Plugged In: Digital Distraction and the Search for Clarity

click here for full pdf of full-colour poster

with Ross Laird (PhD, RCC) and Brian Dean Williams (MA, CCC)

Saturday October 13th, 9am – 4pm

Location:  UBC Asian Centre Auditorium

The cultures of technology are now essential features of contemporary life. Social media, mobile devices, screens and applications of all kinds now fill our personal and family spaces.  We’ve begun to migrate our social selves onto the web, and increasingly we seek technological assistance with personal struggles such as anxiety, depression, isolation, and addiction.

We’ve begun to create a networked world in which technologies mediate our relationships with ourselves. For many of us, these technologies leave us feeling more connected with our preferred communities, but also more scattered and disconnected from ourselves in the face of numerous emails, texts, and tweets requiring our attention.

Is this what we want?  Where do we now find place and time for mindfulness, for purposeful inquiry, for experiences of nature and wonder?  How do we now encounter ourselves in direct and authentic ways?  Is it possible to bring greater presence and awareness into our interactions with technologies?  Are technologies necessarily hurdles in this quest, or might they be allies?   How do we know, and how we do find out?

In this one-day experiential workshop local therapists and educators Ross Laird and Brian Dean Williams will lead us through a series of guided meditations, interactive mindfulness exercises, creativity practices, and therapeutic discussions. This is an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with social media and technology, and to become more aware and intentional in our use and interaction with these tools.

Brian Dean Williams is a therapist from East Vancouver whose practice is enhanced and promoted by social media.  Brian works in a program that assists people to overcome homelessness and mental illness.  After his first meditation retreat in 2001 Brian went on to train as a meditation facilitator in Los Angeles with Noah Levine (author of DharmaPunx) and now leads meditation workshops for helping professionals.

Ross Laird is a best-selling author, award-winning scholar and poet, and craftsman in wood and stone. He has taught creativity, counselling, psychology, and new media at many post-secondary institutions. He is a consultant to a diverse range of organizations and educational institutions and is an advocate for personal health, educational renewal, and community development.

Time:  Saturday October 13, 9am – 4pm

Location:  UBC Asian Centre Auditorium, 1871 West Mall (behind C.K. Choi building)

What to bring: an open mind, a gadget that you use regularly (cellphone, tablet, laptop), a bagged lunch (or, restaurants are available on campus), a water bottle, and a cushion for seated meditation (chairs are available)

Cost:  $100, non-refundable ($20 deposit required to confirm registration)

Registration: workshop [at] , 778 320 8587 (Jessy)

Please email us your name, professional title, place of work, brief description of your level of experience with meditation, emergency contact person / phone number, and your phone number.

The cost of the retreat is $100.  A non-refundable $20 deposit can be made by cash, cheque, online transfers (email money to workshop [at] through online banking), or Paypal via this link:

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