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Montana Open Way Sanghas Spring Family Retreat

Our 2017 Montana spring family retreat, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, in pictures:

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Fall Retreat, in Pictures

Our Montana Open Way Sanghas fall retreat just occurred over this past weekend. We were honored and delighted to have Sister Brightness and Sister Friendliness join us from Deer Park Monastery to lead our retreat. We had a lovely time practicing together as a harmonious sangha beside the beautiful Flathead Lake!

 

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Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Local Retreats

 

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Sangha Campout

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This past weekend our sangha held its 4th annual summer campout on the Flathead Lake. This year we had 15 people and 5 dogs :) We had a great time swimming, paddling around in water crafts, cooking community meals, playing games, and spending time together around the campfire at night. The community that plays together, stays together!

Here are some pics:

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As curling waves spill atop pebbles and earth
slick with summer glow
Seagulls glide in wind currents above the water,
clouds with soft, cooling gray underbellies
edge slowly across the sky,
and long, spindly Ponderosa pine needles
quake in dance on boughs reddened by the setting sun

Quivering ajoy
in this tender moment
I am quite sure of my ravenous appetite
for the beauty of this life

 

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Montana Open Way Sanghas Spring Family Retreat, 2016

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We just had our annual Montana Open Way Sanghas spring family retreat up on the Flathead Lake in Lakeside, Montana. It was our biggest retreat yet, with 56 adults and 26 kids (aged 2-14). For my retreat summary post this time around I’ll just share some of my favorite photos and also something I wrote in my journal early one morning.

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Open Way Fall Retreat 2015 (Part 2)

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As I mentioned in my last post: Open Way Fall Retreat 2015 (Part 1), last weekend was our local Montana Open Way Sanghas fall retreat.  The pictures featured here were taken during our weekend together.  Dharma teacher Terry Cortez-Vega joined us from Austin, TX to lead our meditation retreat.  I took some notes during her dharma talks and wanted to share a few of them:

Everything we experience, everything we think is in flux, is impermanent.  It’s not impermanence that makes us suffer it’s that we think things are permanent when they’re not.  When we have the flu or are stuck in traffic we trust in the nature of impermanence that things will change.  Impermanence is not a philosophy, it’s a practice.

Non-self doesn’t mean we don’t exist, it means we are impermanent.

The buddha taught that there are 3 kinds of suffering: 1. 2nd arrow suffering, where we multiply the stress of an event that takes place.  2. Willie Nelson suffering (Terry called it), where we want to hold onto what we like and get rid of what we don’t like.  3. Looking for solid ground suffering, wanting guarantees and certainty in life.  Thay teaches that we need to let go of the little sufferings so that we can conserve energy for the big stuff.

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Open Way Fall Retreat, 2015 (Part 1)

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This last weekend was our annual Montana Open Way Sanghas fall retreat.  Once again we used the Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp facility in Lakeside, MT which sits right on the Flathead Lake – so lovely!  As a bit of background the Montana Open Way Sanghas consists of four sanghas in three different towns in western Montana: Open Way and Be Here Now (my group) in Missoula, Flowing Mountains in Helena, and Open Sky in Kalispell.  Our collective sanghas are joined together as sister communities in the mindfulness tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing.  The buddhist word Sangha means spiritual community in Sanskrit.  We all join together for two retreats a year, assemble an annual newsletter publication, and our leaders meet quarterly.  We are a big happy family here in Big Sky Country!

Our retreats start on a Thursday evening and end on Sunday afternoons.  This past weekend we had 60 retreat attendants, our largest adult population yet to date.  How wonderful it is that we have these opportunities locally to go on retreat and to be attracting so many folks.  We brought in a dharma teacher from Austin, TX to lead our retreat, Terry Cortez-Vega.  It was the first time she had come to lead a retreat for us and we very much enjoyed her down to earth style and way of sharing the dharma with us.

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Sangha Camp Out

Flathead Lake, Montana

Flathead Lake, Montana

This past weekend was our 2nd annual Be Here Now Sangha camp out on the Flathead Lake in western Montana (it would’ve been our 3rd annual but we cancelled our trip last year at the last minute on account of the weather).  Our sangha (based in the mindfulness tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh) meets every Monday night from 7:30-8:45pm and our format includes: sitting and walking meditation, a reading, sharing circle, and a closing circle for gratitude and healing.  Outside of our regular weekly gatherings we like to get together for social events that allow us to build our relationships with one another and have fun – potlucks and open mic nights are our favorites :)  And our newest favorite is our summer camp out!

Only having done two camp outs so far we’re still honing in the art of group camping.  Logistics and feeding 12-15 people on camp stoves in the woods (in bear country) with no electricity and running water takes some planning.  Every year we learn a little more about how to improve on our set up for the next camp out.  It’s a great adventure!

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