Mindfulness Northwest News

The latest news on Mindfulness Northwest developments. You can keep in touch with us further by signing up for our email newsletters on the Contact page.

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  • 03 Jul 2017 1:07 PM | Ed Wayt (Administrator)

    Practice in Real Life

    Dear Friends,

    Research on how mindfulness helps us cope keeps appearing. There are now entire scientific journals on mindfulness!

    A recent study I found particularly clear and interesting is a study out of Australia (summary article here).

    In that study they looked at how people cope with stressful situations. People who've developed a more present-centered attitude of "present-centered awareness" - that just being present with what is now and not dwelling so much in the future or the past - did better under pressure in three ways, which they termed: (1) coping self-efficacy, (2) values-based coping, and (3) less avoidance coping.

    Coping self-efficacy: First, the more mindful folks in the study had more confidence in themselves under stress.  They were likely to feel like they have the resources and ability to deal with the difficult situation.  

    How does mindfulness help with coping self-efficacy? With mindfulness, and this does imply being willing to really feel our feelings of discomfort and anxiety during stressful times, we are better able to weather the storm, to rise to the challenge, and to release from regrets and the extra fears and catastrophizing the mind can so easily add. And the humility and self-awareness mindfulness facilitates also means we're more likely to seek support and ask for help under stress. Both of these factors (seeing stress as a challenge not a disaster, and seeking help) also protect us against the unhelpful aspects of the classic fight, flight, or freeze stress response.

    Values-based coping: Second, in this study they saw that people with a more mindful, present-centered orientation stay closer to their core values when under stress. They don't take short cuts like playing fast and loose with the truth to avoid consequences. They are less likely to tell themselves stories that justify bad behavior for instance. We've all experienced how much worse we end up feeling when we "cheat" in some way or convince ourselves of something we know not to be really true to try to avoid trouble.

    Less avoidance coping. Third, they found that more mindful people did far less of what they called "avoidance coping". They were less likely to distract themselves with the various indulgences we use to try to avoid our feelings. While it can be quite healthy to get back under the covers sometimes and take a real break, we all know the effects of the many compulsive behaviors we use to try to avoid feeling uncomfortable.  It works out far better, this work suggests, to stay with it and feel what we feel. Even when that's the more difficult option in the short term.

    I was thinking about all of this this morning after I made a mistake. I sent a sloppy reply-all email which one of the accidental recipients might have found condescending. Nothing too bad - my poor conduct pales in comparison to recent examples on the national stage - but a mistake. And a mistake that might make it harder to move forward on a project that matters to me.

    Once my colleague pointed out the mistake I certainly had that familiar "oh s**t!" feeling. And I noticed my sense of self-esteem taking an immediate nose-dive. "What an idiot I am," the inner critic was ready to tell me. And I noticed the mind spinning to regret about past: what I should and shouldn't have done. And my mind went to fears about the future: what if this results in the whole project being cancelled? And I noticed the tension in me from having acted out of accord with my values of being respectful and caring to everyone. I wouldn't have written something that reads as condescending if I were fully in touch with my values.

    After the initial shock I felt some gratitude. And realized that my process of recovering from a set back like this is similar to what this study describes.  

    Coping self-efficacy. Even though it's painful feeling shame and embarrassment when I make a mistake I've come, over time, to have confidence that I'll weather even the worst disasters. And that part of that weathering means I can't avoid the feelings. It's painful to make a mistake and I know I can bear that pain. And I've learned to seek support. I had a helpful exchange with my colleague and then reached out to another colleague who was affected with a brief apology. (I found out later that she jumped in to reduce any potential damage from my email!).

    Values-based coping. I appreciated that it was harder for my mind to try to justify or avoid the mistake because I touched in to my values. It wasn't just a bit of sloppy emailing. I shouldn't have been writing anything that is less than fully respectful. That's a core value I have and when I am sloppy with my values, trouble results sooner or later. Rather than just being more careful when playing with fire, better to not light that fire int he first place.

