Life at SMC

Floral Notes and Bardo: Give and Glimmer

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.

I woke up so early this morning, not as early as I used to.  Venus was in the sky above the ridge, to the east, the first warm colors of dawn arising.  Birds and critters singing and scurrying.

I laid back in bed and debated napping another hour.  It seemed unnatural, lazy, to put cloth over my eyes while the sun was rising.  Where’s the free-flowing motivation to not waste a minute, to soak it up and…give!  Give!  Give!

28359_388376978381_2324660_nPhoto taken from the Eden’s Rose Foundation Facebook page

Laying in bed, debating in my journal about whether to fly out into the morning or nap a bit, I thought of my friend Gregory Sheldon, who is so bright, selfless.  His path is helping other.  It’s beautiful.  (Check out Eden’s Rose Foundation)

I’ve crossed paths with him several times over the past decade, and it’s always a meaningful encounter.

At some point in his life he met a Tibetan lama, and shortly afterwards became the sole distributor in North America of this incense that the lama had taught his community to make by hand.  Greg sells the incense, and sends money to the community in India.

I love this incense.  It’s magical.  It’s the only incense I’ve burned for the last ten years or so.  Whenever I’d be running low,  I’d serendipitously encounter Greg, and he’d give me more.  A couple of years ago, I was running low, and gave him a call on the phone.  We had a great conversation.  Yada, yada, yada… a week later 80 pounds of this incense landed on my doorstep.

It is now sitting in my little yurt here on the mountain.  I don’t know how my journey with this magical incense will unfold.  I’m glad it’s part of my life.

Anyway… bringing Greg to mind is inspiring.  I long to feel that freshness, to have that glimmer in my eye.


Last night Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown gave a talk to the staff.  Like the night before, with Acharya Hessey, we sat in a circle in our Staff Living Room.

A few key nuggets:

We tell stories, not for the facts, but for the meaning.

“Relationship is about the camaraderie of loneliness.” (How beautiful is that?!)

We may act, non-aggressively, not to fix, but to smooth out the bumps in the road.

— June 20, 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.