Note From Louisa
Sitting on my front porch this week, enjoying the gentle rain and the clean smell that it brings, I am reminded of the lost summers of youth.  Daily adventures that ended with the setting sun, losing track of time as we engaged some imaginary foe, vanquished just in time for dinner.
In this month's article, Danielle extols the virtues of face-to-face connections with one another as she shares her annual dance camp experience.   Reading it, I felt myself longing for an adult summer camp, where one returns to the simplicity and joy of sharing time and play together.  Surely such places exist for grown ups?
As I continue to recognize and work on my superhero power of making things more complicated than they need to be, I am reminded that the opportunity I long for is before me every day.  I only need to remember to put down my phone, turn off the TV, stop prioritizing work, and sit on the front porch after a good rain talking with those I care about.
A good game of tag is also fun (though exceptionally humbling).
In kindness,

  • The Center for Mindful Living will be closed on Wednesday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day.
  • We've Added A New Sitting Group!   Please join us on Monday mornings from 8:15 to 9:00 am for an additional sitting group during the week.  We'll be testing this time slot out for the next few months so, if you'd like it to become a permanent addition to the schedule, please be sure to let us know!
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Ongoing Contemplative Practices
  • Workshop: Sitting Meditation Groups (No Charge) 
  • Workshop: Mindfulness Study Group (No Charge) 
Workshops & Events
Mindful Self-Compassion: Moving from
Shame to Self-Acceptance
Facilitated by Louisa Foster, Psy.D., RDT
A 12-week Mindfulness Based Course
Wednesday Evenings, 5:15 to 7:15 pm
August 1st to October 17th
Nurturing a strong, positive relationship with our selves is at the very foundation of emotional wellbeing and resilience. This twelve-week course will help you to develop the skills necessary to turn toward life's challenges with tenderness and curiosity, rather than avoidance, anger or shame. Research has found that having a self-compassion practice acts as an effective buffer against anxiety and depression. Learning to soothe and comfort our selves in times of distress increases our sense of gratitude and happiness, and enhances all of our relationships.
This class includes small group exercises, opportunities for private reflection, and guided meditations. You will leave the experience with your own personalized self-compassion practice to rely on during life's more difficult moments. No prior experience with meditation is necessary. 
Tuition is $35 per session. (Must commit to all 12 sessions). Former graduates of MSC looking to refresh their skills may take this course again at half price, space permitting.
Creative Self-Reflection:A 2-day Mindfulness Retreat for Writers, Artists, and Creative Seekers
Facilitated by Susann Suprenant, Ph.D.
Saturday, Aug. 4, 1pm-4pm & 
Sunday, Aug. 5, 10am-2pm 

"Self-reflection is its own form of advocacy, of living a life of intention, of greater attention."
~Terry Tempest Williams

This 2-day interactive workshop offers the chance to rediscover and honor your creative life through guided meditation, writing, discussion, and group exercises. Participants are led to explore, amplify, and express through movement key resonant images from dreams and memories in a safe, supportive environment. 

The workshop culminates with a each student presenting a movement-based Self-Reflection to be witnessed by the other class participants. No meditation or movement experience needed. Tuition $120.00.
Mindful Self Compassion Day Long Retreat
Facilitated by Louisa Foster, Psy.D.
Saturday, August 11th, 9:00 am to 4 pm
Does your Mindful Self Compassion practice need some refreshing? This day-long retreat is offered to graduates of the MSC training who are interested in revisiting some of the seminal practices offered in the course. Dig out your journal and dust off your soothing place! We'll spend the day reviewing selected practices and renewing our vow to treat ourselves with curiosity and tenderness. Participants will have the opportunity to determine what content is covered so that your favorite exercises and meditations are included. Tuition $90.00.

