powered by:
 [PHP] + [mySQL]

Open Dharma Newsletter


~ September Newsletter
We are so lucky to welcome Julia to the newsletter team! Not only did she help with managing editorial duties for this dispatch, but she contributed a great article on Lizzie's cooking, which many have had happily sampled while on an Open Dharma retreat. Julia's efforts made this letter come together in a way that felt easy, like the end of the summer. Thank you so much, Julia. Also sharing her talents this month is Whitney, who showed some of her beautiful collages, which were made during the Sattal retreat, in the tiny art show retreatants put up at the end of their time together. (For example, the dreamy, blue one above.) Adding to the bountiful harvest, you'll also find a letter from Jaya; Nanda's reflections on silence, laughter and real life at the recent retreat in Holland, and Ana's tantalizing description of the upcoming Deep Rest retreat location in La Vera, Spain, as well as a short article on science and generosity. We hope you will enjoy it all. 



by Jessica

In this newsletter

~ A Letter from Jaya 
~ Retreat Reflections
~ Upcoming Retreats 
~ Magic, Alchemy & Freshness 
~ Whitney's Collages 
~ The Science of Giving
 Upcoming Events


~ A Letter from Jaya

A recent cancellation leaves the sweet, rustic cottage available from October onwards.  
Gemmaji and I are happy to welcome one or two people for winter retreat here.  For the first time Gemmaji will be here the whole winter, and I will be here much of the time as well.
Please email us if you are interested.

At Dharmaloca every day I have the chance to experience: "everything is alive."
Yesterday, Gyan and I were harvesting dark pink-speckled green beans from a tangle on the garden fence.  Suddenly, a leaf was not a leaf.  Its triangular head swiveled to look at us.
Gyan and I keep coming upon long, leaf-colored praying mantises in the garden.  Gyan and I gaze back at them, from a "safe" meter away.
When I was little, my parents bought papery brown mantis egg cases from the Hasting's Garden Center--these insects then grew up to be a natural protection for our plants.  
I often kept a light on at night as a child, and once in that dusky light, I held the gaze of a huge mantis in an upper corner of the bedroom for long enough to forge a bond.  Was it a dream? I remember the awe--awful, awesome--and what remains with me even today when I see a mantis is: protection, in spite of fears.
One sunrise-colored rose here at Dharmaloca has already survived the weedeater, rhizomic grass,  greywater, and neglect.  Last week its creamy bloom was mangled by aphids.
I went to look. I expected awful.
The crippled flower had held on, and another bud bloomed--and another long, translucent mantis floating upside down on the stem.


by Jaya

(Image: A 19th century Japanese woodcut.)

~ Retreat Reflections 

Nanda wrote this story after July's retreat in Holland

Real Life

When I came home after the Dutch retreat, my housemates looked worried. They gave me the newspaper which in big black letters told me that Holland probably would get a right wing government. A flash of a thought - where was I? What did I do? We have just locked ourselves up in a farm in the far north, denying the world, just lying down.
But I felt that this thought was just a half truth. Or maybe not true at all. In the evening, lying in bed, I thought about the way silence and non-silence were supporting each other during the retreat, and that somehow here was a key.
Half way during the Dutch retreat the team had a group meeting with Jaya-ji.
Some of the cooks mentioned how helpful it was to have silent people around. The silence made them work differently. For me the deep silence gave me a safe enough environment to be open and to stand in my power. 

The silence from this retreat felt deep. As soon as the group walked in, all my manager-worries felt much lighter. No matter what, the silence would do its work here.
Also: after the retreat a lot of retreatants told me how helpful it was to have working, laughing people around. That it somehow helped them to love life. ‘The laughing-sounds out of the kitchen reminded me of the true nature of life,’ one of them said beautifully. ‘This is joy’
Interesting, how the silence and non-silence supported each other and that there is an invisible interaction. As if two different substances become together a third substance- which is not silent and not talking. But including both. From both sides we did not have the intention to laugh or to be silent for the other, but just doing fully your thing has a spin-off effect.
And now back in the world of politics and newspapers, I was thinking that being silent for a week had no effect at all. But if it works on a small level - it should also work on a bigger level. Don’t ask me how. But I am sure that our silent circle not only made ME feel safe. I am sure that our laughing was not only received by the people close and silent enough to hear. What would have happened if it said on the front page of the newspaper that 32 people had been silent for a week? I guess my friends would have been smiling, passing me the newspaper- ‘Look, this is real life.’

