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I am a mother of two young adult men. I started this work in 2005 when I was seeking a better way to relate to myself and the people around me. I could be so easily triggered and when presented with conflict ran the other way. I didn’t know how to wholly nurture myself while parenting two young boys as well as teach in the public school system. I wanted to bring peace and ease into my classroom. For support, I learned about Compassionate Communication or NVC.
This took me on a 12 year journey and along the way I studied mindfulness, yoga, social emotional learning, self regulation and as much as I could about the brain. I wanted to take all I learned and offer it to my own children and the children I had been teaching. Social emotional learning was beginning to grow in the curriculum but there were limited resources. I studied more and gathered resources and then I designed my own lessons.
I threw out the ones that didn’t work and kept teaching the ones that did. Parents were happy as they found their children bringing home skills to self regulate and joyful practices they could use at home. I began writing for Dr. Rick Hanson and soon co-wrote a parent and teaching book with James Baraz, one of the founding teachers of Spirit Rock Meditation center in California. This book has gone on to win the Nautus Gold award for Parenting 2016. I retired from public educatoin this year to take my work out into the world and already have exciting sessions set up globally. I want to offer classes locally to the parents here on the Coast. I want to share this potential with you.
Introduction to Awakening Joy for KidsAre you interested in bringing some stillness into your busy family life? You are invited to a series of four sessions.
Michele will teach child-friendly relaxation practices to children and their families that they can then practice together at home. Activities include photos, games, songs, stories, art activities and everyday mindful awareness practices. Mindful relaxation can help to reduce stress, provide tools for responding to strong feelings such as worry, anger, fear & frustration as well as to support connection in todays often-hectic households. Families will also learn about how our brain works and how keeping it in mind can support connection in challenging times. We will touch on each of them with practices and lessons that you can easily take back into your homes.
Mindfulness- Cultiviating self control and self regulation
Listening : Active listening skills will be reviewed highlighting the importance of learning how to place our attention fully on the child. As parents and caregivers we can learn to respond (versus react) with empathy and compassion. In turn, our children can learn to respond with the same traits, which are the keystones of a mindful life.
Loving ourselves- Learn to love yourself in the messiness of parenting and support your child as they walk in the world
Loving others- Ways to foster a caring heart
Compassion- How to teach yourself and your child self compassion
These techniques allow parents to step out of reactive patterns and move into a place of skillful responses that can enhance the child/parent relationship during unplanned and stressful moments.
Active listening skills will be reviewed highlighting the importance of learning how to place our attention fully on the child. As parents and caregivers we can learn to respond (versus react) with empathy and compassion. In turn, our children can learn to respond with the same traits, which are the keystones of a mindful life.
NonViolent Communication, Marshall Rosenberg
The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown
Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
Rising Strong, Brene Brown
Wisdom Jesus, Cynthia Bourgeault
From Fear to Fearlessness, Pema Chodron
The Wisdom of No Escape, Pema Chodron
The Whole-Brain Child, Siegel/Bryson
The Wisdom of the Enneagram, Riso/Hudson
Parenting Without Power Stuggles, Stiffelman
Bring Me the Rhinoceros, John Tarrant
Awakening Joy for Kids, James Baraz and Michele Lilyanna
Listen, Patty Wipfler founder Hand in Hand Parenting
* Reviews by experts
“Awakening Joy for Kids is an extraordinary gift for parents, teachers, and most especially for our children. James Baraz and Michele Lilyanna offer simple yet powerful teachings, which have the potential to transform our individual and collective lives. I highly recommend this book!”
—Shauna Shapiro PhD, Mindful Discipline and The Art and Science of Mindfulness
“This is a magical book. Like the Nutra-Grow we put on our plants to help them bloom, these practices really make Joy and Wisdom grow! What a wonderful nurturance for our children. “
—Jack Kornfield, PhD, The Wise Heart
“This beautiful book goes straight to the heart, so rich with simple, powerful, practical things that children and adults can do to grow real and lasting resilience, compassion, and joy inside themselves.”—Rick Hanson, PhD, Hardwiring Happiness and Just One Thing
“Awakening Joy For Kids is a treasure trove filled with creative, wise, accessible, and engaging practices, that’ll nourish you and the children in your life. Don’t wait; start practicing now!”
—Dawn Scott, Family Program Coordinator, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, California
“Chock full of easy and practical suggestions for finding joy — and peace! — as a teacher or parent, for helping children develop the skills they need for their own happiness. James Baraz is one the most important and inspirational happiness teachers alive today; if you have children or work with them, don’t miss this terrific collaboration with master teacher Michele Lilyanna.”— Christine Carter, PhD, Raising Happiness and The Sweet Spot, Senior Fellow, Greater Good Science Center
“The lessons throughout Awakening Joy for Kids are timely as well as timeless. Knowing what brings true happiness, ease, and well-being is an important wisdom to be passed on to next generations. Awakening Joy for Kids has gifted parents and educators with a fun and accessible guide to teach our kids the social and emotion skills they need to live fuller, well-rounded lives. “—Kate Munding, Founder of Heart-Mind Education, creating mindfulness training for teachers
“Awakening Joy for Kids is the new ‘go-to’ resource to help parents and teachers help children manage fears and worries and develop a deep inner wellspring of well-being. These lessons are fun, playful, practical, and easily adaptable for home and school. Well-organized and beautifully illustrated, Awakening Joy for Kids is ‘kid-tested,’ reader friendly, and life-changing. Highly recommended.”—Linda Graham, MFT, Bouncing Back
“At once inspiring, practical, doable, and fun, Awakening Joy for Kids is for children and adults alike, making quality-of-life the highest priority. This book supports the development of the whole human being and is a much-needed addition to our curriculum for educating children in this world.”—Robert Gonzales, PhD, Co-Founder of the Nonviolent Training Institute, Past President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Nonviolent Communication
“Weaving together the discoveries of contemporary science with the real needs of children in classrooms and beyond, the authors have gifted adults everywhere a treasured resource. Central to the message is that all human beings have light, and we adults have a profoundly important role in ensuring we nurture an awakening of joy so that each child can grow and be all they were intended to be. I love this book!”—Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, Discipline Without Damage
“Fresh. Friendly. Fantastic. Finally. In this era of testing and achievement, Michele and James give delightfully practical form and direction to educators, parents, and all of us humans who care about equipping our children (and ourselves) to lead joyful, resilient lives. Simple and profound, Awakening Joy for Kids is an inoculation against the maladies of fear and hopelessness that come when we lose track of our inherent playfulness, creativity, and wisdom. An easy, accessible reference that I will generously recommend.”—Ann McKnight, LMSW, ACSW, TEDx talk on Restorative Circles