Kids User Guide to a Human Life

a book series offering 9 to 12 year-olds fun, practical information on how to live a life with less stress and more joy

Keep It Simple, Adventurous Ones :: Let The Quiet In

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The Kid’s User Guide to a Human Life Book Two: An Open Heart

Hello Adventurous Ones!

Look at what Brook and I received this week from our publisher – the design cover for Book Two: An Open Heart! Eek!!

What do you think?

Preorder sales will be available in early 2016!!! We’ll keep you updated here and on Facebook and Twitter.

Have you read Book One: An Open Mind yet?

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New Mindful Monday :: Like and Attachment


Let’s continue to look more deeply at how we label our experiences

When You Like something, your Chattering Mind Attaches to it, even grasping after it and clinging.

Imagine eating ice cream on a hot summer day with a friend.

The sensation of the cold dessert is refreshing. The taste of the sugar and cream is satisfying. And the experience of sharing with your friend is uplifting.

You start to see yourself as someone who likes ice cream.

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a big deal.

But what happens when your love for certain ice cream flavors changes? Or you come to dislike eating ice cream on cold days? You may even start to prefer smoothies instead of ice cream. Or what if you become allergic to ice cream altogether?

When you Like an experience, your Chattering Mind builds an entire story around how much this experience reflects who you are.

Over time, you keep telling yourself that story and you take it to be solid and undeniably true.

When you are able to repeat the experience you are happy.

But when you can’t, you are unhappy and defeated.

Your Chattering Mind may even go as far as to declare that you could never be happy unless you have it.

Remember though, you are really more like a river.

Practice :: This week, begin to pay attention to what you Like.

Inquire :: Can you sense or feel the feeling of Attachment, through your Inner Attention, to what you like?

Without any judgement at all, can you just notice what Like and/or Attachment feel like in your Chattering Mind, your body and your breath?

When you bring your Inner Attention to Like and Attachment, does it change the story, sensations, or experiences at all?

Does bringing your Inner Attention to Like and/or Attachment awaken your Open Mind?

If yes, how is your experience of Like changed by a bit more awareness, space and presence?

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New Mindful Monday :: Labeling Experience

“Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.” —Epictetus

This dynamic life is constantly flowing through you.

Life pours in through your senses creating different sensations, experiences, thoughts and emotions.

Yet how is it that your Chattering Mind feels so solid if every part of you is always in flux?

Your Chattering Mind naturally registers the flow of life as it comes in as Like, Dislike or Indifference.

Your Chattering Mind then begins to build a solid sense of self by Attaching to what you Like, Resisting what you Dislike and Checking Out when you are Indifferent.

This constant, unconscious categorizing begins to cut you off from your dynamic, alive Open Mind.

Most of the time this process happens so fast and unconsciously that you are unaware that you are labeling your experiences and yourself this way.

Practice :: When you notice your Inner Attention Attaching to sensations, experiences, thoughts and/or emotions you Like – pause, feel your breath and remember your Open Mind.

No need to try to do anything to Attachment or Like – just notice, breathe and let your Open Mind into your attention.

Pay attention to how this may change the experience of Attaching.

Try the same in the moments you recognize you are Resisting or Indifferent – pause, breathe, allow your Open Mind in and then notice how this may change your experience.

Is there a little more space? A little more wisdom? More aliveness? More presence?


New Mindful Monday :: Breathe


Your breath is always in the present moment.

Every time you place your Inner Attention on your breath, you step out of the small, solid-feeling Chattering Mind and back into the flow of life.

Practice :: This week, wherever you are, when you “wake up” to the fact that you are not present and lost in your Chattering Mind, kindly invite your Inner Attention to your breath.

Follow the experience of your breath with your Inner Attention.

Really feel what it feels like to breathe—the tickle of air through your nose, the expanding of your ribs fully, the feeling of release as you exhale.

As you feel your breath, let the spaciousness of your Open Mind into your attention. Feel your aliveness. Remember, you are not just your Chattering Mind.

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New Mindful Monday :: Looking Closely

If you look closely and openly at your Chattering Mind you’ll see that your thoughts arise naturally then dissolve on their own.

One moment you may think an idea you have is great and the next moment you may think it’s foolish.

Even the stickiest thoughts, when allowed time and space, eventually shift, change or transform.

A thought that may have caused your Chattering Mind great distress a year ago is now a faint memory.

Emotions follow this same dynamic pattern.

When allowed their natural flow, they tend to surge up like a wave then pass on their own.

You may wake up one morning feeling down. By lunch you may feel overjoyed spending time with your friends. By the end of lunch you may feel annoyed by these same friends. And then that night at home you may feel lonely for your friends.

You see, the “you” your Chattering Mind takes to be so solid is actually always shifting and changing—year to year, month to month, week to week, day to day, moment to moment and even second to second.

Practice :: Begin to Pay Attention to the fluidity of your thoughts and emotions.

When you notice your Inner Attention caught, consciously shift it back to the aliveness of your body and breath.

Let your attention brighten on the feeling of your body and breath.

Allow your attention to let in the space of your Open Mind.

Also allow whatever thought or emotion to be as it it, while you continue to brighten your attention into your Open Mind.

Inquire :: Can you feel how thoughts and emotions move through your body? Can you experience the physical sensations of happiness? Excitement? Anger? Fear? Do you notice how they move through your body like a wave? What is left when the emotion or thought has moved through?

See if you can do this week’s practice throughout the week – on the bus, taking a test, having fun with your friends – and notice how or if it changes your experience. Are you more present? Centered? Awake? Able to be with a challenging emotion? Aware of your Open Mind?

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New Mindful Monday :: Remember the Aliveness of Life

CH1IMG4People are rivers, always ready to move from one state of being into another. It is not fair, to treat people as finished beings. Everyone is always becoming and unbecoming. – Kathleen Winter

Today, begin to pay attention to your senses.

They are bringing in a continuous changing stream of sensations and experiences.

What your eyes see is never really the same—shifting light and shadows, changing colors and hues.

Your nose brings in an always-changing smellscape from the moment you awaken—smells from your breakfast, the shower, the breeze on your way to school.

Sounds are always fluctuating as they enter your ears—loud, soft, high and low.

Tastes are continually arriving and disappearing from your tongue—sweet, sour, spicy, bland.

Your skin is constantly bringing in sensations from your environment—clothes, weather and the embrace from a loved one.

A river of experience and sensation is continually pouring through you and your senses.

Practice :: When you notice your Inner Attention caught in a solid-feeling story being spun by your Chattering Mind, allow some of the aliveness that is pouring through your senses into your attention.

Inquire :: What happens to the story when you allow the aliveness of the moment into your attention? Is there more space? More patience? More compassion? More wisdom?

Keep Practicing and Inquiring and Pay Attention to what unfolds…


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