White Heron Sangha


President's Report

 by Carole Maurer


An Exciting Time -

A New Home for White Heron Sangha!



Carole outside the former Sukha Wellness Center

For nearly 26 years, White Heron Sangha has been meeting in homes, offices, hallways, yoga centers, a mobile home park, the Grange Hall, temples, and churches. Several years ago our board of directors decided that we have grown to the point where we should endeavor to find a place of our own. It was felt that the presence of a true Buddhist meditation center in our community would be a great support for the ever-growing interest in the Dharma, and that it would allow us to expand our offerings and serve as a place of refuge in these very unsettled times. We've been searching for a suitable place to rent for a couple of years now, and came very close on several occasions, but nothing worked out in the end.

So, we are delighted that we will soon be moving into a beautiful space that will become our first true home. Through a stroke of luck, one of our Sangha members noticed a “For Lease” sign at the former Sukha Wellness Center in Avila Village -- a beautiful venue where we held two retreats a few years ago. After several weeks of negotiations everything seems to be coming together. While we haven't yet signed a lease -- there are a few details to work out, including the move-in date -- we will probably be taking occupancy in late April or early May. We will keep everyone informed by updating the website and sending emails to all our contacts in our database.

Click here for are some photos and maps showing our new home

It’s an exciting time for us – and scary, too! Our monthly expenses will be many times what they are now. Thankfully, up to this point, through our Sunday, ongoing, and annual donations, we’ve been able to meet our expenses and save a little each year. We have accumulated a cushion that makes it possible for us to safely commit to a two year lease at the new place. We are hoping that the existence of a dedicated spiritual home will stimulate new levels of gratitude and generosity in our members and the community that will make this a sustainable venture. While we don't want to put financial pressure on anyone who can't afford or doesn't wish to contribute more, we are pleased that several of our members already initiated significant regular monthly donations to White Heron Sangha on hearing the news of this exciting new development. Another member donated a large amount towards the purchase of chairs, which will be our most significant moving-in expense. We also are considering supplementing our income by occasionally renting the facility to other compatible groups, provided they won’t impact our own programs. Time will tell if we can pull it off financially.

Throughout the coming weeks, we’ll share updates with you on the progress of our move and the decisions we’re making about how we’ll decorate and use the space.

In the meantime, we have a wonderful weekend retreat coming up soon on April 8-9 at the Morro Bay Community Center (note – this is a new venue for us). Al Blum, along with his partner Sari, will present The Power of Somatic Meditation. We’ll learn body meditation practices that come from the Tibetan tradition as taught by Reggie Ray, who was Al Blum’s teacher. Registration is open online for this retreat.

Many thanks to Kristie Wells and the Retreat Committee for planning the retreats for this year and working on the schedule already for 2018. Please read her excellent report here

Again, thank you to the Program Committee for our interesting and varied Sunday programs and to the volunteers who make all this happen each week.

I’ll close with some thoughts from Heather Sundberg, a teacher from Nevada City who was here for a weekend retreat with us last September. She has suggestions for all of us for working with changes in our lives. These seem appropriate for us now as we deal with the many changes that are and will be occurring in our Sangha. Let’s take these to heart.

  • Accepting Change. There may be times when we find ourselves wondering why things need to change or wishing that they were the way they used to be. It's important, then, that we recognize our clinging to the idea of things lasting forever. Instead, we can acknowledge and accept the changing nature of all things and bring in compassion for ourselves and others. 
  • Celebrating Change. When something good happens, this is a time to celebrate the sense of possibility and aliveness this change can provide without attachment to the future outcome. 
  • Practicing with Change. Mindfulness, in meditation and throughout the daily routine, is a key to being aware of the changes occurring in each moment and letting the past be the past and the future be whatever it will be. By giving our attention to each moment and experience and becoming aware of the subtle changes in each moment, we can learn to treat each experience equally. With that awareness we can meet whatever life brings us with love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Sitting quietly and paying attention to each moment is the way to begin to notice what’s really going on in our mind and body throughout the day.

 

 


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