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  • 01 Mar 2017 10:48 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    "What we practice, we get better at"

    Dear {Contact_First_Name},

    I've been thinking more and more about the profound implications of a simple idea: the idea that what we practice we get better at.

    Like so many useful truths it's a no-brainer. If we want to get better at something we do it again, and again. We learn more about it; we read a book, watch a YouTube, take a seminar. All around us people are improving all kinds of skills from how to knit a hat to how to put out a structure fire. 

    What's interesting and important to me is that we usually only apply this simple maxim to external things. To the things we do and make and create. To the problems we solve in the world.

    We don't apply it to our inner selves nearly as consistently. We don't practice the inner things we want to improve.

    And we all have wishes for improvement in our inner selves.

    We may want to be more reliable, or more patient, or kinder, or more generous. We may want to show up on time more consistently. We way want to listen to our kids more fully.

    Or maybe we don't have clear goals for our inner life and instead our mind goes to the things we don't like about ourselves. What is that for you? If you start the sentence, "what I don't like about myself is...." and pause with that a moment. What comes up?

    But here's the thing: if we just focus on what we don't have we are only reinforce a kind of internal impoverished mindset. But if we can focus on what we would like to be better at we can take it out of the realm of frustration or wishful thinking and instead practice that trait we'd like to strengthen.

    I've been thinking a lot lately about strengthening my ability to ask for help. I've always been a bit of a go-it-alone guy and not only does that wear me out, sometimes it damages my relationships.  It's been so helpful to change that little by little.  Of course, as with all things human, I know i have to be smart about this, feeling my way into whom to ask for what. But so many people in my life (all of our lives?) are so willing to help. 

    Even people who aren't yet in my life! Here's an example of that that happened last summer, one that inspires me to keep working with this.  Maybe you also have examples in your life of when you acted in a way that stretched you and inspires you to keep developing your best self?

    We'd had some work down on our house. We had contractors here completing our half-finished stairs (it used to be a duplex and the stairs were taken out in the 1940's).  We had to move a window to make the stairs work right and the carpenters discovered the siding on the entire south side of the house was rotten.  So our other house work plans, and our a chunk of our budget, shifted and we had to redo the siding and exterior window trim on that side of the house.

    Our contractor got that taken care of, but I wanted to do at least some of the work myself so I was working on painting the new window trim. Then I hit a problem: the upper window was too high for my 22' extension ladder. And darn it I was in the middle of painting, the day was getting on, and wanted to get the whole job done

    It was Sunday at 6pm. Off I went to Home Depot to buy a longer ladder. But darn it: they were expensive, $280 for a 28' ladder. I stood there debating back and forth what to do.  That impatient do-it-yourself voice within me was screaming, "Oh just buy it, just get it done, you have a tall house so you need this ladder." So I put this enormous ladder on one of their big carts and wheeled it - tricky getting around corners! - to the check out.

    There were two people in front of me and the guy at the head of the line had some problem involving tricky customer service so we were standing there for awhile. Then the person right in front of me turns out and says, "Hey how much is that big ladder?" - almost $300 I admitted - "Darn," he said, "that's a lot, I have one just like it lying around at my place."

    At that point the "just buy it, just do it yourself" spell weakened a little. I could feel the tension in my forehead and the raggedness of my breathing relax a little. And then I surprised myself by asking this stranger if I could borrow his ladder.

    His response was immediate and relaxed. Like he has strangers asking him to borrow ladders all the time. "Sure," he said, "just follow me home and pick it up." A total stranger! And he was as good as his word. Without asking anything from me, he generously lent me his ladder. I finished my painting.

    I did find a way of thanking him: I did a repair to the rope and pulley that lifts the ladder extension. I realized even without arranging a payment or an exchange there is often a 

    way to give right back. That helping engenders more helping.

    Sometimes we can trust another. We can trust their generosity. We can trust the good hearts of people. I hope to keep practicing this inner skill of asking for help.

    What would you like to develop about your inner life?



    PS. Some interesting research suggests that in changing habitual responses it makes a big difference if we spend a moment contemplating our positive qualities. So easily the mind goes to the negative which reinforces itself. ("I'm always this way" etc.).

