Every season has its unique gifts. As a season for deep rest and renewal, winter provides us a unique opportunity to step away from our active life and come into deep introspection and regenerate.
To help you come into a deeper rhythm with the natural world, Lin Gordon and Lee Steppacher will weave nature-based meditation practices throughout this silent weekend retreat. We will spend extended time outdoors and participate in guided meditation and mindful walks to open our sense of awareness, and sinking deeply into our connection to the world around us. Participants will learn to develop a receptive presence and contemplative relationship with nature, opening the possibility to experience beautiful states of joy, peace, wonder, love and connection with oneself, each other and the larger web of life.
Specific practices will be chosen based on weather, location and the group, but will include foundational mindfulness, movement and wisdom practices that are particularly aligned with being in nature.
The weekend will be held primarily in silence, allowing you to cultivate the capacity to be present. There will be opportunities for limited discussion and questions, and talks will be offered as guidance. Guided body movement will also be offered daily.
Activities will not be strenuous, but significant time will be spent outdoors. Appropriate outerwear will be needed.
This weekend is appropriate for people with all levels of experience. No prior meditation experience needed.
Location: Eastover, Lenox, Massachusetts
Date: Friday, 4pm, February 15, 2019 – Sunday, 3pm, February 17, 2019
(You can stay extra nights at the retreat center after the retreat ends. You just need to book separately.)
Registration: Opens on Nov. 1, 2018
Teachers: Lin Gordon and Lee Steppacher
Bus from NYC: The easiest way is to take the Peter Pan Trailways bus from Port Authority to the Lenox, MA stop.
Directions: You can find more detailed directions for driving, bus, rail, car services on the Eastover site.
Below is a sample packing list for our time outside:
- Bring layers
- Warm hat
- Warm gloves
- Neck gaiter or scarf
- Waterproof pants (ski or winter hiking pants)
- Winter jacket
- Winter/waterproof hiking boots (if possible)
- Thermal long underwear shirts and pants
- Wool socks
- Water bottle
- Vacuum-insulated bottle for hot drinks
- When outside cotton clothes are discouraged
Resources: Clothing and Gear Tips for Cold-Weather Hiking
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), 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.