Mindfulness in Nature: Renew. Refresh. Reset.

A 7-Day Mindfulness Training in Alaska for Professionals

Summer 2020 (Date TBD)

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Alaska is one of the planet’s most iconic destinations, and this mindfulness journey offers a perfect refuge into the hidden treasures of the Tongass National Forest, our planet’s largest and wildest temperate rain forest. This intensive mindfulness training in Southeast Alaska is tailored to the needs of professionals living in a fast-paced world, where we are pressured, always-on, information overloaded and distracted constantly. These demands can make us feel overwhelmed, scattered and exhausted. Immersing ourselves in nature can be the perfect space to cultivate renewal and purpose.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,

A cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,

This is the best season of your life.

— Wu-men

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Mindfulness helps train our attention to become more calm, focused, creative, resilient and happy in our work, home and social life. On this digital detox retreat, our daily mindfulness training, yoga, hiking, and sea kayaking adventures will bring us back in touch with our mental clarity, physical vitality, and with a core of inner stability, strength and belonging that is often absent from the workplace.

Mindful sea kayaking

Mindful sea kayaking

I’ll be co-leading the retreat with my good friend, mindfulness teacher and wilderness guide, Kurt Hoelting. Kurt’s decades of experience as a wilderness guide and commercial fisherman in Alaska is the perfect complement to his work as a mindfulness teacher. His deep knowledge of the Tongass region, and many years as a mindfulness teacher, make him the ideal guide on this multifaceted journey through our inner and outer landscapes.

Our training is sponsored by Inside Passages, and will be based out of Keene Channel Lodge in the heart of Alaska's spectacular Tongass National Forest, which includes glaciers, wooded trails and beautiful wildlife. The lodge will be our home base for the week, where we’ll sleep, eat and practice mindfulness and yoga.

Keene Channel Lodge, where we’ll be staying for the week

Keene Channel Lodge, where we’ll be staying for the week

View from the Keene Channel Lodge

View from the Keene Channel Lodge

From the lodge, we’ll take daily excursions which will include mindful hikes and mindful kayaking adventures before returning to the lodge late each afternoon for dinner, practice periods and evening talks and discussions.

Mindful hiking

Mindful hiking

Whale watching from one of the trails

Whale watching from one of the trails

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Jon Kabat-Zinn has called mindfulness simply “the art of being fully human.” This retreat offers the opportunity to re-discover your deepest self. While experiencing the renewing power of stillness in nature, you will also be learning how to quiet your mind and sharpen your focus in ways that also contribute to your effectiveness in the workplace when you return home.

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We believe that leadership begins from the inside-out and that immersive experiences in nature can help us reconnect with our best selves. This experience in the Alaskan wilderness will help you re-establish that connection and, at the same time, commit to a daily mindfulness practice that helps you stay focused on what matters most in your life.

The training will include online team building sessions prior to the retreat, and personal coaching opportunities with David and Kurt after you have returned home from the retreat, to anchor and apply your mindfulness skills back in the workplace and in your everyday life.


Retreat cost: $4250. Includes lodging and all meals for five days and six nights at Keene Channel Lodge, kayak guide services, kayaks and all related gear, and transportation by charter vessel to and from the lodge from Petersburg, Alaska (14 miles each way). Also included are three personal online coaching sessions with Kurt or me following the retreat, to help anchor our mindfulness skills in our home and work settings.

Cost does not include airfare to Petersburg from the Lower '48, or any meal or lodging costs in Petersburg before or after the trip. (See details about retreat information & schedule, and travel planning here.

Space is limited to 10 participants. Please email me if you or your team is interested in attending: david@shinebright.com

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No prior kayaking experience is necessary. Many participants on past trips have been novice kayakers and have done fine. One should be in generally good physical condition, but the kayaking takes place in very protected waters within Alaska’s Inside Passage. We use double kayaks so that more experienced paddlers can be paired with less experienced people. Our kayaking is approached as simply another form of mindfulness practice, and we set a gentle pace that works for the whole group.

Tongass National Forest

Tongass National Forest

MBSR Daylong Retreats (2019 Dates TBD)

Jikoji Zen Center. Los Gatos, CA

View from the ridge

View from the ridge

Immersing yourself in nature is a wonderful way to reconnect and deepen your practice. Come join us for a daylong at Jikoji, a beautiful rustic retreat center in the stillness of the Los Gatos Mountains. Jikoji features a pastoral reflecting pond, shaded walking trails, lovely flowering trees and stunning views, and is just one hour from San Francisco. I'll be leading this silent retreat with my good friend and colleague, Krista De Castella. We will offer periods of:

  • Guided and silent sitting meditation

  • Body scan meditation

  • Gentle hatha yoga

  • Walking meditation

  • Mindful hiking on the trails to the ridge

  • Eating meditation


Time: 9:30am – 5:30pm

Cost: Sliding scale $75 - $150. Please bring your own lunch.

All welcome. Space limited. 

RSVP: david@shinebright.com

Location: Jikoji Zen Center. 12100 Skyline Blvd. Los Gatos, CA 95033. (408) 741-9562.

Directions: http://www.jikoji.org/managers/

There are cabins available for overnight and weekend stays. Please contact the Jikoji Zen Center for details: http://www.jikoji.org/