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Sat. June 15 – Birding and Nature Meditation at Central Park

Bird in the Pepper Tree

Don’t mind my inexplicable delight

in knowing your name,

little Wilson’s Warbler

yellow as a lemon, with a smooth, black cap..

Just do what you do and don’t worry, dipping

branch by branch down  to the fountain….

A name is not a leash.

– By Mary Oliver

Do you know there are approximately 230 different species of birds can be found in Central Park? Some are year round and some would stop by during the spring and fall migration season.  Join Lin Gordon (nature meditation teacher) and Stephen Roylance (retired science teacher) in taking an early morning walk through Central Park, where we will listen to the sounds within and without.

Who: Lin Gordon and Stephen Roylance

When: 8:15am-10:30am, Saturday, June 13, 2019

Where: Meet at 72nd St and Central Park West entrance 

Public Transportation: 72nd St station, 1, 2, 3, B or C by Subway

Registration Fee: Sliding scale from $15, $20, to $25.  Registration opens shortly at nyimc.org.

No prior meditation or birding experience needed.

Bring

  • Binocular
  • Water
  • Organic bug/tick repellent

Wear

  • Comfortable clothing
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

June 21 – 23, 2019: Meditation Fusion – Five Teachers, Five Styles

Date: Friday – Sunday, June 21 – 23, 2019

Location: Kripalu Center of Yoga and Health, Stockbridge, MA

Come join me in experimenting different meditation styles at Kripalu on summer solstice weekend.  The key to discover a regular meditation practice is to find a style that resonates with you.  Program will include:

  • Instinctive meditation with Steven Leonard
  • Insight meditation with Lin Gordon
  • Crystal bowl sound meditation with Carlos A. Perez
  • Kundalini meditation with Amanbir Singh
  • The neuroscience of meditation with Jacqueline Lutz.

Learn more about the program and registration.

Sat. July 13 – Summer Hike to Hook Mountain, Rockland Lake State Park (on the Long Path)

“Walking mindfully on the Earth can restore our peace and harmony, and it can restore Earth’s peace and harmony as well.  We are children of the Earth.  We rely on her for our happiness, and she relies on us also.  Whether the Earth is beautiful, fresh and green, or arid and parched depends on our way of walking.  When we practice walking meditation beautifully, we massage the Earth with our feet and plant seeds of joy and happiness with each step.  Our Mother will heal us, and we will heal her.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Register

Enjoy a summer day in the peaceful beauty of the Hudson Valley.  This guided, meditative hike takes the scenic route along the Long Path—into the Rockland Lake State Park and up Hook Mountain (698 ft). Enjoy expansive vistas only 1.5 hours outside of the city, and an extraordinary space designated by the New York Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area.

Take a walk into the woods to connect with nature and ourselves.  We’ll integrate sitting and walking nature meditation throughout the hike.  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
  • Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
  • Tree Meditation

Most of the hike will be observed in silence.  John Muir said, “In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  Silence is a critical ingredient for introspective and transformative experiences.  Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences.  Allow your senses to come alive and watch your sense of separateness fall away in nature.  The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.

The hike will be approximately from 10am – 3pm, with stops for meditation practices and an hour long lunch break.  It’s a relatively moderate hike, but there are sections where you need to go up and down, so hiking shoes and a pair of hiking poles will be handy.

Who: Lin Gordon

When: 8:15am-3pm, Saturday, July 13, 2019

Where: Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance on Route 9W and Lake Road (parking lot #4). Valley Cottage, NY. (299 Lake Rd. Valley Cottage, NY, 10989). There is a picnic table under a big tree near the toll booth of the parking lot. 

Public Transportation: Coachusa.com (Weekend schedule)

From 42nd St., Port Authority: Leave on the 8:15 am bus going to Rockland Lake

From George Washington Bridge Terminal: Leave on the 8:40 bus going to Rockland Lake

Destination: Rockland Lake (Lake Road and Route 9W) in Valley Cottage, NY

Please make sure that you leave ample time to get to the bus gate.  You can get ticket on the bus or from the window on the ground floor.

