What Is Common Bread

 * A Still Point in your Turning World 
     * A Crossroad of Spiritual Paths 
* A Trusting Space to Share Your Journey
     * Good Food and Friendship 
* Guest Speakers from Diverse Wisdom Traditions
     * Song, Poetry, Meditation, and sometimes...
We Dance! 

Our purpose? * To provide a stillpoint where students find a quiet center in the Spirit, a strength-giving shelter in the midst of this violent and cynical age; * To provide young adults with a welcoming space to share their spiritual journey, whatever their tradition may be; * To learn from guest speakers and performers about diverse wisdom traditions and religions, building a global community of compassion.

Common Bread is a crossroad of spiritual paths, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western. We offer contemplative space for community. We meet weekly for potluck dinner, fellowship, wisdom and meditation, often with a guest speaker.

We honor each person's unique journey and welcome all sincere faith traditions, as well as those seekers who have no traditional faith. We exclude no one on the basis of racial, religious, or gender identity. In our circle, there's a place for you. Come sing, celebrate, meditate, and offer a candle for peace!


LINK What Students Say About Common Bread

"...Filled with genuine open-heartedness for the unique individual."
"...Nothing quite like it. There is no judgment here."
"...A space to connect with your heart."
"...A nurturing place that lets you step out of name, title, pressure, expectation, to enter the joy that encourages our true light to shine."



Final Gathering of Winter term, March 10, 2016.
New student leader Ryan sings greetings while folks arrive at the Farm House.
 Retiring Common Bread Chaplain Fred with new student leader, Sandi.
And with dear friend Bevin, March 10...

 Common Bread finds a new home in the Farm House.

On March 3 we had a mellow evening of food, song, and sharing of our spiritual journeys.
Tin honored us with the presence of her friend, Lola.

On 2/11 the Quakers from Olympia Friends Meeting brought their wonderful food and spiritual wisdom, and shared a Quaker Meeting for Worship, hosted by Friend Nancy Irving (below left). What a wonderful annual event! Over 30 attended in the Farm House.
Below, Common Bread members enjoy high energy in the Farm House kitchen after Quaker Meeting.
January 28 was Poetry Night at Common Bread. 30 attended and brought poems from their hearts, as well as great food for the potluck!
 Below, Sandi and Campell on Poetry Night.
 Below, a performance peace and poem by Ryan.
 Below, Ivan reads his passionate poetry.
Below, Lenee, a slam poetry force in Olympia, performs her poem, a call for unity.
On January 21, Ivan Espinosa gave a profound movement meditation based on his work in the Japanese art of Bhuto, pictured below (rt) with Common Bread leaders Phil Roell (lf) and Fred LaMotte.
After potluck dinner in the Farm House, 25 people participated in Ivan's Bhuto workshop.

January 7 & 14 we shared good food, song circle, deep meditation...
... meditation on the gift of the Breath in this Sacred Body.
December 3, Jessica O'Malley (at center, below), of Olympia's Radiance, shared Sound Healing meditation.
40 people from town and college attended the potluck and meditation. Jessica's sound, made on specially alloyed gongs attuned to planetary frequencies, cleansed the atmosphere of stress and energized us in preparation for the Solstice light. Thank you Jessica!
 Potluck in the Cedar Room before Sound Healing Meditation.
November 19, our student leader Phil Roell drew on his Ojibwa Native American roots to give an evening of meditation on 'The Medicine Wheel and You,' leading us in song, movement, and contemplation of the ancestral wisdom stored in the East, South, West, and North, orienting us at the center. Thanks, Phil! 
22 students and towns folk attended the potluck and Medicine Wheel workshop.

Our Samhain-Halloween alter. More than 30 attended our annual celebration of the Celtic New Year, when we move from the outward light to the inward light, and offer all to the Great Mother, in whose womb the new Light of Solstice will soon be born.
Thank you Janessa, Ben and Ryan for all your help. Thank you all for bringing such great food.

Halloween feast at Common Bread. All the Saints showed up.
Below, Sandi, Adam, Kaitlyn.
Offering hemp threads that represent a relationship we need to honor with deep love, and then release, in order to enter the clarity and purity of Winter. This is the bittersweet beauty of Samhain, harvest's end.

