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Pura Vida Mindfulness Retreat in Costa Rica April 4-11, 2020

IMG_4789   The mission of The New England Peace Center is to spread peace and wellness to help make the world around us a better place. However, in order to do that you have to fill your own cup and make sure you are feeling good on the inside to spread peace to the world around you. What better way to connect with yourself than on a beautiful mindfulnesss retreat in Costa Rica?

The New England Peace Center will be hosting our second Pura Vida Mindfulness Retreats in Costa Rica in April 2020 at RipJack Inn, a beach wellness center steps away from outrageously beautiful and energetically powerful, Playa Grande. The staff at RipJack will go above and beyond to make you feel at home during your stay. The main focus of the retreat will be connecting with yourself and finding some inner peace while enjoying mindful walks on the beach, exploring the Costa Rican culture, making new friends, sipping on a delicious cup of coffee whilst mingling with crabs, monkies, iguanas and hummingbirds, hanging out in a hammock, swimming in the pool, and soaking up some positive energy in the gorgeous yoga shala. Have we mentioned the Costa Rican beach sunsets? Oh man, there’s nothing quite like sitting on Playa Grande and watching the clouds and the ocean turn firey shades of reds, pinks, oranges, purples as the sun performs her powerful last act before bidding us farewell for the night. It makes me have goose bumps just thinking about it.



April 4- April 11, 2020 (includes Good Friday and ends the day before Easter Sunday)

Your trip includes:


7 nights in luxury accomodations in a gorgeous beach boutique hotel, use of the RipJack Inn peaceful grounds and complimentary concierge service to answer any of your questions about the area, practice your Spanish or to book other extra local activities that are not included in the price of your trip like horseback riding on the beach, a jungle waterfall hike, ziplining or surf lessons.


Daily Mindfulness and Yoga Workshops:


Feel free to join as Chelsea Murray Kaneb leads daily yoga practices, mindfulness workshops, discussions and relaxing meditations. All classes are optional, this is your retreat to dig deep and listen to yourself, but we highly recommend that you give at least one of these classes a try whether it’s the rejuvenating morning yoga flow or restorative mindful meditations, everything is fun, judgement free and accessible to all levels. Each participant will receive a set of small, digestable books about Mindfulness that will be sent to your home for you to look over prior to the retreat.


RipJack Inn and Location:  

RipJack Inn (named after the owners dogs Ripley and Jack) is a perfect spot to call home for this Playa Grande retreat. The boutique beach hotel is located 75 meters from the beach in Playa, Grande, Costa Rica and a short walk from the little village. RipJack Inn offers close proximity to the surf (incredible people watching), a beautiful yoga shala reserved for our groups use for the week, dozens of comfortable hammocks to relax in and a tree top restaurant with some of the best food in the country. Playa Grande is a protected National Park because it is home to the nesting grounds of the endangered Leatherback turtles. Playa Grande is one of the most beautiful beaches in Guanacaste and consists of miles and miles of pristine, fairly desolate beaches hugging the Pacific Ocean and some of the most powerful surf you will see in your life. Playa Grande (also known as Salinas) is a beach community locaed in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica just North of the popular lively surf hang out, Tamarindo. Playa Grande has an incredibly laid back atmosphere with close access to nearby town.



As we mentioned above, RipJack Inn’s tree top restaurant has some of the most delicious cuisine found in Costa Rica. All meals are included in the price starting with dinner upon your arrival until breakfast when you depart. We will have a special menu created for our group with both organic carnivorous and vegetarian and vegan options for the duration of the retreat to give us the proper fuel we need to squeeze the most out of our days. Even though many of the ingredients are sourced locally they taste out of this world (corny Dad joke). We will have meal times carved out for the group, but there is absolutely no pressure to sit together as a group (although it’s really fun and a great way to get to know new people). This is your retreat, so listen to yourself and do whatever feels right to you. If you feel like taking a meal to go and eat in your airconditioned room after a long day of exploring yourself and Costa Rica, no one will judge. Alcoholic beverages, special smoothies and ice cream bars are not included in price and will cost extra, but rest assured that they are reasonably priced and won’t break the bank if you decide to indulge in a few here or there especially at The RipJack Happy Hour.


Excursions/Activities/Outings Included:

*An educational morning learning about Leatherback turtles, their shrinking habitat, climate change and what we can do to help at The Leatherback Trust and then lending a hand with a beach clean-up on Playa Grande.


*You will be given a choice of either a land based activity or a sunset sailing snorkel adventure. Both activities will take place at the same time, so you have to pick one or the other. Rest assured they are both amazing options!

