Floral Notes and Bardo: Always Interrupted, Ocean

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.

Thin waves of sweets, crisp in my fingers, crumble…  Breeze… The lightest sense of connection, an interrupted thread.  Always interrupted in spite of our wishes.  And beyond that, the ocean of all of us.

Our faces arising, moment by moment.  It’s absurd to promise or expect any of us to be any kind of way… Yet, we can vow: to be kind, to refrain from certain activities, to do things.  Good things.

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Saturday Heather and I ran errands in town and saw cows on the way home.  We’re both in good health.  Good.  It’s nice that we have a shared community car so that we can go on errand adventures and learn things like that, and discover good Afghan food, and buy good booze, apple cider vinegar, and such.

Last night after playing music on her porch — strumming and singing, wearing a paper sun-hat she made for me — we decided to skip dinner in favor of quiet activities while the thunder roared.

I was on the carpet, on my knees, getting deep into the Bodhicharyavatara, and she was beside me, at her desk, making crafts.

We paused for dinner and gazed at each other across the sewing-machine-box picnic table.. in very different moods.  Myself so introspective, affected by the dharma.  It was reminiscent of past experiences — being in an altered state around someone who is not.  A bit awkward and difficult to connect, communicate.

Afterwards, in pillow talk, I clumsily tried to discuss the experience.  That conversation was far more awkward than the conversation I wanted to discuss.  Absurd.

Maybe it would have been better to have been like a log.

We’re on our own paths, and we’ll never completely share the experience of the other.  One question is how well we can accommodate each other as we’re going through our processes, and are necessarily introspective, even distant, maybe bewildered.

~~~

53.
Impatience, indolence, faint heartedness,
And likewise haughty speech and insolence,
Attachment to your side–when these arise,
It’s then that like a log you should remain.

– July 14, 2014

~~~

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: Explore Bananas

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.

Cody is beaming, going to Rainbow gathering.

Last week sitting on a bench in the sun, with Heather, a few days after I’d decided not to attend Kasung Encampment, Cody approached and introduced the idea of me going along with him to the Gathering.

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“Hippe Encampment,” Heather remarked.

Exactly. The idea appealed to me because it was so funny, but what I really need to is settle.

“The seasons are not theoretical here.”

Acharya Lyon said that a while ago, and it haunts me, in a funny way.  Summer is bananas.  There are so many people here and so much going on.  It’s really impossible to keep track, challenging to keep in touch.  It’s a buzzing hive.

~~~

I slept a bit last night, after spending beautiful time with Heather.  This morning, rainbows on our faces, sunlight refracted by crystals hanging in her east-facing window.  Heather’s birthday is this weekend and she’s off to Seattle.  She’s famous in the community for making these extremely beautiful birthday cards for everyone.  I tell her she could go into business with them.

Last night, before heading up to her house, I ran into Mimi, who always has art supplies.  I made a lil’ card for Heather.

This weekend, I’m going to work on a piece of music for her.

I feel the need to sit and meditate for a few days, and also the need to get into artwork.  It’s summer, karma energy, active time.  It’s a wild wave to ride.

– June 27, 2014

~~~

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: Held

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.

On Saturday, walking around, warm and sunny, dirt and grass beneath our boots, Heather and I saw four different types of wildflowers.  That night, about a foot of snow fell.  So, we woke up in a different world.  Huge fluffy puffs of snow on the pines.  Bare aspen branches, twisting and artistic against — sky backdrop, also carrying loads of fresh white snow.

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And, Heather had become sick with an infection.  Living up in the mountains without a car, we felt a bit worried and helpless.  At breakfast we saw John Ohm, who is Desung — harmony protector.  He’s been up here for twenty-something years and is a guardian.  Heather told him she needed to go to the doctor.  I’d never driven in the snow before, and there was lots of snow.  So, the situation wasn’t apparently easy.  Yet, within twenty minutes, our friend Mike volunteered (over the walkie-talkie) to drive us an hour into town so that Heather could get fixed-up.

