Renato Junior...because I know you're wondering!
Okay, ready? There's no better moment than this one!
"On our first call, R.J. was able to get my anxiety down to zero, just with his kindness and a simple breathing technique. I wish he did house calls! I give him an A+!"
- Melody, Knoxville, TN
Hi! I'm R.J., a mindfulness teacher and coach based in Seattle, WA. I work 1:1 with those seeking to learn mindfulness as a way to dismantle their negative thoughts and emotions. And thus, improve the overall quality of their lives! If this sounds like you, I'm here to help! I have in-depth experience studying, teaching, and practicing mindfulness. And as a former school teacher, I know what it's like to have stress and overwhelm take over. BUT...I've also learned how to manage stress, and how to learn from it so as to turn the "manure" of stress, confusion, and anxiety into a cultivation of confidence and compassion
My first year of teaching I developed a rather significant eye twitch! This was clearly a result of not taking care of my mental (and physical) health. All my stress and anxiety would go up into my shoulders and bounce around my brain as a constant blizzard of excessive thinking and strong emotions. Around this time, I came across a video clip of Jon Kabat-Zinn giving a talk at Google about mindfulness. Ever since then I was hooked, completely drawn to the concept of presence as a gateway to happiness and peace.
Over the next eight years, I consumed as much content as I could on the topic of mindfulness meditation in both secular and spiritual settings. This journey has taken me from zendos in Perú to meditating for 12 hours a day in the central hills of Sri Lanka with monkeys jumping up and down atop our meditation hall to a month-long, meditation retreat in northern Vermont. From 2014-2017, I worked closely as a student of Lodro Rinzler on deepening my meditation practice and applying its benefits into everyday life, including...you guessed it, stress and anxiety!
In 2014, I also began offering weekly teachings and guided meditation to school staff. This is when I first learned how much I loved (not only teaching, I knew that already), but teaching meditation. Teachers would come to my classroom really needing some kind of refreshing relief. Not the kind that was just another Facebook distraction or a happy hour gathering. But the kind that really gave them both immediate relief and a practice they could continue to do on their own. I felt enlivened to be of benefit to them by sharing mindfulness.
I love teaching mindfulness because it can help us in all areas of life: personally, professionally, socially, and in our relationships! But it's not enough to just think and read about it; it can only be truly understood by trying it out for yourself. So...Ready? There's no better moment than this one!
Additional Background and Experience
PRESENTATIONS & WORKSHOPS
Mindfulness Workshop, Childhaven, Seattle, WA. May 2019
Mindfulness in Life and at Work, Lehman Learning Solutions, Seattle, WA. March 2019
Introduction to Mindfulness, Seattle Public Library - University Branch, Seattle, WA. Feb 2019
Holiday Stress! What role can mindfulness play?, The Grinning Yogi Yoga Studio, Seattle, WA. Dec 2018
Mindfulness for Beginners, Brighton School, Mountlake Terrace, WA. May 2018
Wellness Week: Mindfulness for the New Year, CHEF Software INC, Seattle, WA. Jan 2017
Stress Relief through Mindfulness Practices, Association of American Schools in South America, Emmastad, Curacao. March 2015
Mindfulness in the Elementary School Classroom, SUNY Buffalo State, Dec 2014
Mindfulness at Work, American School of Lima, Lima, Peru. Oct 2014
The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation, American School of Lima, Lima, Peru. March 2014
MEDITATION RETREAT EXPERIENCE
7-day Roots of Mindfulness Retreat, Samish Island Campground, Bow, WA, Oct 2018
4-day Mindfulness Teacher Training Discernment Retreat, Samish Island Campground, Bow, WA, Sept 2018
9-day Creating Enlightened Society, Shambhala Meditation Center, Austin, TX, Aug 2018
4-day Solitary (self guided), Windhorse Retreat Center, Whidbey Island, WA, Aug 2017
5-day Solitary (self guided), Windhorse Retreat Center, Whidbey Island, WA, Feb 2017
28-day Cultivating our Inherent Confidence, Karme Chӧling Meditation Center, Barnet, VT, June-July 2016
8-day Urban at-home Retreat (self-guided), Lima, Peru. Feb 2015
9-day Mindfulness of Breathing, Cloud Mountain Retreat Center, Castle Rock, WA, Feb 2014
7-day Lovingkindess Meditation, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, CA, Jan 2013
10-day Vipassana Insight, Dhamma Kuta Meditation Center, Kandy, Sri Lanka, Dec 2011
CONTEMPLATIVE EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Mindfulness Teacher Training (certification) Program, Mindfulness Northwest, Bellingham, WA. 2018-2019
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Seattle Mindfulness Center, Seattle, WA. May-June 2018
Foundations of Life Coaching, Seattle Life Coach Training, Seattle, WA. May-Aug 2018
“In Everyday Life” Series - FIVE, 5-WEEK CLASSES: Joy, Contentment, Meditation, Fearlessness, and Wisdom. Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center, Seattle, WA. 2016-2018
Shambhala Buddhism Training Levels - SIX WEEKEND RETREATS: Basic Goodness, Birth of the Warrior, Warrior in the World, Awakened Heart, and Open Sky. Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center, Seattle, WA. 2016-2018
Cultivating Lovingkindness: Pema Chodron on Lojong/Tonglen, Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center, Seattle, WA. Nov 2016.
Open Awareness Life Retreat, Buddhist Geeks, Sept - Oct 2013
Mind Hacking Life Retreat Buddhist Geeks, June - July 2013
Master of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies, State University of New York - Buffalo State, Buffalo, NY. Dec 2014
Bachelor of Arts in Education, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA. Dec 2008
Washington State Teacher Certification January 2009
Endorsements: Elementary Education (K-8), Reading (K-12)