Discount on Mindfulness Courses- Limited Time

Here is my gift to you: Starting Sunday May 27 through Saturday June 2 all of the Mindfulness for Children, Youth and Families courses are discounted. They are usually $60 but are $45- that is $15 off!!!!!! There is no other place where you can get this quality of mindfulness course for both children/youth AND yourself as parents/guardians. On Sunday June 3 the cost will go back to $60, so make sure to register, make a payment and reserve your spot!


This will be a six week introduction course into secular Mindfulness for children, youth and families. The course will begin Monday June 4 and ending Monday July 9, 2018 at The Oasis Institute, 4918 Homberg Dr, Knoxville, TN 37919.

There will be three different classes happening each Monday:
1) rising Kindergarten-4th grader (6-6:45pm)- limit 10 children;
2) rising 5th-8th graders (7pm-7:45pm)- limit 12 youth;
3) rising 9th-12 graders (8pm-8:45pm)- limit 15 youth.
For the elementary and middle school courses parents need to attend all six classes. For high school students parents can choose to attend or not although it is suggested that parents do attend.

Make sure to reserve your place. Click here for Registration.

If you find you cannot attend all of the individual classes that is alright but the cost is for the course as a whole. If you need extra assistance please contact us.

Winners of Drawing

At the Children’s Festival of Reading yesterday almost 100 people entered a drawing for Possibilities Exist’s newest resource, Everyday Mindfulness: A Week of Mindfulness Practices, a booklet by Lucius Irvin.


The four lucky winners were:

Keela K., Jennifer J., Kathy B., Hedda D.

Emails have been sent to each of the winners and booklets will be sent soon! Congratulations!

If you didn’t win but want a booklet see more information here.

To find out more about the upcoming Mindfulness Courses for families visit Workshops and Events.

Rocking Mindfulness at Reading Festival

What do you get when you mix beads and hundreds of kids on a sunny day- mindfulness at the reading festival!

Yesterday was Knox County Libraries’ annual Children’s Festival of Reading. Talking with hundreds of families about mindfulness was amazing. Kids got to make beaded bracelets to remind them to “Pause, Breathe, and Smile.” We also have four lucky winners (to be announced) of the newest Possibilities Exist resources, Everyday Mindfulness: A Week of Mindful Practices, a booklet with a different mindful practice for families every day of the week. The booklets will be available soon for purchase here on

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Don’t use that dirty word….self-care.

Resistance to Self-Care

Even after practicing self-care for years I still very much dislike that word. As a heart-914682_1920teacher there are “self-care” trainings from time to time- I always pick something else. So why as a parent and a teacher do I resist self-care and even the concept of self-care? I think the problem is multi-fold. Let’s explore some of the reasons we may resist self-care, some ways to by-pass the resistant brain, and what practicing self-care may look like in the “real world.”

Resistance is the Real Deal

The concept of self-care is foreign to many us. Keeping busy, getting the job done, and indulging in instant gratification all led me away from self care. “It takes too much time,” “I have too much work,” “This is stupid,” “I will do it later,” is what my mind said again and again. The funny SNL skit with Stuart Smalley always popped into my mind. I could just imagine myself standing in front of a mirror saying, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and dog-gone-it, people like me.” I surely didn’t want that to happen. All-or-nothing thinking also kept me stuck. If I couldn’t go on a retreat for a few days, or take several hours, or do it “perfectly,” then it wasn’t worth it. That kept me from taking advantage of any benefits at all of practicing self-care.

Tricking Myself into Self-care

Although my mind is fairly smart- it can plan, plot, and achieve- but it is rather simplistic when it comes to resistance. It seems so strong but it is one-pointed. If I go a different route than it is pushing against I can help direct it to where I want it to go. Self-care, for instance, is a thing my mind resisted terribly. I couldn’t find out why I resisted self-care so much. But, like a friend once said to me, “I could ask ‘why’ for the rest of my life without changing the problem. What I need to do is change the question to a ‘what.’ What can I do to change the problem?” This question implies action. My first step to self-care……tricking myself.

Ways I Trick Myself

1. Time is an illusion (not really). In a very real sense I only have so many hours in a day. I have so many things jammed into my schedule that sometimes I don’t know what day it is unless I look at the calendar. But like a sidewalk, there are spaces. If I fill those small spaces- 5, 10, 15 minutes with a little self-care over time (like the cracks in the sidewalk) that care adds up.