    Less avoidance coping. And I'm grateful that I have the training and support to simply feel the "ouch" of this, feel the healthy regret. Not to wallow in shame, of course (go back to values-based coping! Self-respect is a another great value to nurture!). Reflecting on our common humanity helps here too: it's human to make mistakes! It's normal to lose track of our values from time to time.  

    At the moment this is still quite painful and it can stay painful as long as it needs to.  Feelings what we're feeling is a key part of coping self-efficacy. Otherwise it's avoidance. Sometimes we misunderstand mindfulness as a way to instantly "move on" or "let go" of something difficult - but actually that's a kind of subtle avoidance coping mechanism that is sometimes called "Spiritual Bypass".  

    Wishing you strength and resilience when your mistakes happen. For they surely will!

    Tim

    Tim Burnett,  Executive Director 

    Need a practice tune up?


    Starting soon in Seattle and Kirkland

    Our Fundamentals of Mindfulness class is an excellent way to discover mindfulness practices AND tune up your existing practice by re-grounding in the basics.

    Seattle: starts July 6th

    Kirkland: starts July 12th


    In Bellingham? Try our new drop-in class Thursday evenings.

    Starts July 6th

    A great 90 minutes of guided practice, poetry, and check-ins. Drop in. Practice together. Refresh.

    Thursday evenings this summer

    Retreat options

    We're delighted to be offering so many more retreats: one day retreats in Seattle, Woodinville, Bellingham, and online. Plus Mindful Self-Compassion at Tassajara, and Roots of Compassion at Samish.

    Retreat practice is so important and so powerful. Immersing ourselves in the practice and taking a true break for our busy routines is transformational.


    Retreats coming up

    A Day of Mindfulness for Health Care Professionals (Bellingham) - July 16th

    A Day of Mindfulness at Brightwater Center (Woodinville) - July 29

    Mindful Self Compassion at Tassajara - July 20-24

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

    Plan Ahead

    Teacher Training Discernment Retreat (Samish Island) - September 1-4
    Thinking of taking the Mindfulness Teacher Training Program next year? Join this year's cohort in their first weekend together to see what the program is like! 

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

    Day of Mindfulness(Bellevue) - October 28

    Day of Mindfulness  (Seattle) - November 4

    Day of Mindfulness  (Bellingham) - November 5



    "Compassion for others begins with kindness for ourselves."

    - Pema Chodron



    Coming Soon with Spaces Left


    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

    Fundamentals of Mindfulness. Seattle. Thursday evenings, July 6 - August 3.

    Fundamentals of Mindfulness. Kirkland Wednesday evenings July 12 - August 2.

    A Day of Mindfulness at Brightwater Center Woodinville - July 29

    NEW! Workshop: Meeting Mindfulness. Seattle. September 7, 6:30-9pm

    Mindful Self-Compassion for Healthcare Professionals (UW staff/family). Sunday evenings September 10 - November 12.

    Mindfulness for Healthcare Professionals(Open to all, sponsored by SCCA). Tuesday evenings, September 12 - October 3.

    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Seattle. Mondays mid-day, September 18 - November 13.

    NEW IN EVERETT! Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Everett. Tuesday evenings. September 19 - November 14

    NEW IN SEATTLE! Mindful Self-Compassion. Seattle. Thursday evenings, September 21 - November 16.

    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction(Kirkland). Wednesday mid-day, September 20 - November 15.

    Mindfulness for Healthcare Professionals. The Everett Clinic (open to all). Wednesday evenings, October 11 - November 15
    NEW! Drop-In Classes. Come when you can! Thursday evenings, July 6 - August 24, 7-8:30pm

    NEW! Workshop: Meeting Mindfulness. Saturday, September 9th, 6:30-9pm

    Re-scheduled: Workshop: Tending Relationships with a Mindful Heart.September 16th, 1-4pm

    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Thursday mornings, September 21 - November 16.

