Our Team’s Meditation Journey and Retreat Story
A few weeks ago, we had the unique privilege to take our team culture another step further: a multi-day retreat at Karmê Chöling Shambhala Meditation Center (KCL) in West Barnet, Vt. Karmê Chöling has been an epicenter for the practice of Shambhala meditation since its founding in 1970, and the opportunity to practice more deeply and build much deeper bonds so nearby was indeed a blessing. Our team journey with meditation began long before the pandemic, but we fully embraced it within our daily routines this spring.
During the summer of 2020, with a much smaller team, myriad unknowns, and a desire to elevate our interpersonal connectivity, we began daily all-staff gatherings. With so much uncertainty, it provided a constant, reliable anchor point from which we could maintain connection and communication. In addition, during the first week of return from our sabbatical earlier this year, we began including in our daily one-hour huddles a period of meditation—sometimes guided, sometimes not, but always with the intention of recentering ourselves and reconnecting with each other before launching into the unknown of each day.
Shaun has practiced meditation since traveling to Nepal nearly 20 years ago, and a few team members took on the meditation journey as part of a personal growth sabbatical curriculum. Formally establishing that practice within the group seemed a natural and wholesome pursuit.
Before our return at the end of March, Shaun had reached out to Samadhi Cushions, a producer of meditation supplies in West Barnet, Vt., to properly equip the space with cushions. When we reassembled, we began our group practice. Incorporating meditation into our daily routine has proven personally invaluable, and its role in refining and affirming our mission and vision cannot be underestimated.
Our October KCL retreat program included opportunities for morning and evening meditation with the community, guest speakers, team building discussions, and ample space to explore the nearby woodland trails, read, meditate, or marvel at the inspiring gardens that provide food for the KCL community.
We assembled midday on Sunday and were warmly welcomed by our guide and liaison, Emily. KCL provided use of a beautiful pavilion from which we could host our speakers and meetings and individual housing, and a private main house dining space to ensure the safety of the community members and still provide a sense of inclusiveness.
Each day, we broke bread as a team, we meditated and studied, and we shared in the essential work of crafting stronger team bonds, building space for vulnerability, and setting forth our path to fulfilling our collaboratively agreed-upon mission.
We are incredibly grateful for the openness with which the community greeted us, wholeheartedly welcoming us into their meditation practices and sacred shrine space, sharing the bounty of their table, and opening us even more to gratitude, consciousness, and compassion.
The lessons and time shared will carry us forward each day and will continue to inform the future of Hill Farmstead.