Conversations on Forgiveness and Emotions

Dear friends and colleagues:

Given the continued uncertainties surrounding the pandemic and the warnings about a rise in Covid-19 infections in the fall, and furthermore, given the overwhelming experiential focus of our conference, an approach that is incompatible with an online format, we are postponing the conference until next year. We will be announcing new dates in February of 2021.

If you have further questions, please email Caroline Eick:                                                                                       

Thank you for your patience and understanding.



Bringing Strands Together

June 1-3, 2017

Past Presenters

Flint Sparks
Keynote Speaker 

Flint Sparks is a Zen teacher and former psychologist dedicated to assisting people in the unending path of growing up and waking up. He is an experienced therapist and a master teacher who assists people in the skillful removal of barriers to love, both inside and outside. He is a clear and caring resource on the path of freedom from unnecessary suffering. Flint has nearly four decades of experience in the practice and teaching of psychotherapy. He is also a Zen teacher who leads retreats throughout North America and Europe.

Flint’s academic training began with graduate degrees in both biology and psychology. He has extensive postdoctoral training in mindfulness based psychotherapies and group therapy with specialty training in both the Hakomi Method and Internal Family Systems Model. His traditional Zen training began at the San Francisco Zen Center and continued at the Austin Zen Center which he founded and nourished in its early years. Currently he is a resident teacher at Appamada, a center for Zen practice and inquiry in Austin, Texas.

Today, Flint’s teaching and consulting bridge the fields of health psychology, the psychology of contemplative practices, and traditional Zen Buddhist practice. His early research and counseling experience with the terminally ill inspired him to continue investigating the influence of consciousness in physical healing and emotional well-being. In response to witnessing the difficult struggles of both patients and family members dealing with chronic illness and death, he began to search for spiritual practices which would support and deepen his psychological work. This led him to an ever deepening commitment to Buddhist teachings and practices. Together, these two primary areas of interest—healthy human development and contemplative spiritual practices—form the complementary strands of the double-helix of full human maturity. These are the ongoing practices of growing up and waking up.

Presentation: Emotions and Buddhism ​
Friday, June 2: 10:15-11:15AM / Sanctuary


Kristin Neff 
Keynote Speaker 

Kristin Neff is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, conducting the first empirical studies on self-compassion over a decade ago. In addition to writing numerous academic articles and book chapters on the topic, she is author of the book "Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself," released by William Morrow, and the 6 CD audio set called “Self-Compassion Step by Step,” released by Sounds True.  In conjunction with her colleague Dr. Chris Germer, she has developed an empirically supported eight-week training program called Mindful Self-Compassion, and offers workshops on self-compassion worldwide.  Kristin is also featured in the bestselling book and award-winning documentary The Horse Boy, which chronicles her family’s journey to Mongolia where they trekked on horseback to find healing for her autistic son.

​Presentation: Self-Compassion and Emotional Well-Being 
Saturday, June 3: 10:15-11:15AM / Sanctuary

Audio Training (Sounds True):  Self-Compassion Step by Step  

Book (William Morrow): Self-Compassion:  The proven power of being kind to yourself 


Denis Carville

Dr. Denis Carville received Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Philosophy from St. Louis University and a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan’s Combined Program in Education and Psychology.
Having taught philosophy and psychology at the university level, he spent a quarter of a century as a psychologist in private practice, testing and counseling adults, children and families. He has for years been a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a member of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis, and was President of the Kansas Association of Professional Psychologists.
Dr. Carville has devoted his intellectual life and the greater part of his career to understanding what causes us to think and act as we do and what sort of developmental initiatives enable us to mature healthily in the first place or get us over into more rational, integrated and adaptive functioning. This quest has included an immersion in evolutionary and developmental biology and cognitive neuroscience.
In September, 2016 he published the results of that lifelong search in his book, Liberation Psychology, Technologies of Mind Management and Self Actualization, an introduction to which is available online through the website,