    In studies described by Alex Korb in his excellent book The Upward Spiral  he demonstrates that taking a moment to activate your knowledge of your good qualities makes a big difference. In the studies they had participants ask themselves questions like, "Have you ever forgiven another person when he or she has hurt you?" or "Have you ever encouraged a friend to pursue a goal?" And this simple mindset intervention made it surprisingly more possible for the study participants changes. 

    So contemplate your good qualities sometimes! Affirm your ability to be a better person, and then practice those skills.


    Become a mindfulness teacher!

    If you've been feeling the call, there are a couple of spots in the training cohort that begins in September.

    Click here for more info.

    Spring Retreat

    A three-day retreat is a great way to extend the practice you've started after one of our classes!

    Spring Weekend Retreat (Samish) - Friday-Sunday April 7-9
    Flying in? Airport shuttle now available.

    New Online Classes

    Retreat at Home. A three-hour LIVE online retreat offered on Sundays from 2pm-5pm PST on April 23rdMay 14th, and June 11th.  Join from the comfort of your own home using the Zoom video conferencing system. We're excited about this convenient way to renew our practice together from wherever we are.

    Mindfulness Fundamentals Online Course. Our popular 4-week introduction to Mindfulness in the MBSR style now available online with a mix of self-paced and live interactive online content. Live meetings Tuesdays 6pm-8pm starting April 11th, plus includes the April 23rd Retreat at Home.

    Discounts and Continuing Education

    Alumni discount option. To encourage alumni to continue to refine and grow their practice, alumni can re-take their classes and/or attend retreats at a reduced rate. 

    Continuing Education Credits.  Available for an increasing number of our course offerings. So far these three events include continuing ed:
     Mindfulness for Healthcare Providers
    Mindful Self-Compassion: Weekend Core Skills Workshop, and the 
    Mindful Self-Compassion 5-day Training Retreat.


    The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb (see the P.S. in Tim's letter). In stock at Village Books, or pick up wherever you shop for books.

    Scholarship Fund

    We try to make our classes and retreats accessible to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. Our sliding fee scale helps, but many with the most need for mindfulness are the least able to pay.

    You can help by making a tax-deductible donation to our Scholarship FundThank you!

    Upcoming Classes

    Information on these and the classes and retreat can be found on our site:
    Mindfulness Northwest Events

     Seattle Area Classes

     Bellingham Area Classes

    Tending Relationships with a Mindful Heart workshop. Tuesday evening March 21st. Introductory workshop.

    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Seattle). Thursday evenings, April 6 - May 25.

    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Kirkland). Wednesday evenings,April 12 - May 31.

    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Federal Way). Thursday evenings, April 13 - June 1.

    Meeting Mindfulness & Self-Compassion workshop with the Whole U (Seattle) Saturday, April 22.

    Mindfulness for Healthcare Professionals (hosted by the Everett Clinic). Wednesday evenings, May 17 - June 14. 
    Mindfulness for Health Care Professionals. Thursday evenings March 16 - April 13
    NOTE: 14 CME's (applies to therapists also).

    Noon-time Mindfulness at Village Books. Thursday, March 23rd.

    Compassion Cultivation Training. The next step after MSC. Monday evenings, April 10 - June 12.

    Tending Relationships with a Mindful Heart workshop. Saturday April 15th.

    Mindfulness for Health Care Professionals. Monday evenings June 26 - July 31. 

    Online Classes

    Fundamentals of Mindfulness, Tuesdays April 11 - May 2, plus Sunday April 23rd.

    Upcoming Retreats

    Information on these and the classes and retreat can be found on our site:
    Mindfulness Northwest Events

     Day Retreats

     Multi-Day Retreats

    A Day of Mindfulness in Seattle - Saturday March 4

    Winter Retreat Day (Semiahmoo) - Sunday March 12

    Meeting Mindfulness with the Whole-U (Seattle) - Saturday April 22

    Retreat at Home (Online) - Sunday April 23

    A Day of Mindfulness in Seattle - Saturday May 13

    Retreat at Home (Online) - Sunday May 14

    A Day of Mindfulness at Brightwater Center  (Woodinville) - Saturday May 27

    Mindful Self-Compassion: Weekend Core Skills Workshop (Port Townsend) - Saturday-Sunday March 18-19

    Spring Weekend Retreat (Samish) - Friday-Sunday April 7-9
    Flying in? Airport shuttle now available.

    Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive (Tacoma) - Sunday - Friday May 7-12
    Flying inAirport shuttle now available.

    Plan Ahead!

