The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver
As Mary Oliver said so beautifully, through paying attention and communing in nature, we slow down our busy lives and come to face inquiries that stir deep inside. Come to the lush hills of Vermont to celebrate the summer. Enjoy the spaciousness and quiet as we sink into the rhythms of the natural world. The tranquility and spaciousness of nature supports our meditation practice, and help us discover and connect to our vast and rich outer and inner worlds.
This camping retreat will be held in “companionable silence” and will include guided mindfulness practices adapted to being in nature. The retreat is inspired by Awake in the Wild meditation practices created by Mark Coleman, a long time Spirit Rock Meditation Center teacher from the insight meditation tradition. Both Lee and Lin graduated from Mark’s two-year nature meditation teacher training.
We will offer sitting practices emphasizing opening to our sensory awareness, as well as walks, hikes and wanderings through the nearby fields and forests interspersed with various nature practices. Some examples of practices may include the following, but actual practices will vary based on location and weather.
- Sensory and Tactical Awareness
- Non-Conceptual Awareness: Letting go of existing concepts and focus on direct experience
- Expansive Awareness: Dissolving into the sky
- Spaciousness and Stillness
- Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
- Tree Meditation
- Stargazing Meditation
- Fire Meditation
Participants will camp in a meadow, have group meals outdoors, gather around a fire in the evenings and maybe even swim in a local pond!
Who: Lee Steppacher and Lin Gordon
When: 4pm, Friday, August 24 – Sunday noon, August 26, 2018
(You can stay one extra night on Sunday on the camp ground till Monday, but retreat will officially end on noon, Sunday.)
Where: Norwich, Vermont – On a private land. Most of the retreat will take place outdoors – camping, eating, and practicing, etc.
Lodging: Camping on a beautiful private land (outdoor bathroom/sun shower nearby). Bring your own camping gears. If you don’t have camping gears, you can rent at outfitters:
- REI Soho – Tents and backpacks
- Traverse Outfitters – Complete camping rental kit (they offer deliver and pick up service)
- Gears to Go Outfitters – Complete camping rental kit
We might have limited extra gears to lend, inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meals: Vegetarian meals will be provided and we’ll be eating outdoors; we will also collect your dietary preferences once you registered.
Public Transportation: Take the Darthmouth Coach across Grand Central to Hanover, NH stop. You can take the 8:30am on Friday, 8/24, and the 3:15pm bus on the return trip on Sunday, 8/26. From the bus station, you can call Brevells Transportation LLC at 603-643-8294 for taxi to get to the campground (about $10). We can coordinate car sharing.
Registration Fee: $75 to cover all meals. Suggested dana for teachers starts at $75 and no one is ever turned away for lack of fund. Whatever you offer is greatly appreciated.
Registration Info: Register at Event Brite here. This retreat location has a limited capacity. There will be a waitlist once the capacity is reached. Once you registered, we’ll contact you for further info to coordinate logistics.
No prior meditation experience needed.
Lee has a deep meditation practice over 25 years, and has a combination of skills and interests that draw her to offering mindfulness in nature retreats . She gravitated to the direct simplicity of the Vipassana (or Insight meditation practice) tradition, and was fortunate to live near Insight Meditation Society where she has been going to annual retreats. She has been a long-time practitioner of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center community.
She recently completed a two-year “Awake in the Wild” Nature Meditation Teacher Training program with Mark Coleman from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and continues to be inspired and guided by Mark’s work in bringing mindfulness into nature. Lee had a fulfilling career in environmental planning and protection with both Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Park Service, where she was responsible for resource-based watershed protection for various locations in New England. Since retirement, Awake in the Wild has enabled Lee to bring her meditation practice and environmental knowledge together in a meaningful way.
Lee lives in Vermont and enjoys guiding people through the woods and fields nearby, sharing these practices that help one to connect more deeply with themselves and the world of which we are all a part. Lee also maintains a massage practice where she focuses on working with the elderly, ill and dying.
Lin has been practicing insight meditation in the last seven years under the guidance of Jonathan Foust (a senior guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington and the former president of Kripalu), Mark Coleman from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, as well as various teachers at the New York Insight Meditation Center. In stillness and silence, she discovers the transformative power of mindfulness practices to help live a life of flow, joy, grace and gratitude.
In the last three years, she is particularly moved by the power of nature meditation practices to deeply connect with our senses, the intimate web of life, and our vast spaciousness nature. Our human-centric worldview dissolves, and we realize we are but a small part of a greater intelligence and the universe. She graduated from Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Nature Meditation Teacher Training in 2017.
She is also inspired by the Ecosattva training from the One Earth Sangha to be active on the issue of climate change. She views sharing nature meditation practices not only as a doorway for personal transformation, but also as a form of environmental activism. By helping people forge a visceral and deep love for the Earth through intimate and direct experiences, Lin hopes that these practices will inspire people to actively protect the Earth.
Besides meditation, Lin is a certified reiki practitioner and currently taking kundalini yoga teacher training. She is certified in wilderness first aid. Out in the world, she has been a digital marketer for the last 17 years, and currently serves as a board member of the New York Insight Meditation Center.
She holds a BA in East Asian Studies and Political Science from Barnard College, and an MBA from NYU.