Listening at the Shores of the Great Silence, On the Brink of Everything

I awoke this morning to the lyrics of one of my beloved artists, Carrie Newcomer.  Tearfully thankful she put words to such wisdom.  Her recent song, On the Brink of Everything (Youtube video & Lyrics below),  seems to echo so much of what becomes more evident with the passing years, with the kind disciple of contemplative practice, across years of teaching, and with timeless wisdom that seems to be shared by folks across time and many cultures.  Antonio Machado, the great Spanish poet of the last century spoke of this same thing in his timeless poem, Last Night as I was Sleeping, especially the last stanzas that speak of listening at the “Edge of the Great Silence.”

I couldn’t help but share these with you .  My hope is that they will be nourishing perspective during this turbulent time in our nation’s, our world’s history, and perhaps in your personal life.  It’s my invitation for us to find our way to settle a little more thoroughly and kindly on this ‘edge’ and the ‘brink’ of life’s rich offerings; both joyful and challenging.

Practices shared here in my classrooms are ways toward that, though I am sure, you will find your own ways.  Follow your heart as I recently have been sharing in my MBSR students midway through their training, “There is no right way, there is your way.”

On a more personal note and for those of you who are my students, the lyrics of Carrie Newcomer’s On the Brink of Everything capture the heart of the motivation of teaching and coaching for me.  In one stanza she writes “I never sang ’cause I know something, I sang because it’s a prayer.  The finest one that i could bear.”

Dear folks, I hope you sense that same spirit about what I offer.  I will echo her sentiment to clarify the heart of what I intend.

“I never taught because I knew something, I taught because it’s a prayer.  The finest one that i can bear.”

Kindest Regards  —  Brant

Carrie’s On the Brink of Everything via YouTube:


Why I became a Yoga Teacher!

I have met many folks who have become yoga teachers.  Their motivations are very diverse though what they most often have in common is a full sense that this art and science has been to very helpful to them personally and they wish to share with others as a loving contribution to help make life better for others.

Come and meet a number of folks who have trained to teach and are just beginning or have done so for many years.

Perhaps you are someone just interested in yoga and want to learn more about it.  Perhaps you are a student with burning questions to ask a teacher about their path, perhaps you are a yoga teacher and just want to meet other teachers and folks that show up.

You’re all welcome to attend!

Hope to see you here!  Please RSVP to assure there is enough room for all!

Kind Regards  —  Brant

Nice Restaurants Nearby if you choose to share the evening!  See the list:  Find Yoga Hillsboro & Nearby Restaurants.

How can we be present to what’s happening in the world without giving in?

You and I see the images of families separated at our borders, refugees making perilous journeys is small rickety boats, and read headlines of difficulty and despair.  If you are like me it is often way too much.  How can we let all that in and feel in any way that we can offer something helpful?

Without answering that question directly, my intuitive sense this summer was to devote more of my time to support folks nearby more directly in any way I could; donations of time, money, effort to those in need and those helping others.  Last term I put together an evening to share with everyone to ponder the question together, “How to make the world a better place?”  Likewise I offered time and space here for morning meditations a couple of times a week to provide a quiet, safe place to share a quality of attentive presence with one another, in the face of whatever life is right now.

Of course this does not fix the bigger problems around us and the sense of helplessness to affect the bigger problems still lingers.   Yet . . . something, some small thing,  has been offered in a direction that is hopeful.  That seems to lead toward further contribution.  Perhaps at Helen Keller noted what we sense can be “. . . transmuted to the deeper faith.”

I was so thankful and encouraged when a friend sent along this podcast from the NPR program OnBeing.  It’s commentary by Krista Tippet, the show’s host.  She has interviewed hundreds of people on her show.  Folks who meet the challenges, huge challenges, seemingly unsolvable challenges of the world in ways that are courageous and hopeful.  What so many of them have in common is a sense of hope.  A willingness to lean deeply into the problem at hand with courage, compassion, and hope.  A sense of ‘Yes, and . . .’  Seeing the world for all its difficulty and the joy that is tucked in there nearby.