    Roots of Compassion 5-day Retreat 2017 - August 27 - September 1st
    Flying in? Airporter shuttle available.

    Roots of Mindfulness 7-day Retreat 2017 October 15-22
    Flying in? Airporter shuttle available.

  • 01 Feb 2017 10:44 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    "What I need right now?"

    I was grateful that this question came into my mind the other night. I was in bed trying to get to sleep and the mind was racing. Anxious thoughts about things to get done. Random thoughts. Jumpy thoughts.

    Asking myself that question shifted the internal conversation.

    It helped me turn my attention away from the contents of my thinking  -  "Yes! that's right I do need to get that task done! but not now, take it easy mind!" - and towards a deeper acknowledgment of what was going on in my head.

    I realized that what I needed was to really recognize and acknowledge what was going on: "Wow, these are anxious thoughts." 

    And then the dynamic started to change. Asking myself what I need helped me take a fuller step into mindful non-judgmental awareness. Asking that question helped me to start giving the spinning thoughts less energy - to recognize that the subtle levels of resistance even in relatively wise self-talk (telling ourselves to calm down and so on). 

    As we know: "what we resist persists."

    The question "What do I need right now?"  is a central teaching in the Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) class that was created by the psychologists Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer. I've been appreciating learning and teaching MSC for this last year. The sequence of practices, exercises, and contemplations of MSC have really helped me and the other class participants to broaden the feeling of our mindfulness work.

    Once that question had interrupted the spell and helped to support mindfulness I was able to move on to the contemplation of common humanity (the second of the three key factors of mindful self-compassion). Many people, I reminded myself, feel anxious racing thoughts at bed time. That helped too. Of course we know it's not just me, but there's a taking that in, taking it to heart, and contemplating and feeling (not just thinking) about our shared common humanity that really opens the heart and takes the pressure off 

    And finally I brought to mind the third factor of mindful self-compassion: kindness.

    This has been a wonderful addition to the "cool acceptance" I trained in for so many years in my Zen training. Warming things up in the heart. I adjusted the body, took a soothing breath, and did my best to bring a little more kindness and patience in.

    Did I instantly let go of everything, clear my mind, and fall asleep? Nope.

    But asking myself that question with sincerity really did help.

    It helped me so start gently working my way through what they call The Self-Compassion Break: practicing mindfulness by really feeling and identifying what was going on, contemplating common humanity, and inviting kindness.

    I'm learning that "What do I need right now?" is not a selfish question at all but a question that helps me to be softer, more open, and more present. It serves as a counterweight to the powerful tendency towards a tense and ragged kind of pushing. Pushing my mind to settle down at night, pushing my way through the day's tasks. Pushing pushing pushing.

    It helps me pause, as all mindfulness work does, but in that pause: more room for kindness, more of a feeling of connection.

    I hope you'll join us in one of our explorations of Mindful Self-Compassion 

    In addition to the standard 8-week course (a couple of spots in the Bellingham class still and look for more offerings in the Fall) we have two workshop format offerings coming up.

    The first is a weekend Core Skills Training being held in the beautiful community of Port Townsend. On the weekend of March 18th/19th we'll immerse ourselves in the essential components of MSC.

    The origin of this project is moving, sad, and beautiful.

    I've been invited by the Benji Project to work in with a leading teacher of MSC, Lorraine Hobbs, to bring Mindful Self-Compassion to Port Townsend as part of the community's response to teenage depression and suicide. 

    The project leader of the the Benji Project lost her son Benji to teenage suicide and this is Benji's mom's response: to seek to bring more mindfulness and self-compassion to the community.

    And the second workshop is a 5-day intensive in Mindful Self-Compassion that includes all of the elements of the 8-week class in that residential workshop format. It's a wonderful and immersive way to find out what MSC is all about in just a week. 

    It's being held a peaceful retreat center on the water in Federal Way from May 7 to 12 - easy access for everyone in the Seattle/Tacoma area and we're also providing a shuttle for those flying in to SeaTac. For this workshop I'm working with one of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion's founding teachers and a principal teacher trainer: Michelle Becker who's coming up from San Diego. The workshop is also for those interested in moving towards teaching MSC who are having trouble finding a full 8-week course to attend.

