Inner Maintenance: Our New 12 Week Theme Program

We’ve made a significant change to our program at New Life recently. The resident program now runs in a 12-week cycle where we explore a different theme each week through the daily workshops, groups, sessions, and activities. This way we can make sure every one of these important topics will be touched upon in every resident’s 3-month stay. Because the themes will be highlighted not only in the daily workshop but also men’s group/women’s circle, guided meditations, community workshops and other activities, our volunteers and guests will also have a chance to explore these topics.

The themes have been carefully chosen by our Life Coaching Team to ensure the program is relevant and encompassing whether you’re here for anxiety, depression, burnout, addiction or self-development. The themes chosen are universal and can help improve the way we connect with ourselves, others and our environment – hopefully leading to a happier, healthier you.

These are our chosen themes:

  1. Boundaries: Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves and to maintain a sense of dignity and self-respect. This theme will be about exploring what our personal boundaries are and whether we are able to implement them in a healthy way. We will also look at how we deal with other people’s boundaries in a respectful way.
  2.  Community: At New Life, community means more than a group people living in the same place. It’s a feeling of support, caring, and fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Most members of our community describe part of such a community as a crucial component of their healing process. During this week we will explore the challenges and benefits of living in a community.
  3. Shadows:  In Jungian psychology, ‘shadow’ may refer to an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Because we usually reject the less desirable parts of ourselves, the shadow is usually negative. However, there are positive aspects that remain hidden in the shadows, especially in cases of low self-esteem or anxiety. To really know ourselves we must accept our shadow, and to deal with other’s shadow we must know our own. During this week we’ll be exploring how shadows can be reflected back to us by the people around us. We’ll be looking at things that trigger us in addition to examining emotions we usually try to avoid such as fear, shame, anger, and sadness.
  4. Self-Love: Self-love is a state of appreciation for ourselves that grows from actions that support our own growth: physical, psychological and spiritual. People who have more self-love are better at knowing what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than what others want for them. With this theme, we’ll explore how we can cultivate and nourish a state of self-love.
  5. Communication: Communication is a process that has the intention of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange information, news, ideas, and feelings but also create and share meaning. The way we communicate can be both the source and the solution to interpersonal conflict. With this theme, we hope to create more awareness around how we communicate and look at different modalities, like NonViolent Communication, that can help us prevent or solve miscommunication and conflict.
  6. Gratitude: In both Buddhism and Positive Psychology the practice of gratitude is essential for cultivating happiness and the experience of the interconnectedness of all life. There’s a sense of liberation, however brief the moment, when we are able to focus on what we have instead of what we want.The practice of gratitude is not in any way a denial of life’s difficulties but rather allows us to meet those difficulties with an open heart. During this week we’ll explore different ways of practicing and maintaining a sense of gratitude.
  7. Body Awareness: Enhancing body awareness has been described as a key element for therapeutic approaches often categorized as mind-body approaches, such as yoga, Tai Chi, TRE and mindfulness-based therapies/meditation. The practice of body awareness is about learning to connect on a deeper level to our body and ‘listen’ to what it’s telling us. It’s a very effective way to feel grounded and present without getting caught in the stories or thoughts our mind is continuously running, which contribute to depression and anxiety. With this theme, we’ll practice different modalities that lead to increased body awareness and investigate how it feels to have a full embodied presence and the benefits related to that state.
  8. Forgiveness/Compassion: We’ve joined forgiveness and compassion into one theme as we believe that they’re closely related. We must first be able to forgive ourselves and others before we are able to have compassion. Compassion literally means ‘to suffer together’ but before we can have true compassion for others we need to have compassion for ourselves, a willingness to actively alleviate our suffering. With this theme, we’ll explore different ways on how we can learn to forgive and cultivate compassion.
  9. Relationships: Relationships are an important part of our lives and have a big influence on us. An interpersonal relationship is an association between two or more people that may be based on interference, love, solidarity or some other type of social commitment. Some relationships we choose while others we do not. Relationships can be a source of joy, happiness, feelings of connectedness and belonging but they also hold the potential for pain, sorrow, and frustration, as well as the potential to feel disappointed and misunderstood. These two different extremes make relationships a fascinating theme to explore. This week will be about exploring what instigates healthy relationships and how can we maintain them. We’ll be looking at different types of relationships (romantic, friendship, family and so on) both in and out of our community.
  10. Kindness: Kindness can be described as the quality of being gentle, caring, generous and considerate. Kindness or loving-kindness (Metta) is also the first of four sublime states in Buddhism and is an important heart opening practice which allows us to approach life in a more gentle, caring way. With this theme, we’ll explore how we can cultivate kindness in daily life and look at the benefits of feeling a sense of kindness towards ourselves and others.
  11. Identity/Values: “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom”. This famous quote is often attributed to Socrates, a classical Greek philosopher and considered one of the founders of Western philosophy. Throughout the ages, knowing who you are and what you value has been paramount to lead a meaningful, fulfilling life and it’s still as relevant in today’s modern world. With this theme, we’ll investigate the importance of identity and values and how it can support us in finding purpose and satisfaction. We’ll discuss what values are and how we can recognize our own values.
  12. Perspective: Our perspective defines our experience of reality. The ability to challenge or change our perspective is an important part of cultivating a greater sense of understanding and empathy towards ourselves and the world around us, and therefore being happier and more content. With this theme’s week, we’ll be exploring how changing our perspective can change our attitude, thoughts, and feelings.

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