Finding Peace in the Chaos

Friday, Oct 5 to Sunday, Oct 7 (2 nights)


Please note this does not include dana.

“If you don’t become the ocean, you will be seasick every day.”  ~Leonard Cohen

During this silent weekend retreat, we’ll be exploring a variety of different mindfulness methods we can use to approach and re-discover the calm, peace, and ease of equanimity – or balanced awareness – in the face of what are often called the 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows that make up all the days and moments of our lives.

As we practice together, we’ll begin to tap in to the many ways in which we can learn to accept and welcome each moment – life as it IS – with as much peace, compassion, and kindness as we can muster, without falling into despair and resignation, and without making anything wrong – especially ourselves.

In order to nurture a sense of stillness and deep listening, silence will be maintained throughout the retreat, as we experience a variety of dharma talks, silent and guided meditations, and walking meditation on the grounds. Check-in will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, and the retreat will end at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Teacher: Shell Fischer, founder of Mindful Shenandoah Valley, is a full teacher and senior practitioner with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. (IMCW). She offers 25 years of experience in mindfulness practice and study, and was trained in the Meditation Training Institute of Washington, D.C., by IMCW’s founder and guiding teacher, Dr. Tara Brach – one of the nation’s leading Insight teachers. Shell’s main focus is to help people nurture an abundance of kindness and compassion for themselves and others through the practice of mindfulness.

The Great Barn at Claymont Court is a comfortable venue nestled on 369 acres of forest and farmland in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia, less than 40 minutes from Washington Dulles International Airport, less than 90 minutes by car from Washington, D.C. or Baltimore, and less than 30 minutes from Winchester, VA. It includes numerous walking trails throughout the surrounding farmland, forests, and orchards.

During our retreat, we’ll be meditating in the unique, expansive Octagon building attached to the barn, once frequently used by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn.

The retreat center is committed to using green technology, and most of its excellent organic cuisine is made from fresh, local produce. Vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options are available upon request.

Some testimonials about the food from participants of the past retreats at Claymont :

“Excellent, great variety!”
“So delicious and plentiful!”
“Couldn’t have been better!”
“Loved the food! (Ate too much).”

Guest Rooms: The Great Barn’s comfortable, clean rooms include towels, sheets, pillows, and blankets for guests. (These are shared rooms, and there are many 2-bed rooms for couples or 2 friends; please ask for availability.)

New to retreats? Click here to read an article Shell wrote about attending retreats.

Incredible experience! I loved everything about it; perfect!

I could not have asked for a better first experience at a silent meditation retreat. This was life-changing!

Excellent – awesome food, excellent teacher, and perfect relaxing atmosphere.

I loved everything! I had no idea what to expect, and for the first time in ages I was able to take a weekend completely for myself with zero guilt. I feel so relaxed right now.

The setting was beautiful, and the combination of silent sitting and walking provided me with just the right silence I was seeking.

I loved everything! I wanted to weep several times as I took in and practiced loving-kindness, respect, and prioritizing well-being. I can’t think of anything I’d like to see improved.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom, your personal examples, and your energy. Your guidance and encouragement was inspiring and helpful.

Well organized, beautiful setting, wonderful teacher.

Just thank you, thank you, thank you!!

The wonderful, thoughtful, balanced, considered answers to questions helped me, even though I’d not considered the questions!

I would highly recommend this wonderful retreat.

The teachings were outstanding: insightful, humorous, and wonderfully gentle. 

I feel so blessed by your teachings, your presence, and your willingness to share your own processes for “walking with” yourself.

Thank you for a wonderful weekend! I wasn’t sure how well I’d handle all the sitting, but I felt very comfortable and got so much out of the talks and guided meditation. I’m feeling very joyful today!

Thank you for the space and opportunity to just be and rediscover some lost parts of myself.

REGISTRATION: $325 (for full retreat, including room & board)

A 50% deposit is required: You have the option of paying the full fee upfront, or making a 50% deposit to reserve your place at the retreat. Full payment is due two weeks prior to the retreat.

Refund Policy: If you cancel more than four weeks before the start of the retreat, your deposit will be refunded minus a $50 administrative fee. We cannot offer refunds for cancellations made less than four weeks before the retreat unless we are able to fill your space. If we are able to fill your space, the administrative fee will be $100 and the balance will be refunded. There is no refund if you decide to leave the retreat early.

*Traditional dana (generosity) offerings at the end of the retreat are appreciated and support the teacher.


NOTE: The retreats listed here have been entered by the retreat organizers. For any questions, use the contact information listed on the retreat page. Please do not contact the Buddhist Insight Network.