Life at SMC

Floral Notes and Bardo: Back/Forward to Florida

By Travis Newbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center.

At breakfast, I overheard a couple of friends talking about the Milky Way.  One had an experience last night, which was a clear night.  The other forgot to look up, and hasn’t seen it for a couple of months.

I used to live in Florida.  Here is a mural by Kelcie McQuaid of the ol’ crew:


I’m going to Florida on Tuesday.  I have some worries and hopes about how it will go.  Returning for the first time since I left.  Some expectations: How will I be perceived?  How do I want to be perceived?  And, that’s not the point.  Will there be expectations?  I live at a retreat center so I should be _______. Peaceful?  Wise?

Part of me wants to prove that it’s working, that I’ve made a good life decision in coming to live here, that I am living a good life.  I would like peoples’ approval — if not admiration.  It’s a game, it’s a trap.  There is nothing to prove.  There is nothing but how truly we’re connecting in the moment.  It’s not about me.  It’s about not causing harm, being gentle, maybe being helpful and rousing authentic joy.

But I’m stuck (I’m not stuck) in the loop, the old loop of hope and expectation.  It’s a poverty-stricken mentality.  It’s ignorance.  Maybe today, tomorrow, “these days,” “this time,” I’ll buy into it less than before.  Maybe I will be able to just relax and be normal — a bit more than before.  Maybe I can try less, and be more authentic.

— May 2, 2014


PortraitTravis Newbill is a curious dude on the path of artistry, meditation, and social engagement who is very glad to be residing at Shambhala Mountain Center. His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Head Dekyong–a position of leadership within the community.