Autumn Board Retreat – by Ann Bruck

Autumn is my favorite time of year. One of the things I enjoy most about the fall season is the color shift in the foliage; all those beautiful colors create a metaphor that allows us to reflect on changes and transitions in our lives and those within our community. Our annual Harvest of Peace celebration profoundly inspired me when I connected with community members I had not seen in quite some time and welcomed new members to our Center. The energy of the people and the space felt vibrant, and it helped lay a foundation for our annual board retreat the following day.

Our board retreat was the first time we gathered in person since I and the two other new members took our seats earlier this year. It was terrific for all of us to hold space with one another, parse out how the Boston Shambhala Center engages with the local community and vice versa, and discuss what is going well within our Center and how we can do better.

As a new board member, I appreciated the collaborative process during our retreat. This enabled everyone to share their thoughts and gave us actionable steps to move in the right direction for our community. During our discussions, we identified areas where things are going well within operations, such as engaging new volunteers, new teachers taking their seats, and seeing the community returning to in-person classes or events. We also recognized that we are a community that applies Buddhist teachings to our daily lives, enriched through various trainings and courses. Our affinity groups are growing in the number of offerings and who shows up. Heart of Recovery is holding strong and steady while a few of our newer affinity groups, such as Family Practice, and Being Human Together, are both building momentum. Finally, historically marginalized people such as queer folks and people of color express feeling safe and supported when coming to our Center.

Our board also recognizes we have some challenges, and there are areas of growth we need to acknowledge and address. And we have started to work toward reconciling some of those challenges. Much of what we discussed with addressing these challenges is that it cannot be a one-and-done training or workshop, but rather, an ongoing investment into addressing the needs and concerns of our community.

It is important to honor the changes and transitions happening, individually and collectively. And if you are feeling challenged, come back to the principles of basic goodness, bravery, and warriorship.