Sky Meadow Retreat

Sky Meadow is seeking co-manager/owners

Sky Meadow Retreat, a unique sole-proprietor business in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, is looking for several retreat managers and business partners to help establish a worker/owner cooperative. The vision is to form a small community of 3-6 individuals who would live and work at the retreat and organic homestead, own and manage the business as a cooperative, and lease the land and buildings from the current founder/owner/manager.

For details, please e-mail us at: office@skymeadowretreat.com

Sky Meadow Retreat
Internship in Conscious Living

Sky Meadow is a small-scale retreat center and organic homestead in Vermont. We grow much of our own vegetables and fruit here on our land and welcome interns who would like to learn skills in homesteading, meditation, conscious communication, retreat center maintenance and management, and community living.We offer a structured course in Conscious Living which can be customized to your individual interests and time frame.  (1 month - 1year)
If you are interested, please e-mail us at: office@skymeadowretreat.com

Testimonials from past interns at Sky Meadow

My Sky Meadow Experience - 2016 season

I lived and worked at Sky Meadow Retreat from April 2016-September 2016. The decision to move from my home in Richmond, VA to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont was prompted by a burnout in my career as an Intensive In-Home Behavior Therapist. At the time, I had very little experience with meditation and I had never lived in a ‘community’ setting, but I knew that both would benefit me. I arrived at Sky Meadow with an open mind, positive attitude and a willingness to learn. The property itself, nestled off of Flagg Pond Road, is surrounded by mountains and picturesque Flagg Pond is only a short stroll down a gravel-dirt road. The scenery is beyond breathtaking and there is no shortage of outdoor adventures to be had on your days off. 

Living and working at Sky Meadow was not necessarily easy, but it did provide me with an incredible once-in-a-lifetime growing experience. It allowed me to take a step back and re-evaluate what in my life was working, what wasn't and what I was going to do to change it. When I arrived in April, I was the first intern of the season. An intern from the previous season had stayed through the winter and was also there. As the spring and summer months progressed, the community experienced constant comings and goings of interns; some would stay for a few weeks, while others stayed for months. Personally, I found the constant shifting of community dynamics to be challenging energetically. Meditation occurs every morning and attendance is mandatory. I found meditating on a daily basis with a group to be a very grounding ritual and it helped me overcome my symptoms of burnout. Living in a community requires you to be self-aware and self-reflective. Problems and issues with other community members will arise, but it is your responsibility to either let it go or confront the community member about the issue. A weekly class on Conscious Communication will be held by Miles, teacher and owner of Sky Meadow Retreat. During each class, Miles will discuss one aspect of Conscious Communication, which will then be implemented through role-play or applied to a real-life situation that you or a community member elects to share. In these classes, as with all other aspects of Sky Meadow, you must be willing to face yourself; your own fears, insecurities and doubts. You only get what you put into it.

Sky Meadow will host several groups throughout the spring, summer and fall months. As a resident, you will be required to assist with hosting the visiting guests. Groups range anywhere from 10 to 16 people. During peak season, you might have a group visiting every week for an entire month. Other months may be slower, with only one group visiting for a short period of time during the month. When a group visits, your working hours will increase slightly and you will be asked to do several tasks specific to hosting the group. These tasks could include cleaning guest spaces in preparation for a group, harvesting produce from the garden for meals, washing dishes, bussing the buffet, helping with food prep, or assisting the cook. When the group departs, you will typically get two or more days off from work.

 The town of Stannard is very small and reminiscent of another time. A few miles (about 10) down the road is the town of Hardwick. There you will find a small but really great local food co-op, Buffalo Mountain Co-op, which has all the local, organic produce and other goods you could want. There is also a café located upstairs that cooks up delicious dishes and drinks. Montpelier, the capital of Vermont, is about 45 minutes from Hardwick. Bigger than Hardwick, Montpelier has several great restaurants, clothes retailers, an outdoor store, a bookstore, several wonderful coffee shops and the Hunger Mountain Co-op. On Saturday mornings, Montpelier hosts a fantastic farmer’s market. Your experience at Sky Meadow will be what you make of it. For me, it was an incredibly rewarding experience that came at a pivotal time in my life. It forced me to grow in ways that I wouldn’t have if I had stayed put in my comfort zone. It forced me to trust myself and my inner intuition. It forced me to look at myself head-on and question my own ideas, assumptions and values. I took away some great skills and lessons from Sky Meadow which I am still practicing today. Meditation has become an important daily ritual in my life. I will forever feel a deep gratitude to Sky Meadow, the experience it afforded me, and the people I met along the way.                                  Megan Girbert 

