Month: August 2019

Finding the Voice of Self-Compassion

By Michelle Becker // In first grade I had a really mean teacher.  Several decades later, I can still feel the hot sting of humiliation as she stopped the class so they could watch me clean out my desk.  Clearly it wasn’t up to her standards. I was already painfully shy as a girl and this was a particularly cruel punishment to dole out in my case.  I got through that year, but it didn’t leave me any more organized, less shy or more confident about school. The best thing I can say about that year is that I survived.  I really don’t think I learned much. Luckily in third grade I had a remarkable teacher, Ms. Foust.  This was the 60’s and she was oh so kind and cool. My mom called her a hippie.  She lived on a sailboat and played her guitar for us. We sang all the hits of the day as she strummed on her guitar.  I began to feel safe and seen. I began to relax. We did art. …

“SMC had a baby!” An interview with Kristen and John about having a baby at SMC

By Whitney Trotta // It was a lovely summer afternoon in the mountains at SMC. The rain had passed through earlier, and with the sun back out, it was only a little wet sitting down on the bench beneath some Ponderosa Pines. Kristen and John graciously agreed to be interviewed the week before they were due. I was curious about how they felt about raising a child at Shambhala Mountain Center—and what got them here in the first place! Whether you know John and Kristen personally or not, you’ll enjoy getting to know them here. Whitney: Tell me about your first time at SMC! John: It was a weekend in July 2000. Noel, myself and another friend were on an exodus trip from Madison, Wisconsin to Northern California. We had a friend volunteering here (at SMC) for the summer and stopped in just to visit him. We stayed a couple of days—it was great! We continued on our way, and as the summer panned out, California did not pan out. So my buddy said “Hey, …

The Practice of Dropping: An Antidote for a Busy Life

By Brian Spielmann & De West // When we’re babies, the ability to grasp, which becomes fully developed around 9-12 months, is one of the most important developmental milestones. This core skill demonstrates planning, hand-eye coordination, muscular strength, and motor skills. As adult spiritual practitioners, we have the opposite issue: how do we stop grasping and let go? Our minds are constantly grasping and fixating, creating much suffering in our minds and tension in our bodies. As Mick Jagger says, “You can’t always get what you want.” And that grasping is where samsara begins. The Buddhist and Yogic traditions both offer clear, practical instructions on how to let go fully. When we integrate these traditions, working both with our body and our mental awareness, we have a powerful dual pathway to further relaxation and sense of peace. Take a Load Off The good news is that our thoughts and emotional baggage don’t actually exist. They come and they go, and we can let them arise with no judgment or need to push them away. We …

Mindful Eating

[Video] You Can Heal Your Broken Relationship with Food

By Marcella Friel // If you are a woman who struggles with food, have you ever wondered why your restrictive diet regimens routinely leave you worse off than when you started? There’s a core piece of the healing puzzle that those diet plans never touch. *** In this video, food and body image coach Marcella Friel shares with Mimi Valiulis, Dean of Online Studies at Shambhala Online, success stories of women who went way beyond the dieting trap to liberate their food patterns once and for all. Join Marcella Friel at SMC: From Emotional Eating to Emotional Freedom: Liberate Unwise Food Choices with EFT Tapping, October 30–November 3 // Click here to learn more >>   About the Author Marcella Friel is a mindful eating mentor who helps health-conscious women love and forgive themselves, their food, and their figure. She is the author of two best-selling courses on DailyOM and of the book Tap, Taste, Heal: Use Emotional Freedom Techniques to Eat Joyfully and Love Your Body. Marcella’s writing appears in Elephant Journal and elsewhere. …

Love and Heal Your Inner Child

By Blake D. Bauer // In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play. — Friedrich Nietzsche The term ‘wounded inner child’ typically refers to the emotional pain experienced during childhood that currently remains unhealed within us. The reason it’s optimal to address this topic is because our psychological and emotional wounds from childhood are directly connected to the situations and relationships that are currently full of victimhood and blame. In order to love and heal ourselves fully, we subconsciously create experiences in the present that mirror experiences from our past, often from childhood, so we can (1) transform the associated pain that is still stored within us and (2) learn the important lessons necessary to fulfill our life’s purpose and awaken spiritually. If we have not fully healed a past experience or period that was painful or confusing, then we will instinctually create situations in the present that reflect back to us the unresolved emotions from the original incident(s), ultimately so we can make peace with our past, care for ourselves …

What Does It Mean to Be in a Secure-Functioning Relationship? and Why Should It Matter to Me?