    And I'm happy to note for professionals that both workshops are qualified for continuing education credit for several professions. The weekend in Port Townsend provides continue ed for teachers, master's level therapists and social workers; and the 5-day in Federal Way provides continue ed for nurses, psychologists, master's level therapists and social workers.

    And a side note on professional continuing ed for those in the Bellingham area: our upcoming Mindfulness for Healthcare Providers course being held at PeaceHealth includes 14 CME credits appropriate to doctors, nurses. These 14 credits are also, I'm told, useable for master's level therapists and social workers. That's on Thursday evenings starting March 16th.

    Wishing us all little more mindfulness, a little more appreciation for our common humanity, and a little more kindness,


    Rev. Tim Burnett,  Executive Director 

    Course Updates and Announcements

    New Online Classes!

    Retreat at Home. A three-hour LIVE online retreat offered on Sundays from 2pm-5pm PST on April 23rdMay 14th, and June 11th.  Join from the comfort of your own home using the Zoom video conferencing system. We're excited about this convenient way to renew our practice together from wherever we are.

    Mindfulness Fundamentals Online Course. Our popular 4-week introduction to Mindfulness in the MBSR style now available online with a mix of self-paced and live interactive online content. Live meetings Tuesday 6pm-8pm starting April 11th.

    Alumni discount option. To encourage alumni to continue to refine and grow their practice, alumni will be able to re-take their classes and/or attend retreats at a reduced rate. 

    Continuing Education Credits. These are becoming available for an increasing number of our course offerings. So far these three events include continuing ed: Mindfulness for Healthcare ProvidersMindful Self-Compassion: Weekend Core Skills Workshop, and the Mindful Self-Compassion 5-day Training Retreat.

    Increasing Options for Retreats. We're delighted to be offering so many more retreats: one day retreats in Seattle, Woodinville, Bellingham, and online. Weekend, 5-day, and 7-day retreats at our favorite retreat center in the Skagit Valley. And more. Retreat practice is so important and so powerful. Immersing ourselves in the practice and taking a true break for our busy routines is transformational.

    Upcoming Classes

    Seattle Area Classes

    Bellingham Classes

    Upcoming Retreats & Residential Workshops

    A Day of Mindfulness in Seattle - March 4

    Winter Retreat Day (Semiahmoo) - March 12

    Mindful Self-Compassion: Weekend Core Skills Workshop (Port Townsend) - March 18-19

    Spring Weekend Retreat (Samish) - April 7-9
    Flying in? Airport shuttle now available.

    Meeting Mindfulness with the Whole-U (Seattle) - April 22

    Retreat at Home (Online) - April 23

    Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive (Tacoma) - May 7-12
    Flying in? Airport shuttle now available.

    A Day of Mindfulness in Seattle - May 13

    Retreat at Home (Online) - May 14

    A Day of Mindfulness at Brightwater Center (Woodinville) - May 27

    Retreat at Home (Online) - June 11

    Roots of Compassion 5-day Retreat 2017 - August 27 - September 1st
    Flying in? Airporter shuttle available.

    Roots of Mindfulness 7-day Retreat 2017 October 15-22
    Flying in? Airporter shuttle available.

    Information on these and the classes and retreat can be found on our site:
    Mindfulness Northwest Events

    Suggested Resources

    • How the Brain Changes When you Meditate - one of several nice summaries of recent research. The structure and function of the brain seem to change in positive ways from meditation. From literally doing....nothing!
    • Increasing evidence that mindfulness & meditation have positive benefits as a cellular level is mounting. Here's an article on a recent study on the telomeres in the cells of cancer patients.
    • Can Compassion Training Help Physicians Avoid Burnout?  Glad to see for the physicians we work with the growing body of evidence that mindfulness and compassion training really help. Applies equally, we would guess, to all busy high-stress professionals.

  • 30 Jan 2017 4:17 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    Our weekend core skills training in Mindful Self-Compassion on March 18 & 19 was just approved for 16 CEUs for Washington State licensed Mental Health Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, and Licensed Social Workers.

    Mindful Self-Compassion: Weekend Core Skills Workshop (Port Townsend)

    And our 5-day Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive workshop May 7-12 is approved for 24 CEU credits for psychologists and for masters-level therapists. As well as 28.75 contact hours for registered nurses.

