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Simplify RI, a daylong Thrive retreat

Did you know that the average American adult makes an average of 35,000 decisions each day? Seriously, 35,000! Depending on what time of day you're reading this, you may have already made thousands of choices just about what food to eat. Today - while we have grown more connected and more informed - many of us are feeling inundated by emails, overwhelmed by the news, and anxious about how to respond to the countless choices in our everyday lives.

Let's come together for an immersive retreat to simplify our lives, recharge our bodies, and recommit our spirits to the practices that can help us flourish each and every day. At the idyllic campus of the Providence Zen Center we will practice yoga, meditation, chant, mindful eating, communal singing, and engaging learning about simplifying life from the field of positive psychology.

All sessions are open to beginners and seasoned practitioners alike. As ever, Thrive is committed to fostering an inclusive, open environment for all who seek to engage in practice, and - as such - we want you to join us! Our suggested participation fee (including catered breakfast and lunch, snacks, and program materials) for this day-long retreat is $75, and we invite you to make a contribution of any amount to partake. Seriously - we mean it!  Click here to register.  

Program details:

9 - 9:45 am Gentle Yoga with Liz Maynard

Simplify, simplify! This beginner's class is designed to bring you back into connection with the felt sense of your body through a series of simple postures and movements. Slow down, feel deeply.

9:45 - 10:30 Setting Intention for the Day with Nicole Jellinek, Barry Dolinger, and Elan Babchuck

10:30 - 10:45 break

10:45 - 12:00 Morning Breakouts

Session 1: Simpler Change - Starting from Within with Karen Whelan-Berry

Often our own experience as well as the related research shows us that many New Year’s resolutions, as well as other habit change efforts are challenging and or fail quite often.  Yet if we strive to be our ideal/best self, to continually grow, to stop negative habits and or create and maintain positive habits, we need to be able to change our habits and routines.  We often want and need to be able to make both small and more significant changes.  Such changes include, for example, simplifying our typical day or an aspect of our life, starting and then maintaining a meditation practice or a fitness program, improving a relationship, or managing our time better.

We can create smaller and significant change through daily, micro efforts.  This workshop explains and explores how habit change actually occurs including a brief introduction to the idea of neuroplasticity, how using our strengths can strengthen our change efforts, and how using the stem sentence approach (based on Nathaniel Branden’s work) can ignite and sustain those change efforts. 

Workshop participants will apply the content to a change they hope to make and will leave with practices for daily life.

Session 2: The Space Within: Morning Mantra Practices for Peace with Jeffery Micah Branch

Mantra is food for the mind. The ancient scriptures of many traditions offer us the nectar of devotion in the sacred syllables they teach us. Jeffery Micah will give a short discourse on Morning meditation/chanting practices and their benefit while leading us through a few key meditative practices that will leave you blissful. Guided breathing, mantra chanting, and reflective silence will be the perfect start our retreat day! We will also learn an ancient Sanskrit mantra for world peace.

Session 3: Outdoors Mindful Walk

On average, Americans take 5,000 steps per day, usually with a destination in mind. What if we could experience each of those steps as a destination unto itself? Could we reconnect our bodies and minds on these mini-journeys throughout our days? In this session, we will explore the practice of mindful walking, bringing focus, attention, and curiosity to the physical sensations in our bodies, and the idyllic surroundings at the Providence Zen Center. The walking will be light - nothing strenuous - and the learning will be deep.

12-12:30 Silent Lunch

12:30- 1:15 Gratitude Practices

1:15 - 2:30 Afternoon Breakouts

Session 1: Being a Sanctuary with Elan Babchuck and Nicole Jellinek

We offer physical refuge in our sanctuary cities for those at risk; we take spiritual refuge in our congregational sanctuaries.  So how might we develop experiences of sanctuary within ourselves? Could we create experiences of peace, fulfillment, connection and calm from the inside out?  In this breakout session we will engage with teaching and practices of mindfulness and positive psychology to cultivate an awareness of our own individual selves as sanctuaries.

Session 2: Meditation Practice with Barry Dolinger

Familiar with swirling emotions?  To much to do?  E-mails weighing on your mind and distracting you from being present?  Political and social realities complicating life further? Taking work home with you, physically or emotionally?  Our lives have all grown increasingly complicated over the years, rendering it a large challenge, to say the least, to remain fully present to our actual experience of life.  This limits enjoyment, increases stress, and can create a self-feeding negative cycle. 

Enter mindfulness practice.  This is the practice that allows you to simplify, to work on honing compassionate attention to the present moment.  It's proven to greatly reduce stress, increase happiness, and allow to you really be there for your own life.  It's often calming, and can help serve as a center of balance and equanimity.  Recommended by medical doctors and spiritual practitioners alike, this is a simple, proven way to re-engage the self in a meaningful way.  This session is for practitioners of all levels or those who may be interested in trying formal mindfulness practice for the first time.  Just bring yourself.    

No need to be anxious. We'll be engaging in alternating sitting and walking meditation, with instruction and tips to help frame the practice.

Session 3: Authentic Movement with Joan Webb

Authentic Movement is a meditative movement practice and a way to reclaim the wholeness of childhood, to grow into a fuller, more integrated human being. You learn to follow inner impulses into movement; to develop clear, non-judgmental awareness of yourself and others; and to connect to the creative source. In our session, you will have the opportunity to experience this practice and to become acquainted with the wisdom inherent in your own body and being. 

2:30 - 2:45 Break

2:45 - 3:30 How Chanting Makes Meditation Easy: Kirtan with Rabbi Andrew Hahn

To close out our day, we will utilize chant to take us to deep states under the guidance of Kirtan Rabbi. Kirtan — inspired by a form of devotional prayer developed in India — is continual call-and-response, participatory chant where short, sacred, traditional phrases are treated as powerful, universal meditations. Today we will go deep into the Hebrew word, Hallelujah.

3:30 - 4 Closing with Nicole Jellinek, Barry Dolinger and Elan Babchuck



Earlier Event: March 13
Mindful Mondays
Later Event: March 19
Sunday Serenity