Session C: Mindfulness and Writing with Ana

Mindfulness and Writing was a distinctive combination of emotional and creative learning. Students studied the mindfulness principles of observation, description, and participation and then applied them through analyzing, writing, and presenting literary work. In one short week, they produced poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction—and cultivated a community that I already miss immensely, built on each teenager’s unique contributions and a collective commitment to vulnerability .

Some students are even brave enough to share the fruits of their imaginations publicly. Accordingly, below you will find a very present observational poem by Stavya, a dramatic descriptive nonfiction piece by Angelica, and three thoughtful stories about participation by Kat, Alena, and Aradhana. I hope you enjoy the written works of these mindfulness mavens! 

Ana B. Freeman          

Badgerdog Teaching Artist 

Ana B. Freeman (They/She) is a lecturer at Texas State University. Their poetry has appeared in Bi Women Quarterly and their nonfiction and reviews have appeared at The Spun Yarn, Odyssey Works, and Theatre is Easy. Her fiction has been published by Stone of Madness Press and Electric Literature.

As I Sit on My Roller Chair

As I sit on my roller chair,

I see my laptop,

Containing this very poem.

I see my notebook.

I see my pen, which

Wrote the draft of this very poem.

I see my mother 

Cooking our lunch.

I see my dog sitting

And gazing at my mother’s 

Cooking.

As I sit on my roller chair,

I hear my dog refusing to sleep.

I hear my father

Talking to colleagues.

I hear my typing as I write

This very poem.

As I sit on my roller chair,

I feel the keys of my laptop used to write 

This very poem.

I feel my pen.

I feel my mouse.

As I sit on my roller chair, 

I smell the smell of 

Pencil shavings floating

Lazily through the air.

I smell the smell that

Lingers on the inside of a new car.

As I sit on my roller chair,

I taste my pen

As I chew on it,

Deep in thought.

As I sit on my roller chair, 

I can see, hear,

Taste, smell, 

And feel many 

Things.

Stavya Dwivedi

Tricycle Trouble

💢⚠️CRASH!!!⚠️💢 

My tricycle fell to the bottom of the stairs! 

I was six years old, and it was a Thursday night around 5:00 PM. I’d been about to ride my tricycle to the park with my mom and brother, who were on bikes.

I had just gotten my trike out of the apartment. Outside, there was a ramp for wheelchairs, bikes, scooters, skateboards, etc.… but for a dare from my brother (which turned out to have been a joke), I rode down the stairs. My forehead crashed into the pavement below, getting battered and bruised. There was a lot of blood, and we went to the doctor’s office.

  Luckily, there were no open scars, so I didn’t need stitches. But it was definitely a traumatizing experience, and I most definitely learned not to do that again.  

Angelica Xu

Tallest Tower 

It was a cold December afternoon in Mrs. Howard’s classroom. Today was a “Free Day Friday.” The students were very excited because Mrs. Howard always chose something fun for Fridays. Mrs. Howard showed the kids some spaghetti and a package of marshmallows. The activity was called “Tallest Tower.” The point of the game was to build the tallest tower using only hard spaghetti and marshmallows. 

Everyone was paired up. Janet was pleading to be with her friends, but she was paired up with her least favorite person in the class, Edward. Edward didn’t mind being partners with Janet; he just wanted to get the job done. Once everyone was given materials, they were allowed to start. 

Janet noticed that her best friend was only one table away. She called to her, walked over to her, and began talking to her. Janet’s friend’s partner didn’t really care because he wanted to build the tower on his own. But Edward was not very pleased. He did need help because his arms were kind of short and his hands were all sticky from the marshmallow bits. He did call Janet over many times, but she ignored him and continued to talk with her friend. 

Beeeeeeep! The timer went off. That was Janet’s cue to head back to her seat and act like she had been helping the whole time. When she got back to the table, she was confused, as there was no tower to be seen, only piles of broken spaghetti and ripped marshmallows. Janet asked why there was no tower and Edward explained that he couldn’t do it all on his own. Edward told her that she had been talking to her friend the whole time and no one was there to help him build the tower. Janet rolled her eyes and said he just hadn’t tried and had wanted them to lose. Edward was peeved, but before he could get a word out, the bell rang. 