    Mindful Self-Compassion 5-day Training Retreat (Seattle area)

  • 30 Dec 2016 2:09 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    We are delighted to announce that we've opened the application process for our 2017-18 Mindfulness Teacher Training Program. This certificate program in teaching mindfulness prepared participants to deliver mindfulness programming in flexible ways in a variety of settings. Featured are: a wide array of practices, study of the scientific understanding and support for mindfulness, deep engagement with the Buddhist contemplative roots of mindfulness, creating a safe and engaged classroom environment, and the inner transformational work required to teach with authenticity and integrity.

    More details: Teacher Training

    Application: (MTTP) Mindfulness Teacher Training Application: 2017-18 Cohort

    Feel feel to contact Mindfulness Northwest with questions. 
    office@mindfulnessnorthwest.com  360-830-6439

  • 28 Nov 2016 11:14 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    Winter 2017 Newsletter

    Dear Friends,

    A week after the election we had a "supermoon" - the moon as close as it's been to the earth since 1948 and an opportunity that will not be repeated until 2038. I read this was coming and several friends pointed it out with excitement. And I could feel the anticipation of seeing something special and maybe getting a great photo with my telephoto lens. A little excitement and a little desire arose in my heart.

    But, not too unusually for the Northwest, it was rainy and cloudy - at least when I looked. So when my one glance didn’t reveal the full moon clear and unobscured, all I could really register was the disappointment of not seeing what I'd wanted.

    For so many of us since the election, we've been thinking and feeling in all kinds of ways about the unexpected results.

    The full disclosure here is I'm on the liberal side of the equation, but I hope these reflections are useful for my friends on the conservative side. And the minute I write that I'm aware of how limited and narrow is it to think that there are just two kinds of people in our country.  I remind myself that people have all kinds of reasons for choosing to vote for one candidate or the other, or choosing not to vote at all.

    Another full disclosure: for week after the election I found it really hard to keep up my daily practice. I skipped several days figuring I'd be sitting with others in mindfulness classes or at the Zen center. Which is true enough but it doesn't serve the same essential purpose as sitting quietly at home in the morning does for me.

    The next morning after the "failed" supermoon viewing, however, I was up early and went out to my backyard mediation hut to practice.

    I'd felt literally a bit ill in the body - queazy, low energy. And I'd felt a bit sick at heart. It's been hard to really show up for life. There have been challenging conversations in classes and at home, trying to make sense of what's happening and trying to be helpful as others do the same. Sometimes trying a little too hard to reassure others. Other times feeling shut down and not wanting to engage. Wanting to hope that everything is okay sometimes. Other times batting down the wisps of despair that everything is very much NOT okay (and again this paralyzing belief in there only being two possibilities).

    And then that morning on the way to my practice hut, I noticed the supermoon. There is was, hanging just above the horizon to the northwest, on it's way down for the day. I saw it through the trees and in the clouds. I could just make out some of the details of the lunar surface, the rest a glowing white orb.

    And I stopped so I could really saw the supermoon just as it was showing itself at just this particular moment. Not what I had wanted in my mind, true. And incredibly beautiful and just as it is, also true.

    I've heard people (mostly those within my liberal-leaning circles) talking like the election signals the beginning of dark days. We'll have to be strong. We need to mobilize. So much to do. Anger and frustration needs to be channeled and used. I've heard doubts about peacefulness too: we don't want to chill out too much, we need that hard edge to be strong, to be motivated, to show up.

    But of course the America of Monday the 7th was, more or less, the same America that voted the way it did on Tuesday the 8th. Either the dark days have been with us for a long time or it's not quite right to say the days are suddenly dark.

    The days are dark and light. The moon is clear sometimes, obscured by clouds other times. It's still the moon. This is still our beautiful, diverse, strong country. Part of the liberal ethos is to be a little suspicious of "loving our country" - that could be code for a certain kind of narrow minded, potentially violent, nationalism.  And I guess it can be.

    But maybe it's time for all of us, no matter what our particular kaleidoscope of views is, to learn how to really love our country. What is our country after all but the lands and peoples that live in it? Are living in it right now.

    It's time to learn the effective and clear way to love everyone. That's what I hope our mindfulness and compassion practices will support us in doing. I think we need a much bigger vision than "enduring dark times."

    Will sitting on the cushion and bringing our attention back to our breathing with kindness solve any of the big issues people are worrying about? Not exactly, not directly. But it can help us find a stronger ground to stand on to do our work of love. If there's anger, we can find ways to include that reality with honesty and with kindness. If there's fear - the same, but spilling our anger and fear out into the world only adds to our troubles.

