Linda Hochstetler - Monthly Newsletter
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September is the "real" Canadian New Year

Most of us have spent decades of our lives beginning school after a summer break. First public school, and then the career training schools. And then our kids do the same thing all over again, with us as parents. September for most of us feels like a fresh start. After all the losses of the last 6 months related to the pandemic, many of us are relieved to see another September roll around. Some things are still the same (masks indoors, small groupings, limited entertainment), but there's a bit of hope in the air as kids try going back to school. There are a lot of mixed emotions about the idea of sending kids back to school, and regardless how long it lasts before (or if, if you're really optimistic) we hit the next wave and things get closed down again, it feels like a tiny reprieve. So take a deep breath... commit to starting something new... and let yourself hope and make some resolutions. 

Book Submission Update

Things continue to move ahead with my book submission. I've got a lovely Excelsheet tracking my progress. The easy part was writing the book. I've had a number of friends read the first 2 chapters and give me some excellent writing feedback. The hard part now is trying to get the book ready to submit to publishers. I'm taking a page from my overachieving son (who is just finishing applying to 13 different physiotherapy programs in New York City), and deciding to increase the number of submissions to different publishers by 200%. Better odds, as he tells me. So I may not have much to report yet, but my drive to find a publisher continues. I meet with Dave Bedini, my writer consultant, in 2 weeks, and hope to be ready to share with him my summer progress. 

These courses are an opportunity to improve basic communication skills for individuals interested in improving their skills within a Buddhist framework. Fees for either course are only $50 for 15 hours of class time, with thanks to donations to the Toronto Centre for Applied Buddhism. All classes will be on Zoom video this year, making them accessible to anyone anywhere. 

Introduction to Buddhist Counselling Module

Dates: Saturdays, September 19 - November 21, 2020
Time: 9:00-10:30 am
The module is designed to provide basic Buddhist counselling skills to individuals with little or no clinical experience or training. It is intended to prepare participants to volunteer with Sangha members, friends, and family. No previous training is required. It includes learning about the following skills: attending, rapport building, use of silence, paraphrasing, reflecting, showing empathy, focusing the conversation, clarifying, appropriate questioning, and summarizing. Participants will learn to integrate Buddhist concepts into their supportive counselling conversations and will be encouraged to practice these skills in their many conversations. 

Buddhist Contemplative Care at End of Life Module

Dates: Saturdays, September 19 - November 21, 2020
Time: 1:00-2:30 pm

The curriculum of this module will follow the training guidelines of Hospice Palliative Care Ontario for volunteers. It includes practical knowledge about the dying process looking at body, speech, and mind changes, and using a spiritual approach that addresses grief for the dying person and their loved one. Attendees will also be encouraged to face their own mortality and think about their own end of life wishes based on personal needs and options. It will help people to better prepare themselves to serve their Buddhist Sangha as well as friends/family needs. Students are expected to have completed or are completing the Introduction to Buddhist Counselling Module or its equivalent.

Buddhist Counselling for Grief Recovery Webinar
September 19, 2020, 1:30 pm till 5:00 pm (via Zoom)
Presented by: Linda Hochstetler, MSW, RSW, Kitty Wong, RN, Kosu Boudreau, RP Mdiv MSW,
This webinar will introduce the concepts in grief counselling, and prepare volunteers to journey with their friends, families and members of their communities through the process of grieving their losses. Special consideration will be given to the complexities of grieving during the current pandemic, particularly with the limitations on family doing hospital visits and low numbers allowed at funerals leading to additional issues beyond normal grief concerns. We will approach the topic from the Buddhist teachings in compassion and wisdom. Particular cases of grieving will be shared and brought into discussion for experiential learning purposes.

To register for the webinar, please email
Registration Fee: $10.
Students who have registered for the Buddhist Contemplative Care for End of Life course for the fall 2020 semester do not need to register separately for this webinar.

TCAB website for Registration
For specific questions

FREE Buddhist Counselling!!!
The Toronto Centre for Applied Buddhism provides on-line Buddhist counselling and psychological support to university students and any adult in Toronto for academic, interpersonal and mental health concerns. They also provide on-line spiritual support to people diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. You do not need to be a Buddhist to benefit from our services, but you do need to be open to the Buddhist teachings to reap the full benefit. The services are supported by the larger Buddhist community, and are provided free of charge.

Buddhist Counselling is provided by a group of volunteer counsellors, practicum students in psychotherapy and spiritual care mostly from the Master of Pastoral (Buddhist) Studies Program at Emmanuel College of the University of Toronto working under clinical supervision by myself, as well as mental health professionals interested in applying Buddhist principles in providing compassionate care. They also offer individual, couple and family therapy. 

