other offerings

*heart wide open* offers a variety of monthly and occasionally recurring events, which are open to everyone!

monthly and bi-monthly offerings:

  • Kirtan
  • Living Mindfulness
  • Conversation Circles
  • Heartful Writing

occasional offerings:

  • mindful walks
  • contemplative concerts
  • workshops and retreats on various heartful and mindful topics

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*heart wide open* facilitates monthly kirtan evenings.

Kirtan is an ancient Indian yogic practice of singing or chanting from the heart. It’s a celebration, a meditation, a rejuvenation — and a powerful way to connect both with yourself and with community.

There are many benefits to practicing singing meditation. Yoga instructor Sean Johnson writes, “I believe that the sonic practices can help us to be better listeners both to our own intuition as well as each other, and help us to communicate with more clarity, truth, and compassion.” According to author and meditation instructor Donna Quesada, “By combining sound, breath and rhythm, chanting meditation channels the flow of energy through the mind-body circuit, adjusting the chemical composition of our internal states and regulating brain-hemisphere imbalances, contributing to a natural abatement of fear and despair. By balancing the nervous system, chanting regulates chronic stress and tension. And by balancing the endocrine system, chanting normalizes hormone production, which balances our moods and overall sense of well-being.”

The chants presented by *heart wide open* are written in Sanskrit (the ancient language of the Indian Vedic texts) and are often invocations or celebrations. They carry messages of love, peace, and community wellness. They are typically short and cyclical, making them easy to learn, or delivered in a call-and-response style, making them easy to follow. For example:

Sarvesham svasti bhavatu
Sarvesham shanti bhavatu
Sarvesham purnam bhavatu
Sarvesham mangalam bhavatu

May all beings dwell in happiness
May all beings dwell in peace
May all beings attain oneness
May all beings attain auspiciousness

The kirtan evenings are open to everyone (and are usually held on the last Wednesday of the month). No experience with singing or meditation is required. Lyric sheets will be provided. Bring a cushion to sit on and a water bottle. The evenings end with casual social time for connecting with community. Suggested contribution $7 – $10.

For details of the next kirtan evening, please join our email list.


living mindfulness

*heart wide open* offer a bi-monthly exploration of ways to bring mindfulness into our everyday lives. Topics include: mindful eating, photography, emotions, communication, and more. Each session will also include a short sitting meditation practice (on the floor or on a chair), and opportunities to share questions and observations. Mindfulness is a way of living that cultivates openness, curiosity and attentiveness. It’s about slowing down and being present with each moment — creating space to connect deeply and meaningfully with ourselves, with others and with all aspects of our lives. The intention of these sessions is to cultivate a fertile, supportive and nurturing environment for creating personal transformation — one breath at a time!

*heart wide open* living mindfulness sessions take place bi-monthly (currently on a Wednesday, from 7 – 9pm). Suggested contribution $7 – $10.

For details of the next *living mindfulness* evening, please join our email list.


conversation circles

“All great changes begin in conversation.” — Juanita Brown

The intention of the *heart wide open* bi-monthly conversation circles is to create an engaged, supportive, nourishing space where we can collectively explore ways to live more “heart-ful” lives, both on a personal level and as a community. “Heart-ful” qualities may include: healthy, fulfilling, happy, mindful, meaningful, engaged, rewarding, playful, compassionate…

These focused, yet relaxed, evenings begin with the reading of an inspiring quote followed by a few minutes of reflective silence. The gently facilitated discussion may take place in pairs, in small groups, a larger group or even solo in a journal format. Evenings will end with an opportunity for casual conversation and herbal tea.

Topics may include: values, aspirations, well-being, gratitude, compassion, happiness, forgiveness, self-acceptance, inter-relatedness, community, livelihood, passions, spirituality, self-expression, communication/listening, meditation, and silence/solitude.

*heart wide open* conversation circles meet bi-monthly (currently on a Wednesday, from 7 – 9pm). Suggested contribution $7 – $10.

For details of the next conversation circle, please join our email list.


heartful writing

“Writing is ninety percent listening. You listen so deeply to the space around you that it fills you, and when you write, it pours out of you.” — Natalie Goldberg

*heart wide open* facilitates a monthly creative writing group, with the intention of supporting each other in developing (or continuing) an active writing practice. In a compassionate, yet constructive way, we will explore techniques for increasing the potency, depth, and flow of our writing. There will be opportunities to share exercises, writing drafts, conversation, inspiration and more. If you’re looking for a way to sustain and/or enliven your writing practice (or if you’d like to *start* a writing practice), please join us! Let’s co-create an energizing, amazing experience! We’ll alternate bringing snacks to share (because writing is *so* much yummier with snacks)! *heart wide open* will make the tea! Pre-registration required. Suggested contribution $5.

For details of the heartful writing session, please join our email list. To pre-register, please connect with us.


mindful walks

*heart wide open* facilitates mindful (meditative) group walks throughout the year. Though most of the walking is practiced in silence to help cultivate deep “sensing”, inner stillness and connection with self and environment, there is also lots of opportunity for interpersonal connection (reflection and sharing) both before and after!

Walking meditation is a wonderful way to integrate mindfulness into everyday life and has been practiced as a meditative technique for thousands of years. It’s also a beautiful way to be fully present in the “outside” world!

Most trips are within easy driving distance of Wolfville Nova Scotia, and carpooling is encouraged!

For details of the next *mindful walk*, please join our email list.


contemplative concerts

*heart wide open* hosts a series of contemplative concerts (meditative improvisations) in beautiful, resonant spaces — with the musicians intentionally hidden from view, in order to create a more immersive listening experience. Recent concerts have been held at Acadia University’s Manning Memorial Chapel, and usually feature a trio of musicians. Instruments have included bass flute, wooden flutes, percussion (hand drums, gongs and bells), cello, saxophone, violin, voice, harmonium and sarangi. relax – restore – revitalize. Suggested contribution $10.

For details of the next contemplative concert, please join our email list.


workshops and retreats

From time to time, *heart wide open* facilitates special workshops and retreats (one day, half day or whole weekend). Current themes include hearfulness, mindfulness, transforming emotions into energy, values clarification and using mindfulness and intention to design and create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible!

For details of upcoming workshops and retreats, please join our email list.



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printable quote cards

This is a collection of the heart-ful quotes used in our weekly practice sessions, conversation circles and other gatherings. The collection includes 108 quotes that can be cut out and displayed on the included printable stand, stuck on the fridge, fastened to your car visor or enjoyed on screen. Authors include Satish Kumar, Pema Chödrön, Rumi, Albert Einstein, Hafiz, Desmond Tutu, Joanna Macy, Thich Nhat Hanh and others. Be inspired!

DOWNLOAD (file size approx 5MB)