Mindfulness Northwest was founded by Executive Director Tim Burnett in 2011 as a way to offer the benefits of mindfulness meditation and practices to the greater Pacific Northwest and is now offering courses and staff trainings at sites from Seattle to Bellingham (see our Clients list). Tim has been teaching Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) since 2010, and practicing meditation since 1986. He is certified to teach MBSR by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; certified to teach Mindful Self-Compassion by the Center for Mindful Self Compassion; and certified to teach Compassion Cultivation Training by the Center for the Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University.
Tim brings a background in traditional Dharma practice to his mindfulness work. He ordained as a Soto Zen priest in 2000 and over the course of a 20 year apprenticeship with the well known Zen teacher Zoketsu Norman Fischer, Tim received permission to teach Zen independently in 2011 and is the Guiding Teacher of Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham. Tim also has a varied professional background including work as an educator, carpenter, software developer and scientist. Mindfulness takes the essence of a core Buddhist practice and makes it accessible and non-religious: a powerful coming together of modern psychological and medical understanding with ancient wisdom practices. Tim is happy to have a strong background in both sides of this new (and old) way of healing and growth. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and other mindfulness based therapies take their inspiration from the Buddhist Satipatthana Sutta which Tim has studied many times.
Assistant to the Director Michael Kelberer was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but moved to the Middle East when he was six weeks old. He grew up mainly in Beirut, Lebanon with a couple of short stays in small towns in Saudi Arabia. After attending Haverford College he worked in Saudi Arabia for a few years before returning to Minnesota to get his MBA. He remained in Minnesota where we worked for a bank, published a newspaper, worked as a financial planner, and finally put out his shingle as a freelance business writer. The latter career was interrupted by two stints working as a business manager for university research centers and one as executive director of a small treatment center for seniors. He moved to Washington on September 1, 2015 and started an MBSR class with Mindfulness Northwest three weeks later. He's been working as a volunteer with Mindfulness Northwest for over a year. His other passions are hiking, writing (mysteries and poetry) during brief periods of non-writers-block, hiking, reading, and hiking and he finds himself completely hooked on the great natural beauty surrounding Bellingham, and the great people who live here.
Office Manager and bookkeeper Ed Wayt was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and moved to Seattle after college to live in a "green" city, to be close to the mountains and sea, and to join the tech industry. After disengaging from the tech industry, he found himself on a winding path that eventually had him ordaining as a monk in the Plum Village tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh where he spent 2 years in Plum Village, France and another year at Deer Park Monastery outside San Diego. Finding that life disagreeable, he moved back to the Pacific Northwest - to Bellingham - where he practices in the Zen tradition of Robert Aitken and explores the living of an intimate, authentic, communal life amidst the broad world community. He finds the interplay of will and grace, of activity and non-activity, of engagement and letting go extremely interesting, likes to be outdoors hiking and exploring the natural world (while also counting 'rest' as one of his favorite activities) and is slowwwlllyyy training to be a wilderness youth rites of passage guide with 4-H.
Senior Teacher Karen Schwisow, E-RYT, has been teaching yoga and meditation to individuals and groups since 2005 and facilitating 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses since 2011. She has been building a foundation of mindfulness in her own life since the early 90s when her discovery of yoga felt like finding a short-cut to a quieter mind and calmer heart. Training as a yoga teacher and co-founding Three Trees Yoga & Healing Arts Center in Tacoma, Karen has continued to learn and deepen her understanding of these ancient wisdom traditions and how they are relevant to our lives today by completing Therapeutic Yoga training through Subtle Yoga and becoming a qualified MBSR teacher through the Center for Mindfulness UMass Medical School. Through compassionate listening, authenticity and humor she creates a welcoming container that empowers participants to experience their own innate ability to thrive.
Senior Teacher Richard Johnson, PhD (Harvard 1968), a retired professor of German & Peace Studies, moved in early 2016 from Indiana to teach in Seattle for Mindfulness Northwest. He was trained to teach MBSR by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2010 and took advanced training in 2012. Having taught MBSR now for five years, he has been inspired in every class by the way participants transform their lives through their mindfulness practices. He is a member of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing, a group of monastics and lay practitioners dedicated to mindfulness, meditation, and long-term social transformation. He has been practicing meditation since 1975. Teaching is for him a great and abiding joy. He has taught university and community classes for over 50 years, including classes on parenting, rape awareness, batterers’ intervention, mindful relationships, and meditation. He has published widely on German literature/culture and nonviolence.
As a professional and community volunteer, Teresa Johnson has dedicated much of her adult life to supporting youth and families. She holds a BA in education and has served youth of all ages as a tutor, teacher, camp counselor, life skills trainer, and mentor. In addition, she volunteered for 16 years facilitating classes in an ethics-based family relationship program for parents and youth. In recent years, she has completed trainings to teach mindfulness and mindful self-compassion to children and teens, and is currently enrolled in the Mindfulness Teacher Training Program with Mindfulness Northwest, where she serves as the Youth Program Coordinator. Facilitating and witnessing inner growth in others is her life calling, and she’s excited about the many new opportunities to do this through mindfulness education.
Teacher Deb Wibe grew up on the Dakota prairie. She became interested in Zen meditation in the early 90's and practiced with Kwan Um School of Zen for a number of years. Moving to Bellingham summer 2013 to be closer to family, she joined Red Cedar Zen Community, and later entered Mindfulness Northwest’s Teacher Training program in the fall of 2015. She began teaching mindfulness through Mindfulness Northwest in the fall of 2016. In addition to mindfulness, Deb is a Registered Nurse, works as a hospice nurse for Whatcom Hospice, and is certified in an energy-based healing modality called Healing Touch, which she offers to clients through her own Healing Touch practice in downtown Bellingham. "Teaching mindfulness gives me the opportunity to share with others something I've found incredibly helpful in my own life. What better work can there be!"
Teacher Ronna Biggs is a native Washingtonian who grew up in a small coastal town, using the roaring Pacific Ocean as a wonderful natural touchstone to the present moment. Ronna began studying meditation more formally in 2004 after discovering meditation as a sacred spiritual practice with the Center for Spiritual Living-Bellingham, where she’s a Licensed Practitioner. In 2016, she completed a 9-month/350 hour training in the Fundamentals of Mindfulness with Mindfulness Northwest. Ronna has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology-Criminology, and a Master’s degree in Counselor Education and Rehabilitation, and works at Western Washington University. She teaches meditation and mindfulness through the Center for Spiritual Living, Western Washington University, and Mindfulness Northwest. Ronna believes in the ability of each individual to engage and direct one’s inner resources to create a powerful and rich life experience, and enjoys navigating the world with a balance of reverence and good humor.
Teacher Joe Arellano has devoted his 30 plus year career to the realm of Complementary Alternative Medicine. A graduate of ground-breaking programs through UCLA, the Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing, and Mindfulness Northwest, he is a Licensed and Board Certified Massage and Bodywork therapist and Certified Mindfulness teacher. Joe has a private practice in Anacortes, and lives on Fidalgo Island with his wife, Billie.