Life at SMC, Mindful Living
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Floral Notes and Bardo: Rise to Song

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.

Days may begin in silence which may give rise to song.  It’s one way to live.


I’m at my desk now, once again, after having spent two weeks in beautiful retreat with 107 other people (108 total retreatants, not including staff and teachers).  We spent two weeks in a tent together, practicing kindness.  We sang, walked the land, ate meals and celebrated together.

I saw the forms of Shambhala come to life in a big way, which was reassuring and beautiful.  We received practices which I feel very good about.  I sense the potential for transformation towards more openness, love, creativity, and joyful existence — on and on.

We took vows.  We all vowed to engage socially in such a way that the whole of the earth may awaken into cheerfulness.  Some of us vowed to dedicate this and all future lives to benefiting other beings until all are liberated into bliss.

We were given a Qigong practice, and I’m so grateful.  It fits right in.  All of these practices seem to be means through which we may work with subtle energies in order to realize deeper harmony — within the body and in relationship.  It’s all relationships — the skull eventually affects the belly, the flowers affect my mood, and my touch affects my partner.

Tuning in…  So that we may glide in cosmic wind with less resistance and greater stability.  Tuning in so that paradox doesn’t cause stress, but rather, wonder.

This morning I awoke, walked on the hill at dawn (down to the outhouse and back), the sage and the flowers of late summer… I lit candles and made my vows, walked down to the shrine hall and sang with my fellows…

— August 14, 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.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

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