Descriptions

Practices to Cultivate Inner Peace
We live in a world that rewards multitasking and expects over-scheduled calendars, yet we long for some sense of peace amidst the busy-ness. Drawing on sources from several traditions and the latest in brain research, Anne Kertz Kernion will present some simple practices that can help us bring balance, joy, and yes, even peace, to our daily lives. You will come away with a few tools which can aid in minimizing stress, while increasing your ability to walk, not run, through life.

The Grateful Life
A life of gratitude is a life of joy. Our habits, choices and daily practices work together to benefit our physical, mental, psychological and spiritual health. We explore the simple, effective ways to keep gratitude at the forefront of our awareness, thereby bringing the blessings of gratitude to ourselves and others. The latest neuroscience research on the benefits of gratitude is included.

Neuroscience and Contemplative Practices
Current scientific research confirms what the Christian mystics teach us: fully living in the present moment enhances our lives in myriad ways. We explore the Christian tradition and the latest neuroscience findings and ponder how the practices of Mindfulness, Meditative Prayer, and Gratitude can lessen the stress we experience, boost brain function, increase our awareness, and improve the quality of our days.

Mindlessness to Mindfulness
We often go through our days on "autopilot," rushing from one task to another without any awareness. In this presentation, we examine the research of Ellen Langer, Harvard psychology professor whose research since the 1970's shows that mindful thought can lead to better brain and physical health. She recommends we cultivate mindfulness by simply noticing: looking carefully at our surroundings, observing our loved ones and co-workers, paying attention to the details in our everyday world. If we can engage in this simple practice, our ability to be aware and mindful will be vastly increased, leading to greater health, better relationships, and increased happiness.

The Spirituality and Science of Compassion
Pope Francis calls upon us to be merciful and show compassion to those in need. Charles Darwin note that "compassion is our strongest instinct." Did you know that being kind and compassionate towards others enhances our immune systems, increases our life expectancy, protects us from heart disease, and decreases the risk of depression? We'll explore the fascinating neuroscience and spirituality of compassion, including how we can nurture it in ourselves and others.

The Spirituality and Science of Happiness
Current brain research confirms what our religious traditions have been teaching for thousands of years: Being grateful, generous people, connected to one another while nourishing our spirituality, are all essential characteristics of happy people. We explore the activities and dimensions of sustainable happiness and show how these can be incorporated into our daily lives.

The Breath and Mindfulness
The practice of deep, conscious breathing and mindfulness are intimately connected. We will discuss the basic breathing techniques used to reduce anxiety and manage stress, as well as the physical and psychological benefits of breathing and relaxation exercises.

The Courage to be Imperfect
We women think we need to do it all, do it perfectly, and do it effortlessly. We want to feel loved, we want to feel connected to others, we want to matter. But we run aground trying to be perfect. What we really need is the courage to be imperfect, the courage to care for ourselves and be our authentic selves. We will discover how to embrace our vulnerability so we can live wholeheartedly, with joy and gratitude, believing that who we are is enough.

Amazing Women of the Church
We will explore a few of the inspiring women and saints of the church: St. Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, and Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister. We will look at their writings to see how they experienced God in their daily lives, what lessons they can teach us, and how their wisdom might shine a light on us and encourage us in our daily lives.

Enhancing Our Creativity: Lessons from Neuroscience and Spirituality
The question is not "Are you creative?" but "How are you creative?" Each of us has the creative spark within us...it just needs to be encouraged, nourished and acknowledged. We will explore the various ways each of us can be creative in our daily lives. Then we look at current neuroscience research and uncover very specific and effective ways to nurture our creativity so that it comes alive in our work, our relationships, and our spirituality.

Lessons from Silence: Gentleness, Compassion and Love
Inspired by various women and men of the Christian tradition, we'll ponder the gifts that regular moments of stillness with God can bring to our lives. We'll discuss how a practice of quiet prayer can open our eyes and hearts, transforming our spirits.

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