Oct. 22, Ryan and Evie led 22 of us in Dances of Universal Peace.

Oct. 15, 'Singing Alive' at Common Bread. 20 from college and town attended. Good food, laughter, ecstatic songs, and deep meditation in the Long House Cedar Room.

9/30 Club Fair, side by side with Yoga Club

Club leader Phil Roell with Ryan

Phil with Adam

Tabling in the student center.
5/28, Michael Mercker sang 17 students through the annual 'Angel Wash Ceremony' to bless the community & say farewell to seniors.
 "I behold you, Beautiful One. I behold you, child of the earth and son; let my love watch over you, let my love wash over you!"
Below, potluck before the annual Angel Wash Ceremony.
5/14, Steve Garret, of Raven House Healing-Shamanic Study Center, led a Shamanic circle in the Cedar Room attended by 21.
 Below, Fred LaMotte, Steve Garret, student leader Phil Roell.
Below, to celebrate May Day/Beltane, Jessica O'Malley brought her Neptune gong to lead a sound healing meditation, attended by 17 students. In addition to sound-healing, Jessica practices traditional herbal and Ajur Vedic medicine at the Radiance Center in Olympia.
On April 30 we were delighted to be joined by new members of the Board of Common Bread Ministries, Crystal O'Donnell, Ian O'Donnell, and Angus Raff-Tierney, all past student leaders of Common Bread, now serving selflessly to keep us going as the oldest continuous student group at Evergreen!
Tonight at Common Bread, Forrest Gillies came back from the mountains of Costa Rica, bringing sacred Cacao and the blessings of the Bri Bri tribal people. He led a Cacao Ceremony, and served the chocolate that he carefully brewed with the heartfelt devotion to the ancestors. Forrest is pictured below at center in brown sweater. 28 people attended the evening.
"Some may think of the Bri Bri villlagers as poor or primitive," Forrest said, "but I found them to be some of the happiest and wisest people I have ever encountered." Below, Forrest sits before the cacao brew and recounts his experience with the Bri Bri people of Costa Rica.

Below, our potluck before the Cacao Ceremony.

Below, Spring poetry night at Common Bread, attended by 18 students, sharing their poetry of rebirth, renewal, and the energy of the season.

Below, our Spring poetry alter.

Candle offerings, chants and prayers at the full moon of Passover / Easter, 2015. Seventeen students attended as well as folks from town.

On February 27, Open Heart Open Mind again performed their sound healing concert with Himalayan singing bowls and Cambodian temple gongs, some dating from the 14th Century. 140 people from both town and college attended in the Long House.
After the sound-healing meditation, many came up to share their experiences and learn more about these amazing vessels of creative vibration. Thanks to Karl, David, and Will for their inspired playing.

On Feb. 19, each student offered a candle to his/her own soul, sharing key moments on the spiritual journey: an evening based on the 'monomyth' of Joseph Campbell. Out of the silence came exquisite jewels of memory, as we shared the first childhood moment when we felt 'called' to the path of the Spirit. How important it is to cherish that early memory, and return there often.
January 8, student leader Natalie Ostrow led 18 people in an exploration of "Uncertainty and Doubt as a Space for Spiritual Transformation." Students shared their positive experience of growth through doubt and uncertainty. For our silent meditation, we entered the space of Uncertainty, the space between thoughts, where one need not cling to any belief at all.  (Pictured below, l. to r. Ben, Treavor, Philip, Harrison, Valerie, Eli, Willow.)

On December 4, Jessica O'Malley from the Radiance Center in Olympia led us in a Sound Healing Meditation to take us into the Heart. 25 attended after potluck dinner. Thank you, Jessica! Below, student leader Phillip Roell, Chaplain Fred, and Jessica, with her gong.
Jessica O'Malley at center, flanked by student leaders Phillip and Natalie.
On November 13 we held Poetry Night at Common Bread. Below are some of the 27 students who listened and shared both their own and their favorite poems to open the heart.
On November 6 we welcomed Gaia Energy Healer and musician Michael Mercker back to Common Bread. He led us in chants, grounding exercises, and chakra cleansing movement-meditation. After potluck, 35 people stayed for Mike's energy playshop under the full moon. Below, our student leaders Philip and Natalie at left. Above them, left, is Mike, and Common Bread chaplain Fred to his right.

