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Mindful : October 2017
BY VICTORIA DAWSON Victoria Dawson is a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. She regularly contributes to Mindful. F rom time to time we all need a break. We need space— space for silence and for renewal, space for listen- ing and for learning. Even the most mindful among us need more than a 20-minute morning sit or a quick body scan between meetings. To loosen the demands of daily life, to give the thinking mind some breathing space, to hone our skills, or to deepen our daily practice sometimes requires not ordinary time but un-ordinary time— if not time in the mountains or in the desert or by the ocean, then at least time away. “All of us desperately need time to quiet the mind and tend the heart. We need to re-reg ulate ourselves and to listen more deeply, to hear the wis- dom that we carry, to let the love that we carry fill us in healthy ways, and to let our innate understanding grow,” says Jack Kornfield, teacher, author, and founder of Spirit Rock, a retreat center in northern California. “Going on retreat is in part a shedding—a releasing, an opening, a letting go— of all that we carry: the tensions, the worries, the busy-ness of mind and take time to GO DEEP body. And that letting go allows a renewal of spirit and heart that is life changing. Taking time to listen in a deep way—going on retreat—is one of the most powerful things that you can do in your life.” We offer, below, a sampling of five centers where time away is supported by experienced teachers, nourishing meals, natural beauty, and a commit- ment to diversity in every sense of the word. But each is different. Some embrace the word “retreat.” Others prefer words like “immersion” or “learning destination.” Some support silence. Others create connection. Some are on the West Coast. Others are on the East Coast. One is celebrating its 41st anniversary. Another just opened its doors. All practice presence—being in the moment, in the body, in the mind, and in the heart—and all wel- come the busy, tired traveler. Want to unplug and reconnect with what really matters? We recommend these five retreat centers across North America. October 2017 mindful 43 retreats