Life Skills for the 21st Century
Available Workshops and Trainings
“While we persistently look forward for tomorrow’s technologies to solve our problems, we often find ourselves simultaneously looking backward, reexamining ancient wisdom on how to understand and enjoy ourselves and others in the process.”
Robert V. Adams
CEO, Xerox Technology Ventures
President, World Business Academy
The following programs are representative of the many variations of programs we have been offering in these areas. Please consult our current schedule for our regular and current program offerings.
The following offerings constitute a catalog of presentations that reflect the ongoing work of The Whole Health Center, and which are part of our Life Skills series. The rampaging growth of technology and economic expansion drives the nature and pace of change in the modern world and has the power to shape our vision of ourselves to suit its own momentum. Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, it is essential that we also acquire the inner technology that allows us to reflect deeply on the core of our humanity so that the deepest aspects of ourselves may yet be honored and expressed in the “brave new world” we are creating.
This inner technology addresses such basic human functions as how we interpret and process the world through our nervous systems; how we manage or perpetuate stress or fear; how we project or defend; how we process feelings; how we experience life energetically; how we communicate truthfully; how we listen to others; how we empower each other; and how we open ourselves to receive essential information about the nature of ourselves and the universe that cannot be grasped only by the analytical functions of our discursive minds.
These issues are important to us as individuals, as businesses, as human service organizations, and as communities as we struggle to make humane and insightful choices in the years ahead.
The following programs have already been designed and previously presented as a vehicle for communicating these life skills. Each of the programs offers a part of that inner technology which provides the maps, the tools, and the protocols that enable us to understand the engineering of the human mind/body, its responses to the world, and the choices available to us in meeting the challenge of nurturing wholeness.
We can also uniquely design a program to meet the needs of your organization.
Speaking Truth from the Heart
The Practice of Authentic Communication
This workshop will introduce a structured approach for paying attention to the truth in speaking and listening. Whereas our everyday communication is often characterized by reactive patterns of denial, distraction, projection or defensiveness, the essence of authentic communication is the capacity to access and to welcome one’s own truth while staying fully open and present to the truth of others. This is the skill that gives communication its optimum capacity for personal and interpersonal resolution, healing, and problem-solving; and for increasing the level of safety, intimacy, and effectiveness in individuals, couples, families, and groups. We will be guided through a series of carefully designed communication processes that will demonstrate the fundamentals of a “complete communication cycle,” and the boundary skills and the attention that allow truthful, or authentic, communication to occur.
Cultivating Stillness, Energy and Healing
Taoist Tradition and the Ancient Art of Qi Gong
The Taoists recognized the mind/body as a unified energy field within the larger energy field of the earth and the heavens. Qi gong (chee gong) is the practice of cultivating life energy, or qi, learning to receive this energy from the natural world, and circulating it throughout the body as a foundation for a joyous and healthy life. Qi gong gives us an opportunity to experience our body, energy and spirit in a new and delightful way and to restore a healing relationship to ourselves, the planet, and each other. Working with breath, gentle movement, standing postures, music and meditation, we will learn simple practices for rejuvenating positive life energy even in the midst of emotional stress. We will also take time to explore the practice of qi gong for healing others.
Cultivating Stillness, Awareness and Compassion
Exploring the Practical Riches of Buddhist Meditation
The Buddhist tradition offers a rich curriculum for developing a humanity based on love and wisdom. In this workshop we will be guided through a sequence of meditation exercises that will walk us step by step through the experience (and the challenges) of harmonizing the breath, focusing the mind, resting in the moment, cultivating a deeper, more expansive and detached awareness, and practicing an actively healing and compassionate relationship to ourselves and to others. With an opportunity to address individual needs and questions.
THE WHEEL OF HEALTH
A Tool for Exploring and Understanding Our Own Wellness
In this seminar Paul Weiss presents an integrated and dynamic model of whole health and immunity based upon nearly a quarter century of work at The Whole Health Center. It offers a many-leveled understanding of the principles of nutrition, elimination, communication, exercise, and emotional, social and spiritual health.
