Arrival and departure information for retreatants taking a Solitary Cabin Retreat at Karme Choling Meditation Retreat Center, Vermont

Arrival / Departure

Typical Arrival/Departure times
Arrive: 1st day of retreat at 1:30pm
Departure: Pick-up is the last day at 11:30am


Please plan to arrive at Karmê Chöling the day your retreat begins by 1:30pm. This is our standard time to greet and orient our cabin retreatants.
During this meeting you'll:

  • Receive a general Solitary Cabin Retreat orientation
  • Sign a liability release
  • Schedule meditation instruction if you have asked for it in advance
  • Go over delivery dates for your ice, water, and supplies

Next, we will load you, your baggage and your supplies into the retreats vehicle and take you up to your cabin.

Once at the cabin we will give you a detailed tour of your cabin, letting you know where items are and how to operate them. Of course we are happy to answer all your questions about your cabin at this time.

During your retreat

You can expect deliveries from the retreat helper and visits from your meditation instructor on the dates determined during your initial meeting. Other than that you may not see anyone else during your retreat.

Preparing to leave retreat

Cleaning and rearranging your cabin back to its original condition before you leave is considered an integral part of your retreat. Your attention, awareness and effort in leaving an uplifted environment for the next retreatant is a gesture of generosity.

On the last morning of your retreat there are two large tasks that need to be done;

  • You will need to take an inventory of the cabin supplies
  • The cabin will need to be cleaned as outlined below

This may take much longer than you think – three to six hours is average. The kind of shrine you have to take down (Shamatha, Werma, Vajrayogini, etc.) – will be a factor in how much time will be involved. A good idea is to start planning your departure activities the day before. This will give you a sense of what is involved and how much time you will need to allot.

In particular during the COVID Pandemic a deep cleaning of the cabin is required.

We recycle glass, metal, plastic containers, clean paper and clean cardboard. You may burn paper and cardboard;
We Do not recycle plastic bags, paper towels, saran wrap, milk cartons or juice cartons. Please put these items in the trash.

Plant-based items - Collect kitchen scraps that are plant-based and empty them in the outside compost bin. Keep the lid secured. If smell develops, cover scraps with a 2” layer of mulch from the woods.
All other food scraps - Only put meat, bones, fish and dairy scraps in the trash on the day that the trash is removed. Until then, leave them in a bag in the cooler. This cuts down on animal visitors looking for food.


Cleaning the shrine:

  • Clean the offering bowls with glass cleaner.
  • Clean the shrine glass, front table and puja table.
  • Pick out incense from the incense bowl (do not use a strainer), offer them in
    the woods, and wipe the rim of the bowl.
  • Remove the layer of ashes from the lhasang bowl and wipe the rim.
  • Clean the votive candle holders thoroughly;
    to remove wax, gradually warm up the glass with warm water, then hot water, then very hot water; then wipe the wax off with a paper towel
    (filling a cold candle holder with boiling water will break the glass!)
  • Clean the protector tea set with brass polish except for the inner part of the
    cup that contains the tea (this is only cleaned once a year before Shambhala
    Day, since it is said to accumulate blessings throughout the year).
  • Polish the snuffer with brass polish.
  • Dust and clean all other shrine material and surfaces.
  • Clean the meditation cushions with the lint brush.

Cleaning the kitchen:

  • clean the cookstove
  • scrub the cookware to remove soot and burn marks
  • clean the compost bowl and lid
  • clean the kitchen walls and cabinet doors
  • clean the counter top
  • wipe down the cabinet shelves
  • empty and clean the bucket under the sink
  • empty water out of all pots and empty the kettle
  • empty the transparent water dispenser and put it on the porch

Cleaning around the cabin:

  • wipe down the window sills
  • wipe down any shelves
  • dust any nooks and crannies
  • dust ledges
  • clean the windows with glass cleaner
  • knock down cobwebs
  • use rags to clean the sootie area underneath the wood stove
  • sweep and mop the floor, including underneath the bed if there is open space.
    for mopping, apply all purpose spray directly on the microfiber pad or on the floor
  • return all objects to their original position if you have moved them to suit
    your needs
  • in GES and Dhritarashtra only: lean the mattress against the wall of the bed

Cleaning the outhouse:

  • sweep the outhouse
  • knock down cobwebs
  • clean the toilet seat and surrounding area

Cleaning outside:

  • sweep the porch
  • take ice packs out of the cooler and leave them on the porch
  • clean the cooler with baking soda and leave it in the cabin with the lid open

Disposing of cleaning materials and trash:

  • put dirty rags and microfiber mop heads in the small designated bucket and
    leave them on the porch
  • throw the used scrubbie and sponge in the trash
  • put a used chamber pot in the recycling bin after spraying it with all-purpose cleaner and rinsing
  • put trash and recycling bags on the porch

COVID cleaning:

finally, spray and wipe with desinfectant spray all high-touch surfaces,
counters, doorknobs, light switches

Taking inventory:
Check the cabin supplies and fill out the Retreat Cabin Inventory sheet
(this will help us stock the cabin for the next retreatant).

Final Preparation:

  • Pack up and put out on the porch for pick-up:
    • your bags
    • supplies
    • practice materials
    • all leftover food
    • recycling etc
  • Close all windows and doors.
  • latch the door and the screen, if they have a latch,

Leaving retreat:

  • Wait for your luggage pick-up at 11:30am.
  • Meet briefly with the Retreat Master wearing your face mask.
    Hand over the Retreat Cabin Inventory sheet and do any de-briefing that is needed.
  • Walk down to your car
  • Meet the retreats vehicle in the facilities parking spot with your car to retrieve your luggage
  • Drive home
  • If your retreat lasted longer than 2 weeks you may enter the buildings at KCL and join lunch.

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