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Community Care                    Upcoming Events

Community care is the practice of creating an environment that welcomes all who come to FCM and providing a wide variety of opportunities for support and fellowship.

To build community and connections among practitioners, FCM and the local sanghas offer many formal and informal activities and programs to get to know and appreciate each other in personal ways.  This also includes organizing groups to meet particular needs, e.g. FCM phone sanghas (when local sanghas are not available) and special interest groups. For more information, please contact the Community Care Leader at community-care-leader@floridamindfulness.org. 

Social Activities

The purpose of social activities is to build bonds of friendship and caring by getting to know each other in different contexts, strengthening the sense of community and learning/practicing/enjoying various skills and experiences together. 

Local sanghas organize activities such as yoga and qigong classes, movie nights, vegetarian cooking classes, nature outings, singing/poetry gatherings and concerts, and potluck meals.  Some of the activities are family-friendly to encourage people to bring their children to the Center. 

Please talk to any FCM member and/or follow us in the weekly Mindfulness Matters newsletter and the  FCM Events/Calendar on the website for more information. 

Family & Teen Programs

Please see the FCM Events/Calendar  for more information on  the FCM Family Program held during Sunday Sangha at the Tampa Practice Center and the Mindful Teen Program on Sundays after Sangha. 


Membership

New members are welcomed in several ways and asked to complete a simple questionnaire so that FCM can better support their practice.  New members can opt to have a senior practitioner assigned as their mentor for 3 - 6 months in order to receive personalized encouragement when first establishing a daily meditation practice.  Special events are organized periodically for new members to meet our teacher in a small group setting.  Finally, community care volunteers also reach out to members to assess their needs and follow-up with lapsed members to learn how FCM can better serve its members.

Spiritual Friends Groups

Spiritual Friends Groups, sometimes called by the Pali term, Kalyana Mitta (KM) Groups, are small groups of FCM members who commit to meeting together on a regular basis to discuss and share their experiences in the practice. These groups occur in addition to weekly sangha gatherings and are less structured. Spiritual Friends groups are a powerful means of strengthening and broadening our practice. The group setting provides an opportunity for members to practice deep listening and to support and nurture each other in efforts to bring the practice into daily life. They are an enjoyable way to deepen practice and form connections and friendships with others who are on this same Dharma path.

Groups begin with sitting meditation followed by mindful sharing and discussion. In Dharma discussion members are able to benefit from each other’s experiences by sharing the joys, difficulties, insights, and aspirations of their practice. The groups end with a brief time for each member to reflect and share his or her thoughts on the session.
 Group members develop a deep sense of trust and acceptance that allows for true exploration of our Dharma journeys of personal transformation. Current Spiritual Friends Groups include a Spiritual Friends Illness Group for those members who are experiencing illness or are caring for loved ones with illness, and Spiritual Friends Mindful Parenting Group for FCM mom's and dads.  The first group is held both in person at the Tampa Practice Center and via Zoom teleconferencing, and the latter by Zoom teleconference only.  

Phone Sanghas

When a local sangha is not available within reasonable geographic reach, FCM members can join a phone sangha that meets regularly and is facilitated by senior FCM practitioners.  Prior participation in an FCM intensive or retreat is preferred, and a commitment to participate in all calls is required when a member joins a phone sangha.  Deep sharing and deep listening is practiced, and sometimes a particular Dharma talk is the focus of the call. 

Sangha Welfare 

Sangha Welfare  means “being here” and supporting each other's health, happiness and wellbeing.   It involves knowing the FCM community well enough to identify situations where individuals are in need of special attention and providing support and referrals to specific resources when appropriate. “Being here” includes reaching out to people who are no longer attending functions regularly and to people who we know are acutely suffering. Members that may be  experiencing significant or life-changing events, such as serious illness or injury, hospitalization, family death, birth, etc. may contact the Sangha Team Leaders in St. Petersburg or Naples, or the Sangha Welfare Leader in Tampa and outlying areas for resources and support.  The Spiritual Friends Illness Group and the Death and Dying Program are Sangha Welfare Programs, and special mentoring can be arranged to support spiritual practice during challenging times. 

The FCM Member Facebook Bulletin Board is for members of the Florida Community of Mindfulness to post needs or offerings for others in the community. The offerings can include services, items for sale, items to give away, needs for rides/transportation and can be used for organizing support for members such as food for a family with a new baby, hospital visits, or food and cards for those that are ill. 



Death and Dying

Buddhism teaches us that death is the outcome of life for all beings and the only unknown is the time of its arrival. Therefore, it is important that our community be prepared for this inevitability of death in a way that is wise, compassionate and consistent with our Buddhist practice.  The following are components of our Death and Dying Program for members.

1.    Facing Death: Awakening to Life - 6 Week Course.  This course provides FCM members with the opportunity to explore a Buddhist perspective on death and dying and gain a greater understanding and acceptance of impermanence and death.  It includes a presentation on advanced care planning.

2.  End of Life Transition Support Under our Dharma teacher, Fred Eppsteiner's oversight, a team of FCM members experienced in the area of death and dying has been formed.  They are available to members that are in the process of dying themselves or are caring for a loved one who is dying.  Through their mindful presence and experience with the process of dying, these members will offer supportive conversation and home visits, and upon request guided meditations to calm and stabilize the mind of the dying person. 


3.  Funeral Services.   FCM offers funeral services for members at the Tampa Center. The purpose will be to support and guide those who have died with a meaningful Buddhist ceremony and to provide a commemorative ceremony for their families and the community. 


4.  Resources. Resources in the area of death and dying are provided in the Facing Death: Awakening to Life Course and through consultation with the End of Life Transition Support team members. 


For more information or to request services or support in the area of death and dying please contact our Community Care Leader at   community-care-leader@floridamindfulness.org. 


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