All posts tagged: ikebana

Floral Notes and Bardo: Everything is High

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of living as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. The hum, cranking mechanics of this lumpy old computer is so loud, it’s difficult to hear the voice.  It’s a wounded beast in the choir.  Holy jalopy. Anyway… All of these dreams… Walking in the woods one day during retreat, singing, it occurred to me — All of These Dreams — that lovely little song may be heard as an ode to the terma phenomena. Saga Dawa — long ago now.  At dawn I walked through the woods, across the land to the Stupa — made offerings, prayers, prostrations.  Hung a large Gesar flag up in the tress on the hill to the east.  Back to the nest, hung more flags all around the yard with Heather.  She made a few, which are wonderful.  A pink breezy pony flag hanging beside my blue windhorse flag.  Our distinct iconographies, minds, complimenting …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Yesterday, Sitting Beside Sensei

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Yesterday, sitting beside Sensei… As she introduced Ikebana to the students from Chapman University, from LA, who are here for a week to immerse in Shambhala culture in a program called “Ancient Wisdom: Modern Madness,” which we’ve been hosting here for 25 years. Sensei is musical in everything that she does; floral. Her speech, throughout the hour long talk — which touched on Japanese culture, Tao, Heaven, Earth, Humanity, flowers, flowers, branches, sticks and stones, meditation, avante garde, and more — was fluid. She told me afterwards that she used to be too shy and nervous to even make an announcement that lunch was ready. That quality of nervousness, she said, is gone. “It’s gone.” After the talk, my friend Noel remarked: “Sometimes I think that they shipped her in from another dimension.” “She’s floral,” I said. In …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Be Befuddled or Change

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Guitar music is floating out from the room across the hall.  It enters through the vent in the bathroom, and also seeps through the door, and the wall. I’ve been hanging out with the acoustic bass that Dorian gave me, and singing all over the place.  My art is not quite a discipline these days, but it’s very much part of life.  It’s a joy, and it’s very easy. Joshua encouraged me to be a minstrel.  He said if he ran this place he’d pay someone to just walk around all day and play music — maybe a clarinet or guitar. I asked him about finding time for dharma study and music.  He said: “Study, and then play what you studied.” Funny… I’ve been doing that — taking a phrase from the text and then singing it all …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Eight of Us, Fine Tea, Jazz (and Later Dub)

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Reflective ribbons on a passing train, a small one, which runs on imagined tracks through my forest hometown — a bit of a town — a bit of an echo, over and over, and the humble drummer plays along. We had a lovely gathering at the Nubble Nest on Saturday afternoon — eight of us, fine tea, jazz (and later dub) through the small speakers, and small booklets full of big wishes.  Some frustration because it’s not always so easy to have big dreams. We reflected on 2014 and looked ahead to 2015.  It was fun, though I didn’t go too deep.  I was enjoying pouring tea, and I made a quik ikebana (Greg Smith calls it “quikebana”) with some flowers that Anna brought over.  I ate plenty of chocolate and I made some aspirations …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Burnt on Government

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. Within a dense tangle — stop, drop, and sing. Recently, Harvest of Peace community celebration, welcoming the autumn. The marketing department buzzing at a high frequency, like an exploding galaxy, bringing our big project into being — Awake in the World. My community work has been more demanding than ever, as a group of us has been meeting to create the Shambhala Mountain Center values statement.  Along with Care Council, Community Council, and the rest of Delek System work. I’ve been maxed out. And so, a shift… Now… each week (beginning last week) I’ll be doing an Ikebana arrangement on Friday morning, and on Friday afternoon, I’ll be going up to work at the Stupa for three hours. This week I’ll be stepping down as Head Dekyong and will be beginning Teacher Training with Greg …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Until I Sing

