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As someone who has practiced yoga for several years, Susan Verde is not afraid to say she still has her limitations. On her website, the New York Times Best Selling author admits she still needs help with her headstand.
“You know, I still need the wall,” she said, with a laugh, “but, we’re getting there. We’re getting there.”
As a children’s author, she helps young readers understand the benefits of mindfulness; to pay attention to who you are, and where you are, without passing judgment.
From a young age, Verde felt comfort while reading books. Her parents enjoyed reading to her and there were lots of books throughout their home. Throughout her life books have helped quiet her mind and inspire her imagination. When she became a teacher she collected picture books and loved the way they could express big messages in simple ways. Her love of reading combined with the positive ways books have influenced her life, helped her decide to write.
Her story “I Am Human” has become a New York Times best-selling book and she loves conveying the messages that are within its pages. She believes that in today’s difficult climate people are forgetting that each one of us is human and share so many qualities that make us vulnerable and wonderful. Children (of all ages) need to be reminded that at our core we are all living the same human experience full of mistakes, joy and sadness.
Verde explains how the term “mindfulness” has been confused over the years. In one sense, parents use the word in place of carefulness. While others brush off the concept as something too esoteric to invest any time in. What she brings to light is something more simple.
Verde, who is a parent of three, speaks of mindfulness in terms that relate to both children and parents. Regardless of age, we are all exposed to stressful moments. Times in which our surrounding environment pokes and prods us into an emotional reaction. The stress of the situation takes us away from the moment. That esoteric concept, Verge said, can be achieved by simply breathing.
“It’s a way of really connecting in the moment,” said the author. “To know you can pause and breathe and connect to what is happening makes parenting a bit easier and allows me to project less and observe more and it makes the moments in life more fulfilling.”
The importance of breathing is something the author learned from her times practicing yoga. It’s a means of helping one pay attention to the body, it’s also used as a means of meditation to control the mind. It’s not a mistake. Verde explained how breathing is connected to the body’s nervous system.
A parent who is rushing through the house while preparing their kindergarten for school. While the child has plans to explore the contents of the kitchen cabinet, the mother or father is losing patience. The stress from the situation would commonly result in yelling. Verde said to try taking three deep breathes through the nose. It changes one’s physiology, she said.
“The interesting thing about mindfulness and creating this distance between yourself and your emotions is that it’s very simple,” said Verde. “It’s just remembering to do them.”
Verde is conducting several presentations at Schenectady’s Brown School today, Wednesday, Nov. 28. She starts with two morning presentations exclusive to Brown students. She, later, will share positive messages about what adults can share with children and teens to help them in their development during the school’s Adult Wellness Fair from 6 to 7 p.m.
“As a lover of books, I am inspired by the messages Susan conveys through her works,” said Deborah Wyngowski, the Brown School ibrarian who came up with the idea to bring the author to the school. “At Brown School we focus on helping our students to be mindful in everything they do. We actively work with them on this so they can apply it to their lives in many ways. We believe Susan will touch many in the short time she is with us and we are honored to have her visit.”
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.