Dating back 2,500 years in the Buddhist tradition, techniques and methods for practicing mindfulness abound today to fit nearly every religious and secular lifestyle. What they all share in common is the original purposeful focusing of nonjudgmental awareness in the present moment. Studies have shown clear evidence that mindfulness practices increase psychological well being and physical health. Mindfulness has been shown to increase flourishing, positive affect, life satisfaction, competence, creativity, focus, memory, health and longevity, while reducing stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, negative emotions and insomnia. Mindfulness runs through all of MotherLOVE’s Living Well programs.
Healing Trauma: Mind and Body
Stacy Sims, founder of City Silence and the True Body Project, partners with MotherLOVE to offer workshops on mindfulness and movement to release trauma in the body and restore mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Stacy incorporates mindfulness, trauma therapy practices and new compelling research from neuroscience to empower bereaved mothers to release trauma, reduce stress and create more ease day-to-day.
Positive Psychology and Signature Character Strengths
The goal of positive psychology is to measure and to build human flourishing (or well being) in one’s life and in the world. “Well-being” is comprised of five elements: positive emotion, engagement, meaning, accomplishment, and positive relationships. Positive psychology utilizes numerous evidence-based methods to increase the elements of well-being. In well-being theory, the 24 Signature Character Strengths underpin all five elements.
In partnership with the VIA Institute on Character, MotherLOVE offers Character Strengths coaching as well as other applicable positive psychology methods proven to increase well being, specifically tailored for bereaved mothers. To take the VIA Character Strength Survey and learn your top five character strengths, click here.
Positive Psychology and Tools for Resilient Grieving and Living
Resilience can be measured and taught. The Penn Positive Psychology Center (www.positivepsychology.org) is recognized as a leader in state-of-the-art, evidence-based resilience curricula and resilience programs. The Penn Resilience Programs teach skills to reduce stress-related problems such as anxiety and depression, as well as improve optimism, well-being, and performance. The program teaches practical skills that can be applied in everyday life to strengthen an individual’s ability to overcome adversity and challenges, manage stress, and thrive in their personal and professional life.
Lucy Hone is an academic expert in the science of resilience, trained by Karen Reivich and Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania. Lucy’s work is focused on discovering the best ways to transfer the academic findings of wellbeing and resilience science to real people living real lives. In 2014, Lucy’s 12 year old daughter, Abi, was killed in a tragic car accident in New Zealand, where Lucy’s family lives. In July 2016, Lucy led a one day MotherLOVE workshop based on her expertise in resilience training as well as her personal expertise in applying resilience practices to healthy bereavement on the path to living well and flourishing after the death of a child. Video teachings from Resilient Grieving for Healthy Living are offered free of charge on MotherLOVE’s website.
Women’s Writing Circles
Women’s writing circles, facilitated by Women Writing for (a) Change and developed specifically for MotherLOVE, create a safe space where women who have experienced the death of a child can share their stories in a supportive, confidential writing circle. Using the art of writing and the mindful practices of community unique to Women Writing for (a) Change, the Women’s Writing Circles create a container for self-expression and self-empowerment. Women Writing for (a) Change offers one day writing circles that further bereaved mothers’ exploration of their journey through writing, sharing, and other media to provide profound opportunities for understanding, integration, and healing.
Mandala: Creating Sacred Art to Honor and Celebrate Your Child
A Mandala is a sacred art from, originating in India, that allows the creator to create a personal symbol to honor, heal, or connect to the intention or subject of one’s inner heart. Mandala comes from the Sanskrit language meaning circle, a container, filled with energy. Mandalas have been used throughout history and throughout the world to connect with the cosmos and the place of peace residing within. Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness.” Jung used the mandala for his own personal growth and wrote about his experiences.
In this workshop, celebrated Mandalam teacher and artist Radha Lakshmi, will guide participants through the creation of a personal mandalam to honor and celebrate their child’s life end the eternal connection between mother and child. Radha draws from own her personal experience growing up in India to share the ephemeral art from of “Mandalam,” a combination of mandala and kolam, using stencils, rice flour, colored sand, herbs, grains, colored stones and flower petals.