Having made a public declaration that I was going to take action (see Breaking the cycle – Part 1) I left matters to simmer gently – not from a place of lethargy, but more from the day to day end of year clutter. Christmas 2018 came and went. In the New Year I began browsing the iheart website, live-streamed to one of their open webinars and chatted to one of the facilitators. In early March 2019, I had a lengthy conversation with one of the iheart directors and made the decision to apply for a place on the facilitator training. To my delight I was accepted (I think my emerging understanding of the 3 Principles – a subject for another day – and my teaching background helped me to secure a place).
The six-day training event took place in May 2019. I loved it! Every minute! The people, the materials, the concept, the potential.
The iheart programme is aimed at children and young people (from the age of around 10 years old to 18 / 19 years old). It addresses the root cause of mental ill-health, namely a misunderstanding of where our feeling comes from. It also helps the participants realise they already have everything they need, namely wisdom, well-being, resilience and gratitude, because it’s innate – we’re born with these capacities but forget, or lose sight of the fact, that we have them. We just need to realise that they never go away
I was excited about the programme and the senior leadership team at the university where I am a part-time lecturer, recognised the programme could add value to our undergraduate programme and agreed to include it as part of the curriculum. In October 2019, I began presenting the iheart programme to our first year student teachers.
The vision is that I help our students to appreciate that mental health is innate – our capacity for well-being, resilience, wisdom and gratitude is innate. iheart promotes the understanding that as our thinking settles our innate capacities show themselves (in fact, these qualities are always working for us in the background, we just don’t realise it!). Sitting alongside this vision is the hope that our student teachers will be better-placed to appreciate how the children they will be teaching throughout their careers will benefit from this understanding. Then the cycle will be broken – teachers who understand where their feelings are coming from, who live day to day knowing they have innate wellbeing, resilience, wisdom and gratitude and who are well placed to have a positive impact on the lives of the children they are teaching. Ultimately, it means that we can do the yoga* and stroke the cat* for fun, not because we are searching for something ‘out there’ that we already have ‘inside us’ (*see Breaking the cycle – Part 1).
And the next steps? Hopefully, I’ll be given the opportunity to repeat the programme next academic year with the new intake of student teachers. I’m also keen to explore the option of taking it to a wider audience of student teachers, thereby fulfilling the pledge I made over twelve months ago. Plus, I’d like to take the programme into schools, thus joining the growing team of iheart facilitators operating in the UK and overseas. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more…
Photograph credit: Wikimedia Commons