Here is an incredibly hopeful and encouraging commentary by Krista Tippet about her struggle to make sense of the difficulties she sees every day and her willingness to practice hope, give herself permission to sense joy even as she works to make the world a better place.

I hope this will encourage you as it did me  —  Brant

How can we be present to what’s happening in the world without giving in to despair and hopelessness?  commentary podcast  by Krista Tippet on NPR’s OnBeing


Morning Meditation Practice this Summer; Wednesdays & Sundays, 7 – 8am

I am so very glad to share morning meditation practice with you this summer on Wednesday and Sunday mornings.  Sharing with one another an attentive, strong, and compassionate presence encourages these qualities as we meet the challenges of daily life.  

More details about these mornings here (signing up, how we’ll practice, outline, activities):  Morning Meditations

Everyone, the public is welcome.

Kind Regards  —  Brant

Yoga for Osteoporosis Series; July 9th, 16th & 23rd

This is a series and general overview of the information and yoga postures laid out in Dr. Loren Fishman’s book Yoga for Osteoporosis.  This series will be both informational and experiential.  There will be readings and assignments.  Simple postures outlined in Dr. Fishman’s book will be introduced and reviewed.  Read an article about his work:  8 Poses for Bone Health.

Here’s a link to a very good New York Times article about yoga and osteoporosis and a review of Dr. Fishman’s book:  12 minutes of Yoga for Bone Health  

Talk over and get a referral with your healthcare provider prior to registration if you are in a acute phase of bone pain or difficulties.

This will be a full learning experience class with homework and requires Pre-register and commitment to complete the series.  Dr. Fishman’s book is included with your tuition if you register by July 1st. If you do not preregister by July 1st and there is still room after that date please make sure you have a copy of the book by class one on July 9th.  Readings from Dr. Fishman’s book will be part of your homework.

$70 for the series;  Mondays, July 9th, 16th, 23rd; 7-8:30pm  Send in or bring your tuition to class one on July 9th  Contact Brant to pre-register.

Loving Dad: Early Morning Father’s Day












Begin Father’s Day with the brief gift of attentive presence in simple contemplative practice, readings about fatherhood and parenting, reflecting on how we might honor the fathers in our lives and ourselves.  Bring a story, photo, heirloom or otherwise about fatherhood and share a bit if you wish.

This is intended to be a unique and nourishing  way to begin your day of honoring fatherhood.  Perhaps honoring your father, your father’s father, fathers you know, you as father, perhaps a son or relative who is a young father.  If you bring your Dad he is welcome as my guest.

Learning materials will be included during this shared morning with you.  Materials for writing a card for Dad will be available and included.   8-9:15am with doors open at 7:30am. $15 tuition.

Please RSVP/Preregister so we have enough space for all!  More details:  Loving Dad more details link.

Kind Regards  —  Brant

The Holy Longing




Johann Wolfgang von Goethe




These passages seem to capture some of the essence of the consequences of practice as we continue a way of living with a sense of offering an unqualified attentive presence.  Of course in Goehe’s time the notion of mindfulness was nonexistent though of course presence or mindfulness is simply a quality of being human.  We all find our own way as Goethe reflects in his writing.



The Holy Longing
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tell a wise person or compassionate, or be silent,
because the fearful, angry, or reactive person will shut you out.
I adore what is truly alive in us,
The passion and longing will risk everything

In the calm waters of loving,
where you were conceived, where you have conceived,
wonder can claim you,
wonder in the warm light and searing flame of a candle.

In such moments you are no longer obsessed with darkness,
a desire to know love more deeply will sweep you upward.

This won’t make you falter.
You’ll sense magic as if flying,
then lust for that light,  insane for that light
you’ll be the moth and you’ll enter the flame
and you’ll be gone; you will be transformed.

As long as you avoid such passion, such commitment, such loss; to die and so to grow, you will only be a troubled guest on this dark earth.

For Folks in Greater Portland: Two MBSR Courses this Summer – Saturday and Thursday

As I did this spring  I have opened registration for summer’s Saturday MBSR Course in addition to my regular Thursday evening MBSR Course.  The Saturday, 2pm training, is an excellent choice for Portland area commuters with good traffic and Max nearby.  And it is just after the Saturday Market, a few yards from the classroom’s front door; nice food, market goods, city fountain!    My classrooms are an easy 2-block walk from both downtown Hillsboro Max stations.  Also there are a number of excellent restaurants, shops, and parks downtown near my classrooms.

