Guiding Circle Letters


Dear Bloom of The Present Sangha Members,

As we’re approaching the end of summer and, technically, the end of Carla’s sabbatical, you’re probably anxious to hear news about “What next?!”

Carla is still on the recovery path but doing well and, while on sabbatical, she has had the perfect opportunity to rethink, reevaluate and re-envision her role as a dharma teacher. Already, before her diagnosis, she was considering scaling back and semi-retiring but there’s nothing like a life-threatening illness to help one realign one’s priorities! Therefore, starting in October, Carla will be easing into a limited teaching role by offering programs in new ways.

First, she’s been given the special opportunity to teach in Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach’s online Mindfulness Teacher Training Program starting in 2019, a 2 year, part-time, commitment. This will allow her to expand the scope of her teaching without any administrative responsibilities. You can see more here:

Secondly, instead of offering weekly classes and drop-in sits, Carla will be offering programs on a monthly basis. Specific details are being worked out. These programs will include:
–  A monthly Sunday morning extended sit and dharma talk, probably at Ocean Gate Zen Center.
–  Monthly, 2-hour mentoring programs, with 6-8 participants each, one being online.
–  One day-long “Meditating with the Redwoods” in October.
–  Resuming her private hour long individual interviews.

We have been quite fortunate, in Carla’s absence, to have G Schulz lead a very successful Thursday drop-in sit at Ocean Gate Zen Center and he has offered to continue to do so until the end of the year, at which point we will reevaluate the Thursday evening sit.

The Managers 
of the Friday morning sit in Capitola, have equally done a wonderful job at keeping the dedicated group of Friday meditators engaged and committed and, hopefully, they will be willing to continue with this program which has been an essential component of BOTP from its very beginning. We are so grateful for their superb leadership.

All this means that the form and structure of BOTP will be fundamentally changing. Some of us have been with BOTP since its inception and all of us, in small and big ways have helped shape it into the wonderful sangha that has nurtured our hearts and guided us on the path all these years. A deep bow to our teacher Carla for her tireless dedication to her students and her profound wisdom. A deep bow to our sangha members for their dedication to the dharma and their amazing generosity.

Changes are always unsettling and often imply a certain amount of grief, a lot of letting go and a lot of trust into new doors opening up. At this point, we do not have a clear picture of what form, if any, BOTP will take in the long term but we want to proceed carefully and mindfully, one step at a time. For the time being BOTP is remaining a non-profit organization and we will be providing Carla with a scaled down monthly stipend. We’ll keep you posted on any new developments and we will definitely look for your input as we move forward.

We hope you’ll continue to support BOTP and Carla in whatever way you can. The outpouring of personal and financial support that you have showed towards our guiding teacher through this challenging time has meant so much to her. She will be communicating directly with you in the near future.

We are looking forward to walking this new path together. 

With deep gratitude and Blessings for a new beginning.

Isabelle Rosenlund and the Bloom of the Present Guiding Circle

You can read updates and leave messages at Carla’s CaringBridge site:
Carla’s CaringBridge



Dear Bloom of the Present Sangha,

After looking into what were the best options available to her, our dear teacher Carla will undergo surgery at Stanford at noon on Thursday, May 24th. Please light a candle if you can and send her your loving thoughts at this time.

Carla’s sabbatical has been extended through August 2018 and the Guiding Circle is very grateful, thanks to your generosity, to be able to provide her with most of her monthly stipend for another three months.

Meanwhile, Bloom of the Present is still offering Friday morning peer-led meditation and classes in Capitola (contact Bruce Abt at: and Thursday sits and dharma talks at Ocean Gate Zen Center led by G Schultz from 6:30 to 8:00. More information.

You can get updates from Carla at her CaringBridge website ( Or, if you have specific questions, you can email Isabelle Rosenlund, BOTP Guiding Circle Chair, at:

Donations can be sent to:
Holly Thomas, Treasurer
872 30th Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Make checks payable to “Bloom of the Present” or “BOTP”.

A Meal Train calendar will be set up to deliver meals to Carla twice a week for a few weeks. Check back on the Bloom of the Present website for that information.

We appreciate all the ways you have expressed your gratitude towards BOTP and Carla through this transitional time and we count on your continued support over the following months. We are looking forward to a time when Carla will be well and we can look at a renewed path for BOTP.

With much gratitude and loving kindness,
Isabelle Rosenlund and the BOTP Guiding Circle

BOTP Guiding Circle February 2018 letter:

Dear Bloom of the Present Sangha Members:

We are writing to inform you that our Guiding Teacher, Carla Brennan, will be taking a three-month health sabbatical starting in March. While there is some uncertainty that we all have to hold patiently, Carla may return to some of her teaching in June. Please join us as we keep Carla in our thoughts and prayers.

During Carla’s absence, Bloom of the Present’s program will be limited as follows:
• Thursday night at Ocean Gate Zen Center, 920 41st Ave., 6:30 – 8:00, led by Gee Schultz;
• Friday morning in Capitola, 10:00 – 11:15 which could continue as a peer-led activity. More info.
• Carla also plans to keep her dates for the Noble Path Program Retreat (Jikoji: June 7 thru 10) and the Sierra Nature-Based Retreat (Origin: July 23 thru 28).
• All Monday and Wednesday classes and other retreat events will be suspended through May.

While your continued financial support is appreciated through this trying time, Bloom of the Present is putting its pledge drive on hold through May. If you are affected by the changes in our programming and have pledged a monthly contribution, you are welcome to suspend your payments through this period; if you have made a lump-sum donation for the year, you may request that some or all of this amount be held from use through this period. Contact Holly Thomas, BOTP Treasurer, at: for more information.

Regardless of any personal decisions about donations, at the direction of the Guiding Circle, Bloom of the Present will continue to offer Carla her monthly stipend through the sabbatical period. This is just one of the many ways we intend to support Carla, and we encourage you to join us in this effort. This can be done by:

• Making donations through Bloom of the Present earmarked for Carla’s support through her health sabbatical;
• Sending cards and well wishes to Carla at:; or 12135 Alba Road, Ben Lomond, CA.
• Organizing sits and discussions at your place of residence, to provide continuity for Sangha members affected by programming changes;
• Include Carla and all BOTP Sangha members in your regular metta practice; and
• Any other way that you are able to help financially or spiritually.

We expect there will be many expressions of concern from sangha members over the coming weeks. In general, we would ask for your patience and that your energy be focused on positive ways in which you can support Carla and maintain the spirit of our Sangha over the coming months. Please contact Isabelle, our BOTP Guiding Circle Chair, at, if you have questions or concerns.

With Loving Kindness,
The BOTP Guiding Circle