Presentation: Emotion in the Service of Coping, Self-Actualization and Joie de Vivre
Saturday, June 3, 2:00-3:00PM / Sanctuary


Rupesh Chhagan

Rupesh Chhagan, L.Ac, MSOM, CHP, CHT is a Certified Hakomi Teacher and Practitioner and a licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist with a private practice in Austin, Texas.  He combines the wisdom of Hakomi and Chinese medicine to facilitate self-study in mindfulness that incorporates the energetic realm as well as the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Rupesh is on the faculty of AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine where he teaches Hakomi skills in an Oriental Medicine context as well as the dynamics of the healing relationship. He is a long time student of Buddhist psychology, philosophy, and practice, with extensive explorations into Vipassana and Japanese Soto Zen.

Presentation: Emotions & Health: A Chinese Medicine & Hakomi Approach
Friday, June 2: 3:15-5:30PM / Sanctuary


Miranda Dawn

Miranda Dawn is an internationally touring songwriter who performs with her husband in a folk duo called Dawn & Hawkes. She is also a Songhealer, Intuitive Artist, Massage Therapist and Reiki II Practitioner. Miranda often travels leading group Songhealing workshops in retreats and local community healing spaces. She also works through Songhealing with youth in juvenile detention centers, families in grief circles, and facilitates trainings for Songwriters interested in adding outreach to their community. Her background is in non-profit program management and social entrepreneurship and she has founded a summer camp for young women and aided in the start up of several creative businesses and community organizations. Miranda loves holding space for authenticity, whether it’s performing on stage, in a workshop, or one on one. She has a passion for facilitating healing circles, and feels most inspired by the soulful humanity which arises as people circle to share their stories or songs. She believes this process brings forth divine wisdom, intuition, and taps into one’s inner resources.

Presentation: Emotions, Songwriting and Songhealing

Saturday, June 3, 3:15-4:15pm / Sanctuary


Liliane Desjardins

Liliane Desjardins, LCAS, was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and educated in Paris, France. Her background is liturgical art, and two of her outstanding works are the stained glass windows at the Catholic Chapel at Kennedy International Airport in New York City, and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Upon entering her personal transformational program, Liliane shifted from aesthetic beauty to reshaping and re-sculpting her own life and helping others reshape theirs. Along with Gilles Desjardins, Richard Hofman and Caroline Eick, she developed the highly successful and innovative approach to addiction treatment, the Desjardins Unified Model of Addiction Treatment. She was the co-founder of Pavillon Desjardins in Val David, Québec, Canada and program director for Pavilion International, an addiction treatment and training center in North Carolina. She has 36 years of clinical experience. She is the author of the best-selling book: Imprint Journey: A Path of Lasting Transformation to the Authentic Self.

At the Center for Heart-Mind Coherence, Liliane focuses her energies on working with struggling couples to help them identify and transform the personal imprints and family of origin histories that interfere in authentic relating. She works with couples to develop skills for co-creating dynamic and intimate partnerships.

Liliane says: “To me, art and life are synonymous. They are about accessing our inner beauty and creativity, and expressing them in the joy of life. Life is about the art of living the ordinary every day events in an extraordinary and inspirational way. It is about re-writing the script of our lives. It is about creating a better and more beautiful world. After 36 years of clinical work, I am still passionate about the beauty, resilience, resourcefulness, and intelligence of the human spirit. I never cease to be amazed at the human survival skills, and the light and joy expressed when an individual touches his or her greatness. My work is fascinating. I simply love, because loved people do better.”

