Floral Notes and Bardo: Doing It, Nicely

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.

Arriving back here after my recent trip to New York, I felt at once inspired, refreshed, and overwhelmed.  This whole thing is a huge project: creating enlightened society.  And, there are no guarantees.  Yet, somehow, here at Shambhala Mountain Center, it has sustained for over forty years.  An ever-changing bunch of people, with their confusions and brilliance, have been doing it together for over four decades.

Here we are.

10294346_649886888426888_1245725218225911571_nPhoto by John Russel of SMC Colorado Front Range Style

Expectations for myself.  Good inspiration versus overly-ambitious.

Yesterday at lunch time, the three Dekyongs (two dropped out recently) had a meeting.  Molly laying on a picnic bench, sunbathing.  Oakes and I pulled up chairs beside her and we talked causally for twenty minutes or so.  Good vibes.

The previous Dekyong meeting was an hour long, in a shrine room, in the morning.  Two Dekyongs dropped out after that.

It was too tight, too ambitious.  What is realistic here?  What feels good?  I’m re-approaching my duties here with a bit more gentleness.  Too tight and there is freak out.  To loose — crappy and sluggish.

At dinner time a group of us who are doing Enlightened Society Assembly in July met to discuss how we may approach studying together.  Again, it was casual.  It was not an institutional event — just living and directing our attention towards something productive.

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Earlier I sat at a table while some folks talked very negatively about Shambhala Mountain Center.  It seemed like they were getting some sort of kick out of it.  Is that helpful at all?  What are the consequences of doing that?  It seems like complainers gather like puddles of mud.  Meanwhile, the sky.

–June 6, 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. 

 

Floral Notes and Bardo: What’s Shakin’ (delek rap #2)

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.

Slowly opening channels.  No ambition, please.  Or, good ambition..  Cows digging under trees for shade and shakes.  Blubber-utter, what’s shakin’?

Delek System

This morning, first morning meeting with the new group of Dekyongs.  Feels good.  Feels relaxed.  Feels like we’re engaged, taking it seriously-enough, but not being overly ambitious.  Just putting little regular things in place is enough.

The Delek System:

Deleks are groups of people within the community, organized according to neighborhood.  The Delek System, as I currently understand it, has one main function:

To cultivate harmony within the community.

Part of that is ensuring that everyone is cared for.  Part of that is ensuring that everyone is heard.

So, the Delek System serves as a means for communication to flow through the community — inwards to the governing bodies, and back out.

Each Delek has a head, or leader, called a Dekyong.  Once a week the Dekyongs meet to discuss what has been coming up in their Deleks, community stuff, and so on.

I am the Head Dekyong, and so I have a seat on the Community Council — a decision-making, action-taking, body within the community whose precise mission and role is still being worked out.  It’s still pretty new.

Anyway, my piece, as I currently understand it, is to bring in information that I have harvested from my meetings with the Dekyongs so that the Community Council can respond to it — one way or another.  One way of responding is to suggest that a particular issue be brought into the next Community Meeting as a topic for discussion.

To be continued…

– April 24, 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. 

 

Floral Notes and Bardo: Systems Made of Sand (delek rap #1)

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.

We’re working really hard to establish systems…

I’m always working so hard to establish systems.  And, they’re like castles made of sand.

P1080562

We’re working so hard to establish systems to…  We would like for people to be cared for.  We would like for people to be heard.  We would like for this to be an interactive experience.  We do not want top-down authoritative leadership.  We would like for information to flow, for there to be no blockages or gaps.  That is the power.

Who is “we”?

I

I would like for people to be familiar with the channels for communication.  I would like for them to know that they have the power to initiate change.

They?

I know that I do.  I want everyone else in the community to know that they do also, regardless of their position within the community, their various titles, and so forth.

The delek system is a means for communication to flow and for transformative action to be initiated… (to be continued)

– April 16, 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. 

 

Floral Notes and Bardo: Beeswax n’ Butterfly Crown

 

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.

Gum too big to chew
Fruity truth in my vicinity
I taste the absence. I blow bubbles all day. I feel speckles
of wakeful spit in every
po
po
pop

POP

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Heather presented me with a beeswax n’ butterfly crown. My Head Dekyong crown.

After dinner I had a lil’ evening visit with Mr. Cushman, a friend and teacher.– wine and discussion of the Hinayana, Shambhala, and…the Dekyong thing.

The Dekyong thing:

The Dekyong is the head of a Delek.

Deleks are small groups of people within the community. The idea is that these people care for one another and develop friendships, relationships. The Delek system also serves as a way for communication to flow through the community.

The Dekyong is the leader of each group, putting effort into cultivating a caring, enjoyable situation for all involved.

I am the Head Dekyong. The name of my Delek is Westside Delekatessen.

I am called upon (by myself, etc.) to help good things happen.

The Hinayana teachings say:

Cause no harm.

The Shambhala teachings say:

Engage.

It’s a bit perplexing.

GO FOR IT

Amen.

~~~

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.