2-7-14 Sangha Update - We are gathering this Sunday

“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
Maya Angelou
May we all sing wholeheartedly the song that's in our hearts!
Dear Friends,
I hope you are all well and warm and cozy and singing your heart's song.
(below  I have enclosed a lovely account about how this manifests in an African tribe)
I know in the last update I said that there would be no second Sunday gathering, but Robert and Monica have been kind enough to offer to host a gathering at their home this Sunday at 6 PM! So we will be able to be joyfully together!  All of the info is below. I hope that you will be able to be with us.
Tomorrow, February 8th , there will be a gathering of the Generations Sangha at Westminster Unitarian Church  in East Greenwich from 10-11:30. This will be followed by snacks and fellowship until noon. This is a gathering for people of all ages. We share songs, stories, projects for the children and Dharma sharing for the adults. It is a lot of fun and inspiring to see how beautifully the children respond to the practice. If you can join us and support this effort to create conditions for the beloved community to manifest, please come. The focus tomorrow will be true love.
Next Saturday, the 15th there will be an OI/aspirant gathering at the Bell Street Chapel. This meeting is open to Order members, aspirants and anyone who is interested in learning more about our practice. We will recite the Fourteen Trainings and share the Dharma. We are focusing on the Paramitas, and will be looking at diligence. There is a meeting of the Radiant Bell Sangha that morning from 8-9:45. So if you like you can be a part of that before the OI gathering.
Next Sunday, the 16th we will gather at our home for the third Sunday meeting at 6 PM.
Remember that you can access Thay's talks at tnhaudio.org and some of the monastics have been offering Dharma talks during this Winter Retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery…you can access them at bluecliffmonastery.org
Also, I hope that you will be able to join us at the Aldersgate Retreat, May 16-20. It is a wonderful time to deepen our practice together.
Retreat in Rhode IslandMay 16-20, 2014

Coming Home: Cultivating Fearlessness, Freedom, and Joy

Camp Aldersgate, North Scituate, Rhode Island

Offered by the Rhode Island Community of Mindfulness

Register early (by March 15) and save $25

Informational flyer and registration form: http://joannefriday.com/calendar/

Please don’t be deterred by financial concerns. We have some funds for scholarships.
There is a wonderful interview with Sr. Chan Khong filled with good reminders of how our misperceptions create  wars in ourselves and in the world..it is available at
I hope to see you at one or more of these gatherings. We are so blessed!
with much love and the extraordinary clarity of sunshine on snow for you,
Directions to and Parking for the Van Horn Home
Address: 24 Mallory Lane Wakefield, RI 02879
Phone: 401-871-1838 From the North: Take US 1-S to RI-138 Turn right onto RI-138; drive for about 3.5 miles Turn left onto RI-108 S/Kingstown Rd.; drive for 2 miles. You will pass the SK police station, then later a pond, and the Pump House Restaurant on your right. Take the next left onto Rodman Street. (Street sign is hard to see; Dennis Moffit Painting is on the corner and the Peace Dale Mill is on the left.) You will pass the bike path and one stop sign. Mallory Lane will be on your left. Our house is the second on the left. See below for parking.
From the South/West: Take US-1/N past the Matunuck exits Take the Pond St. exit. (right after an exit for Post Rd.) Turn left onto Pond St. Continue until Pond dead ends onto Main. Turn right onto Main. Drive a short distance. Turn left onto High St. Drive past town hall. In about 0.6 mi, turn left onto Allen. At stop sign, turn right onto Rodman. Continue past one stop sign. Mallory Lane is on the right. Our house is the second on the left.
Parking: Our street is narrow, so we ask that you not part on the street. 3-4 cars will fit in our driveway. If there is no space left in the driveway, you can park on Jennifer Dr. Turn left back onto Rodman, and make a quick right onto Jennifer Dr. Thank you!!!
The Himba of Namibia….the Song of the Child
There is a tribe in Africa where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.
In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.
The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.
You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way