Weekly Email 11-24-21

Dear Dharma Friends,

Like many of you, the Thanksgiving holiday can be a time for honest reflection that includes honoring the abundance of goodness in and around me, as well as aligning with the truth of harm that is caused by our individual and collective ignorance. This includes remembering that this holiday is often one of mourning the legacy of destruction to indigenous communities and the earth as well as honoring the immense resiliency within. What wondrous complexity that we get to reckon with as sincere and whole-hearted practitioners! I came across this liturgy and dedication from the Zen community that I have found supportive. I share it with you in case it supports you too.
With great gratitude for the sincerity among us.


Shelly Graf
Co-Guiding Teacher 

Upcoming Programs: In Person at Common Ground

*As a reminder, vaccination, masking, and social distancing are required for in-person programs.*

Silent Open Meditation
Monday-Saturday, 7:30-8:30am,
Sundays 8:30-9:30am,
Tuesdays from 7:30-9:00pm, &
Wednesdays, 11:00am-12:00pm

Friday, November 26th
  • Nancy Boler is now offering a hybrid In-Person/Zoom Mindful Yoga Class on Fridays from 9:30-10:45am.
Saturday, November 27th
  • In Person: Daylong Retreat with Patrice Koelsch: Abiding in the Divine Abodes, 9:30am-4:00pm. More info and registration here.

Sunday, November 28th

  • Livestream of Weekly Practice Group with Shelly Graf, 10:30-11:45am. The meditation hall is open on Sunday mornings for community members to gather to watch the Weekly Practice Group livestream together on a screen. There will be a program host there to facilitate conversation for those who wish to stay afterwards. Shelly will be teaching online from the office.
  • In-Person Weekly Practice Group with Mark Nunberg, 7:00-8:30pm.
Monday, November 29th – Saturday, December 18th
  • Zoom/In-Person: Community Practice Intensive with Shelly Graf & Gabe Keller Flores. The Community Practice Intensive is an opportunity to increase the amount of time we spend doing formal meditation practice, as well as commit to being mindful throughout our day, for a period of just under three weeks. More info and registration here.
Wednesday, December 1st
  • Autumn and Steve Compton alternate offering In-Person Qigong from 9:30-10:30 on Wednesdays.
  • Nancy Boler is now offering an In-Person Mindful Yoga Class on Wednesdays, from 12:05-1:05pm.
Saturday, December 4th
  • In-Person/Zoom Mindfulness and Recovery Retreat with Mary G. and Charlie B., 9:00am-12:00pm. More info and registration here.
December 26th-31st
  • Year-End Retreat with Shelly Graf and Yong Oh. Offered in person at Common Ground (non-residential) or on Zoom. More info and registration to come soon.

Upcoming Programs In Person at Common Ground’s Retreat Center at Prairie Farm

Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. Registration is now open for the following programs there.

  • WAITLIST ONLY: Practice Period with Matthew King, assisted by Pietro Ferrero
    Thursday evening, December 2nd – Sunday mid-day December 5th. Registration here.
  • WAITLIST ONLY: Practice Period with Matthew King and Tracey Ghilardi
    Thursday evening, December 16th – Sunday mid-day December 19th. Registration here.
More info and registration for these programs can be found here. Please note that we are currently requiring vaccination and masking for programs at the retreat property.

Upcoming Programs: Online

Wednesday, November 24th

  • Shelly Graf will lead the Weekly Practice Group; a cornerstone for one’s practice by providing ongoing instruction and teachings that will help illuminate the simple but challenging practice of mindfulness. 7:30pm-9:00pm on Zoom.
Friday, November 26th
  • Shelly Graf will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. All are welcome. 9:00-10:00am on Zoom.
  • Stacy McClendon will offer the bimonthly Lovingkindness Practice Group, 7:00-8:30pm.
Sunday, November 28th
  • Shelly Graf will lead the Weekly Practice Group, 10:30-11:45am on Zoom.
  • Wynn Fricke and Gabe Keller Flores will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 4:30-5:30pm on Zoom.

