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Winter 2014 Newsletter

28 Dec 2014 1:07 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)
Upcoming from Mindfulness Northwest

December 2014

Winter Newsletter, Classes and Events

Dear Friends,

As the darkest day of the year and the warmth, and sometimes the challenge, of the holidays approach I've been thinking about joy. About love and human connection.

When we think about mindfulness practice we usually focus on stress reduction. We think about how learning to pause and take a breath can help us reduce reactivity and over-reaction. We think about how paying attention to our inner processes of mind and being less caught by the external pressures helps us not add fuel to the fire. We think about how mindfulness helps us take responsibility for our own mind.

We appreciate how as we grow in mindfulness we become more stable, more flexible, and ultimately more creative and engaged with our life. Mindfulness helps us to show up in a certain way that has so many benefits.

This is all true and important. And small victories in reduction of reactivity, anxiety, and stress are worth celebrating. Small victories in our ability to not shoot those "second darts" at ourselves and be more present and engaged are worth appreciating. Those victories are anything but small.

And we can also appreciate how mindfulness helps us in communication and relationship. Our growing ability to work with attention and be more present allows us to be fully there with our friends and loved ones.

I so enjoyed a talk given by the great Zen teacher Thich Naht Hahn on this to the engineers at Google in 2011. Rather than talking about meditation as a technology for optimizing their performance or anything like that he talked about relationships. If you want to have a healthy relationship, he said, "you must be there." The great teachers help us return to the simple truths, don't they? And it's particularly poignant to study Thich Naht Hahn's teachings as he is currently in a serious health transition in France.

As we learn how to be less distracted by the urgent thoughts running through our mind and pay attention to our relationships, how to really be there,  miscommunication and misunderstandings decrease. A sense of connection increases. Our relationships improve.

That mindfulness training helps with communication and relationships is also  true and important. It might be mindfulness is a really fundamental to any relationship functioning well. Or functioning at all.

But all of this stress reduction and communication improvement sounds a little mechanical, doesn't it? Like we're fine tuning our mind like we'd tune a car or like we'd remove the viruses from our computer so that it will run better. A good thing but a little limited! I don't know about you but I don't want to be a well tuned machine. I want to be a person.

As the holidays unfold and our plans with family and friends are made I'm thinking about another aspect of mindfulness. And here we are also in the realm of compassion. I'm thinking about how mindfulness practice supports the awakening of joy.

Our practice of mindful awareness, of presence, supports our availability to feel joy.

The practice supports the possibility of a deep and satisfying happiness. Not just the momentary happiness of things going our way or having a good day but the happiness and joy of being alive on the planet. Of being connected to others people and even other kinds of beings - plants, birds, animals. The joy of connection to the sky and the earth. The joy of having a body. The joy of being able to take a breath. A beautiful relaxed clearing breath. The joy of being able to smile.

[Science break: research suggests that the relationship between happiness and smiling is a two way relationship. Being happy makes you smile, sure, but choosing to smile also makes you happy. Smile a little, it's good for ya!].

And if you add a little loving-kindness or compassion practice into the mix this warm,  joyful engagement with our lives can be all the warmer. This can be as simple as bringing up one of the loving kindness phrases regularly - during your formal practice time and during the day. "May I and all beings be happy. May I and all beings be safe. May I and all beings live with ease and joy."

Of course like all things human, the experience of happiness comes and goes and there's no simple formula or practice that always leads to any one outcome. The mind and heart are dynamic and ever changing as we engage with this life, this world, so full of joy and so full of suffering. I continue to appreciate how well Brene Brown and others point out (this early talk by her is a favorite) that if we want to allow the emergence of joy we have to allow ourselves to feel the entire range of human emotions. Gradually our orientation towards life shifts. Our baseline becomes more joyful and accepting of the whole range.

And that makes me think about how Lisa Hardmeyer Gray and I co-led a wonderful workshop last summer in California, which is on again for this summer, based on the this wonderful poem by Rumi.

                           Rumi - Like Birdwings

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror 

Up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead, 

Here’s the joyful face you been waiting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. 

If it were always a fist or always stretched open, 

You would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small 

Contracting and expanding,

The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated 

As birdwings.

I and everyone at Mindfulness Northwest wish you joy and connection over the holidays and we hope 2015 can be a year of increased mindfulness, compassion and joy. And if there's suffering this holiday season - how could there not be? - may you be able to meet it with kindness and patience. Happy holidays everyone.

Tim Burnett
Executive Director


Three Free Introductory Mindfulness events in Bellingham

Bellingham area & curious about mindfulness? Please join us at one of our three free events January 6th - 8th: Tuesday at 7pm at PeaceHealth, and Wednesday at noon or Thursday at 7pm at Village Books. 


