Summer's here. This means extra time with kids, lazy days at the beach. Why not give them some books on the themes that yogis hold dear?
We Are Like the Sky by Elisabeth Rose Wilds was inspired by the author's own mindfulness practice and her work at a youth homeless shelter in Manhattan, where she has set up a healing arts center. "I felt that there was a real need for children and youth to see the world through the eyes of love and learn to open their hearts," she says of her first book, illustrated by Brian Dorr (also the illustrator of her current book.) Recently, we caught up with WIlds:
Q: Tell us how you became a children's author using spiritual themes?
A: As I started teaching mind-body programs and mindfulness practices, I saw that the youth were receiving real benefits. For the first time they could remember, many of them expressed an experience of peace and quiet. It became very clear to me how powerful and life changing mindfulness practices can be, and how wonderful it would be to teach these concepts to younger children. The youths that I work with still have some emotional storms to endure, but they have some tools to help them "reset" - mindfulness is one of these wonderful tool
Q: How did yoga/meditation
influence the words and the pictures?
A: A key to mindfulness
practice is finding that quiet place within, which allows us to observe our
thoughts. In the book, the quiet place within is
represented by the sky (feather) and our thoughts and
resulting emotional states are depicted by weather patterns. The book teaches that
we can we can always find that quiet place within, regardless of the storms that our
thoughts are producing. We can regain our balance, and begin again,
living with greater awareness on a
moment by moment basis.
Q: What is your hope that children
We hope that children
will develop an awareness of how their thoughts impact their emotional
well-being and learn how to
access that quiet place within to rebalance and begin again.