What is Mindfulness Online?
My name is Leslie Butterfield and I teach mindfulness techniques to children (6+), teens, and adults to help them live more thoughtful, focused, and joyful lives. Mindfulness Online is my online space that helps me to share information about mindfulness and the courses I offer. On the Mindfulness Online blog, Butter Blog, you'll find news and research on mindfulness, tips and exercises to practice mindfulness, and thoughts and stories from my personal mindfulness practice. For information on the courses I teach, you can visit my Mindfulness Programs page, or you can keep reading the FAQ, which will fill you in on that and more. Thank you for visiting!
What is Mindfulness?
The basic principle of mindfulness is simple: pay attention to the present moment, non-judgmentally. Learn to experience the present moment, whatever it is, and to respond with joy and compassion to the life you are living. Simple? Sure. Easy? We may need a lifetime of practice...
We learn mindfulness by training ourselves to focus. Meditation practices are grounded in the practice of focusing on the moment--sensations, sounds, thoughts, and emotions. This skill of focusing can become a powerful tool to help us respond more skillfully to situations as they arise, rather than reacting impulsively. With mindfulness we become empowered to recognize and more skillfully handle our thoughts, actions, and emotions.
We can be mindful of just about everything. Many people initially hone their skills through mindfulness of the breath. You can try right now if you like. First, take three slow breaths, noticing what each breath feels like as it moves in and out of you. Continue to breathe normally, resting your attention on the feeling of the breath. See if you can notice things like the temperature of the breath and where in your body you feel it. If your mind starts to wander, gently come back to the feeling of the breath.
Now pause for a moment to reflect on how you feel after this brief exercise. Regularly taking a few minutes each day to steady your mind on the breath can help train your brain to gather your attention and focus on the task at hand more readily. The more we practice, the stronger our attention and focus can grow. The same "magic" works on children too!
I was introduced to these techniques in a Buddhist context, however, similar mindfulness and compassion training is also found in Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and secular traditions.
I have so much more to say about this topic. Check back in the Butter Blog to learn more about mindfulness.
How can mindfulness help me? My kids?
Do you or your child suffer from anxiety? Is it a challenge to stay on task at work, or does your child struggle to maintain her attention in class? Do emotional highs and lows sometimes get the best of you or your child? There is a growing breadth of scientific studies that have shown how mindfulness practice can calm nerves, increase focus, and develop emotional awareness. People of all ages can benefit from meditation, yoga and Thai Chi, the age appropriate mindfulness exercises I teach can empower kids and adults to manage their inner lives. We all have the capacity to lean to live with more compassion and mindfulness, and teaching our kids these skill early in life gives them the foundation to live more mindfully, which can be of lasting benefit to them and our communities.
Can kids actually do this? What about children with AD/HD?
Yes! In fact, kids seem naturally inclined to excel at mindfulness. Often their curiosity and zest for life makes them adept mindfulness practitioners, making them more open minded and receptive than some adults. Our goal is not to get your children to sit still, immersed in meditation, for hours at a time; rather, we aim to give them tools of self awareness, methods for responding to the present moment, and greater perspective on what's happening inside and around them. The curriculum is geared towards a child's interest and attention span. As I get to know your child, the curriculum will change to match his or her needs. I have experience working with children with attention and learning challenges and they and their parents have found mindfulness a useful and empowering tool for dealing with these obstacles.
What kind of courses do you offer?
I offer several courses for all different age groups:
Programs for Adults
Introduction to Mindfulness (8 weeks, 1 lesson per week): This one-on-one, 8-week program introduces you to the basics of mindfulness meditation and mindful living. Suggested donation $250
Individualized Mindfulness Coaching: Already have a mindfulness practice? Coaching can strengthen your practice and take many forms depending on your needs. I can also tailor an introductory or intermediate course based on your interests and needs. Please contact me to discuss what type of program would work best for you and your child.
Programs for Kids and Teens
Mindfulness ABC's (8 weeks, 2 sessions a week): Students in 1st through 5th grade will work with me one-on-one online to learn the basics of mindfulness. Suggested donation $250
Mindfulness for Middle Schoolers (8 weeks, 2 sessions a week): This course, intended for 6th through 9th graders, provides the student with a firm grounding in the fundamentals of mindfulness. Suggested donation $250
High School Mindfulness (8 weeks, 2 sessions a week): Working one-on-one with me online, your student will learn firsthand how and why mindfulness can help her academically, socially, and emotionally. Suggested donation $250
Kids' and Teen programs are also offered in an abbreviated 4 week, 2 lessons per week format - Suggested donation $150
How much does this cost?
I offer my courses on a pay-as-you-like donation system with the intention to teach mindfulness to as many children as possible. In return, I ask that you give back if you can so that I can continue to offer mindfulness training to even more students. Learn more about this pay-as-you-like system here.
While I have listed suggested donation amounts below, these are merely to provide a suggestion. Reflect on your needs, and give what feels generous to you. What feels generous today may be different tomorrow, so make sure that you are giving what feels right for you, today. If you can give more than the suggested donation, I can continue to offer free classes to those who otherwise couldn't participate.
- Full Version of a Kids' Program (16-sessions), $250
- Abbreviated Version of a Course (8-sessions), $150
- One unit of individualized mindfulness coaching (8 30-45 minute sessions), $150
- Gift Certificate for 2 15-minute Kids' sessions, $30
- Gift Certificate for 4 15-minute Kids' sessions, $60
- Family Packages are also available! Please speak with me for more information.
Please contact me to discuss this further if you have any questions.
Can adults participate with their kids?
Yes! Grown-ups can join in on the fun. The lesson will still be tailored to your child's individual needs, but their grown ups are welcome and encouraged to sit in with us during the lessons. Having you present with them will support additional awareness of the different mindfulness techniques and can help your child bring his or her practice into application.
Grown-ups can also take classes of their own!
What kind of computer equipment do I need for my child to take a class?
Because we offer my courses completely online, we'll need a few things for this to work.
- A computer, smart phone or tablet with a video camera and microphone;
- A dependable internet connection that allows for video messaging;
- Skype, Google +, or Apple FaceTime; and
- 15 minutes in a relatively quiet space for the session.
If you haven't used these programs before, don't worry, I can walk you through the set up. All of these programs are free to download online.
Is your program Buddhist?
The skills I teach do not fall under any particular religion. Though, greater compassion, empathy and directed awareness seem to be some of the overarching similarities shared among many religious traditions. I was introduced to these techniques in a Buddhist context, however, the mindfulness and compassion training is also found in Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and secular traditions.
How do I sign up and schedule a course?
Contact me and I'll be happy to talk to you about the courses I offer and what might be right for you or your student! I'll also work with you to find a time to schedule you or your child's classes that is convenient to your family's needs.
Why is your blog called, "Butter Blog"?
Well, my last name is Butterfield, and really, who can resist some quality alliteration. And if you say if fast, you kind of sound like a frog :)
Who is Leslie Butterfield?
Since you asked, here is some information about me.