All posts tagged: nature

SMC’s Award-Winning Eco-Forestry Work

by;  Dhi Good & Mac McGoldrick     ///     photo:  Miles Greenlee Stewardship of the land is an important priority for Shambhala Mountain Center. Under the direction of our Built and Natural Environments Director, Mac McGoldrick, SMC conducts conservation forestry projects and collaborates with regional partners to sustain healthy and resilient eco-systems across our 600 acres and beyond. In the video below, Mac McGoldrick describes the eco-forestry and conservation work at SMC in partnership with regional conservation agencies. Thank you Fort Collins Conservation District for this beautiful video! The 600-acre SMC property provided an excellent example of the positive outcomes strategic forest treatments can produce. Because of the 165-acre fuels reduction treatment completed on the property in 2018, as well as several years of adjacent treatments continuing along Elkhorn Creek to the east, firefighters working on the Cameron Peak Fire of 2020 were safer, the forest burned less intensely in this area, and post-fire outcomes were less severe.  Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative, Nov. 12, 2021     Above:  Fireshed partners and community members gather at Shambhala Mountain Center to learn …

Functional Sanity 

Excerpt from the international bestselling book, You Were Not Born To Suffer, by Blake D. Bauer. It’s helpful to know that we are all a bit crazy, in the sense that once we’re honest with ourselves we cannot deny the various voices in our head or the countless thoughts that circulate in our mind. I have come to perceive mental and emotional health in terms of practical functional sanity. In other words: can we take responsibility for our lives in a way that we do not harm ourselves, other people or the Earth while we do our best each day to be well, happy and kind?  In my experience, which I am sure is similar to your own, there is no such thing as ‘normal’. Although it is so common to think ‘he or she is normal but I am not’ or ‘their family is normal’ or ‘why can’t I just be normal?’ deep down we all know real life is stranger than fiction. Maybe the reason we can never get to ‘normal’ is because it …

planning a retreat

Plan to Retreat in 2022

by Dhi Good What’s the best thing you’ve ever given yourself? For me, the most precious and meaningful gift is time. Time away from the day-to-day fray of life, time to be with myself, time to move and be still and listen and just be. Time to eat mindfully, get plenty of rest and get away from those devices that buzz and beep for attention throughout the day. We all need time to reset, let go of habits that don’t serve us well, and get back to who we truly are deep down. We plan for holidays and trips to see the relatives, but when it comes to planning for our own health and wellbeing, our longing to reconnect with one’s self tends to fall to the bottom of the list. For 2022, why not try making your retreat(s) a priority? Whether you go for a yoga retreat or a silent meditation intensive, you will be taking a step toward wholeness and restoration. For me, I find that after several days on retreat I’m often …

silent retreat

The Gift of Silent Retreat 

by Jon Aaron  The silence amidst the noise the gem at the core of every experience is polished by simple attention into shining magnificence -Nirmala  “words do not come” I remember my very first experience on an 8-day retreat. I had no idea what to expect. I had been meditating for a year or so and decided it was time to try a retreat. The challenges in the first few days felt insurmountable. I wanted to jump out of my skin. By the end, I never wanted to leave! Each time I was ready to give up, something was said by one of the teachers which gave such encouragement and confidence that my thoughts of leaving vanished. This was helped by the support of everyone else as we practiced together in community. It’s hard to describe what happened. Suffice to say it changed my life forever. Retreat practice is such a unique opportunity, and these days in-person retreats are even more special. With vaccines, ease of testing and a communal commitment to keeping each other safe, we can …

Sadhana

by Katharine Kaufman First there is a landing. Then a letting go. Then curiosity about what happens next. You wake up. Somebody has made you breakfast. You go into the beautiful studio, and lie your mat down and you lie down on your mat. Maybe you need a chair. Maybe you’re exhausted. Maybe you’ve recovered from surgery or sickness this year and your balance is off. Or you have worked non-stop. Or you have lost your work. You yield. Life on retreat is simple on purpose, so you have space to discover and cultivate your practice as it shows up now, in your body. Everything here at the Shambhala Mountain Center supports this. The teachers, staff, meals, schedule, the room you stay in, the stupa. The way the retreat is designed, from the opening welcome to the closing appreciation, supports you. What I mean to say is you are held by the balance of these things pointing in the direction of your practice. “Sadhana,” has many meanings ranging from formal personal practice to daily life. …

