Weekly Email 10-4-22

Dear Common Ground Friends,

This week we share with you an article and invitation written by Common Ground Dharma Teacher Kyoko Katayama:

A Reservoir of Grief: An Invitation

We love. We care. We cherish.

Yet, the truth of impermanence pervades our lives. We lose our beloved life partner. An old friend succumbs to cancer. We make a difficult decision to euthanize a suffering pet. Sound of gun shots fills our once sweet neighborhood streets. Our cherished blue planet, our Mother Earth, shows us in innumerable ways how the global warming is changing her and our lives.

When we lose that which we cherish, grief is the most human and natural response. Grief is not so much psychological as it is a whole person experience. It is deeply felt in our animal body.

When our grief is fresh and raw, we will learn to hold it with tenderness and patience. Grief can be like a rope burn when the rope is pulled out of a fist. The pain of grief manifests in many ways: sharp, dull, or like a scream that doesn’t want to stop. It is common to experience multiple sensations, from ache in the heart to numbness. When we feel numb and shut down, we will learn to remember our aliveness in time. We can’t make the pain go away, but yes, we learn to hold it with mercy and wisdom in time.

The part of us that can witness the pain, our awareness, is the part that is not touched by pain. Our awareness is the light that illuminates the pain. It’s good to remember that the part of us that knows the pain is itself free of pain. In fact, awareness, when it sees suffering, compassion naturally rises. It is this loving awareness that can hold the pain of grief.

We grieve because we care. We learn to live with the consequence of love so we must bear loss as deeply as we cared. We will learn to trust our pain as we learn to deeply connect with our love. With courage, we trust the pain enough to explore what it has to teach us about what really matter to us in life.

Grief is a human –some would say mammalian—experience. It is universal and traditional cultures have rituals and ceremonies to honor and bear witness to it in the community. Unfortunately, in the West it is too often thought of as an isolated individual experience. An enigma of grief is while it is a universal experience, it can make us feel so alone with it. We are actually never alone in grief. In truth, grief when held in a community, a different level of opening and healing happens.

When we gather together to name our grief, and to bear each other’s grief in a community setting with care and wisdom, the community becomes the large container to hold each other’s grief. We recognize how we are not alone in our grief, that the experience of shared grief connects us to ten thousand others suffering this same sense of loss at this moment, it ripples across the shared reservoir of grief, turning it into an ocean of compassion.

Please join us on Sunday October 30th at 1:30 pm in person at the Dharma Hall at Common Ground for a community ceremony to honor our grief and create a shared reservoir. Of tender compassion.

Kyoko Katayama

Fall Maintenance Day!

Sunday, October 9th | 2:00 – 5:30pm
Come join the Building and Garden Committees for an afternoon of joyful cleaning, fixing, and garden work. Refreshments will be provided before the Weekly Practice Group begins at 7:00pm

Annual Day of Remembrance led by Kyoko Katayama and Patrice Koelsch
October 30th | 1:30 – 3:00pm
In-person only
No registration necessary

Weekly Programs
To view our entire list of programs and to access Zoom links to participate in online programs, please visit the online calendar

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Sunday mornings, 10:30-11:45am in-person and on Zoom with Mark Nunberg
    • October 9th Mark will be teaching virtually and live-streamed in the dharma hall
    • October 16th taught by Shelly Graf
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
    • October 9th with Shelly Graf
    • October 16th with Ramesh Sairam
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom with Shelly Graf
    • October 5th will be held from 5:30 – 7:45 CT in order to include the community at Cambridge Insight Meditation Center.
Monthly Practice Groups
  • First Fridays, 7-8:30pm on Zoom, Lovingkindness with Mark Nunberg and Stacy McClendon

Community Practice Check-Ins

  • Sundays, 4:30-5:30pm with Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke, on Zoom
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00pm with Stacy McClendon, on Zoom
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am with Shelly Graf, on Zoom
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm with Ramesh Sairam, on Zoom

Open Meditation
Join fellow community members for meditation practice in person or online, 7 days a week. Visit the calendar for times and details.

Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times a week, both in person and online. Click here for times and details.

Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30pm.
In-person and on Zoom
Visit the calendar for Zoom link


Upcoming Programs: Online Only

To see full list of programs and access Zoom links for online programs visit our calendar.

