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POTLUCK!!

This Tuesday, December 18 (6:30-8:30), we celebrate another year with Easing Awake Sangha.  It’s time for our annual potluck—a wonderful opportunity to share conversation with fellow yogis and to get to know each other a little better. 
Please bring your individual place setting.  We will have extras in case someone forgets.  Drinks will be provided.  If you didn’t have a chance to sign up for a dish (main course, salad, side dish, or dessert), just bring something you would enjoy sharing.  

We’ll eat together before our meditation, which should begin around 7:30.   We look forward to being with you and savoring each other’s company.

Metta,

Easing Awake Program Committee
       Erika, Becky, Karin & Joan

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Responding to Our Responses
​      The holiday season can bring warmth, joy, generosity, peacefulness, and good will. It can also bring frustration, greed, tackiness, stress, and seasonal affective disorder. The difference has less to do with what’s going on “out there” and more to do with how we respond to it “in here.” 
      Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying seasonal stress is all in our heads. Well, it is. But it got there through powerful forces like genetic pre-disposition, family history, advertising, political turmoil, social norms, and more. Those aren’t our fault. We didn’t choose them. Yet we can’t will them away.

      We have little control over what happens to us or our feeling respond to what happens to us. However, we do have some control over how we respond to our response. Do you follow me?

      If I’m upset about a crowded schedule, I can be upset about being upset or I can have compassion and humor about it. I can push harder or I can take longer walks by the river or meditate longer. I can send myself criticism for not managing better or I can send myself kindness, ease, and forgiveness for getting entangled again. If someone triggers irritation in me, I can send them bad vibes or I can peer beneath their surface (it’s not that hard to do) and see that they’re stressed or confused just like me and quietly send them peace and clarity.

      Seeing our subjective responses clearly and responding to them wisely takes practice. That’s one of the reasons we meditate — practice helps. 

      During busy seasons it’s harder to find that time, especially if we don’t already have the habit. But there is a 30 second exercise we can use whether we meditate regularly or not:

      When we notice turmoil, we can ask, “How would my good heart respond to this?” We can listen inside for a few moments to our hearts and then go on with the day. If we don’t make a big deal of it, it becomes easier to do more often.

      Invoking the good heart lets our natural wisdom know we’re interested in it. That’s what’s most important. If we do this for a few moments several times a day, the wise heart starts showing up on its own. That helps us respond kindly and wisely to our responses.

      And it helps us see that “this too shall pass.” Christmas and the solstice are almost here. Days will literally start getting brighter very soon.
            
      Mettā,

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Easing Awake Sangha welcomes our new Administrative Coordinator!

Beginning January 1, 2018, Danielle Storm officially joins our growing sangha, bringing her deep experience in building organizations, mobilizing volunteers, and web-media-financial technologies. Danielle is a small business owner, elite roller skating coach, and has been instrumental in growing and sustaining numerous not-for-profit organizations. Doug looks forward to working with her as this aspect of sangha life moves to her capable desk.
Program Survey
Over the last year or so the Easing Awake Program Committee has developed and offered a variety of program formats to accompany and enrich our regular Sangha gatherings and sittings.  Now it’s your turn to tell us what has worked for you, what you would like more or less of, and whether you have ideas for programs we haven’t yet tried.  We would love to hear from everybody in the Sangha circle by January 15th, no matter how often you attend events.

There are hard copies of the survey available at all our gatherings, and you may download the PDF linked here if you would prefer to complete it at home. Bring it with you or scan and email your responses back to Easing Awake at easingawake@easingawake.com.  If you would like your responses to remain anonymous, you may also mail your completed survey to Easing Awake, 1126 McClaren Drive, Carmichael, CA 95608. 

​We look forward to hearing from you!

~ Easing Awake Events ~

Updated information can be found on the Easing Awake saṅgha web site and Doug’s web site.

Saṅgha Gatherings, Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30
Our regular Tuesday saṅgha gatherings are open to anyone practicing or wishing to practice using our Buddhist Easing Awake style of meditation. From September through June we have various programs after the 45 minute sitting to illuminate monthly dhamma themes. For more information click here. You can find program notes for specific meetings here. Please join us. 

Second and Third Sunday peer-led retreats
A sister saṅgha in Yolo county is offering self-guided daylong retreats once a month. Most of the people have trained with me or Bhante Vimalaraṁsi so the style of meditation is familiar. They don’t offer talks or instruction — just time to practice together. Here's where you can get information or sign up.

Spiritual Journey Group
Second Saturdays 8:30 to noon
We meditate for an hour, then explore other ways to deepen our practice, deepen our spiritual lives, and deepen our connections with each other. Note that we don’t meet during July and August. For information and sign-up, click here.

Walk in Nature & Meditation
Fourth Saturdays, September through June, 9:00 to 11:00
Meet Lance Ryen in the Effie Yeaw Nature Center parking lot at Ancil Hoffman Park, Carmichael at 9 AM, rain or shine, for a mindful walk on the nature trails and a 45 – 60 minute sitting in the park.  Bring your own chair for the sitting, or Lance will have some extras. For more information, send an email to Lance.

Daylong Retreat
December 1
We will meet for a day of sitting and walking meditation practice at the home of Doug and Erika Kraft. Doug will be available during the day for private conversations about your practice. More details here.

Annual Nine-Day Retreat
June 23 to July 2, 2019
Information and sign up for our annual June retreat at St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista, click here.

Experienced Meditator’s Group
Fridays 12:00-2:30 PM 
January 25 through March 29
Convened by Doug Kraft
This group is about deepening our meditation practices through sharing our insights and listening to one another. It is for people who are dedicated to a regular meditation practice and ideally have had some retreat experience. It will not be a traditional class in the sense of Doug setting the curriculum, content, and topics and giving mini-lectures. It will be a group with everyone sharing, asking questions, and suggesting topics. Doug expects to fully participate but not to direct the group. Exact date and time are still being worked out.

Please let us know if you are interested.

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