Month: February 2015

His departed mom told him to help me…

By Sue Frederick Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Bridges to Heaven: A Grief Healing Workshop, led by Sue Frederick, June 5-7, 2015 Saturday night I went to do online check-in for my flight home after teaching a Bridges to Heaven: Talking to Loved Ones on the Other Side grief workshop and discovered that when United put me on a different flight to San Fran because of weather that it cancelled my entire ticket. I had no flight reservation home to Colorado. I called United and spent 45 minutes on the phone with an extraordinarily sweet agent who fixed everything and got me back on the same flight with no extra fees. He told me at the end of the call that he put extra energy into helping me because his departed mother whispered to him to help me out. He had no idea what I do for a living or that I’d just spent two days teaching a Talking to Loved Ones on the Other Side – grief workshop. So we spent another ten minutes connecting …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Met My Chest Like a Wedge

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. Stark solidity, tender impermanence — an orange flower.  The perception met my chest like a wedge — heart so sore and radiant. Last night I dreamt of a hologram Ginsberg as a teacher in a classroom.  His words, display, energy, was so inspiring and brilliant — in ways that I often wish for in dharma teachers. I said to someone near me that I’d do anything to get close to a teacher like that. I wish to attend  JKS when I leave SMC.  This is the second truly strong dream that has pointed in that direction so clearly. Heather and I spent the weekend down in Boulder — with our friends Kitty, Matty, and baby Benny; and the Sheffield crew, who I used to travel to the Northeast to see, but now most of us live here in Colorado. Yesterday …

Is Today a Good Day to Die? How Meditation and Yoga Can Liberate You From Fear

  I hope, as you read this, that you are well and free from any indications that your life will be cut short.  At the same time, I invite you to take a moment today to contemplate death. Personally, I tend to skate by much of the time without reflecting too deeply on this inevitable aspect of life.  When I do contemplate impermanence though, the beauty and preciousness of my experience of living becomes illuminated.  So, it seems to me like something worth doing, perhaps more regularly.  Maybe you feel the same way. In this video, Elysabeth Williamson offers some guidance for living in moment-to-moment, day-to-day relationship with our own death.  As she goes on to say later in the interview, the result can be incredibly liberating and joyful. Watch the three minute clip below. Click here to learn about our upcoming weekend retreat: Savasana: Exploring Our Death to Liberate Our Lives, March 13-15 If you feel inspired to deepen into this practice of contemplating impermanence and the preciousness of life, please click here to learn about the upcoming retreat …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Sand, Soda Ash, and Limestone

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’m drinking water from a glass–which is not sand, soda ash, and limestone I’m questioning its clarity in hopes that my own bones and blemishes may be revealed to be clear Up late studying the dharma, dialoging with Heather, and celebrating Goundhog Day. Therefore, woke up late in the morning — did my things swiftly — write, shit, shower, vows, Qigong, kiss and sing to Heather.  Then shoveled granola, grapefruit and tea into my face and raced down the stairs so as not to miss opening gong. Sitting on the cushion, my stomach dealing with all of the stuff I bombed it with, I felt sad and confused — how to conduct a life that is smooth, not self-centered, productive… productive? Joy: How? That’s the question. Peace: How? Bliss: How? — February 3, 2015 ~~~ Travis Newbill is a …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Family and Family — Circle

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 take refuge in the sangha, as support for traveling the path. This morning I met with the Care Council, to open and share a deep, murky, entangled, situation that I am doing my best to navigate well. It has to do with kin in dire straits. We sat in a circle — I used to sit as a member of the Care Council and offer space and feedback to people who are in states of like I have been experiencing recently. I opened up and spoke all about the situation, offering information and a bit of emotional tone.  It was a vulnerable feeling, especially before we began.  Sitting in the room waiting for the others to sit on their cushions.  I was contemplating the teachings on emptiness, and considering how solid things can feel.  But the solidity …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Come with Me — Haiku and Katharine

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. Deep tissue, heavy with ocean — blink and it’s mist. I had accumulated some savings, stability, now all gone to help kin. Yesterday at my desk, and Scott knocked on the door.  I opened and he took me by the arm: “Come with me.” I went with him, wearing the slippers that I wear inside the office. Katharine Kaufman — Zen teacher, poet, spontaneous movement angel, coolest person — had ordered him to do so, saying “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” So I spent the morning with her studying and practicing haiku. I wrote: Wind is cold I am sitting in the shade I’m going indoors and then… The door is ajar The floor is cool People made these things Someone else wrote: Wind outside Fart inside Such suffering I said “That was the best haiku I …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Poo Hat (Armchair Philosopher)

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. Years ago I dreamt of being an armchair philosopher. Last night, in my armchair, studying a scholoarly Buddhist text while a group of people in the next room over acted rambunctiously — I was intent on chewing on subtle language, and they were swigging booze. I was quiet, and they were not. I was grumpy old man, imagining myself poking the ceiling with a broomstick (in this case it would have been pounding on the wall): “Keep it down!” Just a joke. I’m not a jerk. But, I’d rather be studying the dharma. Heather was on the love seat working on her Pillow Leaf project. Afterwards we spoke. I told her about my mood: We call it “Poo” We came up with the idea that when either of us were in such a mood, we could put on …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Maybe My Farts Are Luminous Mind

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 funky smell in the room this morning after tossing and turning all night — dreaming of my tortured kin and the futility of “helping.” Pema talks about letting things fall apart, and other teachers do too, and so do I, and I know I may as well because it’s inevitable.  And, I see my resistance to death manifesting as attempts to try to keep it together, or fix, or ignore reality. So, my plans are like suggestions. Here I am with all of my faculties, for now.  Maybe my gums are disintegrating and my teeth will shatter before I can come up with the $20,000 for surgery.  Maybe my Mom will drop dead before she discovers a good way of living. Maybe I’ll leave Shambhala Mountain Center without having developed the skills necessary to make a good …