Let’s Get Emotional!

April 21, 2010

Photo of happy people

Empathic Sleepover Camp!

In October, I’ll be giving a week-long workshop at the Kripalu retreat center in the Berkshires (Massachusetts). I’m calling it Let’s Get Emotional: Embracing Your Empathic Genius.

I’m really looking forward to spending an entire week where it’s okay to talk about emotions, learn about them, welcome them in other people, and have fun doing it! If you can make it, I’d love to see you there. Imagine, a whole bunch of friendly people creating art, healing rituals, and emotional awareness. I can’t wait to go!

Let’s Get Emotional! with Karla McLaren

October 24th thru October 29th at Kripalu Center

People are always telling us not to get emotional, but did you know that your emotions contain your intuition, your honor, your clarity, your capacity to set effective boundaries, your ability to communicate and relate with others, and your ability to heal psychological wounds?

In The Language of Emotions, empath and researcher Karla McLaren introduces readers to the genius of the emotions and teaches specific skills to help identify, welcome, and work with all of them. In this week-long workshop, you and your emotions will experience a safe and welcoming “empathic sleepover camp” where emotional awareness, deep relaxation, and healing laughter will help you translate the language of your own emotions.

You’ll learn empathic mindfulness practices to help you define, ground, and center yourself in a hectic and non-empathic world, and specific ways to skillfully engage with every emotion you have. Special activities include:

  • A Shadow Walk to help you learn to deal brilliantly with hatred
  • A Grief Ritual to help you mourn your losses, and
  • Emotion Theater, a fun opportunity to explore emotions with the help of other empaths

Photo of happy cat

Come and get emotional with Karla McLaren … safely, enjoyably, and with support!

At Kripalu’s gorgeous retreat center, you’ll find healthy organic meals, wonderful views, and the opportunity to relax, get back to nature, and take good care of yourself.

Information about the retreat and accommodations

Toll-free number for Kripalu: 1-866-200-5203


Michael (LaughingStumpf) April 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Any chance there will be one near southern Ca? I could use an Empathic Sleepover Camp.Thank You for your Playful Work;Karla.

Karla April 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Hi Michael,

Good idea! I’ve been looking for retreat centers like Kripalu and Omega in CA. Do you know of any?


Michael (LaughingStumpf) April 23, 2010 at 12:52 am

No,not at this time.Karla I just seen a you tube piece called ATaste of Mondo Zen,they seem to talk about emotions in a similar way as you,using the awareness training of meditation with koans to work with emotional koans,especially our negative habits with strong emotions.Check it out & let me know if Iam on track;Peace Be Upon You-LaughingStumpf

Karla April 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Hi again Michael,

Thanks for the link to Mondo Zen. There are some similarities, but my work doesn’t start with the idea that emotions are negative. I think we agree that people’s responses to their emotions can certainly be negative, but the idea that you want to get away from emotions isn’t something I support. I see that when people try to do that, they require tremendous applications of sheer willpower or lengthy meditative sessions to keep their emotions suppressed, and then of course, the emotions sneak back in when they let down their guard.

For me, the focus is to welcome the emotions and become intelligent about them, NOT to trump them with the power of rationality or spiritual awareness or something, but to utilize all of our various intelligences in service to the messages our emotions bring us. I also see emotions as the things that make us capable of interacting with others; they are our social intelligence, and without them, we’re tone-deaf and nonfunctional in relationships. Jealousy and Envy specifically are very sociological emotions, in that they help us navigate in the social and relational world.

So for instance, with fear, which comes forward when we experience novelty or when we are in physical danger, we use our meditative skills and our rational intelligence to ask fear a direct question: What action should be taken? The answers are different for each situation, but it’s the fear that provides the answers. We get to make choices about our actions, not because we triumph over the fear or learn to ignore it, but because we work directly with the message it brings. Ignoring fear is a really unsafe idea.

So there are a few similarities, but my work is more focused on becoming aware of the incredible intelligence inside each emotion.

Michael (LaughingStumpf) April 23, 2010 at 12:56 am

Karla try http://www.glenivy.org,it‘s in Corona,Ca.

Jednorozec Pokojowiec April 26, 2010 at 12:29 am

It’s more expensive than I can really afford but if I start saving my pennies now I might be able to go. It will be great to see you again.


