2015 M4 Teacher Training Graduates

We are proud to celebrate our 10th anniversary of Teacher Training and welcome our 2015 cohort of mindfulness teachers who completed the M4 training requirements in the first full 3-day training retreat. Congratulations to all and we look forward to an on-going sharing in your insights and great work! Many thanks as well to our coach teachers, Brittany Glynn, Lakshmi Sundaram, Sheila Robertson, and Jessie Bossé.


2015 TTR Group

2014 Teacher Training Graduates

Graduates of M4 Teacher Training - Foundational Level

Graduates of M4 Teacher Training – Foundational Level


Please welcome our new graduates of the Ottawa Mindfulness Clinic M4 Program Teacher Training (Level I – Foundations of Mindfulness).

It was an amazing weekend filled with flooded out rental rooms and air conditioners that struggled with the heat! This weekend retreat capped the participants hard work that, in some cases, took a year of study and practice. These graduates have completed the 8-week M4 program, researched and reviewed the current issues in mindfulness treatments, attended silent retreats, and developed practice in the program fundamentals of a mindfulness program. In this retreat, they will have practiced the essentials of a mindfulness program including incorporating ethics into a mindfulness curriculum.

A deep bow of gratitude to our senior teachers (Level II – Certified) who helped with the training.


Book giveaway on blog by Karen Maezen Miller

Karen Maezen Miller, author of Momma Zen and Hand Wash Cold, is offering a copy of our book, Mindfulness Starts Here! Maezen is well-known for her no-nonsense teachings in Zen and more for her direct connection with the everyday-ness of our experiences.

For a chance to get a copy of our book, go to her blog and leave a comment! (Then go to Amazon and leave a review for us!)

Thanks, Maezen!

Seeing muddy water clearly – excerpt from Mindfulness Starts Here


Excerpt from Mindfulness Starts Here: An 8-week guide to skillful living

Muddy Waters

How mysterious! The lotus remains unstained by its muddy roots, delivering shimmering bright jewels from common dew.

Sojo Henjo

Who we are and what we want for ourselves and those we love is created through our experience and through our thinking process. We live an active mental life that seeks out images and builds castles in our inner environment. Then, through hopefully skillful actions, we try to make those dreams a reality in our external environment. One of us may have dreams of being a good parent and that seed is nurtured in our mind with images of things a “good parent” does or says to his child. Another of us may have an idea for a garden or a type of business and begins to formulate concepts which are likely to become a reality with effort. When these dreams, ideas, and concepts are made real, we feel a sense of accomplishment and our vision of being an effective person is clear. When these aspirations meet with obstacles or are criticized as inadequate, we become clouded in our vision of who we are and what we want.

Our mental life is like a 
glass filled with water and mud.
 Sometimes the contents are still
 and settled. We can live ade
quately with the fact that parts of
 our life are clear and other parts 
are mucky with slime and ooze.
 In fact, many Buddhist teachers
 say that slime and ooze are crucial to our personal growth. Lotuses begin their life in the mud, cradled and nourished there until the blooms rise above the water clean and untainted by the messiness under water. It’s an inspiring image because most of us aspire to rise above all the inner turmoil and “ickiness” to be beautiful. We want to be able to roll with the punches, share in the joys of others, and take in a beautiful sunset.

Sometimes, the contents of the glass are stirred up. When we experience anger, anxiety, depression, frustration, grief, loss, or some challenge to our perception of ourselves or others, mud and water mix to form a system that is murky. In these moments, we lose sight of the clarity of water and all we see is a mess of mud. Whatever we have encountered seems to be the entirety of our being. The poet Rumi asked us to invite in as guests depression, meanness, dark thoughts, shame, and malice as a way of learning from these experiences. However, when we are overcome with such muddiness, it feels like these visitors have taken up every nook and cranny of our mind with no room left for love, compassion, joy or kindness. In fact, we can become quite convinced that the clarity of the water that we saw over the mud was an illusion and the muddy mixture is the absolute reality. We come to believe the worst of whoever has hurt us. The roadblock in our career path takes on monumental proportions. The consequence of a lost contract, an upset client, the end of a relationship or of good health seems like the end of our life. We take our unskillful actions as evidence of our unworthiness.


