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Annie Sigtermans: Volunteer Profile


A beloved friend introduced me to Jack Kornfield’s books many years ago. I began listening to his audio books during my work commute. I got curious about meditation and started listening to his guided meditations during my lunch breaks in my car. Later I learned that Jack is one of the founders of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and lives nearby. I had to meet the man behind the soothing, gentle voice. When I attended my first daylong with Jack, I thought, “Wow! He is like a rock star, high on kindness and radiating calmness. I want that.” But I was struggling with sitting still while watching my thoughts go by without being attached to them or without conjuring more stories to add to non-stop reality show in my head. I just wasn’t sure if I had the capacity to see and hold all that. I stayed away and came back numerous times. I dabbled with many different paths and learned other practices. But I was drawn to the simplicity and the challenge of the vipassana practice. I appreciated the kind and flexible approach to the practice at Spirit Rock. I often heard the gentle reminder from teachers to have compassion for myself: “If you fall asleep, the body needs rest; it is okay, sleep.” No judgments, just kind acknowledgment of what I needed at the moment. I love that!

In 2010 I mustered the courage to attend my first retreat, a 3-day retreat with Larry Yang. I had no idea what I was getting into: It was hard work! The retreat was both challenging and exhilarating. I loved that I was working with and befriending my internal struggles, and with the kindhearted guidance of the teachers, I was hopeful. I came out of the retreat with a sense of peace and a new perspective.

I decided to volunteer in order to get acquainted with the teachers and staff and to support the community. Volunteering gives me a chance to strengthen my practice in a safe and supportive environment that I bring with me when I leave Spirit Rock. Volunteering is a gift that provides me an opportunity to meet people and develop deep, authentic connections. I am honored and grateful to be working alongside many dedicated volunteers. I bow to all the teachers for their dedication and insight that help me feel safe and secure in just being who I am.

Spirit Rock relies on the generosity of our many volunteers. We offer a range of opportunities from one-time projects to ongoing service. Check our website to find out more about out volunteer program or contact our Volunteer & Community Coordinator at Volunteering@spiritrock.org or (415) 488-0164 x224.


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