    NEW! Mindful Self-Compassion for Healing Professionals. Friday mornings, September 22 - November 17.

    Taking the PATH of Mindfulness. Thursday Eveings, October 12 - November 16
    Copyright © 2017 {Organization_Name}. All rights reserved.


  • 05 May 2017 6:20 AM | Michael Kelberer (Administrator)

    Three keys to mindfulness and compassion

    Dear Friends,

    Something that keeps coming up for me in our mindfulness and compassion classes is that there are three qualities that enable the process to be transformational. And since the practice of mindfulness and compassion isn't just a skill we learn but a fundamental re-engagement with our lives, I'm realizing more and more that these three qualities enable us to more fully live with joy, engagement and resilience in this world.

    The three qualities I'm thinking of are: willingness, honesty, and curiosity. I'd like to offer a few thoughts from my perspective but more importantly, I invite you to turn these over in your mind and heart and see how they are for you.

    Willingness

    Nothing changes if we aren't willing. Willing to try something new. Willing to be wrong. Willing to make a mistake and be a little embarrassed. Willing to deviate from our usual course, or sometimes willing to stay the course. There needs to be plenty of discernment in willingness.

    The opposite of willingness is being small, is withdrawing into our usual patterns, is running on autopilot. 

    This is subtle though. It's not just about pushing, pushing, pushing ourselves to be more willing. Think of the wonderful invitation in our Mindful Self-Compassion classes around opening and closing. Maybe you, like me, absorbed a message that we are always supposed to be opening up. Expanding. Trying new things. 

    But to be always willing in that way is unsustainable and involves some aggression towards our self (what one author calls the "subtle aggression of self-improvement"). The willingness I'm talking about includes the willingness to close when that's what we need. To take a break. To decide to pass. But this is not so much an unwillingness to learn and grow as a willingness to pace ourselves with kindness. Asking ourselves, "What do I need right now?" is a key ingredient in the practice of willingness.

    But nothing happens if we aren't willing.

    Honesty

    All systems of ethics include honesty. We know there are negative consequences when we lie to each other, even when lies seem somehow justified or reasonable.

    But I'm also thinking about learning to be more honest about how we talk to ourselves and each other about our inner lives. This honesty is shedding the one-sided, habitual myths about who we are and how we're doing.

    Perhaps you usually tell yourself, or tell others, that you're fine. "How are you?" we ask each other. "Fine, thanks." we answer. A useful ritual of connection but often we miss the opportunity to go further into real connection and real honesty.  Or perhaps you always tell yourself, and even others, that you're stressed and upset. Is that really always true?

    Because of course we aren't any one way - fine or upset, or rather we are and we aren't. True honesty about our inner lives also requires us to practice holding opposites.  Our lives are wonderful - we have enough food to eat, a roof over our heads, many friends and relations who support us - and our lives are disasters - we're afraid and anxious, we don't know if we can do it, we don't know if the world is going to fall into enormous cataclysmic disasters. It's hard to even know how to speak or what to say if we ponder our lives deeply but we have to try.

    The practice of this kind of honesty is one of the most wondrous aspects of our experience with each other in Mindfulness Northwest classes. We find that when we practice real honesty with each other there is an incredible feeling of connection, intimacy, and safety that emerges. Honesty allows us to access to essential feeling of common humanity.  Oddly enough the fear that most often keeps us dishonest, the fear that we will be revealed as unworthy and a fraud, that very fear is what is healed when we are more honest. We find out through honesty in a deep and direct way that we are not alone.

    Curiosity.  We are all deeply trained in a certain kind of knowing: the knowing of skills and facts, procedures and abilities. It's a useful kind of knowing, and we need it to navigate the world, to get our jobs done. And yet this kind of knowing can also shrink around us as a kind of straight-jacket of certainty. This kind of knowing can lead to states of extreme mindlessness in the fashion that Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer describes in her work as a state in which the past over-predicts the present and one is "often in error, but rarely in doubt."

