Emmye Vernet, 21
Emmye attended her first iBme retreat during her senior year of high school. “I was experiencing a lot of changes in my life, and was feeling unsteady about all the transitions that were happening as I prepared to leave behind my friends, family, and hometown to attend college,” she recalls. “I knew that I needed to cultivate some kind of inner-groundedness to support myself in this move and beyond.”
Little did she know how far “beyond” her retreat experience would take her. In addition to building long-lasting friendships and deepening her own mindfulness practice, her time with iBme ultimately served to shape her life path.
“That retreat inspired so much of the work that I do today, and the work I hope to continue to do in the future,” she says. “Being able to experience heartfelt friendship and solidarity with people across difference helped me to understand what compassionate community can look like. I have dedicated both my personal practice and my academic career to exploring the ways that mindfulness can support social justice work and community building—and so much of it started with iBme!”
Taujvyone Daniels, 16
Taujvyone was inspired to attend his first retreat after his sister returned from a transformative week with iBme. “She was feeling so much joy that she had trouble voicing her experience,” he remembers. “No words could come close to replicating the warmth she had felt during the trip. I couldn’t imagine why she fell in love with meditation, so I had to find out for myself!”
It wasn’t long before Taujvyone had a transformative retreat experience of his own. Discovering mindfulness for himself, while surrounded by his peers, proved to be life-changing. “It was a feeling of authenticity and intimacy,” he says. “Just looking into the eyes of another person, without knowing anything else about them, and realizing that everyone is experiencing something in their lives.”
He also discovered that connecting with others helped him to connect more deeply with himself. “I had internal conflicts that I really got to confront while on retreat,” he says. “I think practicing mindfulness can help teens to form healthy relationships with everything in their lives. It’s given me a real sense of what’s best for me, and I no longer feel the need to be like everyone else. I’ve been inspired to improve my life by following my individual interests.”
To read more from teens who have been impacted by iBme retreats, check out this article on the teenage brain from Mindful magazine.
If you’ve participated in an iBme teen retreat and would like to share your perspective we’d love to hear your voice! Send your thoughts on the experience to us at firstname.lastname@example.org