Still Water online winter retreat with Dharma teachers Barbara Newell and Mitchell Ratner
Fri, February 17, 7:30 pm – Sun, February 19, 12:30 pm
One autumn day, I was in a park, absorbed in the contemplation of a very small but beautiful leaf, in the shape of a heart. Its color was almost red, and it was barely hanging on the branch, nearly ready to fall down. …
I asked the leaf whether it was scared because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling. The leaf told me, “No. During the whole spring and summer I was very alive. I worked hard and helped nourish the tree, and much of me is in the tree. Please do not say that I am just this form, because the form of leaf is only a tiny part of me. I am the whole tree. I know that I am already inside the tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. That’s why I do not worry. As I leave this branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, “I will see you again very soon.” — from The Heart of Understanding by Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh taught that the great illnesses of our time are fear, anxiety, loneliness, and despair — we often may feel overwhelmed, alone, and powerless. As Thay highlights in his conversation with the leaf, what protects, nourishes, and heals us is a felt sense of being part of life in all its boundless manifestations. Liberating experiences of belonging and inclusion arise, bit by bit, as we are able to embody the insight of interbeing.
In this online retreat we will explore interbeing as an idea, an insight, and as a daily experience. We’ll practice together with guided and silent meditations, Dharma talks, group sharing, mindful songs and movements, and mindfully engaging in the activities of everyday life. Periods of being together in a Zoom meeting will alternate with time offline enjoying practices such as meals, walking meditation, and mindful exercise.
We will begin on Friday evening with instruction and encouragement for settling deeply into the present moment throughout the retreat. On Saturday morning, we’ll focus on the question: What is interbeing and how do we embody it? Saturday afternoon and evening we will reflect on ways we can experience interbeing in our daily routines, relationships, joys, and challenges. On Sunday we will have time for questions and answers, sharing, and retreat reflections. (The full schedule is available here.)
The retreat will be led by Dharma Teachers Mitchell Ratner and Barbara Newell and by experienced members of the Still Water community. Participants with little meditation experience are welcome, as well as longtime practitioners. To fully benefit from and contribute to our shared retreat experience, all participants are requested to minimize outside commitments.
Mitchell Ratner, the Senior Teacher of the Still Water Mindfulness Practice Center, has been a lay member of the Tiep Hien Buddhist order since 1993 and in 2001 received the Dharmacharya (Dharma Teacher) transmission. An applied anthropologist and the founder of the Still Water MPC, since 1994 he has taught classes and workshops focused on integrating mindfulness meditation with work, meaningful relationships, and the challenges of everyday life. When Mitchell Ratner became a Dharma teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh counseled him, “Your life is your Dharma talk.”
Barbara Newell practiced with the Still Water MPC before 2003 when she became a Plum Village nun. During her 12 years of monastic life she helped run retreats, mentored new community members, and edited books for Thich Nhat Hanh. She received Dharmacharya transmission in 2010. Since returning to lay life in 2016, Barbara has lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she mentors meditation and mindfulness practitioners individually and in small groups online and in person. She finds joy in helping people rediscover how to embody genuine presence, connect meaningfully with others, tap into fresh insight, and enliven the everyday.
Dana. The Still Water MPC is a religious nonprofit organization that depends on voluntary donations for its continued existence. With your contributions, Still Water is able to support its teachers, develop new programs, support other mindfulness communities (regionally, nationally, and internationally), enable participation by those with limited incomes, and offer no-cost community events.
You are invited to make a tax-deductible donation to Still Water in accord with the urging of your heart and your means and circumstances. Your donation will support the Still Water community and the teachers offering this retreat. All donations are appreciated. No one will be turned away.
The amounts below are offered as guidelines:
- The suggested donation for this retreat is $165 or more per person.
- The supporting donation is $300 or more per person.
Questions? We hope you can join us in this retreat. If you have questions, please contact the Retreat Registrar, Gary Stone, at email@example.com or (301) 509-0983 voice/text.
Please register with this link.
Some participant comments from True Presence, Still Water’s Online June 2022 Retreat with Barbara Newell and Mitchell Ratner:
- I was surprised at how intimate an online retreat could be.
- The small group sharing was able to go so much deeper than I expected.
- Barbara and Mitchell bring so much wisdom, insight and care from their own decades of practice.
- Felt like bringing a bit of Plum Village into the chaos of my home life.
- Loved doing walking meditation down my street.
- Since the retreat, I’ve practiced with online sanghas almost every day.
- If you’re worried that an online retreat wouldn’t be the same, it won’t. But it just may be better than you ever expected.