Author: smcblog

Mindful Work

4 Proven Ways to Awaken Purpose at Work

By Zach Mercurio // There’s no shortage of advice telling us we need to find purpose in our jobs. And for good reason—having a sense of purpose at work can increase both engagement and fulfillment. In our personal lives, a sense of purpose can even help us sleep better, feel healthier, and live longer. Yet while it’s clear purpose is important, it’s less clear how to discover it without taking expensive purpose surveys, quitting our sometimes mundane jobs, or making drastic career changes. But there is hope for everyday people in everyday jobs to discover purpose and reap its benefits. Over the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to work with people who do our society’s necessary and repetitive work—people like janitors, bus drivers, and mechanics. And I’ve learned two critical lessons: 1.) There is a compelling purpose in every job, and 2.) There are research-backed actions we can take to uncover it. Here’s how to start. 1. Stop trying to “find” your why. One of the biggest misconceptions about purpose is that it’s …

Beyond Suffering: At Home In Yourself (Part 1)

By Blake D. Bauer // One must learn to love oneself with a wholesome and healthy love, so that one can bear to be with oneself and need not roam. — Friedrich Nietzsche Deep down, we all want to feel ‘welcome’, that we ‘belong’, and that we’re accepted just the way we are. We also want to feel appreciated, simply because we’re alive and not just for how we please others. Essentially, each of us holds a longing to feel at home within ourselves, because when we feel safe to simply be ourselves, where no one is judging us, and we can let our guard down to be vulnerable, our heart opens and allows the peace, joy and love within us to flow freely. To feel the warm embrace of unconditional love that most of us associate with the idea of ‘home’ is how we as human beings come to blossom and thrive. Even if our own experiences at home, either as children or as adults, have never been as loving or as warm as …

Susan Piver

Susan Piver on the Benefits of Meditation

By Susan Piver // A comprehensive list of all the benefits of meditation would be very long indeed. My friend and fellow meditation teacher Jonathan Foust has said that if it were a medication, meditation would be heralded as the miracle drug of the century! Some of the benefits that have been demonstrated recently through modern scientific inquiry include the following: It relieves stress (by lowering the stress hormone, cortisol). It improves focus and memory (by raising the level of gamma waves). It prevents relapse into depression by 50 percent (according to studies by Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD, and Zindel Segal, PhD). It boosts immunity (in one study, meditators demonstrated higher levels of antibodies than nonmeditators in reaction to a vaccination). It actually makes you demonstrably happier (by reducing activation in the amygdala and increasing it in the prefrontal cortex). The health benefits don’t stop there. In addition, it has been demonstrated that meditation can help with the following: lowering blood pressure decreasing symptoms in illnesses with a stress-related component (ulcers, for example) decreasing serum cholesterol …

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 …

Family Retreat

“Being” Over “Doing”: Advice for Meaningful Family Life

By Leslie Gossett // There is a billboard on the interstate here—an advertisement for a popular gym. It says “More ways to do it all.” There is a picture of a happy–looking person doing various gym activities. I feel nauseated every time I pass that billboard. Perhaps it’s different where you live, but here in the San Francisco Bay Area, this is the pervading culture. Life is becoming more and more about doing and less and less about being. I work closely with many families here in this area. What continues to surprise me is not how busy they are, but how much they complain about being busy while having no support for changing that. Schools are increasingly more demanding of not just the student’s time, but also of family time. Sports practice, music rehearsals, and after school activities happen every day of the week. Games and performances take up weekend time. And many children, tweens, and teens have more than 2 hours of homework each day, in addition to their rehearsals and practices. Parents …

Mindful Eating

A Woman’s Biggest Obstacle to Mindful Eating

By Marcella Friel // If you are a woman struggling to heal your food, it’s very seductive to feel, deep down, that something is horribly wrong with you and to believe that, if you punish yourself enough by eating celery sticks instead of cookies, you’ll one day reach that ever-elusive Promised Land of a “perfect” diet and “perfect” body weight. When you fail to meet such tyrannical expectations, do you then turn the blame inward and double down on the celery sticks, at least until the next binge? *** Listen to food and body image coach Marcella Friel talk with Mimi Valiulis, Dean of Online Studies at Shambhala Online, about the single greatest obstacle women face on the path of healing their food. Join Marcella Friel for Women, Food, & Forgiveness: The Heroine’s Journey, May 2–6, 2018, at Shambhala Mountain Center — click here to learn more >>   About the Author Marcella Friel passionately promotes healing foods, authentic beauty and personal transformation. Having cooked and taught in premier meditation and healing centers across North America …

