Monday, April 08, 2013

2013 Street Retreat Donation Request

I don’t do street retreats to understand poor people better.  
On street retreats, we stay on the streets for 2 or 3 nights with no money.  When I go on the streets, I’m not pretending to be homeless or experimenting with a life I would live in an alternative reality.  Its just me, Ari, same person as always.  There’s a liberty I get on the streets, not despite the physical discomfort and practical difficulties, but because of them.  It gets me in touch with something- something I find traveling, something I find in meditation.  It helps me cut through the bullshit. 

I go on the streets in order to understand poor people.  
I go on the streets to understand myself better, to undertand my friends, family and coworkers better.  By getting out of my comfort zone and routine, my habitual way of seeing the world loosens up.  It helps me see all people in front of me for who they really are instead of who I think they are.  

From this perspective, the man sitting next to me at a soup kitchen isn’t some guy hidden in the corner.  He’s a person sitting next to me.  And maybe I feely happy to sit next to him or maybe angry or repulsed.  I practice bearing witness to whatever comes up and acting accordingly.  This impacts how I do my service work.  It impacts how I do everything. 

Raising a Mala
For all of the street retreats organized by Zen Peacemakers, a donation is requested of the participants in order to offer donations to the social service agencies that support us.  I am committed to raising $500 for this end, plust $71 for travel.  In our Zen Buddhist practice we call this assembling a Mala – a rosary of prayer beads.  If you contribute, your name will be attached to a mala bead that I will wear on my retreat.  As such, you will join me on the retreat and I will share my experience with you when I return.  Please click the link above or send a check made out to "Hudson River Peacemaker Center" to

Ari Pliskin
79 Prospect St
Greenfield, MA 01301

Text about my last street retreat 
Photos of my last street retreat