By Stan Tatkin and Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin // Secure functioning refers to an interpersonal system based on principles of true mutuality, collaboration, justice, fairness, and sensitivity. It means that you and your partner are in a foxhole together, protecting each other from the outside world… and from each other. Secure functioning assumes you and your partner have different minds, with different interests, drives, and histories. Secure-functioning partners are fully interdependent in the sense that each happily accepts the other as a burden, and both agree they are in each other’s care. In this kind of two-person system, you and your partner form a couple bubble, which you can think of as a protective boundary that protects your resources and sense of ongoing safety and security. Think of a couple bubble as an ecosystem or terrarium that provides you and your partner with the sustenance you need to carry out your daily tasks, deal with fears and anxiety, handle difficult situations and people, and undergo personal growth. In a secure-functioning relationship, you and your partner assure each …

Healing Sound

Healing Secrets of Sound

By Christine Stevens // The roar of joy that set the worlds in motion Is reverberating in your heart —Radiance Sutras, Dr. Lorin Roche We are all wired for rhythm by our circadian sleep and wake cycle, our brain waves, our cardiac beats, and even our neural firings. This is our personal music medicine. So many people have been told they have no musical ability. They believe they can’t ‘hold a tune in a bucket’ or keep a beat. But the truth is we are the music. I call it “homo musicalis”. The healing power of music is not just a fluffy concept; it is based on both historical and research-based evidence. One of the fathers of music therapy, psychologist and music therapist Dr. Mark Rider, known for coupling musical experiences with active visualization for pain reduction, writes about the power of group sing-alongs to treat trauma responses for veterans. In fact, group drumming has been shown to directly activate the immune system and calm stress responses. A 2001 study published in the journal Alternative …

The Beauty of Pristine Mind

By Orgyen Chöwang // At its core, our mind is pristine. Pristine Mind is a beautiful, naturally vibrant state, brimming with life, self-sustaining in its capacity to provide a dependable, inexhaustible source of happiness and joy. Sadly, most of us do not realize the true nature of our mind. We have become disconnected from it. Pristine Mind becomes obscured by the mind’s misperceptions and inner experiences—thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and judgments—that pollute its true nature. As a result, we live in a mind that leaves us insecure, alternating between times of happiness and sadness. This robs us of the ultimate experience of life, deeply connected and aware of this pristine state of mind. In Pristine Mind we are not detached or withdrawn from the world. We do not need to reject worldly pleasures. In Pristine Mind we are far more present to the world than we have ever been before. We experience life’s pleasures more robustly, work more effectively, and, above all, love more richly and more universally. Living in this way does not leave us …

Interdependence Is the Tie That Binds

By Stan Tatkin // I watched the popular TV show Madam Secretary, and there was a moment when the central figure got a mini lecture from a Nobel laureate mathematician about negotiations. The character stated that the key to getting disparate parties to agree on peace is to illuminate their interdependence. I won’t say I got the basic idea for this blog from the TV show, but I was inspired to write after watching it. Interdependence means, in the case of couples, that each partner has a stake in something. We could say childrearing is one such shared investment, although having a child is not sufficient to keep couples together. Just look at the stats. Because many partners do not function securely together to begin with, they tend to become increasingly insecure when they add children. They resort to childrearing as a separate endeavor and not as lovers collaborating in a family enterprise. The demise of their relationship should not be a surprising outcome. But there is another common tie that should bind partners together: …