    My secret hope from the surprise (or even shock) of this national election we will all be moved to find our own particular way to express and contribute to our hopes for the future. Whether that's renewing our attention to the quiet helping we're already doing at work or at home, or whether it expresses as overt activism.  And I hope that somehow the insights of our practice will help us not fall into the usual binary traps. Us or them. Good or bad. In reality, it’s a mix. It's an unbelievably rich mix, and none of us can know the whole story.

    So I can understand if you voted for Mr. Trump. I really can. I want to know your reasons and I want to be in dialog and I hope even as you support the changes you hope for in making that choice we'll all join together to resist the anti-love expressions of misogyny and racism that also emerged in his campaign.

    It's time to be strong and loving. And this isn't new. It's always been true. Maybe this month we all received a big wake up to that ongoing reality regardless of how we voted or didn't vote.

    Wishing us all a deep awareness of gratitude,


    New offerings

    Mindful Self-Compassion 5-Day Intensive (Tacoma) - May 7-12 at Dumas Bay. Most of the 8-week course material in 5 days in a beautiful setting. Easy access from Seattle, Tacoma and for fly-in participants. Tim is thrilled to be working Michelle Becker to offer this training. Michelle is an MSC teacher trainer and national leader in this field.

    Mindful Relationships (Seattle) - try out the a one evening workshop and consider the 5-session class for couples. Designed by MNW staff teacher Richard Johnsonand his wife Teresa Johnson.

    Taking the Path of Mindfulness (Bellingham) - A gentle, but thorough, introduction to mindfulness practice. 

    Information on these and the classes and retreat below can be found on our site:
    Mindfulness Northwest Events

    Introductory Events

    For the Bellingham Community: New Year's Resolutions: a mindfulness event at Village Books on Saturday, January 7th.

    For Seattle-area Health Care Professionals: Meeting Mindfulness - an Introductory Retreat on Sunday, January 8th. Sponsored by Washington Physician's Health Program

    Upcoming Classes

    Seattle Classes

    Bellingham Classes

    Coming soon: additional courses for Bellingham-area physicians.

    Upcoming Retreats

    A Day of Mindfulness in Seattle - March 4

    Winter Retreat Day (Semiahmoo) - March 12

    Spring Weekend Retreat (Samish) - April 7-9

    Meeting Mindfulness with the Whole-U (Seattle) - April 22

    Mindful Self-Compassion Intensive (Tacoma) - May 7-12

    Suggested Resources

    Mindfulness Northwest Staff News

    Jackie Wolfe will be leaving Mindfulness Northwest as our COO beginning December 1st to return to her own Human Resources consulting and training business where she’s spent most her career.  She will be doing executive level and leadership coaching, training and facilitating workshops and organizational development work.  We are excited for her in this new journey and look forward to supporting her as she grows in this role.

    Jackie has accomplished much with us in the last 18 months. We are an improved organization because of her leadership, knowledge, dedication. I feel a great deal of gratitude both for what she has done and the support she has given to me through this phase in of our organization’s growth.  She will be missed, but we are happy for her and are not saying goodbye completely as she'll still be connected with the Mindfulness Northwest family in multiple ways.

    Jackie will retain her work email of jackie@mindfulnessnorthwest.com for the time being if you'd like to send her a note to wish her well. Thank you, Jackie and best of luck!

    We're happy to announce that Ed Wayt has been promoted from Administrative Assistant to Office Manager. This promotion better reflects the steadily higher levels of responsibilities that Ed has taken on, and the quality of work that have made the day-to-day workings of our Bellingham office run so much more smoothly. Along with the promotion, Ed will be working longer hours which will help us be much more responsive to your requests. If you have a question or need support with a class registration or other matters he's available to speak with you live most weekday mornings (especially Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 9am to noon) using our office number 360-830-6439 or email office@mindfulnessnorthwest.com. And if you see Ed helping at registration at our retreats and special events, do say hello.

  • 11 Sep 2016 9:17 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    We're thrilled to announce that Tim will be co-teaching with Michelle Becker to lead the 5-day intensive version of Mindful Self-Compassion May 7-12, 2017. Michelle is a senior trainer and teacher trainer with the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion and the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. And a really great teacher and human being. Click here for registration and details.

