We spoke with Sara Marlowe, author, counselor, educator, and lover of the little things. Her children’s book “No Ordinary Apple” is set for release June 2013, and will inspire kids to discover the power of mindfulness. We found out how she handles a picky eater, why we might recognize the famous birdies in her book, and why she’s chosen her wedding venue for her book launch.
What does mindfulness mean to you?
For me, mindfulness means stillness, deep acceptance and connection. We get so busy that we often end up disconnected from our family, friends, and ourselves. Mindfulness is a way for me to come back to myself – to not be so caught up in the day-to-day stresses of life and to remember what is most important. Mindfulness practice supports me to live more of the life I want for myself and my family… and actually show up for it!
Who needs to read “No Ordinary Apple”?
Everybody! For kids, it’s a fun way to practice developing attention. For adults, it’s a playful way to come back to our childhood’s ‘beginner’s mind.’ No Ordinary Apple supports an appreciation of food and offers a concrete way to live in the moment.
What does it mean to NOT eat mindfully?
Hippocrates stated, “Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Our society has moved away from this deep appreciation of food as the foundation of healthy living. Instead, there’s a focus on how ‘fast’ we can consume our food so we can ‘get on with life.’ Multi-tasking ie. – eating while working, driving, watching TV, etc. are all ways that distract us from noticing, tasting, appreciating and easily digesting our food (I should put down my sandwich as I write this!). It’s sad, because food can be oh so yummy and so much of the time we are missing out on the sensual experience of eating. Food has also become a major profit-driven industry. Nowadays, so much of the stuff that is sold as ‘food’ really has no place in our bodies at all! Perhaps eating mindfully will support a shift in priorities to producing and consuming more wholsesome and sustainable food.
We love the cover of the book. Who is your illustrator?
How are you celebrating your book release?
A book launch/party at the Gladstone Hotel. I have a soft spot for the Gladstone – it’s where I got married. Lots of great vibes there, and part of why we chose it was the yummy, locally-sourced food.
There are so many varieties of apple. Which is your favourite? And why?
Ambrosia is THE favorite of apples in our household. They are so refreshingly floral – like a little nibble of apple blossoms in every bite.
What’s your favourite way to eat an apple?
While doing nothing else – or while hanging out at a park with my son and partner.
Are there any foods your son refuses to eat?
Depends on the week. Currently, he refuses to eat carrots but he will eat ‘hippity-hops’. No to cucumbers but yes to ‘squirley whirleys’, no to tortellini, but yes ‘magic circles’ – you get the idea! (It’s all marketing to us!)
What’s the best parenting advice you’ve received?
Our pediatrician once told us not to make judgments about how our son is eating on a daily basis, but rather average out his eating over the week. That advice greatly reduced our worry about our son’s eating habits.
Who is your hero?
Michael White has been a hero of mine since I was introduced to narrative therapy about 10 years ago. Sadly, he passed away a few years back, but his work continues to shape contemporary therapy practice. He made a dramatic step away from focusing on ‘problems’ and ‘labels’ in therapy and instead focused on ‘people as people’ who are facing and taking a stand against ‘problems’ in their lives. This view opens up space for people’s skills, abilities, talents, hopes, dreams and values for living to come to the fore. Narrative therapy is becoming increasingly utilized and research is finding it to be an effective approach for supporting people to move towards living the lives they prefer for themselves and their families. It is also a great fit with Mindfulness practice – but that’s another story!
How do you de-stress?
‘Jalan, jalan’ which means, “walking, walking” in Bahasa – the national language of Indonesia. I learned that phrase while visiting my brother and his family there. It perfectly captures the idea of just walking around with no place to go, no agenda, simply walking and letting what will be, be, even if just for a step or two.
What’s the next thing you want to cross off your bucket list?
A photography show – I adore taking pictures. For me, photography is another way of being in the moment – of being open to possibilities, taking risks and letting go of what may (or may not) emerge. I’ll get to cross that off September 21st, 2013 with my first official show with fellow traveler M. Lee Freedman called “This Being Human…” – images inspired by the poetry of Rumi. (see upcoming events for details).