I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the August 2015 issue! The street and online version were just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE or you can read the whole story below!
I hope you like the article!
Interview With Bucks County Author Betsy Thomson
by Erik Weibel
I study three different martial arts. I enjoy the physical and mental exercise you get from them. Meditation can be great for focusing your mind, not just for martial arts, but in all parts of your life. I was happy to find that Bucks county author Betsy Thomson has written a book about meditating for children. It is called “Meditation, My Friend.” It is a picture book written to introduce meditation to children and teach parents and kids how to get started.
Erik: How did you discover meditation, and how has it made you a better author?
Ms. Thomson: I discovered and began meditating about 1993. I met an opera singer from Germany one night at LIMBO Café in NYC. The subject of meditation during our conversation. She told me about Vipassana meditation and where I could go to learn. I went soon after that for an official 10 day meditation retreat. I have been going yearly ever since.
Meditation has helped me in all aspects of my life. I definitely see how as a creative person and writer. I rarely deal with writers block. Because of meditating I see where the basis of it lies so I do not get upset or worried about it. I have developed great patience with the writing and creative process. Meditation also helps me focus when I am writing and really opens my mind creatively. It also helps me a great deal with the turning off of the inner critic who can get in the way of the writing process.
Erik: It’s amazing how helpful meditation can be! How do you hope children will be helped by by your book?
Ms. Thomson: I hope this book will teach children (as well as any adults) how to be kinder, more caring and loving to themselves in a really fun non conventional way. So many kids I have taught suffer from such stress and anxiety due to a multiple of reasons now a days. When our minds become our best friend and ally we achieve inner peace and happiness. Even kids can learn this with ease. Meditation is one of the best tools to help teach this.
Erik: The illustrations in the book are a cool mix of photographs and illustration. Where did this style come from? Where did you get the Mitchell puppet/doll used in the photos?
Ms. Thomson: The style of the book using illustration and photos was my idea. I could not draw some of the images or the cover so I had a wonderful designer and illustrator do them. The drawings move the story along and makes it more believable as a kids book report. I have been a photographer for over 30 years. I love the messages photos can convey.
Mitchell Hoffsteader (I also do his voice) is my own creation. I made the original puppet Mitch in 1978. He was on 4 inches big. Over the years he has morphed into what you see in the book! He has been photographed all over place and in different circumstances. Throughout Europe, NYC and DC. etc. I love doing photos with him. He becomes 3-D and more human like and believable.
Erik: When do you think the best times to meditate are?
Ms. Thomson: Oh you can meditate anytime really. Whatever works best for you and your schedule. My best mediation are in the evening or super early in the am. around 4:00-5:00. Like that is happening all the time, ha ha….but they are if i get up that early. One of the main reasons to do mindfulness meditation is to learn how to train the mind to stay anchored in the present moment. Just being aware of what you are doing with a peaceful mind at any given can be considered meditation. When you are walking, working on the computer etc. Also being aware of your moods and thoughts. It is all considered a form of mindfulness meditation. You do not always have to be sitting down to meditate. But, you can have a official meditation sit during the day. That is important. You select a time that is only devoted to meditating and nothing else. That way you really get to work with your mind and develop inner peace, calm. During that time you try to keep anchoring the mind to whatever point of focus you choose. Normally I do that 1-2 hours a day. On days when I have less time I take breaks during the day to do five minutes here and there or so. Think of it like musician practicing and instrument or an athlete practicing a sport. You select a time and devote all attention to the practice. To really benefit from meditation this is necessary.
Thank you very much, Ms. Thomson!
Betsy Thomson is an award winning singer-songwriter, author and media artist. Betsy’s has performed and has had airplay nationally and internationally. In 2004 her song “Missions of the Mind” was number one on Europe’s Radio Fedra.
Betsy a certified Reiki master-teacher-practitioner, Integral Yoga Instructor and professional psychic has worked in the healing arts over twenty years. In 2002 she was nominated as New Yorker of the Week for work she did with members of the FDNY after 9/11 as a stress therapist.
Find Betsy at Meditationmyfriend.com
For more on books and reading, visit Thiskidreviewsbooks.com