All posts filed under: Relationships

Relationship as Spiritual Path: Couples Retreat Master Ben Cohen

  Intimate relationships are both an opportunity and a challenge to our capacity for love and vulnerability.  Once we get past the romantic love stage, we often find ourselves surprised by these challenges.  Drawing from the work of Harville Hendrix, PhD, (Imago) Ben Cohen works with couples in exploring the essential principles and practices of conscious relationships — both in his private practice and as a leader of couples’ retreats. Click here to learn about our upcoming weekend retreat: Relationship as a Spiritual Path: Getting the Love You Want (A Couples Workshop), May 20-22 Watch our interview below, or scroll down to stream/download the audio. If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button.  Otherwise, you can stream the audio below. Click here to learn about Ben Cohen’s upcoming retreat at SMC: Relationship as a Spiritual Path: Getting the Love You Want (A Couples Workshop) ~~~ Ben Cohen, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice in Boulder and Denver specializing in relationship counseling. He has also had an active meditation practice for over 25 years …

Watch: Chapman University at SMC

This January, a group of students from Chapman University, a liberal arts school in southern California, visited Shambhala Mountain Center for a course titled: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Madness: Mind, “Self”, and Society in Tibetan Buddhism. This collaboration between Chapman and SMC began in 1992, established by Michele Kiloran, which makes this most recent visit the 24th year. The majority of the course is held at Chapman’s campus, with the pinnacle being the ten-day retreat at SMC. Students have the opportunity to learn about traditional Tibetan Buddhism as well as the more secular teaching of Shambhala, with activities ranging from Ikebana, calligraphy, Kasung practice, yoga, Kyudo, and other aspects of Shambhala culture. There is also a fundamental emphasis on meditation and mindfulness practice. As a recent Chapman graduate myself, it was interesting to see this course in action and to experience the integration of these two worlds. Film student Jason Segal created the beautiful video montage above documenting the Chapman experience. You can visit his website here to see more of his work.    

