Life at SMC

Floral Notes and Bardo: Like a Donair, Like an Illusion

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.

It’s this way everywhere:
You can’t hide from yourself, and if you try, you will only dig yourself deeper into the muck.


Above is a picture of me eating a “heretical tofu ‘donair.'”  Food and photo by Adam Mitchell of Halifax.


SMC is commonly referred to as a “pressure cooker,” meaning that everything seems to happen in an intensified way — up and down, pleasure and pain.  Mental and emotional displays are especially vivid, punchy, heart-opening.

It’s quite an opportunity for purification, because, not only is the experience quite potent, but there is lots of support that helps one move through it, process it, in a positive way.  Another term commonly used to describe SMC is “karmic accelerator” — meaning pretty much the same thing.  The stuff of ourselves has to be experienced.  The consequences of our past actions will come to some sort of fruition.  That happens here, rapidly and in a big way.

Stuff from my past has been coming up for me recently.  Stuff that comes up every so often.  I don’t know what to do with it.  Something triggers a series of events in my memory, and then they are just there.  I don’t want to hide anything about myself from anyone, but the stuff also seems irrelevant.  I beat myself up a bit, feel ashamed about the whole thing.

So, I’m wondering about authenticity, fundamental worthiness, self-absorption…  How and when to just “drop it.”  I feel myself turning an inquisitive eye towards the experience, rather than shutting it out.  It’s really not easy, but it doesn’t feel quite as stuck as it has previously.

I’m feeling extra motivated to practice.  I’m spending time with the Stupa.  I’m making supplications to the energies that I’m in the midst of that I may connect with intuitive guidance, and that confusion may dawn as wisdom.

It’s rich, messy, and beautiful — Like a donair.

— April 29, 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.