It turned out to be a pretty fun field trip.  We stopped at a donut shop before the doctor’s office. Throughout the day, I really enjoyed spending time with Mike, who has been up here for a while but will be leaving soon.  In the waiting room, we discussed dharma, and later, how strange it is that Wombats poo cubes and stash their babies in disguising back-facing pouches just below their anuses.

We stopped for sandwiches and made it back up to the land late in the afternoon.  Heather and I enjoyed her warm bedroom and the heavy snow everywhere, listening to music in bed.  Her roommate Oakes came in and brought her gifts of small glass prisms to hang in her east-facing window so that rainbows may shoot into her room when the sun rises in the morning, then he offered a ride to dinner.

We didn’t walk in the deep snow at all, all day long. Annabelle, Heather’s other roommate, had given us a ride down to breakfast in the morning, and, after dinner, Joshua offered a ride back up.

The whole day was this touching display of community-family care and generosity.  We felt so held.  The only way that we can sustain living on this mountain together, in the middle of nowhere, is if we take care of each other.  And, we do.  I knew that already, but Sunday’s experience has brought another level of appreciation.  We walk the walk (or, give each other rides so that we don’t have to).

Before going to sleep, outside Heather’s room, which is in a forest, the moon was nearly full.  Thick snow everywhere, soft blue glow.  Quiet and still.  Inside the window, her room, candles flickering.  Warm.  The two environments, so complimentary.  So glad for both.  Baffled by my good fortune.  We listened to a bit of music and slept soundly.  Clear blue sky this morning, white snow.  White and blue.  Magic, magic.

~~~

Today is Heather’s fake birthday.  We listened to an Aphex Twin song before getting out of bed — according to tradition — titled “Avril 14.”  She invented a fake birthday for herself some years ago.  I can’t remember why, but I like it.  Happy fake birthday, Heather-honey.

– April 14, 2014

~~~

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: My Lil’ Spot and the Ongoing Miracle

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 womb of Avalokitesvara, a vast secret silence, springtime in the Void…” –Jack Kerouac

Drawn like a sketch, watercolor, drawn by a star–across the meadow, into a spot in the valley –feels like home.  I’m in my spot.  I am that spot.  That spot is my spot.  There is no better spot for me.

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After four months in the cushy (oh so cushy!) lodge, we’ve moved back out into the woods, into our little cabins and trailers.  I’m so glad for it.  I’d been becoming a bit attached to lodge living–a bit lazy, a bit like vacation.

Now, getting back into my groovy little cabin last night, right near the Stupa, felt so good.  After being in there for a few minutes it started to overwhelm me.  It was like connecting with an old friend.  I’ve never felt more at home in any spot on this planet than I do in my little cabin on the hill, which Trungpa Rinpoche named Avalokiteshvara.

I glowed for a while.  Heather was up on the loft in the bed, enjoying my giddiness–deep giddiness.  I lit my incense and hugged the house with my energy. Ya, ya, ya… Ahh.

So glad.

And… Heather was now in my house, which was so surreal.  It’s been such a solitary, mystic, artist thing up there.  Now, she has manifested like a dream.  Before she arrived at SMC,  I sang about her in that house, her art was on the walls. Now she’s here.  Beautiful girl in my little house.  Little honey blessing.

Before we turned out the little solar-powered lantern to go to sleep, the little book on my milk-crate night-stand was calling me: The Scripture of the Golden Eternity.  My brother gave me his well-worn copy a few years back.  It’s a special book–beat-dharma from Brady.  So, the little book was calling me and I felt like there was something nice in there for the moment.  Here’s the passage that I opened up to, by chance/karma:

35

The words “atoms of dust” and “the great universes” are only words. The idea that they imply is only an idea. The belief that we live here in this existence, divided into various beings, passing food in and out of ourselves, and casting off husks of bodies one after another with no cessation and no definite or particular discrimination, is only an idea. The seat of our Immortal Intelligence can be seen in that beating light between the eyes the Wisdom Eye of the ancients: we know what we’re doing: we’re not disturbed: because we’re like the golden eternity pretending at playing the magic cardgame and making believe it’s real, it’s a big dream, a joyous ecstasy of words and ideas and flesh, an ethereal flower unfolding a folding back, a movie, an exuberant bunch of lines bounding emptiness, the womb of Avalokitesvara, a vast secret silence, springtime in the Void, happy young gods talking and drinking on a cloud. Our 32,000 chillicosms bear all the marks of excellence. Blind milky light fills our night; and the morning is crystal.

