Floral Notes and Bardo: Stringing the Twinklers

By Travis Newbill

Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center.

I made a small box for all of my things:
colored sand and precious rings.
Meanwhile I watch this thought burn:
the wish for anything to remain or return.

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This past weekend was full, and well-rounded.  Friday night a bath and relaxed space in the nest with Heather.  Saturday morning — cartoons, cereal, and sleeping in.  Then a nice, long practice session — at first, alone in the shrine room, which is just downstairs from our room, and then at noon the community joined for mid-day group sit.  The lights came on — I’d been in the dim — and friends surrounded and we sat.

Saturday afternoon a community sweat lodge ceremony.  It had been a while… I’m so grateful, purified.  Saturday night cat-sitting for Director Gayner.  Nice house, funny little cat, a couch and nice sound system.  We watched the latest Wes Anderson film and enjoyed a night on the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever known.  The next morning — nice practice session, breakfast with music on, a while on the couch together, in the sunlight, reading Mental Floss, some more time just laying in the sun, and then a walk down the hill for lunch.

Sunday afternoon — community Christmas Tree Gathering Escapade!  It was lots of fun, walking out into the woods, finding our little tree-friend, saying little prayers for it, and then, myself holding one end of the saw, cutting it down.

After dinenr we had a little decorating party with spiked egg nog and Christmas music.

Also, Heather got to work decorating our nest, and it’s very cheerful and good.

Last year, the holidays were the worst part of the year for me.  Very sad to be here.  This year feels different so far.  It was a warm and joyful day yesterday, with much of the community involved.  And, Heather is big into holiday celebration.  So, I am not feeling deprived at all.

I probably listened to three hours of Christmas music yesterday. Good stuff!

– December 8, 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 Shambhala Guide — a preliminary teaching position.  Follow Travis on twitter: @travisnewbill

New Year’s Intention: Take a Leap!

By Jon Barbieri

Jon Barbieri leads Take a Leap into 2014: Establish Your Intention and Commitment, December 30, 2013-January 1, 2014

Jonathan Barbieri

Jonathan Barbieri

New Year’s resolutions have earned quite a reputation with their knack for creating lofty, unreachable, goals. And still, they can be genuinely helpful in opening space for reflection, creating an opportunity to set clear intentions for the year to come.

In making resolutions we often envision what we would like to change about our lives: what to add, remove, or improve to become “better people.” With this approach, the whole thing can get a bit intense and self-aggressive. “I am never going to eat cake again, and I will meditate 2 hours a day if it kills me.”

So, how does the ritual of New Year’s resolutions change, when instead of developing a wish list, we start with our basic human qualities?

We begin by acknowledging that we aspire to do good, to be kind, that we wish for happiness and that fundamentally, we have everything we need to realize these virtues.

Using contemplations, meditation, and discussion, we will touch on these qualities. We will also look at actions or habits we have that are not healthy for us to continue in a very simple and contemplative way. In doing so, we can resolve to pay greater attention to these actions so that over the next year we will acknowledge them and work with them. In addition, we will look at our aspirations for those qualities we wish to cultivate, and make a resolution to nurture and bring them forward.

In this way our approach is not a wish for the year as much as it is a way to look at our life as a journey, and 2014 as the next step along the path.

Join us for this special program and allow your aspirations for the New Year to become clear, confident, and committed through reflection and renewal. What better way to celebrate New Year’s Eve than with a delicious full-course dinner on the magical starry land of Shambhala Mountain Center?

I’m so happy that Jon is continuing  the “Take a Leap into the new year” series.  I participated in the first program “Take Leap into 2012″, and for me the experience was life changing.  Jon’s ability to bring a group together with his warmth, kindness and humor is a gift. This is a wonderful way to begin a new year! — Gayle Sykes

Jon Barbieri leads Take a Leap into 2014: Establish Your Intention and Commitment, December 30, 2013-January 1, 2014. To learn more, CLICK HERE