'Kim is one of those very special people who makes you feel that you do matter and gives you the direction to believe in yourself. Kim's down to earth, passionate and very informative teaching is just brilliant' - Angela
Weekend Retreats in North Wales and the Peak District
'I feel a strong connection to Kim as she is so open and honest in her thoughts and provides the most engaging, authentic meditation experience. She shares her wisdom as well as her vulnerability which speaks volumes - so glad I met you all those years ago when I really started out n my own healing journey and I’m so grateful to have had you by my side in meditation over the lockdown period and beyond. Thank you so much' - Miriam
The Gentle Art of Self Compassion - Deepcar, South Sheffield
Starting Thursday, 6th Jan for 4 weeks - £60 Mornings 10.30am - 11.45am ish Evenings 6.30pm - 7.45pm ish Facilitated by Kim
We will explore:
What self compassion is and why it isn't selfish
Discussing how to bring our mindfulness practices to life when dealing with very stressful or emotionally charged situations.
Some exercises designed to release ourselves from the inner critic and find a way to speak to ourselves with kindness and encouragement.
Bringing our own Loving Kindness practice to life, using phrases that work for us.
The difference between self compassion and self care and the value of both.
Looking at how to be our own best friend in emotionally draining situations.
Learning practical techniques to help us regulate our own nervous systems when we feel overwhelmed.
Turning our attention within and learning how to tune our attention to what's going on RIGHT NOW rather than being hijacked by old storylines and behaviours.
Increasing our inner resilience.
Drawing on the mindfulness and self compassion techniques of Jon Kabatt-Zin, Zen Master Daizan Roshi, Kristen Neff and Chris Germer and incorporating the work of Stephen Porges with his polyvagal theory. I'll also draw on my own life experience - we're all a work in progress!
Suitable for beginners or those with an existing meditation practice.
I took Kim's self-compassion course in 2019 and the things I've learnt still help me every day. Kim is a wonderfully down-to-earth teacher and meditation teacher. Highly recommended!' - Judith
Meditation and Mindfulness for Wellbeing - Deepcar, Sheffield
Starting Tuesday, 11th Jan for 4 weeks - £60 Mornings 10.30am - 11.45am ish Evenings 6.30pm - 7.45pm ish Facilitated by Kim
Have you ever wanted to get started with a meditation and mindfulness practice but don't think that you can ever clear your mind or sit still? Then GOOD NEWS - you don't need to do either! They're just two of the myths that surround meditation and mindfulness practice that I will very happily debunk for you over this 4 week course. We'll also learn:
What meditation and mindfulness practice actually is.
How to start making friends with anxiety and/or stress.
Four different types of meditation practice to have as tools in our toolkit.
How meditation can help us to regulate difficult emotions.
Learning the difference between pain and suffering.
How meditation can bring us to a greater awareness of our own destructive patterns of behaviour. Once we have awareness of something, change can occur.
Learning how to truly listen deeply to ourselves without always trying to fix or change ourselves to become 'good' and be 'perfect'.
Plenty of opportunities for discussion and sharing.
'Kim is very real, very human and meditating with her always calms and soothes me. She offers wise words and wonderful humour also' - Mandi
Mindful Bouquet Arranging - Deepcar, Sheffield
12th January, 1.30pm-4pm
Come and join my sister, Jools the florist, and I for an afternoon of flowers and mindfulness.
You'll take away a beautiful bouquet of flowers that would retail for £70 in a shop!
Jools will deliver the bouquet arranging training, she does this with great humour and patience.
There will be regular short mindfulness interludes with Kim to bring ourselves back to the moment and enjoy the process: anyone who's ever tried to do anything creative will be familiar with the voices of perfectionism, comparison and failure. We'll work to liberate those voices and change them into something more encouraging and gentle.
Guaranteed to be a fun day (my sister is hysterical!).
Starting Tuesday, March 1st, 2pm for five weeks - £50 Starting Wedneday, March 2nd at 6.30pm for five weeks - £50
Learning the 18 steps to the Shibashi Qigong Form
Some of us find sitting meditation tricky! Moving meditation can give us another way 'in'. This is what the practice of qigong can give us.
