Roots of Compassion Retreat
August 28 - Sept 2 (Sunday to Friday)

Roots of Compassion Retreat

Bow (Samish Island)

5-day retreat

Join us for a 5-day mindfulness and compassion retreat in the style of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at a beautiful retreat site on Samish Island in the Samish River delta of Skagit County in Washington state (roughly 90 minutes north of Seattle). The retreat will be a deep exploration of the roots of mindfulness and compassion practices, both experientially and through a series of talks on Buddhist teachings and connected ideas from philosophy, poetry, and the sciences.

A digital illustration of the outline of a wide tree with broad branches and deep roots below ground, with a bird in the sky behind it.


THEME: The Four Paths to Balance and Joy

The practices led, and the talks by Tim, will focus on the traditional Buddhist teaching of positive practices called The Brahma Viharas, the “fours abodes of virtue” in practice: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. We’ll explore the ways mindfulness and compassion support each other as we engage with life in good times and bad in the light of these four areas of practice.

For more info on what to expect at a residential retreat, click HERE.



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.


The sunset view from Samish Island Retreat Center.



  • Students of mindfulness and compassion 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

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.



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



The retreat starts with 5pm check in on Sunday and closes at 2pm on Friday, with breaks after each of the delicious meals provided. 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. The full schedule can be reviewed here.



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 rustic cabins sharing the campground bathhouses. 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 cabins at samish island retreat center where meditation retreat takes place



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.



The insights I received during the retreat and now, two weeks later, are centering on choosing more compassionate freedom for myself and how it spills into my life and work. I feel this tremendous blessing could only have surfaced in the deep and loving container co-created by the teachers and my fellow retreatants.  I’m quite certain the benefits will be exponential.

Margaret K.

Bozeman, MT

About Our Residential Silent Retreats

Residential Retreats are multi-day teacher-led silent meditation retreats. After initial introductory greetings and information your instructors will explain how silent retreat practice works to support you in a deep experience of practice. The daily schedule will include gently guided sitting and walking meditation, morning teachings, mindful movement, and the body scan, as well as compassion cultivation and loving-kindness meditations.

We also offer Residential Trainings for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC). These 5-day events, offered at retreat centers, mirror the content of our 8-week courses. They're much more interactive than a silent retreat. See our MBSR & MSC sections for more information.


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.


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.

PLEASE NOTE:   Meditation retreats are not right for everyone. Folks with a history of trauma or acute psychological issues should check 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 of the retreat 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
    • not writing, including journaling
    • 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.
  • Participants are expected to be sensitive and responsive to these guidelines and the needs of fellow participants as fully as possible.
  • Please 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 is generally included on our venue pages. 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.
  • Please do not use recreational drugs or intoxicants during any part of the retreat.
  • 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.


  • COVID masks upon arrival and for daily wear. Any changes to this guideline will be announced at the opening meeting of the event.
  • Warm clothes in layers (sweater, and jacket, etc) as we will be going in and out of doors as we move between buildings which may be heated to different levels.
  • Rain coat AND umbrella – we’re walking between buildings, it may well rain. This is the Pacific Northwest.
  • Shoes that are fine walking in damp grass. Shoes that are easy to slip on and off are helpful at meditation retreats – we will be taking shoes off in the practice room. However, it may be damp on the lawns. Slip on boots?
  • Toiletries and overnight things including a towel.
  • Some venues provide bedding and some don't please check the email you receive upon registration for this information.
  • It’s okay to bring a notebook if you wish to do some writing, but remember this is a silent, contemplative retreat. We request that you not bring reading materials.
  • 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 good chairs at the site.
  • An extra blanket for the meditation hall – nice for body scans and resting.

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!


August 28 – September 2
Sunday, 5pm – Friday, 2pm


Tim Burnett and Annie Shull


Samish Island Campground and Retreat Center


Tuition is offered on a sliding scale ($595 – $1100). We also offer payment plans and a limited number of scholarships for each program. No need to apply; simply choose the amount that’s right for your budget. Food, lodging, and teachings are included in our all-inclusive registration fees. There is an additional surcharge ($50 – $100) for some lodging options (see registration section).

Registration closes at 11:55pm on Wednesday, August 24.


NOTE: Participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID to attend this event. Masking will only be required if the CDC's Community Covid Level for the county is "High" at the time of the event. See our full current COVID policy here.




portrait of tim burnett, mindfulness northwest bellingham wa

Tim Burnett, Lead Teacher: Executive Director and Guiding Instructor at Mindfulness Northwest, 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.

Photo of instructor Annie Shull, smiling in front of some vines.

Annie Shull, Certified Mindfulness Instructor: Endurance running and an impending surgery led Annie to explore mindfulness meditation. After self-study for 12 years, Annie launched into teacher training in 2017 with the goal of bringing mindfulness to others. She is a certified Mindfulness Meditation Instructor and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher-in-Training. After two decades of curriculum development and marketing experience in the tech sector and wine industry, Annie combines her passion for teaching and sharing the relief that can be found in the simplest of mindfulness practices, especially delighting in everyday mindfulness moments.

Register for this program

Choose Your Registration Type:

Stress Reduction & Wellness
Learning Meditation
Using Mindfulness in my Work
Becoming a Mindfulness Teacher
Referring my clients/patients
Living with chronic illness
Recovery from trauma



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