Month: December 2014

Floral Notes and Bardo: Find the Others

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Just now, on my way out the door of the lodge to walk up the hill to work, I realized that Seth Godin and Terrence McKenna both say this: FIND THE OTHERS (Later I learned that Timothy Leary may be the source of that phrase.) Anyway, walking up the path, as I was saying to myself over and over FIND THE OTHERS, I see Avajra John coming up another adjoining path.  As we approached each other, we put our palms together at our foreheads.  Then he said: “You know, my take on it is that the transcendent Shambhala is just behind a very thin veil.” He grinned widely.  I thanked him. ~~~ Just before all of this happened, while sitting in the shrine room, I decided that I ought to meditate more in order to tune into what’s going …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Complete in Process

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. This all consuming glow, inviting me to go forth from self concern, to love perfectly.  A work in process that is never incomplete. Making plans and letting them drop; keeping the tires off the line; big wave picks me up–flourishing.  Then, I want that to always be the case.  Then I fall off a bit, resisting all the way.  Then, I let go.  Then, things are simpler.  Then, I have the space of mind to be organized again and flourish. Meanwhile, chaos is terrifying, abundant, and the source of all great explosions of art. Who am I to talk about the source? Some artistic activity attempts to present a tidy package.  Maybe sometimes it’s appropriate.  Much of the time though, it seems that the name of the game is fluidity.  Ever shifting life.  The dharma …

Floral Notes and Bardo: “What’s Going On in Your Mind?”

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. There is less than before, there’s a spot in the sky, the sound of footsteps is becoming more defined, the idea of destination is folding in on itself. Last night at dinner, sitting across the table from Annebelle — we’d spoken a bit, and now I was gazing over her shoulder.  She asked me “What’s going on when you do that?” “In my mind?” “Yes.” I did the best I could to describe it: space, clouds, jumbles of thought, relaxation.  I have nothing to communicate and there is a bit of a panic to find something to say, then that dissolves.  Eventually a sense of settledness, and at that point a new moment has begun. Something like that. That was a nice question for her to ask me.  A real dharma-sister thing to do.  A …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Never See That Buddha Again?

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Genius anyway… I woke up on Friday and enjoyed a lovely birthday — time with Heather in the morning, then beautiful Stupa session, lots of prayers for a good year ahead, lovely lunch outside, fun and games and art, surprises and hugs from the community, and finally a vegan ice cream Sunday, candles and gifts, tasty beer, at home with Heather to finish the evening. Heather makes birthday cards for all community members when their days come around and generally promotes celebration of all possible holidays.  So, for my birthday, I was in very good hands.  Grateful. Saturday, I was sitting on a bench downtown having some tea, gazing up at Red Feather peak to the west and decided that I could go up there if I wanted.  So I stood up and went.  I …

Floral Notes and Bardo: “Oops,” and Apply Gentleness

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. We’re a big, beautiful, beast! (Those cookies were made decorated by Kate Raddock at our community holiday cookie decorating cookie holiday event.) Yesterday an intense Community Meeting discussing safety, substance use, and recent incidents of people having been asked to leave for various reasons. I didn’t say a word, yet it was a very fulfilling experience.  I witnessed and felt people being very open, expressing genuine concern, and also people becoming defensive and accusatory.  But the whole thing felt civilized. For me, safety is relative.  And, I feel very safe here.  I feel good living as part of a community that can gather and communicate in such a peaceful and open way.  People may have felt rubbed or hurt in one way or another, but no one called anybody dirty names. Nobody shut down and …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Space Pervades

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Milky-white bliss–staring at a wall with my head in my hands.  And then, outside, wandering, mostly pausing, gazing, goal-less, bothered only when goals came to mind. Last night was the final session of our community Maitri Space Awareness exploration.  We concluded with the center of the mandala — the buddha family.  My favorite. Space allows all else to flourish.  And, as Greg said last night in his talk, there is nothing we can say about space. All colors arise in space, music, love, and all else. Ironically, I am feeling like I spend lots of time busy-hustling in order to create space.  Get this done, get that done, so that I can have some space to do other things. Last week we had community events three nights in a row.  This is great, but man… …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Stringing the Twinklers

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular 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 made a small box for all of my things: colored sand and precious rings. Meanwhile I watch this thought burn: the wish for anything to remain or return. This past weekend was full, and well-rounded.  Friday night a bath and relaxed space in the nest with Heather.  Saturday morning — cartoons, cereal, and sleeping in.  Then a nice, long practice session — at first, alone in the shrine room, which is just downstairs from our room, and then at noon the community joined for mid-day group sit.  The lights came on — I’d been in the dim — and friends surrounded and we sat. Saturday afternoon a community sweat lodge ceremony.  It had been a while… I’m so grateful, purified.  Saturday night cat-sitting for Director Gayner.  Nice house, funny little cat, a couch and …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Agenda Like Flies

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Return to friendliness, and sing in spare minutes.  The wind is blowing like crazy, and this time is precious. Last week we had our Fall Staff Retreat.  Janillee came up from Boulder and directed, leading us in three days of Maitri Space Awareness practice.  In the afternoons, we played — music with the peeps.  Other folks hiked, did art, or wrote creatively. I was in a grumpy mood for much of the retreat, kind of thrown becuse I had to relate to office work.  For me, having to go into the office during retreat is like having to step out of a ballet to work on my taxes for 10 minutes.  There is nothing to complain about in the situation, I knew that.  But, I just couldn’t make myself big enough to not be grumpy …

Floral notes and Bardo: Cinder Block or Skies

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Exploring galaxies of psychological formations, residing and flirting with potent emotion, knowing each other more fully.  Learning the joy and liberation of knowing, wondering, knowing.  In the space of dialogue — the safe space which is dependent on mutual respect, care, and willingness — deep human poetry blossoms like music.  The only way to go further is through YES.  And YES is only YES when it’s genuine.  One way of exploring ourselves is through intimate partnership — YES is intimacy. YES is peaceful, patient, and playful. Heather and I spent the weekend in a couple’s retreat in which we learned Imago theory and worked with communication exercises that allowed us to explore and learn lots about ourselves and each other.  The structured dialogues are designed to be tools for exploration and progression.  Meant to help …

Floral Notes and Bardo: No Rush — Trickles from an Aspiring Teacher

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Late last night I had a look around, for a towel, I had spilled my water on the wooden nightstand.  I’m not used to drinking out of glasses.  I’m not used to wooden nightstands.  I’m not used to towels, carpeting, toilet in the next room. House/cat-sitting again for Director Gayner.  A joy — purring Dorje Phurba.  Soothing kitty. Earlier in the night, I presented dharma to my fellows.  It was a learning experience.  I felt deflated afterwards, like my message was not clear, not precise.  I went through a few sommersaults of sorrow and frustration.  It was a potent process.  Charged practice experience.  It felt good, feels good.  Excited to refine my style and approach.  Glad for the opportunity to study with Greg Smith — a great mentor, friend.  A seasoned teacher.  I feel like …