This morning I woke up at 5, walked down to the outhouse singing, just like I used to (my body remembered just what to do).  I kissed Heather good-morning, made a lil’ pot of pu-erh, lit my incense and offered water on my little shrine, lit the candle, did my little lujong routine, sang a bit and then out the door to breakfast.  Feels like falling right back into the grooviest groove I’ve known in my life.  Said good-morning to my neighbor: The Great Stupa.

Mojo, mojo, mojo.  Wishing that beneficial songs, truths and beauties may come forth in this new/familiar arrangement.

May all beings know good mojo, good houses. May all beings recognize the ongoing miracle.

–March 24, 2014

~~~

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: Magic of Many Varieties

 

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.

Fire-hose full of Kool-Aid
blasting tranquility and simplicity into a bouquet of happy madness–
landing on a bed with
plush animals–hearing a bedtime story
Wake up to blood-orange sky, late in the morning
crushed ideas becoming sunsets, watching, surrendered to larger-than-my-thoughts
ART

On a flesh canvass, a wink at my foolishness. A wink of understanding between fools–friendship.

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Heather and I seeing each other through binoculars in the Stupa after community practice of the Sadhana of Mahamudra, which Trungpa Rinpoche received in a cave in Bhutan and offered to contemporary world even though/because it’s crazy and blows brains and delusion into indestructible magic-music.

Gathered in the Stupa–friends become vapor-dharma-heat. Full moon above.

Later, sake with Mr. Cushman and a few fellows–discussion of SMC adventure (that’s my attitude).

I jumped out of the conversation in order to make my 9:30 lullaby date. Afterwards, I laid awake for a bit, sake in belly, rumbling.

This morning I woke up and saw a note which had been slid beneath my door:

“Thank you for being open and available for magic of many varieties.”

~~~

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: Nine Minutes Well Spent

 

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.

Squealing demon racing through rib-cage forest
care
and when I’m scared
care
when I’m scared of the dissolution of my constructed character-dude
care
care about more than my story
(Characters; care-actors)

I’m not able to be the way I was.
I’m growing suspicious of the effort to find the right way to be
Care less about it turning out right
care more so I’m not so uptight
Care about others
Amen.

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The Mahayana is sneaking up on me, maybe. Last night we danced–”open to others”

Nathaniel is an amazing dancer, teacher, and he has exquisite taste in music. So glad for his existence and friendship…

We have a lovely shrine room with a great sound system. Last night–blues dance class. I love it. Nathanial teaches along with Kaleigh (my boss). Kaleigh is teaching me a lot, including how to blues dance. When we accomplish something big and sparkly–marketing-wise–we crank up tunes and have a five minute dance party in our office.

Partner dancing–fun and awkward… Blissful to harmonize with someone in that way, in a stream of music. And good practice for relaxing into friendly engagement. We step on each other’s toes, tense up, and remember to smile, striving towards mutual delight.

After dancing for a while, Heather made a fort out of meditation cushions and Nathaniel and I pulled Molly around in circles on the smooth wood floor. Beautiful tunes from Nathaniel’s library–a few originals, Radiohead… So lovely.

It’s somewhat rare here for me to be in a room with speakers… to enjoy music acoustically (I listen in headphones in my room some nights). It was nourishing. Ahh… We all laid on the floor at the end and bathed in lush Sigur Ros.

Nathaniel: “Nine minutes well spent”

Amen.

I feel friendship relaxing my boundaries, freaking me out, inviting me to be more playful.

AND

Today for lunch we had burritos! Man… I love burritos.

~~~

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.