Dharma Study

Loving-Kindness for Ourselves

with Rachel Nixon & Kelly Richards
Four Tuesdays, February 9-March 2, 6-8 p.m.
 
Via Zoom... link provided with registration.
 
When we slow down and take time to appreciate ourselves, we connect with our Buddhanature. We learn that, in each moment, there is inherent basic goodness – in our heart, mind, and body. We are naturally awake and open-hearted. In this class, we will connect with our Buddhanature and cultivate unconditional friendliness toward ourselves. With gentleness, we will explore what blocks our hearts and causes us to shut down. In this class, participants will be guided through experiential exercises:
  • body and breath awareness,
  • nurturing moment practice,
  • loving-kindness contemplations, and
  • gratitude exercises.
We will also learn what is happening at a physiological level when our hearts are open or closed. 
 
The atmosphere will be warm-hearted and welcoming of all. Readings, videos, and podcasts from Buddhist teachers – Pema Chödrön, Sebene Selassie, and angel Kyodo Williams – will be offered to help deepen our understanding of loving-kindness. Participants will leave with specific practices for self-care and nurturance. 
 
This offering is part of the year-long program, Making Friends with Ourselves & Our World, January-December, 2021.
 
Level: All are welcome.
 
Registration: Kindly complete payment below or contact Rachel at [email protected] to register and discuss other payment options. Donations in any amount are graciously appreciated. In addition to online payment, you may send checks to: The Dancing Elephant, 14 School Street, Rockland, ME 04841. Please register by email first. Thank you!
Suggested donation
 
If you are able to pay the full amount, you will help someone else participate. Thank you!
 

Kelly Richards’ fascination with Buddhism began in the 1970’s. Her experience of nature drawing echoed the Zen of Seeing: paying attention to twigs, seed pods, or vistas brought deep calm. She is a certified CBCT® instructor and has taught meditation to children since 2006. Kelly helped create “SEE Learning,” a K-12 curriculum for compassion-based ethics through Emory University. She and her husband retired to Vinalhaven in 2014, where she teaches mindfulness to children and adults. Kelly feels deep gratitude for the natural beauty and the close bonds of the community.

Rachel Nixon has been exploring Buddhist teachings since 1999. Over the years, she has been inspired by Pema Chödrön's writings and has trained at Shambhala Buddhist Centers in the U.S. and Canada. Rachel attended the seven-week Yarne Retreat with Ani Pema at Gampo Abbey in 2019-2020. Rachel has also studied with Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche and the Mangala Shri Bhuti community, as well as at the Insight Meditation Society. She has been trained as a Shambhala Path Meditation Instructor and a k-12 Mindful Schools Educator. Rachel loves to teach meditation and explore the Buddhist teachings with people of all ages. She also loves sailing, hiking, and swimming.
 
The Dancing Elephant is by donation so that everyone can participate. Donations in any amount are graciously appreciated.

Making Friends with Your Mind

with Sydney Hall & Rachel Nixon
Four Tuesdays, March 16-April 20, 6-8 p.m.
 
Via Zoom... link provided with registration.
 
“The mind is very wild. If we can train ourselves through meditation to be more open and more accepting toward the wild arc of our experience, if we can lean into the difficulties of life and the ride of our minds, we can become more settled and relaxed amid whatever life brings us.” Pema Chödrön
 
Many people come to meditation or mindfulness to “quiet the mind” but is that really possible or desirable? Instead, what if we get to know the “wild arc” of our experience, including our mind and emotions? What if we become curious about our monkey mind and welcome everything to the path.
 
In this six-week class, we will explore meditation as a practice to support wholehearted living. Guided by the wisdom of American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön, we will learn how to work with our minds. Participants will be guided through the basics of meditation, including:
  • preparing for practice, 
  • getting grounded in the body, 
  • learning to be with the breath, 
  • working with thoughts, emotions, and sensations, 
  • and letting go. 
The instruction will be sensory-based and embodied. Together, we will experience meditation as practice. We will work at it, stay with it, let it go, and keep trying. We will learn about the science of mindfulness and how we are re-wiring the brain for self-compassion and positive thought patterns. 
 
The atmosphere will be kind and playful. It is important not to take meditation too seriously. The core teaching will be How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind by Pema Chödrön. We will also draw on other Buddhist voices through videos, podcasts, and readings. Participants will leave with specific tools to continue a meditation practice with joy and support.
 
This offering is part of the year-long program, Making Friends with Ourselves & Our World, January-December, 2021.
 
Class book: How to Meditate by Pema Chödrön. Please order a copy from a local bookstore or online.
 
Level: All are welcome. This is great class for beginners and an excellent refresher for “advanced” practitioners.
 
Registration: Kindly complete payment below or contact Rachel at [email protected] to register and discuss other payment options. Donations in any amount are graciously appreciated. In addition to online payment, you may send checks to: The Dancing Elephant, 14 School Street, Rockland, ME 04841. Please register by email first. Thank you!
Suggested donation
 
If you are able to pay the full amount, you will help someone else participate. Thank you!
 
Rachel Nixon has been exploring Buddhist teachings since 1999. Over the years, she has been inspired by Pema Chödrön's writings and has trained at Shambhala Buddhist Centers in the U.S. and Canada. Rachel attended the seven-week Yarne Retreat with Ani Pema at Gampo Abbey in 2019-2020. Rachel has also studied with Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche and the Mangala Shri Bhuti community, as well as at the Insight Meditation Society. She has been trained as a Shambhala Path Meditation Instructor and a k-12 Mindful Schools Educator. Rachel loves to teach meditation and explore the Buddhist teachings with people of all ages. She also loves sailing, hiking, and swimming.
 
Sydney Hall has been practicing meditation since 2008. She has practiced and studied at Shambhala Buddhist meditation centers in Colorado, Vermont, New York City, and Brunswick. Sydney trained as a Shambhala Guide and has facilitated study groups and assisted at weekend retreats for the local sangha in Rockland. She and her family have lived in Hope for nearly 40 years. Sydney is a retired art teacher, and she and her husband have sailed extensively in Maine and the Caribbean.

The Dancing Elephant is by donation so that everyone can participate. Donations in any amount are graciously appreciated.