Joy, Healing and Restoration highlighted at this year’s Bridge Conference.

While we continue to face new and ongoing challenges in Washington state and beyond, our team has held true to our Bridge Conference values of  Equity​, Nourishment​, Leadership​, Change​, Innovation​, Community​, and  Belonging. It is these values that inspired us to meet the needs of our community through carefully chosen workshops. We invite and strongly encourage each person to choose a session that is just for you and what you want and need, whether it is joy or healing or restoration. Here is a list of just some of the sessions we’ll be offering this year.

Everyday Mindfulness & Self-Compassion 
Presenters and Organization: Shayla Collins and Becca Calhoun with Center for Child and Family Well-Being at the University of Washington 

Description: In this interactive workshop, we will introduce participants to self-compassion and mindfulness concepts and skills that can help us tune in and care for ourselves. In the current social and political climate, it is normal to be struggling and to need space for healing. This workshop is appropriate for anyone who is feeling stressed and could use some tools to feel grounded and connected. We will focus on brief, practical skills that participants can weave into their day to support their well-being and relationships, including their work with children, youth and families.

Participants will leave the workshop with: 

  • A variety of mindfulness and resilience skills that can be woven into any schedule as well as team meetings or other work settings. 
  • New skills that promote reflection and emotional resilience. 
  • Handouts summarizing the topics and practices for their use as well as to share with families.

Writing Joy through the Body
Presenter and Organization: Asha Berkes with Write 253 

Description: Using concrete images as metaphors for larger emotional land spaces, learning tools to center the body and mind, and learning writing as a form of gratitude practice. This workshop is intended for people of high school age and older, beginner or advanced writers, and is primarily directed toward educators or leaders but is for all folks.

Activities include close reading and discussing poems as a group, discussing ways to teach poems and help students access the deeper meaning of a poem. We will do a body scan, breathing exercises, and a mindfulness practice. We will focus on the poem “Feet” by Ross Gay (along with other poems) and how the speaker goes from disliking a certain part of his body to appreciating it. We will locate places in the body where we hold stress/ anxiety/ anger etc. and write poems about how we can also experience joy in our bodies as well. Participants  are welcome to share their poems with the group (sharing is always optional and to folks’ comfort level!).

Resting in Community: A Meditation and Sound Bath Experience
Presenter and Organization: Tai Mattox with Experiences by Tai

Description: With the demands of our personal and professional lives, our nervous systems are overstimulated and many of us feel overwhelmed. We are moving through our days with hardly a moment to pause. It’s hard to “Illuminate Becoming” from a place of exhaustion. This workshop is designed to provide space for participants to slow down and cultivate rest and relaxation within a framework of community care. 

The intention of this session is to counteract stress and anxiety by activating participants’ parasympathetic nervous systems and supporting a settled body. We will start with a community check-in, move into a guided breathing practice, flow into a guided visualization, and end with “sound bath.” A sound bath is a meditative experience where those in attendance are “bathed” in the soothing vibration of sound waves. These waves are produced by various sources, including metal and crystal singing bowls, percussion, chimes, rattles, other instruments and even the human voice itself. For this experience, the facilitator will mostly be using metal and crystal singing bowls.

Participants are encouraged to lie down for a portion of our time together, to invite deep rest. Chairs will be available for those who prefer. Suggested items to bring: yoga mat and/or blanket, pillow/bolster, bottle of water and anything else needed for your comfort.

This session is open to all. No meditation experience necessary.