The Collaborative No. 15
Today we are featuring Everyday Visionary Veronica Valles, who is a Mindfulness Teacher, artist, photographer and speaker.
Veronica is on a mission to empower children (and adults) to live compassionate, connected and creative lives. She leads Mindfulness Programs in elementary schools around the country. Through simple techniques and a committed daily practice, the children learn to focus and center as well as cultivate compassion and kindness. The results are powerful- decreased stress, greater calm, clear focus and greater awareness of being present. Mindfulness Tools help the children navigate their way through anxiety, uncertainty, feelings and emotions.
Throughout the year, she offers a variety of skill sets that teach children Mindful Breathing (for calm and focus), Listening, Movement, Emotional – Sensory – Energy Awareness, Compassion, Kindness, Gratitude, Words Matter, Breathing Buddies and more. They engage in fun practices for personal use. They practice 10-Finger Breathing, Blowing Dandelions, Breath Box, Energy Dial, Walking Elephant, Gratitude Web, Power Posters, Kindness Cards, Turn It Around, and other techniques as fun ways to embody mindful awareness.
Although Veronica spends the majority of her time working with students, she also works with teachers, parents and organizations like the PTA. She has created a ripple effect. The parents and teachers observed the positive changes in the children and recognized the benefit of adopting the practices for themselves.
"Not only are our students more equipped for learning, but they are becoming better human beings – and isn’t that the true purpose of education.” - Dr. Jennifer Jackson, Pricipal Hexter Elementary
When students, educators and parents find a tool that they can all use to create positive behaviors, we have truly found something that can change the world.
You can follow Veronica Valles on social media by clicking these links:
- Where do you currently work?
- What is your current role?
Mindfulness Teacher-Trainer-Facilitator, Speaker, Spiritual Teacher, Artist, Writer, Photographer
- How would you describe to a child what you do for a living?
I teach children and adults how to relax, calm and focus through mindful breathing. I also write inspirational stories and take gorgeous photos.
- What do you hope you have a reputation for as a professional?
Kindness and Compassion.
- What is an accomplishment from your career that meant the world to you?
Serving almost 800 children weekly in three, East Dallas Elementary Schools with Mindfulness Skill Sets.
- What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve had to learn the hard way in your career?
You may see the vision but it takes time for people to catch on to support it.
- What are some of your go-to sources of inspiration and staying on top of emerging trends that impact your field or industry?
Everything and anything on Mindfulness. Omega Institute. Mindful Schools. JusTMe Mindfulness Also, Upaya Zen Center. Michael Bernard Beckwith. Elizabeth Gilbert.
- What is something you need in your work environment in order to thrive in your role?
Funding. I am in my flow. I bring in Love, Joy and "make the school building sing" with my presence. Funding would take a lot of pressure off of me. I am still committed to the well-being of students, teachers and Administrators.
- What you envision for your customers/clients/stakeholders/ patients/citizens/students, etc.?
Happy hearts. Living an empowered life. Finding the gem that is their genius and living their dreams into reality. Passionate about learning especially finding their artistry.
- What is one of the biggest challenges you are facing or trying to solve right now?
Moving through the nonprofit realm and funding. Having the energy at night to cultivate my artist gifts in a financial flow so I can still be available full time at these schools.
- When and where do you tend to get your ideas?
They download all of the time. Especially when I am out in nature or sitting in my room with low lights.
- What are three of your favorite books?
Out On A Limb - Shirley MacLaine
Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
The Gift: Poems By Hafiz The Great Sufi Master - Translations by Daniel Ladinsky
- What’s one of your favorite non-profits?
- If you could collaborate with any group or individual in the world, who would be your top three picks?
JusT Me Mindfulness
Pres. Barack Obama
- What would you want to collaborate on with the people/groups you just mentioned?
Creativity projects for students and adults. Community Service projects with art and music. A Feed and Read program where students learn reading, writing and have food trucks available with scrumptious lunches for the kids.
- If you were invited to give a TED Talk (or have given one), what would you speak about?
Sacred Living - finding the gifts of the moment through Mindfulness
- How do you unwind at the end of a stressful day?
I sit underneath my Elm tree. Gaze at the dancing lime-green leaves above me. Daydream. Then I it depends on my mood - sometime ecstatic dance at home. Or I slow down into meditation. Snuggle up with a great book.
- What do you think your 80-year-old self would tell you right now?
You GO GIRL. I knew you could do it. Keep traveling the world and lifting lives with your LIGHT & Laughter...
- What do you think your 10-year-old self would be most impressed with about your life right now?
That the quiet V became such an inspirational teacher. Moving from shyness to being an artist and transformative teacher while still remaining sweet, kind and loving.
- What does your creative process entail when you're doing what you do best?
When I am in my most productive mode, I'm facilitating a meeting and fully engaged in the conversation with participants. We are collaborative, inventive and totally jazzed about the conversation. Usually this revolves around community engagement.
- Is there anything particularly compelling that you want us to know that we didn't ask?
I have such a deep Love for Life. I dance with the Divine daily. My spiritual practice as a New Thought Minister anchors me in the Universal Love that I call the ONE. I live a magical mystical life because of the lens I look through. After experiencing a long term illness that took me into a deep retreat for my entire 30s, I am slowly emerging into a financial flow. I am the happiest I have ever been especially when teaching children Mindfulness. Writing is calling me deeply as well as speaking to others about Awakening to Wholeness. We all have gifts that we bring into this world that are so necessary. I am a fabulous cheerleader for everyone's Greater GOOD.