Seasonal Intern - 2011

            I have lived in four farm/spiritual communities now from California to Vermont and I think that Sky Meadow offers the best, most balanced experience. Sky Meadow has the perfect balance of community time (morning meditations, joined lunches, work periods) and alone personal time (evening dinners, some work periods, time off.)   There is a perfect amount of shared and personal space. Other communities I have lived in have too close corridors with not enough personal space or time. On that note, Sky Meadow had a perfect amount of work time and time off- the evenings off and both weekend days. Other places had me working all day with a two- hour mid-day break (which was never satisfying like a night off) and some places only allowed for one day off per week which was not enough rest and rejuvenation time.

               Lastly, there was the perfect balance of guided assistance and encouragement for independence. I worked mostly with Cella and learned so much in regards to cooking, cleaning, and garden tips. I learned a lot in these areas from the girls as well! In contrast, other places I have lived had a vague "suggestive guidance" and I ended up feeling neither directed nor authorized to do things my way. I remembered that Cella sometimes didn't want to seem overbearing with guidance, but I assure you that the guidance was appreciated and many tips and lessons I learned I still use today.
              Your farm and retreat center is the longest running community I have stayed at so you have had time to perfect the experience. I just wanted to express that to you and say that I am grateful for my time there and hope many others can benefit from Sky Meadow like I did.  Thank you!

Jonathan (Fall intern 2014)

My time at Sky Meadow invited an incredible opening to take place within me. I was able to feel connected to my self, others, and the Earth with a sense of intimacy that I am not sure I've ever really experienced. My time here also gave me skills--whether they be in a garden, on a cushion, or in a relationship--to continue to deepen this sense of intimacy as my life unfolds. The support that I received here inspired a clarity to develop that has invited a sense of confidence, vitality, and appreciative joy to pursue spiritual life whole-heartedly regardless of the social pressures that have often doused this fire in the past. My time here allowed me to see that the greatest gift that I can offer this world lies in my simple presence and all of the creative and compassionate energies that emerge from this place. I feel so grateful for all of the support I received here to truly create a foundation that I can build upon as my life evolves in whatever way it needs to.

Rain - Bennington College  (Summer intern 2014)

             I spent my Summer at Sky Meadow this past year, and am still marvelling at the nourishment and peace of living and working on theland (and in the kitchen!) with Miles and Cella and their daughters. The days were refreshingly simple, but always included something new,and plenty to learn. Sky Meadow opened up for me an expansive space for self-reflection and real growth, with the gentle and ready supportof the people, the animals, the land, and of course the classes Miles offers in Conscious Communication and Insight Meditation.
             I came awayfrom the summer more liberated and empowered, and more prepared to navigate through life with a steady focus on self-care and empathy.The peaceful and nourishing lifestyle and environment of Sky Meadow provided the perfect space for me to really soak in the lessons ofConscious Communication, and it has completely reoriented my understanding of relationships. I have been using the skills he taughtme every day, and feel infinitely more connected with the people in my life. Sky Meadow gave me an experience of true nourishment, peace andinner growth, and Conscious Communication gave me a way of carrying that nourishment, peace and growth back with me back to share andenjoy with the world.

Greta Zarro (Summer intern 2013)

My experiences living and working at Sky Meadow grounded me in the earth, literally and symbolically, providing a foundational basis for the rest of my life. I have immense gratitude to Miles, Cella, and their girls for welcoming me into their home and providing me with this opportunity. Truly, I learned something everyday, both in practical skills and in unquantifiable matters of human existence. I had never farmed before or lived in such a rural environment, but by the summer’s end, it felt comfortable and natural to live this way. In all the confusion of the human experience, being at Sky Meadow represents what is most essential -  it is pure and unadorned living, utilizing the physical body in harmony with the natural world to survive. The work was physically and mentally challenging - hauling logs, transporting manure, repetitive hours of weeding or raspberry picking - but the solitude of the environment made such experiences meditative. Further, I relished in the feeling of hardening the body with physical labor; there is a sense of fulfillment that comes with exercising every muscle for the purpose of your own self-reliant survival - filling up water jugs from the well, stacking firewood for the winter, emptying the compost bucket filled with your own waste. 

