Floating on your RAFT
Last year around this time, I ran a post that dealt with the RAFT model of moving on for Third Culture Kids (https://tcktalk.com/2013/05/). Lately, it’s been one of my most revisited posts as this time of year rolls around and international schools provide info for their families on the move (thanks to the international school websites who shared my link!).
As a reminder, the four areas to address with TCKs as they head off to a new destination are: Reconciliation, Affirmation, Farewells and Thinking Destination. These are definitely helpful considerations for this population, and they have a lot to do with planning effectively for addressing important needs; past, present, and future. I think it’s also important, in this busy, stressful time, to find some ways in your last days in a destination to kick back and float on your RAFT.
Mindfulness, as defined and explained by Psychology Today, ” Is a state of active, open attention on the present.” When a person is being mindful, he or she lets go of judgment and opinion and observes thoughts and emotions as if from a distance, not assigning them a good or bad rating. Mindfulness is also related to not letting your life pass you by in ways that are expending too much energy on the past or in the future. It’s instead about trying to focus more on living in the moment and being open to what you are experiencing in the here and now.
Easy to say as I sit here from my computer staying in the same location in which I’ve lived for 12 years and watching people coming and going around me. The lingo this time of year always refers to next postings or new assignments, weight limits for shipments and containers, moving inventories, obtaining and forwarding various forms of records, etc. It’s hard to stop and smell the roses when you’re sneezing from the dust of sorting and cleaning. But I would try to add some “present” moments to that never-ending list of things to, the ever-playing images of past memories, and the nagging fears of the future unknown.
Mindfulness can be as informal and basic as focusing more time on your breath and as formal and structured as having official meditation sessions and techniques. For our global families, it can be stopping for a moment while sorting old toys of now grown kids to acknowledge the mixed emotions of sadness at the time that’s past and pride at the person your child has become. It can be taking a quick walk (exercise is proven to do incredibly positive things for low mood and stress) down a favorite and familiar road and being aware of all senses; the smell of the freshly blooming lilacs, the periwinkle hue of the midday sky, the feel of the breeze on your skin… Mindfulness has a lot to do with awareness and acceptance. And for people with a lot of change in their lives, much of which is out of their control, acceptance is a huge benefit.
So schedule a little bit of time, on whatever device you might happen to use, for viewing the everyday, ordinary things in a more focused and extraordinary manner. It’s a great way to leave a destination that has provided a multitude of incredible moments. Get comfortable on your RAFT, accept where the water is taking you, and tune in to “now” for at least a small part of each busy day ahead.