In this workshop we will explore how hate-speech escalates through four stages: complaint, divisiveness, blame and retaliation. Whether we are talking about increased aggression in our personal relationships, bullying on the playground or institutionalized narratives that support oppression and warfare, these are ‘red light’ speech patterns we can interrupt using skills of mindful and compassionate communication. Participants will be introduced to techniques from the book The Five Keys To Mindful Communication, by Acharya Susan Chapman, which is based upon the principles of contemplative psychology. It is helpful to read the first four chapters of the book in advance. Our time together will be held as a ‘green zone’ community, social circles of wisdom and kindness in which we protect each other’s vulnerability and discover healing pathways that arise when we turn toward our pain instead of running away from it.
The workshop will include presentations by the teachers, interactive exercises, and group discussions.
Acharya Susan Gillis Chapman, MA, worked for 20 years as a psychotherapist, specializing in family systems. During that time she developed communication models based on the teachings of Contemplative Psychology. Later, she spent nine years practicing and leading group retreats at Gampo Abbey, mentored by Pema Chödrön. Her book, The Five Keys To Mindful Communication, was published in 2012 and has sold over 10,000 copies. In addition to teaching programs on mindful communication, she currently travels and teaches as a senior teacher, or acharya, in Shambhala. She lives with her husband, Jerry, in Vancouver, Canada.
Elesa Commerse is the Founder and Co-Director of Touching Earth Mindfulness Learning Center, in Evanston, Illinois. The Center focuses on teaching teachers, generating thought leadership and helping to identify and mentor future peace makers. Elesa is drawn to at-risk populations and to those who are suffering the most. She has worked extensively with Mothers for Justice and Cities United; and is currently on assignment with The Second City, Casey Family Programs and the Village of Niles, where she teaches mindfulness to police officers. At Touching Earth, she is completing the teaching of a year-long intensive titled, Becoming Refuge, Being Refuge, a resilience based training designed as an antidote to the current geo-political environment.
Trained as a child by Henry Rucker of the Psychic Research Foundation in Chicago, Elesa became influenced by the psychology of the mind at a very young age, through the love, guidance and inspiring example of her mother, Evelyn Winslow; and her root teacher, the Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh.
Like her historical role model, Dr. King, Elesa wants to leave a committed life behind by helping people more completely inhabit their humanity. Her work takes shape through initiatives she creates and guides, including: Willing to Listen; Peace Officer Academy; and Living your Legacy.
In recent years, she has created a variety of resources, including Finding Your Way, the comprehensive CD/DVD learning system for those newly diagnosed with breast cancer; How Silent Is this Place: a three-volume library that helps aspirants learn how to chant Sanskrit mantras; and with Dr. Barbara Meyer, Befriending the Body, Befriending the Mind contemplation cards that help cultivate self-compassion and lovingkindness. With Darryl Parham, she directed and produced the documentary All Rise in Search of Hope, that is a call to action around the youth violence epidemic in America.
Elesa earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Smith College; an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; and did her formal meditation teacher training at The Temple of Kriya Yoga, in Chicago.
Learn more at www.thedeepcalm.com