I didn’t know what to expect going to a Buddhist Meditation retreat. All I knew was that it was at the Calcagnini Center in Bluemont, VA and that’s all I needed to sign up. The center is a beautiful place, less than a mile from the Appalachian trail and tucked away in the mountains. A perfect setting for a relaxing overnight trip away from Georgetown.
Fresh air and warm food greets you on your arrival and through icebreakers you get to meet a wide variety of Georgetown students interested in being more thoughtful in their everyday lives. Above all, what struck me as most meaningful was the kindness andwelcoming nature I experienced from everyone on the retreat. Regardless of if you’ve had previous experience with Buddhism or meditation you’re able to enjoy the retreat.
Programming throughout the trip was set around joy and finding joy in everyday life. I appreciated this theme because I feel that often we are too caught up in life to step-back and evaluate what makes us the most alive. We watched Matthieu Ricard’s TED talk on happiness and learned about habits of happy and fulfilled people. We also practiced mindful eating where we become more cognizant of the food that enters our body and mindful in its consumption. I found these activities as a great way to actively meditate on your day-to-day actions. We also practiced actual Buddhist meditation which is a relaxing way to de-stress and become more aware of yourself.
Overall, I had an amazing time at the Buddhist meditation retreat and I would highly recommend going if you have the chance. Whether you just want to get away from Georgetown for a day or if you are interested in Buddhism, this retreat is for you.
Written by Michelle Xue, MSB ’19