Mindfulness with Syrian Refugees!

Last Saturday, July 8, I had the pleasure of collaborating with Elizabeth, one of my Reiki students and Lai Fan an acupuncturist I met recently to offer mindfulness techniques to 3 Syrian families. Although we met only for an hour or so, everyone left feeling so happy and grateful to have shared in this beautiful experience.
It all began when Elizabeth asked if I would be interested in putting together a mindfulness class for Syrian refugees that were living in South Florida. The families are supported by Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services for Trauma. Of course I said yes, because I had been itching to volunteer for sometime and thought it would be an interesting experience. The event was titled, Mommy and Me Mindfulness event as it was geared for moms and children. It would be the first of its kind to be held through this organization in South Florida and hopefully not the last.
Elizabeth and I chose mindfulness activities that could be easily explained with few words because we expected that the women would speak little English and weren’t sure if we would have an interpreter. One of the activities was to have Lai Fan put seeds in a specific ear point which promotes stress release. Apart from myself and Lai Fan, no one had any idea about ear acupressure. If you haven’t experienced this I highly encourage you to try, especially since seeds are used and not needles. Plus, you can keep the seeds in place for up to 2 days so you can self-soothe and then take the bandaid off.
We decided to have Lai Fan put the seeds on myself and Elizabeth first so everyone could see how the experience was. She then went around the room to put the seeds on the others. Everyone, except two kids said yes.
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Lai Fan and Elizabeth
Fortunately, Lai Fan’s husband spoke Arabic and so he was our unofficial interpreter which we were so grateful for, especially the Syrian women. We began the class with an icebreaker I learned while serving in the Peace Corps, called Move like this. The idea is that each person says their name and creates a movement, then everyone repeats it. It’s a great way to begin any class with laughter and silliness. Then we dove into the mindfulness practice.
As we only had an hour we chose 5 mindfulness techniques which we also reviewed at the end of the class.
  1. Ear acupressure
  2. Deep belly breathing (expand your belly as you inhale and suck in with exhale)
  3. Inner Ease Technique
  4. Mindful Eating
  5. Connecting to your body with tapping on specific acupoints
Of the 5 techniques most said they will practice the deep breathing and mindful eating tips.
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Teaching inner ease technique
The highlight of this day was being able to collaborate and share simple techniques to assist others who are feeling stressed, which after all is my life’s mission. Going across borders, we offered an afternoon of engagement, education, and a chance to try something new. We all left feeling fulfilled and content This was a fun opportunity and experience to share with people on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
Volunteering your time in any capacity is an opportunity to give to others without expectation. It truly warms the heart and builds upon community.
Have you had an opportunity to volunteer this summer? If so, please share with me as I’d love to hear from you.
Pass this blogs along to someone who may benefit from it as we all need love everyday!
Thank you for being a part of my expanding family.

Paty, La Mariposa

PS, Remember to join Our Wheels of Life, Fun in July Challenge
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