This model has proven to provide a stimulating reference point for discussion about the integrated functioning of healthy living systems.
Principles and Paradigms
This program addresses the essential unity of mind and body and how our awareness of this unity can impact our everyday health. We examine three models of mind/body functioning. Two are modern western medical models – that of stress physiology and that of recent findings in psycho-neuro-immunology. The third is the holistic model found in traditional Chinese thought. We will find that the ancient East and the modern West meet at the leading edge of unified mind/body awareness and mind/body healing. We will bring all of this home with ample discussion and experiential exercises that derive from each of these models.
Breath, Smile and Touch: Remembering the Three Treasures
Breath, smile and touch: these are fundamental to our health as animals, as mammals, as human and as spiritual beings. They are central to an intricate pattern of feedback loops in the healthy life of the organism. These are the treasures of wellness from which the complexities of modern life and worldly experience often separate us.
Our breath is more than a technology for the exchange of gasses. It is our rhythmic connection to all of life, the tidal flow of our being, the energetic wave of aliveness, and an expression of how we are at home in our world. It is the harmonizer of body and mind, and a doorway into self-awareness.
Our smile both reflects and initiates within our body an intricate network of healthy communication and functioning that helps the body thrive, maximizing its capacity for balance, immunity and regeneration. Our smile reflects the treasure of the capacity we have been given as human beings to choose affirmation and love as a healing and nourishing orientation to life. In the light of the insults, wounds and stresses of daily life it is easy to lose sight of this very real power within us.
To truly touch and be touched by the world, rather than merely colliding with it, opens us to the full life of which we are a part and sends our body a deep message of wellness. The health of the body is programmed to respond to touch and healing vibration even in our pre-born state; and this does not change throughout childhood, adolescence and adulthood. We should not neglect to create a life that optimizes the possibilities for nourishing touch and to learn how to offer this touch to others.
This workshop encourages us and teaches us how to allow more of the treasure of breath, smile and touch to work for us in our lives.
Relaxing to Home
Stress as a Spiritual Issue
We live today in what has been called The Age of Stress, characterized by enormous social, economic and technological change accompanied by the massive breakdown of family, community and religious traditions. At the same time, the expectation and demand to be “productive,” “effective,” “responsible” and “successful” has never been higher. No wonder we often feel as if we have to juggle the world on our shoulders with only the most slippery ground to stand on. We are always responding to a sense of external pressure with little time for our own souls.
Our medical/scientific understanding of stress has become more sophisticated, and we all appreciate the need for techniques of stress reduction. Classes in stress management are offered or sought after everywhere. But behind all the “modern” techniques and the scientific language that is most acceptable these days, stress is very much a spiritual issue. For it is about the nature of our very relationship to life itself. Do we need to be ever at the mercy of an endless sea of external events and mental activity, or can we learn to respond to life from a place of balance and stillness centered deep within us – as in “He leadeth me beside the still waters”? There is a great correspondence between the modern techniques of stress reduction and the traditional practices of centering meditation, devotion and prayer. Indeed, the “stress management techniques” of today are but an antechamber to a life of the spirit.
In this program, we will begin by investigating the mind-body connection and the medical/physiological understanding of the stress response and of the relaxation response. Then we will explore the spiritual implication of the stress and the relaxation responses, and discuss this in relation to our own lives. We will explore not only the practical techniques, but also the nature of the inner choices that allow relaxation to occur.
In sum, the program offers a mixture of learning, discussion and practice that gives us some practical tools for finding peace and harmony in our lives.At the same time it will deepen our appreciation of the spiritual context that gives these practices their deepest and most enduring meaning, and their greatest power to transform us.
(For those groups wishing to create a stronger link to the spiritual traditions, we can take more time to explore relevant practices in Christian and/or non-Christian traditions, including classic Christian texts on contemplation as well as modern Christian teachings on centering prayer.)
Any of these exciting programs are available to your group or institution in workshop or retreat format, or as an ongoing class series. Contact us