Michael (LaughingStumpf) April 26, 2010 at 1:59 am

Thanks for responding to my inquiry,your third paragraph is where I seen the similarity.I also agree with you on the starting point,this is so hard for alot of people;I being one a while ago,that emotions have intelligence & “we use our meditative skills & Rational intelligenceto ask a direct question” of any emotion.Thank You for helping this Man of the 21st century embrace his maleness & Humanity with a robustness that has given me Joy to be Alive;Not It’s alive.Peace Be Upon You,Laughingstumpf-Mike

Mary Anne Cutaia April 27, 2010 at 4:49 am

First of all, Karla, I’d like to tell you that I’m overjoyed that you are back from your long sabbatical and also that you are offering your wisdom in a more accessible form (stripped of the metaphysics) so that I can now share your work with more folks! (I find that your work comes up in most of my conversations now!)

I’d like to offer some input into the question of which retreat centers in California are comparable to Omega or Kripalu. My sense is, that because there are so many of them in CA, there are not any of quite that size that have that extensive a mailing list and marketing dept. as Omega and Kripalu do. There ARE some sizable ones, though. In Northern and Central California, my sense, after asking some friends about this questions, is that there are probably 3 choices: Mount Madonna, which is south of San Jose, Asilomar, in the Monterey area, and further down the coast is Esalen. In Southern CA you have the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, and there may well be others, but I live in Northern CA, so I don’t know. I would be thrilled if you were to offer a sleepover on the Left Coast!
Thanks again,
Mary Anne

Karla April 27, 2010 at 8:25 am

Thanks Mary Anne,

What a cool thing to say! I AM working to make the emotions more accessible, and I’m glad you noticed. Yeeha for us!

I was hoping that there was a retreat center here with marketing infrastructure, but alas. I’m checking Mt. Madonna, and thanks for reminding me about Asilomar. I lived in Monterey, so it’s silly that I forgot it!

Esalen is such a long jaunt, but Mt. Madonna and Asilomar are central and easy to access. Wouldn’t it be great to have a sleepover camp here in Northern CA?

Thank you!

Rosalyn April 27, 2010 at 8:08 pm

There is a lovely site at Self Realization Center in Escondido, Ca.
I also want to thank you for the wonderful course in being an empath which has been very helpful to me. I have a question about noise and loud muffler cars and why they bother me when I hear them and then I seem to lose focus and want to scream and end up getting a headache…how can I handle this better?

Thank you.

Karla April 29, 2010 at 4:48 am

Hi Rosalyn,

Thanks for pointing me to the place in Escondido.

About loud noises: recent research is showing that loud noise disturbs everyone. It’s not healthy to be around, but you may be more aware of it. Unless it’s triggering an uncomfortable memory? If loud noises are really throwing you, you may want to check with your doctor.

I’m very sensitive to noise, so I use earplugs in places that are loud. Movie theaters are excruciating!

Here’s a nice article about reducing noise pollution. You may already do these things, but it never hurts to have more information!

Katrina May 16, 2010 at 2:53 am

Rosalyn, you may also be interested in Elaine Aron’s book “The Highly Sensitive Person.” I discovered Aron’s book in a bookstore when I was in college, and it was an eye-opener for me.

I’ve been sensitive to noise, bright lights, crowds, tobacco smoke, foods, and a whole list of other things my entire life — to the point that I felt like I must be “crazy” or “neurotic.”

But I’m not. I’m simply an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), and the sensitivity that makes me empathic as a friend or intuitive as an actor is the same sensitivity that makes me cringe at ambulance sirens and feel nauseous at the slightest whiff of tobacco smoke.

Elaine Aron, Dawna Markova, and Karla are three authors whose works have made an incredible difference in my life.

Olinda March 10, 2011 at 5:30 am

Are you planning in having another Empathic Sleepover Camp? It will be perfect if you have one in Escondido, I live in San Diego so that is close enough. I believe I read a couple of months ago that you were having one in Canada (in May?), I will love to sign up for that one if it is still open. Thanks!

Karla March 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Hi Olinda, I’ve had to postpone the Canadian workshop until next year, but I will be doing an 8-week online course at Sounds True in September. I’ll send out information in my newsletter and post here on the site when I have more information about it. Thanks for checking in.


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