Floral Notes and Bardo: Death in a Head Cold

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.

Forgotten flower, unsung ditties — forlorn in peace, for nights and days in the mist.

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Just getting over this…cold?  Seems like that word doesn’t quite do it justice.  It was an experience, a journey.  I was feeling it during the baseball game, while chowing a footlong vegan hotdog and having a beer, celebrating Labor Day.  The next day my head was full of snot and I stayed in bed — until I went out to lay in the hammock, which didn’t go smoothly.

As I was tryig to shimmy my way into the sleeping bag, in the hammock, so that I could rest as a warm little bundle in the fresh mountian air for hours, the hammock turned on me — turned me over — bodyslammed me onto the ground, onto a small tree-stump which bruised my ribs.

A few days later the cold had evolved into a nasty, endless fit of coughs, and each one felt like a punch into those sore ribs.  Exhausting.

I feel like I went twelve rounds with the universe and am now coming out the other side, purified.

Heather has had the cold also, and so we’ve been in this alternate reality together.  Kooky stuff one of those nights when I had NyQuil

And, one of those afternoons, feeling shitty, I sat out on the porch and read through a beautiful contemplation that the Sakyong wrote for bodhisattvas under the weather.

I thought about death a lot in the early days of the cold and felt appreciative for my life.  Last night, the first night of good sleep — without the Quil — in a while, I was awake with anxiety for a bit related to my life here, and how I’m feeling so behind and out of it.  A feeling of lots of catching up and work to do.

Having been here for a year, I feel less motivated to “prove myself.”  I believe that was part of it before.  A feeling of complacency has been present.  Last night, I was feeling sick about it.  And, I’m sensing the beginnings of a new groove based on deeper compassion, more true and stable love.

“This place will work on you.  Let it.” — I can’t remember who said that.

– September 10, 2014

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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

Floral Notes and Bardo: Path in Mist

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.

This morning, woke up in a cloud — land, folks, houses, engulfed in mist.  Like my life, countless hidden truths, bodies, beings, outside of my limited view.  Less ambitious about trying to sort them all out, because, in the shrine room, peace, space, the moment as always — nothing to achieve.  Patient while the tale reveals itself — no conclusion, no final answer.  My journey — I’m on the Buddhist path, personally.

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I don’t know who’s going to fall away, or who’ll grow alongside of me — these old ponderosa pines have housed a million chipmunks, magpies, great horned owls.  A thousand bears have shit in their vicinity, and some friendly peeps have hugged their trunks.

I get the feeling, in the mist, that I really don’t know.

I’m glad to have made the vows that I have.  I believe in the path, that I’ll hold to the path, that the path will unfold all around me and as I’m doing my best to stay true, my slip-ups will blossom into poignant songs of joyful-sad growing.

– September 5, 2014

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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

Floral Notes and Bardo: Of Fluidity

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.

So many influences and I can only name a pathetically few.  Many more voices I’d like to know.  My own voice, only echoing…

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Wonderful weekend adventure with Heather and good friend Jonathan — in his truck, we rolled down the hill into Boudler, Denver, and to the 3 day Phish concert camp-out.  The music was so good… and the whole weekend…

Into town for Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanical garden, yummy vegan eats, rendezvous with old friends who traveled from Nashville, lots of good conversation, exploration.

The band as the center of the mandala, and 30,000 folks all interconnected — some quite off balance, some calm and aware, ecstatic, depressed, bored, and all the rest.  All gathered for different particular reasons, but essentially maybe the same.  Maybe having something to do with seeking happiness, good human experience.

Here at Shambhala Mountain Center, it’s the same.  Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the center of the mandala.  Or, at least, the embodiment of what is truly the center of the mandala.  Something like that…

Anyway, we’re hanging together.  Personally, I’m familiar with a tendency towards comfort-seeking.  But then, if I stay in bed for too long, I want to tear out of the sheets, shave my head, and go swimming.

On Monday, Labor Day, after the full weekend of Phish (so good…), the three of us — J, H, and I — who had really become quite a lovely, loving crew, decided to put a cherry on top.  We went to a baseball game!  We had footlong hotdogs (I had a vegan one… they have vegan footlongs at the ballpark these days!) and beer.  Good stuff.

I woke up the next morning with a heavy cold.  Heather wrote a note to my boss requesting that my absence be excused.

