I have been passionate about mindfulness meditation ever since it changed my life about 15 years ago. Like many people, I came to the practice of meditation during a period of stress and turmoil in my life. When none of the usual strategies seemed to be working, I took the radical action of sitting down on the floor to do nothing but pay attention to my breathing. I found this simple act transformative, and I have been committed to daily meditation practice ever since. My personal meditation experience has roots in the Zen and Vipassana traditions, in addition to extensive teacher training and certification through the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
As a physician, it was important for me to find a way to bring the healing power and benefits of mindfulness meditation into the medical setting in a way that is accessible to everyone. I found that Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction does just that. I have trained extensively in how to be a mindfulness teacher, and have received certification from the Center for Mindfulness in Massachusetts. I have been teaching MBSR for over six years, and in those years it has been gratifying to see how these practice help people find meaning in their adversity, connect with their inner wisdom, and live their lives more fully in alignment with their essential nature.
I grew up in Portland, Oregon and then lived in the Seattle area for 15 years where I went to college, medical school and residency training. I moved to Missoula in 2000, and I feel so blessed to be raising my two children in this amazing community. I love to hike, backpack, run on the trails in our local foothills, and also practice being still and silent in nature.
In the summer of 2014, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and embarked on one of the most intense and meaningful journeys of my life. I am thankful that my cancer experience came to me when I had a foundation of 13 years of mindfulness practice. This allowed me to keep my heart open to whatever was happening in the moment, including my own fear and pain. It also allowed me to really see the beauty of the Missoula foothills on my pre-chemo walks, to cherish every time someone came to sit on my bed, to feel the interconnectedness of all of us, and even to be curious about being bald and dance in the living room with the friends who helped me shave my head.
Montana Mindfulness Institute is the fulfillment of one of my greatest passions and dreams in life and one of the sprouts of new growth that has emerged since going through cancer treatment. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested in taking one of my courses or in having me design a course to meet your needs.
“Susan’s course taught me how to connect with my own patterns of self-judgment and anxiety. By the end of the course I was better able to tune in to the present moment and recognize my ability to stay connected with what is happening without letting my mind spin off in a thousand thoughts and worries.”
—Amanda Andrews Cahill