Weekly Email 2-15-21

Dear Common Ground Friends,

Hi Everyone,

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the healing power of spiritual friendship. The Buddha once said that spiritual friendship is the whole of spiritual life. It is helpful to remember moments of being deeply touched, moved, inspired and healed through the presence of another person. It seems to us that the most potent gift someone can give, is their willingness to be real and free with conditions just as they are in their lives – doing the best they can and letting that be enough. Unfortunately we tend to equate greatness with extraordinary achievement, but perhaps it can be enough to keep our hearts open, patient and forgiving as we keep showing up to whatever is next. It is a healing gift to be able to recognize, resonate with and radiate out goodness in those times when there is little hope.

On February 13, our dear friend and long-time community member, Sue Cochrane, passed away. Sue had been navigating cancer for eighteen years, and had shared generously about her experience. We have been beneficiaries of Sue’s wisdom, and we thought it would be appropriate at this time to share some of her and her brother’s words. Kintsugi: The Golden Joinery of Love, is an article Sue wrote about the Japanese art form, Kintsugi, which repairs broken pottery with gold. The repaired pottery is seen as more beautiful than the original. The following excerpt is from this article.

Learning about Kintsugi helped me look back and realize that my greatest wish was to be unbroken pottery, instead of who I was. That caused me so much suffering because it was impossible. When I finally had the courage to show those broken edges to others— to my brother, to dear friends, in A.A., in counseling and in safe communities— I received acceptance, and was loved and respected just the way I was, in the same way my grandmother did. My broken parts were transformed into what students of Kintsugi call “precious scars” which honored my whole life, leaving nothing out.

Other writings by or about Sue:
Kintsugi: The Golden Journey of Love by Sue Cochrane

Stage Four Poem by brother Mick Cochrane
The Last Lecture by brother Mick Cochrane

Sending out our wishes for the deepest freedom and healing,

Mark Nunberg and Wynn Fricke
Co-Founders of Common Ground


Upcoming Program Highlights

OMKAR SAWARDEKAR will lead Dharma Among Us tonight on the topic of Groundlessness on a cultural level: seeing and navigating conflicting values. 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.

SHELLY GRAF will lead the Weekly Practice Group as usual. 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.

The People of Color Practice Group gathers to explore our spiritual path through meditation and the teachings of the Buddha, honoring our shared experience, while cultivating mindfulness, wisdom, and joy in our community. 6:30-8:00pm. Zoom link here.

JEAN HALEY & JANE RAUENHORST lead the monthly Mindful Self-Compassion practice group, 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.


  • MARK NUNBERG will lead the Weekly Practice Group as usual, 10:30-11:45am. Zoom link here. Mark is currently covering Mindfulness of Breathing. There are resources on the topic here.
  • WYNN FRICKE & MARK NUNBERG have started offering a weekly Community Practice Check-In each Sunday from 4:30-5:30pm. Zoom link here. Remember, there are two other Community Practice Check-Ins each week: Tuesdays at noon with Mark and Stacy (Zoom link here) and Thursdays at 9am with Shelly (Zoom link here). These groups are open to all and feature meditation time followed by time for questions and reflections.

SHELLY GRAF will lead a Daylong Retreat, 9:30am-4:00pm. More info and registration here.

Registration is open for the next 6-week Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation course with MARK NUNBERG. 7:30-9:00pm. More info and registration here.

MARK NUNBERG will lead a Half-Day Retreat from 1:00-5:00pm. More info and registration here.

Registration is open for the next 7-week Buddhist Studies course on Mindfulness of Feeling Tone with MARK NUNBERG. 7:30-9:00pm. More info and registration here.

MERRA YOUNG will start a book club on the book No Self, No Problem by Anam Thubten. It will meet the 2nd Friday of the month 11:15am-12:30pm from March to June. You can register here.
Please note that all times listed are in Central time. For complete, up-to-date program information, visit the online calendar. We recommend you bookmark it for easy access during the week. You might also want to bookmark our Youtube channel. 

Additional non-CG events Taught by Mark and Shelly:

Mindfulness & Insight Meditation: The Mah?si Method
Thursday, February 25 – Sunday, February 28 w/ Mark Nunberg, Kamala Masters, & Steve Armstrong


The Practice of Generosity

Continuing in the tradition of Buddhist monasteries in Southeast Asia, all programs at Common Ground, including these online programs, 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.


Community News 

Community Groups Meeting this Week

  • Be Queer Now Meditation Sangha, Wednesday, Feb. 17th, 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • Refirement Community Group for Retirees, Thursday, Feb. 18th. Zoom link here.
  • Buddhism-Christianity Community Group, Saturday, Feb. 20th. Zoom link here.
  • Mindfulness & Depression Community Group, Sunday, Feb. 21st, 4:00-5:30pm. Zoom link here.

See the calendar for more info about these community groups.

Shelly and Gabe Recommend
Each week Shelly and Gabe will feature Dharma resources they found useful recently. Read more on our blog here.

End of Life Radio Series
Our Sangha member, Ellen Hufschmidt, has been active in producing a Two Harbors, MN community radio program on End-of-Life issues. Read more here.

Job Opening at Insight Meditation Center of Western Massachusetts 
Our friends at IMCWM are hiring a remote Outreach, Website, and Social Media Coordinator. Read more here.

New Book for CG Book Club 
The CG Book Club reads books on the topics of race and racism and is facilitated by April Hanson. The next book they will be reading is The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart by Alicia Garza. The first meeting to discuss the new book will be Sunday, February 28th @ 8:45am. To get on their mailing list you can email April at apriljoyhanson@gmail.com.

CG Mutual Support Form
We’ve created a form to gather info from community members interested in offering eachother support in the form of social connection, help with errands, or other forms of support. If you’re interested in participating, you can fill out the form here.

Weekly Tejaniya
I did a lot of retreats to develop good qualities.
But I didn’t really change. I didn’t become a bet-
ter person. That’s because I neglected to look at
the bad qualities. The quality of my mind only
started to improve when I began watching the
bad qualities. Watching them really consis-
tently and continuously enabled me to
understand their nature.

One comment on “Weekly Email 2-15-21
  1. Jane Grangaard says:

    Would you please send Shelly Graff’s e-mail?

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