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Living with illness - a 6-night themed retreat

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This retreat is for people whose lives are touched by the theme of this retreat at present.
All levels of meditation experience are welcome.

Consciously facing and grieving illness and loss is at the very centre of the spiritual path.

In small and great ways, each of our losses links us to what we love, and can be pathways to slowing down, looking deeply into our experience, and fostering deep resources of kindness and self-compassion. 

Inspired by the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and Kristin Neff, we will explore how practices of mindfulness and compassion can enable us to be better placed to face the demands and challenges of traversing illness.

Barn retreatants on a bench look at the view down the River Dart valley

This retreat, involving skilled and trained leaders who have been living with illness in recent years, draws on recently-developed and evidence-backed approaches such as Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living (MBCL).

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

Daisies in the garden of The BarnDuring this retreat you’ll experience:

  • body scans, sitting and walking meditations
  • community sharing
  • reflective journaling
  • Qigong movement
  • finding connection with nature
  • living in community with like-minded people, sharing experiences and tasks
  • periods of silence and quiet contemplation
  • a single-occupancy room and your own space in which to rejuvenate, with free time to deeply rest and reconnect with yourself
  • access to 24-hour hot teas, coffee & infusions in the kitchen
  • the chance 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

This retreat will help us to integrate ancient stress and anxiety relieving practices in our everyday lives, and help us to access resources of deep health in the face of transition and uncertainty. 

Because of the community element of living at The Barn, we request that those attending can manage tasks of everyday living.

Retreats in a circle in the front garden of The Barn retreat centre at The Sharpham Trust

What happens on a Barn retreat?


Barn Retreats run weekly throughout the year and are based on the three pillars of

  • meditation
  • community
  • and connection to the land.

Our retreats help to develop a mindful approach to our lives, work and relationships and are for up to 10 people.

You’ll experience three 40-minute meditation sessions each day, outdoor walking meditation, mindful work in the organic gardens and woods and inquiry led by Buddhist teachers.

Retreatants socialise outside the back of The Barn

Staying in community


This retreat is for you if you:

  • are prepared to live and work in community, working in the gardens
  • Want to experience a retreat in the Buddhist tradition
  • are aged 18 and above

There will be a maximum of 10 participants on this retreat.

There are periods of silence on each of our retreats.

A volunteer uses a singing bowl for meditation

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.

A gardener in the Barn's gardens

 

What's the difference between retreats at The Barn and in Sharpham House?


Costs are kept lower at The Barn because gardening, cooking and household tasks are shared in community by volunteer coordinators and retreatants.  

Retreats at Sharpham House are fully catered and staff. Also, Sharpham House is a large Grade I-listed building with far higher overheads.

 

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

Nimbus - the cat at The barn at The Sharpham Trust retreat centre

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

Delicious vegetarian and vegan food at The Barn meditation retreat centre at The Sharpham Trust

Food & your dietary needs


We have a fully stocked organic and vegetarian kitchen. The main meal is at lunch time.

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.

Barn retreatants cooking together

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.

The rear of The Barn retreat centre

The weekly schedule provides opportunities for both individual reflection and group meditation.

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. This includes three 40 minute formal meditation periods each day.

Note that we hold silence from 8.30pm to 9am 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 – Light evening meal. Then settling in
8.30pm – The Barn goes into silence until 9.00am the next day
 

 

Monday to Friday:

Mornings Afternoons
6.20am – Wake up 12.20pm – Meditation (some guided) 
6.50am – Meditation 1.00pm – Lunch
7.30am –  Household tasks 2.00pm – Personal time
8.00am – Breakfast 5.00pm – Teaching
9.00am – Silence ends, Barn meeting (except Wednesday)  6.00pm – Light supper
10.00am – Mindful gardening (except Wednesday) 7.50pm – Meditation (some guided)
  8.30pm – The Barn moves into silence until 9.00am the next day
   


Saturday:  

As above until 8.00am. Silence ends at breakfast. Then it's time to clear your room and depart between 9.00am and 10.00am.

 

Having been to several retreats, this is the one I keep coming back to.

Having my own room and being one of only 10 people in the group gives a sense of safety and connection which I find very healing.

The week is perfectly structured for me, especially with the time gardening and connecting with the earth.

There is a great balance of structured and free time which really work.

 

A wonderful retreat with a home from home atmosphere, full of inspiring and compassionate teachings.

Plenty of opportunities to connect deeply with Nature to rest and restore. A really lovely retreat.

 

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.

 

For anyone wanting to take their mindfulness practice deeper, this is the place!

 

 

 

Possibly the most nourishing week of my life!

 

I came here empty and I go home connected and alive.

 

The Barn is such a special special place! You will never be the same afterwards.

 

The greatest thing I have done in my life

 

The Barn Retreat is a wondrous, life-changing experience.

 

I feel like my soul has been on holiday

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

view of 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.


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.


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

We are in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Sustainability


We take sustainability seriously.Meditation retreats at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust, Devon, England

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.

£350 - 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.

£425 – 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.

£495 – 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.




Accommodation & facilities

Rooms at The Barn at The Sharpham Trust

All rates include all meals, bedding and towels. All rooms are comfortable single rooms, with a shared bathroom.

All rooms are randomly allocated, unless you have medical needs relating to your room allocation. If you have such a need, let us know on your booking form before the retreat begins. 

Hot drinks are available 24 hours in the kitchen.

The Barn is on the Sharpham Estate, set in a stunning hillside location overlooking the River Dart within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Bursaries

Limited bursaries are available for those experiencing financial hardship. Contact the Barn team on the number or email below 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.


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.