Repetitive movements coordinating the breath with the movements of the body can lead to a profound sense of being right, here right now, allowing ourselves to drop into 'just this'. This in turn can reduce stress and allow us to step away from a racing mind.
We will look at:
Practical exploration of this 18 movement Qigong set
Introduction to posture, body alignment and stance structure
Learning to harmonise the breath, body and mind
Introduction to Qi Energy in relation to Qigong
Exploration of the essence of Qigong as moving meditation
Deep Listening - March 4th - 6th (2 nights) in the Peak District - FULLY BOOKED
£319 solo ensuite, £289 solo shared bathroom
Deep Listening - July 29th - Aug 1st (3 nights), in Noddfa, Penmaenmawr, North Wales
£359 solo room with shared bathroom Facilitated by Kim
After the year we've had, this is an invitation to deeply listen to what it is that we need and want for ourselves. A time to take stock, recalibrate and uncover the direction that our inner satnav is taking us.
We'll create an environment of stillness to facilitate that, as well as making time for some self compassion and honing our skills of deep listening to others. Let's discover what it means to truly listen to ourselves without demands, or threats, or the push me, pull me habitual ways of thinking that guide so many of our decisions. Let's feel into the privilege of truly listening to another without needing to fix them or make them happy or give them solutions and in that way we also expand the ability to do the same for ourselves.
In North Wales there is some lovely walking and the beach on the doorstep. Plenty of grounds to enjoy and nature to soothe the soul. Hope to see you there! All rooms are for solo occupancy with shared bathrooms (max two to a bathroom).
In the Peak District we're in a quiet spot in Great Hucklow that also has lovely walking, and there is a choice of ensuite or shared bathrooms.
As with all Serenity Retreat breaks, how much you choose to participate is entirely up to you. Deep listening to what it is that truly works for YOU in the moment.
The price includes:
3 nights accommodation (3 nights) in Wales, 2 nights accommodation in the Peak Districit
Private chats, if you'd like
What to Bring
Walking Shoes/Boots if you plan to wander a bit
Clothing appropriate to UK seasonal weather
Anything at all that you intuit you'd like to bring: journal, knitting, drawing etc
There will be a timetable that includes periods of sitting, mindful walking, mindfulness movement and periods of Doing Nothing. There will be a self-compassion based talk each evening. If you want to bring a book, or some drawing, or some writing - please do. Our focus is on opening up to the silence. We'll stress that there is no obligation AT ALL to follow the timetable. Instead, we'll encourage you to tune in to what your body needs: feeling tired? Rest. Feeling hungry? Snack. Need to move? Go walking. Don't feel that you have to follow our timetable. It's there if you feel that you want to do it, but it's not compulsory by any means. The most important thing is that you commit to the silence on New Year's Day! Other than that, you are very welcome to do as you choose.
What's the Big Deal about Silence?
Someone asked me (Kim) this a few weeks ago. I answered as best I could at the time but thought that it was a great question. Why would we voluntarily become silent? What is the point? Many of us live alone and are silent a lot anyway, why would we choose to expose ourselves to more, when we could have the opportunity to be making new friends and socialising?
I’m pretty sure you all have your own reasons for turning up and entering the silence, so what I’m about to say speaks only for me. Maybe it’ll resonate, maybe not ;)
My friend, Janine, announced she was doing a silent retreat some years ago. I remember being horrified - you can’t speak?! Or read?! Or write?! But I was also at a point when I was questioning a lot of what my mind was telling me. So I turned it around - what was so terrible about not being able to speak or read or write? And it’s then I realised that I was terrified of what might turn up if I was left alone with my own head. I thought that Pandora’s box might be opened, a huge can of worms that I would be unable to put the lid back on. But that wasn't my experience and in ten years of running silent retreats it hasn't been anyone else's either. In fact I realised that my fear of looking within was keeping me trapped in all sorts of subtle ways.
