Friday, March 30, 2012

Countdown to Publication-3 DAYS: Booklist says, "This gentle book is full of surprises..."

THREE DAYS until blast off and advanced reviews are starting to come in. Here's part of the review from Booklist:

“Based on lessons learned from her own experiences, Jenkins, a blogger who spent more than eight years in South Korea, encourages readers to think for themselves, even as she acknowledges the significance of being inspired by others. In 10 concisely written chapters, she recommends lessons from letting go of expectations and trusting your inner voice to learning how to be happy alone…This gentle book is full of surprises…Part memoir, part spiritual journey, this (book) is written in an accessible and conversational style that should appeal to a wide range of readers…”—Booklist

This review will come out on April 15th , but I received it early from my publicist.

Thanks everyone for sending me photos of the book! All of you are so creative. Above is a photo from my friend Kate who is an actress in NYC and also works in an exotic pet store. This one was taken by the fish tank!

I don't know how I'll decide on a winner and prize for this photo contest. Ideas?

Anyway, with only three days left, I feel like I should do something book-related. But I have no idea what to do, so I think I'll go organize my kitchen cabinets! Perhaps I need a bit of a break.

Oh, and don't worry if you can't make a book tour event! I'm bringing you all along with me on this blog! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Countdown to Publication-Week 1: Why Not Grow Some Happy Kids?

Maureen Healy, author of Growing Happy Kids, shares my publication date. Even though both of our books officially launch on April 3rd, the books are already in stock in many locations! Four mere days until we both "officially" launch our books out into the world! So I thought, why not share this space with an author who has some wonderful tips on "growing happy kids." So here she is to share her work. Enjoy!

Raising Self-Confident and Spiritually Aware Kids: 3 Tips for Today

Just yesterday, I worked with an eight-year old client named Ava. She is highly creative and intelligent yet also struggles with her self-confidence. So I asked her, “Would you like to paint today?” and she replied, “I am not sure if I can do it.” Of course, this is a clear sign that she continues to need help building her sense of outer to inner confidence. Since I also know her family as a spiritual but not religious one --- I took the approach of cultivating confidence from a spiritual perspective.

Instilling Self-Confidence Spiritually

So how do I spark self-confidence at a deeper level in children? I must be honest this isn’t a simple question or answer. In my upcoming book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness, I present a model called The Five Building Blocks of Confidence that explains in everyday language how any adult can foster a stronger type of confidence in their children. But here I want to emphasis that children begin looking outside of themselves for validation (grades, acknowledgement from parents, and trophy’s) and the process of spiritual self-confidence is helping them go inward.

In other words, adults that nurture in children on a consistent basis that within them is a power, capability and greatness to overcome any obstacles is teaching inner confidence. It is this power within that from a spiritual perspective that is your divinity. You may call it God, Spirit, Christ-consciousness, Shiva, the Buddha Seed or Jehovah – the name doesn’t matter but the idea that there is an infinite intelligence that is in and around our lives that can help us is a powerful teaching for kids.

So I explained this idea to Ava and she immediately brightened up. She said, “You mean I have God within me?” And I said, “Yes. There is a power in you that can help you succeed no matter what is happening in the outer world.” Interestingly enough, she was also then willing and more optimistic about painting.

Inner Confidence: 3 Tips for Today

Nurturing in your children that sense of healthy self-confidence from a spiritual perspective and awareness of their divine nature is conscious child-rearing. Some ideas to help you on your way are:

  • Daily Dose of Spiritual Confidence (Take one everyday like a vitamin!): Just like a gummy vitamin that we give our children daily, we need to nurture in them the belief that they have all the power, greatness and capability in them every day. This may be an affirmation, song, prayer, meditation or something unique to your family or culture --- the point is it needs to be done consistently and not sporadically for best results.
  • Get Inspired Together: By becoming genuinely inspired by life and seeing that the creative force that made the daffodils come up early, and butterfly’s emerge from their cocoons is the same powerful force inside of us – this sparks self-confidence in kids. So enjoy getting inspired together whether it is musically, going into nature or something else but remember to reinforce the idea that that same greatness is in you, me and all of us.
  • Give More: Once children “see” how powerful they are – the path to inner confidence becomes easier and more possible. Lizzie, my neighbor, set-up a lemonade stand on a hot day this week and used all of her earnings ($55) to give to the local humane society that has 19 bunny rabbits in their care and they need help with them. She was so happy to drop the money off, see the bunnies and know they’ll be taken care of till they are adopted.

