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Last week, the Abode hosted a Farmer’s potluck dinner in appreciation of the formidable job that our four young farmers from West Street Farm LLC and Belle, their beautiful work horse, have done during their first year on the Abode farm.
Abode resident Sara Jobin will be leading the performance of “Pearl: an opera in development” in the Founders’ Theatre at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts on Monday, August 13th at 7:30pm. Sara was a Khadim on the Abode Farm in 2011 and was instrumental in helping to find the new farmers this year. She has been coming to the Abode for two years now. Pearl is a contemporary re-telling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter by the daughter of Hester Prynne.
Here is a mixture of impressions I gathered from the participants to last week’s Sufi camps.
Impressions from the Sacred Arts camp
First, as the director of the Abode, I want to say that the return of the Arts camp to the Abode is dear to my heart. Devotion with music is at the core of our Sufi tradition and of so many other faiths. Having the Yuval Ron ensemble which comprises an Israeli musician, a Pakistani Qawaali singer and an Iranian vocalist could not have been a better choice. And adding the beautiful dances and dhikr by Zuleikha was the icing on the cake.
The Abode is happy to host two wonderful programs this week. At the Mountain Retreat Center, we are welcoming once more our very good friends from Spirit Fire, a group dedicated to the practice of Living Awareness. Close to 180 participants will meet for five days for a fire circle retreat celebrating life and spirit. They do so with music, movement, voice, Seva (or service) and the exploration of the Mysteries through a sacred all-night fire circle.
In 2011, the Abode made a plea for help in upgrading the Mountain Retreat Center kitchen. The Mountain Retreat Center, after 30 years of faithful service, was in disrepair and its kitchen could not meet our needs. The oven was so small that dishes had to be cooked in shifts; the cooler could only hold enough food for one day. Staples and refrigerated items had to be stored on the main campus and carried up the mountain daily. Volunteers gathered together and helped in many different ways, generous donations were given and the size of the kitchen was doubled…. This spring, we want to finish what we started and we need your help! We need to raise $12,000 to buy a convection oven, a new refrigerator box, pantry shelving, movable shelves and speed racks. We also need to upgrade the electrical and finish the floor and walls. It is all worth it! The Mountain Retreat Center ...
Have you ever wished to play music, sing a song, or jump for joy? Does music secretly fill your heart? Or does moving around when nobody’s looking give you an indescribable feeling of spirited aliveness?
The farmers! For the 2012 growing season, the farm will be managed by Sarah Steadman and Evan Thaler-Null. We are extremely excited to be a part of such a supportive and kind community and can’t wait to get seeds in the ground.The health of our farm, ecosystem, and community is our primary goal. Therefore, our growing practices are as ecological and holistic as possible. We will be creating….
Throughout time, mystics have used the study of rhythm as a doorway into awareness. Rhythm is a force of life throughout all traditions. Zuleikha, international performer and teacher, has created a unique movement language drawn from extensive trainings with masters of dance, music and health from Eastern and Western traditions. Zuleikha works internationally with thousands of young people.
This spring and summer, the Abode is looking for volunteers who can come and work for 25 hours per week in exchange for room and board, classes and discounts on programs. We are upgrading our Mountain Retreat Center and need men and women who enjoy physical outdoor labor. Volunteers may gain experience in a variety of areas including carpentry, property maintenance, painting and more. We also have other volunteer positions available in our kitchen, housekeeping, and grounds.
The Abode is going through a deep transition with residents. Many long-time residents are moving on, after decades of service at the Abode as family members. For health reasons, Aftab had already moved last fall and now Rabia will be living near her daughter in Kentucky. Both of our grand dames were holding important roles at the Abode by welcoming all visitors and making them feel at home. They were retirees, with an immense love for their spiritual path, who found ways to brighten our days until they had to leave. Residents like them have made the Abode so much more than a place to visit for a retreat or a program.
Humanity is at the most significant crossroad we have ever faced as a species. The fate of all of planetary life hangs in the balance. For quite some time, the road we have been on appears to promise our extinction; in fact, it has already extinguished up to 90,000 other species. But is there another road and is there still time to traverse it in a manner that will care for us as well as for the rest of life?
In this retreat, we will share memories of the Sufi Mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan, and through practices of meditation, contemplation, breath, remembrance (zikr), healing, silence, sound, music and song, trace him in ourselves. This retreat is a part of the weekend celebration for the day of passing (Urs) of Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan.
A Winter Meditation by Fazilee Buechel
Winter approaches cautiously this year, touching us with cold fingertips, then retreating with the advance of the sun. It is a sweet game of hide-and-seek. The solitude of winter allows us to play this game of hide-and-seek with the Beloved within.
A Preview of the 2012 Internal Events at the Abode
February 5th: Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Urs - On Sunday, join us for a special Universal Worship celebrating Hazrat Inayat Khan, a brunch and an afternoon celebration. Other events for February 3rd and 4th will be announced later
March 6 to 11/May 29 to June 3/September 11to 16/December 4 to 9: Suluk Shama - a two year spiritual training program offered by the Sufi Order International (SOI). The Shama class started in September of 2011.
April 6 to 8: Easter retreat with Yaqin Aubert followed by our annual Passover celebration
April 24-29: Federation meeting - This year, the international meeting of all the Hazrati Sufi Orders (Sufi Movement, Ruhanyat, Sufi Way, Sufi Contact, Fraternity of Light, Sufi Order International) is taking place in North America.
From June 1st until September 30th, every year, the Abode Mountain Center hosts weddings. Exchanging vows on our mountain is the perfect place for those who wish to be surrounded by the magic and power of nature.
I am sitting next to our faithful wood stove, with our cat curled up in my lap and a mug of hot tea nearby. Fluffy white snowflakes drift lazily outside my window. I am listening to my favorite classical music station (WQXR). Haydar ‘Ali (Rick) is in a Sufi Graduate Studies class in the Meditation Hall here at the Abode and Ben (now 11 and almost as tall as me!) is at his new school (BCD) in West Stockbridge. Life is good….
A new year is coming. This is a time of transition in which it is good to take a retreat and reflect on our choices. What gives us the freedom to be ourselves in this world? What makes us question the constraints and attachments of our daily life and its pressures? Do we need to make time to face our true being? Have we given our mind a chance to enjoy a moment of intense clarity? Are we aware of our personal entrapments? Our usual, narrow ways of thinking, our limited perspectives, our fears of thinking differently, the demands of our work, our planning tendencies, our non-stop talking, our attachments and constant need for interaction?
The Abode is lucky to have the energy and commitment of Darrow students in ?Hands To Work?, a program based on Shaker principles and on community service. Darrow students have given service to the Abode for many years. Here is an update on our progress.
Pir Zia Inayat-Khan and his family recently returned to his home at The Abode. They spent a year abroad in Suresnes, France at Fazal Manzil. Fazal Manzil was Pir Zia’s grandfather’s, Hazrat Inayat-Khan’s, home. The Abode interviewed Pir Zia to share his experience abroad and upon his return, and to welcome him back to the Abode.
This is the inaugural June 2011 issue of the Abode Messenger, which will be sent to all who become members of the worldwide Abode Community. This inside view of the Abode is for those who want to keep up with what is a rapidly evolving community of Love, Harmony and Beauty.