Children’s author visits with Houlton Rotarians

HOULTON, Maine — “Just Breath” was the message Kim Larkins expressed in her presentation to the Houlton Rotary Club on Monday, July 29. This element of everyday life is easily forgotten in our fast-paced world, but is an important part of her “Mindfulness Curriculum.”

Larkins, who has a masters in social work and teaches her “Mindfulness Curriculum” at schools to students, also provides private counseling services in Houlton. She recently published her first book, “Emma Lou, the Yorkie Poo, Breathing In The Calm,” and is working on her second book.

Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, Larkins said. It teaches your brain to stop worrying about the past and future, and to instead focus on what you are doing right now.

The Mindfulness Curriculum focuses on body awareness, thoughts, mindfulness of breathing, mindful bodies and listening, mindful seeing, emotions, slow motion, walking, mindful eating, mindful test taking, and heartfulness.

This curriculum has great benefits to students, improving their attention and focus, regulating their emotions, and learning to calm their body when upset. The heartfulness aspect of the curriculum emphasizes kindness, compassion, generosity and gratitude. Students work on awareness of the inner and outer self, and also work on acceptance of their emotions without judgment.

When faced with an uncomfortable situation or emotion in life, students are taught to find an “anchor point” to help them regain control of their body. Paying attention to their own breathing is a common anchor point, as students always have it with them and breathing happens in a rhythmic, calming pattern.

Larkins teaches her students to focus on their own breathing during class, so it becomes a natural tool to calm down verses reacting negatively.

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