Archives for October 2017

MSC Reaches Latin America / El programa MSC llega a AMERICA LATINA

by Marta Alonso Maynar

Due to the great pioneering work carried out by the first accredited MSC teachers in Argentina (Mariela de la Fuente), Uruguay (Paula Brandino), Mexico (Valentín Méndez) and Brazil (Caroline Bertolino), and with the support and mentoring of Marta Alonso (Spain), several 8-week courses have started in each of the countries mentioned in 2016 and 2017. In addition, some MSC intensives took place this September, with great acceptance, especially in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for 68 health professionals and educators. It was taught by Mariela, who organized it brilliantly, and Marta. In addition, two MSC introductory workshops were held in Montevideo, organized by Paula, and finally another one was held for about 40 people in Tepotzlan, Mexico by Valentín and Marta.

The great interest that has been waking up progressively in the Spanish-speaking countries means that for the next year several activities have been scheduled, culminating in 2019, from 17 to 23 with the PRIME MSC-TEACHER TRAINING in Buenos Aires (the first promotion of Spanish-speaking teachers on the continent), and will be taught by CHRIS GERMER, STEVE HICKMAN and MARTA ALONSO, with the assistance of the pioneering teachers mentioned, whose work has been and still is essential, and open to all Latin countries.

The programmed activities are:

  • ARGENTINA: November 2017: MSC intensive: Mariela de la Fuente and Valentín Méndez in Buenos Aires.
  • BRAZIL: January, 31 to February 4, 2018: MSC Intensive with Marta Alonso and Caroline Bertolino in Sao Paulo
  • SPAIN: March, 27th-April the 2nd, 2018: MSC Teacher Training with Chris Germer, Christine Braehler, Beth Mulligan and Marta Alonso in Madrid.
  • URUGUAY: September 12 to 16, 2018: MSC Intensive with Marta Alonso and Paula Brandino in Montevideo
  • BRAZIL: September 19-23, 2018: MSC Intensive with Steve Hickman, Caroline Bertolino and Marta Alonso
  • ARGENTINA: October 11 to 15, 2018. 5 day silent retreat Retreat  of compassion and self-compassion, organized by Mariela de la Fuente, facilitated by Luis Gregoris and Marta Alonso

 If you wish to receive direct information about the same you can write to [email protected]

El programa MSC llega a AMERICA LATINA

 Debido al gran trabajo pionero realizado por los primeros profesores acreditados de MSC en Argentina (Mariela de la Fuente), Uruguay (Paula Brandino), México (Valentín Méndez) y Brasil (Caroline Bertolino), y con el apoyo y mentorización de Marta Alonso (España), se han comenzado a realizar varios cursos de 8 semanas en cada uno de los países mencionados en 2016 y 2017.  Además se han llevado a cabo intensivos este pasado mes de septiembre, con una gran aceptación, especialmente el realizado en Buenos Aires, Argentina, para 68 profesionales de la salud y la educación e impartido por Mariela y Marta. Además, se realizaron unos talleres de dos días en Montevideo, organizados por Paula y, finalmente, se llevó a cabo otro intensivo para unas 40 personas en Tepotzlan, México a cargo de Valentín Mendez y Marta Alonso.

El gran interés que se ha ido despertando progresivamente en los países de habla hispana hace que para el año que viene se hayan programado varias actividades, que culminarán en 2019, del 17 al 23 con el PRIMER MSC-TEACHER TRAINING en Buenos Airespara formar a la primera promoción de profesores de habla hispana en el continente, y que será impartido por CHRIS GERMER, STEVE HICKMAN y MARTA ALONSO, con la asistencia de los profesores pioneros mencionados,  cuya labor está siendo muy importante, y abierto a todos los países latinos.

