Life at SMC

Floral Notes and Bardo: Snow Beast Ezmerelda


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 have a tiny friend named Harrison Hood. And a big, funky friend named Ezmerelda. I want you to know them, so I write this blog.


 Last night we watched a film called Art Machine at Dhyana–Kaleigh (my boss-homie) and Eric’s place. Director Gayer (aka Michael the supreme boss-homie of SMC) is the executive producer. I’m going to interview the writer/director (Doug Karr) in a couple of days and we’re going to help spread the word about the film, which was good.

It’s about a kid artist growing into his adult version of himself. I knew that at some point he’d be taking psychedelics. A few nights ago we had a dinner party at Dhyana, and the dominant topic of conversation was consciousness and psychedelics (something’s in the air). I didn’t say much. I haven’t read too much about it. The conversation was very masculine (lots of facts and citations–very interesting). I have done my share of experimentation. There wasn’t much space for me to talk about that, and I was able to refrain from trying to describe the indescribable.

The weekend was very weekendy–sleeping in, strolling around the land, leisurely meals. We built a snow beast outside Elkhorn, named it Ezmerelda and watched a French film called The Choir. It was about kids living in an institution which was much different from SMC.

Sunday Jim Tolstrip taught a group of us about how to lead Council Practice–so now we may offer that regularly within the community (so glad). Afterwards the sweat lodge was potent, a reset button. A deep touching in (rather like an earthy cousin of the psychedelic experience). I came out fresh and clear, and ecstatic.

It had been a warm day, then it turned very quickly. By the time we came out of the lodge it was snowy and freezing. I stood naked in the snow for the first time, howling, invigorated, as I fumbled around to put on my snow soaked clothes.

After the film last night we jumped on Kaleigh’s trampoline. She’s been talking about it since she got it. It suits her. Her energy is so sparkly, firecracker. Half way through my session I started cracking up, and she was cracking up, delighted that I was cracking up. I continued laughing for the next hour or so. Everything was funny.

I click into this mode here every so often (pretty regularly) where everything is funny. Every little thing is referencing every other little thing and it is explosively good.

Before turning in, I told Heather:

“If I could come remotely close to honoring the brilliant comedy of reality in writing, a lot of people would read my blog.”

Ezmerelda reads my blog.


–February 18, 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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