A week of writer’s retreat–magical practices and getting into the page, with heart, up in my perfect writer’s nook in Manjushri. Staying evening’s in Druk Dzong, the palace, house-sitting(?) for Michael. Beautiful fires in the fireplace, cushy bed, toilets, and so on. Breakfasts with music playing in the house. A stark contrast to cabin living.
We stayed there for two weeks, and the second week was our fall staff retreat. A great time getting into the Maitri Space Awareness teachings and practices again, led by the fairy dharma godmother Janneli Chapin. Musical psychotherapist angel.
Lots of play and practice with the community. Bonding. Sharing circles. Got into raw topics: diversity, revealing things about ourselves, loneliness, critiques of SMC and love for SMC. Meals and celebration. Art jams, sound bath. All of this–a great week.
Now, moved into the lodge. Oh. Oh. OH. It’s a different world. It’s a higher realm.
During the staff retreat, Acharya Lyon went into the hospital in Boulder. We dedicated practice sessions to her throughout the retreat. By the end, it was apparent that she was passing. Janneli’s final talk was heavy, discussing death and how the Maitri teachings come into play during that transition.
The next evening, Acharya Lyon passed. Today, we’re cremating her body up here.
Janneli said that SMC is like a big bardo. It’s continuous transition.
Yes. Feeling that. Into the lodge now. Into winter. Burning Acharya’s body.
Closing this blog so I can get some food in me before we go up to the cremation grounds.
— November 24, 2015
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 living as part of Shambhala Mountain Center.
About the Author
Travis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation. He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he handles the SMC Blog, and other marketing tasks. He also gives tours of the Great Stupa and is empowered as a Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position. Check out: travisnewbill.com Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill