Previous Events

What Laughter Teaches Us about Living and Dying

Years ago, workshop facilitator Jen Mathews had been known as one of “the laughter girls” in Mt. Shasta, CA. Her life-partner Kate was the other.

Both were Certified Laughter Yoga Teachers, leading people in laughter classes on the east and west coasts. When Kate died in 2011, Jen realized how much of her response to death had been influenced by the lessons she learned from practicing “unconditional laughter.”

LAUGHING MATTERS draws upon the combination of these experiences. How can learning to laugh for no reason show us what really matters, to be more present, and to let go of our worries and judgments? And how can we apply these insights to not only life and living, but also to death and dying?

We’ll consider what holds us back from joy and playfulness, and how we can move through these limitations in order to live more fully. We’ll look at how we respond to life’s challenges, including when we are in the midst of another’s or our own dying process, or the loss and grief we may experience because of someone’s physical death.

To read an article in which Jen shared more details about the origins of this workshop, please click HERE.

Join us as we stretch our imaginations beyond conventional views of joy and suffering, beyond humor and seriousness, and beyond the habitual patterns of our minds!

This is an experiential workshop. However, there is no need to feel happy or even be in the mood to laugh in order to attend. Come as you are. No sense of humor required. (The yoga is in our breath and inner experience of laughter, not yoga postures).

To learn more about Jen’s personal journey connecting laughter, living and dying, please go to her About page.

A Closer Look at Healing from Loss

When grief isn’t grief, what is it?

Bring your openness and curiosity as we dive into this tender topic in an unconventional way.

Like looking at a completed puzzle, we may see grief as one solid picture. We may forget grief is actually made up of many smaller pieces: a range of feelings, thoughts, needs, beliefs, memories, expectations, regrets, hopes and more.

The WHEN GRIEF ISN’T GRIEF workshop is about dismantling the pieces of the puzzle in order to let the light shine through. It’s about taking a closer look at what we are experiencing, and about finding ways to either tend to or let go of what we discover.

Drawing upon useful tools from NVC (non-violent communication, developed my Marshall Rosenberg), we will identify various emotions and the met or unmet needs that activate them. We will then explore how the death of a loved one can bring unmet needs to the surface, and how this physical loss invites us to find new ways to meet these needs on our path of healing.

We will also take a closer look at the puzzle by becoming more aware of where our feelings, thoughts, and needs come from. Which beliefs inform how we respond to death and loss? Which ideas about grief have we decided are true? How does where we focus our attention and energy impact the pieces of the puzzle?

WHEN GRIEF ISN’T GRIEF is an experiential workshop. You’ll be invited to consider your own emotional experiences and explore your own inner world. All exercises will be optional, though encouraged.

To learn more about Jen’s perspective on grief and loss, please visit her website for audio interviews and articles.

How Connection Transforms the Experience of Loss

Perhaps the most common experience we all share when someone we care about dies is missing them.

Whether we miss someone days or decades after their death, whether we miss them often or occasionally, this experience can provoke heartache. Or it can act as a reminder to cultivate connection.

In THE MISSING LINK, workshop facilitator Jen Mathews shares one of her most significant insights after the death of her life partner: a simple, powerful question that can help us experience more connection and less sadness, without bypassing our emotions or being in denial.

We’ll explore how this effective tool allows us to “enjoy the presence” of loved ones who have died, and connects us deeply to the spirit of who they were and are.

Neuroscience teaches us that when we repeatedly choose new thoughts, we literally rewire our brain. When these new thoughts focus on presence rather than absence, we rewire our relationship to the deceased, to ourselves, and to That Which Never Dies.

So when we are missing someone we love who died, the “missing link” is to find a link. To find any link, to find any way we can to be connected. In that moment, an antidote to loss is found.

THE MISSING LINK is an experiential workshop. Although a spiritual approach will guide some of the activities, please know that a more secular perspective is welcome.