to thrive in the digital age, we need to embrace the tools of our time and the collaborations they allow.  Social media, online video, and other web technologies are allowing new forms of community, education, and activism to emerge.  With instant access to friends, information, and media of every kind, the digital is increasingly appealing, engaging, and relevant.  Instead of waiting for newcomers to find and visit us, we have the ability, and now a calling, to meet them where they are, and that is online.  Increasingly, online connections are the first step toward real-life gatherings and community-building.

Expanding our ministry more fully into online spaces is a massive undertaking.  Many ministers and religious educators do not have expertise in these new technologies.  Fortunately, the communication tools that call us forward into the future also enable us to collaborate in new and exciting ways.  We do not need to do this alone.  Given the scope of the challenge, we probably cannot do this alone.

What is the greatest challenge for Unitarian Universalist leaders?  It is not the ministry landscape opening up before us—we are perfectly suited for it.  Rather, it is our long established patterns of working and ministering in isolation, of not living out the promise of our association.  In order for our religious movement to thrive in the next decade and beyond, Unitarian Universalists must be more generous in sharing resources with one another, collaborating in new ways, and creating ministries beyond our front doors.  Only then can we be true to our shared vision of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.


[i] Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks Over Two Decades. Author: Miller McPherson, Lynn SmithLovin, Matthew E. Brashears, American Sociological Review © 2006