Mindfulness with John Allcock


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Every morning teenagers from the Sea Change Preparatory School in San Diego meet at the beach for mindfulness practice and an open ocean swim. For John Allcock, mindfulness and swimming go hand in hand.

Show transcript

Back in December I got to spend a morning with the kids at Sea Change Preparatory, a school in Del Mar, San Diego that not only educates junior high and high school students in traditional subjects, but also focuses on mindfulness, physical fitness, teamwork and goal setting. At Sea Change they begin each day on the beach with a ten minute meditation and a mile long swim in the open ocean before starting classes. What’s even more impressive, these kids are training to swim the English Channel as a team this summer.

I sat down with John Allcock, the co-founder and Director of Mindfulness at Sea Change Preparatory, about the impact this kind of education is having on these kids’ lives. John isn’t just an educator, he’s also a Harvard-educated trial lawyer at one of the top firms in San Diego and the author of Forty Things I Wish I’d Told My Kids, a book about his journey learning mindfulness.

“In all of those years I never learned that the mind can do something other than think.” – John Allcock

Mindfulness has been a hot topic for a while now, but incorporating it into education is still a relatively new idea. John and the folks at Sea Change Prep are making a huge difference in these kids’ lives, so much so that it made me wonder how long it will be until a meditation practice is commonplace in both our kids’ lives and our own lives.

Listen to this episode if:

  • You have or want to start your own mindfulness practice.
  • You believe kids should learn life skills that will serve them in the future.
  • You think there are lessons to be learned in nature.
  • You want to hear from a group of kids swimming the English Channel this summer.

Key Takeaways:

  • 2:45 – John went from practicing law every day to writing a book about mindfulness.
  • 6:30 – How John then created a mindfulness curriculum for Sea Change Prep.
  • 11:20 – The huge lessons the kids are taking from this education.
  • 15:30 – How Mindfulness helps these kids improve their academic performance too.
  • 17:50 – Sea Change alum Matt now has a great perspective on the education he got here.
  • 24:30 – Open water swimming opens the world up to these kids (they’re swimming the English Channel this summer!)
  • 29:30 – How the mindfulness practice connects to the swimming component.
  • 31:45 – John hopes that more schools will soon incorporate mindfulness.
  • 34:15 – How to incorporate mindfulness into your every day life.

Connect with the guest:


  • If you act every day with the intentions of honesty, courage, and self-care in your mind, it’s going to be a better day than if you acted with some other intentions like greed or anger.
  • We really focused a lot on what to do when you feel fear, and how mindfulness can be applied — to feel the fear and let it go, not reject it or run from it, but to breathe through it.
  • We focus the mindfulness program on controlling your attention and awareness, and we use the breath as a primary component.
  • You use the breath to draw your attention off undesirable thoughts and emotions and put it on intentions, and that’s a very useful exercise in life and when you’re swimming in the open ocean.
  • The thing about swimming is you’re alone, so it’s the perfect place to practice silent meditation.
  • I had a really good high school education, a super good college education, and a good law school education, and in all those years I never learned that the mind can do something other than think.
  • Your mind has a capability of awareness that’s different from thinking, and your breath can unlock that awareness.

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