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NZC in 2018

My Dear Sangha,

We had a board meeting and banged out what we would like to see happen in the next year. Like most things in Zen, these things are aspirational; goals we are striving towards but not absolutes. To get overly attached is to miss the point. And the point is to support one another in practice. Bearing in mind the only thing we are totally inflexible about is our flexibility, here's what we'd like see happen in 2018.

We won't be having the Spring retreat on Easter this year (we'll be coloring Easter eggs with the fam). But we hope to have a retreat on Memorial Day weekend.  It will have to be in a different location than Penuel Ridge. I have some possible candidates. But if you, my kind and resourceful sangha, know of place we can sit, sleep, and eat at for a weekend within an hour's drive of Nashville, please send that info my way (stephanie.m.elder@gmail.com).

One thing will definitely will be doing more of is outdoor Saturday sits. It adds some variety to practice and plus it's darn pretty. Our usual spot is a beautiful and somewhat secluded shelter that we rent out at a Edwin Warner Park.  We are shooting for our first outdoor sit in late April and if that goes off well, we'll have outdoor sits every two or three months or so.

We are also looking at doing some indoor all-day sits at the clubhouse on Sawyer Brown Rd. All-day sits are like a mini-retreat that nearly everyone can manage. Most everyone can take at least one day to get a small break from life. And we figure, once and awhile, everyone should. We'd start in the morning on Saturday, break for lunch, and sit until mid-afternoon. We are shooting for the first one in June, if that works out well, we'll do one every couple of months or so too.

You know our buddies in the Memphis Zen Community? Well, they have a rotating weekly schedule. And because the folks of MZC are awesome, and imitation is the highest form of flattery, we are stealing their excellent idea!

1st Tuesday: Intro to Zen
1st Saturday: Just Sitting and Heart Sutra
2nd Tuesday: Just Sitting and Dharma Discussion
2nd Saturday: Book Study
3rd Tuesday: Practice Discussion
3rd Saturday: Practice Discussion
4th Tuesday: Just Sitting and Dharma Discussion
4th Saturday: Book Study

So here's a couple of things about the rotating schedule. Because Abhilash is brilliant and the best, he's devised a way we can do the Intro to Zen class which gives a good detailed orientation to newcomers without disturbing the flow of an normal Tuesday night sit. So the only difference you'll see on a Intro to Zen night is that one of us will be giving orientations in the side room during the sit and the discussion will focus on how to maintain a practice (which, let's be real, is the subject of most of our discussions anyway).

We missed the book study! So we are bring it back! Same days and times it used to be on before the big move. On the second and fourth Saturday of the month after sitting, we will working our way through Old Path, White Clouds.

New Item: Practice Discussion on every third Tuesday and Saturday of the month. What do we mean by practice discussion? During the sits, one of the practice leaders will be off in a sideroom and you can have a private discussion about how your practice is going. We know from experience that it can be helpful to hash it out, one-on-one, with someone who's been there.

The next rotating schedule goes into effect in April. And I'll be updating the info on the site to correspond with the changes.

That's it really. And aren't you glad? I've blabbed on too long.

Remember to check the site, the Facebook, and sign up for the email. That's the way to know for sure when these things are going down.

And shoot us an email at anytime.  We welcome feedback, questions, concerns and suggestions: info@nashvillezencenter.org

Thanks for sticking with us through all the changes last year.
We look forward to sitting with you through new and interesting times. You are the pluckiest sangha this side of the Cumberland Plateau.

And most of all, we appreciate your practice.

Steph Elder

Somehow Still President of Nashville Zen Center

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