Smiling and breathing techniques have existed for thousands of years, and in Six Healing Sounds with Lisa and Ted author and illustrator Lisa Spillane, writes about them simply and realistically. “I’m going to blow all my worries out of my stomach…whooooooo.” What a fun and easy way to experience Qigong, an ancient Chinese practice of aligning breath to cleanse stress from our bodies. These stories let children know that emotions are natural; the vignettes featuring kids named Lisa and Ted demonstrate situations and their commensurate healing techniques to help overcome bad feelings and let happiness flow.
Simply looking at the vibrantly colored pages of this book will begin the process. A strawberry-red background shows Lisa’s Happy Heart. But later, when she feels angry at her little brother, Ted, she thinks, “When I’m running in a race my heart beats fast and it feels good but when I’m mean to Ted and my heart goes ‘bumpety, bump…bumpety bump’ I feel bad.” She knows she can help herself feel better, so she takes a deep breath through her nose, breathes in oxygen rich air and thinks of love. As she exhales, she makes a “haaaww” sound and imagines “…love, glowing red like a summer strawberry.” She tells her brother she is sorry and both of them feel better.
In alternating segments, Lisa and Ted find that other healing sounds are just as easy and successful: Ted’s stomach is usually friendly. “He imagines it smiling and glowing with a warm yellow light, like a pot of honey with the sun shining on it.” But when he worries about going to a new school, he does his special breathing and makes the sound “whooooooo.” It helps him relax and enjoy making new friends in class.
Spillane has a master’s degree in Education and learned meditation from attending classes taught by Grandmaster Mantak Chia. Her note at the beginning of this inspiring book explains the powerful practices that activate “the body’s own healing systems.” It is not the aim of the book to get rid of all negative emotions—“we know that some fear or anger can be beneficial.” Instead, the lessons help children “to live more harmoniously by being better connected to themselves, to others and to the beauty of the world.”
Adults can benefit as they read along with young ones. What a wonderful way to have a better outlook on life, reduce stress, and experience more happiness, together!
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