Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Power of Authentic Presence: Why Community Matters

by Elizabeth Venart

How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all its Beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its Being;
Otherwise, we all remain too frightened.
- It Felt Love – from The Gift: Translations of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinksy

Authentic connection – to ourselves and each other – is at the heart of resilience. From the first moment I imagined creating The Resiliency Center, community was always at the forefront of my mind. We are stronger together than any of us could be alone, and we crave opportunities to connect and feel understood, soft landing places during life’s difficult times and strong foundations for our risk-taking and growth.

Isolation can breed loneliness and depression, and wearing a mask in the company of others can be as isolating as sitting home alone. When we do not have places where we can show the myriad colors and sounds of our true self, we may fail to see the universality in our struggles. When we do not have places where we can show up authentically – and be accepted for who we are – then we can feel alone, isolated, and unhappy. We long to be seen and to connect. The growing addiction to social media actually reflects this need, yet it often fails to meet the need it highlights.

In a world increasingly oriented around virtual connection, some people feel more courageous in sharing their thoughts, ideas, experiences, and beliefs – and others feel shut out of the conversation or shut down in the midst of trying to engage. Behind a keyboard, we may feel brave to express some facet of our identities, but how fully are we able to share the vast range of our experiences as human beings?  And, if we are only sharing a small piece of our full experience through social media and yet social media has become a primary way in which people do connect with each other these days, how connected do we really feel?

There is a power in connecting with others face-to-face, in seeing and being seen, in sharing and listening and learning together. The Resiliency Center offers many opportunities to do just that - from meditation twice weekly to movement classes, spiritual poetry gatherings, groups for teens and new moms, and a monthly mindful knitting circle.  We look forward to seeing you - and connecting - soon.  

Importance of Face-to-Face Connection in the Digital Age

by Brittiney George

I have spent a number of years “soul-searching”. Searching for the things that resonated with my soul to let me know that I was in the right place or doing the right thing. I was lucky to find my way into my life’s work as a Somatic Therapist.  As I have embraced soul-filled living, I find that connecting face to face, heart to heart, and soul to soul with others is a crucial part of my self-care.  It's a connection that social media does not provide for me. I hear this same sentiment often from my clients. They share the loneliness, and pain of comparison that happens when the largest part of their support comes from online connections, often feeling like they just don’t measure up to others…..and so I got curious.  What exactly is present, and what is missing, when we connect online vs. in person.  Here’s some interesting research on just that topic:

“Researchers from Beijing Normal University pointed out that face-to-face communication differs from other forms of communication in two key ways:
1.     Face-to-face communication involves the integration of “multimodal sensory information,” such as nonverbal cues (facial expressions, gestures, postures, etc.)
2.     Face-to-face communication involves more continuous turn-taking behaviors between partners, which has been shown to play a pivotal role in social interactions and reflects the level of involvement of a person in the communication”- The Journal of Neuroscience, 7 November 2012, 32(45): 16064-16069

Below is a summary of what Dr. Mercola discovered when he looked at connection:

·      In-Person Meetings Allow Your Brain to Synchronize with Others: 
Research shows a significant increase in the neural synchronization between the brains of two partners during face-to-face interactions that are not present in during other types of, conversation.- The Journal of Neuroscience, 7 November 2012, 32(45): 16064-16069
·      The Unconscious Elements of Face-to-Face Meetings May Trump Even Language:
Researchers from MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory revealed that face-to-face meetings allow members to come up with more ideas and become more capable as a group compared to even virtual meetings. “Who’s talking, how much, in what tone, interrupting or not, facing toward whom and away from whom, and gesturing turns out to matter.”- Newsweek September 24, 2015
·      Face-to-Face Meetings Are Best for Creativity:
Research published in the International Journal of Organizational Design and Engineering found:  The more team members directly interact with each other face-to-face, and the more they trust other team members, the more creative and of higher quality the result of their teamwork is.” Int. J. of Organizational Design and Engineering 01/2012; 2(4):380 - 401.
·      In-Person Interactions Are Important in Your Personal Life, Too:
Loneliness, a feeling of being disconnected from those around you and wishing you had that connection, is on the rise and can put your health – both physical and emotional – at risk. “It is often difficult, if not impossible, on social media to reveal the qualities that define deep, intimate relationships. While our social media friends offer us a great deal, it is not a true substitute or even supplement for real-life interactions with others. But unlike online friendships, real-life relationships take time and effort. They help us learn about others and ultimately ourselves. Online friendships, while valuable in many ways, lack the ability to provide us with opportunities for deep and lasting emotional closeness. So accept and seek out your online friends, rekindle lost connections, and revisit childhood friendships, as long as it is not at the expense of nurturing and deepening your real-life relationships.”

