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Workshops and Special Programs

Accessing Your Own Wisdom - An Exploration of Spiritual Discernment and Resilience

Accessing Your Own Wisdom: An Exploration of Spiritual Discernment and Resilience

Humans started expressing a spiritual life very early in our history. It started with early drawings and symbols on the walls of caves. Today we have fully evolved religions and spiritual practices. Each has its own traditions and beliefs about right behavior and life’s meaning. All are designed to help us with the same hopes, fears, dreams and ambitions of our ancestors who drew on the walls of the caves.

Belonging to a spiritual community and practicing that faith is an important part of the human experience. Those in the mental health community have seen the impact spirituality can have on our sense of health and well-being.

Yet across all spiritual traditions, humans find themselves caught in basic dilemmas. These problems come to us in the form of contradictions that are unavoidable. No matter our spiritual beliefs, we will continue to end up in these difficult moments. This workshop series strives to make clear those catch-points that we end up tripping over. Then we can recognize them for what they are. We can develop skills to address these issues when they occur. And they will.

New Leaf Center’s five spirituality workshops are based on the Spiritual Skill Set CD series by renowned author and researcher Dr. Patrick Carnes. In it, he looks for the problems we typically face in our lives, regardless of our spiritual beliefs. He focuses on dealing with life when it brings us challenges and pain. He assumes life is difficult and that we need spiritual and psychological skills to handle those challenges.

Dr. Carnes’ series is all about identifying the things we need for the difficult moments. He uses guided imagery, meditation skills and basic tools to help us access our own wisdom. We will combine these skills with journaling and interactive exercises to bring his material to life. We will explore the two spiritual contradictions of discernment and resilience.

The Paradox of Discernment
In a paradox, two contradictory truths exist at the same time. Our lives are filled with these contradictions. One example is when we need to make a decision about following our dreams and what our lives will like in 10 years. At the same time, we’re told to live one day at a time. Keep it simple, and work on the things that are right in front of us. This is the paradox of discernment.

How do we know the right thing to do? How do we balance the two views and get our priorities straight? We need to have a life plan. But we also need to live in the present. We need to weigh the difficulties of the moment against our commitment to a larger goal. Guided imagery can show us ways of facing and thinking through this challenge. It draws on our imagination. Picturing ourselves in different situations can spark break-throughs.

The Paradox of Resilience
In every religious tradition – Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim – humans wrestle with spiritual issues. One of them is the paradox of resilience. Albert Einstein said that the most important choice we can make in life is to decide that the universe is a friendly place. Yet, at the same time, we know that bad things happen to good people. There will be suffering and pain in our lives. How do we live with these two truths?

We need to have humor along with our suffering. We also need to recognize that suffering will always be with us. Those who survive life’s worst moments are the ones who transform suffering into meaning. It is this transformation that sustains us in a challenging world. Having no human security is the beginning of a spiritual life.

We have to build strength, endurance, skills, and strategies to help us plan for the inevitable struggle. This is what resilience is all about – the ability to visualize overcoming challenges. It is one of the most important skills we can have.

Resilience is core to life. It is a key to recovery from mental health and addictive disorders. The truth is that challenges will always create anxiety in our lives. It is when we run or hide from anxiety — as opposed to live in it — that creates the problem.

An Invitation to Join Us
Regardless of your beliefs, the goal of this workshop series is to strengthen your spiritual experience. We hope the series will add to whatever spiritual tradition you currently practice. And for those who question or do not believe in a Higher Power, we invite you to explore the spiritual side of yourself. The process can help deepen to your relationship with yourself and others.

WHEN:
Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
May 15, 22, 29 and June 5 and 12, 2019

WHERE:
New Leaf Center

FACILITATOR:
Jackie MacKay, M.A., LMHC, NCC, CSAT, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

COST:
$85 per person due at each Wednesday workshop

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