A 500 page novel, a 500g text book or a small guide with a powerful punch?
They say everyone has a book inside them. I didn’t think they meant me. What is a book anyway?
In some form or another, I’ve worked with children and younger people all my adult life; as a part-time youth worker, a playscheme co-ordinator, a sports and youth development officer, a college lecturer, pastoral team manager and as a wellbeing coach. In every capacity I’ve tried to find ways to keep the ‘message’ alive. How easy is it to attend amazing training or be part of an inspiring conversation, only to forget it once we fall back into the clutches of everyday busy lives?
As I guide young people back to their innate source of well-being, and the self-correcting compass pointing to infinite health within us all, I can see a light come on in their eyes, a radiance, a sense of connection to their true self.
I wanted to provide a reminder to look at our world a little differently; that we can be a little bit kinder to ourselves and find ourselves in a better place to decide what to do next.
I give clients a small snow globe as a metaphor of our crowded heads full of thoughts, and to see how our state of mind can settle and quiet back down – just as the snowflakes do. The snow globe is always well received – whatever their age. They love their snow globe!
But there was more for me to do. I knew I had the capacity to share this message in a simple and concise way, which would mean something to any age group. I wanted to produce a book which could be opened at any page, be quick and easy to read and had a powerful message. I shared my manuscript with a range of young people and took their responses as guidance.
The illustrations were seen by teenage girls and lads to get the thumbs up and I was often surprised; the drawings which appealed to the lads were the ones I least expected. There was no way I could produce this without their input and consultation.
My book is my heart. It’s my message. It’s love and kindness and taps into the source of who we really are, even when we feel we aren’t. I’m proud to send it on its journey and who know where it’ll end up? Schools are starting to use it for guided reading sessions for Year 6 groups, parents are reading it to their children and some children are reading it to their parents.
The messages and reviews are loving and have a consistent message:
“As an almost 35-year-old who has occasional anxiety issues, this is the loveliest book of reassurance that I am OK and that I am more resilient than I give myself credit for.”
“My 8-year-old ‘step daughter’ picked up your book and took herself off for a while and came back saying she really enjoyed it. When asked ‘what did you enjoy about it?’ she said ‘Knowing I’m perfect on the inside’. ‘Does that make sense to you?’ I asked…’Yes, totally’ she replied. There is a beautiful acceptance of the fact that she’s a perfect diamond. Not mind blowing but just normal. This for a girl who has some unhelpful thinking about herself. Thank you for the beautifully described simplicity of the message.”
“A beautifully simple message in a very easy to digest book. I bought it with my 13-year-old daughter in mind, but actually found myself taking in the message. It reaffirms what we all should already know but our thoughts get clouded by the myriad of outside influences. This book will be referred to time and again in the teenage years to come and we can all dip in and out, as it only takes a few minutes to read.”
“As a counsellor and psychotherapist, working with children, young people and families, I can thoroughly recommend this little book. It helps us to see that “anxious thinking is a thought-storm about the future” and shows us a way to feel better about ourselves.Very clearly written with accompanying illustrations. This little book is the antidote to negative social media.”
So, it turns out I did have a book inside me after all. It was there, waiting for the right time to pop up in my wisdom. When we know a truth, we want to shout it out loud. My truth is that we are all mentally well. There is nothing we need to do – we already have it.
We are already okay.