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Be Calm Be Happy: Weekend Mindfulness Retreat

Everyone is welcome to this weekend mindfulness retreat, based on the well-loved, and practical teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.

key info

6 Oct 2023 - 8 Oct 2023

Holland House, Cropthorne, Worcestershire, WR10 3NB

Our Be Calm Be Happy Mindfulness Retreat 2023 will be held at Holland House, a venue in the heart of some of the most beautiful English landscapes, alongside the meandering River Avon in Worcestershire.

Retreat overview

This Be Calm, Be Happy Retreat is an opportunity to experience ways to generate mindful awareness and wellbeing, create new friendships and release the stresses and strains of life.

Guided by practitioners in the tradition of Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh (often referred to as ‘the Father of Mindfulness’ in the West), this retreat is for everyone – you don’t have to be a Buddhist monk to benefit from meditation.

During the held group sessions, you will learn how to meditate, so you can ease painful thoughts and emotions; you will also be encouraged to use mindfulness practices to bring joy into your daily life.

We invite you to join this weekend retreat comprising guided practices, group discussions and practical exercises, for a light-hearted and deep exploration of mindfulness together, in a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere.

Retreat content

The teaching sessions of the course explore the following themes:

• Stopping and calming;

• Turning to the positive;

• Loving communication;

• Nourishing happiness;

• Interdependence and community;

• Guidelines for a happier life

Reported benefits

• Increased enjoyment of life

• Increased ability to be calm and relaxed

• Increased control of emotions such as anger and anxiety

• Improved sleep quality

• Fewer feelings of anxiety and low mood

Who can attend?

This retreat is suitable for beginners, as well as those wishing to gain a fuller understanding of how mindfulness can support calm and happy living. Mindfulness is a practice originating in Buddhism and supported by neuroscience and psychology; it may be practised by those of all faiths and none.

Many of our participants learn new ways to care for their well-being and are able to develop positive responses to challenging situations.

Food and Accommodation

Vegetarian meals, snacks and accommodation are provided throughout the schedule.


Holland House has dedicated parking spaces and a path up to the house with limited step-free access.

Retreat schedule

This retreat is led from Friday evening 6th October through to Sunday afternoon 8th October.


During the retreat vegan food will be offered.

Ticket pricing

We ask you to consider carefully what you can afford without depriving yourself or anyone else. Lower priced tickets are very limited and intended only for those who are unwaged, have a low household income and/or limited funds available.

In offering a range of ticket prices we aim to make the course available to as many people as possible.

These options will be available once you click on ‘Tickets’.

Course leaders

The course leaders are Vari McLuskie and Ian Sneath.

Vari was ordained by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in 1995 into the Order of Interbeing and as a lay Dharma teacher in 2012. Vari arrived home on her first Plum Village mindfulness retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh in 1990. Life became brighter, calmer, more enjoyable and understandable. She began to recognise how, supported by a mindfulness practice community, she could cultivate peace, love, and understanding in herself every day. It was clear that developing these qualities in herself also truly benefitted others. She put mindfulness practice and sangha at the centre of her life. Bit by bit; building her practice, accepting her shortcomings, encouraging herself through the difficulties – perceived and otherwise. Through difficult times in her life she has practiced seeing that there cannot be happiness without suffering (“no mud, no lotus”)– through the premature death of a beloved friend, through the sudden deaths of my parents, through the challenges of parenthood, through work and health challenges.

Vari has been an ordained Dharma teacher since 2012 and combines this responsibility with work as a Strategic Consultant. She has shared mindfulness in corporate settings, with female offenders and victims of sexual abuse as well as through Plum Village UK retreats and the Be Calm, Be Happy courses which she co-developed. Vari is based in the Midlands having lived many years in London.

Ian has recently returned from living in Plum Village for two years, this experience allowed him to immerse himself in Thay’s deep-wisdom mindfulness teachings

Ian discovered Thay 12 years ago after studying various mindfulness teachers. In 2014 he attended the 21-day retreat, “What happens when we are alive, what happens when we die?” led by Thay. This was a deeply powerful, healing, and transformative teaching that made Ian stop, look deeply, and realise that he had been on the wrong entrepreneurial path for most of his life. Mindfulness has given Ian so much benefit, helping every aspect of his life (ethics, health, relationships, compassion, insight, concentration, livelihood, peace, kindness, openness, etc) and his volition is now to dedicate his life to continuing to deepen his practice, to lead a happy and joyful life and to help bring Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings to others.

Previous Feedback

“I have learned so much this weekend and know now that to practise in this way is vital to me. Thank you”

“The opportunity to immerse myself in practice, being away with no distractions of daily life”

“Facilitators who clearly love, know and understand the practice and role-model compassion and loving kindness”

We recommend that everyone who joins this retreat signs up to become a member of the Community of Interbeing, to support Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness teachings in the UK.

If you need to contact us please email via hello@plumvillage.uk

How to attend

Please book via Eventbrite.

Book now