Month: June 2014

Floral Notes and Bardo: Into Summertime

By Travis Newbill 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. Saturday, a mad tea party at my lil’ house followed by naked painting and singing (just the two of us) — solstice celebration, and in the evening, a bath and early to bed. Sunday morning a pancake party at Erik and Kaleigh’s — barefoot ladies in the kitchen (ha), yummy pu-erh tea and conversation in the living room, and out on the porch, pancakes being served up.  Annabelle brought over a big pot of chai… Eventually, Cody found his way to the hammock. Photo by Ryan Stagg Life is good — summertime in the mountains. In the morning, one of those mornings, Heather and I stopped by the lake and watched river otters swim around.  They surfaced to check us out, bumped heads with each other. Yesterday afternoon, Heather and I hiked up to Marpa …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Give and Glimmer

By Travis Newbill 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. I woke up so early this morning, not as early as I used to.  Venus was in the sky above the ridge, to the east, the first warm colors of dawn arising.  Birds and critters singing and scurrying. I laid back in bed and debated napping another hour.  It seemed unnatural, lazy, to put cloth over my eyes while the sun was rising.  Where’s the free-flowing motivation to not waste a minute, to soak it up and…give!  Give!  Give! Photo taken from the Eden’s Rose Foundation Facebook page Laying in bed, debating in my journal about whether to fly out into the morning or nap a bit, I thought of my friend Gregory Sheldon, who is so bright, selfless.  His path is helping other.  It’s beautiful.  (Check out Eden’s Rose Foundation) I’ve crossed paths with …

Floral Notes and Bardo: This Has Never Happened Before, Again

By Travis Newbill 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. The past couple of mornings, posted up at the torri gate — guarding the entrance!  Pretty much just sitting there, in my Kasung uniform — which doesn’t fit me so well.  Heather brought me breakfast.  Meditating.  Enjoying the bird songs, blue sky, trees in the breeze, chipmunks.  Sakyong comes running by with his crew.  I stand and salute. We’re hosting Scorpion Seal VI, which means high practitioners are all over the place.  It’s very cool to be in the midst of them.  Their presence, practice, creates a heightened atmosphere.  The sounds of their rituals echo throughout the valley.  Smoke from ceremony, chanting, warrior cries. Shenpen, Sensei is among them.  Yesterday she glided over to me and offered me a piece of chocolate, then with big bright whole-being smile, asked if I’d help uplift (clean) a small corner …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Down the Hill, Down the Road

By Travis Newbill 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. A group of us piled in the car on Friday, headed down to Boulder.  Rolling down the hill in the sunshine, it was reminiscent of heading to music festivals in the summertime with my old friends. Photo by Paul Bennett We were headed down for a Shambhala program with the Sakyong, Acharya Asreal, and Shastri Ethan Nichtern (my main dharma-teacher-homie from New York City — so cool to connect with him, eat falafel with him, in Colorado!).  Great line-up! A few of us stayed at Marpa House, which is a residential Shambhala-Buddhist co-op sort of place in Boulder.  It felt amazing in there.  I felt quickly that Marpa House will be the next place that I live.  After a couple more years at SMC, after I graduate from Sacred World Assembly, I’ll move to Marpa …

Working with Courage

By Janet Solyntjes In my early years of meditation training I was unable to sit still for long, maybe five minutes, before I would shift my body with hopes of improving my practice. My body hurt, my mind was impossible, and I was crawling out of my skin much of the time. My practice revealed glimpses of “calm abiding” and “dignity,” but it was tough going! My teachers reminded me that practice was a breeding ground for courage. Courage, I was told, becomes the seedbed for nurturing our deepest aspiration for a meaningful life and for a sane society. It takes courage to be present to the unknown, to touch what is frightening, to let go of what is familiar, and, once again, open. Now I remember to bring my heart to the cushion ~ how else will I cultivate bravery? Three Minute Practice: The Courage of this Moment Ask yourself this: What would it take for me to fully inhabit the experience of being human right now? Can I feel the sensations of my …

Floral Notes and Bardo: A Big Joke

By Travis Newbill 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. Last night, the moon was blazing full, everything aglow and quiet, the only sound — the aspen leaves gently quaking in soft, cool summer breeze.  I was standing on my doorstep, just enjoying, awake for a few minutes in the middle of the night. Photo by Paul Bennett  Earlier, a small group of us stood and watched the moon rise up from behind the ridge.  Huge moon.  Orange.  Clear sky. Kate and I had been discussing dharma for about two hours.  Others came in and out of the conversation, which was inspired by some notions presented in the prologue of Shambhala Principle. I believe we were on the topic of nonverbal communication, and that being so key: We’re always communicating.  We’re creating culture with each interaction.  We’re altering reality. Kate and I had been sitting …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Ordinary and Aspiring

By Travis Newbill 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. To simply be kind to my fellows, not trying to win, not cheating anyone, doing my work… “Magpie strutting” by John Russell of SMC Colorado Front range Style Another misty day outside.  Many elder practitioners are arriving to receive new teachings from the Sakyong.  This weekend I’m going down to Boulder to receive teachings from him. Rinpoche: displaying confidence, relaxation, cheerfulness, wisdom.  It seems that he is aware of the suffering of the world, and yet, is optimistic. A genuine display. Joyful, not freaked out. We’re always communicating something… Ordinary and aspiring… –June 12, 2014 ~~~ Travis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center.  His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Head Dekyong–a position of leadership within …

Battle Weary but Still Ticking

By Fay Octavia Shambhala Mountain Center will host the 8th Annual Courageous Women Fearless Living Cancer Retreat, August 19–24 There used to be a Timex watch commercial that said “takes a lickin and keeps on tickin.”  That is what I think about when I think about my friends who have survived the ravages of cancer. In meditation this morning as I felt my painful shoulder from carrying the weight of my oxygen tank yesterday, I thought of my friends who have had cancer. I know that is not where you are supposed to think, but somehow meditation is such fertile ground for planting and cultivating a blog post.  Sometimes it just takes over and it seems impossible to return to the breath. My friend Betsy just had a brain tumor removed a couple of days ago. On a visit to her doctor over a year ago, he said to her, “What are you doing here? You should have been dead two years ago.” I won’t comment on his insensitivity, but on her resilience. When I …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Oh to Be Hose

By Travis Newbill 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. Aching and illuminated, all of us — aching or ignorant, delighted or ignorant… Some bruised moments, touched firmly enough to evoke panic.  All the while, something bigger than the breezes unfolding forever, forever unresolved.  The aspen tress are full of leaves these days.  The smallest ones have the biggest leaves and all of them are fluttering, quaking to be precise, in the shifting winds. Photo by Barb Colombo I was standing in an aspen grove the other day, just standing, and I let myself go into as full of an immersion as I could.  I wish I could be more interwoven, or not think so much about that, rather, delighting in the movement of light and shadow, the sounds of the leaves, the sturdiness and softness of the tree trunk, branches… Last night marching with …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Iris and so On

By Travis Newbill 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. The weather has been shifting so dramatically — sunny summery days and then two days of chilly mist.  Hour to hour can be as different as October and July.  It’s June now.  It’s always shifting, right?  Sometimes quickly enough that we notice.  Otherwise it’s a slow change and we’re thrown when it blooms… Photo by Greg Smith Every day new wildflowers are popping up.  Yesterday someone watched a deer give birth, watched a deer being born.  One of our community-family-members is going to give birth in a few months.  We’ve been discussing how to hold that event.  Another member of the fam — who lives down in Boulder — is going to give birth any day now. My changes are more subtle.  I’m dying and being born every second.  I know. Another community member of …