Maureen Healy is an emotional health expert with more than 20 years of global experience fostering children’s happiness. Her new book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness, is available wherever books are sold. More info:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Countdown to Publication-Week 2: Publishers Weekly Calls Lessons from the Monk I Married "a gentle, earnest book."

I'm in Santa Barbara. Well, Goleta actually. I ran away on vacation. I needed some downtime from all the activity in my life. I also came to escape the thunder, lightening, hail, sleet, snow, clouds and rain we've been having in Washington. Plus, my parents are here and they extended the invitation. How could I refuse?

I'm trying to take in the moments while I am here, as I know very well that THIS moment is the most important one and the only one we ever really have. As much as I know that, it's easy to forget when there are 100 things going on.

I'm trying not to get too overly excited, but my very first book has shipped out to customers not only in North America, but worldwide! People in Australia, France, England, Spain and other countries have let me know that they've ordered the book. The book released several weeks early, so they'll be getting those books soon!

It feels like thousands of pieces of myself have just launched into the world and they are expanding out in all different directions. One part of me wants to hide under a rock and the other part of me wants to watch it all unfold.

I just received my first big book review from Publishers Weekly. I was scared to read the review. I think every writer has a bit of fear about how the world will perceive what they have written, especially if the writing is very personal.

But PW had very good things to say! They called Lessons from the Monk I Married "a gentle, earnest book" and my writing, according to PW, is "graceful and direct." You can read the entire review here:

I hope to see many of you on my book tour coming soon in April. See the side bar on this blog for details. Also, if you ordered the book, please send me photos of you with the book. I'm running a contest for the best photo. I haven't decided what the prize should be. Any ideas?

You can send the photos to my Facebook fan page. And if you get your copy of the book in the next few days, please let me know! And thank you so very much for following me on this journey, sharing this blog and my book with friends and for being here!

More soon,

Friday, March 9, 2012

Countdown to Publication-Week 3: The Book Arrived in the Mail TODAY!

On Monday, my publicist e-mailed me to let me know that she was holding a copy of my book in her hands! She said, "It's beautiful" and let me know that she'd be mailing off a copy that day. Well, as you know from the previous post, patience isn't my strong point. So what did I do? I checked the mailbox....everyday. It didn't arrive until Friday. Here's a little video of that experience:

Unlike a baby, a book comes in the mail or from a bookstore (although those might have been stories children were told about how they came into to this world as the stork story). Mine came in the mail way ahead of the April 3rd pub. date! Which means that if you ordered a copy of my book online, you might be getting your book(s) sooner rather than later! Hooray!

To write a book is one thing, but to hold the finished product in your hands is sort of indescribable and a bit surreal. It certainly made my day! Thanks to all of you who have purchased a copy and I hope you get yours soon!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Countdown to Publication-Week 4: Patience is What I Really Need

Twenty some years experience with meditation has surely taught me about patience, right? Yet I still find it one of my biggest challenges. If anything, it's helped me to witness the impatience within me. Every little thing helps! I've especially been feeling impatient (or more a mixture of restless, scared and excited all rolled into one) about the pub. date of my book that is coming in four short weeks! While meditation has certainly been helpful, I find it also helpful to surround myself with books and people who shed an enormous light on what I need at any given time in my life. Sometimes these books and people uncannily appear at the exact moment I need them to appear. Allan Lokos's book, Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living, was like that. I highly recommend his book for anyone who has struggled with being patient, whether with kids, family, co-workers or life situations, or for anyone who could just use a little more patience in their lives. I was so fortunate to be able to interview Allan on the subject of his most recent book. Here he is to talk about patience:

1. What made you decide to write a book on patience?

I've known for a long time that I wanted to write about patience. I have been teaching about patience for several years and the response always indicates that people are concerned about their impatience and want to do something about it. It happened that my editor and publisher at Tarcher/Penguin had been thinking about doing a book about patience just when I presented the idea so the timing was perfect. The actual moment of propagation was one evening when a dear friend said, "Just about every mistake I have ever made and every unkind word I have ever spoken might have been avoided if I had been more patient." I realized the same was true for me and I sat down at the computer and started writing.

2. Have you always been a patient person, or did you learn about patience over time? Please describe your journey to patience.

No, I was raised in a difficult and rather harsh environment where patience was rarely evident. The practice of meditation, which I began almost twenty years ago, was the key to my learning about, and practicing greater patience.