MBSR-Based Mindfulness Practice with Nancy Boros
Mondays, 12:00 -1:00pm

InterPlay with Spruce Krause
Thursday, October 13th | 7:00 -8:30pm

Daylong Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, October 15th | 9:30am – 4:00pm

Mindful Self-Compassion Practice Group with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst
Friday, October 21st | 7:00 -8:30pm

Upcoming Programs: In Person/Hybrid at Common Ground
To see full list of programs visit our calendar

Qigong Workshop with Autumn & Steve Compton
October 8th | 9:00am – 4:00pm
Info and registration here

Annual Day of Remembrance with Kyoko Katayama and Patrice Koelsch
Sunday, October 30th | 1:30pm – 4:00pm
No registration necessary.

Untangling Karma; Intimate Zen Stories on Healing Trauma
A Book Launch with Judith Ragir

November 6th | 2:00 – 3:30pm
No registration necessary

Upcoming In-Person/Hybrid Programs at our Retreat Center
Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. More information and registration for the following programs can be found here


Fall Retreat with Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf, Assisted by Gabe Keller Flores
Thursday evening, November 3rd – mid-day Sunday, November 6th
On Zoom and in-person at our retreat center (waitlist only for retreat center spots)

Mindful Hatha Yoga Retreat with Nancy Boler
5:30pm Thursday, November 17 – 2:00pm Sunday, November 20th
In-person only

Year End Retreat with Shelly Graf & Mark Nunberg
Monday evening, December 26th – mid-day Saturday, December 31st
In-person at Common Ground in Minneapolis and on Zoom.

Practice Periods:

Practice Period for BIPOC Practitioners with Jen Racho & Arleta Little
5:00pm Thursday, October 13th – 2:00pm Sunday, October 16th

BIPOC Community Day of Mindfulness Practice
October 15th | 9:30am – 4:00pm

Practice Period with Tracey Ghilardi & Kerry Dunn
5:00pm Thursday, October 27th – 2:00pm Sunday, October 30th

Year End Practice Period for Millennials and Gen Z’s with Robin Major & Jack Arpin
December 26th – December 31st
Robin and Jack will be livestreaming the Year-End Retreat taught by Shelly Graf & Mark Nunberg

For more upcoming Practice Periods, click here.

In addition to these weekend retreats, we also offer public drop-in groups on select Wednesdays at the retreat center, 6:30-7:45pm.

  • First Wednesday of the month: Community Group led by Matthew King and other practice leaders
  • Third Wednesday of the month: Monthly Practice Group with Dharma Teachers and Community Leaders
More info about these Wednesday night programs here.

The Practice of Generosity

Continuing in the tradition of Buddhist monasteries in Southeast Asia, all programs at Common Ground are offered free of charge in the spirit of generosity. This offering is possible because of the generosity of people like you—from the Buddha on down to all the people in our community—who contribute their practice, time, and financial resources to support the continuation of the center.

To learn how to support the center and our teachers, visit this page. Let us know if you have any questions.

Current Volunteer Needs 
Please contact Robin Major at robin@commongroundmeditation.org if you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities:

  • Adopt a Cleaning Task for the Common Ground building! Our meditation home is welcoming more traffic these days. If it would feel good for you to pick up a work task and give to the community in this way, please let Robin know a specific time you would like to come in and we can identify a weekly 15 minute cleaning task for you to do.
  • Wishlist items: large pot (for over 20 servings), one bookshelf, large high quality wool rugs for the dharma hall at the retreat center, large indoor trees with nice pots.

Community News 

Upcoming Program with Brian Young and Liz Reynolds
Common Ground Board Secretary and Be Queer Now facilitator Brian Young is leading a daylong program with Liz Reynolds on October 22nd, from 10:00 – 5:00 pm CT. Please email Brian if you are interested in more info bri.p.young@gmail.com. All dana will go to a social justice organization.

Upcoming Community Group Meetings:

  • Be Queer Now, weekly on Wednesday, 7:30-9:00pm
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, Thursday October 6th, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Buddhism & Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, October 8th, 9:00 – 10:15am
  • Community Group for Organizers & Social Justice Activists, Thursday October 13th, 6:00-7:30pm
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, October 16th, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Refirement Community Group for Retirees, Thursday October 20th, 12:00-2:00pm
  • Millenials Sangha, Friday, October 28th, 7:00-8:30pm

View public calendar for Zoom links and more information.
To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Weekly Tejaniya

When to Detach and When to Accept
When things are good, learn how to
detach from them. When things are not
good, learn how to accept them.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Silver maple outside Common Ground Meditation Center

Silver maple outside Common Ground Meditation Center

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