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*Cultivating Connection* Workshop – Erica Saccente & Jim Conley | 10AM-5PM


10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Please note that SUNDAY, MARCH 3 workshop is CANCELLED.

Please note that SUNDAY, MARCH 3 workshop is CANCELLED.

: $150 ($75 per day) / Tibet House US members: $120 ($60 per day)
Classes will be recorded and available to participants.


Despite technological advances that allow us to be “plugged-in” at every moment we are experiencing an increasing sense of disconnection from ourselves and others. Add to that our personal, professional and corporate deliverables and we suddenly realize that we’re running in ‘beast-mode’ and pushing our minds and bodies to the limit — “always on” — stressed-out corporate athletes trapped in 12-14 hour work days racing to meet elusive, stretch performance metrics and KPIs until we burn-out or break. (“Run, Forrest, run..!”)

In *Cultivating Connection* we will explore the origins of this issue from an evolutionary and historical perspective, as well as the widespread effects it has on the fragmentation of our society.

Though we are fundamentally connected, it seems as if we’ve somehow forgotten this eternal truth.  This is the root cause of our dissatisfaction. In our society independence is arguably overvalued in part because of our misperceptions of solidity and separateness as we tend to overlook the true nature of our interdependence.

In this course, we will explore philosophies from modern Western psychology, Tibetan Buddhism, and Yoga traditions that support the necessity for Cultivating Connection with ourselves, other beings, and the world around us. We will also present the latest neuroscientific research supporting the basic human need to cultivate neural connectivity to create beneficial social cooperation and strong communities.

Course participants will be led through meditation and embodied practices (gentle movement, breath work) that will facilitate the re-establishment of healthy connections within their own minds & bodies, with the present moment, and with other beings. These practices will also help you learn how to deal with anxiety and provide more effective means for coping with stress and improving well-being. We will present skills to fully engage with the world around us to experience life in a meaningfully-connected way. As we learn to take personal responsibility for cultivating connection in our own lives the effects will ripple out into society creating a more peaceful, harmonic world.

Learning Objectives:

  • • Explore and better comprehend the root causes of dissatisfaction from historical and evolutionary perspectives
  • • Provide a framework for the context of these practices – as tools that can help us overcome our fundamental dissatisfaction
  • • Discuss the latest neuroscientific research supporting the practices of mindfulness and meditation which will aid you in better understanding the root causes of our dissatisfaction and the importance of cultivating connection
  • • Participants will learn about the importance of emotional literacy as it relates to improved self-awareness and relationships with others
  • • Learn to recognize the stories we tell ourselves about our “perceptions” and how those narratives influence both our decision-making and social interactions
  • • An improved understanding of techniques and skills to self-regulate in stressful situations and establish boundaries and distance between emotions and habitual reactions
  • • Participants will learn 4 meditation techniques, known historically as The Four Scopes of Mindfulness, and will come to understand and appreciate the benefits of these practices:
    ○ Strengthen the ability to focus awareness on a specific object of attention;
    ○ Increase tolerance for resting with emotionally charged stimuli;
    ○ Cultivate peace of mind and calm confidence so as to access inner wisdom; and
    ○ Widen perspective to allow one to see the bigger picture and their role in it.
  • • Participants will learn how to step out of conditioned reflexive behaviors and gain more control of their actions to promote flexibility and the freedom to make conscious choices
  • • Participants will uncover and rediscover a deep sense of connection to the present moment
  • • Participants will learn embodied practices (gentle movement, breath work) used to assist in stress reduction, promote a healthy relationship to personal empowerment, and increase somatic (embodied) awareness

Expected Outcomes:

  • • Integrate simple practices of focus and awareness into your day
  • • Improve self-awareness and emotional regulation
  • • Identify the space between stimulus and response where habitual reactions are recognized and then may be reprogrammed
  • • Reduction in the amplitude of stress responses and accompanying reactivity
  • • Reconnect with your creativity, innovative thinking, and the ability to recognize new patterns
  • • Engender internal awareness and external (social) alignment
  • • Enhance intentionality, motivation, influence, and listening skills
  • • Develop a more optimized decision-making structure
  • • An ability to visualize positive, plausible alternative “future stories” that challenge your assumptions and existing mindsets
  • • Increase resilience and adaptability in meeting daily adversity
  • • Experience greater overall well-being, innovation, and relearn how to flourish & thrive
  • • Promote a confident, adaptable embodiment of moment-to-moment presence

The Mindforce Institute, co-founded by Tibet House US (based in New York City), is a newly-created undertaking established to engage the corporate sector with secular mindfulness and leadership training programs built around a curriculum of time-tested proven techniques infused with ethical consideration and social responsibility so as to promote improved awareness and decision-making.

