Mary Jo Baetzold
English teacher Kari Beery has found meditation to be a rewarding ritual for her health, especially during the pandemic.
Beery noticed the pandemic came with a lot of moments that were out of her control but meditation was a way to center herself through it all. She said, “For me, that helped me ground myself. Seeing the joy, seeing the hope, seeing all the hard work at school, seeing all the kindness in the world where things were starting to blur a little bit.”
She has allowed meditation to heal many moments of self-doubt, as a gentle reminder to be kind to herself. Beery said, “There’s a practice in yoga of a himsa, that you should cause no harm. Sometimes we think about that as causing harm to others… but that also goes to yourself.”
As a teacher, Beery helps many students navigate their way through the unknown, but not to an extent like this during the pandemic. She said, “To be peaceful and ready for them, I think meditation has helped me be more a place, of a safe space, for whatever needs to happen instead of me being drained or me being tired or me being quick to respond to something. I just kind of listen.”
She has even shown meditation to her two daughters, implementing it with an app about three days a week during the pandemic. “Especially if people are really connected to technology and things are coming at you, we would lay on our blankets, turn off the lights, and just listen to this guided meditation,” Beery said.
Since meditation has been a rewarding experience for herself and her family, Beery also implements a mindfulness reset into each day for her students. She said, “I do really believe in life that you have to reset your mindset, you have to reset how you’re feeling about yourself. It’s just, you know, a do-over. You have a chance to have do-overs all the time.”
Junior Mia Maurer has been in Beery’s Creative Writing class for the last two years and admits she can’t recall a single day where Beery skipped meditating with her students, as it changes the energy in the room. Maurer said, “Compared to other teachers, she’s just very positive, and she brings this sort of like light into our day almost, and it really just brings good energy to all her students.”
Maurer discovered that meditation helps her destress from her day and prepare for the rest of it, as Beery finds her students’ mental health to be very important. Maurer said, “I think we all very much appreciate it, and so, she just wants to give us a break and make sure that we are all doing okay.”
Beery shares that anyone can meditate as you can install apps or set reminders on your phone to make meditation a consistent habit. She said, “I think you can start small by practical things like taking three deep breaths, you know, doing your mindfulness reset. Even on Mondays here at Mayfield, just listening to the mindfulness Monday [spoken by Ruth Miozzi] and listening to how she guides you through that meditation if you’re not in a class that does that.”