The Magical Mindful {Earth} Day

 
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By Barbara Gruener for The Corner on Character

Good morning and happy Earth Day 2018. How will you show love to Mother Earth today? In partnership with our HEB grocery store, we've been collecting plastic grocery bags all month long; Mrs. Tallman's Green Team has been counting them for us. Thumbs up to them for their heart work.

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To date we've got 1456 and counting on even more to come in this week so we can save them from our landfill. Every little bit helps. Today I'm excited because it's my Dad's 81st birthday. Such a great God wink, that my father, Farmer Bob, who made his living off the land, would be born on Earth Day. Check out this Fuel Up to Play 360 clip that was shot on our family farm, to encourage kids to get outside and play in the great outdoors.

I'm also delighted to share this mindful treasure that releases today; I predict it will be a future favorite in our mindfulness collection.

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With so much stress and anxiety in today's world, practicing mindfulness has become a critical part of my professional (and personal) learning journey.

From the publisher: 

Imagine an immersive story that helps children learn about who they really are: part of a deeply and wondrously interconnected world. Deborah Salazar Shapiro integrates her knowledge of mindfulness with her personal passion for helping children become more aware of their integrated role in the life of our fragile and precious planet in this important contribution that will help develop a child’s compassionate and courageous mind. Bravo!
— Daniel J. Siegel, MD, Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

“I am a proud immigrant who wants to contribute to the well-being of all living beings. Growing up in El Salvador, witnessing the effects of a civil war, natural disasters, and extreme poverty taught me at a very young age to appreciate the things I had,” says Deborah Salazar Shapiro, who is combining her experiences with mindfulness and heart-based practices to bring to life The Magical Mindful Day, a children’s book for people of all ages.

On a visit to the beach with her mother, Gaby, the main character of Salazar Shapiro’s debut book, and her best friend, Baba, encounter a talking cat named Oreo who introduces Gaby to many aspects of mindfulness—noticing the present moment, caring about the environment, and protecting the earth and all its creatures. Together, they share a bond that transcends time and place. The Magical Mindful Day takes children on the adventure of becoming mindful and shows them that joy and caring go hand in hand. Parents, teachers, earth lovers, and anyone who wants to encourage children to be more mindful will find much of value in this delightful tale.

These lessons translate to readers, as Salazar Shapiro encourages them to engage with the world around them in the same ways Gaby has, remembering the importance of practicing kindness toward everyone and everything. “Adults can incorporate gratitude into their daily lives along with their children, bringing mindful awareness and appreciation toward the people and things we often take for granted,” she says, inviting parents to work alongside children to foster love, respect, kindness, and compassion.

“Through practice, I not only discovered the feeling of being alive and more at peace with my awareness of what was happening both in my inner and outer world, but I was also able to see the futility in constant worrying, learned to accept the present as the only thing that truly exists,” explains Salazar Shapiro. An instructor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and a dedicated practitioner of mindful meditation for almost a decade, she practices what she preaches to others, both in her book and daily life.

“It is powerful to be kind and compassionate,” Salazar Shapiro boldly states. In a world seemingly driven by electronics and social media, it is easy to become disconnected from surrounding people and nature. In The Magical Mindful Day, Salazar Shapiro highlights the importance, now more than ever, to guide children how to reflect on the effects of the items they use on a daily basis, especially plastic products, and the power they have to create change by making conscious choices about how they treat the people and world around them. 

I can't wait to get my hands on this magical powerhouse; isn't Earth Day the perfect timing for its release? Last week, I was invited to deliver a quick keynote to launch the Mindfulness Expo in a neighboring district; here's the bookmark I created to share with them. To download, click front {here} and back {here}.

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I printed them out on blue card stock to give them out at my talk at the Bay Area Alliance luncheon this week as well. Can't wait. Looking for more ways to awaken your senses?Check out Postcards from Texas clips {here}. Or just watch this Mindful Minute I made in Wisconsin; experience the sun set over our family farm as you breathe in the beauty to enjoy Mother Nature's gift.

Listen for the geese.
Look for the moon.
Spot the pile of snow.
Imagine how it feels and smells.

Here's to mindfully appreciating the magic of our Earth today and protecting its resources for a better tomorrow as we make every day Earth Day.