Abode Village View – Month of August

Abode Village View – Month of August

Update from the Executive Director – Al Bellenchia

Dear Friends,


It is August.  Eighth month of the year, of course, but also much more.

The dictionary tells us that the origin of the word August is thus:

Adj., mid 17th century: from French auguste or Latin augustus ‘consecrated, venerable.’

August is also a synonym for impressive, respected, celebrated, and honored.

Our line-up of events and activities in August is impressive, and welcomes many respected groups and teachers.  There is, indeed, much to celebrate at the Abode in August.

Speaking of such, it is my honor to announce that Larry Brooksbank, our finance manager has been promoted to Assistant Director – Finance and Administration.  His service to the Abode over the past two-plus years has been invaluable. He also plays a mean guitar!

As August begins, we are hosting two groups simultaneously: Camp AWLS (a kundalini yoga retreat) at the Mountain Camp, and NVC (a non-violent communication workshop) on the main campus.  Our team of staff and volunteers have put in an august effort to ready the Abode, and to serve both events with grace and flair.  Bravo!

We can happily report that Wahhab and Batina Sheets have settled into the Pir Vilayat Center at Inayat Manzil and begun their month-long tenure as Teachers-in-Residence. Please see our calendar of events for a listing of their activities throughout the month and please join us.

Our August Open House will be a celebration of the spiritual heritage of our land and feature visits by Brother Arnold Hadd of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, Grandmother Sasa representing the First Nation, as well as our own Sufi teachers. All will join in prayers, practices, movement and song (and maybe a few surprises.) Please join us by registering here.

We will be welcoming back the Wild Woman Project for their annual celebration on the Mountain in late August, and at month’s end, we celebrate the return of Pir Zia Inayat-Khan who will conduct The Alchemy of Happiness silent retreat at the Abode August 31-September 3. We look forward to having him (and you!) back at the Abode.

As summer deepens and starts to wind towards autumn, the energy and vitality of the Abode community remains in full bloom.  We continue to welcome new staff and residents, an abundance of volunteers, and many, many visitors as word-of-mouth about what is building here spreads.

We have completed many of the strategic projects we have set for the year – the creation of the Jamil Welcome Center, Rumi’s Café, the Pir Vilayat Center at Inayat Manzil, and the integration of retreat activities under the leadership of Yaqin Aubert.

Our annual Appeal will be launching soon.  We appreciate your generosity and continued support for the Abode’s revival as a vibrant sanctuary for Sufis and seekers.


With gratitude,


Update from the Abode Board of Directors – Gabriel Steadman

Dear Friends,

In two short years we will mark the Abode’s 45th anniversary. Three long years ago at our 40th reunion there was considerable doubt we would get through the year let alone see another five years. I am pleased to say we, all of us working together, have pulled, pushed and prodded the Abode in a direction where I think we can look forward with confidence to our 45th anniversary and plan for a reunion and not a wake.

That is not to say it has been easy or will get easier. I hear much feedback about how the Abode should do this or the Abode should do that. But, I also know feedback about the state of the Abode and how it is being run is one of our favorite pastimes and comes with the territory. Still, when it counts I have seen time after time all of us who love and care about this special place come together and make it work. If I had it in my power to make the Abode all things to all people I would do so, but that would make me perfect and I am far, far from perfect. Imperfection is a human quality we all share – and one the Abode shares as it reflects back on us our own human failings. It never will be all things to all people, and there will always be someone finding fault with something, but it is nonetheless a great place to be, and we can make it better still.


Update from the Abode Inayati Center – Wahida Young

We did not hold a meeting in July but stayed in touch by email, planning for Winfried’s 3 week series on meditation on Tuesdays in August (7, 14, and 21) and Nur Azad’s arrival for the Open House which took place this past weekend.  We are also very excited about Batina and Wahhab Sheets being with us this August as Teachers in Residence.  They are offering a rich smorgasbord of teachings and experiences. Our Sunday morning meditation classes continue, each one a true jewel, preceding the Universal Worship.  As always we invite you to all of our offerings and hope your lives are enriched by our communion together.

Our next meeting will be on August 6 in the Conference Room at 7 pm.  Please join us if you feel called.

Wahida Ashki

Update from Maintenance – Evan Young

The maintenance department has been staying busy and having fun these last few weeks. Our neighbor Peter Count has been working with us here at the Abode recently, spearheading a couple major projects. With his help, we have just completed a structural repair to the west side of Alim and reinstalled a chunk of west siding that has been missing for some time. Next we are moving to Mughni, where, in the early spring, one of the old spruce trees was uprooted and fell on the building, taking some of the houses’s roof and fascia down with it. To help us complete these jobs in a timely way we’ve rented a 60 foot boom lift, which we will also be using to put up rain gutters on Jami and Razzaq, do some tree work and take a few aerial photographs of our buildings and gardens!

