Weekly Email 12-22-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

Please note the following schedule changes and year end events that might be of interest.

I will be leading our Sunday morning and evening Weekly Practice Groups on Christmas Eve as well as our Sunday morning group on New Year’s Eve, December 31st. Please join in!

The city center will be closed to all programs during our 31st Annual Year End Retreat that begins on Tuesday evening, December 26th and ends at 12:00 noon on Sunday, December 31st. We have over 120 people registered, in person at the city center, in person at our retreat center, and virtually via Zoom for this important community practice time. Registration is now closed.

We will be having our annual New Year’s Eve Practice and Celebration on December 31st, in-person and via Zoom. Dharma reflections will be offered by Shelly Graf, Patrice Koelsch and Robin Major. Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke will offer a guided meditation to open our evening together. Music will be performed by Ellis Delaney and Gabe Keller Flores. Please arrive by 7:30 but feel free to leave when you want. The vegetarian potluck begins around 9:15 pm. Music will start around 10:10pm. You can find more information on our calendar page.  We’re looking for several people to set up and clean up before or after the potluck. Please email Robin at robin@commongroundmeditation.org if you’d like to help out.

Folks can begin the new year by taking our next six week Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation beginning on Tuesday evening, January 9th. Or, registering for the four week Buddhist Studies Course that begins on Monday evening, January 29th.

On behalf of the Common Ground teachers and staff, wishing everyone Happy Holidays and deep wishes for peace in our hearts, homes, communities, and world!

Shelly Graf
Co-Guiding Teacher

p.s Stay updated on Mark’s healing through his CaringBridge website


Dear In-person Community Members,

Please note the following programs will be canceled to open the building for the Year End Retreat:

– All Open Sits between Dec 27 – Dec 31
– Yoga & Qigong on Dec 27 and 29
– Weekly Practice Group on Dec 27
– Mindfulness & Recovery Group on Dec 29

The Practice of Generosity


Programs with our Co-Guiding Teachers
Visiting our online calendar is the best way to find the correct times and Zoom links. 

New Year’s Celebration & Potluck!
Music with Ellis Delaney and Gabe Keller Flores
No registration required
See the calendar page for more info

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf
Six Tuesdays: January 9 – February 13, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
In-person and on Zoom
Register here

With Shelly Graf

Weekly Practice Group with Shelly
Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 PM, in-person and on Zoom

  • Dec 27 Canceled for the Year End Retreat
Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Shelly Graf
  • Half-Day: Saturday, January 6 | 1:00 – 5:00 PM | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
  • Daylong: Saturday, February 10 | 9:30 – 4:00 PM | In-person and on Zoom |Register here
Buddhist Studies: Impermanence with Shelly Graf
Four Mondays, January 30th – February 20th, 7:30 – 9:00 PM
In-person and on Zoom
Register here
* Please note that Mark’s January class on Dependent Co-arising has been postponed until later in the winter, dates TBD

With Mark Nunberg

Weekly Practice Groups with Mark
Sundays, 10:30-11:45 AM, in-person, on Zoom, and live-streamed to YouTube

  • December 24 with Shelly Graf
  • December 31 with Shelly Graf
Sundays, 7:00-8:30 PM, in-person only
  • December 24 with Shelly Graf
  • December 31 Canceled for the New Year’s Celebration
Lovingkindness Practice Group
First Fridays, 7:00-8:30 PM with Stacy McClendon, in-person and on Zoom
Community Practice Check-ins
Sundays, 4:30-5:30 PM, on Zoom with Wynn Fricke, Zoom only
Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM, on Zoom with Stacy McClendon, Zoom only, Mark joins on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.

Upcoming Teacher-Led Programs

Daylong Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Stacy McClendon & Jen Racho
Saturday, January 20 | 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
In-person only
Register here

Ongoing Teacher-Led Programs
As always, our online calendar is the best way to find the correct times and Zoom links. 

Open Meditation
Check our online calendar for times and details. There are many opportunities for silent meditation, 7 days a week, in-person and on Zoom.

Monthly Practice Groups
  • First Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 PM, Developing the Art of Spiritual Inquiry with Ramesh Sairam. On Zoom only.
  • Mindfulness Self-Compassion with Jean Haley and Jane Rauenhorst. The next session is Friday, December 15.
Community Practice Check-Ins
  • Every other Saturday, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, on Zoom with Ramesh Sairam
  • Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM, on Zoom with Stacy McClendon, on Zoom, joined by Mark Nunberg on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.
Yoga & Qigong
We offer Yoga and Qigong several times weekly, both in person and online.
Mindfulness, Recovery, and the Twelve Steps
Meets every Friday, 7:00-8:30 PM.
In-person and on Zoom
Youth Programs 
View the calendar page for more info
  • Children’s Program: Kindergarten- 3rd grade, every other Sunday 10:30-11:45 AM
  • Preteen Program: 4th grade- 7th grade, every other Sunday 10:30-11:45 AM
  • Teen Practice Group: Many Sundays 10:30-11:30 AM. See the calendar page for the schedule.

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

CLICK HERE for more info and registration for retreat center programs. We have many upcoming practice periods and retreats. 


Volunteer Opportunities

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

  • 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. 1-2 hours per week, or every other.
  • Graphic design: One or two graphic designers to support the buildout for a new website. Experience with mobile-friendly graphic design preferred.
  • Bell ringing: For a community member who is interested in training to be a practice leader at one of the morning in-person silent sits.
  • 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.

Community News 

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

  • Refirement Group, Thursday, December 21st, 12:00-2:00 PM
  • Be Queer Now: First Wednesdays of the month, next meeting is January 3rd, 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, next meeting is January 4th, 6:30-8:00 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, January 7th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, January 13th, 9:00-10:30 AM
  • Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, Sunday, January 21st, 1:30-3:00 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Observe, Examine, and Ask Yourself Questions

Whenever you experience doubt,
uneasiness, dissatisfaction, tension,
frustration or elation, look at them.
Examine them. Ask yourself questions
such as: “What kinds of thoughts are in
my mind?” “What is my attitude?” This
will help you to understand how greed,
hatred and delusion affect you. You
need patience, interest, and a sense
of curiosity to do this.      

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this

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