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An Undefended Heart and Mind: A Retreat for the LGBTQI Gender-Queer Community (5 days)

July 31 – August 5, 2015 (Friday to Wednesday)

There may be rides available for this retreat. You can also offer a ride. Click here to view the listings.

This retreat is a wonderful opportunity to come together as LGBTQI gender-queer community, to give and receive support in cultivating the beautiful qualities of mind and heart that support awakening into freedom.

Mindfulness sees clearly what is happening moment to moment, and guides us to end the dynamics of suffering. Lovingkindness creates an environment of friendship, softening and opening the heart. We will grow these qualities through sitting, walking and eating meditations, group inquiry and talks about the teachings. As we become less defended, we are able to delight in who we are as LGBTQI and gender-queer.

This course, held within a context of silence, is open to both new and experienced meditators. Susana Renaud will offer an optional daily period of mindful yoga.

A Message from IMS’s Guiding Teachers

Work on expanding and improving IMS’s Retreat Center dining room is scheduled to start in April or May 2015 and to continue through late August.

Inevitably, this will result in construction and machinery noise. However, this will not be sustained and will mostly take place outdoors during regular construction hours, usually Monday – Friday, 7:00am–4:00pm. Toward the end of the project, there will be some indoor work, but this will be planned for between courses.

To help minimize the impact of the noise, windows in our Retreat Center meditation hall will be kept closed. (The air circulation and conditioning system there allows fresh air to move around very well, without opening windows.)

We have decided to continue offering retreats throughout this building period, knowing that conditions for practice are rarely perfect. We trust that this construction endeavor can be met with the equanimity and grace with which we meet a range of conditions in our lives.

All of us at IMS look forward to supporting you on retreat.


Arinna Weisman

Arinna Weisman is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley, MA, and co-author of A Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation. She teaches in the lineage of Ruth Denison and U Bha Khin. Her practice and teaching have been infused with her life experiences as an environmental and political activist.

Jean Esther

Jean Esther has trained in meditation since 1975. She teaches at Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley, MA, Smith College and nationally. She also integrates the Buddha's teachings on love and wisdom within her psychotherapy practice in Western MA.


John Martin

John Martin is in the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training. He leads an insight meditation group in San Francisco, volunteers in hospice care and continues a long retreat practice. His primary teachers have been Sylvia Boorstein and Joseph Goldstein.

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