The Conscious Aging Workshop Series has generated a lot of interest, but for some people, committing to eight sessions just isn’t practical.
What’s the solution? The Conscious Aging Workshop sessions are now available to you “a la carte” so that you can pick and choose which sessions you want to attend.
SESSION TOPICS AND DATES
The next series begins in March; please check back for new dates to be added soon.
HOW IT WORKS
1. Study the session topics and dates.
2. Decide which sessions you want to attend; all sessions are $25 each.
3. Register for the sessions you have chosen.
4. Payment is accepted by credit card online, or checks by mail. (If paying by check, it must be received one week before Session One to reserve a seat at the workshop.)
SESSION TOPICS AND DESCRIPTIONS
All sessions run for two hours, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Session One (required): INTRODUCTION TO CONSCIOUS AGING
This session introduces us to the content and intentions of the whole series; we’ll discuss a poem titled, “What Really Matters?” and review expectations for the workshops. These include honoring time commitments; keeping our conversation confidential; listening with respect and without blame or judgment for different points of view; and taking care of ourselves, body and mind. We’ll introduce ourselves, and participate in a large group discussion of key learning themes, and the concepts found in two articles I will send to participants to read before the session meets. We will close with future reading recommendations and suggested home practices.
Session Two: SELF-COMPASSION
We begin with an attunement exercise and a free write reflection activity. After sharing in small groups, we will explore inspirational ideas that relate to showing love and caring for ourselves, including research that shows how people with greater levels of self-compassion have less anxiety and depression, and increased psychological strengths and positive emotions, such as a greater ability to forgive and to navigate difficult life events. We will examine the role of mindfulnesss, an element of self-compassion, as an antidote for harsh self-criticism and discuss four self-compassion practices in a large group discussion. We close with recommended reading and suggested home practices.
Session Three: FORGIVENESS
This session explores misconceptions about forgiveness; examines the art and science of forgiveness through small and large group discussions; and we will consider nine steps for training ourselves in forgiveness with a journaling activity. Poems and inspirational writings are explored for their insights and to help us set our intentions. We close with recommended readings and suggested home practices.
Session Four: LIFE REVIEW
This session provides participants with a process of reflection on how to make meaning out of the memories of our lives and to write a soul memoir from the perspective of the “larger” self (the soul) rather than our ego self. The ego focuses on left brain qualities, such as logic, order and critical thinking, but the soul is expressed through right brain ways including imagination, creativity, symbols and sensory experiences. We will do a free write exercise, small group sharing and large group discussion of themes and insights. I will provide guidelines for writing a soul memoir that allow us to appreciate our life lessons received and wisdom gained. We will conclude with recommended readings and suggested home practices.
Session Five: TRANSFORMATIVE PRACTICES
This week’s session helps us focus on our life experiences of deep inner transformation and initiating circumstances. Conscious transformations are profound internal shifts that bring about lasting changes in the ways we relate to the world and to ourselves. We will define what consciousness is and how most of us are attached to what we think is true, important and real; in order to grow we are encouraged to become aware and alert to the possibility of transformation through eight “doorways” such as suffering, meeting a teacher, and peak experiences. We close with a free write activity, small and then large group discussions of insights, and end with recommended readings and suggested home practices to help us go deeper.
Session Six: DEATH MAKES LIFE POSSIBLE
In this session we begin to practice cultivating compassion and fearlessness in the presence of death. Most of us try to avoid any sense of death coming at any moment, and yet, life is a spiritual journey that teaches us to accept impermanence – the awareness that nothing stays the same, and that all living things die. We will read selected commentary on death and dying by various authors, and philosophers, and consider some key points in a large group discussion, and then engage in written and private journal reflections. We conclude with recommended readings and suggested home practices for further study.
Session Seven: SURRENDER – LETTING GO
We begin with a quiet reflection on surrender and non-attachment with a poem about letting go to inspire our attunement; and we engage in an activity that allows us to focus on one thing in our lives that we’ve been resisting in order to completely relax into it. We will each write about our sense of what no longer serves us, then share with a partner and contribute to a large group discussion of the life that is waiting for us once we have surrendered what needs to be released. We will have an active discussion of the Buddha’s “four inescapable realities” that eventually will affect everyone who ages in order to confront the impermanence of life and to cope with growing old gracefully, accepting change and uncertainty with courage and clear mindedness. We conclude with recommended readings and suggested home practices to strengthen our conscious choices.
Session Eight: CREATING A NEW VISION OF AGING
In the final session, we will create and compose an Intention Statement for a new beginning in our lives that represents a renewed vision of aging for ourselves and for our society. Opening with a reading of the poem “For A New Beginning” by John O’Donohue, we will do a free write activity, followed by small group sharing, and then a large group discussion of inspirational ideas. We consider the benefits to our mind, body and spirit by crafting an Intention Statement for how we wish to consciously age and face our final passage. We discuss the action steps needed to take the ideas from the Conscious Aging workshop forward into our lives; what we want to let go of, what we want to put on a bucket list, and what we affairs we need to put in order should something happen to us, along with answering the key question of “What legacy do I want to leave?” As with other sessions, we conclude with recommended readings and suggested home practices.