Practical Presence Retreat
About This Event
A 5-day Intensive Training
make peace with yourself and connect genuinely with others
Too many of us live without a sense of community and feel disconnected, even from our friends and family. We may associate belonging with self-sacrifice and are no longer willing to conform to unreasonable social rules merely to be accepted. Yet, in our push for independence we often find ourselves painfully isolated.
Most of us are not lacking things – we are starving for connection. This intensive training invites you into a tranquil space to become present with yourself, and then share what is alive in you with a safe, nurturing community practiced in open-hearted listening.
Each morning we will practice together the ancient and simple art of Insight Meditation, using natural bodily sensations to cultivate presence and awareness. This enables you to settle deeply into your body and mind and recognize what is occurring beneath the realm of your ordinary thoughts. Sustained Mindfulness practice makes space for you to accept and care for yourself, which in turn helps you connect with and care for others.
After a quiet lunch and nurturing time alone in nature, we will gather each afternoon to sit in circle and tell our stories, practicing a new way of listening using Conscious Communication. You will learn how to receive another person with your heart, hearing them without imposing your own judgments, advice, or solutions. As we share and receive each other in this way, you will experience a deeply nourishing web of empathy and true connection that is too often neglected in the competitive stress of our daily routines.
Each evening after dinner we will gather in a focused and facilitated setting to deepen the healing and transformation stirred up by the day’s activities. These gatherings may include circling around a fire, Ki Gong practices to work consciously with your subtle energy, Journey Dance to move energy through you with intention, group music making using drum and song, and an open stage for storytelling, song, dance, and poetry.
The setting, Sky Meadow Retreat, presents a unique sanctuary for this profound work of re-connecting with yourself and others. Secluded at the end of a quiet road in the pristine mountains of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, hidden from view and away from the noise of traffic, 120 acres of forest and meadows are yours to explore. This expansive land includes four swimming ponds, wooded trails, open meadows, and a hilltop with panoramic views of the Green Mountains. Scattered through the magical landscape are a variety of unique structures, blended seamlessly with nature, inviting you to sit quietly or spend the night if you choose.
Sleeping accommodations include large shared rooms with spacious beds and privacy curtains in our beautifully renovated century old barn, plus small private rooms and large suites, several rustic and whimsical private cabins, and three shared full bathrooms. (your choice when you book) You will be fed bountiful gourmet vegetarian meals featuring fresh organic vegetables and fruit from the large gardens and orchards which surround the main building.
This training is for anyone seeking support and encouragement to find and follow your own truth. It will teach you how to face your fear of vulnerability in order to realize your longing for connection, and it will give you skills to help others break through their isolation. Each training is limited to sixteen participants, assuring a rare degree of personal attention and intimacy within the group.
Venue HighlightsSky Meadow Retreat Center began 30 years ago as an organic farm and homestead. It sits on an original homesteading property of 120 acres on Stannard Mountain, part of the North East Kingdom of Vermont. Sky Meadow is home to apple, plum and pear trees, berry bushes of all sorts, and large swatches of land are cultivated yearly as organic gardens. In 1998 it became a retreat center, providing space and organic, fresh grown produce for retreats of all types.
The spaces are open for leaders looking to host their own retreats, solo retreat seekers, couples retreats, and Sky Meadow also hosts multiple in house retreats each year focused on Insight Meditation and Conscious Communication s
The main group retreat facility is a lovely renovated old post and beam barn that can comfortably accommodate 16 people, and has large open spaces with beautiful hard wood floors and giant south facing windows. Private accommodations are also available including hotel style rooms, fully equipped loft apartments, and primitive cabins and camping spots.
Sky Meadow remains a working organic farm and homestead as well, complete with a flock of sheep, a herd of alpaca, and chickens. Group retreats have the option of meals being prepared in house. These meals are farm to fork, with the vegetables and fruits harvested and prepared on the same day! Sky Meadow is an ideal location for retreat leaders and retreat attendees interested in wellness, yoga, meditation, connection, resetting and so many other things!
Sky Meadow Retreat Center is also home to an intentional community that farms and serves retreat goers. Spiritual seekers from all over North America come to do 4-12 month internships in conscious living and sustainable homesteading before moving on to make change in the world.
AccommodationsThe rooms within the main facility are shared bedrooms. The three bedrooms on the upper floor of the barn each have four beds and share two bathrooms, each with a single shower. These rooms are set up as having bunk beds, however access is easier to the top bunk as it is more closely stairs than a ladder for climbing. There are two additional rooms within the lower area of the barn, and each of those has two beds. The lower two rooms share one bathroom with a single shower.
