Life at SMC, Relationships
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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 us navigate the uncertain oceans of long-term committed relationship.  I’m glad to have the tools.  And I’m glad to be with a partner who is equally inspired to work with the tools, and more generally, to open, expand, go further.


Having experienced, felt, the workability of differences, and what looking into obstacles can reveal, I feel confident about the potential for long-term intimate partnership to be a joyful experience, a genuine experience, liberating… Liberating!  The culture I was brought up in often frames marriage as some kind of prison.  I think that any situation can be confining if you choose to maintain walls — choosing the comfortable, familiar sight of cinder block — cinder block solitude, television, treadmill, thangka, hometown, saloon, drug-buddy, dog, blog, band, wife, or whatever.  I will never KNOW her, and she will never know me.  We will be new each moment for all eternity, and our curiosity and willingness to explore will determine our view: cinder block or skies.

It’s a blessing to be encountering these tools and ideas, taking these programs, while we’re young.  Seems like we’re set up well to go forward.  I feel that way about living here generally.  I’m learning all sorts of stuff that is going to be helpful for living the rest of my life.  The stuff that is not taught in K-12 or even college.  Real life stuff with great teachers.  People pay lots of money to come here for a few days and get a taste.  I am able to live here full time and immerse.  Moving here has probably been the best decision that I have made.


— November 9, 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 Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

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