Weekly Email 12-31-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

I have finally been released from my long hospital stay and am back at home with my beloved partner Wynn, and immediately joined Common Ground’s 31st Annual Year End Retreat! Shelly Graf and Wynn Fricke are teaching the retreat, and I am helping a bit around the edges. Depending on our duties and responsibilities in life, we may not have much opportunity for retreat practice beyond a daily meditation practice. Like it or not, we have to work with the circumstances that have come our way. But even if you are one of those with little time for a meditation retreat, I encourage all of us to cultivate a respectful appreciation for the unique ‘aloneness’ of retreat practice. This ancient practice of turning inward toward sensitivity, intimacy and openness with one’s moment to moment experience is probably the most challenging work any of us will do in life.

Perhaps surprisingly, it really helps to do this inner work with the support of the community. That is why Shelly Graf and I, as Co-Guiding Teachers at the center, are so committed to offer as many opportunities for retreating with the community as possible. For example, the Year End Retreat includes about 80 community members who have put aside all other appointments and obligations so that they can commit to being with the retreat schedule for these four days. We have a full group at our Retreat Center in Western WIsconsin, we have about 40 people from around the country participating on Zoom, and we have around 25 locals who are practicing at our City Center in Minneapolis. Somehow this new hybrid world works well enough for Buddhist meditation retreats, and we are so grateful that we can do this together in community. Going forward, please consider that every month we offer a Half-Day and a Daylong retreat. In addition, there are regular retreat opportunities at our Retreat Center. Take a look below and see if any of these opportunities make sense for you in the New Year.

May our learning to turn inward allow us to open and respond to all things with wisdom and compassion and become the good friend that our world needs!

Mark Nunberg
Co-Guiding Teacher


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 Mark Nunberg

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

  • January 7 On Zoom and Livestreamed in the meditation hall
Sundays, 7:00-8:30 PM, in-person only
  • January 7 with Patrice Koelsch
Lovingkindness Practice Group
First Fridays, 7:00-8:30 PM with Stacy McClendon, in-person and on ZoomCommunity 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.

With Shelly Graf

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

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
  • Half-Day: Saturday, February 3 | 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

Upcoming Teacher-Led Programs

New Year’s Day Yoga with Nancy Boler
On Zoom (In-person is full)
10:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Register here

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. 

  • 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
  • Refirement Group, Thursday, January 18th, 12:00-2:00 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

To Dance With Awareness is to Dance With Nature

To dance with awareness is
to dance with nature, and to
allow awareness to grow.      

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this

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