Valley Insight Retreats

A Different Way to Practice – Guided Nature Walks

The next nature walks will take place on May 3 and May 31 at 1 pm
(there will be no walks in April)

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. Walks will be weather dependent.

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 accordance with Valley Insight’s current COVID-19 policies, all participants on these nature walks must be fully vaccinated.  Group size will be limited to 7 participants and social distancing will be honored as well. More information on Valley Insight’s policy will be posted soon. 

Teacher: Lee Steppacher
Contact Lee (shepstep@comcast.net) with questions or to sign up.

Past Retreats

2022

Forgiveness Retreat: Giving Up All Hope of a Better Past
A Virtual Daylong Retreat with Jacoby Ballard

Saturday, April 9, 10:00 am-4:00 pm (Eastern time)
Held on Zoom
Sponsored by Valley Insight Meditation Society

Note: There is no registration fee, but pre-registration is required. Registration will close at 6:00 PM Eastern on April 8. The retreat is free, but participants will be invited to offer dana to our guest teacher, Jacoby Ballard. For information or questions, contact valleyinsightretreat@gmail.com.

To register: You can register by emailing valleyinsightretreat@gmail.com or fill out this online registration form. [NOTE: You don’t have to log into Google to fill out the form! Just complete it and submit it.]  Remember, there’s no same-day registration for this retreat: registration closes at 6:00 PM Eastern on April 8.

In this day-long retreat with guest teacher Jacoby Ballard, we will explore the practice of forgiveness, a timeless practice exceedingly relevant for our divided times. Jacoby’s work sits at the intersection of contemplative and embodied practices and social justice, and so we will contemplate the application of forgiveness work with the justice issues of our time: the call for reparations, climate change and climate justice, transphobic policies in school districts, war, and more.

Practicing forgiveness involves forgiving ourselves for the ways in which we have harmed ourselves in thought, word, or deed; considering the ways in which we have each harmed others and asking for forgiveness; forgiving those who have harmed us; and forgiving the First Noble Truth in Buddhism—that dukkha (a Pali word meaning suffering, difficulty, stress) exists in the first place. Forgiveness in each of these directions is profound work that can shift the trajectory of our households, neighborhoods, cities, and world, witnessing pain, processing it, releasing its energy, and learning necessary practices so as to not repeat and perpetuate pain.

You can come with little experience or decades of practice; a broken heart or one resourced and grounded. The time is always ripe for forgiveness. 

Jacoby Ballard teaches yoga and dharma as it intersects with social justice and leads trainings around the country on diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a yoga teacher with 20 years of experience, he leads workshops, retreats, teacher trainings, teaches at conferences, and runs the Resonance mentorship program for certified yoga teachers to find their niche and calling. He has meditated since he was 17 years old, has resided in the Insight tradition for the past 10 years, and trained to teach meditation at the Interdependence Project in New York. In 2008, Jacoby co-founded Third Root Community Health Center in Brooklyn, to work at the nexus of healing and social justice. Since 2006 Jacoby has taught Queer & Trans Yoga as a weekly class, a traveling workshop, and an annual retreat, and has offered yoga at the annual Garrison Institute LGBT Meditation Retreat. Jacoby has taught yoga in schools, hospitals, non profit and business offices, a maximum security prison, a recovery center, a cancer center, LGBT centers, gyms, a veteran’s center, and yoga studios. Jacoby lives with his beloved, his gender-expansive child, and dog companion on land known to Ute, Goshute, Paiute, and Shoshone people as Co’Karni, now understood as Salt Lake City, Utah. He is the author of A Queer Dharma: Yoga and Meditations for Liberation (2021), which you can order here. More at jacobyballard.net; follow him @JacobyBallard.

2021

December 11: Doreen Schweizer, Daylong Retreat: Cultivating Inner Peace (in person and on Zoom)

October 23: Jan Surrey and Marsha Lawson, Awakening Together:  An Introduction to Insight Dialogue Meditation (on Zoom)

Feb 27: Manny Mansbach,  Faith, Trust and Confidence: Discovering Ease, Empowerment and Fidelity with Practice On and Off the Cushion (on Zoom)

2020

December 4-6: Doreen Schweizer, Changing our Relationship to the Known World (on Zoom)

April 25: Oren Jay Sofer, Holistic Spirituality: How to Speak to Anyone with Truth and Kindness (half-day retreat) (on Zoom)

February 29: Judson Brewer, The Factors of Awakening and Reward-Based Learning (Dharma talk; listen to a recording)

January 20: Shaila Catherine, The Art of Not Clinging

2019

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

2018

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

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

2017

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

2016

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

September 10: Ajahn Jayanto

January 24: Shaila Catherine, Liberating Attitudes

2015

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]

2014

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]

2013

April: Winnie Nazarko, The Cultivation of Kindness and Wisdom

2012

March: Chas DiCapua, Awakening Within Your Relationships

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