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Floral Notes and Bardo: Oh to Be Hose

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.

Aching and illuminated, all of us — aching or ignorant, delighted or ignorant… Some bruised moments, touched firmly enough to evoke panic.  All the while, something bigger than the breezes unfolding forever, forever unresolved.  The aspen tress are full of leaves these days.  The smallest ones have the biggest leaves and all of them are fluttering, quaking to be precise, in the shifting winds.

DSC_0104Photo by Barb Colombo

I was standing in an aspen grove the other day, just standing, and I let myself go into as full of an immersion as I could.  I wish I could be more interwoven, or not think so much about that, rather, delighting in the movement of light and shadow, the sounds of the leaves, the sturdiness and softness of the tree trunk, branches…

Last night marching with the Kasung…  I have ongoing aversion to Kasungship (which is something to work with, I know).  I’m so grateful for the existence of the Kasung, but I don’t feel inspired to be a big-time Kasung.  When I’m serving as Kasung, I feel like I’m doing my duty.  Those aren’t the teachings that really sing to me.

Also, it’s a matter of time.  So much I’m trying to do here, while also not trying to do so much that I can’t ever kick back.  Last night I was resentful of the kasung meeting — I’ve taken a one year oath, so I feel obligated to fulfill that commitment by attending meetings, signing up for shifts, etc.  Not that it isn’t a very cool and often fun thing…

Anyway, the Miami Heat were playing in the NBA Finals and I wanted to watch the game, but instead I had to go to Kasung meeting.  The previous night I went to a class, tonight I’ll be going to a screening of a talk that Trungpa gave in 1974, tomorrow night a study group, then on Friday going down to Boulder for a weekend retreat lead by the Sakyong.

Every night of the week there’s something to do.  Something very good to do!  Something virtuous!  I’m so fortunate!  And, I’m so lazy!  Feeling a bit burdened.  But, really, feeling like something’s got to crack open.  That’s the forward facing attitude.  That’s facing East, always.

I’m subtly searching for genuine motivation — to engage, create, help others, serve the world.

Why not flop?  When I begin flopping with any sort of regularity, I begin to feel very restless.  It’s a self-correcting situation.  It’s becoming more-so.

This afternoon we’re having a Community Meeting, which I will be leading.  The purpose will be to re-establish, re-strengthen the Delek System as we head into summer.

My attitude about the Delek System has shifted a bit, which is part of a broader relaxation. “You don’t need to work so hard.” is what Hope Martin told me when she put her hands on my body and felt how hard I work to be upright, wakeful.

My approach to path, to my roles at Shambhala Mountain Center, has relaxed.  I’m seeking the balance between slouching and striving.  I’m seeking the HOSE.  At times,  Phish gets into a state of creativity which is effortless — as if they are a hose watering a garden of flowers.  The audience the flowers, the music the water, the band the hose.

I want to be a hose.

A hose can be a hose all day without becoming tired of being a hose.

— June 11, 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. 

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