All posts tagged: Kasung

Floral Notes and Bardo: Japhy is Relevant

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 blue and cool in the morning when I begin moving around — moonlight, pre-dawn.  This morning it was so still.  There was not a whisper in the air. Photo by Paul Bennett Heather sleeps and I: Hike to the outhouse, sit in my chair on the porch and gaze into the woods, write my morning pages, do qigong, and then rejoin her in bed for a bit — a lil’ honey time, sing her a song, and then move towards meditation, breakfast, dharma study, and then into the office.  I sing while I walk down the hill. It’s feeling full, but good. Last night I attended a class that Director Gayner is leading.  It’s a five week course on working with the mind in stressful situations, designed to be training for Dorje Kasung.  Mr. Gayner …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Buddhist Jokes

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. Motion and glow — nature, from my perch on the porch, the moon moving slowly across the morning sky.  Perfect arrhythmic chorus of creatures, and myself doing nothing. A couple of nights ago, community open mic.  Buddhist jokes from our host Kyle, kirtan from Cody, Danny wowed with magic tricks and contact juggling, Dorian — so soulful.  Heather, Kate and I offered some music and an interactive experience — folks holding candles and singing spontaneous verses in tribute to our friend Chris, who is moving on. “let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…” Very sweet and a reminder of what art and music are all about — uplifting people, situations.  Accessing harmonious, deeper than the day-to-day, experience.  We offer vulnerability — a nod to sacredness. ~~~ Last night, Acharya Lobel gave a talk …

Floral Notes and Bardo: In the Sun, Reading Shantideva

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. Om my way to lunch yesterday, I came across Oakes on a bench in the sun, reading Shantideva. He was in a head-on car crach the other night, while doing his evening rounds as Kasung. Oakes was quite inspired, helpful, and strong before the accident.  The way he was speaking yesterday was more-so — more-clear, more enlightened… He said: we have such a precious opportunity in this life to help people. He expressed gratitude for how much the retreat we’re hosting is blessing all of us, and the land. “It’s such an honor to help that happen.  The least we can do is give them what they need.” His spirit of generosity was immense and folksy.  It didn’t have the flavor of spiritual pride.  Oakes is earthy, real, even gritty.  His heart is huge.  He sweats …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Paramitas and a Mess

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. Yesterday morning, I suited up in my baggy Kasung uniform and headed into the Court.  The Court is wherever the Sakyong is residing.  When the Sakyong is on the land, the second floor of Shambhala Lodge is transformed into the Court.  It feels imaginary and real at the same time.  The curtains are white.  Once you walk through, you’re in.  Inside, everything is sparkling.  People float around, glowing. I took my post.   When Rinpoche came out of his quarters, I held a tray for him while he made the day’s tea offerings on his way to give a talk to the Sacred World Assembly folks. They’re in deep.  My friends are in the program, which was formerly known as “Vajrayana Seminary.”  They’re receiving secret teachings and formally entering into a guru-disciple relationship with the …

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: This Has Never Happened Before, Again

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. The past couple of mornings, posted up at the torri gate — guarding the entrance!  Pretty much just sitting there, in my Kasung uniform — which doesn’t fit me so well.  Heather brought me breakfast.  Meditating.  Enjoying the bird songs, blue sky, trees in the breeze, chipmunks.  Sakyong comes running by with his crew.  I stand and salute. We’re hosting Scorpion Seal VI, which means high practitioners are all over the place.  It’s very cool to be in the midst of them.  Their presence, practice, creates a heightened atmosphere.  The sounds of their rituals echo throughout the valley.  Smoke from ceremony, chanting, warrior cries. Shenpen, Sensei is among them.  Yesterday she glided over to me and offered me a piece of chocolate, then with big bright whole-being smile, asked if I’d help uplift (clean) a small corner …

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. Photo 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 …

Floral Notes and Bardo: So Many Ways to Be

  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. So many ways to be. More ways to be than I allow myself to imagine, let alone embody. My first time in Kasung uniform Friday night–like sticking my finger into a electric socket. I’ve worn some crazy things for the sake of art and exploration. The Kasung uniform shook my core–identity–as much as any outfit ever has. Wearing a wedding dress is less of a big deal, because that’s just me being weird. Painting my fingernails (which I did (Heather did) earlier in the day) is also less… Well, it’s a similar sort of thing. I like subverting norms and expectations–my own and those that others hold. I especially like playfully subverting gender norms… Wearing the Kasung uniform is extra edgy because it carries heavier connotations: I’m part of something, I have a role within a larger …