Bellingham Classes
Retreats and Workshops
Introduction to Mindfulness - Monday evenings 6:30pm - 8:30pm January 19th - February 26th, retreat day Saturday February 7th, 1pm - 5pm
[registration and info]

Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention - Wednesday afternoons 3pm - 5pm,
January 14th - March 11th.
InstructorsMark Lazich, MS, LMHC, and Heather Cochran, MA MEd [registration and info]

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction - available on the weekend for the first time in Bellingham.
Sundays 5:00pm - 7:30pm February 22nd - April 19th, retreat day Saturday April 4th, 9:30am - 4:00pm
[registration and info]

Continuing with Mindfulness & Compassion For those who have taken classes before.
Month-long sessions on a theme.
Thursday mornings 9:30 - Noon.
January - Self-Compassion
February - Gratitude
(no session in March)
April - Integrity & Meaning

Instructor: Tim Burnett 

4 Seattle workshop through King County's Training Development Institute - open to all:

Mindful at Work: An Introduction to Mindfulness
Thursday Feb 26th, 8:30 - Noon
Thursday April 7th, 8:30 - Noon
Downtown Seattle
Instructors: Lisa Hardmeyer Gray & Tim Burnett   [registration and info]

Mindful Leadership
Thursday Feb 2th, 1:00pm - 4:30
Downtown Seattle
Instructors: Lisa Hardmeyer Gray &George Brewster [registration and info]

Mindful Communication
Thursday April 7th, 1:00pm - 4:30
Downtown Seattle
Instructors: Lisa Hardmeyer Gray & Tim Burnett [registration and info]

Spring Weekend Mindfulness Retreat
Friday April 10th, 4pm - Sunday April 12th, 3pm. A residential weekend immersed in mindfulness practice. [registration and info]
(We support military veteran's to attend this retreat, donations to the vets scholarship fund are always welcome).

"Roots of Mindfulness" Week-long Mindfulness Retreat
Sunday November 1st, 4pm - Sunday November 8th, 11am. For mindfulness teachers and serious students. [registration and info]
Seattle & Eastside Classes
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for the Community (Kirkland) - Wednesday Evenings 6:45pm - 9:15pm, March 4th - April 22nd, retreat day Saturday April 18th, 9:00am - 4:00pm. Instructor:  Jonas Batt. MA, LMHC [registration and info]

Introduction to Mindfulness for the UW Medicine (Seattle)- Sunday Evenings 
6:00pm - 8:30pm, January 18th - February 15th, extended session: Sunday February 8th, 1:00pm - 7:00pm.
Extended session is available to past UW Medicine students.

Introduction to Mindfulness at Washington Physician's Health Program
Wednesday and Thursday evenings
January 15th (or 16th) through February 12th (or 13th). Extended session: Saturday February 7th.
Instructors: Lisa Hardmeyer Gray &Janice Sack-Ory  [registration and info]

Mindfulness Coaching  Individual mindfulness training and support is now available in Bellingham with Tim Burnett.
[registration and info]

Community Teachers Program For mindfulness & compassion teachers in our region. List your presence and upcoming classes on our website and receive a mention in this email newsletter. We receive over 100 visitors per day and have an email list of over 1,000. Help our region develop in mindfulness and compassion by spreading the word on your classes. Easy sign-up and self-serve update of your listings and personal entry. Details here.


Mindfulness Northwest is a non-profit and our class fees cover only basic operating costs. Can you help us expand our offerings with a tax-deductible donation? More info here and thank you.


Taught by Mindfulness Northwest Staff at other sites

Classes with 
Community Teachers 
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at Samaritan Center
Free Orientation Session Tuesday January 6th 7pm

MBSR Classes on Wednesday Evenings
January 20th - March 10th, 6:30pm - 9:00pm, retreat on November 1st, with Kurt Hoelting

Registration info at the Samaritan Websiteor call 206-527-2266

Mindfulness in Federal Way
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction with Janice Sack-Ory & Karen Schwisow at Three Trees Yoga

Thursdays, February 5 - March 26th from 6:30 - 8:30PM, 
Day of Retreat Saturday, March 14 from 9AM - 4PM. 

Registration info at Three Trees Yoga.

Mindful Self-Compassion with Sara Baldwin

Mindful Self-Compassion is an 8 week course (including a half day retreat) that is designed to give participants concrete and practical ways to treat themselves with more kindness. 

Classes available for the community and for Mental Health Professionals starting in March.

Details at Citta Psychotherapy.

Interested in listing your upcoming classes and events with Mindfulness Northwest? Please see our Community Teachers program

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


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