Deborah Hopkinson

Deborah Hopkinson has a master's degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she studied the role of women in 13th-century Japanese Buddhism. She lived in Honolulu for 20 years and practiced Zen Buddhism with the late Roshi Robert Aitken, founder of the Diamond Sangha and Buddhist Peace Fellowship. She lives near Portland, Oregon, where she writes books for children and teens. For more, see deborahhopkinson.com.

Also By Author

This is a new day. A mindful day. Our day.

It’s still dark
when one small bird
fluffs his feathers
And lifts his voice
To sing up the sun.
Snuggled deep in our dreams,
we hear his clear song.
And we open our eyes
To the gift of a new day.
This day.
Our day.

Years ago, we attended a family meditation retreat with the beloved Buddhist teacher Thich
Nhat Hanh. The children loved him. He showed them how to count their breaths from one to
ten. (The best part was finding ten perfect stones to move from one pile to another.) During
walking meditation, he urged them all ahead with a running meditation. Another time, the
children served tea to the adults, moving carefully and slowly, focused intently on the task at
hand.

Today, there is growing recognition that practicing mindfulness has benefits for children
regardless of religious or spiritual background. From preschools to middle schools, educators
are incorporating mindfulness into their learning communities as a way to help young people
cope with emotions and anxieties.

Mindfulness can also start at home. Here in Oregon, the OPEC (Oregon Parenting Education
Collaborative), a public-private parenting education effort, provides evidence-based parent
resources on mindfulness: “The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness with Children at Home.”

I hope my new picture book, Mindful Day, with gorgeous illustrations by talented California
artist Shirley Ng-Benitez, will also be helpful to families. Rather than a how-to, the story instead
follows a young girl, along with her mom and little brother, as they go about the simple,
ordinary activities of a day: eating breakfast together, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and
going to the market.

 

Shirley’s child-friendly artwork makes the characters come to life and examples of how to
practice mindfulness are integrated into the text. As the young girl pops a raspberry into her
mouth she says, “I chew slowly. It tastes sweet as summer.” She also practices being aware of
her breath. “Together we breathe: in out, soft slow. I look and listen. I play.”

 

 

Mindful Day was inspired by the time I’ve spent with my toddler grandson. I hope readers will embrace Mindful Day and make mindfulness part of their own family life. In this way, we can better treasure each precious moment—and help our children learn to do the same.

 Thank you,
Deborah Hopkinson

 

Deborah Hopkinson has a master’s degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, where she studied the role of women in thirteenth-century Japanese Buddhism. She lived in Honolulu for 20 years and practiced Zen Buddhism with the late Roshi Robert Aitken, founder of the Diamond Sangha and Buddhist Peace Fellowship. She lives near Portland, Oregon. For more, visit deborahhopkinson.com.

 

 

Learn more and buy now

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

3 Ways to be Mindful with Your Family This Holiday Sea...

Mindfulness has long been essential to spiritual practice, but recently it’s been embraced by schools at all levels. Recently, as an author visit at a middle school, I saw for myself the results of starting the day with a moment of silence and encouraging students to be mindful of others in hallways. Here are a few suggestions for family mindfulness during the holidays.

Start each day with mindful breathing.

During the holidays, we often wake up with our minds already spinning and busy with a long to do list. Take a few moments, in bed or in the shower, while brushing your teeth or waking your child, to follow your breath. The Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us that we have to be present to be here, fully live each day. Even better, practice mindful breathing with your child.

Light a candle each day.

There’s something magical about lighting a candle. Creating ritual is one way to slow down and be mindful of each moment. It might be hard for busy families to have dinner together during the holidays. And maybe everyone in your house rushes out to the bus or car without sitting down to breakfast. But this time of year, when many of us struggle with darkness, the simple act of lighting a candle can help center ourselves.

Treasure the joy of quiet reading time.

The holidays are a great time to gather together to watch films, but don’t neglect the joy of quiet reading, which nurtures our imagination and allows us to be quiet together. If you have children, it’s a great way to share together. If you’re visiting relatives, take a risk and suggest a read aloud activity. We all love to be read to, whatever our age. And as we come together with those we love in the wonder of books and stories, we are reminded of what we treasure most.

 

Deborah Hopkinson has a master’s degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, where she studied the role of women in thirteenth-century Japanese Buddhism. She is the author of Under the Bodhi Tree: A Story of the Buddha. She lived in Honolulu for 20 years and practiced Zen Buddhism with the late Roshi Robert Aitken, founder of the Diamond Sangha and Buddhist Peace Fellowship. She lives near Portland, Oregon. For more, visit deborahhopkinson.com.

The community here at Sounds True wishes you a lovely holiday season! We are happy to collaborate with some of our Sounds True authors to offer you wisdom and practices as we move into this time together; please enjoy this blog series for your holiday season. 

To help encourage you and your loved ones to explore new possibilities this holiday season, we’re offering 40% off nearly all of our programs, books, and courses sitewide. May you find the wisdom to light your way. 

EXPLORE NOW

 

You Might Also Enjoy

Christian Conte: Healing Conflict: Listen, Validate, T...

How do we fully meet and support someone experiencing emotional distress—anger, in particular? In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon talks with Dr. Christian Conte about his Yield Theory of emotional management, focusing on the process of “listen, validate, and explore options.” Dr. Conte explains the events that led to his interest in anger management, as well as the origins of Yield Theory. He emphasizes the importance of meeting others where they are, giving them the opportunity to drain anger’s charge from their limbic system. Dr. Conte and Tami discuss why it’s necessary to cultivate humility and how Yield Theory might be applied to our currently divisive culture. Finally, they speak on the “cartoon world” that angry responses often create, as well as the importance of watching what we add to our minds.

Danielle LaPorte: How to Be Loving

What changes when you see yourself and others through a Loving gaze? Everything. With her latest book, How to Be Loving, Danielle LaPorte shares a joyous new framework for bringing incandescent Love to every part of your life. In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Danielle about her new book and our individual roles in what she calls “the epic shift of our time.”

 

Give a listen to this inspiring conversation about shining your inner light, as Tami and Danielle discuss a range of topics including the power of taking a vow, softening a critical attitude, the counterculture nature of self-acceptance, shifting out of misidentification, the shadow side of accountability, the practice of intentional recollection, everyday gentleness, a guided virtue blessing, the epic shift of our time, and more.

Note: This episode first aired live and on video on Sounds True One. To watch Insights at the Edge episodes live and on video, and to access additional bonus Q&A, please visit join.soundstrue.com to learn more.

Masculine Depth and Power—from the Core

John Wineland is an LA-based men’s group facilitator, speaker, and teacher who has been guiding both men and women in the realms of life purpose, relational communication, sexual intimacy, and embodiment.

In this podcast, John Wineland joins Sounds True’s founder, Tami Simon, to speak about his new book, From the Core: A New Masculine Paradigm for Leading with Love, Living Your Truth, and Healing the World. Tune in for an empowering discussion of the universal polarities we can access to expand our human experience and strengthen interpersonal connection; the work of integration and coming into greater wholeness; living from the core—physically, emotionally, and spiritually; the connection between living from the core and true masculine power; the magnetism of depth; how we benefit by working with our nervous system; answering the classic question, “What do men and women really want?”; the currencies of presence and play; shifting from closure to openness; breaking our “karmic vines” in relationship as a moment-to-moment practice of presence, awareness, and sensitivity; conscious warriorship and the proper use of our fierceness; and more.

>