Losing sight of who we are is an easy skill to develop. In fact, we tend to practice clouding our vision as a daily way of being. In order to get things done, we live much of our lives on autopilot. We walk into a room and forget why we went there. We go to the grocery store for milk, buy a bunch of stuff, and forget to buy the milk. We set out on our daily drive to work and can’t remember much of the trip there. We feel frustrated with our aging or preoccupation.

Bring to mind your day. When you woke up, were you aware of that moment of growing awareness of what it feels like to be in bed or were you already caught in the activities of the day to come? As you were showering, were you feeling the water on your body or were you already wondering how to get breakfast ready for yourself, your partner and/or your children? At breakfast, were you already in the car? When driving, were you already at that meeting with the boss or colleague that you were dreading? At any given time in the day, we are likely living a time zone or two away. Yet, if asked, we would probably say that we’re very aware of what we’re doing and where we’re going. We have maps, lists, plans, and beeping reminders on our computers or phones to tell us where we are in time and space. In fact, we get indignant if we’re told we’re not paying attention.

Many years ago when one of us (Lynette) was in the field of assessing and treating children with Attention Deficit Disorder, we attended a workshop given by Ed Hallowell, who wrote Driven to Distraction. He commented that many adults with ADHD don’t even realize they meet the criteria for the disorder and that the people who can best diagnose the disorder are the partner or close friends of the person. He asked the audience how many of us believed we had ADHD. Both of us looked around at all the people raising their hands; our hands were firmly tucked into our laps. Then Hallowell asked how many in the audience believed our spouse had ADHD. We both raised our hands!

Just as the eye cannot see itself and the hand cannot grasp itself, it is hard for us to be aware of who we are in each moment. The busy mind carries us away at the speed of thought and we live in a world where that busy-ness is valued as something positive. At the same time, multitasking and rapid information processing is a necessity in our fast-paced world. Even as this is being written, the computer is scanning for viruses, updating the firewall program, backing up the files online, and recording the keystrokes. The writer of this paragraph is composing, remembering where the reference books are, mentally reviewing the handouts so that there is consistency with this text, wondering if her daughter is enjoying her vacation, and deciding what to have for dinner. We could also throw in a feeling of anxiety about this whole process of writing a book on mindfulness.

The problem is not that so much is going on in this moment. That’s the nature of mind; it’s a busy creature that’s been described as being like a monkey that’s drunk and been stung by a bee. It swings rather wildly at times and there is no predicting where it will end up. Problems arise when the peripheral issues trip up the primary intention. If the writer begins to worry about the purpose of the book, whether the references are where she thinks they are, what people will think of this work, worrying about her daughter and whether she’s a good mother if her daughter has a bad vacation and so on, the creative process is now subservient to worry, rumination, and projection into the future. Suddenly, the fingers trip over computer keys, doubt creeps in, and sentence structure goes to mud!

Read more in Mindfulness Starts Here: An 8-week guide to skillful living by Lynette Monteiro & Frank Musten

Opening the vast field of mindfulness: Foreword to Mindfulness Starts Here by Joan Halifax, PhD

Foreword to Mindfulness Starts Here: An Eight-Week Guide to Skillful Living

by Joan Halifax, PhD

In today’s world, we have the rare and precious teachings and practices of mindfulness that invite us to slow down, stop, and “take a backward step.” Mindfulness is not about doing something strange, exotic, or anti-social.  It is about letting ourselves open to the depths and richness of the present moment, this very moment, no other than being right here, right now: a miracle in this time when so many are rushing here and there, at great cost to themselves and to the world that all of us share.


This wonderful book, written by Lynette Monteiro and Frank Musten, is an instruction manual for waking up to the present moment. It introduces the reader to the art and practice of living mindfully, of wise mindfulness, and of an ethical field that undergirds the life well and carefully lived.  No matter how blessed our life might be or have been, there are always moments when we are touched by stress and suffering. Illnesses, loss, errors in judgment, just plain reality intrude upon us. It is exactly here where mindfulness can take the pain and suffering of the less ideal experiences of being human, and can turn those experiences into teachings.  And yes, these teachings can be rare and treasured opportunities. This is what we call “turning into the skid” and mindfulness makes it possible for us to turn into the skid and land safely in the next moment.