Mindful Eating

[VIDEO] Mindful Eating: Your Life Is the Supreme Meal

By Marcella Friel // How much energy has your food obsession taken up in your mind and your life? What could your life be if that energy were liberated and available for the creative pursuits you desire but have been holding back on (like, say, writing your book, working with horses, or starting to date again)? According to the Zen teacher Bernard Glassman, roshi, a life that is lived fully and completely, with nothing held back, is called the supreme meal. Why not make 2018 “The Year of Your Supreme Meal”? Watch the video below for some inspiration. And please join me January 26 ~ 28 for my weekend program at SMC, “Mindful Eating: Learn EFT to Liberate Yourself from Unwise Food Choices.” You will discover that it’s about more than your food ~ it’s about your life. Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Mindful Eating: Learn EFT to Liberate Yourself from Unwise Food Choices with Marcella Friel, January 26–28, 2018 — click here to learn more >> About the Author Marcella Friel passionately promotes healing foods, authentic beauty …

A More Sane Approach to New Year “Resolutions”

By Jonathan Barbieri // The celebration of New Years is several thousands of years old. It has always been a time of renewal – fresh beginnings throughout the world. This year, perhaps more than most in the recent past, it seems to be an important time to step back and reflect on our human capability and our aspirations. This past year has been permeated by the presidential campaign and the first year of President Trump’s Administration. It is fair to say that the energetics unleashed during this time have been of a magnitude of which we have never fully seen or experienced in this country before. Many emotions seem to rise and role in like a wave only to be covered by the next wave. There is hope, fear, despair, anger, and confusion – to name a few. We listen to praise, blame and people being denigrated. The focus is often on the negative qualities of human beings with a constant emphasis on distrusting one another and fear. In the midst of this it could …

“Up to Snuff”— a Conversation with SMC’s Construction Manager, Dan Sosolla

Pictured: Dan Sosalla, SMC Project Manager (left), Rosalyn Avent, SMC Development Manager (right) By Rosalyn Avent // To update the community on SMC’s construction project Rosalyn Avent sat down with Project Manager Dan Sosolla. Check out their conversation below: Rosalyn Avent: Hi Dan, thanks for meeting with me! Dan Sosalla: Hi Rosalyn, it’s my pleasure. I’m excited about this project and happy to tell our community about what we’ve been working on. RA: Great! Could you start by telling us a bit about your background and your role in this project? DS: Let’s see… I got my undergraduate degree in Construction Management and worked for a national company called Mortenson Construction for eight years. My work with Mortenson was in a supervisory and quality control capacity working on large commercial projects like hospitals and taller downtown buildings in Denver. When I left Mortenson, I stayed on the construction side of things, framing houses in Boulder, and serving on the building committee for the Boulder Shambhala Center. I volunteered at the Boulder Center, helping them with various …

Why a Super Bowl Champion Volunteers at SMC

By Dave Stalls // Dear SMC supporters and fans, Thank you for allowing me, and so many others, to benefit from what you have built and invested in over the years here at Shambhala Mountain Center. In July of this year, I began volunteering at SMC because, like many of you, I struggle with my emotions about the direction of our country. I was looking for a way to be of benefit in a time when it seems that not only our country, but our world is in crisis. As the former CEO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and the co-founder of Denver’s Street Fraternity, a program designed to cultivate brotherhood and personal growth in at-risk urban youth, I see crisis every day. I am drawn to Shambhala Mountain Center because it offers one-of-a-kind, powerful support for working with challenging situations, and thanks to you, SMC was able to host the young men of Street Fraternity this Winter, completely for free. (Check out the picture above!) As I hiked up to Marpa Point with these incredible …