This past weekend my two girls, ages 7 and 4, my husband and I set off to have a totally mindful weekend. We went to the Father’s Day retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery in Pine Bush, NY.

mindfulness rd

Blue Cliff is where the monastics in the tradition of the great teacher Thich Nhat Hanh practice mindful living. The practice boils down to slowing down and staying in the present moment.


It’s a beautiful, welcoming community. Many of the monastics expressed how much joy it brought them to have have our children there.



We went up as a family because my daughter and I had such a transformative experience last year at the BIG retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh. This time it was different: much smaller and quieter.

I practiced mindful working (weeding) with the sisters.


I also enjoyed a lovely experience of walking meditation with my husband and children. We walked with the larger Sangha (community) through the woods slowly and peacefully.

My girls discovered tiny orange neuts. In fact, there was much joyful interaction with nature: fish in the pond, frogs in the lotus pool, birds and butterflies, even bunnies and deer.


Several times a day and during our meals, the monastics invited a bell of mindfulness. The entire community would stop and breathe deeply. Ah, this pause helped me come back to myself and slow down.

It wasn’t perfect. At times, my girls were bored. Because it was such a small retreat, they didn’t have the children’s programs they have for the family retreat. But slowing down did them some good. They absorbed the feeling of peace and loving-kindness in the community.


I wanted a totally mindful family weekend. What I got was my family coming together around our values: simplicity, peace and mindfulness.


And the coolest part was on Monday after our weekend. My girls’ best friends came over and what did they play? My daughter led them into an imaginative play game of “peace school.”


It makes me feel so good to see my children absorb this practice.  When I first became a mother, I was in a panic for a few years. It has been quite a journey to this peace.

I can see from them how my practice has born it’s fruits. Peace within me truly becomes peace in my family. {Tweet it!}

Now it’s your turn.

How do you water the seeds of peace in yourself and in your family? Share two specific ways in the comments below.

I share my practice to water the seeds of peace within you too. It is my aspiration that together we will cultivate greater peace in ourselves, and peace in the world. Thank you so much for reading. May you be fully present to your joy this week.

Be well,


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