* One of the days of our retreat we will venture off as a group for the day on an incredible coffee tour to learn about the coffee process, meet the farmers, and spend time in the community of one of the few Blue Zones in the world. Check out this link to find out more about what this amazing cultural experience will entail

Also included in the price:

  • Airport shuttle transfer to and from Liberia Airport (the suggested airport) or San Jose airport (a 4-5 hour car ride away).
  • Assistance from The New England Peace Center with planning your travels (finding affordable flights and happy to recommend things to do if you plan to arrive early or extend your trip beyond the retreat).
  • Make new friends with other retreat participants, guests and staff at RipJack Inn and the animals that are bound to crack open your heart during your stay. IMG_4479

Not included in the price:

  • Airfare (Highly recommend looking for flights into Liberia instead of San Jose to cut down on the ground transportation time)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Rental Car (if you plan to get one, but it really isn’t necessary)
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Special Smoothies and Juices



Deluxe Rooms: (Queen or Double Room)- (FOUR MORE Rooms Available) 

Single Participant Occupancy- $2,500

Double Particpant Occupancy- $2,000 per person



Standard Room: (One Queen and One Single Bed in each room located in Main Building under the Tree Top Restaurant) (Four Rooms Available)

Single Participant Occupancy- $2,000

Double Participant Occupancy- $1,500 per person


**There is ONE Family Room Option that we can discuss if that is something you’re interested in finding out more information about.**

Please email to inquire more about cost for the week and payment plan options (airfare, extra activities, alcoholic beverages and special smoothies not included in price). Specify which week you are signing up for in your email. Deposit of $250 per person to be paid upon signing up for retreat to hold spot and then we are happy to work out a payment plan that is comfortable for you. Small discount if you pay the full amount upfront.

 Please email for more information and we really hope you can join us as we soak in the Costa Rican Pura Vida lifestyle each and every moment of this incredible retreat.

Pura Vida Retreat Deposit

This is the non-refundable deposit to hold your spot on the Pura Vida Mindfulness Retreat April 4-11, 2020.





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Why Costa Rica?

IMG_7997Why Costa Rica?

As the retreat facilitator, I had the important task of choosing a location that was not only accessible, incredible and cost effective, but one that meant something to me as well. I’ve been blessed to travel many places throughout my 30 years on this Earth and each place has resonated with me for different reasons, but one location without a doubt stood out above the rest as the place to host my very first mindfulness retreat. Costa Rica. I’ve had a personal love and fascination with Costa Rica since my early years in high school. The jungles entranced me, and the fact that they were voted the happiest country in the world time and time again piqued my fascination even more. I finally made my first journey there on the last leg of my honeymoon with my partner, Mike and I was not disappointed. From the moment I stepped foot off the plane, I felt an immediate connection to the country. I felt almost grounded into the Earth. The tropical, lush rainforests of Costa Rica hold a mysticism and magic, wisdom and connectedness. The natural beauty of the country is incredible. Everywhere you turn, the wildlife will take your breath away. There’s Sloths vegging out in the trees, colorful Hummingbirds flitting around from tropical flower to tropical flower, leaf cutter ants working tirelessly, toucans souring around, and howler monkeys filling the air with their almost indescribable music. It’s an animal and plant lovers paradise. The jungles, the beaches, everything. The fresh foods makes the body come alive. We returned a few years later for a couples yoga retreat and connected to everything all over again, but more importantly it helped us connect to ourselves. It helped us peel back all the noise of our lives and the rush of our day to day and dig deep. All of this should be reason enough to choose Costa Rica. Sloths alone should tip the scale, but the biggest reason of all was Pura Vida. You’ve probably heard the phrase. Maybe you’ve heard of it connected to Costa Rica. Well, Pura Vida is more than a phrase it’s a way of life. It seeps into your bone marrow as you melt into your time spent in this gorgeous Central American country. The people live up to their title as one of the happiest countries on Earth and are some of the nicest I’ve encountered in my years of traveling. So, what exactly is Pura Vida? It’s truly hard to describe. It’s a feeling. It’s a feeling that is a perfect backdrop for a mindfulness retreat. It’s a feeling of being thankful for what you have, being present, not dwelling in the negative, being mindful. The mission of the retreat is to dig deep and connect with Pura Vida, a feeling I hope you can take with you in your day to day life once we head back home. You don’t have to physically be in Costa Rica to access that feeling each day, but it’s a great place to start. Costa Rica is deeply rooted in my heart center and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Love and Llamas,


I’d love for you to join our retreat this May 2019 at The RipJack Inn. Registration open until January 10th. Email to join us.



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Systemic Injustice/World Peace Meditation


Acknowledging the injustices in our world. Embracing our sorrows and suffering. Facing our problems with courage. Finding compassion for all life. Nurturing the love and peace that is already within us and around us. Cultivating hopefulness. Rededicating ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world in which freedom, justice, and peace prevail.

“Meditation is to be aware of what is going on – in our bodies, in our feelings, in our minds, and in the world. Each day thousands of children die of hunger. Plant and animal species are going extinct every day. Yet the sunrise is beautiful, and the rose that bloomed this morning along the wall is a miracle. Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects.”

“Life is Dreadful and Wonderful” by Thich Nhat Hanh. From How to Relax (2015).