I spent most of the day in a hammock, enjoying fresh air and sunshine.  Did some dharma practice, blew tons of snot out of my head — which weighed about a thousand pounds when I woke up.  Heather brought me meals and generally took very good care of me.  Now she seems to be coming down with the same cold.  It’s dissolving in my body and growing in hers.

This morning I did her dishwashing shift so that she could stay in bed longer.  I missed group meditation, but practiced on my own after the dishes were done.  It’s funny the shape that the path takes — concerts, ballgames, and headcolds.  Washing dishes, connecting in the shrine room and showing up late to work.  Working the weekend to make up hours.  This is the path of fluidity.

– September 4, 2014

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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

Discussing Traditional Tibetan Medicine with Nashalla Nyinda, TMD (Video/Audio)

 

Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Introduction to the Principles of Traditional Tibetan Medicine with Nashalla Nyinda, December 12–14, 2014

Nashalla Nyinda can help you discover the powerful healing arts of Tibet through Sowa Rigpa, an ancient holistic practice spanning thousands of years.  Her students learn to return harmony to the body and mind by refining their relationship to the elements and seasons. They are given tools for identifying the three humors, for encouraging equilibrium, as well as learn how to apply general antidotes when the humors are imbalanced. The ultimate goal is to foster balance in the body and mind while encouraging a direct relationship to self. Whether Buddhist or non-Buddhist, healthcare practitioner or not, Nashalla can help you explore the time-tested wisdom of Traditional Tibetan Medicine.

Recently, Nashalla took some time to share her wisdom and inspiration. Watch our interview below, or scroll down to stream/download the audio.

If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below.

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Nashalla-NyindaNashalla Gwyn Nyinda TMD, LMT has over 14 years of experience in Tibetan Medicine. She earned her Menpa degree (Doctor of Tibetan Medicine) from Qinghai Tibetan Medical College, Tibet and The Shang Shung Institute of Tibetan Medicine. She also has an Interdisciplinary Studies BA from Naropa University with a focus on Asian Medicines and Buddhist Psychology. She has taught these techniques worldwide to Tibetan doctors as well as Western health practitioners. Nashalla and husband, Dr. Tsundu S. Nyinda, are co-directors of the Tibetan Medicine & Holistic Healing Clinic in Boulder, Colorado.

Floral Notes and Bardo: Not Normal

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.

Gluten free, vegan french toast, chocolate muffins and not-cow milk, but lots of big, fat cows all over the land.

None of this is normal.

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Meditation time has been moved an hour earlier and I’m off balance.

I was describing my feeling of being so out of routine lately, and how this has really started happening as teachers have been welcoming me into the mahayana.  “Good job,” Zane said.  “Enjoy the rug-being-pulled-out constantly, from now on.”

“Logic is safe,” Joshua told me.  “Sometimes the virtuous thing to do is sleep in.”

I’m seeking balance, still, stability in mid-air.  Studying teachings last night from the Sakyong about finding balance: time at the Shambhala Center, time being a householder, time out in the larger society.  Sometimes one area is receiving more attention than the others, and it’s always shifting.  What is path?  What does it look like?  Not always looking like a shrine room, church, or whatever.  The whole sacred display full of poetry and meaning, and empty, beckoning me forever to dance and play.  Not resisting change, emotions, or any person, and so a joyful presence.  May it be so.

Oh goodness… heading to the Phish concerts — weekend camp-out.  My soul-mouth is watering.  Ahh… Phish!

Each morning and evening I play a Phish song for Heather, as she’s not so familiar.  A couple of weeks ago, at dawn, we hiked up to the top of Marpa Point, overlooking the valley, beautiful dawn, and we listened to Gamehenge.  I had been leading up to it with stories — hints that Gamehenge is the parallel dimension sister-village to Shambhala Mountai Center.  (Truly, this is as close to living in Gamhenge as I could have arranged for myself.)  Anyway, I told her that Icculus lives up on the top of the mountain, and midway through the story, about the time that Icculus shows up in the story, a shirtless summer volunteer came out onto the top of the peak, above us, and howled.

Icculus!

This is a fairytale life, indeed.  I’m sure there are dragons in the air that we can’t see, and that the trees hear me singing.

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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

Floral Notes and Bardo: Still Crazy After… One Year

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.

Oh Bardo, this morning, golden brown strokes in deep grey skies, drizzling cool summer rain, and… cows everywhere — humongous cows… mooing, chowing grass.  Not normal.  Bewildered boy, in transition — perpetually, and now, indeed.