    Curiosity is the antidote to this narrowing of perspective. Curiosity engenders openness. It broadens perspective. It reveals to us new and unexpected aspects of any situation. Curiosity helps us to read the subtle signs and signals that this isn't exactly the same as last time. Curiosity supports engagement, and with engagement we can find joy and delight even in the middle of activities we think of as mundane and routine. There is always more to whatever is going on than we notice at first. Curiosity is the second look and the fresh perspective.

    "I wonder if there's more going on here?" we might ask ourselves. This kind of questioning, very essentially, creates the purposeful pause that helps make space for curiosity.

    It's a practice

    It's wonderful to contemplate these three qualities of willingness, honesty, and curiosity. How does it feel to you to read these words and think about how you already employ these qualities in your life - and perhaps the feeling of those times when you don't?

    But the practice of them is in the living of them. A wonderful practice is each day to get up in the morning and set your intention to be willing, to be honest. Each day is a new day, unlike any that has come before. Our life invites us to show up for it and more and more it feels like the whole world needs us at our best. Luckily, being at our best in this way is a joy and a privilege. It feels better, even when we encounter the great challenges of life, to be willing, to be honest, and to be curious.

    I was discussing these qualities with one of the meditation groups I visit and one of them pointed out the overarching quality that makes these three function: kindness. A good point! And I would suggest also a natural result of practicing these three. If we're willing, honest and curious how else can we be towards ourselves and others but kind? We only have so long, we're all in this together, and life is tough. Let's be kindly willing, kindly honest, and kindly curious. Together.

    Tim

    Rev. Tim Burnett,  Executive Director 

    News

    Still a couple of places left!

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

    Online Classes

    Retreat at Home. A three-hour LIVE online retreat offered on Sundays from 2pm-5pm PST May 14th and June 11th.  Join from the comfort of your own home. 

    From a participant in our first Retreat at Home:

    "Convenient! Guided meditation practices with an awesome teacher!"

    Discounts and Credits

    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 Providers and the Mindful Self-Compassion 5-day Training Retreat.

    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.

    Kirkland: 8-week Mindfulness Stress Reduction will be offered Wednesday mid-day and Wednesday evenings.

    Seattle: the 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion class offered on Thursday Evenings

    Bellingham: (tentative) the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class will be offered.



    Meditation upon awakening

    [Adapted from
    Thich Nhat Nanh]

    As I awake, I smile.

    A brand new day
    in front of me.

    I vow to be willing, honest and curious.

    And to look with eyes of compassion
    upon all beings.

    Upcoming Retreats

    We're delighted to be offering so many more retreats: one day retreats in Seattle and Woodinville, 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.

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

    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

    A Summer Day of Mindfulness for Health Care Professionals
    (Semiahmoo County Park) July 16

    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

    Mindfulness for Healthcare Professionals. Wednesday evenings, May 17 - June 14. Hosted by The Everett Clinic.

    Fundamentals of Mindfulness Thursday evenings, July 6 - August 3. Seattle.

    Fundamentals of Mindfulness Wednesday evenings July 12 - August 2. Kirkland.

    Taking the Path of Mindfulness Thursday evenings, May 4 - June 8.  STARTS TOMORROW - Still spaces available

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

    NEW! Drop-In Classes. Come when you can! Thursday evenings, July 6 - August 24, 7-8:30pm

     

    Copyright © 2017 {Organization_Name}. All rights reserved.
    Contact email: {Organization_Contact_Email}
    You are receiving this message because you took an event with {Organization_Name} or opted in at {Organization_URL}  
     

    Newsletter not meeting your needs? Feel free to Unsubscribe.


  • 14 Apr 2017 6:06 AM | Michael Kelberer (Administrator)


    Dawn and mid-morning overlooking the tidal lagoon at Samish Island Campground
    where the Annual Spring Retreat was held last weekend.