Below, students at the Nov. 6 potluck.

Below,  the November 6 energy healing playshop.
Below, on October 30 we celebrated Samhain and Halloween at Natalie's house in Olympia. Bringing sumptuous potluck food, 24 attended. Below, Kannah, Natalie and Philip in front of the Samhain alter.
 Below, Philip, Adam and Fred. At the end of the evening, Adam danced with Fire Poi to the sound of the drum.

Below, our Samhain alter, where we offered our losses, griefs, and honored the ancestors. Samhain is both sad joyful, letting go of the old to make space for the new.
Dinner guests with student leader, Natalie (center) at our potluck before Dances of Universal Peace, October 23.
  Below, Janet, Valerie, and Ryan.
 Below, Edther and his two friends at the potluck.
Below, some of the 16 folks at the Sacred Earth Poetry Circle, May 15, in the Longhouse Herb Garden.

On May 8, Ian Dix and Joelle Friend, two long time attenders at Common Bread, shared their passion for sacred agriculture, introducing us to the work of Rudolph Steiner and Bio-dynamic Farming. We chanted a Hawaiian blessing, and enjoyed a bio-dynamic meditation on the four elements. 17 attended the evening. Thank you Ian and Joelle!

On Beltane (May Day) we hosted Dances of Universal Peace, led by instructor Evie Fagergren, who has been sharing these sublime chants and dances with us for over 10 years, a dear friend of Common Bread. She is pictured at center with Chaplain Fred, surrounded by some of the 15 students who participated with us.
One of the chants and dances tonight was a prayer of Hawaii:
'E maa lama i ka hayau,
e maa lama i ka hayau,
E maa lama pono i ka hayau, Ee!
Earth and sky, sea and stone,
hold this land in sacredness.'

On April 25-26, Llyn Roberts, director of the Olympic Mountain EarthWisdom Circle and world traveling student of shamanism, gave a two day playshop in EarthWisdom and healing energy. Pictured above with next year's student leader, Philip Roell. Below center, Llyn with attenders from both college and town.
Below, our alter of offerings and shamanic instruments on the floor of the Evergreen Farmhouse. We worked with healing stones and plants selected from our meditative walks in the local forest.
Spring term opened with astrologer Ari Moshe sharing music and wisdom in preparation for his course offering in 'Evolutionary Astrology.' Ari is pictured below with next year's Common Bread leader, Natalie Ostrow.

Below, Ari leads our sat-sang in chant and wisdom.

On Feb. 13, old friend and Greener, Chani Harkin, shared Inner Spirit Hypnotherapy with an audience of 50.

Below, Chani and husband Noah with Common Fred.

After potluck, all 50 people settled into Chani's gentlepowerful guided meditation, celebrated in a poem Fred wrote just after...
Inner Spirit, until now
you have been the background,
the energy hidden behind the form.
Now you emerge,
no longer Inner Light
but Light of the World.
You are the foreground, the petal
as the sap, the bursting seed
as the sun,
the fragile magnificent human
as God.
All forms you consume
with this fire of Love.
You are my face.
My life is in flames
because of your grace,
and this gentle voice of guidance
who ignites my golden home.
My heart whispers
to my heart,
"Let there be light."
Above, Common Bread potluck with Chani Harkin. Below, Olympia Quakers at Common Bread on Jan. 30, sharing their food, wisdom and practice, with a profound experience of Meeting for Worship. Below, Ian, Paul & CB leader Joe Briggs with Quaker Ann Mills, who coordinated the event with Joe.

Below center, Nakki and Evan, Quaker leaders in Olympia. Nakki is Clerk of Olympia Friends. 41 Students and Quakers enjoyed potluck dinner in the Long House.
On January 16, Evolutionary Astrologer Ari Moshe shared heart-centered music and the wisdom of the stars after a delicious potluck. Ari (below center in jacket) is a gift to our community.
On November 14 we celebrated Energy Healing with Mike Mercker, through dance, singing, meditation and wisdom. Mike is at center below, with Common Bread leader Joe Briggs and Terri Plewa.

