Coach House people
Manager: Patti Summerville
Patti began a personal meditation practice in 1996 after a retreat at the Tushita Institute, Dharamsala, India. Over the years her practice has been influenced by Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist traditions.
In 2013 she was a co-ordinator at The Barn Retreat Centre, an Insight Mindfulness Meditation Retreat centre at Sharpham. Patti trained to be a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher with Exeter University in 2014 and an Integral Hatha Yoga Teacher in 2009 at the Sri Swami Satchidananda Ashram.
On a personal level, Patti has found great benefit integrating mindfulness practice into her everyday, private and professional life as an occupational therapist, Sharpham Trust retreat leader and now manager of The Coach House
She is passionate about supporting others on their journey towards more contented, peaceful and compassionate lives.
Volunteer Coordinator: Caroline Low
Caroline has spent the last 5 years or so living and working in Buddhist Communities where she is happy to 'give service' as a way of giving something back to the wider community, and also as a way of expressing gratitude for what has helped her to navigate difficulties and obstacles in her own life.
She attended her first ever retreat at Gaia House in 2006 whilst undergoing cancer treatment and was inspired by the profound teachings of the original Buddha, and embarked on her own spiritual journey.
"I have since had the good fortune to have attended many retreats and listened the wisdom of some amazing teachers," she said. "I undertook a Buddhist mindfulness course run by Martin Alyward and Mark Coleman at Sharpham House towards the end of September 2015, and have been able to build my own toolbox from the many different practices available both in the Buddhist and mindfulness worlds."
"I am particularly interested in helping others to find their own way forward with their search for meaning and support in their lives," she added.
One of Caroline's passions is to feel a connection with the natural world and to feel a part of the whole web of life. "I feel this can be strengthened by having a daily practice and by walking and interacting with others in nature," she said.
"Sharpham provides a living backdrop of the best bits of nature: beautiful landscapes, a stunning River Dart and endless magnificent trees and big skies in which to ponder one’s place in the world."
"With the help and support of both the teachings and the wider sangha (community) and nature itself we can all begin to find ways of leading more peaceful and enriching lives."
"I am really looking forward to this new chapter at The Coach House at Sharpham and to meeting and sharing with others along the way".
Caroline has two grown up children and moved to Devon in 2016, where she loves to walk and share good times with friends and walk by the coast and on Dartmoor.
Volunteer Coordinator: Frank Gillet
Frank has been meditating for 11 years, finding a foundation for his twin passions, nature connection and contemplative inquiry, through the Buddhist monastic training of the Thai Forest Tradition.
Along the way he has delved deeply into the rich teachings of the world's wisdom traditions, weaving them together with indigenous teachings, energy healing, intuitive movement and modern ecotherapeutic approaches to create a wealth of resources and practices to support his desire to live wholeheartedly and authentically.
He has grounded his studies through environmental activism at tree protest sites, caring for clients' needs as a full-time live-in carer, and long-term volunteering in ecovillages, temples and monasteries from a range of different spiritual faiths.
About the Coach House, he says "I'm very excited about coming to work here: the landscape, woodland, people and animals co-create the perfect environment for deepening my process, helping me to discover what truly nourishes and sustains me to live wildly and love fully. I'm really looking forward to welcoming retreatants to the power and beauty of this land".
Volunteer Coordinator: Martyna Raczka
Martyna is a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher trained at Bangor University.
Her background in education allowed her to develop and deliver mindfulness courses for children and young people at schools and charity organisations in Poland and the UK.
As a certified Mental Health Trainer, Martyna draws upon and uses a wide range of approaches to help each individual bring the benefits of mindfulness into their daily life.
Martyna is passionate about supporting participants as they begin to make conscious steps towards transformation and discovering their full potential. She has a genuine compassion and empathy for the challenges that bring people to mindfulness and through her experience and teaching she aims to pass on tools that will help others alleviate their own suffering. She is an advocate of openness and awareness as the first steps towards realising one’s full potential as we begin, without judging ourselves, to recognise how the consequences of long-held habits might hold us back.
Martyna has a deep sense of connection with nature, mountains and trees in particular. The simplicity, yet profoundness of these connections offers her a space for clearer and sharper focus and understanding as well as humbleness and compassion towards herself and others.
Cook: Wendy Greek
Wendy is responsible for the delicious vegan and vegetarian food served at The Coach House!
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