Las actividades programadas son:

  • ARGENTINA: Noviembre 2017: MSC intensivo: Mariela de la Fuente y Valentín Méndez en Buenos Aires.
  • BRASIL: Enero, 31 al 4 de Febrero de 2018: MSC intensivo con Marta Alonso y Caroline Bertolino en Sao Paulo
  • ESPAÑA: Marzo del 27 al 2 de Abril de 2018: MSC Teacher Training, con Chris Germer, Christine Braehler, Beth Mulligan y Marta Alonso en Madrid.
  • URUGUAY: Septiembre del 12 al 16, 2018: MSC Intensivo con Marta Alonso y Paula Brandino en Montevideo
  • BRASIL: Septiembre del 19 al 23, 2018: MSC Intensivo con Steve Hickman, Caroline Bertolino y Marta Alonso
  • ARGENTINA: Octubre del 11 al 15, 2018. Retiro de silencio de compasión y autocompasión de 5 días, organizado por Mariela de la Fuente y facilitado por Luis Gregoris y Marta Alonso

Si deseas recibir información directa sobre las mismas puedes escribir a [email protected]

Ready to teach self-compassion to teens? Teachers needed!

by Karen Bluth

Know how much you love teaching MSC? And know how much teens need self-compassion? If you have taken MSC and have had experience working with teens, you can enroll in one of the upcoming Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens teacher trainings. Endorsed by Kristin and Chris as the MSC adaptation for teens, this 7-day training provides you with the skills you need to teach your first MSC-T course and be on your way to teach MSC-T.

Upcoming trainings are:

  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands November 12-18, 2017 | Register
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba May 30-June 5, 2018
  • Worcester, MA July 29-Aug 4, 2018
  • Madrid, Spain Oct 27–Nov 7, 2018

For more info:

UK MSC Teachers’ Network Meeting

On Saturday September 16, 2017, twenty-five MSC teachers working in the UK met in London at the lovely Breast Cancer Haven and spent a wonderful day together sharing our hopes and fears and plans for MSC. We met with a shared vision of creating an MSC ‘sangha’ to nourish and support us as teachers and also a very real feeling of the importance of connection in this work which is so firmly rooted in our common humanity. We all appreciate how this sense of connection has been fostered throughout our training thanks in the beginning to the generosity of Chris and Kristin.

We spent time practicing together and sharing our experience of teaching MSC and the logistics of running courses. Teachers pooled ideas about marketing, funding and the use of social media and how to raise the profile of MSC in the UK. There were discussions keeping the practices alive through follow-up groups for graduates and a lunchtime session on research. In the afternoon we looked deeply at what might support us in our teaching including forming local groups, zoom meetings and supervision.

One teacher, who had recently had an accident, attended via Skype and was able to contribute to our dialogues from a laptop. We also watched a video kindly sent by Steve Hickman updating us on the progress of MSC and sharing a lovely poem.

There was so much energy and enthusiasm for teaching MSC and also a deep opening to both our delights and our vulnerabilities. It seems that MSC, in reconnecting us with our hearts, has such power to bring us together in this honest and supportive way.

Huge thanks to this year’s co-ordinating team: Vanessa Hope, Caroline Hoffman, Ali Lambie, Colette Power and Zoe Shobbrook-Fisher. We are planning to facilitate another Network meeting next year in the West Midlands over two days so that we can have more time to practice together and to include some work specifically on enquiry. Many of us are also looking forward to connecting with our bigger international sangha at the Teachers’ Festival in Amsterdam in July 2018.

The Power of Wisdom and Compassion

By Michelle Becker
Reprinted with permission.

I’ve noticed that when life gets really difficult – whether due to a natural disaster like the recent, devastating hurricanes and earthquakes, or due to more personal issues like the health crisis of a loved one or difficulty in our interpersonal relationships.

We, humans, often react by going to extremes.

On one end of the spectrum, we can fall into despair, becoming overwhelmed with pain and grief, unable to be present with things as they are. On the other end of the spectrum, we can bury our heads in the sand and push away any awareness of the suffering around us. Maybe we spend every waking hour at work, fixated on a project, or we drink or eat a little too much, or binge watch our favorite shows. Either extreme keeps us from being present with things as they are, just in different ways.

