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The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters

Thursday, April 15
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. CT
Registration Required

Emily Esfahani-Smith, Journalist and Author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters

How can we not only weather a crisis, but actually grow from it? For Emily Esfahani Smith, the secret to finding more to life is through the discovery of tragic optimism. This is the idea that in the midst of something as challenging as a cancer diagnosis, we must try to maintain hope and find meaning despite the inescapable pain, loss, and suffering. Adopting the spirit of tragic optimism can allow us to grow through adversity.

In her keynote, Smith presents the latest in psychology and neuroscience (as well as the wisdom of great philosophers) to help us live more satisfying lives. She unpacks what she calls the “four pillars of meaning”—belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence—and how we can build some or all of these pillars in our lives. Together, these pillars help us give back, deepen relationships, set purposeful goals, and make sense of who we are during challenging times.

Ultimately, a meaningful life lies in connecting and contributing to ideas beyond yourself—whether it’s your family, your job, or humanity at large. Smith shares tools to build resiliency, gain a broader perspective, and truly deepen our lives.

If you are new to Wellness House, please note that registration takes place through Mind Body. You will need to create an account to register through Mind Body but you can also just call 630.323.5150. This event is for those affected by cancer and provided at no cost.

Registration Required – Please register for the general session, and/or any additional supplemental events below.


The Power of Meaning Discussion Group
Friday, April 23
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Tasha Chasson, LSW, Oncology Support Counselor, Wellness House
Continue the conversation after Emily Esfahani Smith’s presentation on The Power of Meaning. Join us to dive deeper into Smith’s four pillars of a meaningful life: belonging, purpose, storytelling and transcendence and exchange ideas with others about pursuing meaning in your own life.
Register now >

Book Club: The Power of Meaning
Tuesdays, May 4 – 25
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Ellen Nieman, MSW, LCSW, Wellness House
Drawing on research from an array of philosophers, neuroscientists, historical figures and more, author Emily Esfahani Smith shows us how cultivating connections to others, identifying and working toward a purpose, telling stories about our place in the world, and seeking out mystery can immeasurably deepen our lives.
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Introduction to Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy
Tuesday, June 29
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Michael Williams. Psy.D., Senior Oncology Support Counselor, Wellness House
Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy (MCP) was designed by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to help people with cancer create and sustain meaning in their lives. Learn about the development of MCP, an overview of the components of MCP, and why they can help those living with cancer influence their experience in powerful ways.
Register now >