Roots of Mindfulness Retreat
August 23 - 28, 2024

Roots of Mindfulness Retreat

In person in Bow (Samish Island)

5-day retreat

Join us for our annual 7-day guided silent mindfulness retreat in the style of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at a beautiful retreat site on Samish Island in the Skagit River Delta near Bow, Washington (roughly 90 minutes north of Seattle). This retreat is a deep exploration of the roots of mindfulness practices, both experientially and through a series of talks on Buddhist teachings and connected ideas from philosophy, poetry, and the sciences.


The beautiful Samish Island Campground and Retreat Center, maintained by the Community of Christ at the east end of Samish Island, (the “island” is accessible by road) offers stunning views, deep quiet, and simple accommodations. Mindfulness Northwest has been offering retreats at Samish for many years. More details about the venue can be found here.

View of the lagoon and ocean from Samish Island Campground, mindfulness meditation retreat location.

THEME: The Body in Mind

Who hasn’t found themselves living in their heads disconnected from the body? Our powerful minds often dominate our experience as if our whole being was just a rapid-fire set of ideas, thoughts, memories, worries, and projections into the future.

Naturally we bring this tendency to our mindfulness practice. The term “mindfulness” itself seems to reinforce this unfortunate tendency. As if the whole practice were about the mind.

At this year’s Roots of Mindfulness we’ll drop more deeply into the body. We’ll practice being bodies and explore the immediacy, groundedness and exquisite present centeredness of life strongly rooted in the body. Tim’s daily talks will bring up teachings on inhabiting the body more fully from the Buddhist, Yogic, and scientific traditions. And the teachings and practices will emphasize body awareness.

Bring your body and be ready to drop out of your head!


This silent retreat starts with check in from 4 to 5pm on the opening Friday, and closes at 12pm on Wednesday. We’ll rise early, beginning each day of practice at 6:30am, and go steadily through each day in silence and contemplation, closing at 8:30pm. There will be breaks after meals for rest, exercise, and other self-care. A more detailed schedule can be viewed here.


  • Students of mindfulness interested in deepening and maintaining their practice
  • Mindfulness teachers who’d like to strengthen their understanding of the Buddhist roots of contemporary mindfulness
  • Those who have taken a course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion, or Mindfulness for Healthcare Professionals.
  • Adults age 18 and over
Your first longer retreat?

Before sitting a multi-day retreat, we recommend that you have teacher-led experience with mindfulness or related contemplative practices. Please contact us if you have questions about whether this retreat will be appropriate for you.

Feedback from participants in our retreats:


“Calming and centering.”

“Affordable and high quality.”

“Excellent teachers, beautiful location, deepening of personal practice.”


Friday, August 23, 2023, at 4pm – Wednesday, August 28 at 12pm


Tim Burnett & Carolyn McCarthy


Samish Island Campground and Retreat Center

Registration closes at 11:55pm on Wednesday, August 21


$595 – $1100 (or $149 – $275/month)

  • Sliding scale: Choose what’s right for you.
  • Payment plan option: 4-months, no-interest.
  • Limited scholarships available: No need to apply; just choose a scholarship tuition during registration.
  • Lodging – An additional surcharge applies for some lodging options.
Tim Burnett on what he loves about Roots of Mindfulness.
A barred owl, with brow vertical stripes in white feathers, peers perching on a cedar branch.


Take a COVID home test before you leave home. We require verbal confirmation of a negative COVID home test on arrival at the retreat. Please review our current COVID policy before registering. 

Cancellation Policy

For retreats at Samish Island Camp:

  • Cancel up to 15 days before the event begins: Receive a full refund less the $40 non-refundable processing fee.
  • Cancel between 14 days and the event start time: Receive a refund of 50% of the tuition paid.
  • Cancel after the event begins: No refunds.

*Note: If the tuition is paid on a payment plan, payments will continue to withdraw until the amount due is paid.

