New Year’s Eve at a Meditation Retreat


It’s New Year’s Eve and I sit with a dedicated group of people atop a huge hill at the edge of Rancho Palos Verdes – just blocks from a spectacular view of the ocean in 3 directions – at a retreat center where peacocks in full bloom roam the grounds, the halls, and will wander into your room if you’re not careful.

This is my annual retreat for myself. I come and help at all other retreats that my meditation teacher, Shinzen Young, has here in Southern California, but this is the one for me, where I go deep and delve into the stuff that hasn’t even considered rising to the surface of consciousness yet. A most efficient and beautiful purification. It’s my annual Tune-Up.

I’ve been coming to this 2 week year-end retreat (from right after Christmas till a week into January) since 1999 …. ah, so for 15 years. Doesn’t seem like it. It just seems like … coming home.

Most people couldn’t imagine meditating and chanting in the New Year, but if what you do at the birth of a year is indicative of what will manifest in that year, I can think of nothing I’d rather give or get than a huge dose of practicing mindfulness deeply.

One thing I’ve learned on this path, is that the work we do on ourselves for ourselves, is actually also a gift for everyone we encounter. In Buddhist practice, it is common for a meditation to end with a blessing for all living beings and/or to dedicate the merit of the practice to all living beings.

And thus I do that here.

May you all have a beautiful New Year – full of mindful joy, peace, love, fulfillment, and lots of humor and laughter.

Mitakuye Oyasin.
(A Lakota blessing for all living things – with the understanding that we’re all related – that we are all relatives.


  1. Amarok says:

    Thank you, Stephanie, may all the blessings flowing from you boomerang and return to you a thousand fold.

  2. Sophia says:

    I am so happy for you! Thank you for sharing. Wishing you many beautiful blessings for the new year!!

  3. Linda Se says:

    Thank you so much or sharing your thoughts. I love love love it! Good wishes for a very good 2014 to you and yours.
    Linda See

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