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Series
Facilitated by Kara Cavel, LICSW, Ph.D.
Tuesday Evenings, from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
August 21st - September 25th
"The guiding principle of recovery is restoring a sense of power and control to the survivor"-Judith Herman
Because trauma is often stored in the body, yoga-based interventions are a way to approach healing through a somatic experience in an effort to rebuild a sense of connection to the self by becoming curious about the experience of being. For those interested, you can expect to engage in an embodied practice that utilizes movement and breath work as a way to experience the present moment, feel empowered to make choices, take effective action, and to experience the flow of creating rhythm or synchrony with your breath and body.
This yoga series is ideal for indivdiuals who have an established relationship with a psychotherapist and who attend weekly therapy.
Tuition for the 6-week series is $150 dollars ($25 dollars per class). The group will consist of 6 or fewer individuals due to limited space and it is highly recommended that the participants attend all 6 sessions.
Mindfulness Study Group
Facilitated by Laura Crosby
1st and 3rd Sundays of each month from 4-6 p.m
Join us as we begin Reflections on Silver River by Ken McLeod. This short work is part translation of a revered Tibetan poem on 37 mindfulness and compassion practices and part short reflections on how these teachings apply to life today.  
The Group will read together, so there is no pre-reading or homework involved. Copies of the book will be available for use in the study session or to check-out. There is no charge to participate. Drop-ins welcome at any time - feel free to jump in at any point! While this selection is based on Buddhist mindfulness teachings, the Study Group as a whole is not religiously affiliated. No registration required.
Mindfulness Talk & Guided Meditation
Compassion & Peace Over Lunch
Will return soon!
Featured Article
Photo by: Bia of the Middle Loup River in Halsey, NE
Disconnecting to Really Connect
By Danielle Laurion, LMHP, R-DMT, GLCMA
As the heat of summer finally starts to relent upon us, I find myself taking my annual trip to Halsey, NE to teach for a dance camp. In actuality, this is a retreat to the woods, a reunion of old friends, and a moment to slow down and unplug. Every year, I'm reminded how beneficial taking time away is for my overall health and relationships.
As our society tries to connect more and more through screens and proxies, our brains still crave the human connection of face-to-face communication. In fact, the Journal of Neuroscience talked about research from Beijing Normal University that shows significant synchronization of partners' brains in face-to-face dialogue that is not otherwise found in other forms of communication.[1]
We are able to share in the experience more when presented with opportunities to take in nonverbal cues (such as facial expressions) and have a give and take in the back and forth of a two-way conversation. Those social interactions help us feel more connected.
Moreover, face-to-face interactions have been shown to increase creativity and trust in groups. "...[T]he more team members directly interact with each other face-to-face, and the more they trust other team members, the more creative and of higher quality the result of their teamwork is" according to the Journal of Organizational Design and Engineering. [2]
In a time when the ease of texting and social media makes the illusion of connection seem effortless, I'm reminded of how hollow those forms of communication are while sitting around a picnic table with the other dance teachers laughing about past memories or tubing down the river linked together in a chain. I sense the communal creativity of working together to create cabin skits and interpretive dances.
I'm also reminded of the effort it takes to stop the flow of all my every day responsibilities to be at camp, but how thankful I feel moving amongst the forest, walking up sandhills, pulling inspiration from the sunset. Slowing down to listen to the wind, birds, others, and myself isn't always easy, but I find answers that I wouldn't otherwise find if I didn't take a moment to step out of my routine and unplug.
While retreating for a week may not be possible for most people, I do believe that making the effort to really connect face-to-face is something we are all capable of. To listen, share, and be present with each other takes resolve, but the relationships we nurture reap many rewards.
Encourage yourself to set aside small moments this summer to connect with others beyond the devices. Unplugging can help us reconnect to our strongest bonds. We have to look up from our screens and set down our devices to allow fulfilling connections to materialize and sustain us.

[1] The Journal of Neuroscience, 7 November 2012, 32(45): 16064-16069
[2] Int. J. of Organizational Design and Engineering 01/2012; 2(4):380 - 401