Janet walked out the door, leaving Edward looking lifeless in the classroom. He realized that no matter what he did, Janet was not going to say sorry, or apologize in any other way. Edward grabbed his stuff and slowly walked out the door, into the hallway, and out of the school.

Kat Hejl

When You Don’t Participate…

“Class, settle down! I know this is a museum about ancient Egypt and you’re all very excited. I think out of every class I’ve ever taught, you guys care about ancient civilizations the most! Now, please be respectful and listen to our tour guide, Mr. Greene,” said Ms. B.

A mix of “okay” and “alright” sounded through Ms. B.’s seventh period class of seniors.

“Thank you. I’m Mr. Green, your tour guide, and I will be showing you around the Texas Ancient Egyptian Museum. First off, we have…yes, um…what’s your name?” began the tour guide, before being interrupted by the class clown, Tony.

“I’m Tony. Also, do astronauts wear their spacesuits in the rocket when they go into outer space, or are they naked inside the rocket?” Tony asked with a smile. The question sent a fit of giggles through the class.

“Um, no, they wear clothes inside the spaceship. But we’re not talking about that right now. This is a museum on ancient Egypt. Alright, let’s get into the importance of the Nile! Follow me into this river room, if you will! Now, over here, you will see–” Mr. Greene was interrupted yet again by Tony, who squatted down, made a concentrated face, and made “pew-pew” sounds with finger guns.

“Pew-pew! Pew-pew!” said Tony. The entire class laughed again as Ms. B. gave him a look. “Sorry, I just thought that this room looks a lot like a battle from River Wars,” said Tony, back upright. The tour guide sighed and spent the next few minutes talking about the Nile and its significance to the Egyptians.

“…so that’s why the Nile was important. Any questions? No? Alright, I’ll give you a few minutes to look around and explore this room on your own. Feel free to touch our marvelous decorations, but please don’t touch anything behind glass–Tony! Please don’t touch that,” the tour guide explained.

“Whaaat? It’s pretty! See?” Tony said, showing off the artifact. A few classmates of his giggled.

“Yes, Tony, I see! I work here! Now please refrain from touching things behind glass, as I was saying,” Mr. Greene said.

“Okay, okay,” said Tony, putting his hands up nonchalantly. 

A while later, the class stopped the tour to eat lunch outside the museum, and Tony realized he had forgotten his lunch.

“It’s alright, Tony, I have an extra lunch packed just in case someone forgot their lunch on the bus,” Ms. B. said with a smirk, reaching through her bag to find the extra lunch. “Tony? Hey! Over here! I have an extra lunch,” Ms. B. said, waving him down as she saw Tony walk away to a blue taco food truck.

“It’s alright, Ms. B.! I got money for tacos!” Tony called out from a distance, waving his ten-dollar bill at Ms. B.

“Tony! Get back here at once! I’m not authorized to–”

“Chill, Ms. B.! I’m a legal adult. I turned eighteen last week, remember? It’s not like you can forcefully bring me back to school. I’m going there by choice!” Tony said, back talking Ms. B.

“Well, you are still of school age! Now, please come back here. I don’t want to have to repeat myself twice,” Ms. B. said calmly but firmly.

“Fine,” Tony sighed, and walked back over to Ms. B. and the rest of his classmates. Tony unhappily ate the PB&J sandwich and drank the juice Ms. B. gave him.

An hour later, Mr. Greene led the class into the tomb exhibit for the last part of the tour. Tony zoned out on what he thought was a bench in the corner of the room, and fell asleep. 

When he woke up, he looked at his watch, which read “5:43.” His classmates were at home by now! The museum had closed!

He felt a rumble beneath his seat. He fell off, and saw a mummy come out! He gasped and stood frozen. A hand reached out, pushed him in the tomb, and shut him in. He tried to open the tomb, but then he remembered that before he fell asleep, the tour guide had said the tomb was five hundred pounds! Tony gave up and died. So when you don’t participate…

Alena Jaweed


Beloved Seeds

“Hey, Zara! Over here!” Zara’s friend Olivia calls to her.