2.  Double Trouble- I pair my self-care with other things I am already doing. If I am going to a meeting close to the house I get some exercise in by walking or riding my bicycle. I also stop by a park sometimes on the way home from work. I sometimes take a few minutes to do some mindfulness in the car before going into work or for an appointment. I use stop signs and red lights to remind me to do some mindful breathing. I have even been known to do affirmations in the mirror while getting ready for the day.

3. Adapt and Experiment (one size does NOT fit all)- my schedule changes, my needs change, my self-care needs to adapt. I experiment with different kinds of self-care. Not all kinds of care work for me and even the ones that do work don’t work in all situations and all the time. I approach taking care of myself with excitement and curiosity (and sometimes frustration and begrudging determination).

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Final Word on the Dirty Word…..Self-Care

Taking care of myself, finding ways to trick myself into doing self-care, experimenting with different kinds and adapting to my changing needs takes time. I am never going to be perfect at it. There are times when it self-care is easier than others. There are times when practicing self-care is extremely difficult even though I have done it for years. What I continue to tell myself about self-care is, “Take it easy but do it!” If practice self-care as best I can with the little time that I have my life will blossom like flowers in a side-walk.

The P’s for Mindfulness Perfection

Let me start by saying that I lied- there is no such thing as mindfulness perfection. I prefer to think of it as the principal at my school says, “Practice makes permanent.” If we do something over and over again it becomes habit for us. Once established habits are hard to break. And we can use that to our advantage!

The 3 P’s

The benefits of mindfulness may be many. Look at any magazine, television special, youtube channel and, yes, scientific studies and you will see the possible outcomes that you may reap from practicing mindfulness. However, those benefits will only come if you practice. That is where the problem often arises for many of us- there are only so many hours in the day. As a parent, a public school teacher, a person who is involved in way too many activities I am even more aware of the limited amount allotted to me each day. But what I have come to understand is, if I take a little time each day to practice mindfulness my experience with all of the other activities will be so much more positive, effective, and meaningful. That is where the 3 P’s come into play.


Personal Practice for Parents

Parents often ask, “What can I do to help my child with meltdowns, stress, getting to bed, _________________ (fill in the blank with the various struggles)?” One of the biggest and most effective answers, which I was reluctant to hear for a long time, is work on yourself as parent. What I realized is that if I can come to a place of some stability then I can react differently. When I react differently to situations then no matter what happens, if if the pattern has been well-established, then the outcome usually changes.

When I began to change…….

A perfect example is when I had a student with whom I had worked on developing a relationship, finding out more about the student and really taking a genuine interest in his life. However, there were days when this student would come in and I could tell by looking at his eyes that he had disconnected. On these days the student would without fail in get in trouble and end up in the principal’s office at some point throughout the day. The student would try to provoke teachers, would say horrible things and even break items in the class. I was just beginning to practice mindfulness and was struggling to bring it into my daily life. I wracked my brain to find a solution. Then it came to me- I could use the disruptive behavior of the student to help me remember to practice mindfulness in the moment. I decided that when I focused on my breathing I would also smile and tell the student, “Thank you,” simply as a practice of gratitude for helping me.

The student came in one day and I could tell something was off. I did everything I could do to connect with the student to no avail. I was teaching and the student got up talking loudly at me across the room. I asked him to sit down as I was teaching. The student only got louder and started saying very rude things to me. I continued to be polite but could feel the anxiety in the room build. The student started walking across the room and stood right in front of me. I felt trapped. I was able to walk around the student to my desk all the while the student is yelling at me for no reason. I sat behind my desk and realized I was trapped. There was only one way into and out of my desk. The student was blocking the way, which caused great anxiety in me. Then I remember, mindfulness! I began focusing on my breath instead of the situation. Then I smiled. All of the other students were taken aback and said, “Oh man, he is smiling.” I told the student, “Thank you.” He immediately stopped screaming and said, “Why?” I simply said, “Thank you.” The student was so baffled that he stood there for a moment almost dazed and then when he realized I wasn’t going to react, he went and sat down.”

Since this time I have had many similar situations with other students and with my own children.


Taking Time for 3 P’s

The amount of time it takes for me to practice can be range from a few brief moments to several day retreats. What I realized though was that I could actually save time if I practiced mindfulness. Those five, ten, twenty minutes that I take to practice save me time in the long run. By being able to be mindful in my daily life I am better able to deal with situations as they arise. How much time and energy are spent putting out fires especially when I add to them, in procrastinating, in doing other things to divert from looking at my feelings? The amount of time and energy it takes adds up to much more than the time I spend doing a formal (alone) practice of mindfulness.