  • 04 Sep 2016 9:33 AM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    Abbreviated Mindfulness Intervention for Job Satisfac- tion, Quality of Life, and Compassion in Primary Care Clinicians: A Pilot Study (2013)

    We're encouraged that this study on an 18-hour mindfulness class for physicians done at the University of Wisconsin that shows an decrease in burnout, depression and stress. 

    Our 16-hour Fundamentals of Mindfulness for Healthcare Professionals is similar in length with a slightly different format being done over 4 or 5 weeks instead of a weekend plus follow ups. 

    We've seen similar results in what the participants tell us about how much better they feel after the training. 

    It's interesting that the authors of this study call their class "abbreviated." A 16 to 18 hour intensive training in mindfulness is a LOT. (And of course i do know it's a nod to the 30 hour Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course!).

  • 04 Sep 2016 9:13 AM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    Fall 2016 Newsletter

    Dear Friends, 

    Walking out of the kitchen just now with my glasses in one hand and my mug of coffee in the other I wanted to turn the lights off before sitting down on my comfortable chair to write. I hesitated. I could reach up with the hand holding my mug full of coffee and flip the lights off with one finger: holding the mug crookedly and reaching around it with my pointer finger. Why not? I could do it. Get it done. Keep moving.

    But wait. I paused. It's not worth the risk of spilling the coffee. What's the hurry? I had time to set the mug down and flip the light switch with my empty hand.

    I felt so grateful to mindfulness practice in that moment. I could feel that little tremor of the "hurry habit" burble up. Hurry up, just do it, get this done, move quickly.  I was able to notice it, meet it, and release it (this time anyway!).

    When I get in a rush I take short cuts that really don't gain much.  Does this happen with you too? A few seconds gained, but gained by taking a little risk often leading to a little disaster - whether it's spilling coffee all over myself or harming my relationships by not responding with full awareness to people in my life.

    I'm grateful that mindfulness practice helps us slow down and evaluate these little (and big) trade offs and short cuts. I'm grateful for the pauses and the space that opens us for curiosity and a little wisdom to slip through.

    Lately I've been thinking about two aspects of mindfulness: the practical and the mysterious.

    On the one hand there are the practical ways, like my light switch-coffee mug encounter, that mindfulness helps us. How mindfulness training helps us stabilize our attention, helps us make better choices, helps us see some of the old patterns and habits that drive us and helps us feel that space where there's some freedom to choose another way.

    And it's fascinating to read about the scientific exploration of how all of this seems to happen. Changes in psychological patterns, neurological changes in the brain, changes in stress responses, the power of mindset and intentional attention. Fascinating. And wonderful.

    And there are also aspects of mindfulness training that are more mysterious, less step-by-step. Mindfulness can also lead to radical changes and shifts in our sense of who we are and what's happening. Sudden shifts in perception. We pause and find that we're a different person than we were. How did this happen?

    Last night at the Zen Center we enjoyed a story of the mysterious side of mindfulness. One of the students shared a story from her early years of meditation practice. She was in very difficult circumstances. Things were not going the way she's planned in a big way. There was a lot of anger. A lot of frustration.  She was worried and upset 24x7.

    Then during a multi-day retreat (like the Roots of Mindfulness retreat we have coming up in October) she was all the more at the end of her rope. Day after day of meditation and thinking thinking thinking about her problems. Her mind was a torment and it’s a wonder she didn't quit the retreat right there.

    Then one morning in the early morning light she watched as a large flock of Great Blue Herons flew overhead. At the moment everything stopped, she said. The constant, impenetrable and uncontrollable worry in her mind just stopped. For a few moments or a few minutes or an hour, she wasn't sure how long, she was just there. Watching the birds. Feeling the breeze. In her body. Just present. Just peacefulness. A huge relief that years later she still feels encouraged by.

    Did this mysterious moment of peace solve all her problems and change her forever? Nope. The problems were still there. But her relationship to her thinking, her worrying, her life itself, had subtly and importantly shifted in a way she couldn't fully know or understand. But something changed. Something important happened and from then on life wasn't as difficult to bear.

    This side of mindfulness practice is hard to think about; not easy to understand. Its not something that we make happen, rather something that our steady practice over time allows. Less a conscious act and more a manifestation of changes moving below the surface of our consciousness perhaps. And often perception - like this vision of the herons - is involved. We see our life differently when we see and sense our big open world more clearly.

