Caverly Morgan, author of A Kids Book About Mindfulness, talks about fully engaging with the lives we are here to live.
Caverly Morgan, author of A Kids Book About Mindfulness, talks about fully engaging with the lives we are here to live.
A Kids Book About Mindfulness (view book)
Full Book Description:
Who are you? Are you your thoughts? Are you your feelings? Are you your hairstyle? Is that who you are? Or are you something more? This book doesn’t just teach kids how to be present with their thoughts—it helps them learn that mindfulness can lead to understanding WHO they are and WHY that matters.
About the Author:
Caverly Morgan is the founder of Presence Collective and Peace in Schools, a nonprofit that specializes in teaching mindfulness to teens and teachers alike. She has been practicing mindfulness since 1995 and created the first for credit mindfulness course in public high schools. As an artist and educator, Caverly brings insight, passion, and humor to her transformative work with students. As a teacher and public speaker, she shares the vision of liberation for all with the world at large.
*If you want to be on a future episode of A Kids Book About: The Podcast or if you have a question you’d like us to consider, have a grownup email us at email@example.com and we’ll send you the details.
A Kids Book About: The Podcast
S1 E10, Caverly Talks About Mindfulness
Matthew: What is mindfulness?
Georgia: It’s like a place to go in your brain or in your mind that’s peaceful and nice, just to be able to get away.
Owen: Mindfulness is like thinking of your own needs and meeting them.
Priyanka: Mindfulness is like being aware and paying attention with all of your senses and in your body, heart, and mind.
Caverly: The teens that I work with define mindfulness as being here and now with kindness. I love that definition. It's so simple. Being here and now with kindness.
Matthew: Welcome to A Kids Book About: The Podcast! I’m Matthew. I’m a teacher, a librarian, and I’m your host. The voices you heard at the top of our show were from Georgia, Owen, Priyanka, and Caverly.
Each week we talk about the big things going on in your world with a different author from our A Kids Book About series.
[MEET OUR GUEST]
Caverly: Hi. My name is Caverly Morgan and I am a white, able-bodied, cisgendered dog mom. I don't actually have dogs that are my biological children, but my dogs are my children.
Matthew: When you say “I am a boy” or “I am a girl”, “I feel like a boy”, “I feel like a girl”, you’re communicating your gender.
Cisgender means that you feel like you identify with the body parts you were born with, specifically your private areas. By contrast, transgender individuals feel that their gender identity does not match with the body parts they were born with.
Caverly: I'm the author of A Kids Book About Mindfulness.
Matthew: Today I’m talking to Caverly about mindfulness. That’s a word you’ve probably heard before. It comes up when we talk about meditation. It comes up when we talk in schools about SEL, which stands for social emotional learning. You may already practice and make time for mindfulness in your day. You may even already be practicing mindfulness and just don’t know it to call it that yet.
So to start, Caverly suggests a single word.
Caverly: I think the most important word to focus on is presence. You know, how often are you moving through your day and you're not present. And what I mean here is that my attention is on things other than what's here and now, and specifically, if I'm not kind to myself and not being kind to others, then my attention is not here and now because it's engaged. It's caught in some story. It's caught in some internal narrative.
Matthew: Oh, I know I should be paying attention to what Caverly is saying right now but I just can’t stop thinking about my friend and whether or not that thing I said hurt her feelings. I haven’t heard from her in a few days and I don’t think I did anything wrong. But the waiting is making me feel like maybe I did.
And, wait… What did Caverly just say?
Presence. Bringing our attention to the things happening here and now.
Caverly: Our very being is present, open, aware, happy, engaged with life, connected. And we tend to do a lot of things with our attention that lead us to forgetting that truth. Again, that's not bad or wrong, but that we have the capacity that we can, we can direct our attention so we can place it where we want it to be is a real gift.
Matthew: It’s not bad that maybe your mind wanders. It’s not wrong that maybe you think or worry or anticipate other things that happened or are going to happen.
But you are also given the gift of being present. And that’s a gift I want to encourage you to accept as often as possible.
Caverly: You know, we get to live the lives that we're here to live. We get to be fully alive. We get to be engaged. How much of our lives are we missing when we're caught thinking about the past or worried about the future? We miss the beauty of what's here.
And maybe we missed the hardship of what's here too, right? So it's not that being, having your attention in the present moment makes everything rosy all the time, but it means that you're here for what is.
Matthew: So tell me, how does practicing mindfulness make you feel?
Naya: Thinking about being mindful makes me feel calm.
Nico: When I think about being mindful I feel aware of where I am.
Georgia: Well, it makes me realize that I can go to a place anytime I want if I’m stressed or sad or angry to just be alone and for it to be quiet.
Priyanka: When I think about being mindful, when I do it, I have like little tingles in my skin and I feel really relaxed and calm. And I also feel, like, alive in my body. Like as if I was inside of my body and I can hear my heart beating and I know what’s happening inside. Kind of like being alert, I guess you could say.
Caverly: Practicing mindfulness makes me feel alive. You know, again, we can be fully engaged with the lives we're here to live when we know how to recognize if the attention's off in thought or carried away by strong emotion. Nothing wrong with those things, but when we can notice that the most beautiful thing about mindfulness is we're empowered to bring the attention back to the present moment.
And, and when the attention is in the present moment, we tend to feel alive, engaged with life. We tend to get a better sense of our own being and, and in my experience, the very nature of our being is happiness. So how do I feel when I'm practicing mindfulness? I feel happy.
Matthew: We’ll be back in a minute with Caverly - and the answer to a question submitted by a listener - right after this quick break.
Matthew: Welcome back to A Kids Book About: The Podcast. On today’s episode we’re talking about mindfulness with Caverly Morgan.