Tips For Establishing Personal Practice for Parents

  1. Find support. This can be a Facebook group, a local mindfulness group, friends and family- anyone who can encourage you in developing a practice.
  2. Talk to your kids about how mindfulness may help you and if you are helped it will support the entire family.
  3. Integrate mindfulness into your daily life. My family does a “Minute of Mindfulness” before dinner together. It might not seem like a lot but I get at least 7 minutes a week that I wouldn’t get without it. Check out information about InterChange. Brainstorm ways that your family can get involved.
  4. Look for my upcoming post, “Finding Time to Practice 101”


A drop in a bucket- InterChange Begins!

Have you ever thought something started out so small that surely it wouldn’t go anywhere? Well, InterChange has officially begun with one penny!


A drop in a bucket (or one penny) can begin a might river that can move mountains. I only hope that InterChange can have the impact that I know is possible.

When we practice mindfulness for at least a minute, put a penny in a container. Decide on a charity to donate the pennies you collect. Eventual donate the change and make a difference! Seemingly simple idea with huge potential.

For more information in how to get started visit InterChange.

To get and give support join our InterChange Community.


Anchoring the Attention

The mind wants to wander. That’s what it does and it does it well. However, like a ship on the ocean waves the turbulence of constant motion can be disrupting to any sense of well-being. We need a way to anchor the mind in the moment, a place to return when the mind inevitably wanders, a place of stability.


The Anchor

We want something to ground our attention in the here and now. At any moment we have one thing that is always with us- the breath. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are constantly breathing. By bringing our attention to the breath we are rooting ourselves (and our attention) in the moment.

Here is a video about using the breath as an anchor:

Important Note: Your mind will wander. You will probably think a lot. It’s alright! Just come back to the breath again and again and again……… We will have more on ways to be nonjudgemental with ourselves and practice heartfulness in upcoming posts.

To stay up to date with articles and videos like Possibilities Exist and share it!

Make a Change- InterChange

On May 1 Possibilities Exist is taking this to a new level. The effects practicing mindfulness can be thought of like a drop of water in a bucket. Gradually the bucket will fill up.


But as a Science teacher and a person who wants to maximize the benefits I wanted to figure out how to fill the bucket more. That is where InterChange comes in!


Since mindfulness is interpersonal and can support the building of community I wanted to find a way to not only measure mindfulness on a personal level but also how the ripple effect of the positivity can affect others.


InterChange is about maximizing the effects of our personal mindfulness practice to make a huge difference in the world. Stay tune for May 1 roll out!

Creating New Pathways With Mindfulness

Stumbling Block

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to establishing a mindfulness practice is, well, ourselves. Our mind believes and responds well to the words we tell it, especially slippery-637562_1920negative ideas. Negative thoughts such as, “I can’t do this,” “I can’t stop thinking,” “I’m doing this wrong” serve to only keep us from getting the most out of the practice. But, let the frustration flow and go because almost without fail those ideas will arise at some point in your practice.

One way to understand how we can get caught up in old ways of thinking/actions while also having hope that possibilities exist for a different way through mindfulness practice is to image our brains like a super highway.


Super Highway

When we have a thought neurons fire in the brain creating a pathway. Over years of thinking and acting in a certain way we strengthen the path so that more and more neurons can gain easier access through our brain. Very much like a super highway, roadways are created so that cars can pass. Highways are developed to let more cars gain easier access to get to where they need to get to more quickly.

While these super highways can be beneficial in many ways they can also serve to make doing something new or our ability to break a pattern of thinking/behavior somewhat challenging. However, no matter how small the change in our thinking or actions does make a difference. Trying to think or act differently automatically develops an on off ramp for the super highway running through our brain. This new pathway is small compared to the well established path we have used for years. When we encounter the next situation our neurons want to take the easiest, fastest path (the super highway). It takes intentional effort to redirect the neurons to the off ramp.



New Pathway

Practicing mindfulness helps us develop new pathways in the brain. Our thoughts will surely try to follow the super highway that has been laid again and again. The task is to continue to come back to the new pathway. Over time what was once a small rut in the road, will become a dirt road, then a two lane highway, and finally, if we persist with the practice of mindfulness over years we will develop another super highway which may overlay the old pathway. This gives our neurons an alternate route to process information and helps shape our perceptions of ourselves and the world in a new way. Ultimately, there is hope in consistent effort and kindness toward oneself. A little mindfulness practice each day goes a long way in creating a positive super highway through our brains.