Coming Home to Ourselves: Why and How

Coming Home to Ourselves: Why and How

Fri, June 23 Sun, June 25

Fri, June 23, 7:00 pm12:45 pm

Fri, June 23, 7:00 pm – Sun, June 25, 12:45 pm

Please register with this link.

Still Water online summer retreat with Dharma teachers Barbara Newell and Mitchell Ratner 

In the Buddhist tradition, a session of sitting meditation always begins with the sound of the bell. This sound is a gentle reminder to come home to ourselves.

Our true home is the present moment, whatever is happening right here and right now. Our true home is a place without discrimination, a place without hatred. Our true home is the place where we are no longer seeking anything, no longer yearning for anything, no longer regretting anything. When we return to right here and right now with the energy of mindfulness, we will be able to establish our true home in the present moment.  -- from At Home in the World by Thich Nhat Hanh

When we practice coming home to ourselves we allows ourselves to bring a calm awareness to what is occurring in the present moment — in our bodies, through our senses, in our mind-states, and in our consciousness. It is a journey, an unending and ever-changing exploration. As we practice coming home, our understanding and insights grow. The sadness of losing a four-footed friend, the delight in seeing the orchid bloom again, are recognized as mine and also more than mine. We become both more fully the wave and more fully the ocean.

In this online retreat we will explore coming home to ourselves as a path guiding us to ease and freedom, and also 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.

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 throughout the entire weekend.

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 or (301) 509-0983 voice/text.

Please register with this link.

Some participant comments from True Presence, Still Water's Online June 2022 Retreat:

  • 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.

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