Upcoming Events

Lama Losang Samten | Tara Weekend

Sep 30, 2022 - Oct 2, 2022 | 6:00 pm - 3:00 pm | Netloft
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Reflections on Collectively Expressing Our Gratitude for All of Creation
by Lynette Jackson

After a prolonged spring season of mostly wet and chilly weather, July 21 bestowed a gorgeously warm and sunny afternoon on Gabriola. It was the perfect opportunity for 32 of us to gather in community amid the splendid beauty and bounty of the Net Loft gardens.  Ably coordinated by Catherine Woodward, the GES Board had prepared a warm welcome, a variety of fun outdoor games, and a bountiful meal for all. We were delighted and blessed to have four of the original GES founders from 18 years ago in attendance: Anne Sims, Del McCarthy, David Soy, and Shelagh Huston. Little did they know then how their sincere efforts would continue to thrive and blossom over the years!

We opened our circle with Brenda Gaertner invoking heartfelt appreciation both for and from the Snuneymuxw ancestors whose spirits still enliven and bless this sacred land.  Reverend Karen Hollis then introduced a moving group practice of collective gratitude. This invocation of sacred First Nations teachings has been translated as “Words that Come Before All Else”.  It was recorded by Robin Kimmerer in her cherished classic Braiding Sweetgrass, with the expressed permission of the Elders to share it widely.  Every paragraph of this sacred traditional First Nations teaching concludes with the affirmation “Now our minds are one”.  As each of us read one of the paragraphs in turn, expressing gratitude for a particular aspect of our universal blessings — from the tiniest insects to the stars gracing the night sky — our collective spirit of unity and reverence deepened.  Brenda’s two stalwart black labs and a sweet little canine visiting from California were included in our circle; it became obvious that all beings great and small were absorbing the clarity and peace of our collective devotions.  It is my hope that this sacred, communal, and truly ecumenical way of expressing gratitude might become a tradition at future GES picnics.

Together we laughed and feasted, strengthened precious community ties, and saluted 18 successful years of GES programs. We enjoyed the enlivening gift of music performed by talented local musicians, led by John Bryson and including Bob Mckecknie, Frazer Gabbott, and Gary Holmes, as well as a lovely impromptu performance by a guest guitarist and vocalist. A particular highlight of the afternoon for me was listening to Shelagh Huston’s lyrical performance of “Teach Your Children” in her soaring, clear soprano.

Sincere thanks to Catherine for spearheading this event, and to Del for her skilled mentoring; in Catherine’s words, “I wouldn’t have been able to do any “coordinating” if it hadn’t been for Del and her expert guidance. She presented me with the detailed “planning” document that had been created over the years and helped every step of the way.” The GES board also wishes to express our loving appreciation to Brenda for her stewardship of the gorgeous surroundings and for preparing the immaculate outdoor kitchen facilities for us, to our talented and generous musicians, and to all who contributed their volunteer efforts and presence to this grace-filled afternoon.

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Saturday, June 25,  Net Loft

Twenty-two spiritual seekers experienced deep peace in a progressive series of meditations and chanting of solar mantras, culminating in a flower offering ceremony with 108 repetitions of the powerful traditional sun mantra Surya Gayatri .

Pandit Tejomaya opened the event recognizing how well the First Peoples of this land have kept it. He then explained what we would do, and led us to begin the chanting. A set of meditations interspersed with chanting brought us into a progressively quieter space together.

We then offered lovely, sweet smelling, fresh-picked rose petals – one at a time – to  water surrounding a candle, as we chanted the Surya Gayatri sun mantra together – 108 times. Tejomaya explained that nothing exists in the macrocosm that cannot be brought into the microcosm. He asked us to share how the participants felt about the event. A number of us talked about just how calming and lightening the meditating and chanting experience was. Some of us later remarked that we had been brought to such a deep place of peace, we had no need to speak in response. 

Next, we went out to the beautiful stone Net Loft summer kitchen patio for a delicious potluck supper – and chatting!  What a delightful, early summer, sunny day by the sea.

I have had the privilege to know Pandit Tejomaya for twelve years –  since my wife Vicky and I went to him for healing yoga, workshops and  teachings at his studio and home here on Gabriola. Tejomaya now lives as a Forest Dweller on Lasqueti island with his husband Duane. I regret not having visited – yet ! 
Thank you so much, Tejomaya , for helping us welcome summer in such a delightful way. 

Metta,
John Gooding

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