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"In truth we are always present; we only imagine ourselves to be in one place or another."
—Howard Cohn

Inspired by Change: How to Cultivate a Resilient Heart while Caring about Our Changing World
James Baraz, Bob Doppelt
3 Days: Friday, March 24 - Sunday, March 26, 9:30am - 4:30pm
Community Meditation Center
Sliding Scale $225 - $600. Please bring your lunch. Code JB1M17.
This event is now closed for registration.

Today’s world, maybe more than ever before, is filled with challenging issues that often push us to our emotional boundaries. With complex, and often integrated, issues that include environmental challenges like climate change, social injustices, racism, terrorism and other forms of moral distress, life can often feel overwhelming. Yet there’s hope as well as a proven path to help us cope with and face life’s challenges with renewed vigor and determination.

Led by Bob Doppelt, a counseling psychologist, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction instructor, and author of the new book, Transformational Resilience: How to Use Adversity to Learn, Grow and Thrive and James Baraz, a founding teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, creator and teacher since 2003 of the Awakening Joy course, and author of Awakening Joy, this non-residential retreat will help participants learn essential skills to build their psychological, emotional and spiritual resilience.

Through short presentations and individual and group exercises and periods of sitting meditation, the retreat will emphasize two fundamental resilience-building practices. The first is "Presencing," which includes mindfulness, somatic, cognitive, and social support skills that help participants calm their emotions and thoughts in the midst of adversity and stress. The second practice is "Purposing," which includes skills to turn toward adversity and use it as a catalyst to find meaning, purpose and hope, and make wise and skillful decisions that enhance individual, interpersonal and environmental well-being.

Participants will learn skills to:

  • Activate their parasympathetic nervous system and calm their emotions when they experience stress and adversity.
  • Regulate their amygdala - the brain's "fear and alarm center" - by noticing but not getting captured by their thoughts in the midst of trauma and stress.
  • Build on their strengths to develop purpose, hope, and joy in their lives and find ways to maintain it through difficult times.
  • Use their sense of purpose and joy to make choices that increase not only their own well-being, but also the welfare of other people, and the natural environment.
If you are interested in learning attitudes and skills to calm your emotions and thoughts and use adversity to learn, grow and thrive, this retreat is for you!

Recommended reading: Transformational Resilience: How to Use Adversity to Learn, Grow and Thrive (Greenleaf Publishing) by Bob Doppelt, and Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness (Bantam Books) by James Baraz.

Teachings are appropriate for the general public as well as health care professionals. In this program health care professionals will learn tools to help their clients overcome their anxiety about the climate change crisis and transform their despair into meaningful response which contributes to their own well-being, a healthy society and healing of the planet.Continuing Education (CE) credit available. See below for more information.

Learning Objectives for participating health care professionals- Based on the content of this program, you will be able to:
  • Explain how stress is decreased through meaningful action;
  • Describe the value of working with others toward a common goal positively elevates our threshold of stress and anxiety;
  • Utilize the concept of "active hope" in order to overcome feelings of despair;
  • Describe a way to hold a wider perspective that turns apathy into healthy fulfilling action;
  • Incorporate practices in a clinical setting that activate the parasympathetic nervous system and calm emotions when stress and adversity are experienced;
  • Utilize practices in a clinical setting that regulate the amygdala—the brain’s “Fear and Alarm Center”—by noticing and not getting captured by thoughts in the midst of trauma and stress;
  • Integrate practices with clients that build on strengths to develop purpose, hope, and joy in their lives and find ways to maintain it through difficult times;
  • Collaborate with clients to use their sense of purpose and joy to make choices that increase not only their own wellbeing, but also the welfare of other people, and the natural environment;
  • Describe "Presencing" practices in ways useful when working with clients;
  • Utilize mindfulness, somatic, & cognitive practices with clients to redirect their thoughts patterns during stressful experiences;
  • Describe "Purposing" practices in ways useful when working with clients;
  • Incorporate practices of turing towards adversity as a catalyst to improve mental states, in ways useful to clients.
Young Adults (18-26) and Seniors (65+ with limited income) are invited to attend this 3-Day Non-Residential Retreat for $135.


General Information

Online registration for our programs is available until 12 noon of the last business day prior to the day of the event (e.g. online registration for a Monday program ends at 12 noon on the prior Friday). There is an additional $5 fee for registering at the door. If you can't attend an event you registered for, please see our Cancellation Policy.

Visit our Online Bulletin Board for Ride Sharing to find or offer a ride.

Volunteer/Work Exchange opportunities, as well as full or partial Scholarships, may be available for this program. For more information, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteering@spiritrock.org or (415) 488-0164 x224.

Scholarships are not available for events listed as “Benefits.”

Even if you have been to Spirit Rock before, please review our Non-Residential Programs FAQ for useful information about what to wear, what to bring, how to get here, and more.

Continuing Education

This course is appropriate for psychologists and California licensed MFTs, LCSWs, LEPs, LPCCs, and nurses, and offers 18 CE credits for $180 for 3 days of participation. If you would like CE credit for only 1 or 2 days, you may pay the CE credit fee at the door- please arrive early to give yourself enough time. If you have a license different than the ones listed above, and are interested in CE credit, please check with your licensing Board to see if credits for programs from APA or BRN approved providers are accepted.

Continuing Education credit is co-sponsored by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content. The Institute of Noetic Sciences is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP10318 for 18 contact hours. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for license renewal for programs from APA approved agencies.

Credit is awarded for instructional time only. For more information, including attendance and cancellation policies, see Continuing Education (CE) Credit.

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