At Whole Beings we are always on the hunt for holistic books that teach beautiful messages to the children we teach both in-studio & online. Susan Verde’s words truly resonate with us & we fell in love with I Am Peace - A Book of Mindfulness last year. Susan has our hearts once again with the launch of her latest book I Am Human - A Book of Empathy. We believe concepts such as compassion, empathy & connectedness - are best taught to children through forms of holistic storytelling. We love how the book teaches that being human means we are ‘one of billions but unique.’ We shared the book with the children today - inspiring lots of the bigger questions & ideas. Together the children then created a ‘human’ with loose parts. Dreaming big just as the book inspires - the human became a mermaid….
‘I am human. I am a work in progress.’
How blessed we feel to have connected not only through her books but an extra special interview with the amazing woman herself…
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
~ Let’s see…My greatest joy and biggest source of “crazy” is being a single mom of 3. I grew up in the west village of Manhattan and am so glad I did. I am a city girl at heart with a love of old school hip hop. I used to work in the music industry for Vibe Magazine. I am a reader currently obsessed with YA novels. I am a writer, a yogi, a teacher of yoga and a plant-based eater (except milk in my coffee). I strive to find balance in my life and the lives of my children. I totally embrace the idea that we are all works in progress.
What inspired you to start writing a series of holistic books for children?
~ I think the topics and messages of my books came fairly organically. I didn’t set out to write “holistic” or “wellness” related books for kids I just noticed what they were experiencing and tapped into my own childhood experiences and wrote what was true to my heart. As a former school teacher and mom, I definitely have an awareness of the stress that kids experience and the ways in which they need to be celebrated and feel empowered so perhaps that influenced the direction of my writing. Also, teaching yoga and mindfulness has allowed me to see how these “tools” can be so incredibly supportive for children of all ages.
What are your own mindfulness rituals?
~ I meditate daily. I find it incredibly helpful to practice not becoming my thoughts and feelings but rather noticing them and letting them pass. I find time to breathe deeply and engage my senses when I can. When I am with my children I try to be “with” them fully and completely. A walk on the beach is something I do as often as I can. My “rituals” are all part of a practice…sometimes I let them slip and sometimes they are more consistent. I do my best and don’t judge myself.
Greatest piece of advice for families and their mindfulness journey.
~ My best advice would be that mindfulness doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to take long. We just have to remember to do it. The best formal practice I have found is to bring your attention to your breath. When there is a moment of stress or a moment of calm. Try putting your attention on your breath and noticing the thoughts and sensations that arise and when they do, bring your attention back to your breath. That being said, mindfulness is something you can and most likely already do when you are fully present in a moment…a conversation, a walk, even drinking a cup of coffee. It’s just paying attention to the moments in your life without judgement.
What’s your TED TALK or podcast recommendation?
~ I love Ted Talks! I have a son who suffers from OCD so I have watched many talks on that subject. My favorite is a Tedx talk by Julia Britz.
I also recommend Hardwiring Happiness from Dr. Rick Hanson.
And for sure Brene Brown! She is brilliant!
I Am Human is out now!
Learn more about the book here.