Our 2017 Montana spring family retreat, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, in pictures:
Tag Archives: friends
Mike and I returned home around midnight on Friday, January 27th, after spending three weeks on retreat at Deer Park Monastery, and were greeted at the airport by some of our sangha friends sitting on meditation cushions in front of a bell – it was such a lovely welcoming! In one instance I was feeling tired and weary from a long day and late night and in the next I was refreshed – what wonders a community can bestow! My heart filled with so much joy when I saw their smiling faces. It was the best surprise!
Yesterday, I began feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the things needing to be done. Then I practiced to recognize my feelings and embrace them with care. My next step was determining what needed the most tending to and what could wait. It’s important to me to transition slowly and not do too many things right away, or all at once.
I went to the Good Food Store (our local, natural food market) and managed to time my trip there in what is often their busiest period: around lunchtime. I stood outside by my car for a few breaths, contemplating briefly whether or not I did, in fact, have to go in there. Quickly determining that being out of food in the house wasn’t really manageable, I took a few more breaths, grounded myself in my body, and prepared to enter the store with openness and joy. All things considered, it went swimmingly, though I was quite relieved when I was done and leaving.
After being sequestered in a monastery for three weeks, external stimulus takes some getting used to. There’s an adjustment period involved. So, I’m adjusting to a new rhythm and pattern and sway.
AND, I have daily writings that I’ll now start to share that I wrote while on retreat – so get ready for lots of words and 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!
(Stage direction: cue the slow opening of the curtains to a stage shrouded in darkness)
After a dramatic pause, a deep strong voice (not unlike James Earl Jones) says, from beyond the darkness:
14 years ago. (insert another dramatic pause) A community was born.
(Cue loud pounding drum noise)
The voice comes in again:
They called it: BE…HERE….NOW
(Cue the sounds of more loud pounding drums)
(Stage direction: bright lights are turned on, sudden and fast, revealing a stage crammed full of people on every possible inch of the stage – and the clincher: they’re stacked into a gigantic human pyramid)
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:
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
in this tender moment
I am quite sure of my ravenous appetite
for the beauty of this life
Perhaps you’ve heard of this common myth: Death comes in three’s. While I’m not sure where this myth originated from, or what basis, if any, it holds in actual reality, I do know that I am currently experiencing it. This morning I found out that someone I know passed away last night: Brother Phap De, a monastic from Deer Park Monastery, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. Phap De is the third person I know who’s passed away in the last month.
I’d gotten to know Phap De (pictured below holding the hands of two children during an outdoor walking meditation this past January) on my winter retreat stays at Deer Park over the last three years. Most notably, I spent time with him doing stick exercises, as he led them most mornings after sitting meditation. I greatly enjoyed his presence and approach to practice, the way he’d always remind us to smile while doing the exercises, his kind-heartedness, and his grandfatherly warmth.