Weekly Email 7-7-23

Dear Common Ground Friends,
Many of us come to practice with sincere intentions, to be present in our lives and in our communities and to be more capable of showing up in the most skillful ways possible. Carving out moments for dedicated daily practice whether that be sitting, taking a mindful walk, or another intentional practice can support a deep and steady capacity for presence in our lives. Retreating can also be an important means for deepening presence. In my experience, the benefits of even a half day retreat far far outlast the retreat itself. Common Ground has both half-day and daylong retreats each month with both an in person and an online option available. In my early days of practice at Common Ground, I would often sign up for both of them each month, as a way of being intentional and holding myself accountable to carving out dedicated practice time. Attending these retreats contributed to a growing confidence and capacity to show up in the ways I aspired to.

In addition to half day and daylong retreats each month, Common Ground has many multi-day retreats available throughout the year. Recently, we have been experimenting with making these multi day retreats more widely accessible in 3 ways, by opening up our retreat center for folks who wish to participate in person, by streaming our retreat via Zoom for those who wish to participate virtually, and by offering a non-residential option at our city center in which retreatants come to our Minneapolis center to practice for the day and go home to sleep. Registration has been low for our non-residential option at our city center, and although Mark Nunberg and I have been enjoying teaching in this accessible way to 3 groups, we’re wondering specifically if having a non-residential option is of interest to the community. We would be grateful to hear your feedback on that. For our upcoming labor day retreat, the retreat is full at our retreat center but just a few people have signed up for our non-residential option. Plenty of space for non-residential or for Zoom participation.

We hope you’ll join us for any of our retreat options. May we feel the force of goodness and dedicated practice in community together.

Warm Wishes,
Shelly Graf
Co-Guiding Teacher

Work Retreat with Cory Clemetson
At the Retreat Center in Prairie Farm, Wisconsin
Monday, July 17th – Friday, July 21st
Monday July 24th – Friday July 28th
More info and registration here

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
Sundays, 7:00 – 8:30 PM, in-person only

Lovingkindness Practice Group
First Fridays, 7:00-8:30 PM, with Stacy McClendon, Zoom only

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, July 29th | In-person and on Zoom | Register here
  • 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


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
Fridays, 9:00-10:00 AM, Zoom only, every other Friday with Jen Racho

Half-Day and Daylong Retreats with Shelly Graf

  • Half-Day: Saturday, Aug 5th | In-person and on Zoom Register here
  • Daylong: Saturday, Sep 30th | In-person and on Zoom | Register here

Upcoming Teacher-Led Programs

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

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

Mindfulness & Physical Pain: a Workshop with Ramesh Sairam
Saturday, August 26th | 1:00 – 4:00pm
In-person only
More info and registration 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 – 1:00pm
On Zoom onlyMindfulness Self-Compassion with Jane Rauenhorst & Jean Haley
Friday, July 21st, 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. 

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

  • Office Volunteers: We are looking for one or more people with 1-2 years of experience at the center and with prior office experience to help us with office tasks and bulletin board maintenance. Experience with G-Suite and general comfort with computer technology would be helpful.
  • Wishlists: If you would like to donate a specific item, check out the Retreat Center Wishlist and the City Center Wishlist.

Community News 

Stacy McClendon in Lion’s Roar!
Common Ground teacher Stacy McClendon was recently interviewed by Pamela Ayo Yetunde for the Lion’s Roar podcast about how mindfulness can transform the way we think about work.

Mimi Jennings’ Celebration of Life
The Life Celebration for long-time Common Ground community member will take place on July 15th at St. Catherine’s College. Click here for the invitation to the Common Ground community.

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. 

  • Black, Indigenous, People of Color Community Group, First and Third Thursdays, 6:30-8:00 PM
  • Zoom: Buddhism and Other Religions Book Group, Saturday, July 8th, 9:00 – 10:30 AM
  • Community Group: Learning to Approach Social and Political Conflict with Skill and Kindness, Sunday, July 16th, 1:30 – 3:00 PM
  • Mindfulness & Depression, Sunday, July 16th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • To see the complete list of community groups, click here.

With Eyes Open, Observe the Inner World
I learned how to be aware with my eyes open
because fellow shopkeepers used to tease me
when I meditated at work with my eyes closed.
They thought I was sleeping on the job!
So I learned to pay attention to the inner landscape
while keeping my eyes open.
After that, the people I worked with
didn’t even know that I was meditating. 

 Thanks to The Daily Tejaniya for this quote

Blooming tree in the Common Ground city center's garden

Blooming tree in the Common Ground city center’s garden. Photo taken by community member Ariana Lindquist this spring.

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