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. Mental combustion in the middle of the night, fuming while the mist hung cool over the peaks in the morning.  Soft, and myself, dense — until I sang. Last night a mime appeared at dinner.  Then we held a Sukhavati ceremony for distant friend.  As the ceremony was beginning, a tremendous thunderstorm rolled in.  Hail came pouring down onto the shrine tent.  Acharya couldn’t speak over the noise, so we paused.  We sat while the storm raged.  Then, continued the ceremony. Afterwards, I realized that my shoes were soaked.  I walked barefoot on little balls of hail and dirt trail beside Acharya and we enjoyed how the whole thing had unfolded. I woke up the in middle of the night, angry, resentful of my commitment to Kasungship. Basically: I have to devote hours of my …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Time and Flowers, People

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. Fun with Rebbi — Heather’s mom — the last few days. Wondrous artist-human.  Delightful, and glad to be connecting.  Last night, the three of us in my house singing Beatles’ songs: “Lil’ darlin’, it’s beena long, cold, lonely, winter…” And now, the sun is bathing us all, the land.  Spring arriving. And, in knowing Rebbi, somehow feeling closer to Heather.  Some sense of greater reality.  Greater humanness.  The truth of the texture of her black hair, and her shoulders. Real people. ~~~ This morning, an hour spent arranging flowers after meditation.  Just an hour, because, I have to be on the clock for a certain amount of time each week in the marketing chair, and my schedule is rather tight. But, I’m reading this dharma about work and time and so on.  This book form …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Flowers and Sensei, Awake

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. Speed like weeds.  Flowers like music.  Pulsating perfection, and busy bodies missing beats.  A million words, a million actions — exhausted bodies wanting to flop…  but far too busy.  A million deaths and missed opportunities, a smile, and one perfect ringing note — the bliss bell.  Soon-enough, tumbleweeds of thinking.  Busy bodies.  But, perhaps more and more often — bell. Breathe.  A weekend with Shenpen, Sensei — arranging flowers, slowing down, opening up.  Her being is her teaching.  It’s always that way.  More the wholeness than the spoken instructions. My emotional state — worked-with through arranging.  And then the arrangement as a mirror. Heaviness purified through art-form.  The energy, once challenging, now reflected, purified, no more grief about it, rather…  there it is. Flowers.  Resistance to knowing flowers, revealing ever-floral me — the fragility is too …

Ikebana: The Contemplative Art of Flowers

By Alexandra Shenpen, Sensei and Travis Newbill Shenpen, Sensei will be guiding Ikebana/Kado: The Contemplative Art and Way of Flowers, April 18-20, 2014 Ikebana is more than just flower arranging. Rather, it is a practice through which we explore nature & life,  the relationship between heaven, earth, humanity and personal artistic process — whether we feel we are artistic or not!  We begin by learning traditional, harmonic forms. Engaging with Ikebana as a contemplative practice awakens the unconditional beauty of  our world,  inspiring a way of living. Below are some words from our wonderful teacher, Alexandra Shenpen, Sensei and some images of arrangements created by introductory students. On structure and improvisation: “Forms tame us, helping us to wear-out our artistic ego, so that what comes through is fresh and awake, an expression of  what’s already there — both in ourselves and in nature.  This is a wonderful ground for later improvisation.   In other words, structure provides a language of flowers — and from that language, not only can the poetry of botanical materials communicate more …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Renunciation/Blossom

  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. Wet behind the ear, mind-flower shedding petals and onto my shoulder, cool petals, living still, still connected to earth. Petals from the flower-song, becoming smaller. And not separate from fresh blossoms. Valentine’s Day–We handed out flowers from the previous night’s Ikebana class and the haikus that Heather, Tara and I made for all the members of the community. We invaded lunch-time with glittery wishes and cheer. People seemed to enjoy it. Just before lunch a group of staff gathered at the Stupa to film a Shambhala Day greeting from SMC. Nice weather, cheerfulness… A super-love day between and Heather and I and… and this is really key for me… it seemed like that situation was connected to a larger one. Like… romantic love and communal love feeding one another. That’s how we both experienced it. I hope …