VoM January 2015

Josh Friz – Santa Monica

I co-host Monday nights, I edit dharma talks for Against the Stream podcasts and in general try to help wherever there is a need.

It means a lot to me to be honored with volunteer of the month. I want to thank Noah, Mary, Gigi, George Haas, and Andrea Davis for their wisdom, guidance and support on the path. Against the Stream has taught me to appreciate the precious moments we have each day. The parts of life I used to speed through because I thought were too difficult or boring is where, once I turned towards them, I’ve started to experience the richness of life.

Volunteering has truly opened my heart to connection. ATS feels like home. Since I started volunteering time here I’ve learned to take pride in myself, in my own living space, relationships have dramatically improved with family members and instead of spending time busying myself to cover loneliness I have friends to call. Generosity practice has been equally generous with me. If you’re thinking about volunteering I highly recommend it. Support the center and benefit from the reward.


Buddy Neilson – Melrose

It is very difficult for me to put into words my gratitude for Against the Stream, the teachers, the staff, the sangha and the Buddha. Suffice to say, it saved my life. When I came to ATS I was stuck in an obsessive cycle of addiction, shame and self-hatred. I was living my life with only part of my heart available and that part was rusted and hardened from years of abuse. Over the last year I have come to deeply open myself to the truths of the path and they have changed me, they have allowed me to love again. To love myself for the first time in my life, to appreciate the beauty that is available and to lean into the vulnerability. I have experienced a level of peace and safety that I had never known or thought possible. This center and the space that is held by the teachers and the members of the sangha allowed me the safety to explore deep seated trauma and my own sexual orientation. Those two topics had been locked in the cellar of my soul and I had thrown away the key. I will forever hold in my heart, a grateful space for the gifts that ATS has afforded me. Thank you.
Buddy has volunteered in many ways: clean-up, hosting, admin duties and so on.