Abode Village View – Month of July
Update from the Executive Director – Al Bellenchia
Welcome to July, and full-on summer at the Abode. The joint is jumping!
In recent weeks, we have welcomed back two long-tenured programs, BaitCon and SpiritFire, each of whom have returned to the Abode annually for over 25 years.
We also welcomed two new groups taking retreat at the Abode: Romemu, a group that seeks to “integrate body, mind and soul into Jewish practice,” and the Perennial Foundation, A Shadhili Sufi group. That the Abode team — staff, volunteers, and community — could make these two unique organizations feel welcome and at home, is a testament to our living the Message, and our focus on providing an environment of sacred hospitality for guests and visitors.
Hosting both events required thoughtful logistical consideration. The very nature of life at the Abode – the sharing of resources and space; the dichotomy of residential life co-existing with programming and rental events, presents a real possibility for conflict and chaos. But we are rising to the occasion by grounding ourselves in our practices and lessons and the spirit of service. We emerge as better selves than we were before, having had the opportunity to embody calmness and compassion.
In a few days, I will be completing my third year at the Abode, which is now celebrating the 3rd anniversary of its new charter and independence. We have accomplished so much over the past three years together to build a path to sustainability. While we reflect on that, we are looking forward, as we must do.
Many folks ask me “what is the Abode now; where is it going; is it still my home; should I still support it?” Here is what I say:
“The Abode is evolving, being born again. It is being carried forward by a new generation, who are living and working and learning alongside the founding generation. They are working together to renew this sanctuary so that it will be vital and relevant for the new world that is emerging.”
Is it the old Abode? Yes and no. Is it a new Abode? Yes and no.
This Abode is the same AND it is different. It must be both because the times demand that it be different, while also being rooted in Sufi practice and principles.
The energy that is building here shines clearly through the cloudiness and commotion of change. Anyone who has spent time here knows what Abode energy feels like, even if it cannot be captured in words. It is unique and focused and shaped by the land and the beings who share this space now, and those who have come before us, if even for a brief time. Pir Vilayat called it “cosmic.” That works for me.
And in this iteration, the energy and vision of the Abode that is emerging is one of an oasis. A sanctuary (definition = sacred space) for those who want and need to retreat, to re-center themselves and find community with others grounded in nature, spiritual practice and sacred service. The Abode must change and adapt to a new time.
In the words of Pir Vilayat:
“The issue is to be able to find in oneself the ability to deal with a challenge and thereby gain self-confidence, and even come to appreciate the value of challenges for the unfoldment of one’s potential. Jung once said, “If you do not meet your shadow it will come to you recurrently in the form of your fate.”
There has never been a better time for us to move past the dark shadows, to make new light, and to take command of our fate and future.
We are hard at work at that. Please support the effort in any way that you can.
Abode Weekly Village View
Upcoming Week’s Events
Sunday, July 14
– Rumi’s Café Open 10:00 AM-5:30 PM [Closed during brunch]
– Universal Worship with Aimée – Quddus Meditation Hall – 11:00 am
– Brunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm – French toast with blueberry sauce, home fries, turkey sausage, steel cut oats with coconut milk, salad bar
Monday, July 15
– Lunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm – Vegetable soup, left overs, salad bar
Tuesday, July 16
– Dinner – Razzaq Dining Hall – 6:00 pm – Baked fish, baked tofu, couscous, quinoa salad, roasted cauliflower, salad bar
– Tuesday Teachings: Biodiversity, Megalithic Gardens, and the Divinity of Early Farming Cultures – Fattah Family Room – 7:00 pm – Ben Gagnon presents an eco-history of early farming cultures from the Near East to China and Peru. The sacred practice of mound farming, the emergence of the nuclear family as the dominant social unit, and the community-building phenomenon of megalithic construction will be explored.