Presentation: Cross-Generational Emotional Healing

Saturday, June 3 - 5:45-6:45pm / Sanctuary


Caroline Eick

Caroline Eick, Ph.D., was born in Montréal, Québec where she grew up in a multicultural/multilingual immigrant neighborhood. Her experiences as first generation born to WWII survivors who also struggled with alcoholism ignited in her a passion for learning how inherited familial beliefs intersect with cultural beliefs to shape emotional distress and/or well-being. Caroline’s experiences with her son’s journey with mental illness have also led her to become a student of and integrate the latest research on the neurology of the heart and its influence on the brain to help build emotional resilience. As co-founder of the Center for Heart-Mind Coherence, Caroline integrates her experiences in the field of addiction treatment, her academic research in diversity, globalization and cross-group relations, and over thirty-five years of practice in contemplative inquiry to help clients transform emotional hurts into emotional wisdom.​

“My ardent desire is to live with reverent attention to the Heart. Countless times I have witnessed the powerful healing and transforming effect, on the lives of previously lost and hurting people, of devoted attention to the Heart and its communications. Love, forgiveness and gratitude are forged in and emerge from its center. I trust in the powerful intelligence and wisdom of my heart, your heart, our collective heart–to heal us, renew us and inspire us. Accessing this wisdom is the great calling of our times and the next revolution in human consciousness.”

Presentation: Center for Heart-Mind Coherence Presentation
Thursday, June 1 - 7:45-8:45pm / Sanctuary
Presentation Cross-Generational Emotional Healing
Saturday, June 3 5:45-6:45pm / Sanctuary


Molly Gerber

Molly is an RN with a degree in Psychology who has walked a path of recovery for the past thirty years. Her spiritual recovery has expanded her scientific background to encompass quantum and energy healing as a Reiki Master. Through this multi-dimensional process Molly continues to connect with and release stored trauma in the body, achieving  homeostasis (cellular balance), healing her DNA, resulting in Integration and Transformation of the Self to an ascended state of being. A healing is an event but getting there is a process.

All of this has brought her to her newest life as author and publisher of “PTSD A Way Up And Out”, a personal journey of healing and transforming trauma to find peace, happiness, and a new freedom. Molly has also begun a new movement by starting the first ever 12 step meeting for trauma survivors called Post Traumatic Stress Survivors Anonymous. It is based on the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous modified to help heal stored trauma. (PTSSA), a free, safe place to heal and thrive.

Presentation: PTSD A Way Up And Out
Saturday, June 3 - 4:30-5:30pm / Sanctuary


Kelley Glover

Kelley Glover earned a bachelor of Music Education from "Howard University" and a Master of Arts from the "Eastman School of Music."  She has over 20 years of teaching experience and was teacher of the year at Round Rock ISD’s "Ridgeview Middle School" in 2006. Her children's choirs have performed for the "Kennedy Center Honors" television awards show, and have recorded with the group, "Sweet Honey in the Rock."

Ms. Glover is the creator of a children's music literacy cartoon and sight singing game app called, "U BETTER Sing!” Her show has been featured on KVUE Austin, Ujima Magazine, KLBJ radio, KOOP radio, and was approved by KLRU Austin’s Greenlights Committee in 2011. In February 2016, she was filmed to appear as a featured speaker on the PBS show, “Blackademics” where she talks about the lack of diversity in vocal music education programs and its effect on vocal pedagogy, and how shame and perfectionism can lead to vocal loss in singers.

In 2015, the first two episodes of “U BETTER Sing!” were sent overseas to work with young Nigerian girls affected by the Boko Haram crisis in an initiative to educate and heal students through music. Her “U BETTER Sing!” music education DVDs were rated as the #1 Best Selling New Release for DVDs/Games on Amazon from their premiere date of December 2015 to February 2016. As a musician, songwriter, and music educator, Kelley uses music as a tool to help children and adults re-member their true selves.

​Presentation: Music and Emotions
Saturday, June 3 - 9:00-10:00AM / Sanctuary 


Gregory Gaiser

Gregory is a Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychology veteran of over 30 years, Organizational Consultant, and Pastoral Counselor. His training in Buddhist meditation is an important influence in his work. Mindful awareness, respect for living systems and non-violence are the foundations for his work with both organizations and individuals. His passion is assisting people and organizations in developing a clear sense of purpose, emotional intelligence and resiliency, and capacity for connection.

