Weekly Email 5-2-24

Dear Common Ground Friends,

This morning I spent some quiet moments reading and being nourished by the in particular from a book called Gone Forth, Going Beyond, which is a collection of dharma reflections by Ayy? Medh?nand?. Ayy? Medh?nand? is a Bhikkhuni in the early Buddhist tradition, they style of practice that we engage in at Common Ground. She is the Founder and Guiding Teacher of Sati S?r???ya Hermitage in Canada, and has been in robes since 1988. May her words and practice nourish you as they have me.

Bounteous sun melding with monsoon puddles. So it is with the fear and stress in our hearts. It’s good to be heard and also to hear oneself. To listen and ponder wisely. This is friendship with the lovely, within and with each other.

Our losses and deaths can be terrifying and beautiful at the same time, and our dying does not make us any less for the truth of it.  Because of what we see, the way we see, and what we are unable to see, we are tormented. Otherwise, death might be just one magical out-breath, or a long breathing in of all light and darkness and the dance of seasons in between.

I wish all weariness to fall away and leave us restored, especially when facing what is hard. Often I turn the beads of this theme in my heart. Chanting for the health, happiness, and peace of all beings, I grow wide-minded and serene. All will be well.

We are giant trees stretched up into the Infinite. If we could only know pure Reality, would we not rejoice and respect the beginnings and the endings and all the moments in between exactly as they are, just as we love winter or spring–each for its own beauty?

Warm Wishes,
Shelly Graf
Co-Guiding Teacher

Programs with our Co-Guiding Teachers


With Shelly Graf

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Wednesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 p.m., in-person and on Zoom
  • Sunday evenings, 7:00-8:30 p.m., in-person only
    • May 12th with nakawe cuebas: “learning to trust the journey, the art of letting go….”
Half-Day and Daylong Retreats
In person and on Zoom
  • Daylong with Cecilia Ramon and Shelly on Saturday, April 27. More info and registration here.
  • Daylong with nakawe cuebas and Shelly: Saturday, May 11. More info and registration here.

Community Practice Check-ins
Every Wednesday, 8:30-9:30 a.m. in-person
Every Friday, 9:00-10:00 a.m. on Zoom

With Mark Nunberg

Weekly Practice Groups

  • Sundays mornings, 10:30-11:45 a.m., in-person, on Zoom, and on YouTube
  • NEW Tuesday evening group starting April 30, 7:00-8:30 p.m., online-only

Buddhist Studies: Dependent Origination
5 Mondays, April 29 – May 27, 7:30-9:00 p.m.
optional sitting time 7:00-7:30 p.m.
In-person and on Zoom
More info and registration here.

Lovingkindness Practice Group
Friday, May 3, 7:00-8:30 p.m. In-person and on Zoom

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats
In person and on Zoom
  • Daylong on Saturday, May 25. More info and registration here.
  • Half-Day on Saturday, June 8, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. More info and registration here.
Community Practice Intensive with Mark Nunberg & Sarah Wilson
3 Mondays, June 3-17, 7:00-8:30 p.m. and Daylong Retreat, Saturday, June 22, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. More info and registration here.

Community Practice Check-in 
Every Sunday, 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Zoom, with Wynn Fricke

Open Meditation
Mondays, 6:30-7:15 a.m. on Zoom

Upcoming at our City Center

CANCELLED: Book Reading with Ellen Hufschmidt: a Gentle Practice for Tough Times: Contemplations for Dying and Living
Sunday, April 28, 2:00-3:00 p.m. in person. More info here.

Guest Teacher Talk with nakawe cuebas: How to cultivate “Embodied Equanimity” as a dear friend in our troubled times 
Friday, May 10, 7:00-8:30 p.m. In person and on Zoom. More info here.

Half-Day Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Meski Mebatsion & Jen Racho
Saturday, May 18, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. More info and registration here.

Programs at Our Retreat Center

Common Ground Retreat Center is located in Wisconsin, about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Minneapolis. For background on our retreat center, click here.

Mindful Yoga Retreat with Nancy Boler
Thursday, May 9 – Sunday, May 12
More info and registration here. There is a short waiting list.

Work Practice Period with Stephen Gregg, Tony Fernandez, and Julie Meyer
Thursday, May 16 – Sunday, May 19. The group will spend about 3 hours working in the morning and the rest of the day practicing. The work will mostly revolve around planting and plant maintenance. More info and registration here. Please note that if you can’t make the whole time, you could join for just the weekend or even a day. You can indicate your availability in the form.

Memorial Day Retreat with Shelly Graf & Wynn Fricke
Thursday, May 23 – Monday, May 27. More info and registration here. All in-person spots are taken, but there is no waiting list, and there is Zoom space available.

Teacher-Led Practice Period for Experienced Practitioners with Wynn Fricke
June 6th – June 19th. A prerequisite of 30 days of Insight residential retreat time is required. Participants may attend for 2-10 nights depending on experience. More info and registration here.

Residential Retreat with Ayya Niyyanika & Wynn Fricke
Thursday, June 20 – Sunday, June 23. More info and registration here. In-person and Zoom spots available.

Residential Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Tuere Sala
Sunday, July 7 – Friday, July 12. More info and registration here.

Save the Dates:

  • Divine Abodes Retreat with Patrice Koelsch Aug 15-18
  • Labor Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg & Shelly Graf Aug 24-Sept 2
  • Residential Retreat with Deborah Helzer Nov 12-16

Our online calendar remains the definitive place to check for program information.

Freely Giving and Receiving

Common Ground offers all programs freely in the spirit of generosity. If you’d like to donate to support the teachers and the center, click the link below.


Volunteer Opportunities

  • We are looking for a Wisconsin-licensed design professional (engineer or architect) to help with the veranda roof design and permit process at our retreat center. We want to ask the community before searching the internet. Please make contact if you have any good leads: Clemetson Construction LLC – 612 226 2096.
  • Video Processor: Rachel Orville has been editing our videos for Youtube since 2020; on behalf of our whole community, thanks so much Rachel for all you do to make our teachings accessible to a global audience :) Rachel will be offline July and August, so we’re looking for someone to fill in during those months and maybe also help share the workload on an ongoing basis. If you have interest or questions, please email gabe@commongroundmeditation.org


When Seeing, Remember “Seeing is Nature”

Every time you are aware of
something, remind yourself, “This
is nature.” Let’s say you are walking
and you are aware of sights, sounds
and thoughts. Then remind your-
self, “Seeing is nature. Hearing is
nature. Thinking is nature.”  

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

spring springing at Common Ground in Minneapolis

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