Longing to Belong – a special daylong on April 14, 2012

Longing to Belong:

A Daylong Meditation Retreat 
for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender People and their Friends

Saturday, April 14, 2012, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

College Avenue Congregational Church
1341 College Ave at W. Orangeburg Ave.
Modesto, CA

We all long to belong.  At different times in our lives, we each have thought, “You do not fit in.  You are not worthy.”  Many communities, including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer and Transgender people are familiar with these messages.  Social and cultural norms greatly impact all of us.  For those of us who are overlooked or misrepresented for any reason, these messages often result in isolation and discrimination.  The Buddha declared that regardless, freedom is available to each of us without exception.  His message was and remains simple. “Everyone can be free.”  That means you too.

LGBQT people and friends are invited to come together for this daylong retreat to develop belonging. Spiritual community has the power to deeply transform our lives.  Our day will include sitting and walking meditation.  We will investigate what keeps us isolated from others and what builds connection and well-being.  There will also be time for journaling and sharing in small groups.  This day of practice will further develop tools to increase mindfulness and loving kindness in our lives.  By combining our efforts in spiritual community, our effort will bring greater freedom.  We’ll start with ourselves but we’ll do it together.

Joan Doyle founded the East Bay LGBT Vipassana group that has grown into East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC)’s Alphabet Sangha for LGBTQI and same-gender loving practitioners. In addition to co-teaching the Wednesday group at EBMC, she is active with the family programs at both EBMC and Spirit Rock, where she teaches meditation classes for young people. Joan has been meditating and practicing Dharma for over a decade, has sat many retreats and has completed Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioner Program and is in the Community Dharma Leaders Training Program at Spirit Rock.

John Mifsud is in the Community Dharma Leaders Training Program at Spirit Rock. Larry Yang is his mentor teacher. John is a leader of EBMC’s Deep Refuge Group for Alphabet Brothers of Color. He also studied with Rodney Smith at Seattle Insight Meditation, coordinated the Seattle Multicultural Sangha and Seattle Dharma Buddies. His current practicum includes teaching at the San Francisco Gay Buddhist Sangha, the SF Gay Buddhist Fellowship, San Francisco Insight and EBMC.

This day is freely offered to all.  Donations are gladly accepted to support the teachers.

Please bring a vegetarian potluck dish to share for lunch, if you would like.  Dress in loose and comfortable clothing.  For the sake of those who may have sensitivities or allergies, please do not wear scented or perfumed products.  If you have a meditation cushion, please bring it. A very limited number of mats and cushions will be available.  Chairs will be available.  All levels of practitioners are welcome.

For additional information, please contact Lori Wong at 209-343-2748