My First Retreat with the Mindfulness Network

– written by Dorothy Dimer

This blog is a little bit different to others you may have read on this website. Sometimes, though, difference is a good thing. I am just about to finish my Foundation year for my Master’s in Mindfulness degree at Bangor University and recently attended one of the retreats offered by the Mindfulness Network.

It is important to say in this blog that I do not come from a privileged background. I have dyspraxia and dyslexia, and to write this blog I use accessibility software which converts my speech into text. I want to reach out and give back to those who wish to learn whatever their background. I would also like to teach and to show gratitude to those that have shared their teaching with me already. I look forward with an open spirit to continue my studies wherever my path may lead me.

I knew very early on that undertaking a retreat would be very important. Having sat retreats before, I was taken by how powerful silence was. When I first read the information about the Mindfulness Network, I was very struck with how they wanted to support current teachers and to encourage and nurture teachers of the future. When details were provided of a secular Introducing Foundations of Mindfulness retreat at Trigonos, I was intrigued and researched the location. Even the location was chosen because of its nurturing care for the environment and the staff who work there.

The power of silence


Even though it was pouring with rain, Trigonos’ majestic landscape is very beautiful with its surrounding mountains and clear, reflective lake. The rooms were simple and comfortable, more than enough to find peace and sanctuary, to explore and to just be. The food served was delicious and, when mindfully eaten, had a rapturous symphony of pitch and depth of tone.

There was clear structure to our day. Gentle bells called us to come together to just sit and practise.  There was a mixture of different practices – including movement, sitting and walking practices – all undertaken in silence. The retreat was meticulously planned to give maximum support to us all. We were a mixed group of fellow students as well as experienced practitioners. Wise advice was given on the first day for us to avoid reading anything including books, packaging, etc. The intent was for us to just to absorb the process of coming together and to notice. Thoughts, feelings and sensations did rise to the surface as I simply sat and, since I was fully present to hear them, I felt it was a safe space to explore them.

Towards the end of the retreat, I felt the presence of the land intertwined within me…the trees standing tall, their interconnection to each other; the mountains that stood rising, touching the clouds; the cool and reflective lake; and the stream bubbling slow and gentle, then fast moving. I came away with the beauty of Wales and as always mindfulness in my heart. I also felt the strong depth and resonance of the connections with fellow attendees and teachers.  The effects of the retreat have been so beneficial and have given me the space needed to undertake the preparation and completion of two essays and to work on my first presentation. I hope one day to be able to attain the privileged role to be able to teach mindfulness to others.

Have you ever stopped to notice? A poem for Beth

– written by Pippa Yarworth-Cleeton and published with permission

Have you ever stopped to notice

the hip bones of a cow?

Have you ever stopped to listen

to the snuffling of a sow?

Have you ever stopped to sense

your reaction to a rat?

Have you ever stopped to feel

the soft fur of a cat?

Have you ever stopped to wonder

at the greatness of a bear?

Have you ever stopped to marvel

at the bounding of a hare?

Have you ever stopped to focus

on the alertness of a frog?

Have you ever stopped to value

the friendship of a dog?

Have you ever stopped to see

the busyness of a mouse?

Have you ever stopped to consider

the armour of a woodlouse?

Have you ever stopped to notice

these creatures all around?

Have you ever stopped to notice

where small joys can be found?  


Leave A Comment

2 comments on “My First Retreat with the Mindfulness Network

Sharna Lewis

Beautiful and so true x

Victoria Proudley

Dorothy your words so accurately reflect the atmosphere of the retreat, reading it I feel as if I were there again. Thank you so much.

Pippa, I love your poem, clever, moving and funny.


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