Presentation: The Power of Mindfulness in Exploring Emotions: A Hakomi Approach
Saturday, June 3 - 11:30AM - 1:00PM / Sanctuary​ 


Rupert Isaacson

Rupert Isaacson is an author and activist born in London to a South African mother and a Zimbabwean father. He is the founding director of the Indigenous Land Rights Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps displaced indigenous tribes obtain tenure of their ancestral land, and of the Horse Boy Foundation, which provides the opportunity for children to work with horses and nature.The Healing Land, Isaacson’s first book, was a 2004 New York Times Notable Book. His work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Esquire, National Geographic, Independent on Sunday, Condé Nast Traveler, Daily Mail, and Field. He lives in Elgin, Texas, just outside of Austin, with his wife, Kristin, and their son, Rowan. In the summer of 2007, Rupert and his family went to Mongolia, where they journeyed on horseback from shaman to shaman searching for a way to heal their son. The story of this incredible journey is told in Isaacson’s bestselling book The Horse Boy, which has also been captured in a documentary film by the same title.

Presentation: Epiphany
Friday, June 2 - 5:45-6:45PM / Sanctuary 


Lara Naughton

Lara Naughton is a New Orleans-based writer, teacher, and compassion trainer. With more than twenty years teaching and facilitation experience, she has worked with students K-12 as well as adults, and has led workshops with individuals who have faced challenging circumstances, including homelessness, HIV/AIDS, wrongful conviction, incarceration, and torture. As an author and documentarian, she often incorporates personal narrative exercises into her classes, and assists individuals who wish to tell their own stories. She is Chair of Creative Writing at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Director of Compassion NOLA, and a certified Compassion Cultivation Trainer through the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University School of Medicine. She wrote and directed the one-man documentary stage play Never Fight a Shark in WaterThe Wrongful Conviction of Gregory Bright, which is being performed by Bright himself on stages across the country. Her memoir, The Jaguar Man, explores her own kidnapping and rape, and how compassion for her perpetrator helped save her life.

Presentation: Writing Your Life: Using Compassion and Personal Narrative to Explore Challenging Events
Friday, June 2 9:00-10:00AM / Sanctuary


Anneliese Rosea

Anneliese Rosea, M.Ed., CC, DD, has studied the world of emotions since the 1990's and environmental topics for the last decade.  Anneliese has experience as an adult educator in her volunteer position of Texas Water Captain for the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, as the EarthCare Staff Liaison at Unity Church of the Hills, and as a life-purpose coach for Perceptual Uplift.  Her own life purpose involves the expansion of compassion by raising awareness of life purpose and helping others awaken to innate joy. Learn more about Anneliese at

Presentation: Our Emotions and Their Connection to Our Environment
Friday, June 2: 2:00-3:00PM / Sanctuary


Kristi Vitali-Harmonson

Kristi Vitali-Harmonson, PT, LMT, and Life Coach is a Physical Therapist of over 20 years and an expert Myofascial Release practitioner and Cranio-Sacral therapist. She began her post-graduate training in 1997 with founder John F. Barnes, PT, and has taught nationally, presenting the John F. Barnes Myofascial Release Approach--a body, mind, and heart centered approach to pain-relief and awareness--to physicians and therapists around the country. Kristi's experience and training as physical therapy practitioner, yoga and meditation instructor, Integrated-Life Coach, and dedicated student-of-life itself, gives her an enriched and focused insight into the physical, emotional and behavioral patterns underlying body function and pain. Kristi is owner and founder of Be Well Myofascial Release & Therapeutic Yoga and, The Integrated-Life Coaching program, both located in Austin, Texas.

Presentation: The Body: Your Emotional Guidance System
​Friday, June 2: 11:30AM-12:30PM / ​Sanctuary