Resilience. Confidence. JOY.
WHERE YOU’RE AT:
Being a small child in a big world can be scary and confusing.
And being the parent of a child who feels scared or confused can be just as disconcerting.
Because children don’t always know how to explain what’s upsetting them or how to handle their emotions in ways that don’t involve acting out or tears.
As a parent, you might not know how to handle these behaviors either.
Which can lead to the situation escalating and to everyone in it feeling stressed, panicked and anxious.
Hi, I’m Angie Harris, and this is exactly what I help with.
I teach busy parents and their kids how to manage strong — and sometimes painful — emotions, without trying to repress them or do battle with them.
Through incredibly simple daily exercises that can be done in a matter of minutes, as well as small behavior tweaks that can make a world of difference in moments of tension, I help families change how they process and react to stress-inducing situations around them.
Because ultimately, the world will always be stressful.
But how we react to it is a choice that we make with our own hearts and minds.
HOW I ROLL:
In addition to my work leading thousands of in-person workshops and coaching sessions in schools, hospitals, boardrooms, grief centers, and community spaces all over New Jersey throughout the past 7 years, I also offer online mindfulness coaching and courses to families and kids.
My best work always happens when the entire family gets on board with the mindfulness trainings we do.
After all, children need positive behavior and coping mechanisms to be modeled for them, and their parents are the very best people in all the world to show them how to do it 🙂
HOW I GOT HERE
I’ve practiced mindfulness and meditation for almost 20 years, after first being introduced to them when I was 19 and lost my mother.
Initially, I saw them as tools I could use to temporarily manage my grief. But I quickly became drawn to them on a deeper level too.
I started doing yoga, taking time out to sit still, and reading about contemplative practice and its spiritual roots. Not only did I get a handle on my emotions, but I managed to stay in college and stay grateful for all the joyous things in my life too.
Years later, another personal tragedy took me from practicing mindfulness to teaching it.
In 2010, my sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer. At the time she had three young children, aged six, three, and one. I looked at those kids and knew that I wanted to teach them the meditation and mindfulness strategies that had been such game-changers for me when I lost my mom.
So I began researching how to teach young children to meditate.
I came across a school in California that was offering a training in Rhinebeck, New York, at the Omega Institute. Using that training, together with my years of personal experience, I created a curriculum and began teaching my niece and nephews the mindfulness work that had helped me so much.
Soon after, I got a call from the director of their school. She asked me, “What are the children learning? I want to know what’s happening with them. They’re taking time out for themselves when their emotions get too strong… Who’s teaching them how to do this?”
When I told her, she asked me if I could teach other children in the school how to use mindfulness to manage their emotions too.
And quickly, that one class turned into multiple classes at multiple schools, as parents who were impressed by the results of my teaching suggested that I teach at other schools and work with their families privately.
Teaching mindfulness took on a life of its own, even as practicing it enabled our family not to be overwhelmed by feelings of grief.
Because every moment has room for joy and suffering, and it’s important not to let the suffering block out the joy.
And today, when I’m not teaching mindfulness, I’m lucky enough to experience plenty of joy.
I can usually be found in a rink or on a field, watching my favorite eight kids — my two awesome sons, and six nieces and nephews — playing everything from hockey to ballet, football to piano.
I love being outside, watching my kids play with a cup of hot tea in my hand. I love all things about the ocean, including attempting to do yoga on my paddleboard. (Yes, I fall off pretty much every time, and I keep going back for more!)
I love to laugh A LOT, and at least twice a week at home, my husband and I blast our favorite music as we try to make Italian food like my 4’11” nanny made it when I was growing up (though we never 100% manage it)!
Now that I’m a mom myself, I especially love supporting other moms and their kids in this happy, busy journey called parenting.
I’ve been blessed to work with families and kids from all over the world through mindfulness teaching, and I learn from the collective mama-hood every time I teach.