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Ease of Being: LGBTQ+ Buddhist Retreat

Sanjay Soni

a year ago, on Google
The Barn is a very special place set in a beautiful location with amazing views. You can feel the calm harmonising energy of the barn and the wonderful team create a safe space to share and learn. I've stayed at the barn twice in the last couple of years and will definitely be returning. Highly recommended if you would like to connect with nature, community and yourself.

Jeanie Bags

a month ago, on Google
The Barn retreat centre is a wonderful place to slow down and commune with nature. It is run by a wholesome bunch of people who knows how to nourish one's space and coordinators/leaders with deep understanding of true mindfulness.The Barn is also healing for anybody with the intention of slowing down, clearing and quieting busy mind. It a wonderful place to pause and admire the beauty within your own skin , body, and mind. A peaceful and mindful place to learn how to process weak or strong emotions and slowly letting go of some thoughts or things. When you slow down your mind becomes clear... The set up works beautifully with activities and space for everybody. The kind of food available from the huge vegetable garden are so organically delicious. It is also cleansing and for me---healing. A great place for walking meditations over looking the meadows and the River Dart. Great appreciation comes out of me when I think of The Barn and the participants I met last week and bonded with. My heart is happy.

Mike Howell

3 months ago, on Google
The location is serene; the venue and accommodation is very comfortable. My first retreat, and not my last, was for 55+'s. Ten of us shared a peaceful week where we felt at ease. There was a great sense of community, sharing and kindness within the group - a welcome escape from the frenetic, combative, angry environment of the world today. Highly recommended.

Caroline Gracie

5 months ago, on Google
A retreat at the Barn is a very special experience. The landscape is breathtaking, the food delicious and the cooking, gardening and house care tasks carefully handled so that one need never feel overwhelmed. Accommodation is simple but comfortable. Everything runs to a calm, clear schedule and the co-ordinators handle all challenges - from the practical to the emotional and spiritual - with a miraculously light touch.

clare salter

4 months ago, on Google
Staying at the barn on a 6-night retreat feels like the best, life changing experience I have ever had. My heart feels nourished, my connection with nature enhanced and a feeling of community that goes beyond words. The insight of the Buddhist wisdom taught by beautiful caring people, the meditations have deepened my practice and continue to bring a sense of harmony to my day-to-day life. Barn team thank you so much. Clare

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Hear first about our retreats & events 


This is a Buddhist retreat for those identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, non-binary, genderqueer, and those who simply don’t fit into the gender identity or sexual orientation norms of our society. 

Retreats at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

Because of the heteronormality of most spaces in our society, at times we may not be comfortable or safe showing up as our whole selves, inclusive of our sexual orientation and gender identities. This retreat provides the space to bring those parts of ourselves within the context of a meditative and Buddhist environment.

We will join as a community, to meditate, garden, and learn from Buddhist teachers and each other. Meditation can be a powerful way not only to connect to ourselves and each other, but to also explore letting go of internalised oppressions.

Whether or not you have been on retreat before, you are welcome to become part of this community of practice.  

Practising together we can discover new sources of peace and well-being and enjoy the beautiful nature of the Sharpham Estate.

Read on for more details on this retreat and click the Leaders, Schedules and Venue & Directions tabs above for further information.

 

Experience Dharma teachings at The Barn


This retreat is for you if you:

  • identify as LGBTQ+
  • are prepared to live and work in community, preparing meals together and working in the gardens
  • are aged 18 and over

There will be a maximum of 11 participants on this retreat.

There are periods of silence on each of our retreats.

Our programme of retreats at The Barn can be viewed and booked here


Daily meditations


There are approximately three 40-minute meditation sittings each day, and it's important that you commit to them to deepen your practice and connect to the community here.


Working on the land


It is important that you are willing to participate in working on the land as part of your mindfulness practice (we can easily find suitable tasks for people with health difficulties) and that you can commit to all the scheduled activities during the week.

