Welcome to my NEW site!
Actually, it's not new, it's just renamed.
I had a colleague ask me why I had taken myself out of the equation when I renamed my site two years ago?
Previously, my website was under my name.
She said "YOU are this work...make your writing and your teaching easier to find! BE YOU!"
SO, "HELLO, IT'S ME." (that may date me because that is an OLD song. BUT who cares?)
Here's my post for this week!
I know, I said I was putting publishing this post on hold.
But life takes twists and turns and it turned towards me blogging about this today!
I couldn't wait to put it in the book. Actually, I decided not to put it in the book at all. It revealed itself to be more for the blog.
I changed my mind.
Isn't it GREAT that we can change our minds!
It's OK to change your mind.
I have more to say about that in a future post. So, stayed tuned!!).
Without further ado:
"This week we are going to look at the third of my overriding principles for teaching in juvenile justice and for my life.
3). Go with the Flow
The central tenet in Taoism and Buddhism.
For me, it has become the central tenet of life, regardless of any philosophy.
You don't need a philosophy to sign up for this one!
What I have learned teaching in juvenile justice and, fortunately, what being a Buddhist, studying Taoism and Confucianism have taught me is:
Every day, every class is GO WITH THE FLOW. (Bold, underlined!!!)
You can spend hours preparing a lesson plan to throw it right out of the window when you get to class.
You never know what kind of week any of the residents have experienced.
This applies to any justice facility.
If you teach or coach in a jail or prison this lesson is also for YOU!
You have to go into it every class with the attitude that I will just let it evolve.
You have to know the material inside and out to go through your databanks and fly by the seat of your pants sometimes.
More times than not.
Within the framework of my technique, I can move elements around.
Some of it only works on an A, B, C basis and some can be interchanged with different exercises added or removed.
Why is this necessary?
Predominately, the young men have some mental health challenges.
Many are on medication.
Many deal with bipolarism, ADD or ADHD, depression, anxiety or anger management issues.
Some are fathers or deal with substance abuse.
One thing that REALLY works is to read an anecdote from an inspirational leader every week.
They particularly like Thich Nhat Hanh.
They love the “HOW TO” series.
How to Walk.
How to Sit.
How to Eat.
Simple ideologies, but very effective.
Plus, simple WORKS!
One of their favorites is about an incarcerated and persecuted Vietnamese Nun.
She says her persecutors would prevent her from meditating. They would beat her or withhold food.
She then chose to meditate at night.
She taught other inmates to meditate at night.
She said she felt freer in prison than some people feel outside the walls because she found a way to maintain her practice and help others.
You can see how that would resonate with the residents.
I also wanted the staff to be included.
The staff is with the residents full time.
The residents trust and like them, for the most part.
There are incidents of rebellion, but that is expected, given the circumstances.
The staff is their reminder of what is expected of them in the facility.
I was convinced that introducing what I teach my students to them would help reinforce the teachings.
And in the meantime, give the staff tools to release stress.
I was asked to go to a staff meeting and give them a sampling of what I teach to the students.
Allow them to look at juvenile justice as more than punitive.
Introducing the staff to my moving meditation was met with enthusiasm, support, doubt, and resistance.
This did not surprise me one bit.
But imagine standing in front of the staff and at least one-third of them have their hands crossed across their chests and are looking down.
Well, I love a challenge. And I am one of those who feels if anyone in the group gets anything I say, it's successful.
Let’s fast forward about 5 months.
The staff got used to seeing me "float" around.
They all say hello.
They ask me about particular residents and recommend residents for the class. They also talk to my students about class and the students share exercises with them.
They are the “boots on the ground”, so to speak. Who better to reinforce the work than someone who knows these residents?
This is not just those who were receptive to my teachings in the beginning, it's nearly all the staff I encountered.
I’m writing a supplemental book to my teachings, about my technique and the exercises. My desire is to pass the technique on so others can teach it from the inside, or after a resident leaves the facility, and goes back into the world, they can have a guide.
It's a tool.
They have to take the initiative, and have the motivation.
Let me share with you a few things that the students have said about my program:
“Helped me to control my anger. I started being calm."
"I'm spending time with myself more."
"It helps me control my impulses.
"I got so mad one time, I couldn't go to sleep so I just tried to breathe, and then I fell asleep."
"I'm more mature."
"My thought processes have changed."
"I learned breathing can do something if you pay attention to your breathing."
"It made me wiser, more mature, more mindful.”
"I know I have to do the work. Things aren't just going to come to me."
“Ms. KaZ is a big-hearted person she loves all of us. She takes the time out of her life to do it. She has hope for all of us.”
As for the volunteer teachers (did I mention that those who teach classes are, for the most part, volunteers? You may clap now.)
“If nobody cares, they care. They love doing what they do.”
If that isn’t a positive mental attitude, and growth, I don’t know what is.
As always, THANKS FOR READING!
See you next week.
KaZ has been in many facets of entertainment, plus the co-owner of two restaurants, a fitness center, a television production company and the owner of a cinema. She did a stint in politics, and in veterinary medicine, She now focuses on writing.
In addition to the above, KaZ is an award-winning vocalist, a former dancer, stunt actor, circus artist, & professional water skier. She has worked as a theater artistic director & writer.
KaZ has been a published writer in magazines & books since the age of 15. She has written plays that have been produced in New York, Florida & New Orleans. She has a featured chapter in the book How To Survive A Move. (Up-to-date she has moved 45 times!) She wrote an article for Organic Wine Journal, and also wrote an article featured at the Ground Zero Memorial.
KaZ co-wrote 2 television informational series & 3 television pilots. One of the pilots, a sit-com, was produced as a reality pilot. KaZ has revisited it and it's now a one season cable series.
“(And ) Then This Happened.” based on life, love, and everything in between in the mid-life years. Loosely based on her life and the life of two of her best girlfriends.
KaZ's many high pressure pursuits led her to meditation.
She began studying meditation in '91. Her initial training focused on Kundalini Yoga with Yogi Bhajan and his teachers. She is a certified Master Meditation and Qigong Instructor, having taught
throughout California, Florida, New York & British Columbia, Canada and online worldwide.
Most recently KaZ taught in a juvenile justice facility, and lectured on mental health in juvenile justice.
With writing being her first love, look for KaZ's upcoming children's books:
from the tales of two grandmothers.
Plus, a play based on letters from her two great uncles during the Second World War.