Manifesting a Vision of a Mindful and Compassionate Society
MorningSun is at the same time a retreat center offering programs grounded in the practice of mindfulness and sustainability, and also a resident staff community who use a daily practice of mindfulness as a foundation for training themselves and others in the art of living deeply and sustainably. The rural campus, with simple facilities surrounded by gardens, ponds, forests and trails supports all participants to find calm and ease as they embark on their retreat journeys.
Programs build age-appropriate skills founded on each participant’s capacity to live and work from a place of peace and clarity within themselves. MorningSun sends its program participants; adults, families, youth and children, out into the world as inspired and stable people; capable of offering their best in whatever way they choose to bring transformation and healing to the world.
“The salvation of society depends, in the long run, on the moral and spiritual health of the individuals who compose it.”
– Thomas Merton, The Ascent to Truth
Brief Overview of Operations in 2022
MorningSun celebrated tremendous success with its programs in 2022! After the full closure due to Covid in 2020 MorningSun continued to steadily renew its standard program offerings like in-person Days of Mindfulness and the always full Mindful Living Weekends each month. Additionally, highlights like the Educators Retreat for those working in schools and with children, and a Gratitude Weekend to celebrate our supportive donor community were added to the schedule. Other retreats for families, young adults and trainings in mindful living were offered as well. See the full list at the end of this document.
In 2022, the Mindfulness Center offered a total of 44 programs reaching more than 780 people over the year.
The Facilities Expand
The most visible development at MorningSun has been the construction of the Compassionate Heart Pavilion, a screened-in gathering space overlooking Blueberry Pond that provides shelter from rain and insects in the spring, summer and fall. Each retreat offered this year benefitted from this wonderful facility improvement at MorningSun.
A Relatively Stable Year for Finances
Our finances have continued to stabilize after the pandemic closure, due to high program attendance and a committed donor base. MorningSun is filled with gratitude every day for the Circle of Bodhisattvas – MorningSun’s sustaining members – who make recurring donations on a monthly or annual basis to support the operations.
Looking forward, MorningSun is planning a full range of programs in 2023 and beyond, adding special events like a 4-day BIPOC Retreat in Fall 2023 and an Earth Holder Retreat organized in conjunction with the Plum Village Monastic Community in France.
Additionally, a fundraising campaign is getting underway to build an accessible walking trail with scenic benches along the edge of Blueberry Pond and finishing with a new accessible entrance to the Forest Meditation Hall. The trail, along with existing accessible features in the Barn Retreat House will allow many more people to enjoy the beauty of MorningSun.
Detailed Program Summary for 2022
In Person Days of Mindfulness (27): One day retreats with a program that includes an orientation to mindfulness and a series of engaged meditation sessions including sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful movement, group discussion circle and mindful eating led by facilitators from MorningSun Mindfulness Center. Attendance of Days of Mindfulness varies between 15-30 people throughout the year.
Online Days of Mindfulness: (2) One day retreats offered online with a similar program to the in person days of mindfulness, featuring a series of engaged meditation sessions including sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful movement, group discussion circle and mindful eating. These continued to draw a large audience, with between 45 and 75 attendees.
Mindful Living Weekends: (8) These weekends are structured to give participants a lot of time in silent meditation and deep rest for half the time, and a more interactive program for the other half, a balanced retreat experience. Always full, with a wait list, most MLWs have 20-30 attendees (depending on seasonal camping).
Educators Retreat: (1) A 4 day retreat for classroom teachers, administrators, social workers, others in the educational field. The retreat offered 34 participants a chance to refresh themselves and cultivate their own personal mindfulness practice as a base for any sharing of mindfulness with others, as well as developing an experiential understanding of the practices, and developing the language and skills needed to bring the practice back to the communities they serve.
Wake Up Retreat: (1) A 5 day retreat for young adults (ages 17-35) Through peer led practices and daily teachings from seasoned practitioners, young people have the chance to discover new insights and strengths within themselves using the timeless practices of sitting, walking, and eating meditation, deep listening, and conscious arts, music, and movement. Lots of young folks show up to camp out for these retreats in the summer, and our group had 37 people.
All Ages/Family Retreat: (2) One of these retreats was a 5 day retreat and the other was a 3 day retreat. These are for families of all ages, young and old. Participants are immersed in an atmosphere of mindful living. The program blends meditation practices for mindful parenting, and a special children’s program supporting young people to learn the basics of meditation and mindfulness practice. This summer the retreat was overflowing with 60 people including 26 children.
Thich Nhat Hanh Continuation Retreat: (1) During this 5 day retreat 40 participants celebrated Thich Nhat Hanh’s life and teaching by highlighting and practicing many of his deep and wonderful transmissions.
Retreat for The Order of Interbeing (OI) (1) Members of the OI from all over New England helped to organize this retreat for 30 members and aspirants to practice, connect and share resources.
Winter Solstice Weekend Retreat: (1) A weekend retreat centered around a Ceremony and celebration of spiritual/inner light in the dark season of the year. It is a multi-faith event with space to honor various cultures and traditions.