    It's wonderful to make room for both aspects of our practice.

    Step by step. Pausing. Paying attention to what we're feeling and thinking. Doing our best to take the next step.

    And open too. Open to the mystery of this being human. That it's all bigger and more complex than any of us will ever understand even with the most advanced brain scanners.

    A bird flies overhead. We really see it. Everything stops. Life goes on and our relationship to the stress and craziness and joy of it all is changed.

    May the practical tools and the deep mystery of being a person in this moment be of benefit to you today. And tomorrow. And the next day for as many days as we have left to be in this beautiful and troubled world.

    All the best,


    Seattle Area Classes - Fall

    Seattle Area Classes for Healthcare Professionals
    Our 1-day workshops and 5-meeting class Fundamentals of Mindfulness for Healthcare Professionals

    Interested in bringing this workshop & course to your medical center? Please contact us to discuss.

    Bellingham Community Classes - Fall

    A Bellingham Class for Healthcare Professionals

    Mindful Self Compassion
    5-day Intensive Retreat

    May 7 - 12, 2017
    Dumas Bay Retreat Centre
    Federal Way, WA

    Befriending ourselves with wisdom and compassion.

    We're delighted to announce that lead Mindful Self-Compassion teacher and teacher trainer Michelle Becker, MA, will be joining Tim Burnett in teaching the 5-day intensive form of the Mindful Self-Compassion class in May 2017.

    Registration details will be available soon.

    Mindfulness Teacher Training Program

    Learn how to create and teach a mindfulness program adapted to your professional circumstances.

    Next cohort starting September 2017

    More info: Teacher Training with Mindfulness Northwest

    Upcoming Retreats

    Meeting Mindfulness - an Introductory Retreat for the UW & Seattle Community
    September 11th.

    Roots of Mindfulness 2016 - October 16th - 23rd
    Co-sponsored by The Center for Mindfulness in Healthcare, Medicine, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and meets their professional development requirements.

    The Mindfulness Northwest staff (and spouses) had a wonderful summer picnic this year, meeting "in the middle" in Snohomish County.

    More Mindfulness Northwest News

    Mindfulness Northwest's work with physicians through our collaboration with the Washington Physicians Health Program was featured in the Update! Newsletter of the Washington State Medical Commission(link to their Update! newsletter is on the right side of the Washington State Medial Commission page)

    A Few Good Resources

    The UCLA Mindful Awareness Resource Center (MARC) has a nice collection of brief guided meditations for those times when you just don't have much time.

    The UC Berkeley Greater Good Center recently hosted a conference on applying mindfulness at work. The videos they collected are excellent whether you're just trying to figure out how to apply mindfulness yourself or considering bringing a program into your workplace.

    Closer to home the UW Center for Child and Family Well-Being (CCFW) is hosting an interesting series of trainings on mindfulness and also is a great resource for family and child-oriented mindfulness programming.

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  • 17 Aug 2016 12:10 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    We're looking forward to offering the 8-week Mindful Self Compassion class in Bellingham again this Fall.

    In the Winter I'm happy to say it will be available to UW Medical affiliated phyisicans in Seattle. Soon we hope to offer MSC for the general Seattle community as well.

    The latest newsletter from the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science group is devoted to Self-Compassion. Of course like all things in the mindfulness and compassion field the real benefit is from going beyond reading and thinking to practicing


    p.s. And this is a nice newsletter to receive.





    August 17, 2016

    3 Ways Self-Compassion Can Help You Through a Breakup

    By Wendy Paris

    Being kind to yourself can make the difference between a good breakup and a bad one.  Read More >

    Four Reasons to Practice Mindfulness During Pregnancy

    By Kira M. Newman

    New research is starting to suggest that mindfulness practice can protect the health and well-being of mothers and their babies.  Read More >

    An Entertaining Tour of Our Awesome Universe

    Renowned astrophysicist Alex Filippenko offers a fast-paced, funny, and inspiring overview of the awe-inspiring power of space.  Watch Video >

    How Self-Compassion Can Help Teens De-stress

    By Jessica Morey

    Teen stress is on the rise. According to a new study, learning mindfulness and self-compassion can help teens cope.  Read More >

    How Culture Shapes the Experience of Awe

    Professor Jennifer Stellar explains the similarities--and differences--in the ways cultures around the world experience the emotion of awe.  Watch Video >

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