Founder | Presence to Pupils
Certified Meditation Instructor
Founding Member Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education (MC4ME)
My passion is to empower others through the practice of meditation and the understanding of neuroscience. Having established the foundation of mindfulness meditation in Michigan through the co-creation of the Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education, as well as developing mindfulness programming for the Crim Fitness Foundation and serving as a Director of Operations for Inner Explorer, I am now leading the way to bring Neuroscience training to Individuals and Corporations.
My Journey - Wildflower
I’ve always loved to walk in fields of wildflowers, taking some home as a little girl to give to my mother, or putting them in vases. They were always as precious to me as any other flower. Similarly, I innately saw every person, animal, and plant as equal.
I knew as early as age 12 that I wanted to be a psychologist. My classmates often referred to me as Dr. Joyce Brothers, a renowned psychologist of the time, because of how I counseled them when they had problems. When I told my parents I planned to be a psychologist they discouraged me. That’s when I stopped trusting myself. In college, I took a test to identify my areas of interest and scored highest in the field of medicine. Images of operating as a surgeon came to me, which didn’t feel right and so I immediately went to my second highest score, Environmental Science. Since I have always loved nature, I decided to pursue a career in this field. I let a computerized test guide my future instead of my intuition.
In the year that followed my mother’s death, I invested a significant amount of time reading and researching life after death. I was determined to prove to myself that I would see her again, and my father too. I found what I was looking for in the book Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences by Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry, which inspired me to become certified in Sacred Geometry and Energy Healing and a Reiki Master. It wasn’t until I came across mindfulness, however, that I truly felt I exhumed my calling.
Flipping through one of my mom’s Time magazines, I was looking in the margins to see if she’d written anything, which was customary of her. I always valued writing more than almost anything else, knowing somehow that it captured more about a person than a picture. I didn’t find anything from my mom in the magazine but I came upon a brief quote from Deepak Chopra challenging the reader to ask themselves if they could pursue any career, what would they do. Money, he said, shouldn’t be factored in, because if you do what you love the money will follow.
Immediately, the notion of teaching mindfulness to children came to me. I didn’t know what mindfulness was, nor did I have a reference point for moving forward, however, I decided on the spot to start a business. When logic returned, I looked up mindfulness and found Daniel Rechtschaffen, who was teaching mindfulness in schools in California. In August of 2011, I attended a conference on Mindfulness in Education at the Omega Institute in New York, followed by a week-long training on teaching mindfulness to children, provided by Daniel as well as Jennifer Cohen Harper of Little Flower Yoga. The training was based on a curriculum developed for MindUp, a program founded by Goldie Hawn.
In September, just a few weeks after the training, I was handed a parent volunteer sheet for my daughter’s 3rd-grade classroom. When she was in 2nd grade I helped with crafts in the classroom and put paper on the display boards in the halls. Having never been fond of crafts I was compelled to take a risk and volunteer to teach mindfulness instead. Serendipity was on my side as the teacher happened to have an interest in yoga and meditation and was already teaching her students some breathing techniques. Surprisingly, my other daughter’s teacher embraced the idea of having mindfulness taught in her classroom as well. When things fall into place this easily I believe it is a sign of being on the right path.
Over the course of the next several years, I immersed myself in establishing my business as well as my non-profit for mindfulness in education. Serendipity often continued to lead me, and while it was easy to recognize, unraveling the constructs of my identity that limited me was a process and challenge, but also the medium through which I have been able to teach others. Daily meditation, commitment to living mindfully, professional development, struggles and successes, and the role each person played in my life have been integral to the path of coming back to myself, trusting myself, and falling in love with myself.
I will leave you with the following story that is inseparable from my own path, reinforcing that we all are one…
Lisa Barnett, Dyslexia & Mindfulness Practices
This story begins about a year and a half ago, when a friend introduced me to a parent volunteer in her classroom. This parent was a working mom who had sought out a personal journey which led her to Mindfulness practices. Mindfulness is a state of being, a peaceful, calm, positive approach to daily life. Trice felt so strongly about the benefits of Mindfulness that she spent her single-day-off in the work week volunteering in her daughters’ & others’ classrooms to show kids how they could learn to focus better, attend lessons and support each other by becoming more mindful of one another.
Trice didn’t have any kids in my classroom, but due to my son’s low emotional threshold, and similar issues with other kids in his group, she felt the desire to help him and found the extra time to devote to these kids. As life goes, after a few lessons, unfortunate circumstances occurred in her life and her family’s needs became greater; she had to step down from volunteering for a while. After several months, she worked hard to make extra time to come in near the end of the school year again. This is when I saw a huge shift in my students…..they realized HOW MUCH they had missed those lessons. They began to gel even better as a group, the tiny issues that followed them in from the playground melted away, they focused better on the lessons and were happier on a daily basis. We had always worked well together but this brought the group to a whole new level.
By noticing opportunities and being open to changes, Trice found a way to change careers by the time my son’s class moved to the middle school. She began teaching Mindfulness full time through the Crim Foundation and is now reaching hundreds of students.
As a parent, I wanted to see these lessons continue for my son desperately but I also realized the benefits it could bring to his classmates and the trickle down effect it could have on their whole school experience; if more kids could learn these lessons, then maybe they’d experience better journeys thru the middle years together. So I wrote a letter to the Principals outlining the benefits my small group of Resource Room kids experienced in such a short time through Mindfulness. Since his class started their lessons in March, his daily frustrations have decreased tremendously. He doesn’t bring home papers to re-do that are filled with answers like, “I don’t know; or my friends are so much smarter than me.” Now, he is more focused, bringing home less unfinished work and trying to think more mindfully about his path in life.
