Weekly Email 7-10-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,

I like to look through documents in the office to learn from past systems. The Program Host binder is one of my favorites to flip through, with old letters to program leaders, and a sheet on how to pronounce teachers’ names (Win Frih-kee). In the binder is a sample dana talk. One line has stuck with me, paraphrased: “these teachings are freely offered, the only ask is to check out how your heart responds to receiving and giving”. The line stayed with me because it is a big ask. It’s not always easy to drag myself out of whatever karmic stream I am in and pause and honestly feel. Yet, this is how we begin to learn to relate in ways that free.

The practice of dana brings, as Ajahn Sucitto writes, “the movement into the reality of a shared world”. The value is not how much or what is given, but in the participation with giving and receiving. A friend is struggling, and we text them to check in, what does it feel like to give our care? Someone makes us a cup of tea, what happens when we take in this gesture of kindness? The practice of dana engages our foundational needs to connect and contribute, and orients the heart towards trust in and celebration of abundance.

Heart practices, like dana, can activate deeply painful voices of the inner critic, like stories of selfishness or lack. We can give ourselves a lot of space for whatever arises there and the fearlessness that that takes is one of the greatest forms of gift.

If you are interested in sharing your time, expertise, or resources at Common Ground, we have listed a few needs of the center’s needs below. 

With Metta and Gratitude,
Robin Major
Office Manager

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

  • Graphic design: We are looking for 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.
  • Grounds teams at the city center:  Please let us know if you are interested in joining the garden crew, lawnmowing, or snowblowing team.
  • Office Work: For a community member who has skill and experience with Google Workspace and is able to commit to a regular volunteer shift.
Wishlists: If you would like to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.

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. 

Labor Day Retreat with Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf, assisted by Gabe Keller Flores and Stacy McClendon
In-person at the city center, in-person at the retreat center and on Zoom
Saturday evening, August 26th – midday Monday, September 4th
More info and registration here

With Mark Nunberg

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

  • August 13th with Shelly Graf
Sundays, 7:00 – 8:30 PM, in-person only
  • August 13th with Stacy McClendon

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.

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Mark Nunberg

  • Daylong: Saturday, Aug 19th with Ramesh Sairam | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
  • Half-Day: Saturday, Sep 9th | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
  • Half-Day: Saturday, Oct 7th  | In-person and on Zoom | Registration coming soon
Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation with Mark Nunberg & Gabe Keller Flores
Six Tuesdays: September 5th – October 10th | In-person and on Zoom
Register hereBuddhist Studies: Mindfulness of Breathing 
Eight Mondays: September 11th- October 30th | 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

Community Practice Check-ins

Wednesdays, 8:30-9:30 AM, in-person only, assisted by Robin Major

  • Canceled August 30th
Fridays, 9:00-10:00 AM, Zoom only, every other Friday with Jen Racho

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Shelly Graf

  • Daylong: Saturday, Sep 30th | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
Skillful Means: Using Buddhist and Western Psychology in the Service of Liberation from Suffering–A Workshop with Shelly Graf and Gabe Keller Flores
Saturday, September 16th | 9:30am – 4:00pm
In-person only
Register hereUpcoming Teacher-Led Programs

Waking Up with the Heavenly Messengers:
a Workshop with Meg Brandeland and Sandra Shallcross

Saturday, August 12th | 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
In-person and on Zoom
More info and registration here

Mindfulness & Physical Pain: a Workshop with Ramesh Sairam
Saturday, August 26th | 1:00 – 4:00 PM
In-person only
More info and registration here

Mindfulness Centered Men’s Yoga with Robb Reed
Nine Wednesdays: Sep. 13th – Nov. 8th | 5:30 – 6:45pm
In-person only
Register here

Daylong Retreat for the BIPOC Community with Stacy McClendon & Jen Racho
Saturday, September 23rd | 9:30am – 4:00pm
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.
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
MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Practice with Nancy Boros
Mondays, 12:00 – 1:00 PM
On Zoom only
  • 8/14 with Robin Major, 8/21 with Shelly Graf, 8/28 with Robin Major
Mindfulness Self-Compassion with Jane Rauenhorst & Jean Haley
Friday, August 18th, 7:00-8:30 PM
On Zoom only
Youth Programs
The Children’s Program and Teen Group are on pause for the summer


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. 

Community News 

Thuy Nguyen
Beloved community member Thuy Nguyen passed away peacefully on July 29th. Click here to read Thuy’s obituary.

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 Sangha is on Summer Break, returning in September
  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, 6:30-8:00 PM
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, August 12th, 9:00 – 10:30 AM
  • Refirement Group, Thursday, August 17th, 12:00-2:00 PM
  • Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, Sunday, August 20th, 1:30-3:00 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, August 20th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

Investigate Your Eagerness to Think
If you think you have something
very important to think about,
stop and ask yourself:
“Why am I so eager to think about this?
Is it truly important?”

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

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