Spring Weekend Retreat
March 22 - 24, 2024

Spring Weekend Retreat

In person in Bow (Samish Island)

Weekend retreat

Ready for an overnight retreat? Our weekend retreats are a great place to start if you’ve established a mindfulness practice or taken a mindfulness class and you’re ready to take it to the “next level.” A weekend retreat is also a wonderful way to renew and refresh a long-standing practice. Our lives as mindfulness practitioners deepen when we’re ready to enter into the sustained practice of retreat.

This residential retreat will be held mostly in silence at the beautiful Samish Island Campground and Retreat Center and will include a series of gently guided mindfulness practices including sitting meditation, walking meditation, gentle yoga, and the body scan.

Informative talks on the process of being on retreat, mindfulness, stress reactivity, and other topics will be presented by the instructor. Small and large group discussion at the beginning and end of the weekend will center around our experience together walking, sitting, and breathing in the quiet of the beautiful retreat site.


• Starts Friday with 4pm – 5pm check in followed by dinner and an orientation, after which we will begin our silence.
• Saturday is a full day of silent practice (6:30am to 8:30pm with breaks after the meals).
• Sunday is a short morning practice period, followed by breakfast and closing activities.
• The retreat concludes at about 12pm on Sunday after cabin clean up, with a sack lunch provided for the road.
You can review a typical schedule.

What past participants say:

“An excellent way to rejuvenate, connect with myself, get clarity, and feel supported by like-minded people. The instructors were wonderful. The accommodations were great, and the food was healthy and delicious.”

“Life-Changing. I was able to accept myself and forgive myself for the first time, and feel compassion for myself.”

“The retreat was a calming, introspective, healing time. I was needing to disconnect with my outside pressures and reconnect with myself, and this was accomplished.”


  • Students of mindfulness interested in deepening and maintaining their practice.
  • Those who have taken a course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion, or Mindfulness for Healthcare Professionals.
  • Adults age 18 and over.



This is a silent retreat with supportive guidance from our teachers including significant periods of silence and few distractions or amusements. While a weekend retreat can be a good way to get started with extended practice, some find it helpful to take a more gradual approach through our daylong retreats (offered online and in-person).

If your practice has been primarily at home (guided by apps or recordings, etc.) we do recommend trying longer meditations of 30-40 minutes before signing up for retreat. Take a look at a typical weekend retreat schedule.


March 22 – 24, 2024
Friday 4pm – Sunday 12pm


Karen Schwisow & Carolyn McCarthy


Samish Island Campground and Retreat Center


$290 – $540 (or $73 – $135/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 *E-CABINS are currently SOLD OUT. Rustic cabins are still available.


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.

A person sitting on a bench that overlooks Samish bay, between two fir trees, on a cloudy day.

Registration closes at 5pm PT on Wednesday, March 20th.

“The retreat was a true gift. It felt good to be alive. I felt like a weight had been lifted. When I got back home, I felt that my life was not about all my usual distractions, something more profound has been touched. I am ready to come back!”


Seattle, WA


Karen Schwisow

Karen Schwisow

Karen has been a teacher of yoga and meditation since 2005. She continues to deepen her understanding of these ancient wisdom traditions and how they are relevant to our lives today.  Through compassionate listening, authenticity and humor she empowers you to experience your own innate ability to heal and thrive. She is a Certified MBSR teacher through UMass Medical Center, and Founder of Three Trees Yoga & Healing Arts Center in Federal Way. Karen co-created and serves as Director for the MBSR Teacher Training Program. For over a decade she has delighted in mentoring teachers as they develop their ability to support others in this profound work.

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 www.carolynmcc.com.


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 row of colorfully painted small wooden cabins in the grass at samish camp.


This beautiful campground 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.


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.


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 office@mindfulnessnorthwest.com.



  • 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 office@mindfulnessnorthwest.com to connect with one of our teachers.

Register for this program

Registration is closed for this program.