Roots of Mindfulness was a beautifully held opportunity to truly reset my mind, body and spirit. The simple, yet powerful mindfulness practices allowed a joy to emerge that has been a true blessing.
2022 Retreat Attendee


portrait of tim burnett, mindfulness northwest bellingham wa

Rev. Tim Burnett

(he/him) Executive Director, Founder, Guiding Teacher

Tim founded MIndfulness Northwest in 2011 with the hope of offering the transformational practices he’d learned as a student of Zen Buddhism much more widely to the community. He is a certified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), and Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT). A meditator since his teenage years, Tim’s background in traditional Dharma practice informs his mindfulness work. Ordained as a Soto Zen priest in 2000, he apprenticed with Zen teacher Zoketsu Norman Fischer and is the Guiding Teacher of Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham. Former jobs include educator, carpenter, software developer, and scientist. When not in the classroom, you might find him hiking, paddling, or birding.

Tim has been leading multi-day retreats in both the mindfulness and Zen Buddhist styles for many years. For these retreats Tim loves offering a universal (“secular”) mindfulness retreat experience while also plumbing the depth of Buddhist texts and philosphy that form one of the deep roots of this work. You can explore an example of Tim’s teachings at a prior retreat.

Carolyn McCarthy

Carolyn McCarthy

Carolyn is a lifelong writer and performer who cultivates attentiveness and joy. With a degree in Latin American Studies and Women’s Studies, she uses mindfulness to support the work of social justice, turning toward the difficult within and without. Zest, warmth, and wit enliven her teaching. Carolyn is a certified Mindful Self-Compassion teacher through the UCSD Center for Mindfulness. Her core practices: sitting meditation, time outside, solo living room dance parties. Visit her online at

Three photos in a row: a brown bunny rabbit in the grass. A teepee made of driftwood on the beach overlooking samish bay. Ferns growing through moss on a tree.


Simple accommodations and tasty, nutritious meals are included in your registration. The wonderful cooks at Samish can always accommodate gluten free, dairy-free, nut-free and vegetarian diets. If your dietary needs require bringing your own food, fridge space is available, as is a microwave.

Most rooms are comfortable single-occupancy rustic cabins sharing the campground bathhouses. There are Male & Female bathhouses, as well as an All-Gender bathroom with showers, and All-Gender single-occupancy toilets in the dining hall. There is an option for motel-style rooms with a shared en-suite bath for a surcharge. RV and tent camping are also available (water and electrical hookup provided). More information about accommodations here.

A tree full of apples next to a row of colorfully painted cabins at samish island mindfulness retreat center.

photo by Pam McRae


Note that Samish is very lightly staffed allowing it to be more affordable than most venues. This helps us to hold registration fees at an affordable level. Every participant helps out with camp chores such as washing dishes and cleaning the buildings at the end of the retreat.



This retreat meets prerequisite requirements of a 5-day silent, guided retreat for the following teacher training programs:


About Our Multi-Day Silent Retreats

An aerial photo of the Harmony Hill campus, featuring multiple white cottages in grounds filled with lush gardens.The daily schedule at our multi-day silent retreats includes gently guided sitting and walking meditation, morning teachings, mindful movement, and the body scan, as well as compassion cultivation and loving-kindness meditations.


All are welcome! We are honored to support each participant in their meditation practice regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, age, physical ability, political affiliation, or religion. Our retreats are suitable for beginning through experienced practitioners.

We are committed to offering support for any accessibility needs you have as we are able. Please contact us prior to registering for a course.


Before sitting a multi-day retreat we recommend that you have teacher-led experience with mindfulness or related contemplative practices. Please contact us if you have questions about whether this retreat will be appropriate for you.

