CEN Foundation Workshop
Homework, Daily Practices, and Resources
There is much to learn as well as many ideas and feelings to explore on our journey to Conscious Elderhood. We hope that the on-line and in-person sessions will be inspirational and give us an opportunity to connect with each other and with new ideas. But the long-term shifts we want to see in our culture will only come from our own shifts in consciousness and behavior. To help us make those shifts we have compiled videos, readings, books, and daily practices to support our personal growth and social change goals.
Each session will have short readings and videos to watch before the class. There will be about 1 hour of videos and readings that you can watch or read at your own pace. The homework and additional resources for each session will be posted at least one week before the Session meets. Please watch the videos, and read the articles as we will be discussing them in the session.
The new field of brain science has come to agreement with the ancient spiritual practices of reflection, gratitude, and meditation. We can change our brains. The following suggestions for daily practices are ways to train our brains so that we can experience more success, peace, wisdom and joy in our lives. You will be given specific practices and journaling questions after each session; these basic practices are a foundation for being a Conscious Elder.
Practice deep listening; Stay present to who is talking. Listen with your heart as well as your head. Listen with curiosity and refrain from judgment. Be willing to learn from each person’s wisdom.
Bring your whole self present for the other person. Good listening skills are valuable for growing into the Elder you want to be. They are important for working effectively with others in your family and community. What we most want is to be heard and understood. Learning to listen is like learning to love.
Developing mindfulness of both your inner world and your outer world while walking, eating, standing, and living moment to moment builds our ability to be present to whatever is happening. By being present in all situations we can act from wisdom rather than reaction, we can move our minds towards awareness and compassion and we can move from judgment to acceptance.
Take 10 -20 minutes a day to sit quietly and bring your attention to your breath. Rest in awareness of the present moment. Gently bring your mind back to the breath when it wanders off.
Gratitude is a revolutionary act. By being grateful for what is in our lives; the air, the food, the sun, the friends, the body, the ability to think….we can disconnect ourselves from the culture around us that is telling us we need more or are not good enough. Gratitude allows us to be present with what is and move forward with confidence and an open heart.
Practice gratitude. Upon waking and upon going to sleep bring to mind 3 or more new things each day to be grateful for. Express gratitude regularly to yourself, your family, and those around you.
Keeping a daily written or visual journal is a powerful tool for reflection and self transformation. The journal is for us. There is no right way to journal. We can draw or doodle. We can write down single words, poems, songs, or essays. Stay curious about the world. Just begin and see what comes.
Each class will pose questions for reflection and we can explore these in our journals. When journaling, it is helpful to engage our five senses ( sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing), and to ask questions ( Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?). Being honest with ourselves will reap rewards. When we look back at what we have written or drawn and reflect on what we have expressed we will surprise ourselves with our own wisdom and insight.