And why would we even want to stay present in difficult circumstances? Because being present with things as they are doesn’t trigger the added layer of suffering that comes from trying to avoid or ignore painful circumstances. Difficult times are an inevitable part of being a human being. None of us get through life untouched by discomfort, loss, grief and death. So when we attempt the impossible, by trying to ignore or avoid this reality, we create more suffering for ourselves and for others.

But we can take a different path – we can really show up in our lives.

I believe that wisdom and compassion are the key ingredients as we learn to stay with the reality of any present moment. Wisdom, or opening to things as they are, gives us a balanced awareness of reality. Then we can open to, and hold, pain and suffering, because we are also able to open to the beauty of life and know we’re interconnected and supported by life around us. How the trees breathe out the oxygen we need and breathe in what we exhale, for example. Seeing the bigger picture gives us some stability – we see that we are more than clouds in the sky, we are the sky itself. And the sky will be visited by storms and sunshine.

And once we’ve begun to open up in this way, in my experience, what naturally follows is compassion.

Much as we might wish to control the natural world around us, or our health, or the behavior of our partner, we’re just not that powerful. So any effort to exert control just manifests as resistance to reality, and increases suffering. Of course, this doesn’t mean we don’t take action where possible. In fact, when we’re present, we can see a situation more clearly and take the next right action, without the attachment to a certain outcome. We show up with acceptance, love and compassion. We offer our presence and caring to those who are suffering, including ourselves.

And when we begin to feel overwhelmed, we can ground in mindfulness and clear seeing. We can see the urge to fix or avoid and we can stay present instead. We can simply stay present to the sensation of the warm soapy water as we do the dishes, or to the sensations on the soles of our feet as we stand or walk. Whatever we are in the midst of, we can be fully present, even if only for just this moment. We don’t stay caught in reactivity, rather we feel the urges, resist the urges, and in the space of non-reactivity we begin to understand our patterns. We see the natural results of our patterns and we begin to see another way. A more skillful way of being with the difficulty for ourselves and others.

We can offer ourselves a supportive touch, perhaps holding our own hand, and some comforting and reassuring words. If the words are difficult to find, we can imagine what we’d long to hear from a compassionate friend, then offer this same message to ourselves.

The beauty of self-compassion is that it primes us to be able to stay with the pain that comes with being in relationships where suffering is present.

When we can stay, truly stay, with an open heart, we can offer others the gift of our loving, connected, presence. We may not be able to fix the pain, or make it go away, but we can be with it, with the spirit of courage and an open heart. We can see the bigger picture and discern what is truly needed. Then offer whatever we can. Remember that even though each of us may only be one drop of water, the river of compassion is composed of many, single drops, coming together.

Wishing you warmth, connection and presence in all of your life, whatever your circumstances.

© Michelle Becker,

Exciting Updates on CMSC Retreat Development

Kimberly Sogge PhD CPsych
MSC Certified Teacher, CMSC Retreat Coordinator

First, coming soon: two new CMSC-sponsored retreats! Our dear MSC colleagues in the USA, David Spound and Beth Sternlieb, are working with us to plan a retreat in California in early 2018. Internationally, our wonderful MSC colleagues in Iceland are organizing a teacher lead retreat the first week of October 2018 at the base of the Snaefellsjokull glacier in magical Western Iceland.

Both of these retreats will be 5-night Silent Mindful Self Compassion retreats which will fulfill the silent retreat prerequisite for MSC teacher training, as well as other mindfulness-based programs. These retreats are intended to support everyone on the MSC pathway, no matter where you are on your journey.

Stay tuned for dates and locations, but they are both sure to be nourishing.

Next, we would like to invite any MSC teacher interested in supporting the development of resources for MSC retreats to complete this MSC retreat development survey. Your voice is needed for us to fulfill our intention to cultivate a diverse, open, inclusive community on retreats and to build a rich set of resources and supports for those events.

Take the retreat survey.

Stay tuned for more retreat information as it becomes available!

Travel, Learn and Share MSC in Vietnam or Kenya in 2018:
$500 Fee Reduction Just Announced!