Mike leading a chakra cleansing dance, below.
Smiles radiate after Mike's energy healing celebration.
Below, Ari Moshe Wolfe sings during our Cafe hour after the energy workshop.
Below, our amazing Grace, a regular attender at Common Bread, after Mike's energy healing evening. Thank your for Being, Grace!
Samhain-Halloween-Celtic New Year was a festive occasion at Common Bread, with an alter to the ancestors (below)....

...where we made candle-offerings after the deep silence of meditation, honoring those whom we have lost. Our Samhain alter, celebrating the Celtic New Year, when the Light of the World begins its inward journey to the Heart, rekindling in the Winter womb of the Great Mother.
To embrace loss with unconditional love, then let it go...
brings in deeper joy...
and communion.
Above, our Samhaim festive table centerpiece. Below, Common Bread's Singing Bowls concert, a yearly event in deep sound meditation.
Each year, Open Heart Open Mind performs their healing music in the Longhouse at Common Bread, featuring one of the nation's greatest collection of Tibetan Singing Bowls and Burmese temple bells. Picture below, Karl Black and Dave Ermantrout, the bowl masters; between them, Donia and Scott Berry, didgeridoo specialists with student leader Joe Briggs.
 After the bowl and didge healing sound meditation, students and townsfolk from Olympia explore the bowls, some of which are over 700 years old.

Above, October 8 Satsang, potluck & Sacred Body meditation. Welcoming Greeners to a new year! Below, Ian Dix, humble tiller in the cosmic garden.
Grace, Allegra, and Kali, all apprentice Goddesses.
New students find warm safe spiritual space and bring beautiful energy to Common Bread.
Our final song circle last year, June 6, with an 'Angel Wash' ceremony to bless everyone.
Drewhissimo, who will travel the world with the Rainbow Tribe, leads us in an Amazonian healing plant song.
Michael plays guitar during potluck diner.
Yarrow, Cedar, Madrona, Dogwood, just some of the plant spirits we sang to on a May night at Common Bread, led by Leah (center) and the drumbeat of Michael (far left), followed by deep meditation in the Long House.
On a beautiful New Moon in May, we had Sufi-inspired 'Dances of Universal Peace' in Red Square.
 Our table at Club Fair, May 8, with Joe Briggs, Fred LaMotte and Liz Atkins-Pattenson.
  Liz (l) & Emma Jane (r) light up our lives at Common Bread.
 Nick and Joe, two Evergreen community leaders, at Common Bread.
Prof. Sean Williams, director of the Ireland Program, shared the wisdom of ancient Irish holy days, Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnassadh. This brilliant song-teacher and ethnomusicologist, author of six books, taught us to sing a Gallic Beltane song, and revealed insights into the Gallic imagination through language and song. What a gift she is to Evergreen! Pictured here with student leader Joe.
"Non-violence is the essence of the spiritual path. But we cannot end violence in the world outside us until we end conflict inside us, conflict between our thoughts and desires, violence against ourselves." ~Anam Thubten at Common Bread, 4/19/2013
 Sixty townsfolk and students attended the talk by Tibetan Buddhist Master Anam. Common Bread is grateful for our longtime friendship with Dharmata Foundation and Anam Thubten.
Above, Jody Kesten taught the wisdom of Shaivite Blue Throat Yoga to Common Bread, with chant, mantra, asana, pranayama, and stories from the Puranas, sacred scriptures of India. Thank you, Jody! Pictured to her left, her son Ricky and Lucia; right, Adam and Rascal.
At potluck, Ash and Rascal attempt to describe Chaplain Fred's split pea soup with seaweed and Swiss chard. Below, Common Fred with Yogini Jody Kesten, April 11.

March 8-9, Common Bread hosted a weekend retreat with Llyn Roberts and Mick Dodge, 'The Barefoot Sensei': spirit-body skills for living in an age of environmental responsibility. They called us back to harmony with the earth, from their marvelous EarthWisdom Circle in the Hoh River Rainforest (LINK).
 While Mick taught outdoor skills, his partner Llyn Roberts (Below center) author of three books on Shamanistic transformation, taught the skills of "shapeshifting to higher consciousness."