As part of its initial roll-out, The Mindforce Institute will hold a series of deeply-discounted one-off training workshops with participants who can commit to providing us with their individual perspectives and opinions of our new company’s program offerings — such that we may then incorporate your valuable feedback and make course-corrections and content modifications to our programs & workshops where needed. It’s our goal to meaningfully connect with you on this journey.

Cultivating Connection is a two-day workshop. Each day will comprise four 75-minute segments and incorporate presentations, practical/experiential guided meditations and group exercises. The course content is a compendium of neuroscience, the best of secular scientific practice, and a curriculum derived and synthesized from our leading teachers and experts in the field.

: $150 ($75 per day) / Tibet House US members: $120 ($60 per day)
Classes will be recorded and available to participants.


Required for the course:

Loose-fitting clothes to promote comfort during gentle movement and sitting
Be prepared for guided meditations and teachings from Indic traditions, although emphasis will be on practical application of meditation to everyday life
Floor cushions and/or chairs are provided
Yoga mats are available, but you may want to bring your own.

Who may attend?  All are welcome. Leaders and aspiring leaders from all organizational levels and backgrounds, including business, military, clinicians, non-profits, educational and health & wellness professional, and government. Join us.


Erica Saccente, PMHNP-BC, is a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner who has been studying yoga, Indic tradition and Buddhism for over a decade. She has a BS in Neuroscience, Lafayette College, a BS in Nursing and an MS in PMHNP, Columbia University; and has worked at the Nathan Kline Institute studying sensory processing in schizophrenia.

Erica is a 200-hr certified Yoga Teacher and teaches meditation rooted in Tibetan Buddhism and Indic Traditions. She has studied with the Nalanda Institute, completing their Contemplative Psychotherapy Certificate Program, their 100-hr advanced training in Yoga Psychology, and is a certified Compassion-Based Resiliency Training (‘CBRT’) teacher.

Erica has worked with marginalized communities for many years, and is currently employed at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s where she provides psychiatric treatment to those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and reintegrating back into society post-incarceration. She also maintains a private practice in NYC, Adhara Insight NP in Psychiatry.

Jim Conley is an investment banker, meditation teacher and Co-Founder of The Mindforce Institute.

Jim is also the managing director of Yellion Partners, a boutique specializing in operational and strategic advisory, mergers & acquisitions, and private equity and venture capital finance. As a senior finance and operations executive with +32 years’ front-line international experience he’s provided corporate finance and investment banking advisory for securities and M&A transactions, and general consulting, operations and turnaround counsel to private and public companies.  His experience includes long term assignments (+16 years) in Brussels, London, and Amsterdam working for Prudential Securities, JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank — serving a client base of multi-industrial multinational corporations. He has a demonstrated track record of success in leading finance, corp dev and operational teams — and implementing core KPIs, corporate objectives and executing client-specific deliverables. In late-1999, Deutsche Bank repatriated him from Brussels to New York as the Managing Director & Co-Head (North America) of the Entertainment & Media Banking group serving U.S.-based global media, entertainment and leisure conglomerates and the U.S. subsidiaries of major European media, entertainment, and publishing groups.

He’s completed long-term operational assignments as the COO & CFO of NewsSift (previously a subsidiary of The Financial Times Group; Pearson, Plc); was the Global Group CFO of Louise Blouin MacBain’s LTB Holding (with operations in the UK, France, Germany, U.S.), where he led the U.S. and European finance groups (international planning & development, M&A, treasury, accounting, audit, compliance, tax, strategic planning and operations for the Private Office and the Louise Blouin Foundation); while also the acting COO of LTB Media (the U.S. operations under James Truman).

In 2017, he completed the Nalanda Institute’s two-year Certificate Program in Contemplative Psychotherapy (CPCP) alongside a one-year teacher training certification in Compassion-Based Resilience Training (CBRT). CPCP is an intensive program integrating Western contemporary psychotherapy, neuroscience, and health & wellness psychology with the mindfulness and compassion-based systems of Buddhist psychology and meditation.

Jim and Erica Saccente (above), are two of only eleven certified Compassion-Based Resilience Training (CBRT) teachers.

In the Spring of 2018, Erica & Jim successfully launched and taught the first-ever 8-week Compassion-Based Resilience Training (CBRT) program offering in Fairfield County, Connecticut.


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