In addition, there are private accommodations: the Orchard House a cabin with 2 bedrooms, each with a private study area and loft single bed, and the Sunrise and Sunset Suites which are loft apartments located within the retreat barn and complete with kitchen, living area, a private half bath (dry toilet), and beautiful views overlooking the organic gardens. In addition and according to the season, there are several primitive (without heat, water, electricity) structures for guests wanting more adventure or privacy; the Mouse House, Cob House, tipi, and stone lean-to are a few examples.
- Free Wifi
- Free Parking
- Yoga Studio
- Ceremony Space
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
- Nut Free
Menu/CuisineSky Meadow offers vegetarian meals made from scratch and served buffet style. Our meals are filled with our seasonal, fresh, organic produce, harvested merely hours (sometimes minutes) before being served to you. We source as much of your food as we can from our land, and the rest as locally as possible from neighboring farms. We can accommodate any dietary restrictions, and ask that guests let us know of such. We serve a continental styled breakfast such as cold/hot cereals, breads, boiled eggs, yogurt, fruits and fruit preserves, granola, hot teas and cold vegan milks. Lunch and dinner are extensive 4-6 course meals, served buffet style and include homemade breads, ferments, salads, and dessert. Fruits and hot tea are available for consumption throughout the day.
DirectionsWhen using any mapping service search for Sky Meadow Retreat, Greensboro Bend, VT. Using our street address will misdirect in mapping and GPS services.
LOCATED: NEAR HARDWICK, VT 50 minutes north of Montpelier 40 minutes west of St. Johnsbury
1.5 hours east of Burlington 2.5 hours southeast of Montreal 2.5 hours north of Manchester NH
4 hours north of Boston 6 hours north of N.Y.C.
NEAREST AIRPORT: Burlington, Vermont. 1.5-hour drive with no public transit to us. Boston and other cities have a bus or train to Montpelier, VT, a 50-minute drive. There is no public transportation to Sky Meadow Retreat so arrangements should be made in advance.
SOUTH from I-91 going south, take the Barton exit and follow RT. 16 south, pass through Glover, to Stannard sign on left just after the village of Greensboro Bend. Continue directions with * below…
NORTH from I - 91 going north take exit 21 in St. Johnsbury. Go west on RT. 2 to RT. 15 in West Danville. Take 15 west to RT.16 North. Continue directions with * below….
FROM I - 89 north or south. Take exit 8 in Montpelier. Go east on RT. 2 to Rt. 14 in East Montpelier to RT 14 north into Hardwick, catch RT. 15 east for 2 miles to RT. 16 North. Continued directions with *below
*FROM STANNARD: Go north on RT. 16 for 4.3 miles. Turn right at STANNARD Main Street sign and turn right at the first crossroads at the red barn. Stay on unpaved Stannard Mt. Rd. for two miles. Turn left after the cemetery onto Flagg Pond Rd. Go .5 miles, make the first left onto Winchester Rd., pass the large white house is the Sky Meadow Retreat sign. Park it the first lot on the right. Pull forward and park close together to leave room for other cars.
Reviews To review this event, visit the page for the venue or retreat leaders (above).
Irene Christensen May 26, 2019
I was very happy to participate in this retreat and I'm very grateful for it. Something in me was driving me toward spiritual people. I have never felt something so beautiful as being alive with my “spiritual family”.. 🙏❤️ It felt right for me to travel far to get Sky Meadow because when I’m with people of like mind I’m really with myself. It is a wonderful retreat in beautiful surroundings for someone who is looking to awaken, going deeper into the silence. It is beyond description and heals the soul.. I was able to experience that we are all one, there is no difference. The atmosphere was lovely and everything was very well planned and comfortable. Meditating felt natural and effortless as it was combined with movements. I felt so happy and enjoyed it so much more than traditional Vipassana. Being in the presence of the Teacher has a profound and lasting effect on me. Miles is really the best teacher!! It’s very important to go to a teacher who has been able to realize the only reality for himself, who has been there.. Miles’ dharma evening talk was deep and helped me to catch the space between thoughts, to detect internal resistances, bypass everything, the past and the future, to go beyond, through dualistic concepts. I learned that whenever a situation in the world confronts me, it’s the ego that is the cause of resistance and problems can only be solved by the source. The silence was becoming more acute and awareness was expending. I have seen many beautiful places in the world, but I know that the most beautiful one is inside - it is your soul, being. We always have access to this beauty and I was able to feel total happiness and bliss of the Self at the retreat. Thank you SO much! There are no words to really describe my deep gratitude, but I have tried my best. I will every day think about how grateful I am for that. Love and light to you all ❤️🙏❤️
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