Wednesday, July 17
– Lunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm – Vegetable chili, garlic bread, roasted zucchini, salad bar
Thursday, July 18
– Rumi’s Café Open 10:00 AM-5:30 PM
– Lunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm – Baked ziti, lentil soup, steamed broccoli, salad bar
– Dinner – Razzaq Dining Hall – 6:00 pm – Chicken with spinach sauce, dahl, rice, roasted brussel sprouts, salad bar
– Message Class with Nur – Quddus Meditation Hall – 7:00 pm
Friday, July 17
– Rumi’s Café Open 10:00 AM-5:30 PM
– Jam Night! – Rumi’s Café – 6:00-8:00 pm
Sunday, July 21
– Rumi’s Café Open 10:00 AM-5:30 PM [Closed during brunch]
– Universal Worship with María Cristina & Yaqin – Quddus Meditation Hall – 11:00 am
– Brunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm – Waffles, home fries, black eyed peas, sautéed collard greens, salad bar
Tuesday Teachings: Talks with Ben Gagnon | Tuesday | July 16 | 7:00 pm | Fattah Family Room | July 16: Biodiversity, Megalithic Gardens, and the Divinity of Early Farming Cultures: Ben Gagnon presents an eco-history of early farming cultures from the Near East to China and Peru. The sacred practice of mound farming, the emergence of the nuclear family as the dominant social unit, and the community-building phenomenon of megalithic construction will be explored.
Tuesday Teachings: An Evening with Sachem HawkStorm, Hereditary Chief of the Schaghticoke First Nations | Tuesday | July 23 | 7:00 PM | Join us in welcoming Sachem HawkStorm for a talk on Indigenous Peoples Cultural Appropriation, How to Be a Good Ally, and Addressing the Climate Change Crisis. Sachem HawkStorm is the chief of the Schaghticoke First Nations and a direct descendant of the great Wampanoag Chief Wasanegin Massasoit. Schaghticoke First Nations is one of three nations of the Schaghticoke Tribe, with 370 members, and also a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. The word “Schaghticoke” means “the Mingling of Waters,” and signifies the merging of what remained of the Algonquin Nations in the Eastern Woodlands in 1676. Like so many of his people, Sachem HawkStorm was taken from his parents and raised in a family unfamiliar with his heritage. Emancipated at 15, his life’s journey has been one of reclamation, re-indigenization, and reconnection to the land. Sachem HawkStorm is in the formative stages trying to purchase back a piece of their vast ancestral lands for a Conservation and Cultural Center in the Hudson Valley. He works in close partnership with the United Confederation of Taino People, the Ramapough Lenape Tribal Nation, and the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe to strengthen unity amongst North Eastern Native Peoples. Sachem HawkStorm has played an active role in the implementation of the United Nations Rights Of Indigenous Peoples since 2012 and most recently has become affiliated with the International Indian Treaty Council. All donations will go to the Schaghticoke First Nations.
Community, Nature, Design with Kevin Bose | Saturdays | July 27, August 17 | 10:00 AM-4:00 PM | Community Nature Design: Creating an Eco-Culture and a New Sense of Progress consists of four Saturday classes. First we will strengthen our relationship to the birds, trees, plants, and animals through observation, activities, and routines. Then we will use tools of grassroots movements such as Permaculture, Regenerative Design, and Culture Repair to design for human needs and, at the same time, create abundance in the ecosystem. For more information email Kevin: [email protected] or visit www.theabode.org/programs./678 to register.
Five Day Nature Immersion with Kevin Bose | August 1-5 | This Five Day Community Immersion program is a an offshoot of the Saturday classes. Experience the beauty of the Abode through the lens of nature and community. Attendance of the Saturday Classes is recommended but not mandatory for taking part in the Community Immersion. For more details email Kevin: [email protected] or visit www.theabode.org/programs/683 to register.
Sacred Arts Retreat Weekend: Thresholds of Becoming with Naima Brown and Taj a Nur Grant | August 10-11 | Led by Naima Khabira Brown and Taj a Nur Grant, this weekend retreat offers the opportunity to deepen your connection to inner guidance through the medium of creative art, amidst the beauty and inspiration of nature, and the warmth of joyful friendship. We will balance meditation practices with walks, meals, music, and sharing our creative processes. Using the form of a threshold, with doors opening to a space of possibility, Taj a Nur and Naima will share a method for everyone to explore through art visionary states of being, meditative guidance, and opening to grace and the unexpected gifts of creativity. It’s not necessary to be an artist to participate. As the Sufi teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan so beautifully said, “Art (arts) is a way of meditation, and guidance, where you are and where you are going.” In this workshop we will explore his idea. For more details and registration visit theabode.org/programs/690
Alone with the Alone: A Silent Retreat with Pir Zia | August 30-September 2 | Amidst the late-summer quietude of Mt. Lebanon, Pir Zia will return to the Abode to lead our historic and much loved Inayati Labor Day Retreat. We will be together, yet in silence, for three days transitioning from the end of summer back into the busy life of fall. For more information visit theabode.org/programs/640 or email [email protected] with any questions or scholarship requests.