Have you ever realised how therapeutic it is to make daisy chains? It takes an inordinate amount of focus, a high level of concentration and a gentle yet masterful touch. The stems have to be split just right, the little flowers delicately plucked and the chain assembled just so. It’s an art in itself. When all around you are losing their head, go make daisy chains.
I know that technically the poor little daisy is classed as a weed and not a flower at all, something to be beheaded by the menacing lawnmower, something to be plucked out and discarded. But yet this innocent little weed can provide many hours of simple amusement and mindfulness. We should all be striving for mindfulness, peace and a little head space. It helps us cope in a frantic world. But mindfulness is also good for our children. Some young children are being taught about it in primary schools and outside of school some parents are paying exorbitant amounts of money for their children to learn the art of mindfulness. Investigation into the art of mindfulness indicates that this can help our children with their ability to pay attention, it improves their decision making and helps them to calm down when they feel things are getting out of control. In short, it helps with all types of emotional regulation and focus.
But what is this mindfulness that everyone is buzzing about? Well, in short and put simply, from what I can understand mindfulness is simply awareness. It is the art of noticing our breathing, our thoughts, focusing on our feelings and sensations. It is paying attention to the detail of what is happening right now, at this moment. It is a way of noticing what you are able to smell, hear, taste and touch in the present moment. In my head I liken it to the settling of a snow globe. Shake it up furiously, then wait and watch it settle. For many children, this art and this focus is elusive and it may be a challenge to get them to be still long enough to pay attention to the little things. Indeed, the same can be said of many adults too. Myself included.
Which brings me back to daisy chains. Removing yourself from the mundane tasks, from the pressure to perform, from the weight of responsibility, from the list of jobs is a challenge in itself. But when the sun is out, sit in the garden, back against a wall, pick the little daisies from their cluster in the grass and gently split the stems. Notice how they feel in your hand, notice their delicate scent, pay attention to the whisper of the little petals in the breeze. Focus. Breathe. Relax and be calm.
Before you know it, you will be joined by the children. They will be curious at your concentration and quiet and they will seek to join you, attracted by the radiating calm and level of peace. Chat is not really required and you will find that they will stay quiet and become mindful, calm and focused. It doesn’t matter how long the daisy chain is or how successful it is either. If your garden is anything like ours there will be plenty of daisies to use. By the time the chain is complete, the calm and serenity will have had its desired therapeutic effect.
Then real life can take over and it’s back to reality. But focus on the daisies, and make that daisy chain. Keep it simple; don’t over-complicate it, because there is beauty and therapy in the little things. When all around are losing their mind, go make daisy chains..