April 2016 Newsletter


Construction at Wonderwell is in full swing as we approach our early May re-opening date. When the community returns, Wonderwell will be safer, more accessible and more energy efficient than ever before.

Among the changes that have occurred are:

•   A new wheelchair-accessible entrance and wheelchair-accessible bathroom.
•   New and safer egresses from the first and second floors.
•   The replacement of the back (green) stairway with a more streamlined, elegant, and private relaxing space for commuters and residential retreatants.
•    A remodeled kitchen with a new three-bay sink, refrigeration, and food prep areas (allowing us to better meet food safety requirements)
•    A cleared basement area (the old oil tanks and furnaces have been removed from the basement)
•    New basement insulation, and a full concrete slab floor in the basement for further insulation and moisture protection.
•    The extraction of and replacement of attic insulation above the meditation hall. One way to imagine these changes is to envision Wonderwell as having acquired a new wool hat and winter boots, thereby vastly increasing her energy efficiency during the colder months.
•    The installation of fire-rated drywall along the wall separating the meditation hall from the front entry.

We have greatly missed our sangha gatherings in Wonderwell’s sacred spaces, and are excited for the approaching Spring! We are looking forward to sharing the renovated space with you.For visual updates on Wonderwell’s renovations, please visit our Facebook page here


With renovations nearing completion we are about to enter a busy 2016 retreat season. Join Janine Grillo Mara for a weekend of relaxing into a saner and healthier relationship to body and mind or investigate the distinction between awareness, focus, and non-focus in the Dzogchen tradition with Brendan Kennedy. Practice recognizing how our bodies provide us with a source of profound, non-conceptual wisdom with Lama Willa Miller or explore Will Johnson’s use of three primary somatic principles – alignment, relaxation, and resilience.

NDF’s annual summer dhatun is also taking place again this year with a different focus for each week. Explore the power of interconnection and community through a study of the Third Jewel, the Sangha, July 1-6; the Buddhist practices of love and compassion as a means to open the heart, July 7-12; or engage in a deep study of the fundamental elements of the Vajrayana path such as Sacred World, Samaya, and the practices of Creation and Completion, July 13-18 or 19-24.

Retreats up to September are already open for registration, so if you haven’t had a chance to see what’s happening this year, please visit our website here.

Going….Going….Gone! Second Annual NDF Benefit Auction for Wonderwell

he Second Annual NDF Benefit Auction is drawing to a close on May 1st, and we have almost reached our goal of $25,000. There are still some beautiful items and great deals on the block for well below their retail value—there is still time to bid and help us reach our fundraising goal. Every bid helps support the retreats and practices that deepen wisdom and compassion. Please visit the auction site here!


Lama Rod was featured as one of the “New Faces of Buddhism” on the cover of the first issue of Lion’s Roar Magazine.

Lama Willa’s publications/interviews this month include:

“Body as the Dharma Gate” in Dancing with the Dharma, a new anthology on the relationship between dance, the body and Dharma practice edited by Harrison Blum.

“Like an Elephant Pricked by a Thorn: Buddhist Meditation Instructions as a Door to Deep Listening” in the Buddhist-Christian Studies Journal

“He Embodied Compassion”, an interview by the Rowe Center (see page 18). You can subscribe to the Post here.


Wonderwell recently sponsored the conference Changing Climate, Changing Mindsheld at Dartmouth College April 8-9. The conference sought to engage citizens in exploring the intersection between science and religion by focusing on the current climate crisis. Among questions participants and presenters attempted to engage with were: How do we face difficult truths about climate change without retreat to denial or despair? And: How do we act in urgency without compromising wisdom and compassion? Presenters included Terry Tempest Williams, David Loy, Rev. Canon Sally Field, and James McCarthy. Liz led one of the break-out discussion groups.
Wonderwell also recently maintained a presence at the Second Annual Zing into Springevent in New London, NH. Liz taught meditation to the fifty or so vendors who had gathered to usher in the spring season.


Natural Dharma Fellowship is helping to organize the “Buddhism and Race Conference,” Harvard Divinity School. Lama Rod and Cheryl Giles will be presenting.

On May 6-7 Lama Willa is speaking at the Annual Conference on Meditation and Psychotherapy at Harvard Medical School