Mindfulness as Survival Equipment - An All-Comers Wilderness Retreat
to Aug 20

Mindfulness as Survival Equipment - An All-Comers Wilderness Retreat


View of morning mist from Keene Channel Lodge

View of morning mist from Keene Channel Lodge


With Kurt Hoelting, MDiv., and Susan Taplin Curtis, MD

In response to demand for a second All-Comers trip in Alaska this summer, we have added a retreat during the week of August 13-20, 2017. These kayaking mindfulness retreats are a wonderful opportunity to unplug from the stresses of daily life and work, and to enter into a deep period of solitude and "inner habitat restoration." 

Maggie Chumbley, leading the charge here, will be our cook and logistics coordinator on this trip.

We are living through a time of wrenching changes, culturally, politically and ecologically. Many people feel a sense of despair or bewilderment at the scale and pace of these changes. At times like this we need to re-establish our connection to what is most essential and enduring about our lives. We need to reconnect with our own inner depth, vitality and resilience. Our capacity to be agents of healing, for ourselves and others, depends on our ability to navigate these challenges with skill and with heart.

Mindfulness gives us the practical tools for doing this. Alaska's majestic Tongass National Forest, and wild coastal ecosystems, give us a spacious container for rediscovering the vastness of our own inner life. Mindful kayaking gives us access to that wilderness, both inner and outer, in ways that enliven the body and that call forth a necessary spirit of adventure for the work ahead. All these elements together, held in the embrace of practicing community, can be life-changing. 

Our trip leaders, Kurt Hoelting and Susan Taplin Curtis, are both experienced mindfulness teachers, and certified by the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teachers.

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Kurt Hoelting has led over sixty wilderness kayaking retreats in Alaska over the last twenty-two years through Inside Passages, an outfitter-guide company he founded in 1994. He spends winters on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, and has taught MBSR in the Seattle area since 2006. He worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska for thirty years, and is intimately acquainted with the terrain. Kurt is the author of The Circumference of Home, which was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award in 2011.

Susan Taplin Curtis, MD, has been in medical practice in Missoula, MT, for sixteen years. She has been a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher for the past six years. Like Kurt, she has taught MBSR extensively to veterans at her local VA clinic, as well as offering regular community MBSR classes and mindfulness trainings in the Missoula area. She has trained extensively in Zen and Vipassana meditation, and is an avid climber, hiker and outdoor adventurer.   

Kayaking in Beecher Pass, near Keene Channel Lodge

Kayaking in Beecher Pass, near Keene Channel Lodge

**For information about open spots on this trip email us: Kurt@insidepassages.com**

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to Aug 10

Jewish Mindfulness Trip

This trip is FULL- Wait List only

Since 2000, Rachel Cowan has joined Kurt Hoelting to co-host gatherings of Jewish leaders and friends of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, for an Inside Passages contemplative retreat in Alaska. These extraordinary sea kayaking retreats bring together familiar elements of IJS work, in combination with daily meditation, yoga and contemplative kayaking in a stunning wild landscape. This year Rachel will again join Kurt as a co-leader of a special Jewish mindfulness and kayaking retreat for friends and colleagues of IJS.

Rabbi Rachel Cowan is a pioneer in bringing the spiritual resources of mindfulness into the heart of Jewish practice. She is a co-Founder of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS), an organization that works with rabbis, cantors, educators and lay leaders to deepen the spiritual dimension of contemporary Judaism.  She served as the Executive Director of IJS from 2004-2011. From 1990-2003 she was Program Director for Jewish Life at the New York based Nathan Cummings Foundation. In 2007 and 2012 she was selected as one of the 50 most influential rabbis by Newsweek magazine, and in 2010 was chosen as one of the 50 most influential women rabbis by the Forward.  She is the co-author, with Dr. Linda Thal, of the Best Selling Wise Aging: Living With Joy, Resilience and Spirit.

