Speaking Topic Descriptions

The Importance of Relationships for Mind, Body and Soul

We have an epidemic of loneliness in our country, which is partially to blame for the rise in depression and anxiety among young and old alike. Our retreat will explore spiritual practices and others that are guaranteed to increase our connections and our health in mind and body. We’ll discover how incredibly interrelated we are biologically, even in microscopic ways. Come be amazed, inspired, and delighted!

Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times

COVID-19 changed our world in many ways, creating challenges impacting all of our lives. During this retreat, we explore a few spiritual practices to support our health and well-being. We will uncover the wisdom of Gratitude, the calm generated with simple Breath exercises, the restorative benefits of appreciating Nature, and the nurturing cultivated through Self-Compassion. Insights from neuroscience and positive psychology will be incorporated into our day, as well as opportunities to experience these practices. A creative activity will also be included, along with time for small group discussion, as we gently tend to our spirits.

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.

Four Essential B's: How Beliefs Affect Our Bodies, Brains and Bonds

How do our core beliefs affect our bodies, brains and relationships in both positive and negative ways? (For example, did you know that what we believe about the food we eat will affect how our bodies process the calories?) We will explore how our beliefs, words and actions not only affect our brains and bodies, but also the brains and bodies of those around us. We will also discover how prayer fuels our health and well-being, decreasing our stress, and boosting our resilience, allowing all of us to live more joyfully.

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 grief, uncertainty, and daily challenges. 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.

The Spiritual Practice of Wonder: Appreciating the Gift of Our Bodies

Our bodies are incredible gifts. This workshop will explore new research on our brains and bodies, discoveries that quite possibly will leave you awestruck. We'll review recommended practices to incorporate into our prayer lives, exercises that can boost our spirits, help us sleep, nurture our health, recover from all of life's challenges, and honor the gift we've been given.

The Science and Soul of the Breath

We explore how the breath can help us live in the here and now, manage stress, increase our focus and concentration, and enhance our well-being. The words breath and spirit are often translated from the same word, and we discuss how breathing practices can nurture our spirits, our bodies, and our brains. We provide time to experience a variety of these practices along the way.

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.

Yoga and Meditation for Women of All Ages

 Are you looking for some time away to nurture your body and soul? Then this retreat is for you! During this weekend, we will explore several varieties of yoga: Chair, Yin, Restorative, and a hybrid of Iyengar/Hatha yoga. No matter your experience level, you will be able to participate and benefit from the diversity of yoga styles. Modifications will be provided for novices, and extra challenges given for advanced students. In addition, we will learn about and practice several forms of meditation, all of which have been shown to boost our cognitive and physical health. You will leave the weekend rejuvenated, equipped with many tools to continue caring for your body and spirit.

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.

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 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 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.

Inspirational Women in the Church:
Lessons for the Heart, Mind, and Soul

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 luminaries. We will look at their writings and simple practices to see how they experienced God in their daily lives, what lessons they can teach us, and how their wisdom might encourage us, while nourishing our physical and mental well-being.

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.