All posts filed under: Nature

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 …

Summer Solstice, Explained by a Contemplative Astronomer

By Andrea Schweitzer, PhD ~~~ This year, summer will officially begin on June 20th at 4:34 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, which is the summer solstice. This is the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year, in the Northern Hemisphere. The opposite will happen in the Southern Hemisphere, which will have the longest night of the year and their winter solstice. The mid-points in between the solstices are the equinoxes, which occur in spring and fall when the hours of day and night are equal, and when the Sun is overhead at the equator. All this happens because the Earth is tilted on its axis (by 23.5 degrees with respect to our orbit around the Sun). So when we’re on one side of our orbit, the Northern Hemisphere is tipped so that the Sun is higher in the sky. The Sun’s rays arrive at a more favorable angle for warming — thus heating the Northern Hemisphere for summer. In ancient cultures, the solstices and equinoxes were considered auspicious times of the year. The …

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 …

Celebrating the Garden Project

We spent this past snowy May Day morning celebrating an incredible act of generosity that has made a real impact on our community culture here at Shambhala Mountain Center — the sponsorship of the SMC Garden Project by the Aida & Mike Feldman Philanthropic Trust & the Feldman Family. This grant allowed us to build a geodesic dome greenhouse last September, which has provided over 2,000 pounds of food (mostly greens), and also allowed us to purchase a bright red Massey Ferguson tractor, which has helped our land & forestry crews immensely. We gathered with Sonia Feldman (granddaughter of Aida and Mike) and Larry Rich from the foundation, along with members of the SMC community and governing council for brunch festivities: beautiful foods prepared with the microgreens grown in the greenhouse, speeches & toasts to the shared experience, and a tour of the greenhouse. Watch the slideshow below to see how this project came together! Our deep gratitude goes out to the Feldman Family Foundation for giving our aspirations the chance to become physical reality, and for supporting our …

Wake up to the Wild… the Wildly Good!

By Kay Peterson ~~~ As this spring unfolds, I’m struck by the environmental and social changes happening world-wide.  It feels like each of us is being called to search deep inside and decide how we’re going to take better care of ourselves, each other, and the earth. The combination of mindfulness-awareness practice with time in nature is the proverbial one-two punch for our health and well-being as well as for our ability to live in harmony with each other and the planet.  Nature provides valuable lessons for how we can live our lives in healthy balance if we pay attention to them.  When we synchronize our bodies and mind in nature with mindfulness practices, we develop a deeper understanding of that balance.  We can train ourselves to continue to open to a bigger perspective and that state of openness, vitality, and potential that exists within all of us. We’re making technological advancements faster than we can imagine, yet getting through the day seems to be becoming more and more of a struggle.  As a culture, …

Kay Peterson Discusses Mindful Hiking, Nature, and Meditation

Like trees in the forest or fish in the sea, we have an innate ability to live in greater harmony with our environment. While trying to navigate our busy, high-tech world, we can develop habits of mind that leave us feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. Delving deeply into the practice of mindfulness/awareness in nature, we turn our attention toward the subtle interplay of our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and sense perceptions and rediscover how we can open to our fundamental interconnection to all things. Rather than always needing to change where we work, live, or who we love, we can change our relationship to these aspects of our lives in a way that brings us greater happiness and contentment. This coming June, psychotherapist, wilderness guide, and Shambhala meditation instructor Kay Peterson will be leading a wonderfully nourishing retreat here in the powerful natural environment of Shambhala Mountain Center.  Check out the video below to hear Kay discuss the importance of tapping into the natural world, and how doing so can benefit our daily lives. Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Waking up to …