Linda Hochstetler - Monthly Newsletter
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September always means a fresh start

Is there anything you would like to start, but haven't gotten around to? School starts for kids in September after summer holidays, and we are programmed to want to begin new things in the fall. If so, take some time this fall to reflect on how you would like your life to be different. You can do this while relaxing in a deck chair looking out at a sunset, or any other relaxing summer activity that has you listening to your right brain. After reflecting, then set a course and make a change. Maybe it's an addition - something you've never tried before but always wanted to learn. Or maybe it's a deletion - giving up some bad habit that you've been meaning to drop. Either way, generate the willpower to make one small change for the better, and see if you can hold it for the necessary 66 days that science says it takes.

Teaching Schedule Changes for Awaken in Toronto

I continue to be the primary teacher for the group called Awaken in Toronto, although occasionally there are guest teachers. We've decided to offer something every week, on every Thursday evening. But we'll be bringing you some variety. I realize that not all of you share my passion for talking about death and dying, and maybe would like something a bit more uplifting, and so we are introducing Abundance Practices.  

Effective September 13, 2018, there will be a group class each week at the Village Healing Centre, 240 Roncesvalles Avenue, with the following schedule. Hopefully the various times makes it easier for those of you who struggle to make it to the 6:30 classes. All group classes are offered on the basis of Dana, which means "pay what you choose", as an opportunity to put in the bowl what you value and can afford to keep the learning accessible.

1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursdays - 6:30-7:30pm - Meditation class.
Meeting Room: Middle Room on the 2nd floor, opposite the Yoga Studio
Will include a dharma talk for the first 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of meditation. I will incorporate some concentration meditation practices, like mantras or loving kindness, with some time for insight questions. 

2nd Thursdays - 7:00-8:30pm - Abundance Practices. NEW!!!
Meeting Room: Corner office #5 on the 3rd floor
Will consist of a theme for the evening with lots of time for group discussion and input. Maybe some writing exercises, or reflection time. Or watching a YouTube video or podcast together, followed by a discussion about how to bring that aspect of abundance into your life. Our first topic will be abundance of ENERGY. Possible future classes might be financial, love, clarity of purpose, sexual appreciation, or other suggestions by attendees for areas of abundance to grow into.

4th Thursdays - 7:00-8:30pm - Death, Dying, & Community
Meeting Room: Corner office #5 on the 3rd floor
Will continue the exploration of death and dying, and the various decisions one makes to prepare for death. The aim is both practical and existential, and is discussion based. There is an opportunity to share information amongst the group if you have your own area of expertise. A theme will selected for the evening, with relevant materials and handouts provided. Sure to be thought provoking. The idea is that the more you prepare for death, the more joyful your life becomes. 

Awaken in Toronto Website
Awaken in Toronto Facebook
Awaken in Toronto Meetups

Meditation Classes - Attitudinal Foundations  

Dates: Every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursday of each month starting September 13, 2019
Time: 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Place: Village Healing Centre, 240 Roncesvalles Avenue 
(enter at the back of the Howard Park United Church parking lot)
Room: Middle Room on Main Floor, opposite Yoga Village; enter door to church from parking lot

The first 7 classes of this new program year will look at Jon Kabat-Zinn's 7 Attitudinal Foundations of mindfulness. Essentially, it's a look at how you meditate and what you're actually supposed to be doing with your mind as you practice various meditation practices. This is a fantastic place to begin if you're new to meditation. And if you've been meditating by yourself for a while, it will be a good check to see where you might be more ineffective or less efficient than you might want to be.

As always, these meditation classes include basic mindfulness techniques including noticing thoughts, feeling, and perception, but are "beyond mindfulness" in that they include challenges to some of the limiting observations. They are great for persons who have tried a bit of mindfulness meditation but would like a bit deeper dive now. Each class includes a 30 minute silent meditation practice time. Suitable for beginners to advanced, ages 12+. Attendance at single sessions is permitted, but you'll get the most out of it by attending the whole series from September 20 to December 6, 2018. Classes are offered on the basis of Dana, which is also "pay what you choose", which allows you to pay what you value.
Videos on Attitudinal Foundations
To Learn More
To view FaceBook page

Social Worker at Residential Hospice
I  can't believe that it has been almost 2 years since I started working at Bethell Hospice (20 minutes north of Brampton). I provide guidance and support to individuals and families in the final 21 days of life. I am so honoured by this work, and have learned so much about the dying process. I see how humans were built to be born, live their lives, and then die. It is such a natural process when observed slowly, as usually happens with cancer at the end. Fear disappears and peace replaces it. Persons slowly disconnect from this life and these loved ones and let go into the great unknown. And the unknown revels itself more at the end to careful observers. I help families see this and find comfort in it. 

