I'm stepping out of my comfort zone by choosing to join a small group of men for eight gatherings over the next four months. I've done a great deal of group work over the last twenty years, but this one already feels different. It's not a Buddhist group. It's not a 12-step group. Most importantly, I'm not the leader. We will gather to look into our manhood, to learn from each other, and to build community.
Even though I've lived in Ojai for seven years, I've not taken the opportunity to create a community of my own. It's a small town and I know many people, but I tend to honor my introvert self and stay home with my family or do things on my own. I met the eight men last night for the first time. I knew only one person, and even him I only know on a very casual level. What I discovered in two hours was a group of very kind men who want to explore something different and build community.
Let the adventure begin. Open heart. Open mind.
#miscjoy #ojai #family
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Over the past seven years, I have spent many days/nights at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, but usually it is for a weekend or even just a day. On two occasions our family have spent 3-weeks at the monastery (once at Deer Park and once at Plum Village in France). These times are always nourishing and provide a nice time away from our regular environment. After our last long visit, in January, the children both said they’d like to stay longer the next time we visit. And though we only spent this past week at Deer Park, it was better than no time, and the children loved the visit especially since the Abbot Thay Phap Dung was available to play silly games with them.
The first question people often ask us about time at the monastery is – what do you do there? What about the children? My best response is that we participate in the activities of the monastery as best we can. For things like sitting meditation, dharma talks (teachings) and dharma discussion, Leslie and I must take turns. Aside from that, we join the community in eating together, cooking together, walking together, playing together, and working together. It is a time to slow down. How often can you take 45-60 minutes for every meal? How often can you take a 45-minute walk in the middle of the day with friends? Or, to sit and have tea for two hours in the afternoon while the children play? Continue reading