Arrival Time: Bus arrives approximately at 9:35 a.m.  After arriving, walk across the street (Route 9W) and walk into Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance.  Keep walking along the path for 2 minutes, we’ll meet a picnic table right next to the park lot.  Restrooms will be available.

Return Trip: The bus runs hourly and arrives at pickup at approximately 25 minutes past each hour.  Bus station is right across where they drop off in the morning.

Drivers: Expect an $8 parking fee. Arrive by 9:45 a.m. and drive into the Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance on Route 9W and Lake Road, Valley Cottage, NY. (299 Lake Rd. Valley Cottage, NY, 10989).  There is another parking lot about a mile further north on Route 9W (parking lot #2).  Please make sure you’re at parking lot #4.  South Entrance parking lot is an open space with a lots of picnic tables and a large building complex.

We aim to start the hike at 10am and will walk to the trailhead together from the parking lot.

Registration Fee: Sliding scale from $30 – $80.

Register

No prior meditation experience needed.

Bring

Wear

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Comfortable athletic clothing (cottons are discouraged)
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Sat. September 13: Full Moon Meditation at Central Park

“Do everything with a mind that lets go.  If you let go a little, you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely, you will have complete peace. ”  ― Ajahn Chah

“As above, so below.”  The moon has been associated with changes and transformation as humans observe its changing cycle through the ages.  The full moon represents the culmination of a cycle, a ripening to completion, bringing attention to closures and setting intention for new beginnings.  We can learn to live in harmony with nature’s rhythm and harness the power of the full moon by quieting down, reflecting on what we can let go and release what no longer serve us, and allowing space for new beginnings to emerge from within.

Join us for a fall evening for sitting and walking meditation in Central Park.

Who: Lin Gordon

When: 7:30-9:30pm, Saturday, September 13, 2019

Where: Central Park, 100th St. and Central Park West

Meeting Location and Time: 7:15pm at 100th St. entrance, Central Park West

No prior meditation experience needed.

Registration opens soon on NYIMC.org

May 10 – 12, 2019: Spring Weekend Retreat

Every season has its unique gifts. As a season for reawakening and renewal, spring provides us a unique opportunity to see the world with fresh eyes and to feel the wonder of the earth as it comes back to life.

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, May 10, 2019 (arrivals at 3pm) – Sunday, May 12, 2019 (ends at 12pm)

(You can stay extra nights at the retreat center after the retreat ends. You just need to book separately.)

Teachers: Lin Gordon and Lee Steppacher

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Transportation: 

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.

Packing List

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
  • Headlamp
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Vacuum-insulated bottle for hot drinks
  • When outside cotton clothes are discouraged

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/cold-weather-hiking.html


Facilitators Bios:

Lee Steppacher    

leepictanzania

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 Gordon

IMG_6298

Lin has been practicing insight meditation in the last eight years under the guidance of Jonathan Foust (Insight Meditation Community of Washington), Mark Coleman (Spirit Rock Meditation Center), as well as various teachers from 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.

Besides meditation, Lin is a 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.

Practice: Standing in front of a Tree

In a technology-oriented world we live today, we rarely get the opportunity to have an intimate and deep connection with the natural world and learn from it.  This practice of standing in front of and interacting with a single tree, will help us cultivate the sensitivities and attunement to a living being.  And we can find a tree even in a dense urban environment.

1) Be Called to a Tree

Instead of picking a tree in our mind before the practice, notice where you are standing in your environment, tune into the body first, and sense if there is a tree at and its energy at this moment that you find interesting to connect with.  Follow your curiosity and felt sense.

2) Take in the Whole Tree from Afar

As you approach the tree from afar, take in the whole tree from a distance first.  Take in the height, the shape, and how this tree fits into the its environment as whole.

3) Sense the Tree Upclose

Feel into the environment of the tree as it has a whole mini-ecosystem.  It requires us to perceive with all our senses.  Feel any moss or ferns that may be living on the tree.  The birds on the tree tops.  The insects around. The family and network of living things on this one tree.

Be aware that we are visiting the homes of the animals.  Be careful not to instill fear in them as often we are perceived as the predators.

