Health, Stress Management, Travel

Silent Mindfulness Meditation Retreat

I knew I needed something. A time out. Upon reflection, I wanted peace. Time for myself without all the responsibilities and demands of the kids, house, yard, dog, cat, work. Don’t we all from time to time. I have not ever been good at balancing out self care with responsibilities. Well, I stumbled across a mindfulness retreat related to the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction certification program developed by Jon Kabat Zinn and the University of Massachusetts.

This was a week long retreat held at the Won Dharma Retreat center in Claverack NY! It was also a silent retreat. This means after arriving and have an introductory meeting and dinner, we stopped looking at and communicating with everyone. We ate in silence, we no longer acknowledged others as we walked around, we were even silent in our rooms with a roommate. This was for 7 days. The two leaders did communicate, teach, and lead groups where they checked in with us to see how things were going. We were allowed to talk briefly then.

It was a process letting go of the feeling of responsibility to acknowledge other human beings throughout my day. I reluctantly turned in my phone. I had no way of telling time except for the bells they rang and certain times during they day calling us to meditation sessions and meals.

This a Buddhist center that is open to all, their goal is to relieve suffering on the earth. There are practicing priests and priestesses there. The food is Korean based and delicious. I love the practice of removing the shoes before entering all buildings except the dining hall and the office. They have many retreats.

The center is eco-friendly having solar panels, recycling, gardening, oh and they make their own Kimchi, which I’m sorry to say I am not a fan of.


And there is the resident cat to take care of the critters… he loves to approach when we are meditating.


The setting is in the Catskills, beautiful, peaceful!

We spent all day in practice of mindfulness. Starting with a sitting practice at 6:00 am and ending with a sitting practice at 9:00 pm. We did sitting, standing, walking, and at times laying practice of meditation. We also did alternating days of yoga and Tai Chi.

My teachers lead us through the week, building on what we learned the days before. They really gave me tremendous insight about the potential benefits of meditation practice.

Number one is, I must practice. That is where insight is gained. I learned that being present with discomfort and not acting on it allows it to pass. I also learned that excitement is not what makes me happy. Being peaceful and calm is. There is a fight between wanting more and rejecting discomfort on a daily basis for me. I can get sucked into my thinking and my body responds as if I am in that situation, be it positive or negative. I get attached to things and beliefs.

I come from a background of believing I was not noticed. I was invisible. I best served others by not rocking the boat. I have learned over the years that my people did the best they could, they loved me the best they could. My perception is what molds my beliefs, not necessarily the truth.

I have felt separated, apart from, on the inside looking out, in fear, no confidence. I now know all that is up to me, not others. If I want to belong, I must insert myself into community, make myself vulnerable, allow others to get to know me, be interested in others. I create my separateness.

Now it is up to me to practice. I ebb and flow. I try not to judge myself, but just get back on track.



Virgin Voyage with the Podder

Honestly, I don’t know what to call my new, sweet little R-Pod 190. We are still working on the name.  I bought this small RV in April of this year, 2018.

Our family bought a nice, used, pop-up camper, um, probably 10 years ago. My son does the DINO, Do Indiana Off-road, mountain bike race series each summer. The pop-up has been a great way to attend these race sites all over the state of Indiana at the state parks. Our kids grew up camping. After they got so big, it was time to get me off the ground, out of the tent and into a camper. It has been such a great way to get outdoors, hike, bike, attend informative nature sessions. True, you might call it glamping, having AC, heat, kitchen, and even a potty with shower. Sweet!  For like 5K we got a wonderful camper that served us well for years.

Upon the divorce, I knew I wanted to continue camping. I wanted a way to continue bringing my now about adult kids along with my son’s gf with me but also be able to go by myself if I wanted. The pop-up really requires 2 people to pull out and set up the beds, etc. I did’t want to change my TV, tow vehicle, a Chevrolet Traverse with the tow package. Over the years I’ve watched the RV’s get smaller and lighter. And, finally, I found the Forrest River R-Pod. We have been out twice so far on with the new podder! Here is the first voyage.

We went to Brown County State Park, one we have visited often in the past 15 years. We have our favorite spot. Close, but not too close to the restroom with the shower. The kids prefer the restroom. BCSP does not have water at each camp site so we have to preserve. I only took one short shower and we were out of water from Friday to Sunday. We use water for cooking, cleaning, brushing teeth, and for me going to the potty, lightly if you prefer.

Kids being silly with mom photographing, Boomer being himself

We had some challenges with the hot water. The RV dealer had winterized it in the sense that they turned the valves off to go through the hot water heater. See the next post for details on how we dewinterized the rpod and got our hot water running.

Boomer loves being with us no matter where we are.

It was raining all weekend so we spent time indoors playing games and listening to Hamilton in preparation to see the show in May. The rp190 has a dinette that seats 4 and doubles as a bed for 2. Boomer and the kids above are on MY bed at the other end of the camper. 😉 It’s a tight fit for 4 but we make it work when all of us are together.


Here’s to many more years enjoying family outings in the pod!