All posts filed under: Life at SMC

SMC’s Statement Regarding Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by the Spiritual Leader of Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Over the past few weeks our community here in the Colorado mountains has been deeply shaken, as we’ve recently learned that the spiritual leader of Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, has engaged in clergy sexual misconduct. What we know about these transgressions comes from the accounts of three women, which were made public on June 28th in the Project Sunshine Phase II report. You can read them here. You can also read the initial June 25th statement from the Sakyong here, and a follow up statement from July 10th here. As far as we know, no one presently living in the SMC community was a victim of sexual misconduct committed by the Sakyong or any other teacher or leader of Shambhala. As the news has spread, and allegations of sexual assault have become public, each of us has had to re-examine our own relationship to the Sakyong and to Shambhala, as an international organization under his leadership. Doubt and uncertainty about our path forward abound, but the staff and leadership at Shambhala Mountain Center make the …

“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 …

How I Healed a Broken Heart

By Patricia Flores White // Do you remember the first time you arrived at Shambhala Mountain Center? I do. It was late summer, and the nights were crisp and cold in my tent. The stupa was magnificent in all its glory, sitting with a backdrop of simple Colorado aspen and pine. The wildflowers were in bloom and so were the bears! Prior to living in my beloved tent here at SMC, I lived in a small fishing village in South America where I ran a Surf & Yoga School. Tourism was thriving in our humble paradise until, on April 16, 2016, the coast of Ecuador was crushed by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. After a solid year of nonstop recovery work and over 3,000 aftershocks, I found it harder and harder to remember the last time I laughed out loud and I gradually began to lose my sense of humor all together. I also stopped surfing… that’s when I knew it was time for me to say goodbye. This summer, when I arrived at SMC, I realized, …

Spread-your-wings, oh beautiful Jaybird!

Photo: © 2016 Richard A. Swaback   Spread-your-wings, oh beautiful Jaybird!           Placing seed outside my window        Bringing close to view      Amazing birds!    Winter at SMC.   Nuthatches, Juncos, Mountain Chickadees  Magpies, Woodpeckers, to name a few. Arrive before daybreak Stellar’s Jays. Skittish merest reflection in my window glass  and    Off,       off          with rounded wing,              seeking shelter                 in  Ponderosa branches. — Richard Swaback . . About the Author .  Naturalist, photographer, creative person, Richard “Dickie” Swaback, long time resident at Shambhala Mountain Center, is fascinated by the inhabitants of the natural world, large and small, whether it be microorganisms, plants, insects, mammals, birds or amphibians that reside at SMC. “Dickie’s” curiosity knows no bounds as he explores the dynamic interrelations of life at SMC . He recently published a 30-page booklet “Biodiversity at Shambhala Mountain Center”, a brief photo essay of some of the life …

Offering

Hello world, I wrote this poem last fall as a rumination on death and life, impermanence and transition. Now as I prepare to leave SMC for new journeys, it seems fitting to share.   gathering up the courage to say goodbye to good friends gathering up the pink in the clouds as it swells into peach and then dusty blue gathering up the things i need for today in my old pack. pulling together the sound the wind makes through tall dry grasses golden ice of late october the dreams of morning hearing scratching in the wall or floor gathering up the swollen parts of my heart for you to hold the honey and peanut butter, avocados and incense smoke to coax you, tether you back into this world for a moment stuck on cobwebs in the rafters for just a sound, a smell of this Earth i gather up deer bones from the mountainside and trees and the dry, cold dirt i lay them next to mine, bound together, hinged to hold us for as long …

Your Virtual Guide to the Perimeter Trail

There is something undeniably magical about the land at Shambhala Mountain Center. Literally and figuratively, it is the heart and foundation of the experience here. The powerful energy of the land can be experienced by simply being; in meditation, yoga or contemplation — but walking and exploring this area is meaningful in its own way, offering a chance to shift gears and restore the precious connection to our wild, natural environment. A great opportunity to experience the land is via the Perimeter Trail (also known as the Shambhala Mountain Trail), a roughly 5-mile loop that circles around the 600-acre property of SMC. The trail is lovingly maintained by the Land Crew, and takes you through a diverse range of landscapes — from meadows, to marshes, forests, and rocky vistas. Along the way you can expect encounters with ancient rock formations, mysterious shrines, and the occasional moose. There is a largely untouched and highly diverse ecosystem to discover—home to countless wildflowers, pines, aspens, and juniper; coyotes, moose, deer, salamanders, and hummingbirds. After living here for over a year, I’ve finally completed the full Perimeter Trail …

A Weekend in Space

Last summer I had the pleasure of participating in SMC’s Contemplative Astronomy program: Big Sky, Big Mind, led by astronomer Andrea Schweitzer, Ph.d , and Jim Tolstrup, Executive Director of the High Plains Environmental Center and former SMC Land Steward. The program was an engaging variety of practical lessons about our universe, (ranging from night sky constellation viewing to kinesthetic astronomy, in which we examined the spatial relationships of our solar system and the earth’s rotation using inflatable planets), and spiritual explorations of our relationship to the stars, as individuals and as a culture — through nighttime meditation, discussions, and a presentation by Jim on ancient Lakota star knowledge. As a space nerd myself, proudly sporting my NASA t-shirt, I was ecstatic to be part of this program. It significantly expanded my understanding of the glorious night sky but also deepened my sense of connection to the magic of our existence on this planet, by exploring how the pull of the sun’s gravity on Earth affects our daily life and perception of seasons, time, and direction …

Floral Notes and Bardo: To the Wheel

At a picnic table the other night, hearing about how some students of Trungpa gave up on their art because of internal conflict between devotion and self-expression. And this conflict lives on in mentor(s) of mine. Something about how we may be reifying ego, solidifying samsara, by expressing mind… if we are not a buddha. I was rolling with rebellion, and feeling so lonely, after that conversation. At home, I flipped open to a talk Ginsberg gave at the first Naropa Institute summer: “We’re all enlightened. Fuck that bullshit enlightenment. There is no enlightenment. If we’re going to start waiting to be enlightened to write poetry…” I felt at ease because Uncle Allen was devoted to the whole thing, all of it: guru and poesy alike. I feel his tender hand on my shoulder. I’m bewildered in our collective gaze. I’m dropping consonants out of nowhere into blue soup — home to birds. I know dew drops on: tip of tongue, to be given atop iris petals to friendly faeries, family. And to tell of …