Below, tools and offerings for a session in Barefoot EarthWisdom...

On February 28, Mike Mercker (below left) an old friend of Common Bread, well-known Olympia musician, and energy healer, gave a gentle but profound evening of chakra-toning and attunement to divine love: 27 attended.
Below, students as well as graduates and Olympia townsfolk love our Song Circle, with Singing Alive Olympia. Picture below, Lucia Whelan (l.), Song-Holder Drewhissimo (c.) and friends.
On January 31, over 40 attended an Agape gathering hosted by Quakers from Olympia, with a profound Quaker Meeting for Worship.
 Above, James chats with Nakki Stevens, a lifelong Friend. Below, students learn of the Quaker Peace Testimony and Environmentalism.
An elder tells Ricky that Quakers find the Light of the Divine in all living creatures.
After Meeting, Friends and Greeners continue to mingle for tea. (Below) On January 24 Mary Solberg and friends from St. Michael's  Catholic Church led us in Centering Prayer. Mary, 2nd from left, between our student leader Joe Briggs & Emma Jane Garcia.

 Greener & wisewoman Chelan Weiler (2nd from left below) gave a profound talk & experience of 'Inner Spirit Hypnotherapy' after potluck. Mike Mercker (with guitar) provided music.
Thank you, Chelan for renewing us with inner joy! Chelan is pictured below witt Common Bread chaplain Fred LaMotte.
 The amazing Scott Huckabay performed for over 200 guests from Evergreen and the Olympia community on November 2 in the Longhouse, Common Bread's largest event of 2012.
Our gratitude also to Lisa Diane of Olympia and Evergreen's Sean Williams for helping with this event.
Common Bread gathering are always most magical when led by Evergreen students. Above, Sayre and Joe with plant medicine teacher and singer of plant songs, Leah Bodenhamer.
In the Longhouse Cedar Room, Leah teaches us the Cedar Song. She blessed us with prayers, herbal tinctures which she made, and smudging smoke from yarrow and sage. 
We honor Common Bread leader Sayer Herrick '12, a wisewoman, herbalist, poet, singer and now Reiki healer, hoping she will keep returning to Common Bread to teach us!
Above, leader Joe Gibbs with Teekani (which means 'Wolf' in Athabascan) after singing plant songs with leah. Below, Scott Barry and the Vibe Tribe performed unique sound therapy using the most ancient musical instrument in the world, the didgeridoo, a profound evening of meditation and healing music.
Ari, Chani and Sayer lead us in song.
 Llyn Roberts taught shape-shifting to higher consciousness to 27 Evergreen students and townsfolk in the Farm House, a Common Bread intensive retreat.
Llyn pictured below with Sayer, her daughter, Joe and Joav.
One student wrote: "I had a very profound experience these past two days. I discovered that my spirit guide is the very energy I had thought was my biggest obstacle or blockage. I feel so healed, empowered and infinitely grateful." ~Megan W.
Sayer, Ari & Chani singing at the Llyn Roberts workshop.
Thanks to Ari and Chani for leading Common Bread tonight, exploring the power of the Divine Feminine. "Meditate on what it feels like to open your Heart without fear of judgment, in complete trust."
Thank you, Dharmata Foundation, and Anam Thubten, for gracing Common Bread with your wisdom, humor and deep presence on February 3 in the Evergreen Longhouse, where 75 gathered to listen. Thank you, Sayer and Joe for your student leadership.
Below, Rinpoche meets Sayre Herrick after his talk. "The quintessential goal of our path is surrendering to reality each moment, then seeing and loving all as divine."
 Satsang is a Sanskrit word meaning "Truth Community." It is a circle where people can be authentically themselves, sharing their spiritual journey with an open heart. Below, Zach welcomes Emir, our guest from Ocuppy Olympia, to Common Bread.

Evergreen professors Sarah Williams and Sean Williams with student leader Joe Briggs and Sean Johnson, who was a student of Sean Williams in Irish Studies. Common Bread cultivates lasting relationships between Evergreen's students, alumni, and teachers. 
Common Bread potluck: Vegan lentil soup, spinach salad, bread, veggie lasagna, pumpkin pie and tea.

 Common Bread welcomes Joelle and Megan.