Latest Weekly Email

To sign up to receive our weekly email, click here

May 25th, 2020

Dear Common Ground Friends,

Shelly, Gabe, Gail and I are sending wishes for everyone’s safety and ease as you take care during this challenging pandemic time. Let’s always remember to take the time to be grateful for and to continue to cultivate our mindful awareness practice. It is gratifying to notice our increasing capacity to relax and experience more clearly the way things are now. This clarity allows us to engage our lives in more wholesome, kind and nimble ways. One way to continue to grow wisdom and compassion is to undertake periods of more intensive and intentional practice. With this in mind, please consider joining in for our next Community Practice Intensive beginning Monday, June 8th, with a 7 p.m. zoom practice check in. The practice intensive ends on Saturday, June 27, with an online Daylong Retreat.  These intensives are a powerful time to draw on community support as we experiment living in more mindful ways. This community intensive will be led by Mark Nunberg and Shelly Graf. You can register and get more information here.


Mark Nunberg
Guiding Teacher


Upcoming Program Highlights

Visit our online calendar for complete program information and registration. At this time, all our programs are offered online via Zoom or Youtube. Some upcoming highlights:

  • Joining Shelly Graf on Tuesday night for the Dharma Among us program are their fellow IMS teacher trainees Roxanne Dault and Dawn Scott.
  • On Thursday, the monthly EcoSangha group meets, 6:15 pm – 8 :15 pm. Join us to as we learn to rely on the dharma to ground us as the climate changes. We’ll explore Shambala Warriorship. Led by Kaia Svien; Jean Haley cannot be with us this time.
  • On Friday night, Gail Iverson will lead the weekly lovingkindness practice group.
  • Ramesh Sairam will begin offering a monthly program this Saturday morning, May 30th, 10:30am-12:00pm. This monthly practice and reflection group is an opportunity to explore the practical implications of following the path of dhamma.  The emphasis will be on establishing and sustaining mindfulness practice, and, especially, its integration in daily life. The meetings will include guided meditation, brief talk on a specific topic and ample time for reflections, comments and Q&A. Register here.
  • On Sunday Mark will lead the Weekly Practice Group as usual. Here is an article by Joanna Macy he will be referencing: Schooling Our Intention by Joanna Macy.
  • Nils Heymann will offer a Guest Teacher Talk via Zoom on Sunday night, May 31st 7:00-8:30pm, on Joy and Ease in Uncertain Times. A native of El Salvador, Nils started meditating at the age of 16. He studied major religions at Lancaster University in England and did research on gurus in Pune, India. He stayed in Hindu and Benedictine monasteries until he went to Thailand to ordain in Ajahn Chah’s Forest tradition. He made a commitment to be a monk for seven years and lived in monasteries in England, New Zealand, and Italy. He currently teaches art to a bunch of beautiful urban high schoolers. Register here.
  • Guest Teachers Devon and Craig Hase, authors the new book, How not to be a Hot Mess: A Survival Guide for Modern Life, will be leading a half day retreat on June 6. All are welcome!

For details on these programs and more, visit the online calendar. I recommend you bookmark it for easy access during the week! :) You might also want to bookmark our Youtube channel.

peace and love,

Gabe Keller Flores, Office Manager


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.


Other News and Resources

June 5th Work Day at Common Ground (Minneapolis)
We will be having a small work day at Common Ground (Minneapolis) on Friday, June 5th from 9:30am-12:30pm. Please register here as we will keep the gathering 10 people or less to ensure safe physical distance. For those working indoors we’ll ask that you wear a mask. We will end by having lunch together in the garden if it’s nice out. Please bring a bag lunch. Thanks! Reply to this email with any questions.

June Work Retreat at Prairie Farm
We will be having a work retreat in June at our retreat property in Wisconsin. If you’re interested in cooking meals for the volunteers and freezing them, please contact

Slack is another way to keep in touch with Common Ground community friends during this time of physical distancing. Think of it as an online gathering place, a forum, or chatroom. You can watch a video about how it works here and sign up for our online forum here. (It’s free.)

Labor Day Retreat
Wednesday, September 2nd – Monday, September 7

Registration for the labor day retreat will open July 2nd. Depending on what the COVID-19 guidelines from the governor allow, we will offer this retreat in one of three ways:

1. Residential retreat at Metta Meditation Center
2. Residential retreat at Prairie Farm Retreat for a smaller group of people, with an online option available as well
3. Online retreat

Updating Zoom Client
If you’re participating in our Zoom calls, you should download the new Zoom client sometime before the end of the month. You can do so at anytime here. The new version is more secure, and at the end of the month, you will need to have the new version to attend any Zoom call.


What the Body Says by Mary Oliver

I was born here, and
I belong here, and
I will never leave.
The blue heron’s

gray smoke will flow over me
for years
and the wind will decide
all directions

until I am safely and entirely
something else.
I am thinking this
this winter morning

as I sit by the fire
and the fire in its red rack
keeps singing
its crackling song

of transformation
Of course
I wonder about
the mystery

that is surely up there
in starry space
and how some part of me
will go there at last.

But I am talking now
of the way the body speaks,
and the wind, that keeps saying,
firmly, lovingly:

a little while and then this body
will be stone; then
it will be water; then
it will be air.

~ from New and Selected Poems, Volume Two (Beacon Press, 2005)