August 31, 2014

Harvest:A 5Rhythms Retreat

By Stowel Lake Farm

With Bettina Rothe & Joanne Winstanley

Harvest is the time of year when crops are gathered from the fields. When seeds that were planted long ago, and tended over time – sometimes with plenty of care and sometimes in random fashion – come into their fullness and fruition. As in the natural world, we also experience cycles and phases of growth in our lives, in our careers, and in our relationships: times of planting, tending, growing, gathering and sharing.

In this retreat we used the 5Rhythms® movement map, ritual, and inquiry to explore:  What gifts do we bring to the table?  How do we give and receive nourishment in community?  What has been ripening in you?  What is now ready to be shared?

Haidee nurtured the group with her incredible creations made from so much of the good food grown here on the land. The group danced, took stock, celebrated and shared in community.

August 24, 2014

Our August Retreat

By Stowel Lake Farm

Our August meditation retreat is always a favourite offering on the farm. As usual it was a packed house, led this year by Steve Armstrong & our very own Heather Martin. It was hot and quiet and deep.

Our retreats are spent in silent meditation practice, with alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation.  Offered each day are instructions; either individual or small group discussions with the teacher, and a dharma talk.  The combination of silence, support and assistance, provides an extremely beneficial environment for developing meditation practice.

The momentum of hours of quiet, without distractions or responsibilities, allows the heart to release its guard and access levels of peace and tenderness not usually accessible to us. As the busy mind calms down, it settles and becomes clearer and brighter, revealing glimpses into the simple yet deep truths of all nature, and our own hearts.  When experienced for ourselves these insights are transformative and liberating.

The group was nourished by Evelyne & David who lovingly feed the long Vipassana retreats.

July 30, 2014


By Stowel Lake Farm

It was a full and fabulous week of Fiddlecamp last week. For the third summer in a row we have hosted Fiddlecamp put on by Zavellennah Huscroft and her band of incredible instructors. The farm is full to the brim with families and music and it is quite the event to witness and participate in. The schedule is packed from sun-up to sun-down with orchestra, classes, afternoon dances in the barn and then every evening a different event. Adults and children alike fall into bed every night tuckered out from the day.
Ze’s Brazilian instrument making.
Clay pumping up his group of singers in Songs of the South Sea Islands.
A packed house at Beaver Point Hall for Tuesday’s dancing….
…. with Karen calling and band playing!
The sea of instructors and students at orchestra every morning.

Jacob making a purchase at the very popular SNACK SHACK!
Matt keeping the beat during his samba class’s performance behind the barn.
The Friday night performance in the park. What a week!

February 23, 2014

Vipassana Retreat for Experienced Practioners

By Stowel Lake Farm

For the past number of years we have hosted the Salt Spring Vipassana Society‘s retreat for those familiar with the foundations of Vipassana meditation, Mindfulness practice, the more common themes of the Buddha’s teachings, and retreat life.

This year Heather was joined by Sister Ven. Pannavati from North Carolina, USA.  Sister Pannavati  has an unusual history and unorthodox path, whose wisdom manifests spontaneously and enthusiastically. She has a generous heart and deep insight.  She loves the dharma and especially the teachings of early Buddhism.  Her approach is original and refreshing.

This retreat was conducted in the traditional form: sitting and walking meditation periods throughout the day, with dharma talks, instructions, question & answer periods, and meetings with the teachers to discuss practice.

Feb 15 – 23.


January 01, 2014

Our New Year’s Retreat

By Stowel Lake Farm

Our annual vipassana New Year’s retreat ends today. This 5 day retreat, open to new and more experienced practitioners, is a favourite of many folks who visit the farm each year. It can be very potent to sit during this quiet, dark time, as we end one year and move into the next. The land itself seems to feel the deep quiet, holding and reflecting the experience of the group. We are blessed to be a part of it all.

November 17, 2013

Cultivating Compassion

By Stowel Lake Farm

Robert Crusick was here for the weekend of sitting with the intention to cultivate compassion. A compassionate attitude extends beyond helping one feel more empathy and concern for others, it can reduce the distress we feel in difficult situations and can become a profound personal resource in times of stress. It includes developing the strength to be present with suffering, the courage to take compassionate action and the resilience to prevent compassion fatigue. These are qualities that support a wide range of goals — from improving personal and work relationships to making a positive difference in the world. Through instruction, mindfulness & loving-kindness meditation, and group interaction, the group got to explore and strengthen the qualities of compassion, empathy, and kindness for others and for ourselves.
November 15 – 17, 2013

November 11, 2013

Warriors for the Human Spirit

By Stowel Lake Farm

Warriors for the human spirit willingly work in troubling and difficult situations, striving to use skills of insight and compassion rather than aggression and fear. This is difficult work, but rich in meaning and purpose. This retreat was a time to explore some of the essential skills of warriorship, all of which focus on developing trust and confidence in our capacities: identifying our right work; identifying what triggers aggression and fear; maintaining presence in the midst of chaos; developing inner peace.
FacilitatorMargaret Wheatley, EdD, received her doctorate in Organizational Behaviour and Change from Harvard University, and a Masters in Media Ecology from New York University. A global citizen since her youth, she writes, teaches, and speaks about how we might organize and accomplish our work in chaotic times. She was a practicing consultant for 30 years, is co-founder and President emerita of The Berkana Institute, and has written four books and numerous articles.

November 9 – 11, 2013

October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Yoga

By Stowel Lake Farm

with Dorothy Price, October 11 – 13.
2010 April 23-25, Stowel Lake Farm, Salt Spring Island, BC
It was a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend on the Farm. The colours of the trees, the mushrooms poking up all over the place, the changing gardens all made for a gorgeous setting for the retreat this past weekend. Still abundant veggie coming out of the garden filled our bellies and satisfied our souls. Dorothy led a peaceful retreat, fulfilling on so many levels. There was (and is) so much to be thankful for.

September 30, 2013

Harvest the Spirit

By Stowel Lake Farm

with Sue Horning & Emily Millen, September 26 – 29.
These groups always seem to be having the BEST TIME!!! I snagged these photos off their Unity Retreats website of this past retreat.
Picture 3
Here is a little summary of their autumn retreat:

One of the greatest challenges of modern day living is to live harmoniously with nature and the changing seasons. Autumn is a time to harvest the bounty we grew in summer, to store and prepare for the winter ahead, and is associated with the metal element, signifying contraction and introspection, as opposed to the upwards and outwards movement of the fiery summer. It is a time to reflect, to receive what is of essential worth, and to let go of what is not useful to us.
Picture 1

September 02, 2013

Being Moved

By Stowel Lake Farm

We happily hosted Bettina Rothe & Joanne Winstanley again this August. They brought 5Rhythms to the farm through a beautifully deep and inspiring retreat. The focus was “being moved’ – how to move more easily in the currents of life and cultivate openness to a state of flow. A few of us “farmies” got to partake in the offerings and Haidee was in the kitchen serving up her culinary creations to this energetic and loving group of folks. We were so grateful to have you all here!