  • Seeing: Slow approach the tree and look at the tree from root to canopy.  Shunryu Suzuki said, “As soon as you see something, you already start to intellectualize it.  As soon as you intellectualize something, it is no longer what you saw.”  Try to look at the tree as shape, texture, colors without intellectual explanations.  Play with open and close eyes and see how the sight may influence how we sense the tree.
  • Smell: Can you smell the scents of barks and leaves?  What does this tree smell like?
  • Hearing/Sounds:  What do you hear standing in front of this tree?  Bird songs? Leave rustling?
  • Touch:  Touch different parts of the tree – roots, barks, leaves.  Close our eyes and rub against face, skin, and hands.  Can you feel the roughness of the barks – what the tree went through to survive?  This particular sense helps go from the concept of a tree to connecting to the tree.

4) Interact with the Tree – sit, hug, lying down.  Feel the energy exchange.

When you finish taking in the tree upclose, you can feel into the body and sense how you may want to interact with the tree, or how it may want you to be with it.  You can lean your back against the tree trunk and feel a sense of support.  You can hug the tree.  You can sit at the roots.  You can lie down and rest your heads on the roots or between the roots and look up the canopy.   Feel if there’s a sense of exchange between you and tree.

5) Stay a Little Longer

You might be compelled to move on, but stay.  See how the full connections develop.  Notice the quality of impatience, resistance, or boredom .  Feel whatever is arising, take a breath, and resume this meditation.

Quality of a Beginner’s Mind

One helpful quality to bring into this practice is the beginner’s mind – a sense of curiosity and openness.   If you are a one-year old child seeing a tree for the first time, what would you see?  How would you interact and connect with it?

Can we go through this practice without a preconceived notion of what this may feel like?  There is no right or wrong experience, but just be with what arise.

This whole practice takes about 20 minutes.  May a tree bless you and sustain you.

Source: Awake in the Wild, Mark Coleman

Guided Meditation: Making It Happen vs. Letting It Happen

My teacher Jonathan Foust gave a talk on “Making It Happen vs. Letting It Happen” back in April.  I always love that Jonathan is so artful in condensing spiritual teachings into simple and accessible phrases.  We can explore this theme in two layers and both speak to me to the heart of spiritual practices.  First is the balance between making efforts to achieve goals and making time and space in our life to reflect on those efforts, to see if they are aligned with our hearts and whether they lead us on the path we want to go down to.  Our culture values goals and results and idealize efforts and productivity, and there are certainly great value in work ethics.  Yet, if we don’t slow down in our life to make time and space to reflect, we can be running in full speed down on a path that we don’t want to go down to.

Secondly, “letting it happen” speaks to a quality that we all recognize in our life, that is that life is out of our control.  We can hold the fruits of our efforts lightly, and letting go of the fruits of our efforts.  It is not a passive surrender of just letting things happen to us, but a full engagement with life yet surrendering to what the outcome that engagement may lead to.

For example, we need to make efforts to go to a meditation class or a yoga practice, we appreciate the efforts that get us there through traffic and commute and clearing the schedule to be there.  Yet once we get there, we can let go of our expectations of what the experience would be like in that class.  Sometimes our mind is quiet, other times turbulent.  Sometimes our body is flexible, other times tense and rigid.   If we are seeking for a particular experience, we may feel tightness and disappointment when it doesn’t match our expectations.   If we let the experience unfold without resistance to it, then it will flow through us and we will find ease in the unfolding.

Guided Meditation:

You can begin this meditation by finding a comfortable sitting or lying down position.  There is no wrong position – anything that make you feel comfortable and relaxing, that is the right position.

Feel your legs and body’s contact with the Earth.  Notice that you’re effortlessly held by the Earth.  Notice that this support is always there for you.  This support does not need to be earned, and it cannot be taken away.  You can release the tension and stress onto the Earth.  The Earth can hold it.   You can rest in the effortless support.

As the Earth goes into a cycle of rest and restoration every night and every winter, so it would help that you let your body and mind go through a night and a season of rest and restoration.

As the saying goes, “There is nowhere to go, and no one to be.”

