Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice Retreat

Retreat Theme: Serenity: Returning Home to Your Present Moment

This Retreat was Friday, September 21, 2018. To be notified of future Mindfulness Retreats email us here

Retreat Overview:

With the distractions of social media, e-mail, the Internet, and our busy work and personal life, we quickly lose touch with the present moment. At times, we feel irritable, worried, and stressed. We are reactive or sensitive to the words and actions of others. We isolate, we beat ourselves up, we are less than kind to others. We are not ourselves. We are off in the autopilot part of our mind, disengaged, disconnected, and perhaps overwhelmed.  Mindfulness can help us return – return back to our present moment – our home. This is where we re-discover ourselves. We experience and enjoy our breathing, our 5 senses, and our interactions with others. We return to who we are – our core character strengths.

We can return back “home” to ourselves, over and over during the day. This is part of our practice on a retreat. Retreats give us the opportunity to refresh ourselves, rejuvenating ourselves with our breath and our core strengths. We practice shifting ourselves from distracted living to mindful living. In this way, a retreat is special and potentially transformative as we transform moments of mindlessness into moments of mindfulness. At the same time, a retreat is nothing special at all: we are eating, walking, standing, sitting, creating, and talking. It is simultaneously mundane and insightful. Calming and energizing. Simple yet powerful.

Come see for yourself and connect with our growing MBSP community! You will learn, practice, experience, and discuss mindfulness and strengths throughout the day. Each half-day will have different forms of mindfulness meditation, didactic input, small group discussion, and free time for experimenting.

If you have attended any or all of the MBSP courses, please join us! If you have attended zero MBSP or VIA courses, come join us! The Retreat is open to everyone as a standalone offering on Friday September 21st by the VIA Institute on Character, in collaboration with eMindful. It will be led by MBSP creator, Dr. Ryan Niemiec, and will include (in the afternoon) a special presentation from MBSP leader, Dr. Roger Bretherton from the University of Lincoln in England.

In order to accommodate global time zone differences, you have three choices for signing up: the Full-Day Retreat (8:30 AM – 5:00 PM), the Half-Day Morning (8:30 AM – 12:30 PM), and the Half-Day Afternoon (1:00 PM – 5:00 PM). Times noted in U.S./Eastern Daylight/New York time.



8:30: Opening Meditation

9:00: Ryan Niemiec on “Unhooking the Mind”

9:30: Strong Mindfulness (3 phases: experiencing, experimenting, and engaging)

11:30: Mindful Preparation

12:00: Mindful Eating/Drinking

<<< 12:30 – 1:00: BREAK >>>


1:00: Meditation: Strengths and your body

1:30: Roger Bretherton on “Serenity: Humility and the Quiet Mind”

2:00: Arrogance meditation 😊

2:30: Mindful Strengths Use (3 phases: experiencing, experimenting, and engaging)

4:30: Large groups comments/Q & A

4:50: Closing remarks, closing meditation

5:00: Conclusion

Q & A:

Can you really do a retreat online? Shouldn’t you be in a beautiful setting in the forest or along the ocean or lake?
Sure. Beautiful settings are a wonderful place to practice and cultivate mindfulness and strengths use. But, our setting should not dictate whether or not we are mindful. Your mindfulness can be expressed wherever you are. We spend most of our days in settings relating to home and work so why not practice mindfulness and strengths use in those settings? That will make your future application more abundant. Past participants in MBSP Retreats online with Ryan through the VIA Institute have been stunned by how user-friendly and beneficial an online retreat can be. There are numerous stories of personal transformation that have emerged from these online retreats.

What should I bring to the MBSP Retreat?
Nothing is required to bring. We’ll be doing gentle movements so comfortable clothes may be helpful. For the mindful eating element, you’ll be invited to mindfully prepare your food, snack, or drink so take that into consideration with the timing per your time zone and whether you’ll be at home, work, or elsewhere (this is relevant if you’re attending the full-day retreat or the half-day morning retreat). But, most of all, bring an open, curious, and accepting mind.  

Will a recording be available?
Yes. If you suddenly have to miss all or part of the retreat you signed up for or you wish to listen to it again, you will have 3-months of access to a recording of the retreat, courtesy of eMindful.

Is this retreat part of the MBSP program?
As part of the MBSP program offered online by the VIA Institute, participants engage in a half-day MBSP Retreat around Session/Week 6. That will continue to be offered as part of the MBSP program and in the future will be open for anyone to attend. This particular retreat is MBSP-related but is not within a current 8-week program.


Course Faculty:

Dr. Ryan M. Niemiec is education director of the VIA Institute on Character. He is the creator of the evidence-based Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP) program and author of Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing. He’s an award-winning psychologist and adjunct professor at Xavier University, annual instructor at the University of Pennsylvania, and was awarded Fellow of the International Positive Psychology Association in 2017. As a frequent keynoter and workshop leader, he’s offered several-hundred presentations on positive psychology topics across the globe. Ryan is author of several books including the new book Character Strengths Interventions: A Field-Guide for Practitioners; in addition to Movies and Mental Illness; and Positive Psychology at the Movies. He’s penned hundreds of articles for the general public on character strengths and more than 60 scholarly articles/chapters. In 2017, he was honored with an induction into the elite class of Fellows in the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA), for his work contributing to the scientific advancement of knowledge in character strengths, mindfulness, positive media/movies, and positive interventions. He lives with his wife and three kids (all 6 and under) in Loveland, Ohio. Ryan is an avid collector of Pez dispensers, a passionate fan of The Walking Dead, and a zealot for Michigan State athletics. His highest strengths are hope, love, curiosity, honesty, perspective, fairness, and appreciation of beauty.