Mindfulness Meditation Retreat: ‘Making friends with myself by learning to let go of painful mind states’

When: Wednesday 21st – Sunday 25th January 2015
Where:  Susurumba, Juliasdale, Nyanga
Course Presenters: Dave Sheehan assisted by Sarah Sheehan


You’re invited to attend this  five day Mindfulness Retreat at Susurumba in the beautiful Nyanga district.

The theme will focus on how to let go of painful mind states, such as anxiety, stress and fear, that cause us much suffering. During the retreat we will investigate how we create these mind states in the first place, and then explore ways to weaken them through skillful mindfulness techniques.

During my first year of university I would often experience feelings of worthlessness, insecurity and inadequacy. Fortunately I accessed a most caring and compassionate university counselor who offered me a range of remedies to overcome my issues – from medications through to mindfulness meditation techniques. My family has a tradition of regular mindfulness training, so I chose the latter option.

The Mindfulness training route is a form of self healing – but not easy as it requires patience, discipline, and a high degree of self-honesty. Initially, I struggled to bring in Mindfulness as a daily activity – even though I had seen the benefits that accrued to my family over the years. However, through perseverance, my Mindfulness training has become an important part of my life. As a result, I am becoming more aware of my mind’s inner workings and I can “catch my mind” as it slides into its old habitual patterns of internal self-attacking (eg anxiety, self-doubt, fear). Increasingly, I find that I don’t have to go down these well-worn ruts, but can remain in the moment, and what could have been the arising of a difficult, emotional state, just fades away.

During this retreat we will be offering basic mindfulness training instructions, plus will listen to talks from Pema Chodron- a most wonderful teacher in this area.

I feel that this retreat will be of benefit to anyone – young and old alike – who would like to learn more about how our minds create many of our problems. In doing so, we can definitely reduce and (in theory!) overcome all our negative and painful emotions.

With sincere and warm regards
Sarah Sheehan
Psychology student, University of Cape Town


Start time:   Suggested arrival 14:00 – 16:00 on Wednesday 21st January
Evening soup is at 18:00 followed by Introductory Talk at 19:00.
Finish time:  10.00 on Sunday 25th January

Suggested Cost

  • Shared rooms – $120 (or $35 per night )
  • Single room – 50% surcharge
  • Camping $80 (or $25 per night)

Students – 25% discount on the above

Please contact us if you have financial constraints – this should not be an obstacle to attending the retreat.

Retreatants may be asked to make an offering of soup or a pre-cooked meal but we will contact you closer to the time when numbers are confirmed.


Shared transport is available (strongly recommended one makes a donation of approx $10 – $15 one way if you are offered transport). Those with own vehicles may please consider offering lifts.


Susurumba, Juliasdale, Nyanga (immediately behind Pine Tree Inn) – approximately 70kms from Rusape, take the Pine Tree turnoff and follow the driveway to the hotel. At the hotel car park, branch left behind the hotel buildings. Follow this road for +/- 1 km, keeping left.


Susurumba – Main cottage


Download the Booking Form for this retreat:
Word version
PDF version

Completed Booking Forms and proof of payment to be emailed to Dave or Pam Sheehan at zimsheehans [at] gmail.com

Background about retreats

Regard joining the retreat as an act of compassion to yourself

Retreats offer us ‘time out’ from our busy, often stressful lives, to ground ourselves in our meditation/mindfulness practice. The peaceful seclusion and mountainous setting of Susurumba, Nyanga, assists in the process of allowing our busy, distracted minds to settle, allowing our deeper energies of kindness, compassion, wisdom and clarity to reveal themselves. Retreatants can find solace and a deeper inner peace through meditation, taking breathtaking walks, swimming in the clear mountain dams, etc.

While there is now limited cell phone reception at Susurumba, we recommend that you keep your cell phones turned off – you are, after all    trying to get away from the bustle of everyday life. If you must use a cell phone – even for SMS – we request that you do so in the privacy of your room/ tent and not in the public spaces. While in the shrine room or dining room, they must be switched off.

Noble silence

All attending will be encouraged to observe “Noble Silence” for part of the day, as this will help you obtain   maximum benefits from the retreat. Noble Silence will be explained at the beginning of the retreat, but in essence it acts as a method to access deeper tranquility and to connect with others at a level beyond words and concept. If we are constantly engaged in conversation it becomes increasingly difficult for the Mind to settle.

Daily Programme

Susurumba - Bottom Dam

Susurumba – Bottom Dam


The day will begin with early morning meditation followed by breakfast.  After breakfast there will be meditation instruction, discussion and meditation practice.  This will be followed by tea, then sitting/walking meditation, mindful activity leading up to lunch and rest.

There will be one afternoon sitting/walking session followed by tea and a guided walk around the valley.

In the evenings there will be soup followed by a talk /discussions/loving kindness training.

Participants have total freedom to attend as many or as few sessions as they see fit; there is no pressure whatsoever. Mindful walking and even swimming are encouraged (although Nyanga water can be quite invigorating in winter!).


Susurumba kopje


What to bring

  • Bedding (remember Nyanga can be quite cold –especially early mornings), pillows,  towel
  • Raincoats/umbrellas (it can rain at Nyanga at any time of the year)
  • Torches/headlamps & spare batteries (very important)
  • Toiletries/bath soap. Hand washing powder if you need to do personal laundry
  • Comfortable walking shoes (plus optional CROCS?)
  • Loose, comfortable clothing
  • Warm clothing plus wraps for when sitting in the meditation room (tracksuits, extra socks)
  • Hat & sunblock cream
  • Notebook and pens
  • Towels and swimming costumes (lovely refreshing mountain dams and small swimming pool).
  • Personal meditation cushions and mats (there are cushions available at the retreat centre)

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