Smith is best known as Florida singer Shana Banana, a guitar-toting, ABC-wielding nature mom, but she is also a marine biologist-yogi who co-directs the Gainesville Retreat Center with her husband, Dan Smith. In the introduction of her new book, Meditation for Moms and Dads: 108 Tips for Mindful Parents and Caregivers, Smith stressed that while mindfulness, achieved through meditation, can help us "fulfill our ultimate job as parents and effect compassion, peace and loving kindness,'' meditation and spiritual focus "just don't synch" at times when you are caught up in what she calls "the householder scenario.''
We talked with Smith by phone from her home office in Gainesville, where she lives with Dan and their children, Grace and Ben. On Nov. 12, as a featured author at the Times Festival of Reading, Smith will discuss her book and interact with readers as they consider mindfulness in their daily lives.
What's on your nightstand?
It's a huge stack. I'm actively reading Dinner With Buddha by Roland Merullo. I already did Breakfast With Buddha and Lunch With Buddha.
How has the writing changed, if it has?
In the first couple books, the guru in the book, the great teacher, the physical reputation of consciousness was pretty much perfect. He always did everything right. You read and learn from him. What's happening in Dinner is that there are definitely signs that the real world is also affecting the teacher. This is a fascinating take. I can't wait to see how he uses his meditation practice to deal with very serious real-life issues.
Can you give me the one on the stack that you really can't wait to get to?
Yikes. I think when Dinner is done, I'm going to go ahead and dive into Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and The Secret Sharer. I'm being pulled now towards doing another book, and I'm starting to collect information and ideas and getting it all gestating, and it's calling me to give a perspective that I want to incorporate that I'm not seasoned in. That is to go deep. I mean, I've been Shana Banana for 25 years. I'm very aware of this as a parent. The world is a piece of work, and there's work to be done. It's part of our duty in this life to take care of things as they are. We tend to not just look at blunt reality, and I, a professional positive thinker, well, I need to be willing to go into the darkness.
(The nightstand also includes) Walden by Henry David Thoreau, The Creek by J.T. Glisson and Voice of the River by Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Florida and our dwindling ecosystem is near and dear to my heart. My focus now is integrating my ecology-biology background with my committed meditation practice to go deep into the darkness of what's happening right here in our back yard and everywhere.
Contact Piper Castillo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @Florida_PBJC.