Have a joyful and creative summer. Take a moment in eternity, now and then, to be filled with astonishment... See you in the fall!

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!

Common Bread is a crossroad of spiritual paths, ancient and modern, East, West, North and South, providing contemplative space for The Evergreen State College community, and a safe place to share your journey. We meet weekly in the Longhouse 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 their racial, religious, or gender identity. In our circle, there's a place for you.

Explore connections between your spirituality and the earth, between healing, social justice, and community-building. Come sing, laugh, meditate, and offer a candle for peace!

What Students Say About Common Bread: LINK
"...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."

A MOUNTAIN IS A BUDDHA: from Jack Kerouac's 'Dharma Bums'

Gary Snyder and Kerouac -Japhy Ryder and Ray Smith in the novel- are camping out after hiking to Desolation Peak here in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, where both of these beat poets actually served as forest rangers. (P.S. This photo is from my own hike, August 5 - Fred)

"Now the mountains were getting that pink tinge, I mean the rocks, they were just solid rock covered with the atoms of dust accumulated there since beginning-less time. In fact I was afraid of those jagged monstrosities all around and over our heads.

'They're so silent!' I said.

'Yeah man, you know to me a mountain is a Buddha. Think of the patience, hundreds of thousands of years just sitting there bein perfectly perfectly silent and like praying for all living creatures in that silence and just waiting for us to stop all our frettin and foolin.'

Japhy got out the tea, Chinese tea, and sprinkled some in a tin pot, and had the fire going meanwhile, a small one to begin with, the sun was still on us, and stuck a long stick tight down under a few big rocks and made himself something to hang the teapot on and pretty soon the water was boiling and he poured it out steaming into the tin pot and we had cups of tea with our tin cups. I myself had gotten the water from the stream, which was cold and pure like snow and the crystal-lidded eyes of heaven. Therefore, the tea was by far the most pure and thirst-quenching tea I ever drank in all my life, it made you want to drink more and more, it actually quenched your thirst and of course it swam around hot in your belly.

'Now you understand the Oriental passion for tea,' said Japhy. 'Remember that book I told you about? The first sip is joy, the second is gladness, the third is serenity, the fourth is madness, the fifth is ecstasy.'

'Just about old buddy.'

The rock we were camped against was a marvel. It was thirty feet high and thirty feet at base, a perfect square almost, and twisted trees arched over it and peeked down on us....

'And you come out here by yourself?'

'For weeks on end, just like John Muir, climb around all by myself following quartzite veins or making posies of flowers for my camp, or just walking around naked singing, and cook my supper and laugh.'

'Japhy, I gotta hand it to you, you're the happiest little cat in the world and the greatest, by God you are. I'm sure glad I'm learning all this. This place makes me feel devoted. I mean, I have a prayer. Do you know the prayer I use?'


'I sit down and I run all my friends and relatives and enemies one by one like beads, without entertaining any angers, and I say, like:

'Japhy Ryder, equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha...'

Then I run on to:

'David O. Selznick, equally empty, equally to be loved, equally a coming Buddha...'

But I don't use names like David O. Selznick, just people I know because when I say the words 'equally a coming Buddha,' I want to be thinking of their eyes, like you take Morley, his blue eyes behind those glasses, when you think 'equally a coming Buddha' you think of those eyes and you really do suddenly see the true secret serenity and the truth of his coming Buddhahood. Then you think of your enemy's eyes.'

'That's great, Ray,' and Japhy took out his notebook and wrote down the prayer, and shook his head in wonder. 'That's really really great. I'm going to teach this prayer to the monks I meet in Japan. There's nothing wrong with you Ray, your only trouble is you never learned to get out to spots like this."



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.
To embrace loss with unconditional love, then let it go...
brings in deeper joy...
and communion.
Our Halloween festive table's centerpiece. 
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 February 22, Open Heart Open Mind performed their healing music for 70 people in the Longhouse, 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, Fred LaMotte in background.
 After the bowl and didge healing sound meditation, students and townsfolk from Olympia explored the bowls, some of which are over 700 years old.
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.

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.

 Common Bread welcomes Joelle and Megan.
Common Bread's Singing Bowls concert and meditation each year with Karl Black and partners: one of the finest collections of Tibetan bowls in the nation.
Ari Moshe, Yoga Teacher and Evolutionary Astrologist, gave a workshop on the Journey of the Soul, October 13. 
Student leaders Ian and Crystal at the center of our annual Spring Labyrinth on Red Square.
Student leader, Joe Briggs, sharing poems by Rumi.
Evergreen's Administration invited Common Bread to gather diverse faith leaders in the inauguration of the new Student Center. Below with student leader Ian, Fred LaMotte (Common Bread Chaplain), Mustafa Mohamedali (Olympia Islamic Center), Rev. Rachel Wagen-Hoch (St. Mark's Lutheran Church), Koro Kaisan Miles (Open Gate Zendo), Rabbi Seth Goldstein (Temple Beth Hatfiloh), Leslie Edwards (Olympia Bahai Assembly).
Muslim Americans met with students and townsfolk in the Longhouse to share the topic, 'What Does It Feel Like to be Muslim in America Today.'
It was an evening to stand against bigotry and religious prejudice, and share the common spirit of humanity with our Muslim brothers and sisters of Olympia Islamic Center.
Dairun Zenzi, head monk of the One Drop Zen Monastery on Whidbey Island, explained Rinzai Zen Buddhism to 50 students & led meditation.
Art Night : celebrating student art, poetry, music & photography.
We created an interactive poem LINK HERE and group mandala to express our images for the Spirit. Below right to left: Chelan, Sayre and Lillian sing spirit songs.
Quaker chaplain Fred LaMotte leads meditation.

Common Bread welcomed Zawadi Nakuze, co-sponsored by the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention Awareness & the President's Diversity Fund. From the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zawadi shared her work restoring hope to rape victims in the world's most violent civil war. To hear her speak to Olympia Quakers, LINK.
Common Bread leaders Crystal & Ian attend a national college conference on Interfaith Spirituality at U. of Puget Sound.

'Centering Prayer,' inspired by Christian mystics, is taught yearly at Common Bread by Contemplative Outreach's Mary Solberg.

Dr. Mohammad Ayub helps us understand Islam. Dr. Ayub's wife, Amy Aisha (below), spoke to Common Bread on 'Women In Islam." Over 30 attended. Dr. Ayub is a Muslim peace activist, master gardener & member of the Jewish-Muslim Compassionate Listening Group. Dr. Ayub shared Muslim evening prayers with us. We cherish our connection to Lacey Mosque!

Krishnammal Jagannathan, winner of the 2008 Opus Award for world service, a disciple of Gandhi and Ramana Maharshi, addressed 90 seekers at Common Bread in the Recital Hall (Link to article).

Grandfather Cedar, Grandmother Fern,
this is where we worship in the Evergreen forest.
We thank you for making this Long House
from the bone and marrow of your ancestors.

Grandfather Cedar, Grandmother Sage,
you make our planet green and give us
a sweet fragrance of prayer.
We thank you for the gift of silence.

Grandfather Cedar, Grandmother Berry,
root us deep in the Earth as you are rooted,
so that we may breathe down the stars
and plant them where our feet walk.

Thank you Grandfathers.
Thank you Grandmothers.
Thank you, Raven.

~Common Bread interfaith chaplain Fred
'Forget every touch or sound that did not teach you how to dance.' (Rumi) Common Bread hosts contra dancing.