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A Weekend at FCM: Nurturing the Long Distance Connection

07 Mar 2016 8:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

With gratitude to FCM member Rebecca Milburn for this post.

I moved away from Tampa a year and a half ago, and thus, moved away from FCM. I have continued to participate in intensives from afar; they have been very important to my continued growth and connection to FCM. However, I have missed FCM: the people, community, close connection with the teachings, the beautiful building.


After a year and a half, I had the opportunity to visit FCM last weekend. I participated in Wake Up, a Day of Mindfulness (with Fred teaching) and Sunday Sangha. It was wonderful to be back; I felt a combination of excitement and peace when I stepped foot in the building on Friday. I enjoyed again participating in Wake Up – it has grown tremendously since I was a member and the new members (new to me, that is) have a sense of ownership of the group that I really appreciated.


The Day of Mindfulness was soothing and healing for me. I received so much love and warmth from the sangha, I was filled with the deep sense of connection and community I remembered from when I lived in Tampa. Practicing silence in a shared space provides me with a sense of safety – the ability to connect with others beyond using words. To my surprise, spending the day primarily doing sitting and walking meditation did not feel difficult. It felt like I was getting back in touch with a part of me that was always there.


The Q &A session Fred led was extremely helpful and it seemed the questions he answered applied directly to my life. I work as a psychotherapist in a community mental health clinic located in a very high need area. I often feel overwhelmed by all the suffering I encounter on a daily basis. A term spoken of in my profession is “self care” and I am often inclined to think of my spiritual practice in such terms. Fred reminded me that my practice goes beyond “self care” – a more appropriate term may be “self/other care” – since, as he said, “I am my brother” – there is no separation. When I heal myself, I heal another and when I heal another, I heal myself. This helped rejuvenate my desire to be of service to others and to do so from a place of joy and meaning.


I also resonated with the Q& A regarding the “to do list”. I continually find myself needing to have something to do, filling space, fearing the quiet. While at the Day of Mindfulness, having the support of the sangha, I relished the quiet and calm inside me. Now that I am back in Virginia, I am happy to know that the sangha is still there, supporting my practice, and possibly the inner quiet, from afar.


I bow deeply to all members of FCM and offer gratitude to those who made this visit possible for me.

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