IS RETREAT RIGHT FOR YOU?  Meditation retreats are not right for everyone. If you have a history of trauma or acute psychological issues, consider checking with a mental health professional to decide if intensive retreat practice would be supportive. If you have questions or concerns about whether a retreat is right for you, please contact us at



  • Mindfulness and compassion practices are offered in four blocks daily: early morning, morning, afternoon, and evening.
  • Participants are expected to attend all sessions and follow the printed schedule you will receive on site as fully as possible.
    However, we are flexible and always willing to work with you on what your body and mind can reasonably do. Speak with the retreat teachers if you have concerns about following the complete schedule.
  • After the initial orientation and introductions on the first evening, our residential retreats are held in silence.
  • Participants are expected to follow guidelines around silence and participation:
    • not speaking to other participants including close friends or partners you are attending with
    • not using technology of any form
    • not reading books, magazines, flyers, or any reading materials
    • reducing interpersonal contact through the eyes or other body language
  • Necessary communication with the retreat teachers can be done via a notes station or by taking them aside.

The intention of silent retreat is to settle deeply into your own experience and to not interact with others, allowing everyone space to have the retreat they need to have -- including you!


Participants are expected to be sensitive and responsive to these guidelines and the needs of fellow participants as fully as possible.

  • Do not take photos or make recordings of other participants or the teachers.
  • Do not use alcohol or mind altering drugs of any kind.
  • Emergency contact information to share with loved ones will be sent to you. Venue staff and Mindfulness Northwest instructors will make sure you receive incoming messages promptly while your phone is off. If you are expecting an urgent message please let your instructor know.
  • Instructors are available at all times to offer support, including conversation if needed.



Please arrive at the retreat at the beginning and stay until the end, as:

  • Arriving late will cause stress as you will miss the orientation.
  • Leaving early means you are offloading your clean-up chores on other participants and missing an opportunity for closure.
  • Please stay on campus unless invited to take an off-campus break by the instructors.
  • Several of our venues keep costs down, reducing your registration fee, by asking that event participants wash dishes, sweep floors, clean bathrooms, and do other chores around the facility. Final clean up chores before leaving are also done.
  • Participants are asked to do chores as fully as they are able. If you have physical limitations, we will help you find a suitable chore assignment.


  • Face masks ​​– please check our COVID policy for our current guidelines around masking. While masks may not be required at your training, it's always a good idea to bring some.
  • Extra COVID tests, in case you develop symptoms during the retreat.
  • Warm clothes in layers (sweater, jacket, raingear etc) Outdoor walking meditation will be a component of this retreat, rain or shine.
  • Shoes that are (1) fine walking in damp grass and (2) slip-on if possible. We take shoes on and off frequently. Slippers for the practice room can also be nice to have.
  • Toiletries and overnight things including a towel.
  • Bringing your own bedding (pillows, sheets, blankets or sleeping bag) is required at most of our venues. Please check your registration confirmation email for this information.
  • A flashlight can be helpful but venues are generally reasonably well lit. Sometimes there is walking between buildings in the early morning and evening.
  • A yoga mat if you have a favorite. We are able to bring mats to share.
  • Meditation cushions / supplies – if you have a meditation cushion(s), a bench or other sitting gear, feel free to bring it. We are able to bring a limited supply of cushions. Note that there are plenty of chairs available.
  • An extra blanket or two for the meditation hall – nice for body scans and resting.


Lodging assignments will be available on check-in at the course venue. You will have a room to yourself at most of our venues.


Silent mindfulness retreats can be psychologically powerful. It's not unusual to experience significant shifts in your mood and energy levels right after a retreat. We recommend that you closely monitor your "mental hygiene" by avoiding over stimulating environments or influences directly after the retreat (i.e. parties, loud events, violent content, harsh substances or emotionally straining company). You can support the integration of your retreat experience with activities like journaling/drawing, mindful movement, spending time in nature or even a shower/soak in a bath. If you feel "off" several days after your retreat we encourage you to seek out support. Don't hesitate to reach out to us at to connect with one of our teachers.

Register for this program

Choose Your Tuition:
                                       4-month payment plan available.

Bringing mindfulness to my workplace
Referring my clients/patients
Becoming a mindfulness teacher
Tools for living with chronic pain or illness
Support for recovery from trauma
Mindfulness for healthcare providers

No, thanks.
Yes, please. I have a few questions.
Yes, please. I have urgent concerns.