If there is stress, tension or anxiety, let it be there in the background.  Welcome it, befriend it.  There is no need to push it away.  Gently feel it in your body and say hello to it kindly, “I see you.  I feel you.  I am here for you.”

Instead of personalizing them and saying that I have stress, tension and stress, say, “There is stress.  There is tension.  There is anxiety.  I can put a placeholder for them after the meditation. For this moment, let me melt into the Earth.”

See if you find a basic sense of okayness in our being – warmth, groundedness, or just appreciating our senses – sight, smell, seeing, taste, touch.  The fact we can breathe in fresh air, feel the breeze brushing our face, smell the humidity in the air, touch our heart and body with our hands are miraculous.  Is there a place in the body where I could find warmth and comfort?

We can appreciate a basic sense of security – clean water, warm food, and a warm bed. These are conditions that did not exist before for 98% of human history or even many parts of the world right now.

What could soften? What could relax? What could I let go?

After some time, drop all the techniques and efforts.  Simply relax and let go.  Drop all the trying and simply be.

To end this meditation, it might be helpful to remember this quote from T.S. Eliot,

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

Sat. November 24 – Thanksgiving Meditative Hike to Hook Mountain, Rockland Lake State Park (on the Long Path)

 

“Walking mindfully on the Earth can restore our peace and harmony, and it can restore Earth’s peace and harmony as well.  We are children of the Earth.  We rely on her for our happiness, and she relies on us also.  Whether the Earth is beautiful, fresh and green, or arid and parched depends on our way of walking.  When we practice walking meditation beautifully, we massage the Earth with our feet and plant seeds of joy and happiness with each step.  Our Mother will heal us, and we will heal her.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Register

Immerse in the peaceful beauty of autumn in the Hudson Valley before winter arrives. This guided, meditative hike takes the scenic route along the Long Path—into the Rockland Lake State Park and up Hook Mountain (698 ft). Enjoy expansive vistas only 1.5 hours outside of the city, and an extraordinary space designated by the New York Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area.

As we head into deep fall, take a walk into the woods to connect with nature and ourselves. We’ll integrate sitting and walking nature meditation throughout the hike.  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
  • Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
  • Tree Meditation

Most of the hike will be observed in silence.  John Muir said, “In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  Silence is a critical ingredient for introspective and transformative experiences.  Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences.  Allow your senses to come alive and watch your sense of separateness fall away in nature.  The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.

The hike will be approximately from 10am – 3pm, with stops for meditation practices and an hour long lunch break.  It’s a relatively moderate hike, but there are sections where you need to go up and down, so hiking shoes and a pair of hiking poles will be handy.

Who: Lin Gordon

When: 8:15am-3pm, Saturday, November 24, 2018

Where: Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance on Route 9W and Lake Road (parking lot #4). Valley Cottage, NY. (299 Lake Rd. Valley Cottage, NY, 10989). There is a picnic table under a big tree near the toll booth of the parking lot. 

Public Transportation: Coachusa.com (Weekend schedule)

From 42nd St., Port Authority: Leave on the 8:15 am bus going to Rockland Lake

From George Washington Bridge Terminal: Leave on the 8:40 bus going to Rockland Lake

Destination: Rockland Lake (Lake Road and Route 9W) in Valley Cottage, NY

Please make sure that you leave ample time to get to the bus gate.  You can get ticket on the bus or from the window on the ground floor.

Arrival Time: Bus arrives approximately at 9:35 a.m.  After arriving, walk across the street (Route 9W) and walk into Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance.  Keep walking along the path for 2 minutes, we’ll meet a picnic table right next to the park lot.  Restrooms will be available.

Return Trip: The bus runs hourly and arrives at pickup at approximately 25 minutes past each hour.  Bus station is right across where they drop off in the morning.

Drivers: Expect an $8 parking fee. Arrive by 9:45 a.m. and drive into the Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance on Route 9W and Lake Road, Valley Cottage, NY. (299 Lake Rd. Valley Cottage, NY, 10989).  There is another parking lot about a mile further north on Route 9W (parking lot #2).  Please make sure you’re at the right one.  South Entrance parking lot is an open space with a lots of picnic tables and a large building complex.

