Teen and Children’s Program
Our children’s program this year was bursting with life!
In the morning, the whole community gathered for games, songs and mindful work! This gave us a chance to practice being fully present with our loved ones and for life as we do regular activities. While some did joyful baking outside in the fresh morning air, others knelt down on the earth to offer gratitude and harvest veggies for lunch. Still others learned the poem for sweeping the meditation hall, “peacefully sweeping the ground of enlightenment”.
Teachings for the children were playful, with Bruce Nichols introducing his flower nature with bright yellow petals around his face. Stuffed animals appeared from inside Leo Widrich’s hoodie as he introduced the different parts of himself that need his attention such as the puppy who needs to run around and have fun.
Activities wove in a love for all beings. On one walking meditation the children shared fascinating details about local wild animals, then led us down a forest path they had prepared. Songs whispered from behind bushes, gathas dangled from trees and baskets held blueberries and winter mint treats they had gathered. They created the first “event” in the new barn, a play with spunky animal friends teaching us to be kind to each other. The play was the opening of our compassion ceremony, which culminated in releasing our prayers of compassion with floating lanterns on to the pond.
The teens and tweens learned about making a movie!
They wrote a story board, became actors, cinematographers, editors and even finished with a soundtrack. In this mini-movie we learned to look in “The Mirror” to see the presence of our loved ones alive in ourselves, even when they have passed away
“I attended the Morning Sun all ages retreat with my two granddaughters age 5 and 7. It was their first community introduction to our practice and their experience was full of warm freedom, inclusion and gentle care from all in the community. Their experiences in the children’s program were delightful with deep teachings and I have never been so well cared for as I cared for them.” ~Theodate Lawlor
Regional Order of Interbeing Days
Contributed by Joyce Solomon
On the third Sunday of the month the Meditation Hall at Morning Sun seems to expand and open its arms to accommodate many practitioners, as we are joined by OI members and aspirants from around New England. These Sundays are rich with the joy of companionship, practice, and hearing wonderful teachings. We are deeply supported by each other, Fern and Michael, and the Morning Sun Community.
The Day is offered to nourish our practices and understanding of being members of the Order. Often, we recite the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, listen to a Dharma talk, share in the circle. While most of the day is open to everyone, there is a special time just for OI. That time together is like a perfect piece of fruit after a most wonderful meal.
We sip our tea, appreciate its warmth in winter, and coolness in summer. There is great happiness being together, friends on the path, siblings in the Order. The Sangha energy is strong. It’s an invisible web that connects us as we practice our monthly SIP, (Sangha Inquiry Practice), a specific practice to take home that is offered after each session.
(to read more about the practices offered on OI days please visit “Further Sharings” at the end of the newsletter).
Second Annual Mindful Living and Service Program (MLS)
Nine participants from the East and West Coast, Mexico, Germany and Austria came together for the summer to live, practice and serve as one Sangha body. It was one of our most diverse groups yet! We welcomed each day with yoga, meditation, chanting, as well as personal exploration through deep listening, sharing, and writing. Our main project was building the Barn, but we also launched the crowdfunding campaign for the Barn, planted fruit trees, and supported the summer retreats held at Morning Sun.
“What stands out for me the most from the MLS program was the learning and growth that took place because of the participants who attended. As a young adult female, I was deeply reminded of the strong voice that women have from the female participants. It was both nourishing and enlightening to be around such empowered, independent, and vocal women.” ~ Vanessa Ixil, 2018 MLS participant
Build your joy reservoir!
‘This quote from Michael’s Dharma talk stuck in my head. It reminds me in times of fear, despair and loneliness that I am only able to release and understand this great suffering because I am building up and able to use my reservoir of joy, pure love.
I spent three months in the MLS program, living in this wonderful community. An amazing summer of tremendous growth, deep connection and sharing from the heart. Morning Sun lifted my frequency naturally, the nature, the community, the whole intention supported my well-being and transformation. No matter what limitations society has taught me, here I was fully respected and accepted, as a whole being. There were countless fantastic moments!” ~Anne Hirsch, 2018 MLS participant