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'Meaningful life' event packs Seattle's Town Hall

Published on: December 30, 2013

For hundreds of people, yesterday's day-long 'Meaningful Life' seminar - presented by ParentMap and Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center - was a chance to learn about the science of compassion, and to reflect on ways to add meaning and happiness to their lives.

"Town Hall was filled and we exceeded our goals for attendance," says ParentMap publisher Alayne Sulkin. "I took copious notes and as simply an attendee, interested in the content, I was completely taken by Dacher Keltner's presentation all day. He was simply outstanding with tremendous substance in the brain science as well as great practical application, humor, and self-deprecation."

Marriage expert Dr. John Gottman presented a lecture on the science of trust and betrayal in relationships. "He identified a couple of concepts that I had thought about before but had never been able to pinpoint, which is always a fascinating experience," says ParentMap calendar editor Kris Collingridge. According to Kris, thosse concepts are: 1. Negative C-ALT: When not only do you chafe at your partner's behaviors, but you start thinking to yourself, "I could do better." According to Gottman, this is a nasty place to be in in a relationship -- you're "nurturing betrayal" at this point. You're not with your partner; you're thinking outside the relationship. (2) The "absorbing state" -- a state that's easy to get into and hard to get out of. Unhappy couples are quick to go into an unhappy absorbing state, but they don't know how to "repair," ie, heal the rift by de-escalating. So they stay stuck in unhappiness.

For ParentMap sales rep Ida Wicklund, the Gottman lecture was informative, funny and a pleasure to listen to. "He gave practical examples on how to consciously work on your relationships when not only dealing with conflict, but day to day," says Ida. "Every part was something that couples can relate to at some point in their lives, even if it was not in their current relationship. I will definitely bring my husband to [Gottman's] next two seminars focusing on raising a happy child and making relationships work."

"It seemed as if you could hear a pin drop during Gottman’s talk on Trust and Betrayal," says ParentMap sales rep Anne Doss Hardy. "Maybe it was just me – I had to remember to breathe....Gottman was wonderful as usual – self-effacing, funny, accessible...Keltner was great too – casual, humble, excited, open and terrific information—good interaction with audience....Very rich talks, nourishing and hopeful and motivating to create more love, compassion and understanding toward ourselves and in all our relationships."

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