(Photo: A meal during the retreat, by Nanda)


by Nanda

~ Upcoming Retreat in Spain

Some thoughts from Ana on the upcoming Deep Rest retreat in  La Vera, Spain 8-12 October 2010:

Valle de La Vera is the name of a lush valley situated in the northern part of the province of Caceres, two and a half hours Southwest of Madrid.  It’s a valley of great natural beauty abundant with pine trees, oaks and chestnut trees and with the beautiful backdrop of the Gredos mountain range. The villages in this region of Spain are well preserved and quaint, maintaining the traditional architecture of the region. But the most unique feature is the profusion of creeks and rivers coming down from the mountains creating lots of waterfalls and natural pools. 
In late spring this year, Guillermo and I (we’re managing this retreat together ) in our search for an appropriate place for the retreat visited “El Cielo de la Vera”, the house where it will take place. We fell in love with it even before we got there. As we drove along the 4 Km. of narrow track leading to the house, the abundance of wild flowers made us feel light-hearted and “high”. Life was singing to us with the most joyous melody and at top volume! By the time we arrived at the house we were full with the intensity of aliveness all around. Our immediate feeling was “this place is so Open Dharma”. That was in the spring and I imagine the place will look and feel very different in October, after the long dry Spanish summer and the onset of autumn. But surely the wonder of life and the magic of nature will still be there, freely giving love away.
We are both very happy to be managing this retreat. For me this is the second time round and a dream come true. I have vivid memories of the very first silent retreat I did in Gaia House, England. Gratefulness filled my heart to bursting point. I felt immense gratitude to life for giving me the chance to be there. The perfect environment and conditions allowed me to experience for the first time, the perfect simplicity of just being. My gratitude extended to the Dharma and the teachers and managers who made it all possible. I felt passionately that I also wanted to help other people have that same wonder-full opportunity. In fact, I spent a big chunk of the retreat daydreaming away about how much I would love that to happen. 
Open Dharma “opened” a new door for me into the space of spaciousness, where I could find “my own way”, the way that feels more NATURAL and where I’m learning that there is enough space for everything, “right” and “wrong”, light and dark, fluffy and dense, expansion and contraction. So, how could I not feel happy about managing this retreat!
(Photo above: La Vera, Spain, by Ana.)



by Ana

~ Magic, Alchemy & Freshness
A conversation with Lizzie Jacobs, Natural Foods chef and Retreat Kitchen Manager Extraordinaire:

I have been a big fan of Lizzie Jacobs’s cooking from the first bite of the first dish of the first meal of my first Deep Rest retreat at The Stone House. Lizzie’s cooking is simple, but never boring, at once wholesome and decadent. Her presentation is inspired and her baking is divine! I remember leaving a note for her on the message board saying, “Your cooking defines nourishment.”
I had the pleasure of learning a little more about her cooking history a few days ago. Our conversation began with my disclaimer that I’m really not a writer, but I’ve just joined the newsletter team and I’m curious about her story. Lizzie laughed, saying that she wasn’t really a cook, and then she kept having opportunities to cook fall in her lap.

It began with baking “disgusting” cookies when she was a child. Lizzie learned the hard way not to use too much salt or much baking soda. Around age nineteen or twenty she had the chance to help cook for a Yatra in France, cooking for about two hundred people out of the back of a truck. Within a couple of years she was became the Yatra’s kitchen manager. Now she’s been cooking for retreats for ten years.

She gets excited experimenting with different flavors and likens the way they transform each other to magic or alchemy. She is inspired by the freshness and energy of vegetables, particularly kale and other greens. Lizzie loves cooking for silent retreats because people appreciate it so much.  The senses become so heightened in silence and it’s healing to be cared for with good food. She has gotten lots of lovely notes over the years about the impact her food has on peoples’ retreat experience.

Lizzie notes that cooking for retreats can feel huge and crazy, but in the end the feeling is one of enjoyment, deep satisfaction and happiness. She has learned that she likes to either cook for a retreat or to simply attend it. Trying to do both hasn’t worked well for her. After the structure and form of a day of kitchen work she likes to go sit by herself or go for a swim in the pond rather than joining others in the practice hall.

(Image above: Lizzie in the kitchen.)

by Julia

Here’s one of Lizzie’s favorite recipes for you to try:

Kale Salad
1/3 c Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari soy sauce
1/3 c lemon joice
1/3 c flax seed or extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
1 lb fresh kale
1/2 c sunflower sprouts
1/2 c alfalfa sprouts
1 c avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (optional)
1 c thinly sliced shitake or crimini mushrooms (optional)
Combine Liquid Aminos (or tamari) and lemon juice in a blender or whisk ingredients in a bowl. Slowly add oil to mixture and place onions in to marinate. Toast each type of seed separately in a heavy bottomed pan (cast iron is best) until they are just golden and fragrant. Cool to room temperature. De-stem the kale, stack and cut into 1/4 inch ribbons. Toss the seeds, sprouts and kale together with the marinated onions and as much dressing as necessary to lightly but completely dress the kale. Massage the dressing into the dale with love. Toss in the avocado and mushrooms. Enjoy!


