Month: January 2014

Floral Notes and Bardo: Thank You, Catfish

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. They’ll gallop beyond their bodies… Bones in a meadow, scattered, vultures have eaten well.   The above picture was drawn by Catfish, who was visiting for the weekend. He also gave me a 200 year old Japanese tea pot. It spent about 100 years in the mud by a river, I’m told. Wow… ~~~ A refreshingly warm morning, walk to the Stupa, pausing, gazing at a big sky, all was so quiet. “Open your territory completely, let go of everything.” —CTR Contemplating the suffering in the world and giving away all delight–the glow deepened. Everything so rich, cool, fresh. A long, beautiful practice session in the Stupa. Afternoon spent in conversation. Too much talking. Another hour on the cushion before dinner, then Joni Mitchell in the headphones for a while, and then some time with Heather. She was at …

Finding Your Rhythm

By Christine Stevens Christine Stevens leads Healing Sound Retreat, along with Silvia Nakkach, August 29–September 1  The following is an excerpt from Music Medicine, the Science and Spirit of Healing Yourself with Sound (Sounds True, 2012) We use the language of rhythm all the time. I feel “off-beat.” Happiness is called “up-beat.” We talk about feeling like “we got our groove back.” But dive deeper into this rhythm metaphor to the deep pulsing heartbeat that defines life itself, and you’ll discover that rhythm exists within and all around you. Playing drums and percussion can become a sacred invocation of this healing life force. Four Rhythms of Life We all have rhythm within us. This rhythm is so natural that we hardly notice the drum of who we are. The following are just a few examples of four rhythms we know from being alive that define the movement of life. 1. Heartbeat. The heartbeat rhythm is primal—the mother of all rhythms and the rhythm we first heard inside our mother’s womb. The groove of life ranges …

Floral Notes and Bardo: NBD

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Pony kicking around in a big pool of honey, undisturbed, and trapped–in its own dream, sweet. NO BIG DEAL Last night we began a course called Joy in Everyday Life with David Cushman. He sat in a chair like he was in his den–with slippers and a glass of diet root beer, which he says, again and again, “is actually quite delicious, taste-wise.” He gave a great talk, and it cracked me up more than once. I know the guy. We’re pretty close. We’re friends. And, he’s a great, experienced teacher. He was a student of Trungpa Rinpoche. He’s been around for a good while–deep practitioner. Lots of wisdom. And a total, loveable, goofball. Cushman makes dharma fun, and he is also not full of shit–maybe a bit crazy. Good-crazy. These are my opinions. I’m glad to be taking …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Golden Sky, Level 1.5

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Sun/torch brought close to buzzing fly–not to fry the lil’ baby, but to remind it of eventual disintegration. Golden water will vanish, and also: butterflies. Not so scared of tumbling into the dream. Time spent with sky and sparkling snow, and emotions, my friends and Teacher Steve. I was a helper for Shambhala Training Level I last weekend. Two years after I first took the program with David and Ethan Nichtern in NYC. It was a wonderful experience–again. After a full weekend–full heart, full of meditation, and awakening-moments, a walk around with friends up to my little house for a tea party. Then hiking back down–gazing 360 with amazement at the sunset. A lovely nap/sweet cuddle. Barely made dinner and heard about a party. Across the land again, now stars out–baffling. And giddy to be walking with this …

Floral Notes and Bardo: People Flower

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Passing pictures back and forth–how many times per second? Flickering dream, expressing itself as kisses. Under the bed, shadow monsters. The main thing is: so much care. So much care is required for people to flower. Acharya Lyon is leading a class on logong–about recognizing the dreamlike quality of our experience, and then engaging in a way that helps to alleviate the suffering of everyone who is mixed up in this thing. Meanwhile–I’m becoming delightfully, terrifyingly, willingly mixed up with a particular-fellow-person. I’m nursing a cold. I’m tasting high-grade sweetness. I’m saying things like this to myself: Joyous to have Such a human birth, Difficult to find, Free and well favored. But death is real, Comes without warning, This body will be a corpse. Unalterable Are the laws of karma; Cause and effect Cannot be escaped. Samsara Is an …

New Year, New Plans, Big Vision

Thanks to our generous donors’ support, we have raised $101,578.61 of our $125,000 goal. Each gift will continue our mission to help people from all over the world experience their own goodness and wisdom. Though we have come far thanks to the work and generosity of many, we recognize that a major shift is needed to move away from the stress of making ends meet and into a situation where the vision of SMC can flourish. As you may know, Shambhala Mountain has faced financial challenges for many years, challenges which were exacerbated by a natural disaster and a severe economic recession.  A mix of community support, blessings of the Shambhala lineage and other genuine wisdom traditions hosted here, intelligent planning and simple good fortune has made a seemingly impossible situation workable. Video: SMC in the Beginning Alex Halpern (above) came to the land that would become Shambhala Mountain Center in 1972. In this video, Alex gives a personal count of Shambhala Mountain Center’s first years. We recognize that in order to foster long-term financial …

SMC Financial Update

Shambhala Mountain Center generally meets 75% of its operating costs through program revenue, rentals and store sales. It relies on fund-raising to cover the rest of those costs, as well as to make payments on the bond that it undertook in order to build the Sacred Studies Hall, Shambhala Lodge and Rigden Lodge. It also relies on fund-raising to build the new water treatment system required by Larimer County.  The combination of these three fundraising needs:  operations, debt service and the wastewater project – has made the annual fundraising challenge about $1,000,000 per year for the past several years. 2013 was different from recent years in several respects.  Funds raised were approximately $400,000.  Annual debt service was $300,000 less than usual because we were able to defer some bond payments following the 2012 fire.  Early registrations for 2014 brought in $100,000 more than usual.  To close the gap for the year we used $150,000 in cash reserves. Our forecast for 2014 again shows the need to raise about $1,000,000 to cover operations, debt service and …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Go Slow and Be Gentle

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Spotlight dimmed and revealing that the dancer is just one of us, one of us everyday dancers hit with a spotlight–soft spotlight, which makes any motion, voice or gesture art A R T The toweling off of my body in the morning after shower, after having walked from my bed to the shower without thoughts. Holding the cup of tea, gently, until it cools a bit, so my tongue does not get burned. art. Not yapping like a dog. This morning–tea with Sensei. Precious Alexendra Shenpen, who is so gentle and luminous. A master in the Way of Flowers–Kado. My breastplate vanishing, my eyes full and heavy–aglow, while she spoke. Last night she taught us, the community–the second in a series of classes that she is generously offering. We learned about harmonic forms–the interplay between heaven, earth, and …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Magic of Many Varieties

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Fire-hose full of Kool-Aid blasting tranquility and simplicity into a bouquet of happy madness– landing on a bed with plush animals–hearing a bedtime story Wake up to blood-orange sky, late in the morning crushed ideas becoming sunsets, watching, surrendered to larger-than-my-thoughts ART On a flesh canvass, a wink at my foolishness. A wink of understanding between fools–friendship. Heather and I seeing each other through binoculars in the Stupa after community practice of the Sadhana of Mahamudra, which Trungpa Rinpoche received in a cave in Bhutan and offered to contemporary world even though/because it’s crazy and blows brains and delusion into indestructible magic-music. Gathered in the Stupa–friends become vapor-dharma-heat. Full moon above. Later, sake with Mr. Cushman and a few fellows–discussion of SMC adventure (that’s my attitude). I jumped out of the conversation in order to make my 9:30 lullaby …