A practice in presence
An interview with Mindfulness Northwest’s Karen Schwisow, by Marnie Jackson
Better health. A brighter outlook. Greater life balance. Boosted immunity. Relief from pain, stress, and anxiety. Practitioners of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) experience these changes and more—and since 1979, the science supporting MBSR for health and wellbeing has stacked up. This August, Mindfulness Northwest is offering a 5-day intensive program at the Whidbey Institute to bring MBSR practices to beginners and experts alike. Read More →
Sommer Bowlin started working with us in October 2018 with a role on our housekeeping team. She’s a major part of the team keeping our lodging and gathering spaces clean, fresh, and inviting.
In addition to her work with the Whidbey Institute, Sommer loves spending time with family. She’s a homemaker with a six-year old stepson, Reece, and a partner, Jason. They have two dogs and a cat, and enjoy baking, cooking, board games, and movies. In addition to work and family time, she keeps life in balance with beach walks, art, and activism on behalf of our southern resident orcas, a critically endangered population. Read More →
Mira Steinbrecher and I first met at a Timber Framers Guild conference in Port Townsend. We came together again through our work with the Whidbey Institute five years ago, and we recently sat together to talk about her long history with the Whidbey Institute. Here’s that conversation. —Marnie Jackson
When Mira Steinbrecher arrives on this land, she feels the same spirit that captured her attention decades ago when she first came to a potluck and sauna. “The land keeps drawing me here,” she said. “I still remember the first time I drove down this driveway. I got out of the car and thought, ‘whoa—where was the veil I crossed?’” Read More →
From May 17 to 19, Victoria Santos and Debra Baker will be at the Whidbey Institute hosting Nourishment: A Gathering for Women of Color. I recently had the opportunity to speak with them about the program and their vision for what women will experience here this spring. —Marnie Jackson
Victoria Santos, on how this program came into being:
I have been thinking of women of color . . . the amount of work we’re doing and have done in this society, and the amount of stress we’re carrying. I realized how important it is for women of color to come together and engage in nourishing practices. This is life-giving, and we really need to make the time to do it.
Reflecting on this idea, I asked myself, “who do I know, personally, who is living into the principles that need to be amplified right now in this culture, for all people but especially for women of color?” That’s when I thought of Debra. She really embodies a way of being that we need right now—for all of us. We ended up having dinner and I approached her about the idea. She said yes!
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Meg joined our team in November, with administrative and logistic roles including being a primary point of contact for program leaders from the moment they decide to bring their work here to the moment they arrive on site. In that window between, Meg helps work out all the kinks to make sure their experiences here are as wonderful as possible. Additionally, she keeps an eye on the facilities and helps monitor and schedule maintenance, upkeep, and outsourced repairs. Read More →
Breeze Gabrielson joined the Whidbey Institute team as our Westgarden Intern this summer, and in that role she helps with the huge job of maintaining and improving the Westgarden. Breeze is currently focused on learning more about medicinal plants alongside Westgarden Steward Jules LeDrew, with the goal of incorporating the healing power of plants into her own life in order to help others do the same. Read More →
Tom and Terra in 2006
Tom Buxton has worn many hats in his 20 years of volunteerism with the Whidbey Institute. Landscaper, carpenter, board member, treasurer—you name it, he’s done it. It’s a story that begins in the fall of 1998, when Thomas Berry Hall was just getting finished. Read More →
When asked why she meditates, Sarah Manchester said that through meditation, she observes the activity of her mind which helps her to touch into a deeper part of herself. “Why wouldn’t I want to share that process with others?” she asked. “I lead a weekly meditation class in Langley, which is great, but in a retreat, we can allow the meditation to deepen.” Read More →
Christiane Seuhs-Schoeller, who describes herself as “blissfully unacademic,” is passionate about purpose. She’s drawing from three decades as an entrepreneur in business consultation and leadership development in her current roles with Encode.org and Evolution at Work. The former supports purpose-driven entities in “baking in” and legally protecting purpose as a bottom line, while the latter supports personal development and capacities for people working in entities that have integrated or are integrating the principles of self-organization. I connected with Christiane last week about the Language of Spaces, a framework which supports expansion of the human capacities required to thrive within the increasing complexity of the new world of work. Here’s that conversation. —Marnie Jackson
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I caught Westgarden Steward Jules LeDrew at work, and interviewed her while we transplanted romaine lettuce starts. Here’s our conversation.
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