The counsellors draw from a variety of Western therapeutic modalities, including mindfulness-based therapies, such as mindfulness based cognitive therapy, acceptance commitment therapy, and narrative therapy. They also integrate general Buddhist teachings, such as the four foundations of mindfulness and the four boundless states of mind in working with our clients/care-seekers. Their approach with each client is dependent on the presenting challenges and client preferences.

To request free Buddhist Counselling
For More Information about TCAB

Meditation Retreat - Letting Go...Letting Go... Letting Go
Dates: November 13-15, 2020
Place: Dharma Centre of Canada (2.5 hours north of Toronto near Kinmount)
Limited to only 14 registrants, due to pandemic restrictions related to Temple size, so register early!!!

Throughout our lives, we accumulate thoughts and feelings from our experiences. These experiences shape the way we think of ourselves and impact the way we live in the present, even when we no longer want them to.

In this retreat, we will use mindfulness meditation and modern exploration practices to examine our accumulated thoughts and feelings. We will conduct a life review, and identify how clinging to our experiences, whether positive or negative, holds us back from our potential. Undertaking this work will leave you feeling refreshed and lighter in spirit.

This retreat is based on the teachings and practices of Vajrayana Buddhism, and will include both individual and group activities that teach us how to let go. By letting go, we can move beyond our painful past experiences into the bliss of the present moment. Letting go frees us to see ourselves as we are right now and to imagine ourselves in new ways and with a greater potential. This will be a silent retreat. Please bring a journal to write in.

Meditation teacher bio: Lama Linda (aka Linda Hochstetler) has studied both mindfulness meditation and Vajrayana Buddhism for more than 20 years. She trained in mindfulness meditation with Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 90’s, and studied under Namgyal Rinpoche (the first Canadian-born Rinpoche) from 1995 until his death in 2003. She received permission to teach in the Namgyal lineage in 2014, and currently studies Vajrayana Buddhism with Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat. Silent meditation retreats are a central part of her study and practice, and since 1995, she has completed retreats of between 1 week and 2 months in length every year.

A $250 administration fee covers the entire weekend of classes, single accommodation, and delicious food. Participants are also encouraged to offer Dana to the teacher, who provides teachings without any other payment. Dana is usually offered in cash at the retreat.

To Register

Tiny Home / Glamping Tent Farm

I feel such gratitude that I have been able to spend more than 60 days since the pandemic began in my Tiny Home. It has been my refuge and my safe place. It has been my weekend home, my writer retreat, and my outdoor social patio where I forget (for moments) that the pandemic exists. Together with my friend Tonya, we have spent the summer creating a shared living space that supports me in my Tiny Home, and others in their various homes. So far, we have created a kitchen tent stocked with cooking gear, unlimited water supply for drinking and cleaning, a refrigerator, a washing up station, a hot propane shower, a 2-seater outhouse, a dining/card playing tent in case of rain with limited hydro, 2 large ponds for swimming including a floating dock, and a large bonfire pit.

We have had lots of visitors and a lot of interested persons, and are in the process of vetting people and working on a membership model for building this community. If you're interested in being included in this awesome community, start by bringing a tent and making a visit some weekend when I'm up there and checking out the vibe. I just purchased a large glamping tent as my guest room, for anyone who'd like to visit and stay overnight some time this fall.

Teaching Schedule for Awaken in Toronto

Our classes switched to Zoom video in March, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
Zoom Link:
Room: 3695356130
Password: 108108

I lead these classes with support from the rest of the AIT group. All group classes are offered on the basis of Dana, which means "pay what you choose", as an opportunity to pay what you value and can afford to keep the learning accessible. This is especially important now when finances are stretched for many people, and we want everyone to be able to attend regardless. Participants are eligible for receipts from me, a registered social worker, to use for insurance reimbursement for the Dana that you give to attend any of our group classes. If you would like this, feel free to attend, and just let me know, and I'll be happy to provide these to you. Dana can be sent by etransfer to or by PayPal to

Weekly Meditation Classes- Wednesdays, 7:30-9:00 pm 
Will include a short dharma talk, followed by 30 minutes of meditation. We've extended the class by 30 minutes to allow for time to ask questions and interaction with each other better. Each week we will explore a given Buddhist concept or principle, and then join in a variety of different meditation practices. 

September 16 - October 7, What would it "cost" you to call yourself a Buddhist?
October 14 - November 11, Living Well, Letting Go: 4 principles of spiritual development

Death, Dying, & Community - 4th Thursday of each month- 7:00-8:30pm
Will continue the exploration of death and dying, and the various decisions one makes to prepare for death. The aim is both practical and existential, and is discussion based. The idea is that the more you prepare for death, the more joyful your life becomes. We hope we can offer this in person in the fall again, starting on September 26, after our usual summer break, but will need to find a new venue that has more space to allow for appropriate spacing. Alternatively we stay virtual on Zoom. Stay tuned for details of this decision.