~ Whitney's Collages

These are two more examples of the wonderful artwork Whitney created while on the long Open Dharma retreat in Sattal, in India, last spring. Her collages were shown in the mini-art gallery set up at the end of the retreat. To see more of Whitney's artworks, please click through the links here and here.


by Whitney

~ The Science of Giving

Two recent articles have introduced interesting ideas about generosity and trust. The first focusses on a charity fundraising technique initiated by Penelope Burk, who realized that when board members of a given group called donors who had just given to their cause, the next time they gave, the people who had been thanked increased the amount of their donations by 39%. The donors weren't asked to give a larger amount, but after being thanked, they seemed naturally inclined to give bigger. Clickhere to read more.

The second article, which somehow perfectly resonates with the first, is on the hormone that promotes a feeling of trust and safety, oxytocin, which scientific researchers are studying as it relates to economics. They basically found that the more oxytocin there is in your system, the more you trust. And the more you trust, the more you empathize, and, therefore, the more you give. It's also a biofeeback loop--and this is where it gets fascinating-- and the more oxytocin in your system, the more you produce. So trust and giving leads to more trust and giving. (But what's also interesting is that the hormone completely loses its power when someone becomes skeptical of the honesty of the other side.) I like that this research challenges previous economic models based on the assumption that people will always act selfishly, proving that people are naturally more generous than old-fashioned economic theories might predict. Check out the article here, if you're curious.

Now, not to be too clever, but while we're reflecting on generosity, and dana, it seems like a good time to point out that making an online donation to Open Dharma is now really, really easy, thanks to recent improvements to the website. If you'd like to experiment with giving, and seeing how it makes you feel, please click here to make a donation of any amount to Open Dharma. And (ring, ring, ring) THANK YOU!

by Jessica

Upcoming Retreat Dates & Details

17-19 September, 2010 Weekend retreat in Brighton, UK.
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
For information and registration, write to:
retirosopendharma (AT) gmail.com

8-12 October, 2010, Deep Rest retreat in Sierra de la Vera, Spain.
Teachings will be in English & Spanish
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
For information and registration, write to:
opendharmamadrid (AT) hotmail.com

25 January - 3 February, 2010, Silent retreat near Arunachala, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, South INdia.
Teachings will be in English 
Facilitators: Ajay and Jaya
For information and registration, write to:
opendharmainfo (AT) yahoo.com

9-19 February, 2011, Dharma gathering in Sarnath, India
Come any day, leave any day.
Offered completely on a donation basis.
Teachings will be in English
Teachers, Christopher, Jaya and others...
For information check bodhgayaretreats.org

April 2011, Easter Retreat
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma

May 2011, Deep Rest retreat at Le Moulin de Chaves, France
Teachings will be in English & Spanish
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
For information and registration, write to:
mail (AT) moulindechaves.org

June 2011, One month retreat in Dharmaloca, Catalonia, Spain
Teachings will be in English & Spanish
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma, and we hope Ajay will come

July 2011, Deep Rest retreat in Holland
Teachings will be in English
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma

August 2011, Deep Rest retreat in Catalonia, Spain
Teachings will be in English & Spanish
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma

~ Welcome to Everyone

We would love to share your inspiration in an upcoming newsletter. Photos! Poems! Drawings! Musings! Reflections on a recent--or not so recent--retreat! (You can even tell us that you'd like to contribute anonymously.) Please feel free to send any contributions  to newsletter (AT) opencentre.es

--~--~--~--~--~--~--~-- Nature - Interaction - Silence http://www.opencentre.es If you are organizing a fund-raising event/activity, please email the fund-raising info coordinator (Benoit) at: fundraising (AT) opencentre.es with details of your event, so that we can happily share it with others. You received this message because you are subscribed to the Open Centre newsletter. Forward this message to someone by clicking on [FORWARD] To update your preferences, click on [PREFERENCES] Newsletter archive: http://www.opencentre.es/newsletter/archive.php?listID=2&layoutID=3&pagerows=50 If you do not want to receive any more newsletters, click on [UNSUBSCRIBE] --~--~--~--~--~--~--~--

Messages sent on the previous Open Centre Google Group (not existing anymore):

Message 13 - The Open Centre newsletter is moving to a new location!

Message 12 - News & improving the newsletter

Message 11 - Christopher Titmuss Dharma Talk in SF

Message 10 - fundraising t-shirts

Message 09 - Latest news

Message 08 - Still need prizes for the Lottery Raffel

Message 07 - smiles and tears

Message 06 - Open Centre Lottery

Message 05 - Comments in the How can you help section of the website

Message 04 - Fun Events

Message 03 - this week's news

Message 02 - now is the time

Message 01 - What's up


New (current) Open Centre newsletter:

Newsletter archive:


The Open Centre, an Open Dharma project.

Open Centre newsletter archive

The Open Centre, an Open Dharma project.

© tincan limited | Powered by phplist | Maintained by spun-shop.com