Weekly Email 11-23-22

Dear Common Ground Friends,

As hard as it seems at times the Buddha reminds us that it is possible to accept things as they are. This includes every possible experience that emerges within us, and in the contexts of our relationships and our social world. When we’re able to accept life on life’s terms even in brief moments, our hearts open to a simple joy, the joy of not blaming, not clinging, not resisting. Acceptance becomes trustworthy and little by little, acceptance begins to shape and guide our lives. Wherever our lives take us over the next week, may we all experience the simple joy and contentedness of acceptance. May we tune into the ways our life activities become skillfully shaped and animated by the spacious heart, remembering that we don’t have to be perfect to experience this simple joy. We can start right now. Is it possible to accept this, whatever it is and however we feel it, even the pain, even the beauty, even the unexpected?

I’ll leave you with a sweet dharma inspired poem by long time Common Ground teacher and friend, Alice Vollmar in her new book of poetry: Stopping! Looking!

Ten inches piled high –
Filling the old basketball hoop, Bending pine branches – Came yesterday.
In the mantle vase
Fall mums and cattails,
A bit faded,
Try to be the season just past.
In our naivete,
We, of course, all do.

Warm Wishes,

Shelly Graf
Co-Guiding Teacher

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
    • Dec 4th with Jean Haley
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
    • Dec 4th with Shelly Graf
  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00pm on Zoom with Shelly Graf
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
  • Beginning Wednesday, November 30th, Shelly Graf will begin leading a weekly in-person Practice Check-In from 8:30am – 9:30am
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

Youth Programs

  • Children’s Program: The Children’s Program is held on the 1st and 3rd Sundays, 10:30 – 11:45am. The program is for kindergarteners – 3rd graders. If your child is preschool age, you are welcome to join the group but a parent will need to stay with the child.
  • Teen Program: The teen group will be meet 10:30 – 11:30am on 11/27 and 12/11. You can join the Common Ground teen listserv by emailing Robin: robin@commongroundmeditation.org.


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, December 8th | 7:00 -8:30pm

Mindful Self-Compassion Practice Group with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst
Friday, December 16th | 7:00 -8:30pm

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

Daylong Retreat with Patrice Koelsch
Saturday, November 26th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In-person only
Register here

Community Practice Intensive with Shelly Graf & Sarah Wilson
Three Mondays: November 28th, December 5th, and December 12th from 7:00pm – 8:30pm, ending with a daylong retreat on December 17th.
In-person and on Zoom
More info and registration here

Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf
Saturday, December 3rd | 1:00pm – 5:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Guest Teacher Talk with Ben Connelly: Imagination, Interdependence, and Liberation
Thursday, December 8th | 7:00 – 9:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
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


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 with Robin Major & Pietro Ferrero
5:00pm Thursday, December 15th – 2:00pm Sunday, December 18th

For more upcoming Practice Periods, click here.

In addition to these weekend retreats, we also offer public drop-in groups on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month at the retreat center, 6:30-7:45pm. The groups are led by 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:

  • Snowblowing and Shoveling: ‘Tis snow season! If you would like to help Ollie and Rob keep the sidewalks and parking lot clear, please contact Ollie at: ostocker1@gmail.com. Ollie and Rob will be happy to train you in with the snowblower if you have not used one before.
  • YouTube Volunteer: We are looking for a volunteer to help our yoga teacher Nancy Boler upload livestream thumbnails to our YouTube page. This task is easy to learn and takes about 15 minutes every couple weeks.
  • 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 15-45 minute cleaning task for you to do.
  • Website Volunteer: We are hoping to re-do our website in the coming months. If you have experience building websites and are interested in helping with this, please write an email of interest to Robin.
  • Plant Pots: We are looking for two large terracotta, ceramic, or nicely made resin pots for plants at the retreat center. The pots should be at least 15in in diameter.

Community News 

Community Potluck!
Our next Community Potluck will be on Sunday, December 18th from 12:00 – 1:30pm. If you’d like to help out during the event, you can sign up for a volunteer slot here.

Calendar Page Captchas
If you have been experiencing difficulty opening the calendar page, you are not alone! We are working to update our calendar page and hopefully will have it fixed soon. Accessing the calendar through Google Chrome, or another non-Safari platform, works best.

Upcoming Community Group Meetings
View public calendar for Zoom links and more information.

  • Be Queer Now, weekly on Wednesday, 7:30-9:00pm
  • Millennials Sangha, Friday, November 25th, 7:00 PM
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, Thursday December 1st, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, December 4th, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Community Group for Organizers & Social Justice Activists, Thursday December 8th, 6:00-7:30pm

To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Weekly Tejaniya

The True Goal of Practice is to Understand
The true goal of pratice is
to understand things; happiness
then follows naturally.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Alice Vollmar and Mary Guzowski-Lindbeck celebrating Alice’s poetry reading earlier this month

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