    Mid-month News from Mindfulness Northwest

    On our minds

    The Buddha’s Two Darts Teaching

    I’ve been thinking about the Buddha’s Two Dart teaching over the last several days while I was pretty sick. He taught that we all experience physical, emotional, and mental pain. It’s just the human condition. That’s the first dart. We grow ill, we experience loss, old age, the death of friends and family, and fears about our own death. But the second dart is often more painful, the one we inflict on ourselves, our own strong reactions to the many first darts life throws at us. First darts are unavoidable; through mindfulness practice, we can actually reduce how many second darts we throw at ourselves. 

    As I lay for hours in bed with at times a high fever, exhaustion and muscle aches, I found I could rest into my moment-by-moment condition by practicing breath awareness: “I feel awful,” I’d hear myself thinking, and then: “Breathe.” Over and over, coming back to a presence of the breath.

    The “I feel awful” was a second dart thought, a concept about the illness, not the various physical sensations I was experiencing: heat, coldness, shivering, sweating, muscles constricting and releasing. A whole cascade of what we call “bare experience,” without the concepts we add onto the sensations. 

    The second dart thoughts ramp up the pain of the first dart. These thoughts, like “I feel awful,” seem to be objective descriptions of experience. But they can actually make us feel worse. Being aware of the experiences as they come up helps us let go of the second dart and come back to what is really going on with our bodies.

    Especially in the nights when I had trouble falling back asleep, I relied on the body scan to return to the first dart. Moving from toe to head or head to toe, I would bring my mind and heart into a nurturing awareness of the body, part by part. And then sometimes of the body as a whole. As I lay there, I began to experience more vividly sensations in the body, as in the breath awareness, without adding on concepts - second darts - and my sensations just didn’t bother me. They just were. 

    To be sure, in the midst of these mindfulness practices, my mind would wander, I would go back to critical thoughts, to the second darts: Why am I not well yet, what’s the matter with me, etc.? But practice reduced how often they came up and how intensely they intruded upon my body scan. 

    Overall, I was flowing with the ups and downs of the actual sensations of the illness. Until I got closer to the evening I was scheduled to teach my first new MBSR class of the Spring. Here’s where I began to throw a barrage of second dart thoughts at myself: “I haven’t ever missed teaching a class before, a responsible teacher teaches his classes. I will not let this illness get in the way of doing the right thing. I HAVE to be able to teach, I’m letting my co-teachers at Mindfulness Northwest down if I don't even show up for class.”

    The facts were, there were other teachers available to cover the class. But inside me I was fighting the facts. Back to practice. Breath awareness and the body scan. After a while, I was able to rest into how my life really was. I was getting better, slower than I wanted, but the discomfort was lessening. I let go of the self-critical second darts. I stayed at home and rested. I wrote a letter to an old friend. I read a book on compassion and read up on one of the new herbal remedies I was taking. I truly enjoyed being home and accepting my need to recover. 

    The biggest challenge was a pre-conceived notion that my self-worth depended on teaching that one class. The blessing for me was resting into practice and the awareness that my co-teachers were there for me. We are not alone. 

    - Richard Johnson


    Late cancellation

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

    Class has been cancelled due to instructor illness.

    New in Bellingham - Drop-in Meditation Class

    BellinghamDrop-in Meditation Class Thursday evenings, 7 - 8:30 pm. Led by mindfulness instructor Deb Wibe. No need to register, $10 cash or check at the door.

    Coming up soon with spaces still left!

    Spring and Summer Classes and Workshops

    Experience the Benefits of Retreat 

    Retreat in the comfort of your home

    New! An online 3-hour retreat with Mindfulness Northwest director Tim Burnett. Tim will lead us in a sequence of meditation and mindfulness practices including: sitting meditation, the body scan, walking meditation, gentle mindful yoga, and contemplative practices like the loving-kindness meditation. The retreat is designed especially for those who have taken Mindfulness Northwest classes and are seeking a convenient way to continue and renew their practice... from home!

    First retreat is Sunday, April 23rd, 2-5pm. Wait list.