We aim to start the hike at 10am and will walk to the trailhead together from the parking lot.

Registration Fee: Sliding scale from $30 – $85.

Register at NYIMC.org

No prior meditation experience needed.

Bring

Wear

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Comfortable athletic clothing (cottons are discouraged)
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

August 24 – 26, Summer Nature Meditation Weekend Retreat (Norwich, VT)

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

Register

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

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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:

We might have limited extra gears to lend, inquire at info@beinginthewild.com.

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.

Register

No prior meditation experience needed.

Facilitators Bios:

Lee Steppacher    

leepictanzania

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 Gordon

IMG_6298

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.

Sat. April 21 – Earth Day Meditative Hike to Anthony’s Nose

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“Walking mindfully on the Earth can restore our peace and harmony, and it can restore Earth’s peace and harmony as well.  We are children of the Earth.  We rely on her for our happiness, and she relies on us also.  Whether the Earth is beautiful, fresh and green, or arid and parched depends on our way of walking.  When we practice walking meditation beautifully, we massage the Earth with our feet and plant seeds of joy and happiness with each step.  Our Mother will heal us, and we will heal her.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Feel the spring energy in the air?  How about taking a meditative hike that takes you past a crystalline lake and the lowest-elevation stretch of the Appalachian Trail (AT) to one of the most dramatic scenic destinations in the Hudson Valley? Anthony’s Nose (900 feet) is only an hour outside of the city, and it will take you to fresh air, expansive vista, and blossoming trees.  On this Earth Day (4/22) weekend, take a walk into the woods to connect with nature and ourselves.  We’ll integrate sitting and walking nature meditation throughout the hike.  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
  • Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
  • Tree Meditation
  • Practices on Relating to Mother Earth

Most of the hike will be observed in silence.  John Muir said, “In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  Silence is a critical ingredient for introspective and transformative experiences.  Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences.  Allow your senses to come alive and watch your sense of separateness falls away in nature.  The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.  As we become intimate with the natural world, we become intimate with ourselves.

The hike is about 4 miles.  We will follow the Camp Smith trail up that has a less steep ascent than the Bear Mountain Bridge trail.  After lunch, depending on the group’s energy and comfort level, we’ll either hike back down the Camp Smith trail or the Bear Mountain Bridge trail.  Please bring your lunch and plenty of water for the trail.

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Who: Jon Aaron and Lin Gordon

When: 8:30am-5:30pm, Saturday, April 21, 2018

Where: Anthony’s Nose, Cortlandt, NY; trail begins in Bear Mountain State Park

Train Meeting Location and Time: 8:25am sharp at the clock, Grand Central or 10am at the Manitou train station, Metro North, Hudson Line. We’ll be taking the 8:45am train up.  Once we all meet up at the Manitou train station, we will walk to the trailhead (about 1.3 miles).

Trailhead Meeting Location and Time: 10:20am at the Appalachian Trail head (Camp Smith trail) on South Mountain Pass Road.

Direction from the Manitou train station:

You will ascend Manitou Station Rd, cross 9d (0.6 miles) where it changes its name to Manitou Rd.  In 0.2 miles it ends on South Mountain Pass Road.  Take a right and ascend. In another 0.5 miles, or 1.3 miles from where you got off the train at Manitou Station, a poorly maintained turnoff will appear on the right.  Opposite on the left side of South Mountain Pass Road, you will see the markings of the Appalachian Trail as 2 white rectangles, one diagonally above the other indication a turn in the trail.  Follow the turnoff to the right and cross around the gate, where the cue sheet begins.  We’ll meet at the gate.

Below is the picture of the parking space in front of the trailhead:

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Carpool: Please indicate if you can offer or need ride on the form.

Registration Fee: Sliding scale at $35, $50, or $65.

No prior meditation experience needed.

Bring

Wear

  • Comfortable athletic clothing
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

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Facilitators:

Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York Insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitioner and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last seven years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she completed Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Nature Meditation Teacher Training in 2017.

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