Weekly Email 1-19-24

Greetings Common Ground!

I’m back, if I ever left. I confess to having read close to every one of these weekly emails even while I was no longer working in the office. What can I say, Dharma administration is close to my heart. It’s good to be back; in some ways it feels like I never left, and in other ways I am appreciating the freshness and unfixedness of everything. Operating a Dharma organization is an interesting exercise. At Common Ground we teach about the ungovernability of everything, and at the same time, it’s a good idea if the right Zoom link is in the right place at the right time. Luckily I feel this role allows me to make good use of my critical eye. My practice is to not let that spill out in my interactions with real people! Fortunately I am surrounded by examples of generosity, good-heartedness, and commitment to awakening. It’s a pretty good work environment, to say the least. I feel grateful to serve you all in this way again, and know it will be a rich opportunity for my practice. Hope to see you in the office, on the cushion, or at the retreat center sometime soon.

Gabe Keller Flores
Operations Manager

Office Hours (in the building)
Mondays 12-4
Tuesdays, 10-3
Thursdays, 10-2
612-722-8260 (CG office number)

P.S. If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to these last few years, it’s this:

Programs with our Co-Guiding Teachers

With Shelly Graf

Weekly Practice Group with Shelly

Sundays mornings, 10:30-11:45 a.m., in-person, on Zoom, and live-streamed to YouTube

  • January 21st with Patrice Koelsch
Sundays, 7:00-8:30 p.m., in-person only
  • January 21st with Gabe Keller Flores

Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 p.m., in-person and on Zoom

  • January 24th with Gabe Keller Flores
Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Shelly Graf and Jen Racho
Six Tuesdays: January 9 – February 13, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
In-person and on Zoom
Register here
*It’s still ok to register and join in starting week 3!
Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Shelly Graf
In person and on Zoom
  • Daylong: Saturday, January 27th, 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Register here.
  • Half-Day: Saturday, February 3rd, 1:00-5:00 p.m. Register here.
  • Daylong: Saturday, February 10th, 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Register here
Buddhist Studies: Impermanence with Shelly Graf
Four Mondays, January 29th – February 19th, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Community Practice Check-ins with Shelly Graf
Every Wednesday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. in-person (peer-led next Wednesday the 24th)
Every Friday, 9:00-10:00 a.m. on Zoom; co-led every other Friday with Jen Racho

With Mark Nunberg

*While Mark is taking time to heal from a recent illness, Co-Guiding Teacher Shelly Graf and Common Ground’s dharma teachers will be filling in. We’ll be grateful to have Mark back just as soon as he is able. 

To view the recording from Monday’s Community Dharma Evening with Mark and Shelly, click here.

Upcoming Teacher-led Programs

Half-Day Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Stacy McClendon & Jen Racho
Saturday, January 20th, 1:00-5:00 p.m.
In-person only
Register here

Recovery & Twelve Steps Half-Day Retreat with Mark M and Mary G
Saturday, February 17th, 1:00–5:00 p.m.
In-person only. Registration here.

Ongoing Teacher-Led Programs

As always, our online calendar is the best way to find the most up-to-date information and Zoom links. 

Developing the Art of Spiritual Inquiry with Ramesh Sairam
On Zoom only.
First Thursdays of the month, 7:00-8:30 p.m., next session is February 1st.

Lovingkindness Practice Group with Stacy McClendon
In-person and on Zoom. First Fridays of the month, 7:00-8:30 p.m., next session is February 2nd.

Mindful Self-Compassion with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst 
On Zoom Only. Third Fridays of the month, 7:00-8:30 p.m., next session is Friday, February 16th. (Jan 19th cancelled)

Community Practice Check-Ins
  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30 p.m., on Zoom with Wynn Fricke
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30 AM-12:00 p.m., on Zoom with Ramesh Sairam
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 p.m., on Zoom with Stacy McClendon
Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Weekly group meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
In-person and on Zoom

Youth Programs 

  • Children’s Program: Kindergarten- 3rd grade, every other Sunday 10:30-11:45 a.m.
  • Preteen Program: 4th grade- 7th grade, every other Sunday 10:30-11:45 a.m.
  • Teen Practice Group: Every other Sunday 10:30-11:30 a.m.
View the calendar page for the exact schedule. (The teen group alternates with the children and preteen groups.)

Programs at Our Retreat Center
Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis.

Upcoming Practice Period
With Pietro Ferrero and Jane Reyer: Thursday, Feb 1st – Sunday Feb 4th. More info and registration here.

President’s Day Residential Retreat with Shelly Graf and Gabe Keller Flores
Thursday, February 15th – Sunday, February 18th
In person and on Zoom. Registration here. (Short waitlist for in-person; space available on Zoom.)

For background on our retreat center, click here.

Community News 

Open Meditation
There is silent meditation at the city center every day of the week! Drop in for 30-minute sessions at these times:

  • Sunday: 8:30-9:30 a.m.
  • Monday through Friday: 6:30-8:30 a.m.
  • Saturday: 7:30-8:30 a.m.
  • Tuesdays: 7:30-9:00 a.m.
  • Wednesdays: 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Upcoming Community Group Meetings
As always, our online calendar is the best way to find the correct times and Zoom links. 

  • Refirement Group, Thursday, January 18th, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, next meeting is January 18th, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • Mindfulness & Depression, First and Third Sundays, next meeting is January 21st, 4:00-5:30 p.m.
  • Be Queer Now: First Wednesdays of the month, next meeting is February 7th, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, February 10th, 9:00-10:30 AM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Steward Needed at Arrow River near Thunder Bay, Canada
As a small hermitage in a non-Buddhist country, Arrow River operates by dependence on a lay steward who lives here and takes care of the duties which monks cannot. This is an opportunity to live at the center for an extended period of time and to serve the Triple Gem. The duties are not time consuming and leave ample time for study and meditation. There is an opening beginning February 26th. More information about stewardship at Arrow River.

Freely Giving and Receiving

Common Ground offers all programs freely in the spirit of generosity. If you’d like to donate to support the teachers and the center, click the link below.


Volunteer Opportunities

Please contact Gabe Keller Flores, at gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities:

  • Program Hosting: We are looking for a few more program hosts to help greet people and set up the meditation hall on Sunday mornings (and maybe other times). If you enjoy making people feel welcome, have good attention to detail, and have been coming to the center for at least a year, feel free to reach out to Gabe.
  • Snow Removal: Join the Common Ground snow removal team to help shovel and snowblow to keep the center’s sidewalks clear after snowstorms.
  • Audio Editing: For talks uploaded to Dharmaseed. The audio editing is easy to learn, no previous experience required.
  • Tree trimming: A community member with skill and experience trimming trees; for a tree at the city center.
Wishlists: If you want to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.


Delusion Hides Reality and Gives Us a Substitute

Delusion not only keeps
reality from us, but also gives
us a substitute for it. People can
live a whole lifetime in this way.
You can feel very fortunate that you
have this opportunity to practice
Dhamma, investigating what
is real and what is not.       

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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