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UK Retreats

7th - 9th Dec:Peak District
Self Compassion: Solo room, shared bathroom
7th - 9th Dec:Peak District
Self Compassion: Solo ensuite
New Year 2018/19:Penmaenmawr, N Wales
Mostly Silent New Year
8th - 10th MarchPeak District
Living Softly: Solo room, shared bathroom
8th - 10th MarchPeak District
Living Softly: Solo ensuite
5th - 7th AprilPeak District
Who You Really Are: Solo room, shared bathroom
5th - 7th AprilPeak District
Who You Really Are: Solo ensuite

The Very Gentle Art of Self Compassion

Facilitated by Kim Bennett.

'If it feels like a struggle, it's not self compassion' - these are the very wise words I heard during a Mindfulness Based Self Compassion Intensive Retreat that I went on with some of the leaders in this field, Kristin Neff and Chris Germer. We'll do our best during the weekend to recognise struggle and see if we can move towards something much softer and inherently kinder.

This weekend will keep Serenity Retreat's ethos of 'do as much or as little as you like' very close to its heart. We'll be encouraging you to spend the weekend really tuning in to what it is you need to do for yourself. Maybe that will be coming along to all the meditations and sessions, maybe that will be to do some of the sessions but also catch up on some sleep (and sleep and sleep) or maybe it will be to wander off into the countryside or to sit quietly somewhere.

There will be meditations focused on how to breathe kindness into ourselves, how to send compassion to others as well as ourselves and the opportunity to create our own wishes for wellness that can lay the ground for a personal Loving Kindness practice. We'll also do some guided visualisations around safety and friendship.

So many of us struggle with an Inner Critic (the judgemental voice that just goes on and on - and on), so we'll also take a look at meeting this voice, seeing if we can establish what its real message is and then taking steps towards turning that voice into an Encouraging Coach.

There will be some mindful movement and periods of rest (we're big fans of rest here at Serenity Retreat).

We’ll also take a look at how our patterns have been shaped by our past experiences. Once we have awareness about how those patterns and strategies formed we can change our relationship to them and meet them differently. We can also use this knowledge to form kinder, more helpful strategies.

The weekend will be a combination of guided meditations, visualisations, written exercises, learning, unlearning, and sharing our experiences (where appropriate) with another. It's very gentle

What's Included

The price includes:

What to Bring

and it's very deep.

If this is feeling like something you'd like to do you can use this booking form. A deposit of £50 will save your place.

New Year - Starting the Year in Silence with Compassion - Waiting List

Facilitated by Kim Bennett.

What to Expect

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. That wasn't my experience. 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!

What's Included

The price includes:

What to Bring

The Very Gentle Art of Living Softly

Facilitated by Kim Bennett and Jane Matthews.

What does it mean to live softly?

It’s the opposite of how most of us live: efforting, fighting, resisting. At the heart of this workshop is the belief that when we learn how to let go of the idea that life is hard, we can end the struggle and create a life that works.

Based on Jane's forthcoming book of the same name, our weekend retreat will help you:

Over the weekend there’ll be insight, inspiration – and the fun you’d expect from an approach that is all about lightening up! This workshop is for anyone who has ever found themselves wondering why life is so hard. Come and learn to let go and flow!

Jane has had great success with this course in Greece and Kim is joining her for the UK sessions, adding a few more meditation and self-compassion practices to the timetable. As always, you do as much or as little as you feel like doing.

What's Included

The price includes:

What to Bring

If this is feeling like something you'd like to do you can use this booking form. A deposit of £50 will save your place.

The Very Gentle Art of Discovering Who You Really Are

Facilitated by Kim Bennett and Kevin Pickard.

An exploratory weekend retreat focusing our attention on asking questions of ourselves to discover who we really are; and providing a fertile, safe, kind and allowing environment in which an answer may arise. The majority of the weekend will be in silence in order to find the still, quiet place in which the answer resides.

Both Kim and Kevin are keen to promote a real gentleness and softness around this process. Making room for discomfort - and all sorts of internal blocks we may not even know we had - to dissolve. It's in the facing of every aspect of ourselves, as kindly and gently as possible, that we come closer to the reality of who we really are.

Along the way we also hope to give you techniques for dealing with the reality of life; becoming familiar with facing life as it actually is.

What's Included

The price includes:

What to Bring

If this is feeling like something you'd like to do you can use this booking form. A deposit of £50 will save your place.

Our average review score is 5 and we're happy!

We're very proud to be in Psychologies Magazine - July 2018. You can see the article here.

"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".

Our latest review in the Daily Mail, January 2018
Confessions of a Retreat Junkie

We've been reviewed in the Guardian 10 Wellbeing Retreats

As well as The Times as a 'Top 50 Spa Holiday':

"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".

National Geographic Traveller. We're featured in the Top 5: Meditation retreats in Europe.

Queen of Retreats reviewed us too! Check out our page on their site.

Metro had this to say:

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".

Serenity Retreat

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