Trina Vega, Native American (Pomo) Teacher and Healer
Native Feather Meditation [KIDS & ADULTS]
In the Native Tradition, children learned what "earning a feather" means. From earning one feather, children came to understand how a "War Bonnet" of many feathers was earned doing great things for the tribe. In this break-out group, Pomo healer Trina Vega will take children and parents through a five minute meditation to quiet the minds of participants. By achieving this meditation accomplishment, each child will earn a paper feather.
Children (and adults) can then decorate each feather simply, and display it on a string to record and honor the good deed of keeping their minds quiet for a brief time. Furthermore, Trina will underscore how children can use this experience of earning a feather when they are angry, sad, upset, needing to forgive, or just resting their mind. In this way, earning a feather is something that children can use to support the development of generosity and compassion throughout their lives.
Elyse April and Regina Sara Ryan, author and co-author of Stand Up! The Courage to Care
Stand Up! The Courage to Care: Anti-Bullying Improv Workshop [KIDS & ADULTS]
This creative and fun improv workshop addresses the serious issue of bullying. Using tools that younger children can appreciate (without premature appeals to adult-level intellectual understanding), this workshop offers impressions to encourage creativity, independence, and confidence, skills that can combat the susceptibility to peer pressure that can be so damaging to children. The playspace of improv offers a safe context for children and adults to act out the qualities of courage, discernment, and compassion.
Tammy Lelie Skinner, founder of 7 Floors to Balance®
7 Floors to Balance® [KIDS & ADULTS]
What if we lived in a world where all children knew not to identify with their feelings but rather that they “experienced” feelings and just as easy as it to experience them, it’s just as easy to let them go? What if bullies became non-existent because they were so empowered to channel their energy into an empathic way? What would the future look like if these children then become adults who have emotional resilience and coping mechanisms that keep them from having to rely on drugs or alcohol in order to “handle” life?
7 Floors to Balance® is an AMAZINGLY SIMPLE and perfected method teaching children how to recognize and manage their emotions while not identifying with their feelings as being a part of them but rather as something in their experience. The analogy of an elevator rising through different levels to get to the 7th floor of balance helps children understand that particular emotions result in them becoming “stuck” on certain floors in their own lives which culminates in the window of that floor acting as an emotional filter through which they view life. They then learn that it is just as easy to let them go in a healthy and not suppressive way. Each floor has a distinct “secret” for unblocking the floor and letting the elevator rise. The children learn to be a CAUSE (creator/leader) in their lives rather than an EFFECT (victim) to their environment. Results have been outstanding!
Theresa C. Dintino, Author, Diviner, Earth Worker
Creating and Tending to a Family Ancestor Shrine [KIDS & ADULTS]
Ancestor work is very important for family systems. Knowing and tending to the memories of our ancestors helps us remember where we came from and plant the seeds for those who will come after us. Embedding your children in this network of care helps them feel held in a wider community and a larger story. It is good and wise to honor those who came before us, for if it were not for them, we would not be here.
Setting up and tending to an ancestor shrine in your living space teaches your children to do the same. Honoring the cycles of life and keeping “alive” those who are no longer here in physical embodiment also gives them the strength and ability to cope with the transitions of birth and death they will surely one day face. In this workshop we will discuss varieties of ways to create and tend to an ancestor shrine together with your children. We will also create one together for the group who shows up, honoring all of our ancestors on this day.
Elyse April, Improv student of actor Alan Arkin, and author of Stand Up! The Courage to Care
Family Improv PlaySpace [KIDS 6-18 & ADULTS]
To improvise = to empower. This workshop is an invitation to parents and children (ages 6-18) to flex creative muscles and explore many avenues of communication (verbal and non-verbal) with one another. We will use theatre games and exercises to broaden our repertoire of skills in relationship, and to enjoy one another's company --- that is, to have fun!
As you play the games and improvise the skits, we’ll encourage you to be conscious of what part of you is being empowered; what is becoming re-animated and expressed. You will find it is not the “limited self” but the impartial, objective, unlimited witness that is one's true nobility and dignity, which is our inherent right as human beings. It is the hero/heroine within each of us.
These exercises were designed by Academy Award winning actor, Mr. Alan Arkin, and his wife Suzanne, and are presented nationally for actors and non-actors alike. Elyse April is a student of the Arkins and will extend this training into the domain of parents and children together. No acting training is necessary, just comfortable clothes and an open mind. Jump in!
Noris Binet, Artist, Dancer, Poet, Author, Bi-Lingual Sociologist
Dance and Movement for Unblocking Energy -
Stress Reduction and Deep Relaxation [KIDS 8+ & ADULTS]
This break-out group offers an experiential process of using energy unblocking techniques with guided and expressive movements. A variety of playful exercises stimulate our dormant capacity to be spontaneous and joyful. The process is fluid so each participant can find his or her personal path suited to one’s individual needs in this interactive workshop setting. The body is the sacred carriage to experience life totally and directly. We will explore our inherent capacity to embody everything that we are: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. With the rhythm of world music we will have an opportunity to tap into our own joy and balance. “Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.” - Rumi
Virginia Matthew, Dancer, Choreographer, and Rinzai Zen practitioner
Enacting Animal Teaching Stories from Spiritual Traditions [KIDS 7+ & ADULTS]
In this “playshop” children ages 7 and up will be introduced to one or more of the animal stories from different spiritual traditions that hold timeless wisdom and teachings for everyone, but especially in a form that children are drawn to. We will enact the story through movement and dialogue drawing on the innate creativity of children’s play.