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Reflecting on the solitary sage dream, realized up on the hill, in the yurt.  Awake at 4am and breathing the teachings, texts.  Reflecting on… spiritual materialism, hinayana… and Heather, who appeared in the enchanted aspen grove and became an imaginary romantic character, a dream, and now, realized — deeper and deeper.  A real friend, in the flesh and imagination, always.  Now, mahayana heart dissolving barriers, and the richness and truth of the path of relationship.  This morning, did not make it to the shrine room, missed my drumming shift, instead, spoke with Heather in bed, watched cows out the window, did Qigong while the rain came down.  After breakfast, in the shrine room by myself, aspiring to become sustenance in all ways for all beings.

It used to be cut and dry, in my mind, and now the dharma is more fluid — my mountain bones and ocean, blood.  Inhale, exhale — vapor so luminous and sweet.  The shrine room, a house and car, and cat.  A job and paying bills… time in the cave, the festival, and the bedroom with lover.  The path unfolding in unexpected, yet somehow familiar, trustworthy, poetic ways.

I’ve been here for a year now.  Onwards, further, further, further…

– August 25, 2014

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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

 

Floral Notes and Bardo: Soft Carpet and Running Water

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.

This morning I woke up in a fancy bed, and over breakfast, considered my good fortune.

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Yesterday we gathered as a community and discussed… cats.

Heather and I have been asked to cat-sit for Director Gayner.  So we’re staying in his house for a few days.  Very fancy!  Soft carpet and running water.

When we awoke this morning, beneath a brocade blanket, Heather asked me to sing a song about “little paws.”  I sing a song for her every morning about whatever she would like to hear a song about.  We’re feeling lucky.

After the Community Meeting yesterday, there was lots of charged conversation.  The open forum meetings tend to inspire communal engagement, rippling outwards into the following days.  We’re thinking that we need more of those.

In other news, coffee has been spilt on my new white shoes.  It happened this morning, just after a group of us did the Shambhala Sadhana together.  I was not angry.

Getting together with my friends and doing this sadhana is a powerfully good experience.  It’s active, social, musical, and meditative.  It’s a collective rousing of good intention.  Very uplifting and inspiring.

In my work, I’m feeling like there are pins lined up before me and I have a bowling ball of love.  Our department is shifting around a bit, and I’m feeling really good about my role.

This weekend, I’m going down to Fort Collins to spend some time with my buddy Matt.  We’re planning on doing the sadhana together on Sunday morning and having gluten-free pancakes and avocados.  And, other than that, just spending time.  I’m looking forward to that.

Then… the following weekend… 11 days from now… I’ll be heading to Dick’s for three nights of Phish.

Ahh…

– August 21, 2014

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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

 

Floral Notes and Bardo: Ponies, Buis, and Trotting Onward

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.

Routine is fluid, stillness is illusory.

“Logic is safe,” Joshua once told me.

The teachings often emphasize the importance of surrendering agenda, and privacy.  Phish says: The trick is to surrender to the flow.

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Photo by Cait Rotkiewicz

Routine has been delightfully interrupted for the past few days, as Heather and I hosted her parents — Rebbi and Thai Bui —  who came to visit from the Bay Area.

Her parents are beautiful people, and knowing them deepens my appreciation for the miracle of Heather.

We borrowed our friend Yossi’s car to pick them up down in town.  Apparently, the car was damaged somewhere along the way, which has been a painful thing.  The staff “rental car” has recently dissolved.  It’s tough being up here without a car, and it’s not a comfortable thing to borrow cars from friends, so… it seems like we need to buy a car.  Feels like a good step in the direction of full adulthood, or something like that.

Since the beginning, I’ve viewed life at Shambhala Mountain Center as training for life in the world.  It’s a place for “practice.”  It seems like the first phase was living on my own — working, meditating, making art, being okay with loneliness, and so on.  Now I feel like I’m into another phase, in which I’m exploring partnership, family and greater responsibility.  Life with Heather, knowing her family, and talking about getting a car together.  It feels like a natural progression.

Anyway, we picked up the Buis and met up with the Greenleafs (Rebbi’s sister, her husband and kids) and went to  “The Farm,” which is a petting zoo in Fort Collins.  Thai peacefully sketched the animals, the kids went crazy for the goats, I was fond of the fattest sheep and fed him most of my oats, Heather met a perfect little pony, and so on.  Good times!  Afterwards we played in some water fountains downtown.

