Weekly Email 5-10-21

Dear Common Ground Friends,

I trust that some of you were able to attend the online graduation ceremony on Friday for Common Ground’s Associate Director and beloved teacher Shelly Graf. Shelly was part of a cohort of 20 inspiring teachers selected to be part of the 4-year Teacher Training Program organized by our grandmother institution, Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. I am deeply grateful to be walking this path together with my teaching colleague and Dharma friend. I have benefited from Shelly’s wise counsel and loving heart during our ten years of working together at Common Ground. If you would like to send your congratulations to Shelly on this wonderful accomplishment you can email them at shelly@commongroundmeditation.org or send a note to the center.

For me the graduation of this diverse group of national Dharma teachers represents a powerful turning of the Dhamma wheel, one in a never-ending series of inflection points where our teachers and Dharma organizations realign more closely with the reality on the ground. What would be the point of a spiritual lineage if it were not reflective of our whole community? I am grateful for all the leadership nationally and locally as we get better at embracing a more diverse group of leaders and teachers that represent the lived experience of our whole community. We are not there yet, but we are already reaping the benefits of the changes in leadership.

Anticipating Shelly’s graduation and observing Shelly’s blossoming as a wise and skillful Dharma teacher, I asked Common Ground’s Board of Directors four years ago to initiate a review process in the hope that Shelly would be hired as a Co-Guiding Teacher after the completion of the IMS Teacher Training Program. The Board agreed to this request and created a review committee chaired by Common Ground’s Co-Founder and Dharma teacher Wynn Fricke to oversee this process. The Committee will soon be asking the wider CG community for your input in this important decision regarding the leadership of the center going forward. I am hoping that many of you will take the time to add your voice to how we move forward together.

May we keep planting wholesome seeds for awakening and the ending of suffering,

Mark Nunberg
Guiding Teacher

Teacher Training Program participants, teachers, and support team. View more photos on IMS’s website here.

Upcoming Program Highlights


  • STACY MCCLENDON & MARK NUNBERG lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. 12:00-1:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • Please join Guest Teacher RALPH STEELE, guiding teacher of Life Transition Meditation Center in Santa Fe and author of “Tending The Fire”, the story of his transformative journey through war and meditation, at the Truth & Justice Vigil6:00-7:30pm. More info here. Zoom link here.

SHELLY GRAF will lead the Weekly Practice Group. 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.
SHELLY GRAF leads the weekly Community Practice Check-In9:00-10:00am. Zoom link here. All are welcome.

SHELLY GRAF leads the weekly Lovingkindness Practice Group, 7:00-8:30pm. Zoom link here.

  • MARK NUNBERG will lead the Weekly Practice Group. 10:30-11:45am. Zoom link here.
  • WYNN FRICKE & MARK NUNBERG lead the weekly Community Practice Check-In. 4:30-5:30pm. Zoom link here.
MARK NUNBERG will offer an Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course over Zoom. 6 Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00pm. More info and registration here.THURSDAY, MAY 20TH
Work Day at Common Ground (Minneapolis)! More info and registration here. 9am-12pm.

Daylong Retreat with SHELLY GRAF & WYNN FRICKE. More info and registration here.

Please consider joining us for our twice-annual Community Practice Intensive that will begin on Monday evening June 7th, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Central Time, and will end with a Daylong Retreat on Saturday, June 26, 9:30-4 p.m. More info and registration here.

MARK NUNBERG leads a Half-Day Retreat, 1:00-5:00pm. More info and registration here.

Please note that all times listed are in Central time. This list of program highlights doesn’t include all our programs; 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. 

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, Wed. May 12th, 7:30-9:00pm. Zoom link here.
  • Community Group for Organizers & Social Justice Activists, Thurs. May 13th, 6:00-7:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • Support Group for Friends and Family of People with Mental Illness, Sun. May 16th, 1:00-2:30pm. Zoom link here.
  • Mindfulness & Depression Community Group, Sun. May 16th, 4:00-5:30pm. Zoom link here.

See the calendar for more info about these community groups.

TCVC Retreat with Steve Armstrong & Kamala Masters
Our friends at Twin Cities Vipassana Collective are offering an online retreat with Steve and Kamala June 10th-13th. More info and registration here.

Community Survey
If you haven’t yet, please fill out this survey regarding your interest in in-person and online programming in the coming months.

Work Retreat at Prairie Farm May 31st – Jun 5th
We are looking for up to 7 volunteers to help out with a Prairie Farm work period. More info here. If you can’t make it but want to cook and freeze a meal for the work retreatants, please email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org. You can see a list of possible recipes here.

Garden Work Days this Summer
If you’re interested in helping out with Common Ground’s beautiful garden this year (in Minneapolis), please contact Kathleen (Keschuler47@gmail.com) to get on the garden team mailing list. The next public work day is Sat. May 22, 10am-12pm. Please bring a mask to wear when interacting with other community members.

Healing Our City
Mark Nunberg and Pamela Ayo Yetunde have participated in this city-wide initiative featuring teachers and leaders from around the Twin Cities and beyond offering support during the Chauvin trials and after.

Buddhist Justice Reporter
Read articles from Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Shannon Gibney, Zenzele Isoke and others reflecting on the Chauvin trial.

Recent Blog Posts
Reflections from one community member’s family history
National Buddhist Memorial Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors on May 4th
All blog posts here

Looking for Donation of Lawn Chairs
If you have any extra lawn chairs you’re not using and would like to donate them to Common Ground, please let Gabe know by emailing gabe@commongroundmeditation.org

Looking for Donations for Prairie Farm
We’re looking for the following items to be donated to Prairie Farm, if anyone has them:

  • wool area rugs (5×9 or smaller)
Please email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org if you have these items to donate.

Weekly Tejaniya
As long as we can maintain awareness,
energy will be available to us. We will be-
come less tired because we will be smarter
and more efficient in our actions.

Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Spring continues at the CG garden!

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