Life at SMC

Floral Notes and Bardo: Explicitly Karmic

Noticed that these flowers are thirsty, so I gave them a drink.  If only I had my shears I’d clip the stiff ones.  I left the shears with the kenzan, in my bag, in Brooklyn.

What is this… here in New York City, noticing flowers, not having shears to further care for them, here in the Kalapa suite in the New York Center — 6th floor, 22nd Street, where so many flowers have blossomed for me — flowers of dharma garden, path.  All those talks from Ethan, John Baker — who is in the building now, reading Khenpo Tsultrim’s “Progressive Stages…” waiting for his daughter to finish a program for children.

It’s still happening here on 22nd St., and somehow, my SMC journey has taken me here, to film these teachers, to show them to people from all around the world.

I arrived at SMC, in large part, because of what has happened for me in this building, with these teachers.

SG was in the room earlier. This marketing-dharma connection, which is much of my life these days.  Susan Piver — who was my benevolent, angel-MI during my Level 1 — which was led by David and Ethan Nichtern, right here in this building — Susan will interview SG tomorrow for our event.  Later in the week, we’ll film David and Ethan, and Lodro, who has more recently become a dear dharma friend.

Oh… this New York City dharma!  This New York City flavor!  I love the smell of Brooklyn so much!  I miss Todd, who played such a crucial role in my discovering the path, the lineage, and, of course, New York City, Brooklyn, the exquisite architecture of the city, the delightful food, the streets.  So much.

Rachel Faro — dear mentor, mother, MI, New York City singer.  Susan told me — in that interview during Level 1 — “Ask Rachel to be your Meditation Instructor.”  And then Rachel told me: “Go volunteer for the summer at Shambhala Mountain Center.”

And then I met the Stupa and Joshua.  And I had ideas for the Stupa that turned out to be “marketing” ideas.  And then Kaleigh invited me to come up and work full time with her, to live at SMC.  And now I am here in NYC with Kaleigh and Ryan working on a big awesome SMC marketing project that will feature these NYC teachers.

Here in the Kalapa suite, just before sitting down to write, I executed the stroke of Ashe — a mark of deep connection, commitment, and progression along the Shambhala path.

I remember Ethan, after one of those talks, before heading out for drinks with myself and a group of young sangha people, saying: “I’ve just got to clean out the stroke brush, and then we’re going to go.”

I remember Ethan saying, during an interview in my Level 5 weekend: “Sounds like you’re on the path.”

I love you, New York City.  I love you, all of you dreams and faces.  This has been a good journey.

I’m going to trim the dead flowers with my fingers now, and clean the stroke brush.

— October 3, 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.


PortraitTravis Newbill is a writer, musician, and aspirant on the path of meditation.  He currently resides at Shambhala Mountain Center, where he serves in the roles of Marketing Associate and Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill