Overcoming Obstacles Series

Because of widespread stresses in our society today, the Zen Life & Meditation Center of Chicago has developed a new set of offerings called Overcoming Obstacles. (OOS). The Fall series is designed specifically for women and will address mindful awareness of the body, the impact and management of emotions, and compassionate and skillful communication. You will learn ways to move forward in decision-making and standing your ground with assurance, dignity and joy.

The series will be co-taught by Sensei June Tanoue, MPH and Susan Sensemann, MFA. Each series of 4 classes has a theme. They are not sequential; each class is designed to stand on its own which means you can choose to take just one or two or all of them. Of course, we still strongly recommend that you consider taking all of the classes to get the maximum benefit of learning.

Series 2: Overcoming Obstacles for Women: Body, Mind, Speech and Spirit

What is it to be a woman in the twenty-first century? Although gains for women have been made in recent decades, many challenges such as stress and burn-out intensify worries, anxieties and fears. We question our personal and work-related effectiveness as we undermine ourselves with self-judgment. We are stretched and stressed to the maximum. Stress is a leading cause of heart and auto-immune diseases, headaches, depression and obesity. Simply put, stress is a state of tension that adds up over time until we recognize that we need help learning to manage our own lives more mindfully.

As women, we may fear our own voices in establishing boundaries and expressing our needs. Can we learn to accept ourselves as we are? Along with “finding a home within,” can we discern healthy changes to make in our perceptions and patterns of behavior? Can we live fearlessly with an open heart?

Each class has two main sections that will include teaching points along with experiential exercises (body scan, drawing, writing, movement, role playing, improvisational games). No experience is necessary, just a willingness to take a deeper dive into teaching points from the Foundation series. Meditation and journaling for 21 days will strengthen your practice and give you practical skills for being a proactive woman in today’s rapidly changing world.  

Times and Dates:

All classes are held on Saturday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00 pm

Classes will be held on: October 19, 26, Nov. 2, 9


Sensei June Ryushin Tanoue and Susan Keijo Sensemann

Class 1. Body: Somatic Awareness 

Does your life seem out of balance? Do you feel overwhelmed, exhausted and stuck in habitual patterns? Have you lost track of your body, yourself? 

We’ll explore ways to restore balance to your life by attending to the wisdom of the body. You’ll learn ways to explore using mindfulness to pay attention to the signals that your body gives you to slow down. You’ll learn ways to develop your natural abilities to make positive change.

Class 2. Mind: Radical Acceptance 

When difficulties arise, do you habitually stress, worry, and obsess over them? Does your inner critic wear you out and prevent you from moving forward creatively? Do you struggle with strong emotions such as anger or sadness? Do you seek affirmation from others to feel good about yourself? Are you overwhelmed by playing the “good girl”?

Through mindfulness exercises, you will learn to “get in touch with” potent emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, shame, and jealousy. You’ll learn the importance of establishing boundaries as we discuss self-care as a first-step in living a fully clear-sighted and joyful life.

Class 3. Speech: Connecting and Communicating Skillfully 

Are you afraid of conflict? Do you avoid it through passive acceptance or emotional reactions? Do conflicts in your life with family, friends, co-workers or socio/political situations wear you down? Are you really who you present yourself to be?

In this class, we’ll explore tools for resolving conflict with discernment through reflective listening and proactive self-advocacy. Through Council Circle, we'll explore integrity as the ground of who we are. We'll acknowledge shadow issues of power and status. We'll look at how honesty toward self and others encourages true relationship.

Class 4. Spirit: Metta and Courage

Do you wonder about your larger purpose in life? Can you strengthen your resolve to open your heart to situations as they arise? Can you conquer fear of the unknown? What are the roots of suffering and how can you practice the antidotes to pain of body, speech and mind? What’s ‘ego’ got to do with it?

In this class, we’ll discuss and practice strategies of personal empowerment. You’ll learn skills for living a more open-hearted life with compassion for self and others. This class will emphasize the benefits of mindfulness awareness in all areas of your daily lives including personal experience, interpersonal relationships, and your wider communities.

Cost:  $35/class, $130 series for nonmembers and $120 for members.

While there are no prerequisites for the Overcoming Obstacle Series, its highly recommended that you take Foundation Classes 1 - 3.

Cost: $35/class, series costs $125 for nonmembers, $110 for members