“Hey! What’s up?” Zara asks.

“Mrs. Wilson wants us to pair up to plant sunflower seeds in the school garden. Want to be partners?” Olivia asks hopefully. 

“Sure!” Zara replies, but her mind meanders back to when she was six years old and planted a mango seed on her grandparents’ farm in India… 

“Mom, Mom, can I please go see the farm with Dadi?” Zara begged her mom to let her go with her grandma. 

“Okay, fine, but please don’t get too dirty. We have to–” 

“Yes! Thank you!” Zara cut her off. She ran out the door, pulling her Dadi along. 

“Woah, Zara. You don’t want to get your old dadi too tired,” Grandma laughed.

“Sorry! I’m just so excited!” Zara replied, out of breath. 

As they approached the flowers, they were welcomed by a swarm of a million bees. Zara screamed and grabbed Dadi’s arm. She tried to run and dodge to protect herself from getting stung, but her grandma stopped her. 

“The bees are our neighbors,” she explained. “They are the reason these plants are able to thrive.”

“But they are attacking me!” Zara squealed in fear.

“No, I promise they will not hurt you. If you don’t bother them, they will not bother you.” 

“Okay…” agreed Zara.

The beautiful fragrance of cardamom pods rushed up to her nose. The sight of bright red tomatoes captured her eyes. She plucked one off the vine and squeezed it. Tomato juice hid the smudged ink from the markers she’d drawn with. Over in the distance, she saw cows grazing in the grass, mooing as they loped around the field–the music of the farm tickling her ears. 

“Oh, Dadi, I love it!” Zara exclaimed.

“Then you are going to love the fig and guava trees,” Dadi said laughingly.

The two walked over to the orchard. The fig trees were right at the entrance of the orchard grounds. Within a second, Zara was already climbing the fig trees to search for the fruit. Dadi instructed her not to pick any green figs because they needed more time to ripen. Zara plucked a few figs and handed them to her dadi, who put them in a basket. After about fifteen minutes, Dadi told her to go back inside so they could make a nice jam with the figs Zara had picked. They traipsed back over to the house and immediately started working on the jam. Zara served it to her cousins, who visited later that evening.

A few weeks passed by and Zara’s vacation was almost over. She’d spent most of that time on her family’s farm. Zara had become attached to the farm and wanted to contribute something of her own to it. 

Her family ate dinner, savoring the homey food they would not get to eat again for a few months. After dinner, Dada, her grandpa, brought out mangoes. Everyone took one piece each and ate it silently. 

Suddenly, Zara blurted, “Can I plant a mango seed on the farm?”

“My parents used to plant mango trees here, but they stopped after the demand for our figs went up. We needed the extra land to plant more fig trees,” Dada explained. 

“I’m sure there is space somewhere. Please?” Zara asked hopefully. 

“Okay, why not? We will find some space tomorrow morning. Then you can plant the seed. It will be your own special tree,” Dada said. 

“Thank you!” Zara replied. 

The next morning, they found an empty area near the back of the orchard. Zara and her dadi prepared the plot for the seed. They dug the hole, and Zara placed the seed in the center. Now all they had to do is cover it up and wait. 

“How long do we have to wait?” Zara asked. 

“A few years. Trees take a long time to grow and mature,” Dadi replied. 

“Okay…’” Zara said with uncertainty.

Every day, she went out to her mango tree, hoping to find that it had grown. Zara had to fly back to America after a few days, which meant she wouldn’t be able to watch her tree grow. Dadi told Zara that she would send her pictures when the tree started to grow. 

Weeks later, there was still nothing. Not one leaf. Soon, Dada and Dadi got so involved with other parts of the farm and selling their produce that they forgot about the mango tree… 

Come to think of it, I forgot about it for a while, too. The tree must have grown by now, and I haven’t even seen it yet. The first thing I’m going to do when I get home is ask about my mango tree. For now, I should focus on planting these sunflower seeds. I know I’ll be able to see these grow. 

Aradhana Arora

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