A Message from the Tsegyalgar East Development Committee
[Steve Landsberg, SMS Teacher, driven by Saralie in the AV
to Rinpoche’s cabin on Khandroling for Jnana Dakini retreat, Spring 2014]
OPEN LETTER TO THE TSEGYALGAR EAST GAKYIL
Congratulations to all the new gakyil members and belated "thanks" to all those completing their terms.Recently we were able to listen to the MP3 recording of the the gakyil's meeting with Rinpoche during his Tsegyalgar visit. We were struck by the positive note of the meeting especially all of Rinpoche's messages.
As a group we've been working on fundraising issues with the Yellow Gakyil for the past few years. We were particularly interested in Rinpoche's comment (paraphrased) "that the important thing isn't money, the important thing is the Dzogchen Community". After dwelling on this statement for some time, we believe that Rinpoche was suggesting that if we strengthen the community then the financial issues will be more easily handled.
In recent years much of our focus has been on buildings and facilities. We think that we now need to spend more time focusing on people. We would like to suggest that prior to us considering any kind of long-range fundraising planthat our priority be on Community Building. Some of the things that come to mind are:
1. Continue to strengthen our communication to members. The blog has become a very useful method of contact and we might consider expanding the range of issues it covers including say interviews with our local Vajra Dance, Yantra Yoga and SMS instructors. Perhaps there are other methods to communicate also.
2. Creating a "Helpline" for new people to talk with older practitioners about how to do practice. We might create a list of senior students who are particularly knowledgeable about specific practices.
3. Start a "Make a Community Friend" campaign. Ask all members to take the initiative to contact another member to establish a deep and lasting friendship, one that involves trust, deep sharing and respect. Relationships are built one at a time. In his recent talk with the gakyil at Merigar Rinpoche said "We are all in the Dzogchen Family". We think that would be a wonderful title for a Community Building Campaign.
[Nancy Paris our Webmistress at your service!}
4. Telephone all new members who have joined over the past 2-3 years to ask them what would be helpful and encourage them to participate.
5. Identify groups of people who live near each other and suggest that they develop practice groups. Perhaps we could organize the Membership List by states and make it available online so that members can create local groups.
6. Recently Peter Dimitrov set up a Google Group for people interested in supporting practitioners with serious and/or terminal illnesses. Perhaps this initiative could be highlighted in the blog and encourage members to participate. (Click on link “Google Group.” to previous blog entry.
These are just some random ideas. We're sure there will be many more and better ones that can emerge from the Gakyil. One of the best things about a Community Building Campaign is that a lot of the initiative and ongoing work can be done by all members not just the gakyil. Of course we think it would be most useful if the Gakyil took the lead in initiating and describing the effort and enrolling others to take the lead on specific elements of the effort.
Finally, given that you are a new gakyil, we would like to suggest that the new gakyil engage Scott Townellto assist with the development of a long-range plan for the community. Scott is a member of Tsegyalgar East and of the International Gakyil and has vast experience in strategy development. When a plan is available we would continue to be available for associated fundraising.
We wish you well and want you to let us know how we can support you in this and any other endeavors.
Mark Alston-Follansbee [The Tsegyalgar East Blog is currently expanding its Community Resource page. Please let us know if you would like to add some important links] [Photos by Kathleen Fekete]