Healthy Commitment to Self and Other

~~~By Blake D. Bauer I used to believe that commitment and freedom could not exist together. I thought I could have one but not both. I later learned the highest degree of freedom available was only reached through wholehearted commitment. It is a vital paradox. The key distinction here that is crucial to understand, but often extremely confusing, is that we must learn to commit to loving ourselves first and thus to fulfilling our life purpose before any other form of external commitment can begin or remain healthy. Until we can commit to saying our deeper feelings, values, needs and aspirations matter in each situation, our personal and professional commitments will always result in stress, confusion, struggle or heartache — especially our intimate relationships. If you’re currently having trouble committing to an intimate relationship it’s important to be kind toward yourself as you navigate your next steps. You are feeling this way for a reason. No one wants to feel insecure, distrusting, owned, controlled, or limited in partnership. It is equally important however to become …

Thank you divine order…

By Sue Frederick Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Bridges to Heaven: A Grief Healing Workshop, led by Sue Frederick, June 5-7, 2015 My husband Gene just drove us up to Four Mile Canyon to the little Chapel of the Pines where my first husband Paul and I were married in 1979. So many memories flooded me of that happy sunny September day filled with love and hope. As we drove back down the canyon we saw the little cabin down the road beside the creek where Paul and I first lived and had our sweet wedding reception. Both places have survived flood and fire and are impossibly still standing. Think Paul must have watched over them… It brought back so many powerful sensory memories to be there. I sat on the chapel steps and cried for 20 minutes. I remembered how happy my dad was that day and how much he loved Paul, our wedding, and our cabin. Dad and Paul are both watching out for me now from the other side. Sitting on those steps …

What Happens When We Die

By Sue Frederick Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Bridges to Heaven: A Grief Healing Workshop, led by Sue Frederick, June 5-7, 2015 Last night I spent two hours having a “what happens when we die” conversation with a friend I’ve known since the 80s. She’s dying from stage 4 cancer. It was diagnosed in December. She said her friends don’t talk to her about spirituality and crossing over. She’s been an atheist much of her life – although she’s done amazing work for the world in her career. She had my book Bridges to Heaven: True Stories of Loved Ones on the Other Side – on her nightstand. She asked me to sit with her to talk about it. She said she’d spent her life not wanting to believe in that kind of “woo-woo” stuff. But now she was having experiences that she believed were some kind of inexplicable divine order and wanted to explore ideas she’d not been comfortable with before. She cried for most of the two hours during our talk – releasing so …

His departed mom told him to help me…

By Sue Frederick Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Bridges to Heaven: A Grief Healing Workshop, led by Sue Frederick, June 5-7, 2015 Saturday night I went to do online check-in for my flight home after teaching a Bridges to Heaven: Talking to Loved Ones on the Other Side grief workshop and discovered that when United put me on a different flight to San Fran because of weather that it cancelled my entire ticket. I had no flight reservation home to Colorado. I called United and spent 45 minutes on the phone with an extraordinarily sweet agent who fixed everything and got me back on the same flight with no extra fees. He told me at the end of the call that he put extra energy into helping me because his departed mother whispered to him to help me out. He had no idea what I do for a living or that I’d just spent two days teaching a Talking to Loved Ones on the Other Side – grief workshop. So we spent another ten minutes connecting …

Floral notes and Bardo: Cinder Block or Skies

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Exploring galaxies of psychological formations, residing and flirting with potent emotion, knowing each other more fully.  Learning the joy and liberation of knowing, wondering, knowing.  In the space of dialogue — the safe space which is dependent on mutual respect, care, and willingness — deep human poetry blossoms like music.  The only way to go further is through YES.  And YES is only YES when it’s genuine.  One way of exploring ourselves is through intimate partnership — YES is intimacy. YES is peaceful, patient, and playful. Heather and I spent the weekend in a couple’s retreat in which we learned Imago theory and worked with communication exercises that allowed us to explore and learn lots about ourselves and each other.  The structured dialogues are designed to be tools for exploration and progression.  Meant to help …

Core Skills for Nondefensive Communication

Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Emotional Enlightenment: Direct Path To Compassionate Communication with Paul Shippee, December 5-7, 2014 by Paul Shippee “Anger and blame come from the belief that other people cause our pain and therefore deserve punishment.” ~Marshall Rosenberg PART I The practice of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), also known as non-defensive communication and compassionate communication, requires a “change of consciousness.” As such it involves learning some new core skills. These interpersonal, emotional, and relational skills are new in the sense of being an alternative to familiar and habitual emotional reactivity that is often unconscious. Mindless reactivity gives rise to behavior patterns that isolate us and give rise to life-alienating experiences. The most important core skill, besides emotional awareness, is to overcome blame. What I mean by “change of consciousness” is really simple but not necessarily easy. It is, first, to see how our old habitual emotional reactions result in behaviors that disconnect us from others and ourselves. Then, when we re-connect with ourselves in a new way it might seem a bit strange and maybe difficult, …

Ten Tips for Non-Violent Communication

By Paul Shippee Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Emotional Enlightenment: Direct Path To Compassionate Communication with Paul Shippee, December 5-7, 2014 Non-defensive/Nonviolent Communication, also know as Compassionate Communication, is a way of relating to others so that everyone’s needs matter. NVC fosters connections between people rather than competition, one-upmanship or judgment. Shifting your attention to inner space rather than finding fault with what’s out there is the secret sauce for life-enhancing connections. Here are Ten Tips for NVC to get you started in the right direction: 1. Recognize and acknowledge that everyone’s basic nature is compassion and basic goodness, no matter what they are doing or saying on the surface. 2. Recognize and identify obstacles to compassion and empathy, such as unexamined beliefs, judgmental thoughts and old habitual patterns of reactive emotional behavior. 3. Cultivate emotional awareness in the present moment so that your reactivity is not projected outward onto others. 4. Become precisely aware of feelings, if you can, as they arise in the moment and move through you. You may have difficult reactive emotions that …