During our time together we WILL have the possibility of reading, writing, drawing etc. We welcome this simply because we don’t need to create extra stress for ourselves when we first meet silence. You’re welcome to read and write and draw - but we can be very interested in the moment BEFORE we pick up the book, the journal, the drawing etc. Why do we feel the need to distract ourselves? Is something going on that feels uncomfortable? Can we possibly sit with that feeling and turn our minds towards it? Even for 2 seconds? After we’ve turned towards the feeling that’s going on for us, we may find that we’re quite curious about what’s going on and want to investigate further. Or we may decide that we absolutely DO want to distract ourselves and that’s perfectly fine. The thing is to have some curiosity about the whole thing. We call this ‘friendly curiosity’.
If we decide to investigate the bodily experience, then our intention isn’t to work anything out or get to the bottom of anything or analyse it, although we may have some insights in that direction, our intention is simply to give our bodies the gift of our 100% complete attention in this moment of discomfort or whatever it is that we have going on for us. In the West we have become very used to moving away from discomfort as we’re told over and over again (by the media and society) that we shouldn’t have to experience any unpleasantness and that if we do (and this message can be quite subtle) then we are in some way ‘failing’. This is not true. We are simply living.
But I can tell you that until I’m blue in the face. The only way to see if this is true is to come and find out for yourself....
This is a great way to introduce yourself to the practice of silence. Especially suitable for those who have never experienced a silent retreat before. It's not as intense as a full on Buddhist retreat but still retains the magic that silence can bring. It's such a great way to start the year!
The price includes:
3 nights' single accommodation
All guidance/teaching for sitting, walking, standing and Loving Kindness meditation practices
Periods of Doing Nothing
Guided Mindfulness Movement
Guided Mindful Walking
What to Bring
Walking Shoes/Boots if you plan to wander a bit
Journal or Notebook and Pen
Book to read (not obligatory - just if you feel you’d like to)
Mindful Colouring Books and Pens - although we'll have a small supply (once again, not obligatory - just if this is your thing)
Kim founded Serenity Retreat back in 2010. She is a trained Zenways Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher with over twelve years experience and has also trained in Self Compassion with Kristen Neff and Chris Germer. Most recently, Kim has started the accreditation process to become a Kiloby Inquiries Facilitator.
Her passion is to discover what really lies beneath, both for herself and others, and to encourage open-heartedness and fearlessness to the adventure of life. She's straightforward, no nonsense, and has an earthy sense of humour.
'Kim is an exceptional teacher; courageous , authentic, wise and compassionate
She brings real humility and appropriate humour to her sessions and has an impressive ability to relate to everyone within diverse groups; there’s no sense of needing to be “one of us”.
I have experienced Kim’s meditations, group discussion and exploration sessions and also one-to-one work and I am stuck by her ability to express and share the depth of her knowledge and insight in such an enjoyable, informative and impactful way.
Oh and she’s a really lovely soul as well!' - Sarah
'My perception of you as a mentor/teacher/deliverer of content is that you are extremely intuitive and I notice you often see beyond just the words that someone may be saying, and are really good at peeling back the layers (gently and comfortably). In addition it is the raw honesty that ultimately enables a trusting relationship.' - Pankti
"Take a breath and refocus yourself on these wonderfully
afordable beach-front meditation-based holidays for solo
travellers on the laid-back island of Lefkada. Led by Zen
Buddhist teacher Kim Bennett, they offer meditation
sessions with the option to join other wellbeing sessions
and enjoy treatments and trips. Rejuvenate with sea and
mountain views, just a 30-minute drive from the airport"
We had our first mention in the Sunday Telegraph Travel Section in April:
"For a beach holiday that is also a retreat, head for the island of Lefkada in Greece where Serenity Retreat offers just that: guided walks, qigong and meditation. It's geared towards solo travellers and you can do as little or as much as you want- and I'd say the place is tranquil rather than silent. Should you want to try complete silence, the company offer weekend silent retreats in Yorkshire as well".
"It’s great for solo travellers interested in spirituality and personal growth or just pure relaxation, and tends to attract people who have started to question their lives and who want to live more meaningfully".
Set up by Zen meditation teacher Kim Bennett, Serenity Retreats are aimed at solo travellers looking for self development. The week long retreat has an easy-breezy approach and while there are mindfulness walks, guided meditations and excursions on offer, nothing is compulsory. "Our emphasis is on giving our guests space", Bennett says. "Our accommodation is on the beach and we encourage guests do nothing other than watch the sea and the mountain for a restorative effect".