Life at SMC

Floral Notes and Bardo: Summertime Qqueeze

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.

My room is full of flies, I’m surrounded by strangers, I’ve not showered in two days.  I missed breakfast.  We’ve been asked to not ask to go into the kitchen to fetch leftovers anymore.  I meditated for too long this morning and now I’m stressed out.  Gonna be late to work.  No shower again.  Gotta take the shit out to the shit bucket.  Later drive it down the hill.

Decided to hang out last night.


Phish shows in headphones in the forest behind Manjushri house.  Surrendering to summer-time craziness on the land.  Not a time for introspection.  A time for scattered activity and “hanging in there” and/or maybe “hanging out.”  Not much pacing or rhythmic progress.

Been reading Ethan’s new book and listening to the Phish shows —  Good.

Haven’t been writing the blog because — no time in the morning before heading into the office.  I’ve been prioritizing showers — that’s no way to make art at SMC.  Sufficient sleep, enough time on the cushion to feel like I’m “doing it.”

Meahwhile, so many books on shelves that I can’t believe I’m neglecting to spend time with.  Magical secret books from Trungpa.

Expensive tea in my pot running low.  Got a big bag of cheap maté now.

I’ve been slapped around a bit by the forces which won’t allow me to impose my will on the flow of the seasons, of time.  My agenda is like a panicking turd in a rushing river of gold.  Die.

Michael G. said something like: It’s not about always keeping it together — clean house, practice time, and so on.  The important thing is the ability to come back.  That’s the strength.

That bit has been echoing in mind ever since he shared it with me, one day on the path, during a brief chat about these sorts of things: struggling to keep it together.  Struggling to make it to bed on time.  Struggling to wake up early and do ALL of my little things.

Meanwhile, summertime life at SMC rages on.  Hundreds of happy-faced volunteers and participants, having important bliss-life-magic experiences.  Or else, partying.  Meanwhile, disgruntled SMC artist who can’t find the time, can’t find the time, can’t find the time — struggling to make it to 30 hours each week — where does it go? — how? — How to live a good spacious, joyous life?  How?

Anyway, that’s been the chatter recently.  Last night I went to a BBQ.  Good.  Been giving up.  Good.

Mantra: Sheesh.

Mantra: Whatever.

Sometimes the best I can do.  Better than walking around fuming.  So it goes, and goes, and goes.

Summertime squeeze.

Bug.  It doesn’t matter.

Shall I end on a high, positive note?  Like: This is a fortunate situation.  I feel that I’m burning through lots of obscuration and becoming more real, more relaxed, more authentic.

It’s true!

Even though it sounds like Radiohead’s modern day human robot lament, it’s still true.  And the trick IS to surrender to the flow.

Listening to Phish play, in the forest, in my headphones, grooving — it’s like the most helpful yoga I could do.

— August 5, 2015


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