I have always been curious about people, ever since I was a little girl I’ve been asking questions, trying to understand how people tick, but it wasn’t until my mum died in 1999 that I began to question myself. The person I had been evaporated with my mum’s last breath and in left in her place, a numb nonentity. I was 23 years old and lost. I felt detached from the real world, and for the next few years I aimlessly floated through each day, looking down on myself as I pretended to exist.
My sister and I put our family home on the market. Paradoxically living there without mum had been both comforting and heart breaking. But after two years, we both were ready to move on with our lives. It was when we were clearing out and packing boxes that I came across, “Unconditional Life” by Deepack Chopra. It had seen better days, its cover was torn and pages dog-eared. I knew that it must have been read by my mum many times, so that night while cocooned in my bed I began to read. Although some of it was difficult to understand, it reignited my curiosity about life. That night opened the door to my lifelong study of wellbeing.
Over the next few years I read everything I could find that could help me turn my life into what I wanted it to be. I already knew that life was unbearably short and I wanted to make sure that my time on this beautiful planet was filled with meaning. I studied hard and absorbed words from Chopra, Cohelo and The Dali Lama, and then ventured into the more corporate sphere of Tony Robbins and Franklyn Covey. I soaked up advice and applied it to my own life; each book gave me further insight into myself and the world around me.
The more I studied, the more magical life became. Grief and sadness slowly dissolved into hope and happiness. I began to notice beauty everywhere. I would lose myself in music and feel each poignant note. I gained confidence in myself and my abilities, and my work-life soared. In 2008, I started up my own Graphic Design business and threw myself into work designing children’s book covers. Being creative gave me energy and I thrived on this. At night if I was too tired to read, I would listen to audio books, or relax with guided meditations and every morning I began to wake up excited at the prospect of a new day ahead.
I learnt that we are creators of our destiny but to create the life we want, we must first control our thoughts. We all have an inner narrator that talks us through each day from the moment we wake up to the last thing at night. That voice can either be an enthusiastic campaigner of our lives or our own worst enemy. We can either bully ourselves or be our own biggest fan, it is up to us. I realised that everything I had been reading boiled down to the same thing, we must belief and trust in ourselves if we want to succeed. To do this we must not live in the past, or spend our time fantasizing about the future, we need to live in the moment, in real-time. The now is the only time that matters.
Although I had been studying wellbeing for over a decade, I discovered the impact of mindfulness, only a few years ago. Up until then I had overlooked literature on the subject. I was already a “mindful” person and had assumed I had been practicing mindfulness all along. But I came across a “body scan” podcast one evening and tried it out. It was then that I realised that mindfulness was the key to controlling our thoughts, giving us the power to control our lives. I had found my next course of study.
Mindfulness has been around for thousands of years and its benefits have been scientifically backed by decades of research. Studies indicate that regular practice will Increase our disease resistance, optimise our nervous systems and improve our emotional and mental health. Millions of doctors worldwide prescribe Mindfulness Therapies to people dealing with physical and mental health issues and it is widely used to help parents and children with autism ADHD and other learning disorders. Mindfulness has also been clinically proven to increase learning ability and enhance memory and it is also used to treat chronic insomnia. Mindfulness benefits us both emotionally and physically.
By closing your eyes, focusing on your breath and noticing your body’s reaction to the sensations of that moment, you are mindfully meditating. If any other thoughts creep in, you let them go and refocus without berating yourself. It sounds simple, and it is.
You can meditate mindfully in literally everything that you do, from eating a bar of chocolate, drinking a glass of wine to appreciating a beautiful view; we can create a delicious mindful understanding of the experience, see things in high-definition and learn to really appreciate the moment. By living in the present, we develop an appreciation and understanding of the small things in life, we become skilled at focusing on the positive and more equipped to handle problems when they arise.
The simplicity of this powerful tool had a profound effect on me. I wished that I had known about it when I was grieving. I wished that I had been taught these simple tools as a child, and wondered how my life might have been if I had.
I could see that mindfulness was gathering worldwide momentum and that thousands of schools have begun to introduce it in their classrooms, but I wondered if this was enough. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and decided to create my own range of wellbeing books for children. The rewards of mindfulness are incalculable but in order for children to experience the benefits, I knew that I needed to create characters that they could trust and adventures that would entertain. So I set about researching, writing and illustrating, and Buddabugzz were born.
Buddabugzz are furry creatures that teach children how to focus, control their thoughts and find happiness in everyday moments. I have just completed by first book in the series, “Zenji heals his Muzzybug”, a magical journey of self-discovery that focuses on healing through mindful relaxation and breath-work, which encourages children to sleep at bedtime. By combining everything that I have learnt over the years, I have created a brand designed to guide, entertain and teach children skills which will benefit them their entire lives.
For more information or to purchase the book log onto www.Kickstarter.com and search for “Zenji”
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