Just when it felt like we were about to return to something that looked like a normal rhythm at BMIMC we find ourselves back in lockdown.
The past 15 months since the pandemic started have felt like one long lesson in adaptation and dealing with uncertainty. It has pushed us into uncomfortable places, and forced us to try new ways of serving the community. It has also helped us to appreciate what is special about the Centre.
We have been surprised by how well technology has brought people together around the dharma and meditation as we have experimented with different forms of online and hybrid retreats. Our experience over the past few months, along with the feedback we have received from teachers, yogis and volunteers has told us that:
- Hybrid retreats, that is, retreats with some yogis at BMIMC and others connecting from home, are successful from the yogis’ perspective but are very challenging to manage for both teachers and staff.
- Interest in online retreats has waned as people are becoming tired of zoom and so much interaction by screen.
- There is a yearning in the community to be back at BMIMC, either sitting retreat or volunteering.
- BMIMC is ultimately a place for practice.
With this in mind we have decided not to offer hybrid retreats for the foreseeable future. Retreats will either be residential only or online only.
For the most part we will only offer online retreats as a fall-back option in cases where residential retreats have to be cancelled due to covid restrictions.
For retreats with oversees teachers who are not able to get into the country, teaching will, where possible, be provided by big screen in the meditation hall, and individual interviews facilitated by laptop.
The retreat schedule for the remainder of 2021 has been finalised and can be accessed here. We will be releasing our 2022 schedule in August.
With the recent outbreak it is possible we will need to revert to online for the upcoming residential courses. If you have booked in for any of these retreats we will get in touch as soon as possible should there be any change to plans.
Please note, if you have enquires, the office will be closed for winter recess throughout July and we will not be responding to emails or calls. The office will reopen again in August.
Since February, Margie Sampson has been filling in as Centre manager while we arranged for new staff to take over to give Margie a well deserved rest. We have decided to create a number of new roles to share the responsibility to take over from Margie.
Deborah Lisyak and partner Mark Hudson will be moving up from their current home in Victoria to join the Centre as our Retreats Coordinators in residence. Deb has a long history with the Centre as a yogi and volunteer. Both Deb and Mark are experienced meditators and have a love of service and a deep commitment to insight practice. We look forward to helping them settle in to their new roles in late July.
We also welcome Katrina Ledwidge who has recently joined as our office assistant to manage enquiries and admin. Katrina lives locally and will be in the office on part time basis.
We expect you’ll see or hear more from Deb, Mark and Katrina over the next few months.
Our deepest gratitude to Margie for giving up so much of her time to keep the Centre running over the past few months while we filled these positions.