All posts filed under: Life at SMC

How Sydney Bridges became SMC’s Tent Master Extraordinaire

By Whitney Trotta // We all have a unique story—a path that led us to where we are today. This is the story of how Sydney Bridges, the man from England who is a self-taught engineer, with a PhD in Chemistry and Master’s degrees in Computer Science and Public Health, became the Tent Master Extraordinaire at Shambhala Mountain Center. It was a wintry May afternoon (gotta love “spring in the Rockies!”), when I sat down with Syd. I was ready for a long conversation, prepared with a cup of tea (English breakfast, of course), and a pen and paper in hand, ready to record Syd’s story. With a resume like Syd’s, it’s clear he has accomplished a lot. And so I had to ask, What brought a British man with a PhD and engineering experience to SMC? He began the story this way: In 1996, I first became a US resident when I came to work in New Jersey. My job in England had finished, and there was a similar project in New Jersey, and …

Land Stewardship

A Conversation about Caring for the Land

Mac McGoldrick and Laura Booth talk about helping the land heal after a year of construction and forestry projects.  Mac is SMC’s Senior Director of Master Planning and Project Management, and Laura joined his team this spring as the new Land Steward. First of all, welcome to SMC, Laura! Would you mind sharing what made you want to live and work here? Laura: I feel all the work I’ve been doing up until now has led me to this point. It’s really exciting to have a vision and do such important work towards our goals! It’s thrilling to be a part of something that has so much potential.  How did it feel for you both the first time you stepped foot onto the land here at SMC? Laura: Several years ago I came to SMC just for the day to see the Stupa. It was shocking to see such a massive and incredible Stupa hidden away in the middle of the mountains, not that far from Fort Collins. Being at the Stupa was so uplifting. …

Relief and Restoration: SMC, A Surprising Salve

By David Schreier, Member of SMC’s Governing Council // It’s been a tough couple of years. Both my temporal and spiritual worlds have been shaken to the core. First, my temporal world was turned upside down by the new political administration in Washington, D.C. And while it would normally have been a reliable refuge from conventional misery, my spiritual world was then rocked by allegations of clerical misconduct and abuse of power. It’s been hard for me to find much to feel good about in either of these realms these days. I’ve experienced a quality of depression and groundlessness that I’ve never felt before; I’ve felt like a leaf blowing and drifting with nowhere to land. Watching the news has become too much to bear, and it’s been nearly impossible to find my practice mind. It was in this context of sadness that I traveled to Shambhala Mountain Center in early April 2019. The land was transitioning from winter to spring – muddy trails, patches of snow, running streams, and meadows coming back to life. …

Life on the Mountain – One Woman’s View

By Tricia Cominsky, SMC Staff Member // Shambhala Mountain Center officially welcomed my arrival in September of 2017 (unofficially, five years prior, on my first visit to this magical land). As a former corporate ladder-climber and people-pleaser, these 600 acres provided a soft and safe landing place to drop those old personas and masks. As much as I have let go, there has been such abundance to receive. I am grateful to have found true community in our Sangha. They see, love and support me as I am, unconditionally. In return, I do the same for them. There’s been a good amount of showing up for each other over these past eight months. Our little Sangha has held space for each other in every sense. There has been life-changing growth and so many hearts see the monumental changes taking place. As a wise teacher once said; We don’t have to be afraid of who we are. There is such peace and grace in knowing that on the mountain we have the luxury of comforting one …

An Imperfect Place to Call Home: A Letter from the Featured SMC Community Member

By Whitney Trotta // I’ve arrived. When I first set foot on the land here at Shambhala Mountain Center in June 2018, that’s what it felt like. My whole life I’ve wanted to feel like “I’ve found my place,” and could stop searching. I think everywhere just wasn’t perfect enough– too cold, too tropical and humid, too rainy, (ok, apparently weather is super important to me!), I didn’t fit in with the people, or I didn’t have a purpose. I am not trying to claim that SMC is perfect. The weather is nice enough most of the year, but these winter winds can test even the most sane of us (and that’s coming from a Wisconsinite)! And the people, as truly amazing as they are, aren’t perfect, either (me included, of course). But what I have found is that we are in this thing together, and are doing our best to be real about what it means to be human. I guess you could say, I let go of life having to be perfect, and …

Why I’m Grateful to You! #GivingTuesday – a Letter from SMC’s Development Associate, Whitney Trotta

This Tuesday, November 27th is #GivingTuesday, a movement to create an international day of giving. However, I’d like to propose that we change #GivingTuesday into “Gratitude Tuesday.” I’m not the first to propose this, and I’m certainly not against giving (please give generously!), it’s that, to me, gratitude is the real reason for the season. This year, I’m so appreciative of SMC’s patrons. I’ve seen first hand how important your gifts are to keeping SMC going. And, your generosity has given me a special gift. I began my time here at Shambhala Mountain Center as a summer volunteer, supporting the Development Team. Now, I am honored to be on staff as the Development Associate. Living at SMC has given me everything I’ve been looking for: the ability to use my skills for a meaningful purpose, living in community with people on a similar path, room for spiritual growth, and so much beautiful nature! This place is truly special. The most important gift I received since living here was a moment in Shambhala Level I Training …

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, …