In an effort to bring MSC to places where the programs would not otherwise be available, we have just announced a deep discount of $500 (US) off the registration fee for our upcoming Intensives in Vietnam and Kenya. To further support this global outreach in countries with limited financial resources, the MSC teachers will not be accepting honorarium for their teachings.

See the GEI Page for all the details and for sign up.

For our first year of cooperation in 2018, CMSC will support our local partners, as well as their community members and other local professionals, through their participation in this first-ever MSC intensive. As an interested MSC teacher, you will also have the opportunity to engage in small groups for brainstorming, facilitating exchange in council practice, leading compassion practices in small settings to encourage professional exchange and networking among participants and learn from our host’s vast experience. Our aim is to ensure the greatest impact of this MSC training locally. How a sustainable partner program on the long run might look like, will now depend on our MSC community’s generousness and ideas!

Do you want to learn more and get involved?

Join One of Our Free 1-hour
Webinars on October 31, 2017

  • E-meet the local partners and learn about their amazing compassion-related work
  • Get to know the teachers of these globally-engaged programs
  • Learn more about program content and meet people who want to travel and experience MSC in a global context
  • Be inspired about this fascinating travel opportunity to Vietnam or Kenya
  • Get your questions answered and tell us what you think

VIETNAM webinar sign-up (1 p.m. UTC)

KENYA webinar sign-up (3 p.m. UTC)

And if you have friends or colleagues with the travel bug, who’d like to take a MSC Intensive in an interesting environment, forward the links to them and share the link to our CMSC-GEI webpage within your personal networks:


Asanteni sana • Cám ơn • Thank you very much

NEW MSC Teacher Guide and Handout Booklet now available

Dear Teachers,

We’re proud to offer the updated English version of the MSC Teacher Guide (TG) and Handout Booklet (HB).  The Handout Booklet (for your course participants) can be downloaded from PowerSchool Learning, and the Teacher Guide is available (at cost of printing and shipping) here.  Most of the wording in the English TG has been changed to make it easier for teachers to use, but the basic content and structure of MSC has remained the same. Experienced MSC teachers will notice how much this TG has improved.

2017 TG CoverTranslations

The schedule for translations of the new TG and HB will depend on the capacity of our dedicated translators around the world, so if you do not teach in English and are curious about the new TG, you might want to get your own English TG now and compare for yourself.  Translators:  Please check with Mirjam [email protected] for more about translating this version of the TG.  Since many of the changes were in the expression of key ideas in English, translators should decide for themselves how much they might wish to translate.

What’s New?

  • This TG is 67 pages longer than the 2016 version because new information has been added.
  • There is a comprehensive reference section (21 pages long) with citations throughout the TG.  The Annotated Bibliography was deleted because it can be found in the Teacher Handbook on PowerSchool Learning.
  • We changed the gratitude exercise and the self-appreciation exercise from an “exercise” to an “informal practice.”   That brings the number of practices up to 25 in total—7 meditations and 18 informal practices.
  • Changed the names of some practices to make them more descriptive, or to distinguish them from other components of the MSC program.
  • Improved the session timings of each component in the TG.
  • Added a section on “equanimity” in Session 7.
  • The topics of mindfulness, loving-kindness and compassion were broken up between Sessions 2 and 3.
  • Updated Compassionate Body Scan
  • We made the English wording more gender-neutral
  • Added MANY bullets to make the TG even more user-friendly.  Overall, the formatting of the TG has significantly improved.
  • Lovely new title page.
  • Corrected most of the typographical errors in the TG, but surely not all!

In sum, if you teach in English and would like your teaching experience to be easier and smoother, please get the new TG.  If you teach in another language (almost half of MSC teachers probably do!), you might still benefit from seeing the changes. The new TG’s are based on feedback from teachers all over the world, and the Center for MSC does not make a profit from annual updates.  

There will be much fewer changes next year, and still fewer in coming years.  We’re learning how to teach self-compassion in the best possible way, so we ask for your patience during this learning period. A MSC textbook and a MSC workbook (for your MSC students) will be published in August 2018, but the TG will remain an evolving, organic document.

– Chris Germer

Purchase your new TG now.