Floral Notes and Bardo: Furry Creatures–Awake


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.

Guitar around the corner translating confusion
–mental jukebox–
who keeps pumping those quarters in?


I woke up at 4–a bit too early but better than 6:30 so I can sing before breakfast, before
meditation. I arrived in the shrine room a minute late and saw that noone had made offerings to the shrine. I was hoping someone else would do that today.

I turned around and my pal walked in the door with a full water pitcher and I believed I may get a break.

I sat down on the cushion a bit grumpy about having to serve as umdze for the fifth day in a row. I
knew it was absurd to be grumpy–sitting in a shrine room, meanwhile war-torn Sudan, etc.

Umdze = person who–lights the shrine, rings the bell, leads chants, and keeps an eye on the time.

Mid-way through the session Avajra John entered the room. Hadn’t seen him since he left for the holidays…a week ago? A week here can feel like a month, and a day can feel like a minute.

I love Kooky Crazy Sexy (he asked to be called that) Uncle John. I felt the shrine room giggles rising.
I had to take some breaths to cool out.

Later, I glanced up–
when you are umdze, you face everyone else in the room–
I saw a friend grinning. I grinned. The contagious awake-grin.

Are all of us furry creatures awake? Fully awake already? Simply awake and profoundly forgetful?


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. His roles within the organization include Marketing Associate and Head Dekyong–a position of leadership within the community. 

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