Mindful Healing from Religious Wounds

Please let me know if you are interested in the Mindful Healing of Religious Wounds program. I will contact you when the next program is scheduled.

Program Outline

  • Week One: Being Here / Being Home

    Many religious teachings are focused on being someplace other (e.g. heaven, the hereafter, etc.) rather than the present. This can result in a disconnection from your actual, felt experience. Yet many scientific studies are revealing the connection between mindfulness (being present) and deep-seated happiness. We begin our healing journey by learning how to be at home in ourselves, fully connected to the present moment. Taught by Pam Hausner

  • Week Two: Embodiment

    We live in a disembodied society due to the hectic pace of modern culture and heavy use of technology. Religious teachings can further impact this natural connection to our body through teachings of “denying the flesh”. Yet our bodies and minds are intimately connected and are also a tangible source of great pleasure and joy. This session will help us learn how to re-connect to our bodies through mindful awareness. Taught by Pam Hausner

  • Week Three: Radical Acceptance and R.A.I.N.

    Awareness of feelings and thoughts is one of the foundations of mindfulness. Religious teachings are often filled with a dogma that tells us how we “should” be thinking or feeling.  In contrast, this session includes the freedom to accept all of our thoughts without making them right or wrong, honoring them and encouraging a playful curiosity as we grow in awareness of our thoughts and thought patterns.

    We will also learn how to use R.A.I.N. to accept the pain from a past that may have limited opportunities to participate in common social experiences that were not allowed by restrictive religious rules. Mindful compassion helps us to open a spaciousness around areas of pain that reduces the suffering we may be experiencing. Taught by Pam Hausner

  • Week Four: Self-Compassion

    Sometimes religious teachings are so focused on doing good works for others that there is little to no teaching on how to love yourself. This perpetual diminishment of your true, inherent value can cause great harm to your sense of self. We will discuss how to love yourself first and cultivate compassionate self-care. Taught by Pam Hausner

  • Week Five: Anger

    When your religious experience has not provided you the safety and support you needed, anger can occur as a healthy response to alert you that a boundary has been crossed. However, many of us have learned that it is not safe to express our anger, even when it provides us with important information. In this session, we discuss the difference between bitterness and anger and learn how to embrace anger as a friendly ally that helps point us to our basic need to feel safe and the wise, authentic actions we can take for resolution. Taught by Kristy Arbon, HeartWorks Training.

  • Week Six: Understanding and Tending to Shame

    Our brains are wired for connection in community and shame is sometimes used by religious leaders as a method to keep us “in the fold.” Shame is a difficult emotion to work with because at its core it is the feeling that our survival is threatened, often triggering a fight/flight/freeze response. Often we learn to modify our behavior to avoid feeling shame and to please the people around us. This people-pleasing response can carry well into adulthood, disconnecting us from knowing our true selves. Mindfulness practice helps us to identify shame (and how it is different from guilt) and handle it like any other difficult emotion, thus releasing us from its grip and giving us the freedom to make healthy decisions for ourselves. This topic will include an introduction to why we feel shame, an exploration of how shame feels in our body and why, an introduction to the relationship between shame and stress in our body, and some practices to take away with you to use in your daily life to help you tune into your body and soothe yourself when you experience shame. Taught by Kristy Arbon, HeartWorks Training.

  • Week Seven: Boundaries

    Trauma is explained by trauma specialist Pat Ogden as “any experience that is stressful enough to leave us feeling helpless, frightened, overwhelmed, or profoundly unsafe.” Most people have experienced some sort of trauma in their lives which leaves an impact on their physiology. For those who have experienced trauma as a result of religious teachings or actions from religious people, there is often a heightened need for identifying boundaries and learning how to be safer. This session gently approaches how to develop greater awareness of internal sensations that point to a need to set boundaries, and includes practices to help you feel in empowered to effect change in yourself and your environment. Taught by Kristy Arbon, HeartWorks Training.

  • Week Eight: Releasing Emotional Burdens through the Option to Forgive

    Our expectations for religious leaders often include a sense of trust in their teachings or modeling of good behavior. When that trust is broken or our worldview has changed, exploring the practice of forgiveness is a viable option. We may want to explore if forgiving others for the harm they have done to us and others is realistic, or we may want to explore forgiving ourselves for being a part of a harmful system. Forgiveness is not necessary for healing and that sometimes it’s healthy not to forgive. In this session, we explore what healthy forgiveness is and what it may look like in our individual lives. In this topic, we will look at our motivation to forgive, why we might forgive as part of a self-compassion practice, reasons to not forgive, and a practice for beginning to forgive ourselves or others. Taught by Kristy Arbon, HeartWorks Training.

  • Week Nine: Community & Lovingkindness

    If you have found it necessary to pull back from or even leave your faith community, you may feel a sense of isolation and a need for belonging. We have a very basic human need for a supportive community yet finding a new community to connect with can be difficult, and especially challenging when you may have also lost a sense of identity that was defined for you by your previous faith community. This session introduces somatic self-compassion practices for connecting in community and explores resources for building new, supportive relationships.

    Lovingkindness (metta) practice is an ancient traditional meditation practice that modern science indicates is useful in bringing inner healing and cultivating compassion for the world around you. We will learn some traditional lovingkindness phrases while being encouraged to develop our own personalized phrases. Taught by Pam Hausner

  • Week Ten: Creating Meaningful Rituals

    Rituals are a part of our everyday life (we get up, brush our teeth, get dressed, etc.) For those with a religious background, rituals also provide a deep spiritual connection and give meaning to our lives. When those former rituals are no longer meaningful or accessible, we can experience a type of restlessness as we search for new connections. In this session, we are invited to explore ideas for new personalized rituals to provide a tangible way to honor our true, individual values.

    Personal values-based rituals may be helpful for a single time (like a rite of passage), while other personal rituals may serve for a season of time or you may choose to create a ritual that will be with you for years to come. Whatever you create, your new ritual will be deeply personal and meaningful because it is created with compassion for what matters most to you. Taught by Pam Hausner