Buddhist meditation retreat at The Barn at Sharpham, Devon, UK

What you’ll experience on this retreat


During this retreat you’ll:

  • experience guided meditations and periods of silence and quiet contemplation
  • be living in community with like-minded people, sharing experiences and tasks, including the making of meals and taking care of the house
  • have a single-occupancy room and your own space in which to rejuvenate, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself
  • have access to 24-hour hot teas, coffee & infusions in the kitchen
  • be able to explore the beautiful Sharpham Estate, set within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty close to nature, amid breath-taking scenery on the banks of the River Dart

Live in community at The Barn

Mindfulness in nature at Sharpham


When you experience Sharpham's inspiring and nourishing environment, we hope you'll connect spiritually with the natural world, so you’ll:

  • become aware of how we are all part of nature - not artificially separate from it
  • pay attention to and appreciate the natural world surrounding us
  • explore nature through your senses and your natural creativity
  • Tread more lightly on our finite planet, developing a respect and reverence for all living things

Click here to read our ethos and principles

 

What you need to know


If you decide to stay with us, we’ll send you a list of what you need to bring for this retreat in your Welcome Letter that we send out after you've booked.

You can also find out more about staying with us on our Frequently Asked Questions page, including

  • accessibility information
  • why we encourage you to come on your own and not with partners or friends
  • what the difference is between our retreats

See our Barn Covid-19 measures here

Buddhist meditation retreat at The Barn at Sharpham, Devon, UK

Food & your dietary needs


We have a fully stocked organic and vegetarian kitchen. The main meal is at lunch time. Everyone takes a turn to prepare this meal in pairs (this will be organised at the Sunday welcome meeting). We have plenty of simple recipes for you to choose from, or we can direct you to one in particular. Some participants like to use their own recipe ideas.

We can accommodate gluten-free and/or vegan dietary needs. However, our kitchen is not gluten, dairy nor nut-free. We do not provide gluten-free bread, but you are welcome to bring your own.

Please make sure you include dietary restrictions and any food allergies on your Booking Form. We may need to communicate further with you about specifics. The booking form is sent as a link once you have booked and paid for a retreat.

Our water is provided from our own spring, UV treated and filtered.
 

Your physical and mental health


This retreat is suitable for you if you have some meditation experience, or you are seeking to renew or reconnect with your practice.

Although meditation and mindfulness can be helpful in managing stress, depression and anxiety our retreats might not be suitable if you are experiencing major depression or other clinically diagnosed psychiatric illness such as bipolar disorder, psychosis or current self-harming. Click here for more information and for our booking process

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have a room close to a toilet, please contact The Barn team on the number below and we'll try to help.

 

View from The Barn

 

 

Note that we hold silence from 8.30pm to 9.00am each day, and all day Wednesday.


Sunday

Afternoon
2.00pm to 4.00pm – Your arrival
4.30pm – Welcome talk, introductions and tour
5.30pm – Guided meditation
6.30pm – Supper. Then settling in
8.30pm – The Barn goes into silence until 9.00am the next day
 


Monday to Friday:

This is a typical schedule.

Mornings Afternoons
6.20am – Wake up 12.20pm – Meditation (some guided) 
6.50am – Movement and meditation 1.00pm – Lunch
7.30am –  Household tasks 2.00pm – Personal time
8.00am – Breakfast 4.30pm – Teaching 
9.00am – Morning sharing and meeting 6.00pm – Supper prepared individually or in groups
 10.00am – Gardening  7.50pm – Meditation (some guided)
  8.30pm – Barn moves into silence until 9.00am the next day
   


Saturday:  

As above until 8.00am. Silence ends at breakfast. After that, there is time to clear your room and depart between 9.00am and 10.00am.

What I really liked about the retreat was my ability to connect with and witness the courage of my fellow LGBTQ+ people - a privilege and powerful - in a beautiful and nurturing space. LGBTQ+ people need more spaces like this to heal their traumas

 

I felt completely held by the co-ordinators' courage, honesty and love. I trusted them with my vulnerability

 

An affirmation of the kindness and goodness of human beings

 

This retreat takes place at The Barn with superb views over the River Dart.

Please note that The Barn Retreat is in a different location to Sharpham House. Make sure to follow the directions to The Barn Retreat, rather than Sharpham House.


Click here for our How to Find Us page on this website.