The chapters of this book take us through a series of exercises that open the vast field of mindfulness. We begin with our very human body, a veritable treasure house inviting us into awareness. We move then through the fields of our emotions, then sensations. We open ourselves to our thought streams then, and the reminder that “thoughts make the thinker.” All these wonderful practices introduced to us can lead us from ill-being to well-being, if we engage them faithfully and whole-heartedly.


Lynette and Frank give the reader and practitioner so many tools for not only survival but human flourishing. Out of this flourishing comes a deep resilience to the challenges we face in our life.  It outlines pathways that can bring out the best in us and in the world. I encourage you to follow the sequence they have crafted from their years of experience as teachers. Do the exercises, the practices. This wonderful manual is a step by step method leading the individual through exercises and wisdom that offer so much to us.


Finally, the skill of our authors, who are therapists as well as deep practitioners, is something really important. We are reading the work of people who have worked in very complex and difficult situations. They know their stuff, and we are the beneficiaries of their extraordinary experience.

Advanced Praise for “Mindfulness Starts Here”: Dr. Shauna Shapiro

Book-posterMindfulness Starts Here incorporates the rigor of science, the beauty of art, the wisdom of reflection and years of lived experience. The wealth of theory and practice presented in this illuminating text will be of benefit to clinicians and clients alike, and has the potential to transform our individual and collective lives. I highly recommend it.

            Shauna L. Shapiro, Ph.D., Associate Professor Santa Clara University, co-author of The Art and Science of Mindfulness: Integrating Mindfulness into psychology and the helping professions

In 2000, Shauna Shapiro and Gary Schwartz wrote a chapter on intention as one of the key facets of self-regulation(1). The model they presented of self-regulation (the ability to modulate reactivity) drew from many sources in the field of emotion regulation including the area of attention-based regulation (mindfulness) proposed by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Their model of Intention Systemic Mindfulness (ISM) has informed the Mindfulness-Based Symptom Management program taught at the OMC. Over the last ten years, this model and its subsequent expansion, has also become the foundation of our Professional Training Program, particularly in the teacher formation and mentoring process which follows the Level I training (8-week participation in the Core Program & 2 1/2-day skills training retreat) where future teachers’ intention-setting, “mindfulness qualities and systemic perspectives” are cultivated.

Dr. Shapiro and co-author Dr. Linda Carlson have written The Art and Science of Mindfulness: Integrating Mindfulness into psychology and the helping professions. Her new book, co-authored with Chris White, Loving Discipline: A Mindful Guide to a Raising Respectful, Responsible and Cooperative Child, is available for pre-order here.


(1)The role of intention in self-regulation: Toward intentional systemic mindfulness. Shapiro, Shauna L.; Schwartz, Gary E. Schwartz. In Boekaerts, Monique (Ed); Pintrich, Paul R. (Ed); Zeidner, Moshe (Ed), (2000). Handbook of self-regulation.  (pp. 253-273). San Diego, CA, US: Academic Press, xxix, 783 pp. doi: 10.1016/B978-012109890-2/50037-8

Advance Praise for “Mindfulness Starts Here” – Steve Flowers

UoOHS-12NOV19Whether you have been practicing mindfulness for many years or for you  Mindfulness Starts Here is where your introduction to mindfulness begins – you have found a treasure here that you will probably read again and again. This lovely book from Lynette Monteiro and Frank Musten is a beautiful tapestry of wisdom and love that can guide you through life’s hardships and awaken in your life greater joy, loving-kindness and well-being.

Steve Flowers, MS, MFT, has been a mindfulness teacher for 16 years and is the author of The Mindful Path through Shyness and co-author (with Bob Stahl) Living with your Heart Wide Open.

We love to tell the story of sitting in a cozy nook with Steve during the busy Center of Mindfulness (UMass) conference in 2012 discussing the ups and downs of publishing a book. We commiserated on how hard it was to choose a good title and Steve asked about our book. As we dithered about what to call it, he said, in true MB Teacher mode, “What do you want to call it?”

“Mindfulness starts here! Right here. Right now!” we responded.



“Well then?”

And so ended the quest to find a suitable title for our book. Thanks, Steve!