Together, Awakening Joy and Awakening Joy for Kids offer a hands-on guide for grown-ups to nourish themselves and raise mindful, happy children.
The principles of these teachings and exercises are universal, although much of the material includes Buddhist philosophy drawn from the Baraz’s thirty years as a meditation teacher and spiritual counselor. They share a simple yet powerful message of hope grounded in the realization that joy already exists inside every one of us—it only needs to be recognized, embraced, and nurtured in order to grow to its full potential.
James Baraz has been a meditation teacher since 1978. In 2003 he created the Awakening Joy course, which he has taught at the Omega Institute, Esalen Institute, and other venues across the United States and abroad. He is co-founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Canter in Woodacre, California, where he started the Family Program and author, with Shoshana Alexander, of Awakening Joy, the book based on the course. He is an advisor the One Earth Sangha a forum devoted to wise responses to climate change. Earlier in his life, James was an elementary school teacher for 12 years mostly in Astoria, Queens. James lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, Jane. He has two sons and three grandchildren.
Michele Lilyanna has taught in the public education system for the past 25 years, although all of her principals have described her as “out of the box” and out of the building with her students! For most of that time her focus has been social and emotional learning. When Michele is not teaching parents, educators, or children, you will find her awakening joy on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia with her partner Peter and her two sons.
Shoshana Tembeck Alexander has studied Buddhism since the early 1970s and is the author of In Praise of Single Parents and Women’s Ventures, Women’s Visions. She has guided the work of several prominent Buddhist authors, including Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, and Wes Nisker. She lives in Ashland, Oregon.
Buddhist teachings and meditation offer a roadmap to help college students and others in early adulthood incorporate mindfulness into their lives as a means of facing the myriad struggles unique to this stage of life.