Challenges are the Path

by Steven Vosper In my September SMC Newsletter posting, Mindfulness is the Key , I suggested that we could afford to relax and open to our world completely.  Then I posed the question, why not, what’s holding us back?  I think it’s a good question, a very personal question, and one that’s worth thinking about.  Maybe we’re afraid, maybe we’re too busy, maybe we’re too lazy, or maybe we don’t even want to relax and open to our world completely.  Whatever the case may be, if something is holding us back in our lives, then perhaps it’s worth exploring further.  Maybe we can see it more clearly, understand it more fully and discover something new.  Can we actually turn towards our lives, look more closely at the obstacles and the challenges in our lives and find a way through, a path forward?    Let’s give it a try. Let’s bring a deeper awareness to the patterns in our lives, the causes, conditions and habits that hold us back. Who knows what we might discover? Perhaps our …

MBSR

28,762 days

By Janet Solyntjes // This is the number of days that make up the average life expectancy of a person born in the United States. How many of these days will US citizens spend appreciating life? How will you spend this one? We are a time-conscious society. Productivity, connectivity, pressured to beat the clock—how often do we look at our iPhone or laptop to see what time it is? Do we understand what time is telling us? The clock and the calendar are both saying that we won’t be here forever. They reveal one simple truth: time only runs in one direction. An aspen tree doesn’t look at a clock to see when it is time to turn golden. The northern lake doesn’t need a timeline or deadline to tell it when to freeze or thaw. As humans, we often experience time-related stress. Rather than seeing the passing of time as a source of pressure or a reason to feel that we are too lazy, too crazy, or that we are losing our grip on …

Mindfulness is the Key 

by Stephen Vosper Mindfulness is the key to everything.  Being awake in the present moment is the gateway to everything.  Being awake and being mindful are completely inseparable.  Mindfulness is the natural ability of mind to be aware of something, aware of anything, aware of everything.  Through our sense perceptions; sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and from a traditional eastern point of view, thoughts, emotions and intuitions; we can be mindful and awake to the whole world in our own life.  This is actually our birthright.  By just being awake and mindful, in our natural state, we can begin to appreciate the miracle of our senses, our perceptions, our emotions, thoughts and intuitions as they arise, rather than turning away and distracting ourselves in daydreams and fantasies of all kinds.  We can actually be fully awake and alive completely in our lives, right now.  We have everything we need to experience our joy and sadness, our doubts and hesitations, our confidence and inspirations. We can afford to relax and open to our world completely. Why not, what’s holding us back? Let’s find out. Come join us, at …

Mind Blindness 

by John Rockwell A while back, I read an article about “plant blindness.” When shown a picture that shows a pair of elephants in a clearing and asked what they see, virtually everyone says, “Two elephants.” Even when the question is repeated, “What do you see?” people persist in saying “Elephants,” as if the questioner were stupid or blind. No one says that they see grass and trees, much less describes the type of plants. The biologists lament this lack of appreciation for the greenery that is our constant background. They point out that plants are just as important and in fact make up the base of the food chain that supports our existence. This lack of connection and community with the plant world can ultimately support a life style and work ethic that is destructive to our environment. What we don’t perceive, we have no feeling for. What we have no feeling for, we don’t care about. What we don’t care about, we can destroy and feel nothing amiss. Of course, by destroying the plant world, we are undermining our own existence.  When …

Catch a falling star

by:  Andrea Schweitzer                                   Night sky photo credit:  NASA Bill Ingalls “People underestimate the stars and the connectedness they bring between spirit and matter. More often than not, when lost, we seek solitude in staring into the darkness hoping something speaks back to us, usually through a feeling, a thought or a rare occurrence of a shooting star.” -Nikki Rowe This week is the peak of the summer Perseid meteor shower.  Falling stars are likely to be visible in a dark sky all week, and especially on the night of August 12-13. If you can find a dark location, away from city lights (or at least away from street lights and porch lights), linger outside and look up.  Take in the beauty of the stars and enjoy a quiet moment with the universe. The Moon is in its crescent phase, setting to the west in the evening. This allows pleasant dark conditions ideal for star gazing and hopefully catching a …