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A Talk with Kidada Jones, author of SCHOOL OF AWAKE

By Kidada Jones

Article Image Kidada Jones, author of School of Awake has worked as a model, designer, stylist, and brand consultant. Kidada found her unique style at a young age, mixing the whimsical and contemporary to create her trademark aesthetic. Through it all, she has remained a spiritual seeker, and this book is the culmination of her journeys, presenting deep wisdom through an inviting, open combination of words and art. Kidada lives in California and you can find out more about her work with the book at www.schoolofawake.com.

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What is the main thing you would like School of Awake readers to take away from the book?

School of Awake is really an invitation to the best parts of ourselves. I want our readers to discover and understand that there are fun, engaging ways to get to know yourself better and build confidence. The art, activities, and fill-in-the-blanks encourage self-care and self-respect.

What is your favorite activity in the book and why?

My favorite activity is the wish jar. I don’t know any girl who does not have wishes in her heart and I feel that everyone loves to believe and hold on to a wish that’s special! Creating and having a special place to keep your private wishes helps keep them alive in a fun and cute way.

What is the top thing you would like to share with the audience about navigating ones emotional and spiritual world?

Breathing is key. Breathing is the most important thing we can learn how to do so we can get and stay anchored and rooted in the present moment. Breathing is the starting point that grounds us. Once we are present we can analyze our feelings in a more rational way and make choices from a non-reactionary space. Emotions are so powerful and blinding at times, especially for girls, that it can be hard to separate reality from your feelings. So I would say that the most important takeaway in the book for navigating emotions is breathing, becoming present, and feeling your physical body. From that point, you can be the witness to your thoughts and not identify so strongly with an image of who you think you are. 

In School of Awake we refer to this as a Super Power because it’s very difficult for a teen girl to not identify with her looks and physical environment. We all have a critical voice inside of our heads and I hope to help young girls begin to realize that the voice is not always kind nor is it our true nature. It’s important for them to learn this, and it’s not something that is taught in regular schools!  Making sure that you are being kind to yourself and that your self talk is loving and encouraging like you would speak to a friend is important and it is being present that brings that dimension of awareness into our lives.

Not one of the activities in the book involve social media – why is that?

We are all so engaged in social media. But when you are learning something new,  at least for me, if I engage all my senses in a new experience it’s likely to have a greater impact, and when you’re on social media, you’re not using all your senses to take in what’s going on in the moment. I grew up in the 80s and had a fun childhood filled with arts and crafts, activities that you can’t do on social media! I wanted to bring a little of that back so girls can feel like they can have fun without the phone, at least for a bit. The activities in the book are an investment into yourself and I feel girls benefit from discovering active ways to provide self care. It’s also fun to do these activities in a group and interact with your friends because a lot of that is lost when we all have our phones out.

What is the HeartStar you talk about and why is it so important?

The HeartStar is the way School of Awake refers to our inner guidance. It’s a name we use for the little voice that we all have inside. Our intuitive self… That gut feeling we sometimes ignore. The HeartStar is important because when we ignore or suppress that voice out of fear or pressure from others we are moving away from who we truly are and the things that touch our hearts and matter to us. The book really encourages girls to stay connected to that space — that part of themselves, the truest part — so the choices we make are heart-centered and self-nurturing.

What is conscious breathing and what are its benefits?

In School of Awake we have an activity called Bubble Gum Chill that teaches girls how to breathe in on a count of 5 and exhale for a count of 5 while blowing a bubble with bubble gum. This makes it fun to learn to pay attention to your breaths. Conscious breathing not only calms our nervous systems but it allows us to become present. Being present allows us to make better choices from a space of awareness, not only of ourselves but others as well.

You talk about authentic power – can you explain that a bit more?

When School of Awake refers to authentic power, it’s referring to the power that is not material. Your kindness, your honestly, your gratitude, your courage, your strength of character. These are the elements that make up what the book describes as authentic power.

School of Awake is talking about the power no one can take away from us, which is our inner power, our authentic power. We often forget to tap into this, and the book helps readers remember how strong they are and teaches them to find that power whenever they need to.

What do School of Awake students stand to benefit from being in nature?

Everything. Nature is a great teacher. Nature not only gives us oxygen and sun and good health but nature also shows us that we can be resilient and handle change. By observing nature and seasons I have learned to be more grateful, more adaptable and flexible through transitional times. Nothing in nature stays the same and I think that also applies to our lives as well.

Words are so powerful. What questions do you suggest your readers ask themselves before speaking?

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it uplifting to yourself and others? We are careful of what we eat and put in our bodies and we should be just as mindful of the words we use towards ourselves and towards others.

Bullying is so pervasive – how do you address it?

I only had 1 or 2 bully experiences in school when I was younger. Building confidence allowed me to have a thick skin and not be too effected but I did not have to deal with the pressures of social media. I know bullying is very serious matter these days, and the book treads lightly on this subject. School of Awake deals more with peer pressure and feeling left out. Sometimes girls get mean in groups. We have all had that experience. We tried to provide ways to not allow typical girl drama take over a girl’s life and it’s a fine line, but there is a big difference between not feeling accepted and feeling insecure to actually being physically or verbally assaulted. That level of bullying is something school officials and parents have to sternly address with a zero tolerance policy.