4. In your chapter on Patience with the Self, you write about how anger or irritability with ourselves can lead to impatience. How can we learn to be more patient with ourselves and others the moment anger or irritability arises?

For me the vehicle has been meditation because we learn to become aware (mindful) as thoughts, feelings, and sensations arise within us. As we practice we see that these phenomena, and all phenomena that arise, will always die away if we let them do so, meaning if we don't cling to them they pass. As we learn about the true nature of things, which Buddhists call wisdom, we see that we don't have to react to every thought or emotion that arises. We can allow a pause during which we observe what is going on and in that pause patience has an opportunity to arise.

5. Anticipation can also cause impatience. Currently I'm in the process of getting a book published. This is all new for me and all the details of what needs to get done often seem overwhelming. I'm scared and excited at the same time. I'm sure others feel this way before weddings, the birth of a child and before buying a new house or getting a new job. What are some ways to bring patience into our lives in the midst of big, life-changing events?

Some big events are indeed life-changing although, in my experience, not as many as we might think. Whether a book enjoys great success or not it changes very little in one's life. It certainly doesn't change who we are. The birth of a child will likely cause changes in a family's dynamic but a second child usually causes little change. Again, when we understand that patience and impatience are feelings we see that we don't have to get carried away by every feeling that arises. The feeling is going to pass away because it is its nature to do so. Seeing this can allow room to simply be with the joy of our approaching publication date, the birth of a child, or our up-and-coming wedding. Sure, there can be lots to do but why not enjoy the preparations for these wonderful life experiences?

6. I know many people these days feel stress. It seems like life is moving much faster than it ever did before. Perhaps this has to do with how we are able to connect to the world through technology. We can get worldwide news instantaneously and can communicate with anyone anywhere at anytime. What can people do to bring more patience into their lives when they feel overwhelmed at work or at home?

Yes, things are happening faster and our technological devices seem to become more incredible every day. The important point is that all this technology is being experienced by human beings whose core needs and desires are the same as they were thousands of years ago. Five hundred years before the Common Era the Buddha taught about suffering, stress, and unhappiness. There were no computers, smartphones, or jet planes back then but sentient beings experienced the same emotions we feel today.

Bringing more patience into ones life requires allowing the spaciousness for patience to arise. That means learning to become aware of when impatience is arising and realizing that patience is an essential quality in the development of enduring happiness. Then, as intelligent beings we look to make intelligent decisions. There are no shortcuts. It takes patience to develop patience.

7. Many of my friends tell me that raising children tests their patience more than anything else. How can parents learn to have more patience with their children?

Friends of mine have a pillow embroidered with the words, "Insanity is inherited. You get it from your children." The only thought I might add is to never lose sight of how much you love the child you have brought into the world. That can be enormously challenging at times but when things get rough, it might be all you have. I was a single father raising a daughter in New York City. Once I learned to deal with drugs, sex, and crime things got easier.

8. In this fast pace world, so many people are struggling to have their opinions and ideas heard. How can patience allow us to become better listeners and help us effectively communicate with others?

My research revealed that the single greatest cause of impatience was when a person feels (s)he is not being heard. Realize that, like you, the other person wants to be heard. Observe your mind when you are listening. Are you truly listening or are you busy preparing a response? Has the agree/disagree mind kicked in? A person with real listening skills is rare and admired for their patience and wisdom.

9. What is the greatest lesson you have learned in bringing more patience into your life?

I'm happier; life is more joyful; things flow more easily.

10. Thank you for answering my interview questions. Is there anymore information you would like to add?

When we become impatient we tend to look outside of ourselves at what we think is causing our impatience. Your impatience can only exist within you. Look within to make meaningful changes.

ALLAN LOKOS is the founder and guiding teacher of The Community Meditation Center in New York City. He is the author of Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living and Pocket Peace: Effective Practices for Enlightened Living. His writing has appeared in Tricycle magazine (for which he also led a month-long online retreat), The Huffington Post, Beliefnet, Back Stagenewspaper, and the anthology, Audacious Creativity. Among the many places he has taught are Columbia University Teachers College, Marymount College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, The Rubin Museum, New York Insight Meditation Center, The New York Open Center, Tibet House USA, and Insight Meditation Community of Washington. Allan has practiced meditation since the mid-nineties and studied with such renowned teachers as Sharon Salzberg, Thich Nhat Hanh, Joseph Goldstein, Andrew Olendzki, Stephen Batchelor, Larry Rosenberg, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. He has also attended a number of weeklong teachings with His Holiness, The Dalai Lama.