“I have heard compelling arguments for two very different points of view on our social responsibilities. From one perspective, it is essential for us to be engaged with the difficulties that surround us, especially the exploitation and injustices that are perpetrated all over the world. It seems that we are constantly either at war or preparing for war. For millions of people, war is not just an idea but a painful daily reality – as are starvation, poverty, disease, and all of the suffering in the world. Even in our very rich and affluent society, people are suffering in many ways. From that point of view, what is most important is what we do to end suffering and injustice. Is it possible to be aware of this and spend our time sitting in meditation?

But there is another point of view that is equally convincing, and that is that the best way to alleviate war and suffering is to learn the causes of them. For instance, what is the cause of starvation and wars and suffering? There is enough oil. There is enough food. There are enough resources on this planet. The cause of much of the suffering in the world is greed, and the cause of it is prejudice and hatred. We like our country, our family, and our religion, and we hate people of different religions, with different skin colors, with different customs. There is hoarding, grasping, greed, hatred, and ignorance. There have been hundreds of revolutions throughout history, and, although they’ve helped in some ways, in other ways the same kinds of problems keep happening again and again, because we haven’t addressed the root of the problem.

The root of the problem is that everyone has to first discover the root of anger and hatred inside themselves before they can understand how it operates in the outside world. The solution to the problem is for everyone to learn how to be free of the fears and prejudices that arise in human hearts and minds. To do that, we have to learn how to see the world exactly as it is, and not be afraid of what is painful or seduced by what is pleasant. We have to discover how to keep our hearts open to everything we encounter and everyone we meet.

From this perspective, we do not need more oil or food or money or anything external, as much as we need people who understand how not to get caught in anger, fear, and prejudice. In this way, meditation is not a luxury or an escape from the world, but it is a deepening sense of our responsibility to learn how not to be caught by these forces. That is why, in our meditation practice, we first learn what this understanding means for us on the inside before we bring that understanding to our interactions with the economic, social, and political suffering in the world.”

“Meditation and Social Responsibility” by Jack Kornfield. From Meditation for Beginners (2004).

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Peace and Love

Peace and love are founded on consent. As Tom Jones sang, “Love is a two-way street.” Peace and love require freedom and agency. They cannot come about by domination. They arise from the harmonization of our interconnectedness with our unique individuality. The following excerpts by Max Stirner and Thich Nhat Hanh illustrate the individual freedom that is the foundation of love and peace.

by Max Stirner

I love people. Not merely individuals, but every one. But I love them because love makes me happy, I love because loving is natural to me, because it pleases me. I know no “commandment of love.” I have a fellow-feeling with every feeling being, and their torment torments, their refreshment refreshes me too.

If I see the loved one suffer, I suffer with them, and I know no rest until I have tried everything to comfort and cheer them; if I see them glad, I too become glad over their joy.

Because I cannot bear the troubled crease on the beloved forehead, for that reason, and therefore for my sake, I kiss it away. If I did not love this person, they might go right on making creases; they would not trouble me; I am only driving away my trouble.

How has anybody or anything, whom and which I do not love, a right to be loved by me? Is my love first, or is their right first? Parents, kinsfolk, fatherland, nation, native town, etc., finally fellowmen in general, assert that they have a right to my love, and lay claim to it without further ceremony. They look upon it as their property, and upon me, if I do not respect this, as a robber who takes from them what pertains to them and is theirs.

But love is not a commandment, but, like each of my feelings, my property. Acquire, purchase, my property, and then I will make it over to you. A church, a nation, a fatherland, a family, etc., that does not know how to acquire my love, I need not love; and I fix the purchase price of my love quite at my pleasure.

Whether this can still be called love? If you know another word for it, go ahead and choose it.

Only as one of my feelings do I harbor love; but as a power above me, as a divine power, as a passion that I am not to cast off, as a religious and moral duty, I – scorn it.

My love is neither holy nor unholy, neither divine nor diabolical.

(From The Unique and Its Own, 1844)


by Thich Nhat Hanh

Often, when we say, “I love you” we focus mostly on the idea of the “I” who is doing the loving and less on the quality of the love that’s being offered. This is because we are caught by the idea of self. We think we have a self. But there is no such thing as an individual separate self. A flower is made only of non-flower elements, such as chlorophyll, sunlight, and water. If we were to remove all the non-flower elements from the flower, there would be no flower left. A flower cannot be by itself alone. A flower can only inter-be with all of us. It’s much closer to the truth. Humans are like this too. We can’t exist by ourselves alone. We can only inter-be. I am made only of non-me elements, such as the Earth, the sun, parents, and ancestors. In a relationship, if you can see the nature of interbeing between you and the other person, you can see that their suffering is your own suffering, and your happiness is their own happiness. With this way of seeing, you speak and act differently. This in itself can relieve so much suffering.

by Thich Nhat Hanh

Loving someone doesn’t mean saying “yes” to whatever the other person wants. The basis of loving someone else is to know yourself and to know what you need. I know a woman who suffered very much because she couldn’t say “no.” From the time she was young, whenever a man asked her for something, she felt she had to say “yes” even when she didn’t want to. It’s important that loving another person doesn’t take priority over listening to yourself and knowing what you need.

(From How To Love, 2015)