When asked why she meditates, Sarah Manchester said that through meditation, she observes the activity of her mind which helps her to touch into a deeper part of herself. “Why wouldn’t I want to share that process with others?” she asked. “I lead a weekly meditation class in Langley, which is great, but in a retreat, we can allow the meditation to deepen.”
For a newcomer to mindfulness meditation, Sarah’s November 16 to 18 Mindfulness Meditation Weekend Retreat can be an introduction to mindfulness meditation. For a more experienced practitioner, it can be an opportunity to deepen in mindfulness practices. Between sitting meditation, walking meditation, movement, sound baths, and art expression, the weekend offers a range of contemplative practices in an enriching, intimate environment. Sarah also provides journals, art supplies, and art directives as an invitation into another way to experience meditation.
When asked about her sources of inspiration, Sarah pointed to Tibetan Buddhist teachers—her teacher in particular, The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, as well as Chogam Trugnpa Rinpoche and Pema Chodron. Although her foundation is in Buddhism, when it comes to her teaching style she said she takes a more secular approach, recognizing that mindfulness practices transcend any one spiritual tradition.
The retreat takes place in the Farmhouse at the heart of the Whidbey Institute, with some meditations taking place in the Sanctuary. Vegetarian meals are prepared together, while a “functional speaking only” guideline helps create room for personal reflection. “The land holds mindfulness and meditation beautifully, which nurtures the whole retreat experience,” Sarah said.
According to Sarah, November is a particularly rich time for such a retreat because of its proximity to the holiday season. “I chose this time of year because it is easy to get distracted from ourselves during the busyness of the holiday season. A retreat can be a good reset—returning to ourselves rather than letting the holidays pull us out of mindfulness and presence.” Past participants have come out of these retreats feeling refreshed and more mindful, she explained, and felt prepared to incorporate these practices into their lives.
To join Sarah in the Mindfulness Meditation Weekend Retreat, visit https://sarahmanchestertherapy