Meeting Life Courage­ously

We are suddenly experiencing strange and unpredictable times. Our lives are being shaken and we have been thrown into uncertainty and chaos. Not surprisingly we are feeling disoriented and anxious. Join Mary O’Callaghan and Mari Kennedy to learn how to use mindfulness to better cope in this challenging period.

Day 1

Orientation to Meeting Life Courageously Retreat. Responding to uncertainty and discovering our sense of agency and resilience. Exploring ways of relating to feelings with choice and discernment and the possibilities for flourishing during this time of crisis.

Day 2

Moving out of the threat system by understanding how the Emotional Regulation System can help. Offering concrete ways of activating the Soothing System so that we can live with greater ease and self-compassion. Meditation on self-compassion.

Day 3

The power of breath and body to free us from repetitive and anxious thoughts. Learning to keep our appointment with life from moment to moment so we can sense our aliveness. Body-scan meditation.

Day 4

The dance between Stability and Flux. Meeting the polarities of predictability, the known, the certain and opening to the unknown, the uncertain and unpredictable. Through our stillness we recognise how impermanence underpins these poles so that we can meet the inevitabilities of life with stability and poise.

Day 5

Finding Freedom Within. Choice is at the heart of freedom. Learning ways to observe and respond to feelings rather than feeling reactive and overwhelmed by the intensity of feelings and emotions. Moving out of stories and into an awareness of our body.

Day 6

Pausing and letting go of the rat race. We see how nature is rebalancing herself during the pandemic. We too are creatures of nature but we have become so focused on doing that we have lost our capacity to be. Finding a centre between appreciating our ‘doing’ and valuing the moment of ’being’ as powerful healing agents.

Day 7

Getting caught in stories and missing the life that is here. Exploring the Buddhist view of the ‘two arrows’. Life throws many things at us and we need to be curious as to what we are adding to the situation. How to move out of our conditioned often intense story lines so we can meet life as it is right now and find the internal resources that can liberate us.

Day 8

Emotional States arising and passing. With mindfulness we notice these states arising, being with them and noticing how they move through us. We can move from spaciousness to anger in moments as part of the ebb and flow of life. Being with them without fully identifying with or getting lost in them can be liberating.

Day 9

Loving Kindness as a practice that helps us explore and cultivate places of internal safety. The practices offer antidotes to the tendency of being carried away by fears and anxiety.

Day 10

Learning to say ‘Yes’ to life. Understanding coping strategies that bring greater spaciousness. Exploring the conditioning that gives rise to different reactions, how do I turn up to emotional states? By saying yes to what is here we can live with greater freedom.

Day 11

Handling Difficult Emotions with care. Skilfully engaging with our suffering by coming back to ourselves rather than resorting to blame or reactivity. Learning to be with the heat of our difficult emotions so we have time to get to know them more deeply. Using the stages for embracing emotions: resisting; exploring; tolerating; allowing and finally befriending.

Day 12

Gratitude as a practice. In the midst of turmoil how do we draw on Gratitude, Savouring and Appreciation. This talk is a recognition of the people that have influenced us, particularly with an ode to fathers.

Day 13

Awareness of the vulnerability of life. How do we understand life in the face of vulnerability? Engaging the existential issues of life with mindfulness allows us to see that life itself is our greatest teacher. Coming home to ourselves to see life as it is.

Day 14

Everything starts in the darkness. How do we locate death in life as a way of accessing what is true what is wise. A road-map to navigate all the phases of life so we can live with uncertainty and make peace with surrendering.

Day 15

Practical ways of bringing mindfulness into our routine activities By seeing life afresh with mindfulness we sense life more vividly. Recognising every activity as a signature of our way of being we notice that there is no distinction between activities and formal sitting meditation.