What we're about

Mindful Shenandoah Valley (www.mindfulvalley.com), led by Insight Meditation teacher Shell Fischer, offers various classes and workshops, as well as daylong and residential retreats in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area to help you discover the amazing and healing benefits of mindfulness practice.

ABOUT THE TEACHER: Shell Fischer, founder and guiding teacher, offers 30+ years of extensive mindfulness practice and study. She is a Buddhist teacher, trained in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition at Naropa University – the nation’s leading contemplative university – and in the Theravadan Vipassana (Insight) tradition by Dr. Tara Brach – one of the world’s foremost Insight teachers. She is a graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher-training program led by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR and the Stress Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Prior to teaching, Shell wrote about mindfulness and yoga for national magazines.

While offering the teachings of Insight Meditation, Shell places great emphasis on the metta (loving-kindness) practices. Her hope is to guide you in nurturing even more kindness and compassion for yourself, others, and for all the situations you find yourself in throughout your life, through the heart-teachings and practices of mindfulness meditation.

Shell warmly welcomes the inclusion and participation of people of diverse identities, including those of all races, ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, gender identities, classes, religions, abilities, and ages … with the aspiration that all feel welcome, safe, and respected as we practice together in community.

Please visit www.mindfulvalley.com for more information about classes, workshops, and retreats, or email Shell directly at retreats@mindfulvalley.com.

Upcoming events (2)

MEDITATION RETREAT: The Heart of Self-Compassion

Grace Episcopal Church

The Buddha taught that you can search the entire universe for someone more deserving of your love and affection than yourself, and you will not find that person anywhere.

And yet, for many of us, it seems much easier for us to offer our care, compassion, and even forgiveness to others than to ourselves. We tend to beat ourselves up, or give ourselves an unnecessarily hard time for our “perfectly human” imperfections.

During this silent daylong retreat, we’ll be exploring a variety of different ways that we can offer more of our love, care, and forgiveness to the person we spend the most time with in this life – ourselves.

The format will include both guided and silent meditation, a dharma talk, and walking meditation on the beautiful church grounds. Lunch will be in silence, and participants are asked to bring their own.

The retreat will be taught by Insight Teacher Shell Fischer, founder and guiding teacher of Mindful Shenandoah (www.mindfulvalley.com) who offers more than 30 years of extensive mindfulness practice and study. She is a Buddhist teacher, trained in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition at Naropa University – the nation’s leading contemplative university – and in the Theravadan Vipassana (Insight) tradition by Dr. Tara Brach – one of the world’s foremost Insight teachers. She is a graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher-training program led by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR and the Stress Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Prior to teaching, Shell wrote about mindfulness and yoga for national magazines.

Fee: $85
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED by visiting https://mindfulvalley.com/retreats/nov-13-daylong-meditation-retreat-the-heart-of-self-compassion/

3-Day Meditation Retreat: New Year, New Beginnings

Claymont Court

Tap into the silence and greet your New Year with a sense of “beginner’s mind” and a renewed aspiration to live from your deepest intentions at this annual 3-day end-of-the-year meditation retreat at the Claymont Court Retreat Center in Charles Town, WV.

When we are cultivating what in the teachings is called Beginner’s Mind, we are being asked to consciously and constantly let go of any preconceptions we carry about each new phase of our lives, and open up to each and every moment with newborn eyes that see everything – including ourselves – as if for the first time.

As we apply this state of mind to our deepest intentions, the more we discover great joy and delight in the creative process of witnessing what unfolds, rather than clinging so strongly to any desired results.


The beauty of this process is that, with practice, we develop the ability to see ‘ourselves’ as constantly new, continually changing. As the Zen mater Shunryu Suzuki tells us: “There is no connection between I myself yesterday and I myself in this moment.”

The Teacher: Shell Fischer, founder of Mindful Shenandoah Valley, offers 30+ years of extensive experience in mindfulness practice and study. She was trained in the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition at Naropa University – the nation’s leading contemplative university – and in the Vipassana tradition in the Meditation Teacher Training Institute of Washington, D.C., by Dr. Tara Brach – one of the world’s leading Insight teachers. Shell’s main focus is to help people nurture an abundance of kindness and compassion for themselves and others through the practice of mindfulness.

The Great Barn at Claymont Court is a unique venue nestled on 369 acres of forest and farmland in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia, less than 40 minutes from Washington Dulles International Airport, less than 90 minutes by car from Washington, D.C. or Baltimore, and less than 30 minutes from Winchester, VA. It includes numerous walking trails throughout the surrounding farmland, forests, and orchards, and a forest labyrinth.

The retreat center is committed to using green technology, and most of its excellent, organic, vegetarian cuisine is made from fresh, local produce. Vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options are available upon request.

Some testimonials about the food from participants of the past retreats at Claymont :

“Fabulous!”
“Excellent, great variety!”
“So delicious and plentiful!”
“Couldn’t have been better!”
“Loved the food! (Ate too much).”

Guest Rooms: The Great Barn’s comfortable and cozy rooms include adjustable heat, towels, sheets, pillows, and blankets for guests. (These are shared rooms on the 2nd floor of the center, and there are many 2-bed rooms for couples or 2 friends; please ask for availability.)

TESTIMONIALS FROM PAST RETREATS WITH SHELL:

Life-changing! I feel like a hard crust has crumbled away from my heart and it’s fully open for the first time in my life. I literally feel different in my chest, it’s hard to explain. I feel like I “love myself” for the first time in my life. Thank you for what you do.

Every retreat I attend with you is as good as a year’s worth of therapy. Such a beautiful time.

I could not have asked for a better first experience at a silent meditation retreat. This was life-changing!

I loved everything! I wanted to weep several times as I took in and practiced loving-kindness, respect, and prioritizing well-being. I can’t think of anything I’d like to see improved.

The teachings were outstanding: insightful, humorous, and wonderfully gentle.

Thank you for the space and opportunity to just be and rediscover some lost parts of myself.

FEE: $350 for room & all meals (*Does not include teacher dana)
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED BY VISITING: https://mindfulvalley.com/retreats/dec-28-30-2018-weekend-retreat-new-year-new-beginnings/

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