September 24 - Loss and Death in Covid Times
October 22 - The Language of Death
Awaken in Toronto Meetups
Awaken in Toronto Website
Awaken in Toronto Facebook
Crouching Ego, Hidden Buddhas
How to transform overwhelm into endless wisdom and greater capacities to love, act, connect and be.

Want a low commitment way to check out my Buddhist teachers, and maybe understand why I have dedicated so much of my own resources and time to study with them through the years? This 4-session online course is an easy way to do so.

Date: Saturday and Sunday, October 3 and 4, 2020
Time: Classes 11:00am-12:30pm each day - lead by Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat 
          Discussions 4:00-5:00pm each day - lead by Linda Hochstetler
On Zoom - details provided with registration

When our state is off, it’s no fun for anyone. Learn how to turn noxious states around and tap into boundless love, compassion, joy and equanimity.

Drawing on the wisdom of the Brahma Viharas: sometimes known as the 4 sublime abidings or the 4 immeasurables, we'll learn how to:
  • transform anger into loving kindness for self and other
  • channel our energy to act and speak our truth for the benefit of self and others
  • experience empathetic joy for others
  • be unmoved in the face of ongoing and sometimes extreme change
  • be in a state of grace 24/7.
For More Information and Link to RSVP
Death Cafe - Toronto West
Date: Monday, October 26, 2020
Time: 7:00-9:00pm
Zoom Link:
Room: 3695356130

We held our first ever virtual Death Cafe on June 2, 2020. It wasn't the same as our lively in person gatherings, but we still had profound and awesome conversations on death and dying. We met on Zoom, and utilized their Breakout Room option to "sit" in small groups and asked each other questions and shared stories. I'm told that the arrangement allowed for worthwhile interactions, despite surealness of it all. 

As before, we'll use the Breakout Room feature to break into small groups for more personal discussions. If you've been wanting to check out a Death Cafe, maybe this is the time to try it! There is no fee to attend, and conversations are guaranteed to be one of the most profound and deep experiences of the month. The pandemic experience has increased the urgency to get us talking about death and dying, and facing up to our own mortality. 

RSVP is required to receive the password for the gathering. 

Private Practice - Online & In-Person
The hybrid model has been working really well for me for the last 3 months, and I anticipate continuing with it. I offer clients the choice of how they want to connect with me. My practice has always been as client-centred as I can make it, so this is not a deviation from that commitment. I'm about 50% online and 50% virtual, including phone and Zoom video. All my EMDR clients are in-person, as I never figured out how to do this trauma work virtually.

I was recently approved by Victim Services to offer trauma services to victims of a crime, and I have met with 4 clients so far with a variety of experiences. I'm honoured to be of service, and offer a sliding fee rate to these individuals, and am glad my tax paying dollars go to cover their therapy needs. All of these clients so far want EMDR psychotherapy to address the trauma, and it has proven extremely helpful to all of them. 

I continue to be one of the few therapists at the Village Healing Centre that have opened their office doors to clients. I insist on wearing masks when walking in public spaces, but allow for sitting without masks for the therapy sessions themselves, since we can maintain social distancing throughout the session, even during EMDR. I also require contact tracing if either of us contract the Covid virus. I believe I can be there safely for clients in their times of need, especially with all the grief and anxiety in society today. 

Village Healing Centre Website

Clinical Supervision and Consultation

I have 18 years of Clinical Supervision and Consultation experience, and I really enjoy working in groups. Supervision is open to persons with varied clinical backgrounds, but as a registered social worker and not a registered psychotherapist, my background no longer qualifies for the CRPO requirements. All sessions will be held online for now. I'm still open to holding an in person group in the future, but not yet.

Monthly Clinical Supervision Group: 1.5 hours

  • Reflective Practice model of supervision
  • Requires 3-month commitments September - November
  • $75 per 90 minute session
  • Limited to 4 persons per group to allow time for personal questions
  • Covers clinical questions, as well as self-employment guidance
  • There are now 3 groups, including daytime and evening hours
To Register for a Group

Weeklong Meditation Retreat

If you're looking for a longer, deeper dive, consider joining me April 23-30, 2021 for a weeklong meditation retreat at the Dharma Centre of Canada when I will co-teach with my own beloved Buddhist teachers, Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat on the Bardos of Living and Dying. They are experts on the topic of seeing gaps as opportunities to explore life more fully. Come meet my teachers and the source of my own inspiration, and let's learn together. Spring is a lovely time to be up north in the wilderness before all the bugs come out and schedules get too busy. 
For More Information

I send news only once every few months. However, if you want to be removed from this list, please click on Unsubscribe or let me know, and I have no problem if you do so.

Life is a journey. We have many opportunities to make choices, and they all reflect our choices. Today make the choices with awareness that align with your stated image and intentions.

Be well! Stay connected!!!
Linda Hochstetler
Copyright © 2020 Linda Hochstetler, All rights reserved.

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