On January 31st, Flourish celebrated the Compassionate Leaders at the 4th Annual Indian Dinner.
The evening was a huge success! A warm thank you to R.L. Rowsey, the B-Tones and Enchante for their amazing musical performance. The Compassionate Leaders are truly making a difference within the Wood River Valley through their contemplative practices and local service work. Everyone at Flourish would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the many volunteers who helped make this event so special.
In collaboration with St. Luke’s Center for Community Health, Flourish offered a spring Mindful Parenting workshop in Hailey at the St. Luke’s Clinic. This weekend journey into the delicate art of Mindful Parenting explored principles of mindfulness practice, practical parenting skills, and meaningful group discussions. Tools and resources were shared to support parents in developing positive relationships with their children. By developing a relaxed, stable, and clear way of being within ourselves, we can begin to create more harmony at home and in our daily lives.
Cultivating Emotional Balance
In collaboration with St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation and St. Luke’s Center for Community Health, Flourish provided two introductory Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB) workshops for healthcare professionals and the community. Remarkably both workshops were completely full. It was very humbling to see how many people in the Wood River Valley are truly committed to cultivating exceptional mental health and pro-social behaviors. CEB is a secular and evidence-based educational program developed by Dr. Paul Ekman, a world leader in the science of emotion, and Dr. Alan Wallace, an eminent Buddhist scholar and contemplative. The aim of CEB is to introduce people to the well-being and fulfillment that can arise from the cultivation of emotional skills and mind training techniques. The program integrates psychological and contemplative theories and practices for achieving exceptional mental balance. Its key features include the arousal of meaningful aspirations, the building of attention skills and mindfulness, and the development of emotional awareness, resilience, and regulation. This spring, 9 people engaged in a 42-hour training over the next 5 weeks.
Mindful Awareness in the Schools
With the aspiration to guide students in exercises that develop a relaxed, focused and clear way of being in the world that is motivated by kindness and compassion, our school programs continue to be our most widely disseminated offering. In January, the mindful awareness program grew to include three 2nd grade classrooms at Hailey Elementary and a group of students at Silver Creek High School. To meet this growing demand for programming, we have welcomed several new facilitators into the Flourish family; Casey Scherer, Diane Nini, Kerrin McCall, Janet Abromeit and Jane Sheue.
We also continue to find ways to support school teachers and administrators in embodying and teaching mental balance and compassion throughout the day. Currently, we have weekly teacher group meetings at Hemingway and Wood River Middle School. Also, in collaboration with Maritt Wolfrom and the Blaine County Education Association, Flourish supported a mindfulness retreat for teachers in March. Given the success of this initial retreat, Flourish and BCEA are excited to find ways to make this an annual or bi-annual event for teachers.
Compassionate Leaders Program
The Compassionate Leaders have had a magnificent year! They have served over 1,000 hours at 11 social-profits throughout the Wood River Valley and through the incredible generosity of our community, family, and friends they have successfully met their fundraising goals for their service projects in Mississippi and India. In early June the second-year CLs will travel to Jonestown, Mississippi and at the end of June the first-year CLs leave for Ladakh, India to complete their service projects beyond the WR Valley. Also, in collaboration with Kay Sandberg and the Dalai Lama Foundation the CLs completed the first teen study group on the book Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World. The study group provided an ideal framework for exploring the theory and practice of secular ethics. One Compassionate Leader shared, “this book has helped me to further understand that we are all human and that no matter what, I can always find common ground with those around me. Through reading this book and practicing mindfulness, my opinions and reactions have been greatly changed. I no longer hold grudges against myself or others and I find myself judging others less and less. I hope my new perspective on life has helped those around me and been a light to a more peaceful, compassionate life.”
Complimenting their immersion into Beyond Religion, on March 1st the CLs had the opportunity to spend a day with Victor Chan, acclaimed author of The Wisdom of Compassion. This meeting was instrumental in highlighting the profound benefits of educating the heart.