The following day we went horseback riding with a friend of Shambhala, a real cowboy named Buzz.  We rode off trail, on the hillsides.  I’d never really ridden a horse before, and it was a beautiful experience of communing with the animal, plants, rock, sky, and my own mind and body all at once.  And, I felt deeply, romantically like a cowboy for a while.  I never felt more like a Coloradoan.  Living at Shambhala Mountain Center, I feel like I live in a whole other world — Shambhala rather than Colorado.  So, riding like a cowboy was a great experience.

That evening Heather, Rebbi, Thai, and I, hung out in Heather’s room and made art together.  The next morning, a visit to the Stupa.  A campfire and singing that night.  And, yesterday, before sending them off, we had a nice tea party in the courtyard of Sacred Studies Hall.

This is a wonderful place to host people of the right spirit.  It’s a big perk of living here.  And, the Buis are wonderful people with the right spirit — warm-hearted, gentle, artists.  Being involved with the Buis is a perk of my karma.

– August 19, 2014

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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

Radical Self Healing: A Conversation with Charley Cropley, N.D.

Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Radical Self-Healing with Charley Cropley, N.D., October 3–5, 2014. 

According to Charley Cropley, N.D., bodily sickness, like all suffering, has real, discoverable causes. The cause is not cancer, colitis, weak adrenals, or a lowered immune system. The cause of our health problems is the innocent misuse of our own body and mind. In this interview, Charley discusses his path for connecting with our ability to eat, think, move, and relate. Through our exploration of these four essential activities, he says, we will learn how to skillfully imbue our daily lives with care and free ourselves from habits that repeatedly cause harm.

In this interview, Charlie explains his approach and offers inspiration for those of us who wish to take responsibility for feeling good in this life.  Watch our interview with Charlie below, or scroll down to stream/download the audio.

If you’d like to download the audio file, CLICK HERE and find the “Download” button. Otherwise, you can stream the audio below.

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Be sure to check out:

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Charley-CropleyCharley Cropley, ND, is a Naturopathic physician who after 35 years of practice, uses no medicines. He teaches his clients that they are endowed with Self-Healing capacities exactly equal to their condition. They learn that illness itself is what heals them. It awakens their love of themselves and guides them in the heroic work of Healing their own self-harming ways.

4 Noble Glimpses of Fleet Maull

By Travis Newbill

Fleet Maull will be hosting the “Waking Up through Service” day of our upcoming Free Online Conference: Awake in the World – October 19-24, 2014.

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In our daily, weekly, and monthly lives, the opportunities for stepping out of our comfort zone in order to directly help others are many. And sadly, the excuses for not doing so can be even more plentiful. Basically, we’d rather not! So, we often abide in routines geared towards pleasure, self-protection, and predictability.

From what I’ve learned about Fleet Maull, he’s made a life out of turning that tendency on its head. If he is feeling hesitant to make a personal sacrifice in order to help someone who is in need…he helps them anyway. Apparently, this brings joy rather than regret, because it seems that the longer he lives, the more he serves, and the happier he appears to be.

Quite appropriately, Fleet will be hosting the Waking Up through Service day of our upcoming Awake in the World conference. There is much to say about this amazing person which is beyond the scope of this blog. To get you started though,  here are Four Noble Glimpses.

1. Prison Work
While serving a 14 year prison sentence, Maull says, he hit a wall of remorse upon realizing that by making selfish decisions, he’d caused a lot of pain for himself and others. He became tremendously motivated to turn things around, and so began practicing meditation, he says, like his hair was on fire. This brought him into closer touch with the needs of those around him and led him to form the Prison Mindfulness Institute (formerly Prison Dharma Network) and the National Prison Hospice. Since his release, his efforts haven’t lessened a bit. He has continued to work with inmantes, and provides heartfelt service to help those of us who are imprisoned in less literal ways as well.

2. From City Streets to Auschwitz/Birkenau
Fleet is empowered in Bernie Glassman’s Zen Peacemakers tradition to lead Street Retreats — in which a group of practitioners lives on the street for a few days — and to be a Spirit Holder at the group’s annual Bearing Witness Retreat at Auschwitz/Birkenau.

3. Consultant and Coach
As a master consultant and executive coach, Fleet helps to bring out the wisdom in individuals as well as organizations through workshops such as Radical Possibility, which takes place this coming October.

4. Service as Path

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SMC_sidebar_AwakeAwake in the World Free Online Conference, featuring Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Roshi Joan Halifax, Tara Brach, Charles Eisenstein, Susan Piver, Lodro Rinzler and many more. October 19-24, 2014. To learn more, please click here.