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First Aid Kit for the Mind: breaking the cycle of habitual behaviors

First Aid Kit for the Mind: breaking the cycle of habitual behaviors
Valerie Mason-John (Vimalasara)
Awaiting stock, will ship in 10 – 15 business days
178 x 112

Developed by a leading writer on addiction and recovery, keep this small book close for those moments when you need inspiration, guidance, and the courage to deal with your impulses skillfully. A workbook, a guide to reflection, and a prompt for greater embodied mindfulness – turn away from ‘stinking thinking’ to what is meaningful in your life and relationships. An illustrated, accessible guide to overcoming the habits that trap us.


Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John worked as an international correspondent covering Aboriginal deaths in custody, and interviewed Sinn Fein prisoners and ex rebels from the Sierra Leone war. Their work in the field of conflict transitioned into working with gangs, the incarcerated, bullies, and challenging behaviour. They trained in mindfulness and are a senior teacher in the Triratna Buddhist Community.

They are one of the founding facilitators of Dr Gabor Mate’s Compassionate Inquiry and also trained in Internal Family Systems. They have also completed short intensive training in Embodied Somatics, Breathworks, and Shamanism training. The award-winning author of ten books, including Detox Your Heart: Meditations for Emotional Trauma, Eight Step Recovery: Using The Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction, and more recently their shortlisted book for two Canadian Awards: I’m Still Your Negro: An Homage to James Baldwin. They work as an international public speaker in the field of mindfulness for trauma and addiction, and offer training in this field, and as an interviewer for the platform Wisdom for Life. Interviews have included Robert Thurman, Resmaa Menakem, Tarana Burke, Sharon Salzberg, Gabor Mate, Jack Kornfield, Ken Hardy, Luisah Teish, Carl Hart, Ruth King, and many others. Vimalasara has a private practice and lives in Canada with their partner. Visit Vimalasara’s personal website to learn more about their work.


"In this gem of a book Vimalasara distills eons of wisdom, many years of study and decades of deep personal experience. The result is an entertaining, succinct, and highly practical primer to help us get through the many challenging moments life has a way of throwing at us."
—Gabor Maté, MD, author of The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture

"Vimalasara’s First Aid Kit for the Mind is a user-friendly guide for meeting our minds with kindness and compassion even when we’re struggling the most. Their no-nonsense approach offers readers a chance for freedom from the myriad of habitual tendencies in which we often find ourselves stuck."
—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Life

"First Aid Kit for the Mind is a lovely and essential book. Lovely in its presentation, in its practical tips and personal stories; essential in looking in a kind and wise way at patterns and triggers. Valerie Mason-John is a wonderful teacher and friend on a journey to freedom and creativity."
—Martine Batchelor, meditation teacher and author of Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits

"First Aid Kit for the Mind is a remarkably concise guide to dealing with the most difficult mind/body states. Vimalasara has a gift for capturing the essence of the problem and giving us the exact help we need for healing. This is the most directly practical set of tools for dealing with addiction and underlying trauma I've ever read."
—Kevin Griffin, author of One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps and Living Kindness: Metta Practice for the Whole of Our Lives

"Every household needs this first aid kit! Vimalasara takes an unflinching look at where it hurts and offers essential supplies for healing. This book packs a lot of ancient wisdom into a small space, along with clear instructions that anyone can use. Only trustworthy, good stuff here. Highly recommended for life!"
—Christopher Germer, PhD, Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion

"Vimalasara's writing is a clearly and beautifully articulated set of practices to use the power of the mind, but not to be controlled or be seduced by it. She speaks through lineages and generations into the equanimity and balance of heart-mind-body, which will benefit all of us."
—Larry Yang, author of Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community

"As a clinician, educator, and trainer, this inspiring and insightful book left me in absolute awe of Mason-John’s wisdom and guidance as one of the premier social, cultural, and psychological healers of our time. I can’t imagine anyone reading this book, whether client, student, practitioner, or casual reader, without feeling a sense of personal empowerment, enhanced insight, and a renewed will to break cycles of harmful and habitual behaviors. This book is a must-read!"
—Kenneth V. Hardy, PhD, author of Racial Trauma: Clinical Strategies and Techniques for Healing Invisible Wounds and editor of The Enduring, Invisible, and Ubiquitous Centrality of Whiteness

"Vimalasara’s book is exactly the salve we need in this moment and time. In this work, Vimalasara allows us the opportunity to shift from overwhelming dread towards practices of healing and balance, creating more opportunities for accessing joy. Drawing from her ancestors and her compassionate way of being allows Vimalasara to offer strategies and tools that make this book accessible to everyone who is seeking to shift from ongoing stress or unwanted behaviors, to living more fully with the gifts life has to offer. You’ll want to check it out!"
—Fresh “Lev” White, diversity trainer, speaker, spiritual leader, contributor to Real World Mindfulness for Beginners; Transcending: Trans Buddhist Voices; Trans Bodies, Trans Selves; and Authentic Selves: Celebrating Trans and Nonbinary People and Their Families