A rich background of scientific research and books has made MBSR one of the most effective and respected methods of helping people though the most stressful challenges of life: heart disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, asthma, multiple sclerosis, sleep problems and much more.  Read a summary of my MBSR program’s clinical results.  You may want to read the review paper about my MBSR program and mindfulness in the Journal of Participatory Medicine coauthored by my colleagues, 15 local referring physicians, therapists, teachers and MBSR participants: Mindfulness in Participatory Medicine Context & Relevance.  Also, you may be interested in my clinical research paper in the same Journal:  Mindfulness, Self-Care, & Participatory 
Medicine: A Community’s Clinical Evidence.

Learn more background about MBSR training here at this link:  MBSR at the Stress Reduction Clinic.  Please feel free to contact me with any and all questions about MBSR and my trainings:  Contact Brant.

Announcing Recovery Yoga: A new class offered at Yoga Hillsboro

Recovery Yoga is restorative yoga designed to help students face the challenges of substance abuse and chemical dependency. Classes provide a supportive, non-judgmental, sober experience which can enhance mindfulness and reduce stress. The class is designed to support, but not replace, a formal addiction recovery program. 

Recovery Yoga employs breathing awareness, yoga postures, and meditation techniques suitable for beginning students. Activities can be modified for individual physical limitations.

Classes will be taught by John McGinity, who has incorporated yoga in his recovery journey for over 18 years. 

A free introductory class will be offered on Thursday, May 31, at 7:00 pm at Yoga Hillsboro. Regular summer classes will be every Thursday from June 7 to August 2 from 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm. More Details Link

For more information visit or message me at 

Helping you thrive in recovery.

Update: How to Make the World a Better Place – The Be-Well Gathering, Saturday, May 5th;5-6:30pm


On Saturday, May 5th, 5-6:30pm we are honored to have Laurie Huffman MS, The Executive Director of the Oregon School-Based Health Alliance join us.  She has many  years of experience working in organizations that help to make the world a better place.  So glad to have her in our conversation this evening to share some of the heart of what may help us make the world a better place.

Let’s spend part of an evening considering how we might make a better world following each others ideas and learning from those who have pondered and acted directly themselves and have provided suggestions:

Before one of my recent classes there was a passionate discussion about politics. Lots of heated commentary about one of the recent spates of national political turmoil.  I usually don’t comment on politics or such distracting topics during class but I did chime in.

The atmosphere was heavy with difficult and heavy emotion.  In response to my suggestion to consider pointing difficult emotions and energy about the world toward some constructive, person-to-person act of kindness or contribution, one of my students became agitated and said that such things won’t help at all and are useless in the face of mean-spirited powerful people and organizations.

I always appreciate and accept students’ comments and work diligently to create an atmosphere that is open to the honesty of the moment.  That said, I fully disagree with that student and I believe what I said was misunderstood; we affect the world with each of our actions and most powerfully so in direct contact with others and often in very simple and direct ways.  This can point passion and anger through us in a useful and helpful way and can effect the world in ways we can’t predict; large and small.

This has been referred to as the Butterfly Effect and has grown to be recognized as a physical phenomena in weather systems and nature.  Many consider is so in society as well.  I know that very direct and earnest acts of contribution, whether offering a kind word or an act of tough love, are the way to make a difference in the world and to move our frustrated energy in a helpful and unexpectedly powerful directions.  Even those who make a positive difference seeming to act on the world stage (i.e. Martin Luther King, Helen Keller, those who award the Nobel prize each year, so many more)  who seem to change the world mostly act directly, earnestly, and simply with those around them to make a difference.

Hope to see you here!  Please RSVP to this free event assure there is enough room for all!  Kind Regards  —  Brant

Nice Restaurants Nearby if you choose to share the evening!  See the list:  Find Yoga Hillsboro & Nearby Restaurants.