To Learn More about Bethell Hospice

Psychosocial Conversations by PPS (Palliative Performance Scale)
I'm happy to report that my workshop on Psychosocial Conversations by PPS has been accepted into a 3rd conference. This is the collaborative result of a quality research study conducted last fall with my awesome student, Carolyn Smith. Together we categorized the most typical conversations needed by residents and families in a residential hospice in the last 21 days of a loved one's life. It is inspiring knowledge and we are so keen to share this information. We co-presented at the Hospice Palliative Care Conference in Richmond Hill in April, 2018. We will be presenting the same workshop twice more this fall at the Contemplative Care Symposium in Garrison, New York, and again at the Central West LHIN's Palliative Care Conference in Brampton. I love public education on death and dying and am honoured to lead the way in training social workers in palliative care identify necessary conversations at end of life.

Private Meditation Sessions
At the request of numerous meditation students now, I have begun offering private meditation sessions to students who attend the group classes, but are looking for a deeper relationship with a meditation teacher. The teacher-student relationship is considered one of the most transformational, as the teacher is encouraged to help the student face their fears and move quickly through their limiting views of themselves. It can be scary but it makes the meditation practice more real. Private session times and locations are negotiated individually, and all sessions are offered on the basis of Dana, or "pay what you choose". 

To Request a Private Session

Meditation Retreat - Conscious Living; an exploration of work

Dates: November 2-4, 2018
Time: Begins Friday at 8pm and goes till Sunday at 3pm
Place: Dharma Centre of Canada (2.5 hours north of Toronto near Kinmount)

If you’d like to explore conscious living and find more meaning in your life, this is the retreat for you. Throughout the weekend we will investigate 8 different modes of "work" and how we spend our time. This is work in the broadest sense, and includes how we spend time in our precious lives. At the same time, we'll look at 8 modes of consciousness connected to these modes of work. We'll discuss these pairs of aspects and see how they apply to our time and money priorities in our own lives.

These discussions are designed to go "beyond mindfulness" and are great for persons who have tried a bit of mindfulness meditation but are seeking greater transformation. Group sessions include both teachings as well as meditation practice time on the topics. These meditations will support the exploration of conscious living, and will include a variety of meditation techniques. Suitable for beginners to advanced practitioners, and for anyone looking to find new answers to some of their old questions that will take them in directions previously not explored.

*** I plan on leading weekend-long silent retreats every 3 months. It is such a great opportunity to practice meditation in a chunk of time and make real progress on your mindfulness. The next one will be in February 2019, and I will share dates for 2019 as soon as I confirm them. I recognize that it's easier to plan ahead for these retreats and will these to you shortly.


To Register
To view the Village Healing Centre Website

Events Led by my Teachers - Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat

Wasteland to Pureland - a book talk and book signing, September 11, 7-9pm

If you've been looking for a book to read that will answer many of your existential questions, this is the book for you. Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat have co-written their first book together and will be reading excerpts from it and talking about the book as a whole. If you are curious about the people who inspire me, please consider coming out for an evening and purchasing one of these amazing books. 
For More Information

The Joy of Sex and Relationship On-line Series: Mondays, October 1-22, 2018 

This series of webinars is offered by my Buddhist meditation teachers, Senseis Doug Duncan & Catherine Pawasarat. Webinars will take place live on Monday evenings 9:30-11:00pm (7:30-9:00pm MT). Recordings are also available to listen to or watch at other times throughout the week if that time is too late to watch live.


To Register

Life is full of surprises and opportunities. May you find the fearlessness necessary to jump into the full catastrophe that is life. I'll see you there!
Linda Hochstetler

Copyright © 2018 Linda Hochstetler, All rights reserved.

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