Virginia Matthew, Rinzai Zen practitioner and Rob Schmidt, Ph.D., Festival founder and Tayu meditation practitioner
The Spiritual Child [ADULTS]
Every child is innately a spiritual child. By “spiritual” we mean a sense of a close personal relationship to God/Nature/the Universe, as a vital source of daily guidance. This sense can find expression with or without the context of a religious tradition. How do we nurture and support children to experience and deepen this sense of relationship with that which is larger than our day-to-day concerns? In what ways can children benefit from this? How do we discern and de-activate our own habits that undermine this capacity in children? As parents, grandparents and adult mentors, what tools are available to assist children this capacity for spirituality? To address these questions, we draw inspiration from our own decades-long spiritual practices, and from the recently published The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving, by Lisa Miller, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Education, and director of the Clinical Psychology program at Columbia University, Teachers College. Miller is also director of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute, and co-editor in chief of the American Psychological Association journal, Spirituality in Clinical Practice.
Swami Kriyananda Kanda (aka Dr. Calen Daniel), Yoga and Ayurveda Teacher
Family Yoga [KIDS & ADULTS]
When yoga is offered to a child, not as a task, but within a context of love, fun and playfulness, both adults and children benefit. This give and take can be an important avenue for children (and adults) to taste and develop self-discipline that is not self-denial. With encouragement from adult guides, and with those guides offering a sense of appreciation for the remarkable capacities and aptitudes of the body, children can manifest as natural yogis. Adults striving to bring the benefits of yoga into their own Body Temples can benefit from the example of natural, unforced engagement that children can have with their own bodies. In this break-out group yoga will be presented in this spirit to all members of the family.
Michael Changaris, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist & Zen Practitioner
Awake, Alive and Engaged [ALL AGES]
Life is a powerful and wild adventure. The family can be a base of strength for exploration, engagement and vitality. We discover who we are in connection with our family. In a family parents explore the uncharted landscape of their own heart and the life through their relationships with children. Children discover themselves through the interactions with their parents. Each moment in our life is fresh, new and alive. Nothing happens twice. This workshop explores through creation and play the ways to learn through challenges, heal wounds, discover life through the joys of others and lead an engaged awake life together.
Christopher King, Career Teacher, and Student & Presenter of Kabbalah
Children of Tomorrow: What the Wisdom of Kabbalah
Tells Us about Raising Happy Children [ADULTS]
Although its origins are rooted in deep antiquity, from the time of ancient Babylon, the wisdom of Kabbalah has remained virtually hidden from humanity since it appeared more than four thousand years ago. To this very day, only a few know what Kabbalah really is; that it provides us with a map of how the forces of a higher order are structured and the laws of nature by which we are influenced. Kabbalah provides us with answers to our most fundamental questions about the purpose of our existence and encourages us to look at nature to see how all systems are in complete balance. In today's society it is essential to translate this message to our children to give them the tools and awareness to thrive and make a positive contribution to a safe and sustainable global society. Please join us for an informative and interactive workshop as we introduce the core components of Kabbalah and apply it towards the development of the family unit and upbringing of children.
Christopher King, Career Teacher, and Student & Presenter of Kabbalah
Equalizing Big and Small: Uniting as One Family Heart [KIDS & ADULTS]
In this unique and interactive workshop, we flip the traditional roles of “adult” and “child” inside out and outside in. In the connection between us there are no big, nor small; all are equal. When we sit in circle together we develop in us the ability to truly listen, speak from a place of authenticity, and empathize with one another. Imagine coming to a place of appreciating differences as an opportunity to strengthen family bonds and togetherness. Using the roundtable circle method, we can learn how to create more meaning out of everyday questions, such as "How was your day?", and also give children new insight into understanding their social interactions or sibling relationships. Join us for a first-hand experience of an adult-child roundtable workshop and walk away with a practical tool to try at home.
Elena Lobatsevich, Presenter of Kabbalah
Creating a Playground of Connection and Mutual Cooperation [KIDS & ADULTS]
Kabbalah is the wisdom of connection, leading us to higher states of awareness where we all become one, unified, whole and loving. Albert Einstein once said, “Play is the highest form of research”. Let’s all join together, adults and children, to shed the shell of "me" and to begin to feel the sense of "we" as we play cooperative games and find out some very interesting things about the depth of our relationships with one another, and profound impact of connection in our daily lives.
Stuart Goodnick, Co-Meditation Teacher, Radio Host, Musician, Executive
Co-Meditation (two-person meditation) for Family Life [KIDS & ADULTS]
We grow so entangled with our children, spouses, parents, and other family members that sometimes it can seem impossible to simply be present with them without projecting agendas of how we want those people to be, how we want them to treat us, etc. Yet the great spiritual traditions teach that we can learn to just be with those we love. Co-Meditation is a two-person meditation form designed to facilitate moving in that direction. In this introduction to the practice, we will engage in some fun preliminary work, and taste what it means to be present with other people just as they are.
staffed by Regina Sara Ryan
Reading Room [KIDS & ADULTS]
Comfy seats and pillows, and a selection of great books for young children, will attract youngsters and parents alike. The Reading Room is staffed by Regina Sara Ryan, children's book author and former Headstart and elementary school teacher. Regina (and trusted others) will be available throughout the day to read to and speak with children about books, and to consult with parents on the enormous value of reading to our children. An annotated list (called Reading With Your Child) of recommended books for children (birth to 7+ years) will be provided.