Kurt Hoelting will be our host, lead kayak guide, and co-teacher with Rachel. He has been a mindfulness teacher for over two decades, along with his work as a writer and wilderness guide. Kurt founded Inside Passages in 1994, bringing together his love of contemplative practice and wilderness exploration. He has been a Zen practitioner for 35 years, and spent three decades as a commercial fisherman in Southeast Alaska. He has an extensive knowledge of both the inner and outer terrain of this trip. When not guiding in Alaska, Kurt is a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher (MBSR) in the VA Hospital in Seattle. He is the author of The Circumference of Home: One Man’s Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life, which was a finalist for the 2011 Washington State Book Award.

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to Jul 30

Physician CME - Cruise Your Inner Passage

 A 15-Credit CME course for Physicians

Alaska’s beautiful wilderness waterways are usually cruised in luxury liners, viewing nature from a distance. This journey, as we paddle the Inside Passage, will be an Inner Passage—from where physicians work in a world of constant pressures, operating in a survival mode—to an immersion in nature, to deeply get in touch with the self that is involved in complex and challenging work, and to physically and emotionally renew our energies.

This 15-credit AMA PRA Category 1 CME course will take us to the heart of a wild coastal ecosystem in Alaska’s Panhandle. Using wilderness as a metaphor for inner exploration and renewal, our journey will use experiential learning to deepen our understanding of personal values, personal strengths and calling and give us tools to not only survive but to thrive in the current environment of practice. For physician leaders, practicing physicians, physician assistants and advanced practice RNs.

This course is organized and facilitated by Dr. Herdley Paolini and Kurt Hoelting. To learn more about Kurt Hoelting visit this page.

For more information and to register, please contact Dr. Herdley Paolini. herdleypaolini@physcicianintegration.org
Cost: $3,350/per person. 

Testimonials From Past Participants

"This course has enriched me personally; in addition it has increased my ability to help patients/others professionally.”

“Excellent program addressing an often forgotten area in optimizing medical practice. Refocusing on medicine as a spiritual practice and the physician as the instrument of the practice. I understand now how the physician needs to and can optimize his/her physical emotional and spiritual state.”

“This course was a “wow” course and has stretched me into a new shape, opened my heart, and will positively impact my relationship with self, my patients, my staff, my family, my loved ones."

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to Jul 21

Mindfulness As Survival Equipment: An All-Comers Wilderness Retreat - July 14 - 21, 2017


Kurt Hoelting and Bruce Davis will again be teaming up to host this week-long pilgrimage to Alaska's Inside Passage.  This mindfulness kayaking retreat will explore the inner channels of Southeast Alaska in more ways than one.

These seven days will introduce you to the wild coastal ecosystems of the Tongass National Forest. Each day will find us in kayaks, and a two night camping trip will bring us into the deep heart of the Tongass. Adventure, yes, but spiritual retreat, as well. We will encounter the silence here in three parts. Meditation and other mindful practices will open us to the silence within. Conversations and silence together will reveal the silent souls of those with whom we travel. And the wild beauty of this place will confer the peace of its silence upon us. Poet David Whyte invites us to an apprenticeship with the silence because within that silence and emerging from that silence is the depth of our life.

This retreat is organized and co-led by Bruce Davis and Kurt Hoelting

Bruce Davis has been a student of meditation and the Vedic tradition of India for fifty years. He is a family physician and Unitarian Universalist minister. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, the wilderness has been an essential element of his own personal and spiritual growth. Bruce practices spiritual direction in Seattle, WA. 


Kurt Hoelting is a founder and Senior Teacher with both Inside Passages and Cascade Mindfulness Institute (CMI). He has been a practicing Zen Buddhist for forty years, and has worked as a commercial fisherman and wilderness guide in Alaska for several decades When not in Alaska, Kurt is a mindfulness teacher in the Seattle area. He is the author of The Circumference of Home.  See more about Kurt Hoelting here.

**Email us to inquire about and open spot on this trip Kurt@insidepassages.com**

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