In other news, at the request of a program we’re hosting this week, we’ve just reinstalled our ramps and “runways” to help make our main buildings around the courtyard more accessible by one using walker or wheelchair. We’re proud to be able to accommodate our guests in this way, while we continue to develop a long term plan to improve the accessibility of our historic buildings and grounds, so they may be enjoyed by all.

Now off to try and fix Azim’s weedwhacker!

Evan Young

Abode Weekly Village View

Upcoming Week’s Events

Monday, August 6

– 6:00-8:00 pm Game Nite – Rumi’s Café


Tuesday, August 7

*Due to the number of guests we are hosting from Friday, August 3-Saturday, August 11 we ask that you let us know if you are bringing more than three people to a meal, please email [email protected], call 518-794-8095, or otherwise let Katya know. Thank you for your cooperation.*

– 5:00 pm QiGong Class with Wahida Ashki – Razzaq Library

Join Wahida Ashki for a simple QiGong class. She will teach basic principles and show how to make up natural routines for your own practice.

– 6:00 pm Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Hall

– 7:30 pm Philosophy of Spirituality Discussion – Razzaq Library


Wednesday, August 8

– 6:00 pm Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Hall


Thursday, August 9

– 6:00 pm Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Hall

– 7:00 pm Message Class with Wahhab & Batina Sheets – The Pir Vilayat Center at Inayat Manzil

These evening classes will explore different topics in an open and participatory manner. Wahhab and Batina will introduce exercises for participants to practice in their daily lives to promote personal awakening and discovery related to the week’s topic.


Friday, August 10

– 6:00 pm Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Hall


Saturday, August 11

– 9:00 am Exploring the Spiritual Quest: A Retreat in Life – The Pir Vilayat Center at Inayat Manzil

In these Saturday morning sessions participants will engage deeply with spiritual practices to enhance the retreat-in-life process. 8/4-11 Week One: Purification of the Heart; 8/11-18 Week Two: Self-Realization; 8/18-25 Week Three: Living Our Truth. For more information please visit www.theabode.org/programs/589


Sunday, August 12

– 10:00 am Meditation Class with Nur – Razzaq Library

– 11:00 am Universal Worship with Nur – Razzaq Library

-12:30 pm Brunch – Razzaq Dining Hall



Upcoming Programs

Wahhab and Batina Sheets – Teachers-in-Residence | Month of August

Over the course of four weeks Batina and Wahhab Sheets will guide the exploration of fundamental questions and topics concerning finding, following, and embodying a spiritual discipline that resonates with our most authentic self. They will teach four Thursday evening classes [7:00 PM | August 2, 9, 16, and 23 | Quddus Meditation Hall] which will explore different topics in an open and participatory manner including the introduction of exercises for participants to practice in their daily lives to promote personal awakening and discovery related to the week’s topic. Four morning sessions will be offered [9:00 AM | August 4, 11, 18 and 25 | The Pir Vilayat Center, Inayat Manzil] in which participants will engage deeply with spiritual practices to enhance the retreat-in-life process. Batina and Wahhab will also be leading two Universal Worship services on August 5 and 19 in Quddus Meditation Hall. For more information on the Retreat-in-Life please visit theabode.org/programs/586


Abode Open House – Celebrating Our First Nations/Shaker/Sufi Heritage| August 17 – 19

Join the Abode as we host Grandmother Sasa of Abenaki heritage and Brother Arnold of Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village for a weekend exploring the rich Shaker history of New Lebanon and the land of the Abode. More information to come! Registration can be found at theabode.org/programs/572


The Alchemy of Happiness with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Yaqin Joseph Aubert and Naima Khabira Brown | August 31 – September 4

Pir Zia will lead a three-day silent journey through the stations of spiritual alchemy, traversing the interior landscapes that stretch from the obscurity of the unexamined life to the “fragrant gold” of the soul’s self-realization, which is the essence of happiness. Meditation, invocation, and sacred music will interlace to evoke ever subtler and vaster domains of being. For more information, visit theabode.org/programs/560


Bringing Spirituality into Everyday Life! with Himayat Inayati | October 5 – 7

Pir Vilayat invoked a beautiful world filled with beautiful people and often underscored that the dervish brings to the world a living God – bringing Reality right into the marketplace!

Today’s world is brimming with clouds all around us and naturally within us as well. The challenge that Pir Vilayat offers is to unleash that Great Spirit found at the depth of our soul in a manner that illuminates us and is shared with the world around us.

This three-day retreat will revisit, celebrate, and apply the teaching of Pir Vilayat – addressing the needs of the young adult entering the world, the mature adult moving through this world, and the older adult making use of the space that is now offered within their life. More information and registration can be found at theabode.org/programs/562


Please check our calendar and programs pages for an extended look at upcoming events and happenings. We look forward to being with you soon at the Abode!