Descriptions

Neuroscience and Well-Being: How Spirituality Affects Our Health and DNA
Our spiritual habits affect our physical and emotional health in a variety of ways. We explore recent findings in neuroscience showing how these practices slow aging in our cells, keep our brains healthy and nimble, reduce stress, and bring more health, happiness and compassion into our lives.

The Neuroscience and Spirituality of Self-Compassion: Caring for Ourselves in Unsettling Times
Our retreat day will draw upon recent findings in neuroscience and psychology, illuminating self-care and spiritual practices that nurture gentleness, kindness and patience towards ourselves. These practices help us manage the grief and uncertainty we are feeling during this pandemic. Far from being self-centered or selfish, we can generate deeper care for ourselves, thereby enhancing our relationships and our ability to attend to others. Helpful tips and exercises on how to practice Self-Compassion will be included throughout the day. You'll also discover that being compassionate towards ourselves helps reduce stress and inflammation while slowing aging in our cells and our brains.

Exploring Our Creativity, Nurturing Our Spirits: Insights from Neuroscience, Positive Psychology and Spirituality
The question is not "Are you creative?" but "How are you creative?" We can use our creativity to nurture our spirits, helping us navigate the added challenges in our lives today. We explore the various ways we can amplify our creativity, adding slices of joy and serenity to our days. Current neuroscience and positive psychology research is included in this multimedia presentation, then we dabble in a few creative exercises to nourish us on our journeys.

Neuroscience and Spirituality for Teens and Young Adults
What spiritual practices can help our young people cope with anxiety and depression, both of which are increasing dramatically? In this session, we will explore current neuroscience and positive psychology research on mindfulness, silent prayer/meditation, gratitude, resilience and self-compassion. We discuss and demonstrate practices young people can implement to nurture their spiritual lives and boost their psychological well-being.

Neuroscience and Spirituality: Technology, Our Brains, and Spiritual Practices
Our smartphones and computers are wonders, but they bring some not-so-wonderful consequences to our bodies, brains, and spiritual lives. We explore the ramifications of tech overuse and how several spiritual practices have been shown to help thwart those deleterious effects. We'll uncover helpful strategies to limit the pitfalls of online activity and nurture our journeys.

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 th.at "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.


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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