So I'll start by saying that I've just discovered the Hemera Foundation and am overjoyed that such a program exists. I have applied for a fellowship to attend my first meditation retreat this summer, and I am ecstatic at the opportunity to deepen my practice.
I am new to the path... had an awakening of sorts on Halloween of '16 and have been cultivating a practice since then. I'm fortunate to be surrounded by some amazing souls that are further along on their paths but more than willing to share insight and wisdom with me.
I read in a Thich Naht Hahn book about this app called "MindBell" - you can schedule it to ring at various intervals, but the purpose is to use it to "get present" when you hear the bell ding. I installed the app on my phone and began using it to help cultivate my mindfulness and awareness. A couple of months ago, right after I installed it, the bell dinged while I was teaching. My curious students asked what it was, and I ran with the opportunity. I told them it was our new "breathing bell," and when the bell dinged, we were all supposed to stop what we were doing, take three deep breaths, think about where we are at the present moment and silently express gratitude, then get right back to work.
My students handled it BEAUTIFULLY and they love the breathing bell. One student took it a step further and said, "Hey, why don't we smile after our three breaths?" Music to my ears.
So, it's a drop in the bucket, but one small step toward cultivating mindfulness in my amazing 5th graders. I'm interested to see what the "Inner Explorer" program is all about and hopefully implement even more mindfulness practice with next year's students!