“We do not think ourselves into a new way of living. We live ourselves into a new way of thinking.” – Richard Rohr
Blair Carleton is a lifelong teacher. She is a Mindfulness Coach, Recovery Coach trained through the State of Washington and the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, and an instructor of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), and the MSC curriculum for teens, Making Friends with Yourself.
Her focus is on helping adults, young adults and teens cope with difficult emotions and self-judgment by building strong emotional resources, skills, and capacities that increase self-love and acceptance in any situation.
For 35 years, Blair has loved teaching diverse subjects in diverse environments: from ESL in inner cities, elementary school in Kenya, private high school in Connecticut, college undergrads and staff at UW, to mindfulness in maximum security prisons. Discovering self-compassion was and is key to tying all her work together – no matter what walk of life she might be moving through at any given moment.
Blair received her B.A. from Yale University. In 2010, she studied Shame Resilience with Brené Brown, just as Brown’s TED Talk on vulnerability and shame rocketed her into the mainstream. Blair went on to teach Shame Resilience as a faculty member of Recovery Café’s School of Recovery.
In 2013, during a weekend intensive workshop at the University of Washington with Kristin Neff, she fell in love with Dr. Neff’s pioneering research and work in Mindfulness and Self-Compassion. Our Western achievement-oriented society glorifies perfectionism and tends to value self-criticism over self-compassion. Over this weekend, Blair discovered that self-compassion is the missing piece to living a life with authenticity, courage and joy – regardless of age, situation, background or circumstance.
Trained by the founders of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), Dr. Neff and Dr. Chris Germer, a clinical instructor and psychologist at Harvard Medical School, Blair received her MSC Teacher Certificate through University of California San Diego’s Center for Mindful Self-Compassion.
She is also trained to teach “Making Friends with Yourself: A Mindful Self-Compassion Program for Teens and Young Adults.”
Blair is a member of the University of Washington Resilience and Compassion External Advisory Board, whose objective is to shift campus culture for students, faculty and staff toward practices of compassion and well-being.
Blair credits her beloved practice of mindfulness to her own teachers: Dr. Kristin Neff, Dr. Chris Germer, Dr. Keesha Ewers, Sylvia Boorstein, Tara Brach, Rick Hanson, Dan Siegel, Adya Shanti, and Joel and Michelle Levey. Really, everything Blair knows comes from someone else she thanks profusely.
Blair’s MSC Teachings
Blair teaches MSC to all walks of life: from new moms struggling to balance home and work life, to men wanting to deepen their own family connection, to those in recovery from homelessness, addiction and trauma. She has taught atheists and those with profound faith, and individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, caregiver fatigue or the loss of a loved one.
Working with populations from homeless to billionaire, she has discovered we are all truly more alike than different.
Evidence-based studies on neuroplasticity show that individuals who practice Mindful Self-Compassion regularly are:
- Less likely to be anxious, depressed and stressed on a day to day basis than those who are self-critical.
- More optimistic and satisfied with their lives. They report being happier, kinder, and more resilient to the ups and downs of life.
- Better able to cope with adversity, because they are more willing (and able) to experience difficult feelings and acknowledge them as valid and important to personal growth.
- More focused and productive.
Blair co-teaches (with her beloved colleague Yaffa Maritz) an 8-week MSC course at the University of Washington’s Center for Child and Family Well-Being. In addition, she offers private classes and training workshops on Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, Shame Resilience and more to adults, teens and groups.
Every single time she teaches, Blair is grateful for the chance to watch what happens when individuals learn to treat themselves as kindly as they treat others, learn the simple practice of rest and meditation, and come to find the still, quiet center of their being. Given the gift of self-compassion, people bloom, transform and enhance their own lives before her very eyes.