    Next retreats are May 14th and June 11th, 2-5pm, sliding fee scale

    "Cruise Your Inner Passage"
    mindful kayaking in Alaska for health care professionals

    Friend of Mindfulness Northwest Kurt Koelting is co-hosting (with Dr. Herdley Paolini) a mindfulness-based, resilience-building trip in Alaska's Inner Passage for Physicians, Physician Leaders, Physician Assistants and Advanced Practice RNs. 

    July 23-30, 2017. Flyer here.

    Hey Alumni!

    Ever wanted to renew your practice by re-taking one of our courses, but finances get in the way? We can help - there's now an Alumni Discount registration option for most of our classes which can help with the financial challenge of returning as often as you want to these valuable trainings.


  • 01 Apr 2017 5:42 AM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)


    April 2017 Newsletter

    Letter from Tim

    Wandering minds = less happiness

    Dear {ContactField_First_Name},
     

    Our minds are time traveling machines. When not truly focussed on what's happening right now our minds wander about half of the time, and when the mind wanders, where is it most likely to go? To the future and to the past. [See the Wandering Minds TED talk in Resources - right sidebar.]

    In our classes and workshops we're constantly suggesting the dangers of excessive time traveling. 

    It is true that the mind's ability to manufacture worlds that might exist in the future or re-generate the worlds of our past experience can be useful to us - how else would be make decisions or learn from what happens to us? 

    Then again, rehearsing what we're going to do or rehashing what just happened might be useful to us the first time we do it, and maybe the second or third time, but but the 10th or the 100th time it's looking pretty doubtful. 

    To make matters worse, our wandering, time traveling minds also exhibit a strong "negativity bias" [see Negativity Bias in Resources.]  What we remember from the past and predict of the future tends to be more disastrous, embarrassing, and just plain worse than what actually happened or actually will happen to us. And here we can so easily use a perceived or predicted exception to disprove any rule ("Just because this presentation went fine the last 100 times doesn't mean I'm not going to blow it this time!"). 

    The “negativity bias” is not to say that bad things don't happen. Of course they do. But for most of us, most of the time, bad things are rare and most of the time we're surrounded by support, stability, and moment-to-moment opportunities to feel joy, connections, gratitude, and satisfaction in our lives. The time traveling, wandering mind just doesn't notice this as it's too busy ruminating over past failures and predicting future disasters. 

    Instead, stay present

    Recent research by an Australian group of researchers reinforces this Mindfulness 101 idea even further [see Present Moment Awareness in Resources.]. They found that people who take a more present-centered mental stance tend to feel more resilient in the face of stressful situations. They stay more grounded in their values, and remember a wider array of responses to difficult situations. And they are much less likely to try to avoid difficulty in maladaptive ways when it comes along. 

    Lately I'm noticing that the benefits gained from present-centered awareness may be more profound than I realized. 

    I'm fairly busy with teaching, running a mindfulness institute, helping to run a Zen center, my family, trying to stay in touch with friends, taking care of the body, household projects and repairs, doing my bit as an activist, and on and on. Your list details may differ but I bet your list isn't much shorter! 

    And I enjoy and appreciate this life very deeply. But where my mind tends to go when anxiety flares is to the to-do list. So many things I'm probably not getting to, or forgetting, or have left half-done. There's a fear there of disappointing others. And if I look deeply a fear of ultimately being proven incompetent - a fraud. (A psychologist friend of mine named this for me as, "Fraud Syndrome"). 

    And much as I enjoy a busy day of teaching, meeting with colleagues, practicing with the Zen community and so on, I always look forward to days with a lighter schedule at my home office which I think of as "catch up days." 

    Even harder with time on my hands

    The problem is: when I get finally to the catch up day I've longed for it often doesn't go the way I'd imagined.  

    Rather than a relaxed and productive day of knocking the to-do list items out of the park. I find that with less structure my mind has more room to wander. It drifts into a feeling of overwhelm and I find myself doing low-priority tasks or procrastinating as a way to cope. I can even see my mind jumping to another task or even to the end of the day anticipating that I'll look back a this day with regret about my failure to have the focussed, productive day I'd longed for.  