Mindfulness doesn’t take away every struggle, he still has issues with really stressful situations and his executive functioning deficits are not miraculously fixed; but the effect that those have had on him are decreased and the turn around is quicker. Most importantly, his self-reflection is improved, he thinks about his reactions and how a different reaction could have altered the outcome. He plans for the next time, execution is still down the road a bit but he’s on a higher path.
Let me give you an example: The experience he recently had being on a panel of experts for Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education (MC4ME.org) is a great example of how he functions & dysfunctions sometimes. Initially, when invited, he nonchalantly said, “Sure, I’ll do it.” which indicated to me that he didn’t know what he’d just agreed to. So over the course of the next month and a half we discussed what this might look like. A couple of weeks prior to the event I realized his issues with word retrieval and his disjointed way of explaining things could likely cause him to shut-down in the middle of the crowd and forever embarrass him, I panicked, thinking, this could be detrimental to his self-esteem, but, I also couldn’t shake the thought that if maybe we prepared well, it could lead to one of the greatest experiences of his young life.
When I tried asking him some questions that I thought an audience might ask him, he hit the wall–he said, “What?! What do you mean people will be asking me questions?! I can’t answer anything like that! I don’t know why I like Mindfulness, I just do and I know it helps me but I can’t explain it! Tell her I can’t do it.” Imagine my surprise when after all the times we talked about this, he really still had no concrete idea of what this event was about.
I set out to build the foundation for him by simply asking him to start noticing what Mindfulness does for him and how it makes him feel. We practiced together a few times a week and he did so on his own. We talked several more times and after a Mindful moment, we would reflect. Each time was so-so. His answers never reached anything in-depth, just skimmed the surface but he was happy to try to be on the panel and felt he could answer.
On the 45-minute car ride down the morning of the event, his in-depth self-reflection surfaced and he astounded me. In this reflection, he talked for the first time about his strengths and did not let his dyslexia define him. He talked about the fact that although he has difficulty getting his words on paper and that it is frustrating to him, he has so many good stories in his mind, ready to come out. He recognized that some of his friends who he always felt were so much smarter than him have some weaknesses too and that realization made him accept himself more. He also recognized that he can challenge himself to do more sometimes and isn’t letting his challenges with reading, thinking style or writing stop him from getting to his goals (he has goals now –yeah!). I am having a hard time describing the amazing feeling I had listening to him — awe, pride, thankfulness, admiration that he at such a young age has come so far—relief that maybe he won’t have to wait until he’s an adult to finally find some successes as a person with dyslexia, like so many people do.
My son has had wonderful teachers all of his schooling and parents who have spent countless hours teaching accountability and self-reflection, but none of all that good teaching has been as effective as Mindfulness. It has given him a tool to use, showed him how to make his mind calmer, and he is more able to self-reflect. I’m not discounting any of the lessons he’s had from me or any of his teachers, I just think we had to work really hard to get half the results of what Mindfulness has been able to do for him in a short period of time. Executive functioning deficits can’t be remediated through telling one to focus better or calm down. It takes learning good solid ways to focus, attend to your thoughts, organize, relieve stress, reduce or eliminate racing or wandering thoughts, gain perspectives, and seek the positive in others and yourself.
But our experience with Mindfulness doesn’t stop there. Since I began practicing Mindfulness on a daily basis a couple of months ago, I’ve created this website on dyslexia, written several blogs, learned how to create Facebook, Pintrest and Google pages, helped my children make videos that revolve around dyslexia and learned how to make and post these to my YouTube channel, been asked to present on dyslexia with my Decoding Dyslexia group and made a business plan for the near future. All of these ideas have been mulling around in my head, sort of spinning like a tornado for a few years. The focus that Mindfulness gave me allowed my inner drive to surface.
There is peace in being able to focus on something well. There is peace in relieving daily stresses. Most importantly, there is peace in knowing that my overwhelmed son has a tool he can use to help propel himself toward his future.
As an expert in the field of Mindfulness Meditation and Neuroscience, Trice has presented keynote speeches to a wide array of groups, including at a fundraising event for the U Can-Cer Vive Foundation, at the Fenton Rotary Club, the Fenton and Linden Regional Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters groups, the University of Michigan Earth Day celebration, and more.
Crim Fitness Foundation
University of Michigan Women’s Softball, School of Dentistry and Administrative Offices
Fenton area Parks and Recreation,
The Girl Scouts of America
Legacy Charter Academy
River Rouge High School
International Academy of Flint
Elmer Knopf Learning Center (cognitively impaired and autistic students)
Whaley Children’s Center
St. John Vianney
Durant-Tuuri-Mott Elementary School Eisenhower Elementary School
Freeman Elementary School
Holmes STEM Academy
Potter Elementary School
Tomek Eastern Elementary
State Road Elementary
North Road Elementary
Andrew G. Schmidt Middle School
Calumet Larium District
Washington Middle School
Not Just for Yogi's
From the shadows of mysticism, scientific truths are continuing to transform our understanding of meditation. The crumbling perspective of meditation as strictly a Buddhist practice, as well as expanding research on the subject, has opened the door for more and more people, as well as a growing number of Fortune 500 companies, elite athletes, educational systems, and more, to try meditation and the related field of mindfulness.
These practices became more accessible at a point in history when the onset of the information age led to exponential growth in the quantity of stimuli being fired at us, leading to stress, anxiety, and even depression. While stress can be a welcome and necessary asset for survival, the chronic state of stress most people experience today is killing them.
There is a saying in nature that the cure is always within 3 feet of the poison, and so it is no surprise that meditation and mindfulness became more accessible in western cultures exactly when they were needed most.
There is a growing body of evidence that shows that meditation is not just for those heavily into spirituality, albeit, many people who practice meditation find themselves experiencing a deeper spiritual life, these practices could literally help save your life. Many would even argue that meditation is a form of preventative medicine.