Tuesday, November 30th

  • Stacy McClendon will lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In, 12:00pm-1:00pm on Zoom.
Saturday, December 11th
  • Half-Day Retreat with Shelly Graf, 9:00am-1:00pm. More info and registration here.
  • Couples’ Workshop with Jane Rauenhorst & Jean Haley, 9:00am-12:00pm. More info and registration here.
Sunday, December 19th
  • Community Zoom Celebration for Shelly Graf as Common Ground’s Co-Guiding Teacher, 1:00-3:00pm.
These are program highlights. To see a complete list of all our programs and access Zoom links to participate, please visit the online calendar. Also, please note all times listed are in central time.

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

  • Snowblowing Team: We’re still looking for a few more snow removal volunteers! If you’re interested email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org. The way we do it is you sign up for times when you’re on call to respond if there’s a snowfall. We need both shovelers and people to operate the snowblower. Snowblowing training provided :)
  • Weekly Sunday Evening Cleaning: Every Sunday evening there is a drop-in Community Cleaning time from 6-7pm, led by community leaders Brad Dupre and Dave Redelman.
  • Tuesday evening bellringer: We’re looking for someone interested in ringing the bell for the evening sit on Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00pm, once or twice a month. Email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if interested.
  • Flower arrangers: Do you like flowers? We are looking for a couple flower-arranging volunteers at Common Ground. Training provided! Email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if interested.
  • Cooking for Practice Periods at Prairie Farm: There is a tradition in Buddhism of supporting people doing intensive retreat practice. We are always looking for volunteers interested in cooking and freezing meals ahead of time for retreatants at Prairie Farm. You can see a list of recipes here. Common Ground has pots and tupperware you can borrow for cooking and freezing. Contact retreatcenter@commongroundmeditation.org if you wish to offer a meal. Or to donate in support of groceries for the retreatants, you can designate a gift for “CG Retreat Center” here.


Community News

   Upcoming Community Group Meetings

  • Millenials Sangha, Fri. Nov 26th, 7:00-8:30pm, In Person.
  • Tea and Dharma Community Group, Tue. Nov. 30th. In Person, 8:00-9:00am.
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group. Thurs. Dec 2nd. On Zoom. 6:30-8:00pm.
Teen Group to Resume in January
Our hope is to offer in-person Teen Group practice on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, starting in January.  We will be following Common Ground’s COVID-19 protocols, as they evolve according to public health recommendations. We will also offer a monthly Zoom session on the 4th Sunday of each month. To get on the email list for the teen practice group, email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org.

Racial Affinity Group Looking for New Members
If you would like to join an ongoing RAG, we have 1-2 openings in our group. There are three of us now, middle-aged-senior white women. We meet the second Tuesday of every month from 6 – 8 PM CST on Zoom. Please contact gabe@commongroundmeditation.org and he will put you in touch with the group.

Upcoming Antiracism Programs with ASDIC
Our friends at ASDIC (Antiracism Study and Dialogue Circle) have some online programs coming up, open to all:

  • Third Sunday Forums: Conversations on Race, Dec 19, 12:30 PM. More info here.
Arrow River Forest Hermitage Looking for Steward
Some of you will be familiar with Arrow River Forest Hermitage, where one of CG’s longtime visiting teachers, Ajahn Punnadhammo is the resident Buddhist monk. The hermitage will be needing someone to act as steward starting mid-December. The steward is a volunteer position and is responsible for cooking the one meal a day, managing the kitchen and doing the shopping. It is strongly preferred if you have a driver’s license. For more information check out the Visitor’s Pages on their website. Please send all inquiries to abbot@arrowriver.ca.

Weekly Tejaniya
Let things unfold naturally.
Your job is to watch, know, learn,
and gain experience. As you watch
an experience continually, you will
begin to recognize patterns. Later
you will see the whole picture. The
value of meditation becomes more
apparent with dedicated practice
over long stretches of time.

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