    What I'm learning is it's critically important that I make an active choice to focus on one thing at a time and to gently monitor my mind’s wandering tendencies throughout. I'm learning that the amount of mind wandering to the past and future, even the near future (like the next task after this one!) that's actually helpful during this kind of day is....basically zero.  

    There are times for planning, sure, but mostly there are times to just do one thing. Just one thing. Just this. 

    Adding a little structure to my day can also help. Yesterday I went to a yoga class, and with the 2 hour shorter day than I would have had without it I think I got more done and felt more satisfied with myself than I would have otherwise. 

    So I'm doing my best to notice when I'm entering into the potential hazard of low-structure times when I hope to be productive and renew my intention to work gently and clearly with the mind in this present-centered way. The question I'm working with more and more is, "What am I doing now?" not, "What do I need to do today?"  

    When it's hard, add kindness

    And when the mind does it's thing and I can feel that downward spiral starting up, here's the other piece: kindness.  

    I try my best to pause, smile to myself and the busy mind, and gently gather myself back to what I'm doing now. In our Mindful Self-Compassion classes there's the suggestion to treat the wandering mind more like an over-eager puppy or a toddler to guide lovingly and less like a problem child to discipline until he straightens out. 

    I realize that all of this is not all that different from standard advice on getting things done. But the key to actually enjoying our low-structure productive times is mindfulness and self-compassion. A settledness in breathing helps. Attending to the body helps. Holding each task in our mind firmly but gently and appreciating our efforts as we go along with a softness around the outcome helps too. 

    After you finish reading the newsletter I invite you ask yourself: What am I doing right now? Can you stay with that with stability and kindness? And forgiveness when you wander off! 

    Tim

    News

    Learn the basics - live, online


    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.

    Treat Yourself - A Weekend of Mindfulness


    An overnight 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

    New Online Retreat Series - Try the first one free.

    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. NOTE: The April 23rd retreat is FREE.

    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.

    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. Upcoming events that include continuing ed:

    Mindful Self-Compassion 5-day Training Retreat.

    Resources

    Wandering Minds TED talk: Click here.

    Negativity Bias - Article by Rick Hanson: Click here.

    Present-moment awareness research: Click Here

    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 all our classes and retreats can be found on our site:
    Mindfulness Northwest Events


     Seattle Area Classes

     Bellingham Area Classes

    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. 

    Fundamentals of Mindfulness (Kirkland) Wednesday evenings, July 12 - August 2.

    Fundamentals of Mindfulness (Seattle) Thursday evenings, July 6 - August 3.
    Compassion Cultivation Training. The next step after MSC. Monday evenings, April 10 - June 12.

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

    Taking the Path of Mindfulness. Thursday evenings, May 4 - June 8. 

    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 all our classes and retreats can be found on our site:
    Mindfulness Northwest Events


     Day Retreats

     Multi-Day Retreats

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

    Retreat at Home (Online) - FREE! - 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

    Summer Day of Mindfulness at Brightwater Center - Saturday July 29


    Spring Weekend Retreat (Samish) - Friday-Sunday April 7-9

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

    NEW
    Mindful Self-Compassion at Tassajara. Hosted by the San Francisco Zen Center, with Tim Burnett and Michelle Becker - July 20-24. A unique opportunity for practice in one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on the planet.

    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.


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    Contact email: {Organization_Contact_Email}
    You are receiving this message because you took an event with {Organization_Name} or opted in at {Organization_URL}  

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

    "What we practice, we get better at"

    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?

    Best,

    Tim

    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.

    News

    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.

    Resources

    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 do 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,

    Tim

    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,

    Tim

    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.

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Mindfulness Northwest, a 501c(3) Tax-Exempt Non-Profit registration@mindfulnessnorthwest.com  360-830-6439
214 N. Commercial St. #103, Bellingham, WA 98225


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