Click here to view and download directions and a map to The Barn

Click here view and download walking/cycling directions to The Barn

The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

If you have a medical condition that requires you to have a room close to a toilet, please contact The Barn team on the number below and we'll try to help.

We are 3 miles from Totnes – famous for its Transition Town movement

We are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Phones and laptops


We ask all participants to turn off mobile phones and electronic devices for the whole of your retreat. This helps you and everyone else to disengage from daily life and live fully in the simplicity and quietude of a Buddhist retreat.

Handy Buddhism
Sustainability


We take sustainability seriously.

Heating and hot water in The Barn is run from our log furnace and solar thermal panels. We supply as much food as possible from our organic gardens; the rest comes from Riverford Organic Farms and Essential Trading Cooperative. We also have two large photovoltaic solar panel arrays on the Estate and use biodegradable cleaning products wherever possible.

Gardening at The Barn

£375 - Supported Rate

The Sharpham Trust is committed to ensuring that retreats at The Barn are accessible to all - regardless of income. The Supported Rate is for those unable to pay the Standard or Benefactor Rate.

£450 – Standard Rate

Paying the Standard Rate means you will be contributing towards our running costs, supporting the work of The Barn and helping retreatants of lower incomes to access our retreats.

£525 – Benefactor Rate

If you are able to pay the Benefactor Rate, that means that you'll be supporting others who cannot afford to benefit from a Barn retreat on The Sharpham Estate. Your choice to pay this rate will help us with the running costs of The Barn, enabling us to continue our charitable work connecting people to nature and fostering mindfulness and wellbeing, as well as caring for the land, wildlife and wider estate.


Room types

a room at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

All rooms are comfortable single rooms, with a shared bathroom.

Hot drinks are available 24 hours for you to get for yourself in the kitchen.

 

Bursaries


Limited bursaries are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Currently we have only one bursary placement per retreat. Contact the Barn team on [email protected] or call 01803 732661 at least 4 weeks in advance if you wish to apply.

Our bursary fund relies on donations. If you’d like to help another to go on retreat here through our bursary scheme, you can give online quickly and easily by clicking here

 

 

Lindsay Alderton

Lindsay Alderton

Lindsay has been a committed Buddhist practitioner for over two decades.

She has been practising meditation in different traditions since 1995, initially in the Tibetan traditions and later with Theravadan and Insight teachers. For the last few years she has been training with the Presencing Institute in embodied movement practices, which has taught her the importance of a spiritual practice grounded in the lived experience of the body.

As an activist and a trainer Lindsay works with the Ecodharma Collective and in 2017 helped launched the Ulex Project, a pan-European training centre for campaigners and change makers. She is committed to combining spiritual practice with social action in fuller service of life.

She is currently a Volunteer Coordinator at The Barn.


Armel Wraight

Armel Wraight

Armel Wraight (they/them pronouns) is the founder of Stillpoint Mindfulness and has been teaching mindfulness to individuals, groups, and business for 10 years.

Their training to teach mindfulness is wide-ranging and includes MBSR and MBCT at Bangor Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, The Mindful Self-Compassion programme with Kristen Neff and Chris Germer, Dot b. with the Mindfulness in Schools Project and Finding Peace in a Frantic World with Chris Cullen at Oxford Centre for Mindfulness.

A psychotherapist in practice for 25 years, Armel holds group space with safety, skill, humour and compassion. Armel also facilitates LGBTQIA2S+ international mindfulness spaces and is co-writing a curriculum for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion specifically for a queer audience.

Armel is especially interested in self-compassion and trauma-informed mindfulness teaching. Their personal practices of meditation, queer intimacy and nature connection bring deep support to their facilitation work.


Retreats & Events

All rooms are single occupancy.

How to book easily and securely:

  • online on this page
  • by phoning 01803 732542

 

If you've got any questions about this retreat, call The Barn team on 01803 732661 or email [email protected]

We’re not always in the office, so be prepared to leave a message saying when we could call you back.


Do check our Calendar to see and book for our events - or join our mailing list by clicking here to be kept in touch about Sharpham Trust news, retreats & events.