Stripped to the bare essentials, without digital technology or any other distractions outside my life at Sky Meadow, I could truly study the self. The capricious tumultuousness of the emotions becomes evident, whether caused by the mind’s internal musings or sparked by interpersonal interactions. The clarity with which one can observe the self allows one to question the motivations behind certain attitudes and behaviors. Every week, the other intern and I met with Miles and Cella to study conscious communication and meditation, based on the theories in Miles’ books (we also meditated before every workday). I never thought that I would be able to seamlessly incorporate the conscious communication strategies in my life. At first, I mentally resisted. However, without exaggeration, within a couple months of returning to my life outside Sky Meadow, I began to utilize the techniques and now I literally practice it everyday. I witness so many disconnects in the majority of conversations and I try to be a supportive listener, affirming the emotions that others express.  

In addition to all that I have discussed, there is also the retreat center aspect of Sky Meadow. My work on the land and in the kitchen prepping for the retreats created a healing environment for retreat participants to experience contemplative silence and the spirituality of nature, to eat nourishing organic foods grown right outside the doorstep, and to halt the distractions of postmodern industrial society. I too was able to participate in the Golden Shadow retreat, an empowering experience which brought certain issues to the forefront of my consciousness, and has since allowed me to deal with this personal baggage, which we all, perhaps unknowingly, carry with us.

In conclusion, I am thankful to the Sky Meadow family for exposing me to a way of existing that I really connect with, “organic” living, in every sense of the word.

Abraham Ames (Summer intern 2009)

Sky Meadow is one of those places that exists as a refuge of tranquility, set apart from the hustle and bustle of the modern American lifestyle.  A reminder of simpler times, it offers a glimpse into a now remote way of life, at peace and harmony with nature.  This “vacation” from everyday society was a necessary healing for me.  Whenever I left the farm I was shocked by the anxiety that I now saw people drawing into their lives, and yet is so easily left behind when you visiting a place like Sky Meadow.  The natural surroundings are beautiful, and the facilities are practical yet baroque, and lovingly maintained. 

Miles, Cella, and their breathtaking land provide a supremely nurturing atmosphere, and they will take personal attention in seeing that your needs are fulfilled.  The food is fresh, organic, and imaginatively prepared.  I have never eaten as well, or as sustainably as I did at Sky Meadow.  As a working guest, my days followed a leisurely but engaging pace, and Miles took care to cater our tasks to our individual interests and skills.  As any visitor, you’ll be offered an excellent space for personal growth, a vibrant natural setting and community, and as much peace as you can create.  If you want to experience a more sustainable, peaceful, spiritually complete lifestyle, or if you just want to get away from it all, Sky Meadow is a veritable oasis.

Hannah Beach   (summer intern 2008)      hannah.beach@gmail.com

I am so grateful for my time as a resident at Sky Meadow. I was able to spend a little over three months there, from the beginning of May to the middle of August; from tilling gardens to harvesting beans. In that time I learned innumerable skills, from basic knowledge about organic gardening and vegan/vegetarian cooking to the operation of various tools and maintenance skills. The ability to learn these skills has proven both empowering and inherently enjoyable. However, the most precious and profound lessons I’ve taken from Sky Meadow have been deeply personal and spiritual.

The relatively short period of time I spent there proved nothing short of revolutionary for me, and Miles, Cella, and their girls were inspiring, supportive, and wholly nurturing during every part of the process. The structure of the days at Sky Meadow provided a stable and caring backdrop for internal work, and the nourishment we provided for the land and guests in turn, I found, nourished me. The communication and meditation guidance Miles provided also enabled me to express and articulate what I needed within a safe and supportive environment. I also look back fondly on the joy and celebration fostered at Sky Meadow, from picnics and campfires to full moon dances and birthday meals. Work, life, and love truly intertwined on a daily basis. I have certainly found lifelong friends at Sky Meadow, and much greater knowledge of myself, my abilities, and my journey.

Andrew Barnett (Summer intern 2008)

I lived at Sky Meadow for only a few months after college, but I think I learned more important lessons there than during the previous four years. My life up to that point had been highly abstract and analytical. I excelled in a few areas, but I knew virtually nothing about the essentials of a healthy or a self-sufficient life.

While at Sky Meadow, I was grateful to learn skills like food preservation and organic gardening. These skills continue to have a strong presence in my life, but I realize that not everyone would say the same. In contrast, I believe that the opportunities I was given to experience deep, personal awakenings would benefit anyone who is ready for them. With help from Miles, Cella, their girls, and the other residents, I learned how to live in the present. This was not always fun. I certainly had demons to face, and I still do. However, the abilities I learned to practice - paying attention to what is real, accepting the inevitable, and cultivating loving-kindness - form the foundations of health: physical, psychological, and interpersonal. For me, Sky Meadow represents not an escape from life, but a preparation for it.