Valley Insight Retreats

A Different Way to Practice – A Guided Nature Walk 

First Tuesday of the month at 10 AM. 
June 1, July 6, August 3  – 2021

Meets in person; participants will be advised of location when signing up.
Note: Each walk will last approximately 1.5 – 2 hours (and no longer than 2 hours), based on whatever conditions we find.

Why not put your technology aside for a time and step outside to rediscover your connection to the natural world? Let yourself relax into nature’s rhythms and open your senses to the richness of trees and rivers, sights and sounds. Be restored.

This practice will be a guided contemplative walk held with a small group. The walk will be conducted primarily in silence, allowing you to sink into your experience. The pace will be relaxed, but participants should be able to walk a few miles, possibly on uneven ground. The location is to be determined, but it will be in the Hanover-Lebanon-Norwich area.

In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Valley Insight recognizes that any “public” event, even a small and outdoor-one such as this, involves at least a small risk of exposure to coronavirus. This small risk is reduced if all participants have completed their COVID-19 immunization series (i.e., if you are more than 2 weeks out from your second Pfizer or Moderna shot, or two weeks out from your single J & J shot), though the risk does not reduce completely to zero. To minimize remaining risk, we will limit our group size to five participants, honor social distancing practices, and require participants to wear masks if anyone is not vaccinated. Thank you for honoring these sangha-supporting measures if you choose to participate.

Teacher: Lee Steppacher
Contact Lee ( with questions or to sign up.

Past Retreats Offered:

Faith, Trust and Confidence:
Discovering Ease, Empowerment and Fidelity with Practice On and Off the Cushion
A Virtual Daylong Retreat with Manny Mansbach
Saturday February 27

Faith is not a thing we do or don’t possess. It can be said it is a verb, an action—“faith-ing”. In dharma practice, trust and confidence grow as we experiment with and embody the teachings, working them into our daily lives to see how our most noble qualities can best be awakened. Trust, faith and confidence can arise even alongside considerable suffering, and are most likely to arise in tandem with wisdom. With these qualities, we become more deeply devoted to what is most wholesome and true.

VIMS Annual December Retreat
Led by Doreen Schweizer
December 4, 5, 6

All Buddhist teachings and practices are intentionally designed to shift our perceptions on and our relationship to our experience of the world. They offer strategies to help us create less suffering and stress for ourselves and for others. When engaged in consistently over a period of time, they change us in eight predictable aspects of our lives. They change our understanding of the way things are; our mental, volitional intentions; our actions; our speech; the way we spend our time; the quantity, quality, and direction of our energy; the clarity and wakefulness of our awareness; and our ability to steady our attentional presence. 

Holistic Spirituality: How to Speak to Anyone with Truth and Kindness 
Oren Jay Sofer
Half-Day Online Workshop
Saturday, April 25, 2020

The path of awakening taught by the Buddha includes a wide range of practices to calm the body and mind, to heal the heart, and to respond to need with wisdom and compassion. Silent meditation is only one form of training. In our time together, we will use the foundation of inner practice to build a holistic approach to transformation and engaged action. 

How can we use our spiritual practice as a resource to respond to the challenges of our times with strength and love? How do we bring qualities of integrity, truth, and kindness into our relationships and conversations, staying true to our values while creating conditions for real dialogue?

In this half-day online workshop, we explored an integrated approach to bringing mindfulness and care to our communication. The tools shared are a combination of the core guidelines for Wise Speech offered by the Buddhist tradition, as well as the contemporary discipline of Nonviolent Communication. Together, these practices form a powerful foundation for insight, compassion, and skill so that our conversations can create meaningful change.

Oren Jay Sofer, a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, teaches meditation and communication retreats and workshops nationally. He is a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner for the healing of trauma. Oren also holds a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University and is the founder of Next Step Dharma. He is the author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication, and coauthor of Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents.

A Morning Dharma Talk With Judson Brewer
Recording of Judson Brewer’s Talk
Saturday, February 29

A Day Long With Shaila Catherine

Saturday, January 20, 2020

The Art of Not Clinging is a daylong program that will highlight the subtle dynamics of clinging and not-clinging as we practice the art of letting go. The Buddha described four kinds of clinging: 1) clinging to sensual pleasures, 2) to views and opinions, 3) to rituals and observances, and 4) to the concept of self. Meditators may use these four categories to focus their investigation of attachment. Practices of generosity, contentment, relaxation, mindfulness, and concentration support the experience and expression of not-clinging. The day will include sitting and walking meditation and teachings. It is appropriate for both new and experienced practitioners.

Shaila Catherine is the founder of Bodhi Courses, an online Dhamma classroom, and Insight Meditation South Bay, a center for mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom in Silicon Valley, California.

Shaila began meditating in 1980, and has accumulated more than nine years of silent retreat experience. She has practiced with Western and Asian teachers, and devoted several years to studying with masters in India, Nepal, and Thailand.  From 2006-2014 Shaila trained in both samadhi and vipassana under the direction of Venerable Pa-Auk Sayadaw of Myanmar.

Shaila began teaching in 1996.   She leads retreats worldwide, and offers online courses. 


December 14: Doreen Schweizer, Calming Down and Seeing Clearly

September 28: Peg Meyer and Lee Steppacher, Taking Your Practice Outside

August 10: Ajahn Jayanto, Finding Our Real Home

June 29: A Day of Silent Reflection

May 11: Manny Mansbach, Mindful and Brave: Discovering Courage and Fearlessness in an Age of Heightened Anxiety

March 10: Alexis Santos, When Awareness Becomes Natural: Lessons I Learned from Sayadaw U Tejaniya and Beyond


December 8: Doreen Schweizer, Tis the Season: Joy . . . Its Place in the Ethical and Meditation Practices of the Early Buddhist Insight Tradition  A Daylong Retreat with Doreen Schweizer

October 14: Lee Steppacher, Awake in the Wild

September 22: Ajahn Jayanto

May 19: A Day of Silent Reflection

March 10: Rae Hausman, Learning the Skills of Resiliency

January 13: Manny Mansbach, What Would the Buddha Say?: Developing Skillful Speech for Life’s Challenging Conversations


December 9: Doreen Schweizer, Gladdening the Heart

October 14: Lee Steppacher, Awake in Nature: A Daylong Retreat with Lee Steppacher

September 9: Ajahn Jayanto, Buddhism as an Ethical Path

March 26: Shaila Catherine, Developing Right Concentration

January 28: Manny Mansbach,  Five Spiritual Powers


November 19: Andrew Olendzki, Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are

September 10: Ajahn Jayanto

January 24: Shaila Catherine, Liberating Attitudes


December 5: Doreen Schweizer, Practicing Tranquility in a Busy Season

September 26: Ajahn Jayanto, So this is how it is, right here.

June 14: Peg Meyer and Landon Hall, Everyday Mindfulness

March 13-15: Doreen Schweizer, Who Are We? Softening the Edges of Self with Mindfulness and Kindness [Weekend retreat at Wonderwell, Springfield, NH]


December 13: Ajahn Jayanto, Transforming Our Relationship to Difficulty

October 3-5: Leigh Brasington, The Beautiful Mind: Deepening Concentration Through Jhana Practice [Weekend retreat at Wonderwell, Springfield, NH]

February 28-March 2: Doreen Schweizer, Sustaining Mindfulness: Establishing Clear Awareness and Compassion as the Foundation of Our Lives [Weekend retreat at Wonderwell, Springfield, NH]


April: Winnie Nazarko, The Cultivation of Kindness and Wisdom


March: Chas DiCapua, Awakening Within Your Relationships