Recently, the Mindfulness Center was visited by a Richmond-area girls’ middle school robotics team. They were preparing for a competition in which they would have to build a robot from Legos and also describe a way to improve the performance of astronauts engaged in prolonged interplanetary travel such as a mission to Mars. They had researched potential interventions, and decided that mindfulness could be very helpful on such missions and wanted to meet to learn more about how they might develop a mindfulness program for astronauts. They had contacted NASA and learned that no one is teaching mindfulness to astronauts now. The team asked to meet in person, so they traveled to Charlottesville after school one day. The girls came prepared with an impressive list of questions and spent almost two hours learning more about mindfulness, including doing some meditation themselves. They especially liked the STOP practice (this stands for Stop, Take a few breaths, Observe your present moment experience with kindness and Proceed with awareness). As one of the students wrote afterwards “Thank you so much for meeting with us! It was so helpful! STOP was so cool!” The team placed second in their first competition, and will be competing for the championship next month.
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