What kind of connection do you crave right now?  Not all connections are equal.  Where in your life do you need to make a REALconnection…..face to face, heart to heart, soul to soul?  Take a moment and ask yourself that question and trust the gut response that says “this is the one I most need right now”.  Maybe we have something already in place that can help you on the journey to making the connection you are searching for: 

Connecting Soul to Soul:

  • Rumi and Hafiz Poetry Evenings
  • Morning and Evening Meditation 
Connecting Through Nature: 
·      For the Fun of It! Weekend exploration. (See Details in Featured Programs Below)
·      Explore with the natural world and take a walk in nature on the Fort Washington State Park path easily accessible from our parking lot.

Connecting Through Creativity:
·      Knitting Circle 
·      Philadelphia Writers Workshop 
·      Paint, Sip, and Savor (See Details in Featured Programs Below)

Connecting With Other Parents:
·      Holistic Parents Meetup 
·      Supporting Moms Through Motherhood: Contact Catherine McLaughlin for details at
·      Infant Massage and Baby Sign Language Classes: Contact Brittiney George for details at

Connecting With Other Holistic Professionals:
·      Monthly Networking Breakfast [Link to:]
·      Clinical Supervision Opportunities 
·      EMDR Consultation Group for Therapists: Contact Elizabeth Venart for details at 
·       Mindful Therapist Peer Group: contact Jen Perry for Details at
·      EMDR International Association Regional Meeting:  contact Elizabeth Venart for details at
·      Looking for a Heart Centered Community To Build Your Practice? Consider joining the team of practitioners with their practices at The Resiliency Center. Contact Elizabeth at to learn more. 

Connecting Through Mind, Body, and Movement:
·      Qi Gong Classes
·      Rest, Restore, and Move Class
·      CEM (Connection, Expression, and Movement) Workshops 
·      Interstitial Cystitis/Pelvic Pain Support Group: Contact Kathy Krol for details at
·       Beginner’s Mindfulness Class: Contact Jen Perry for
·       Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Group for Women:  Contact Jen Perry for

Connecting with Other Highly Sensitive People (HSP’s):
Highly Sensitive Leadership: Community Circle: Contact Elizabeth at to learn more. 

Connecting One on One:
Looking for one on one support?  Visit our Practitioner Profile page at  We’d love to connect with you!

Brittiney George, BS, CRS, CST-L3, ICI, CEIM, is a Movement Practitioner and Somatic Therapist specializing in Transformative Touch.  She offers gentle, exploratory movement classes at The Resiliency Center and co-leads Connection, Expression and Movement (CEM), a monthly workshop series focusing on body-mind integration.  For a complimentary 55 min. Somatic Therapy session contact Brittiney at 610-389-7866 or

Connecting to Spirit

by Elizabeth Venart

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi

In a time when the answers to so many questions are only a few keyboard clicks or a Siri search away, deeper questions about meaning and spirituality may go unasked or, when asked, feel even more elusive. Since the beginning of recorded history – and certainly through oral traditions for a long time before that – people have sought a way to make sense out of the inexplicable and extraordinary. Spiritual mystics from every faith tradition have shared their transcendental experiences of Divine Connection as a way to support others on the path to enlightenment. In our monthly spiritual poetry gatherings at the center, we explore their writings – from 12th century Rumi and 13th century Hafiz through Rilke and modern-day Mary Oliver. Sufi poets Rumi and Hafiz are often at the center of our evenings, as they speak eloquently of experiences of connection with the Divine – and the experiences of longing when the connection to God feels distant. These spiritual teachers grapple with the big questions about love, life, death, beauty, joy, and suffering. In a world where hard questions and concrete answers abound, Sacred Poetry has the power to help us open more deeply to Mystery.

Over the past five years of monthly poetry evenings, we have embraced the time together as its own act of surrendering to Mystery – moving away from a more solid plan with specific poems copied to share and moving toward spontaneous selection of poems from a pile of books in the center of the room. We take turns choosing poems at random and those who wish to read aloud do, so we can all listen with humor and curiosity to see to see what wisdom and themes emerge. We don’t always understand the poems read, but we gain something regardless – a phrase or image that jumps out at us, laughter, tears, a new question, or the peace or cacophony stirred by the poem’s language and rhythm. Our poetry evenings are sometimes whimsical, sometimes profoundly deep, and always connecting. Join us – if you feel curious or called. Learn more at