In all that Caverly is sharing, I can’t help but feel connected to how she talks about mindfulness, attention, and presence. I also want to turn my attention to you, whomever you are and with whomever you’re listening to this episode, whether that’s with your classmates or your family or someone else. You, by focusing on this conversation, are practicing mindfulness.
I love that! And Caverly loves that, too!
Caverly: I love that you brought in that people listening right now might have an experience of mindfulness. You can have an experience of mindfulness just by noticing that you're paying attention to the sound of our voices. Right here. Right now. These voices are happening in this moment.
And if you can do that, then you could do that for the rest of your day or all week, meaning you could use sound as an anchor of sorts.
I'm not asking you to focus on the sound that happened yesterday, and I'm not asking you to focus on the sound that's going to happen tomorrow. I'm asking you to focus on the sounds around you right now. That can help bring the attention to the present moment.
Matthew: This is the perfect time for me to share a question one of our listeners submitted. Owen in Maryland submitted this question and I feel like it gives all of us the perfect opportunity to do a self-check.
Owen: A question I have about mindfulness is… What completely is being mindful? What are some things that are mindful? Am I being mindful right now or am I not?
Caverly: Oh, and that is such a sensitive and beautiful question. I'm so glad that you asked it. You know, just that you were aware enough to say, am I being mindful right now? Shows a level of mindfulness, right? Like you're, you're paying attention to your experience in this moment. Some people think mindfulness means sitting on a meditation cushion. It doesn't at all.
You might sit on a meditation cushion or meditate in a chair, but mindfulness is also paying attention to whatever experience you're having in this moment. And so that you're saying to me, “Am I being mindful right now?” suggests that absolutely you are. You're paying attention to your experience right now.
You're being aware of the fact that you're aware.
Matthew: Being aware actually also has a lot to do with how Caverly became involved in A Kids Book About!
Caverly: I was flying across the country and there was an empty seat on the plane. Someone was sitting in my seat. So I just said to myself, well, rather than causing a ruckus, I'll just sit in this empty one here because it’s such an interesting person sitting right next to me. If I choose that one, that person ended up being the author of A Kids Book About Belonging. And I adore that person. And I can see that you do too. You must've already interviewed, uh, Kevin, is that true?
Matthew: Okay. A quick word since I know this is a podcast and so you can’t see what I looked like when I was interviewing Caverly. Although I suspect you probably have a guess based on how she responded. Am I right?
Kevin Carroll is the author of A Kids Book About Belonging. He’s also the author of What’s Your Red Rubber Ball?, an outstanding book about play and finding your passion. Kevin is a very special person in Jelani Memory’s life. And Jelani Memory, as some of you may already be connecting, is the founder of A Kids Book About.
Of all the seats Caverly could have taken on that plane ride! What are the chances?
Caverly: So I just was blessed. I really was blessed. It was a wonderful experience of, of divine intervention. By the end of the flight, I had felt I had a new good friend and he told me I needed to know Jelani.
Matthew: Speaking of finding your passion, Caverly has been using mindfulness to serve and support teens in schools local to her.
Caverly: I created a nonprofit called Peace In Schools. And we bring mindfulness into the public schools here in Portland, Oregon, and soon beyond.
I've been passionate for a long time now about bringing the tools that have changed my life to young people. The most common thing people say to me when they hear about Peace In Schools, if they're an adult, is “I wish I had a mindfulness practice when I was young.”
So Peace In Schools brings mindfulness practice to young people. And now we bring practice to educators and others who work with young people as well. But in the beginning, it was just me creating this semester-long credited course in Portland, Oregon with the teens who were right there in front of me.
Matthew: I wonder if any of you listening have participated in Peace in Schools or have siblings that have participated. Write me and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
Before we go, Naya in Maryland asked a question that feels to me like a question for all of us. So, here’s Naya.
Naya: When you practice mindfulness what do you think about?
Matthew: Feel free to stop and consider that. Share your responses with a grownup if they’re nearby. Or a sibling. Or a friend. And when you’re ready, here’s one last message from Caverly.
Caverly: Our world would look very different if we all deeply valued each other's being and our own being. It's quite profound what we're doing when we come together to prioritize being present and mindful with each other. So thanks for being here.
Matthew: Thank you to Caverly Morgan, author of A Kids Book About Mindfulness, for joining us today. And thanks to our very special kid voices for helping make this episode what it is.
Georgia: My name is Georgia. I am 10 years old and I live in Ohio. My favorite thing is to watch movies.
Owen: Hi. My name is Owen. I am 9. And I’m from Maryland. I like to do art, draw, and sometimes color.
Priyanka: Hi. My name is Priyanka. I’m 10 years old and I live in New York State. My favorite thing is making crafts and tinkering with things.
Naya: Hi. My name is Naya and I am 12 years old. I live in Maryland. My favorite hobby is to draw animals.
Nico: My name is Nico. I am 7 years old and I live in Maryland. My favorite thing to do is throw balls into basketball hoops.
Matthew: Thank you, Georgia, Owen, Priyanka, Naya, and Nico! If you want to be on a future episode of A Kids Book About: The Podcast or if you have a question you’d like us to consider, have a grownup email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you the details.
A Kids Book About: the Podcast is written, edited, and produced by me, Matthew Winner, with help from Chad Michael Snavely and the team at Sound On Studios. Our executive producer is Jelani Memory. And this show was brought to you by A Kids Podcast About.
Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and wherever podcasts are found, and if you liked this episode, consider sharing it with a friend, teacher, or grownup. We love when you rate and review the show. We also love hearing from you!
Join us next week for a conversation about Change with A Kids Book About author David Kim.