All posts filed under: Life at SMC

SMC’s Award-Winning Eco-Forestry Work

by;  Dhi Good & Mac McGoldrick     ///     photo:  Miles Greenlee Stewardship of the land is an important priority for Shambhala Mountain Center. Under the direction of our Built and Natural Environments Director, Mac McGoldrick, SMC conducts conservation forestry projects and collaborates with regional partners to sustain healthy and resilient eco-systems across our 600 acres and beyond. In the video below, Mac McGoldrick describes the eco-forestry and conservation work at SMC in partnership with regional conservation agencies. Thank you Fort Collins Conservation District for this beautiful video! The 600-acre SMC property provided an excellent example of the positive outcomes strategic forest treatments can produce. Because of the 165-acre fuels reduction treatment completed on the property in 2018, as well as several years of adjacent treatments continuing along Elkhorn Creek to the east, firefighters working on the Cameron Peak Fire of 2020 were safer, the forest burned less intensely in this area, and post-fire outcomes were less severe.  Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative, Nov. 12, 2021     Above:  Fireshed partners and community members gather at Shambhala Mountain Center to learn …

Partnering with the Land: SMC’s Conservation Forestry Project and the Cameron Peak Fire

By Travis Newbill // To the untrained eye, the ponderosa forests of Shambhala Mountain Center have never been anything less than pristine wonderlands. But to experts in the field of conservation forestry, these ecosystems have actually been unhealthy for many years. That’s according to SMC’s Master Planner Mac McGoldrick, who came onboard in 2017 with an eye not only for pretty landscapes, but truly healthy ecosystems — two values which can be in opposition sometimes. When Mac first laid out the plans for Phase 1 of the SMC Forestry Project back in 2018, he got a lot of pushback from people who didn’t want to see what they regarded as precious trees cut down. While that sentiment is certainly understandable, says Mac, it amounts to a classic case of missing the forest for the trees. “Our forests had become overgrown, homogenous, and crowded,” he says, “and what happens when those circumstances are present is that tree health suffers, understory growth suffers; we start to eliminate habitat for living beings, and we are possibly impacting watershed, …

[WATCH] Townhall with Michael Gayner from Sat. Oct. 3

Town Hall meeting with Michael Gayner, in which he shares the latest information and answers questions regarding the impact of the Cameron Peak Fire on SMC. Timeline of topics and questions 3:00 – Future email updates 4:00 – Gratitude for support 4:50 – Yesterday’s visit – firefighters 5:25 – Cameron Peak Fire and Mullen Fire “We’re not out of the woods yet” 7:00 – “Nature is already beginning to reclaim and rebuild” 7:30 – The rebuilding of SMC 8:30 – Staff housing 9:30 – The finances of SMC 10:15 – Reopening 11:50 – Insurance – “insurance will not cover everything that is lost” 14:10 – What was lost and what survived (Kami Shrine, Tori Gate, MPE Kitchen are still there) 15:45  – What are the “legacy staff buildings?” Which are gone, which are still standing? 17:30  – Tent platforms 17:45  – General return to the land for staff – safety, finances, etc. 20:00  – Volunteer work 21:00  – Stupa art work – status and restoration 21:55  –  Opening for visitors and programs 22:50  – Security …

How Will We Meet this Moment?

By Gelong Loden Nyima // Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche passed away into parinirvana when I was nine months old.  I never met him but have felt my path—like that of thousands—has been occurring in the wake of his.  I practiced at places he founded, was taught and trained to teach in his lineage, and now live at Shambhala Mountain Center in a cabin on the aptly named “Stupa View” which sits in the valley beneath his Great Stupa of Dharmakaya.   The Buddhist tradition identifies the age we’re living in as broadly fortunate because teachings leading to enlightenment are alive and available, yet also troubled as it is a time when the mass amalgamations of actions arising from greed, aggression, and willful ignorance ripen into social and global occurrences of resource depletion, conflict, and pandemic illness.  Much of what we now know to be occurring, and what experts on climate change and public health expect for the future, has also been forecast in Buddhism for millennia based on this understanding of cause and effect. Similar to and …

SMC Update February 16, 2020

Dear friends, We’re nearly two years into a process of reckoning in the Shambhala community. We’ve learned of patterns of abuse of power, sexual misconduct, and harassment that have been a thread in the fabric of Shambhala culture. It is as heartbreaking as it is necessary to acknowledge and learn from this. Shambhala Mountain Center will turn 50 in 2021. In order to honor and hold responsibility for the 50 years of profound teachers and dedicated practitioners who have worked, volunteered, practiced and studied at our retreat center, we need to be willing to recognize and address these challenges. There is deep work for us to do. So far, we’ve updated and improved our Code of Ethics with the help of ethicist and therapist Dr. Cedar Barstow, instituted a grievance procedure, and launched a cycle of staff trainings on power, harassment, abuse, and bystander intervention led by Dr. Barstow, SAVA (Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center), and The Blue Bench. While these initiatives are a necessary start, they need to be integrated with an ongoing inquiry …

How We Practice

By Noel Smith, Director of Practice, Education, Culture and Community at Shambhala Mountain Center // As the snow starts to fall and the days grow shorter, the season simply demands a change of pace. The hectic-ness of the summer has fallen away just like the golden leaves have fallen off of the aspens. Even down in the city, the normal speed naturally starts to slow as the weather demands.  Up here on the land, many of us go deeper with practice and study this time of year. Over the next few months, the ability and opportunity for deep practice and self-reflection becomes a more central theme—seemingly involuntarily! What better to do on a cold winter day than connect with your mind and heart through practice, and curl up with a good dharma book? “Practice” is an incredibly personal experience, and within the framework of creating a good human society, group practice is a crucial ingredient as well. Supporting folks’ individual practice inspirations, while also fostering opportunities for people to come together to feel the power …

Birthing / Deathing

By Kathy Kinkaid // When my mother died, I felt as if she had birthed me again. Being a care-giver to aging parents can put you in a strange place.  I had in many ways become the mother of my mother right up until the end of her life.  It was in that process that so many life experiences appeared to be weaving together in a mysterious way. This is something women have done for many years – cared for the dying / birthed new life. I’d often wondered if death were not a sort of birth / birth a sort of death.  I mean, when we are born, we are immediately in a strange land. We had been so comfortable as a water creature only to find ourselves now breathing air.  This is a repeating pattern in life. When I married, I changed my name & realized I was no longer who I had been. The shift was an inside job, mostly & felt quite surprisingly drastic.  We do the same type of thing when we …

“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, …