Weekly Email 12-15-22

Dear Common Ground Friends,
I’m spending some time this week, supporting a friend in Durango, Colorado. Where I am, the sun is strong. Even though the air temperature is well below freezing, the fresh snow is melting and the pavement glistens as patches of ice turn to water. I stood in the sun this morning, just to feel it but also found myself turning away to soften its impact. Nature is a powerful teacher, surprising us in moments and reflecting that experience is always emerging into existence and passing away, often mysteriously right before our eyes. As we approach the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year or the emergence of light, depending on our perception, may we remember that how we see things impacts how we live through them. During the days ahead, may we learn the lessons of nature, to meet life with a sense of wonder and a renewing interest in creatively and flexibly softening to life’s many impacts.

Please join me in joyfully welcoming Mark Nunberg back from retreat this Sunday. He will lead both Weekly Practice Groups then. There will be a community potluck immediately following the Sunday morning practice group. All are welcome! There are a number of new program offerings as we invite 2022 to a close. Here are a few highlights but please see below for more information. We will have an all night solstice retreat on December 21st and will once again host a New Year’s Eve celebration on December 31st with music by Common Ground’s own, Gabe Keller-Flores and Ellis! Nancy Boler will once again lead an annual New Year’s Day yoga class. Our Buddhist Studies and Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation classes begin in early January. We are also grateful that Nan LeRoy will be teaching a virtual MBSR class to begin mid January.

Warmest Wishes,
Shelly Graf
Co-Guiding Teacher

Weekly Programs
We are experimenting with new ways to get information out about upcoming programs. You may see this weekly email changing some over the upcoming weeks. To view a complete list of our regular program offerings, visit our the upcoming programs page on our website. As always, our the online calendar is the best way to find correct times and zoom links. 

Open Meditation- NEW TIMES!
In person meditation is now available, M-Th, starting at 6:30 a.m. Check our online calendar for additional times and details. There are many In-person as well as virtual opportunities for silent meditation, 7 days a week. Visit the calendar for times and details.

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Sunday mornings, 10:30-11:45am in-person and on Zoom with Mark Nunberg
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30pm in-person with Mark Nunberg
  • 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
  • NEW! Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30am with Shelly Graf, in-person
  • Fridays, 9:00-10:00am with Shelly Graf, on Zoom
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30am-12:00pm with Ramesh Sairam, on Zoom
Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times a week, both in person and online.
Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30pm.
In-person and on Zoom

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.


Upcoming Programs: Online Only

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

SAVE THE DATE! Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction with Nan LeRoy
8 Wednesdays, January 19 – March 8, 7:00-9:30pm and daylong Retreat, Saturday, February 18.  Registration coming soon.

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

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

All-Night Solstice Retreat
With Mark Nunberg, Cory Clemetson and Robin Major
9:00pm December 20th – 7:00am December 21st
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration and Potluck
Saturday, December 31st | 7:30am – 12:15am
In-person and on Zoom
No registration necessary

New Year’s Day Yoga with Nancy Boler
12:30pm – 3:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Registration coming soon!

Half-Day Retreat with Ayya Niyy?nika & Mark Nunberg
January 7th | 1:00pm – 5:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Buddhist Studies: Seven Factors of Awakening with Mark Nunberg
Eight Mondays: January 9th – February 27th
7:30pm – 9:00pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Mark Nunberg
Six Tuesdays: January 10th – February 14th
7:00 – 8:30pm
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

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.

Tranquility & Insight Retreat with Shelly Graf & Mark Nunberg. Assisted by Stacy McClendon
Thursday evening, February 16th – mid-day Monday, February 20th
On Zoom and in-person at Common Ground Retreat Center in Prairie Farm, WI
Register here

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.
  • 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 12:00pm – 1:30pm. If you’d like to help out during the event, you can sign up for a volunteer slot here.

An Evening of Kirtan (Sacred Chanting)
January 7th | 7:30pm – 9:00pm
In-person only
Join Temple of Light for an evening of kirtan. Kirtan is from the Bhakti yoga tradition. It is sacred chanting of mantras and the names of the divine set to music. For many it leads into deep blissful states.

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
To view a complete list of our regular program offerings, visit our the upcoming programs page on our website. As always, our the online calendar is the best way to find correct times and zoom links. 

  • Retirement Group, Friday, December 15th, 12:00pm
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, TONIGHT, Thursday December 15th, 6:30-8:00pm
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, December 18th, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Millenials Sangha, Friday, December 23rd, 7:00pm

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

Weekly Tejaniya

Sometimes it is not helpful to
say, “this is not me,” or “this is
not mine,” because the mind finds
it very hard to accept. To say “this
is a process of nature” may be
much easier to accept.

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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