The year started off with a bang with a powerful nyung né retreat hosted by Shantideva Center at the gorgeous Menla Mountain Retreat in the Catskills. It was a frigid weekend, but the participants were a hardy group engaging in this rich practice to the Buddha of Compassion. I did additional teachings for the New York center and continued training meetings for the meditation facilitators.
I continued meeting with two interfaith groups in my area and one hosted a “Unity Shabbat.” Here a number of faith leaders offered various prayers, chants, and inspiration from their lineages and it was a very special evening. Thank you to Kathy McDevitt, wife of longtime high school friend Bob, for including me in this group.
A local diversity group, Fellowship of Urban Suburban Engagement (FUSE), also engages some of my time; they host “Courageous Conversations” each month at a different spiritual center to bring together groups of people who may not normally interact. It has been quite rich.
Made it to the Women’s March in Philadelphia this year with a group of neighborhood friends and had a lot of fun doing so.
I returned to Florida to teach for our groups in both the Miami Beach and Boca Raton areas and led the first residential weekend retreat hosted by Namdrol Ling Study Group in Delray, Florida at a peaceful Catholic retreat center. It seemed to be very helpful for those who attended. Thank you to kind host Ana Paula for all of the spoiling and to Maria and the rest of the volunteer team for making my stay so relaxed and enjoyable. Following the retreat, I very much enjoyed a nun’s evening at Ven. Tendron’s, the resident teacher for Tubten Kunga Center.
I then took the train up to Orlando to give an evening talk for a new emerging group. In Orlando, I stayed with dear friends Maura and Roy Harvey (keepers of the dining room tsa tsa walls!), watched the SpaceX rocket launch with Maura from their driveway, drove my first Tesla (thank you Roy!), and met a childhood friend living in the Orlando area I have not seen since high school.
After that, it was back to Raleigh and Kadampa Center for a weekend program on Death and Dying and enjoyed reconnecting with many of the students in the area.
Once home, I continued with local programs, teaching a 4-part series of Buddhism in a Nutshell for a nearby Buddhist group as well as a talk for a World Religions class at a nearby high school. I also gave an evening talk for the Jewish National Federation which was a great deal of fun and returned to Northeastern University in Boston for one of the twice yearly lectures.
The Eagles won the Super Bowl for the first time ever and the city erupted. Although I’m not much of a football fan, it was hard not to feel the excitement.
My whole family was in from overseas to celebrate my Dad’s 91st birthday and Passover together. My sister and I hosted a seder at our home which hasn’t been done in about 20 years since my brother has been hosting. It was a grand event and everyone enjoyed immensely. We had some nice family outings and my sister and I even made it to the gun control March for Our Lives in Washington, DC which was very inspiring. Then slowly everyone departed to various countries and my nephew who has been living with me for the past 7 months finally made his way back to England.