Shambhala Mountain Center in the City


As part of our mission to make ancient wisdom tradition teachings and body awareness practices as accessible as possible, this spring, Shambhala Mountain Center is offering a diverse array of classes in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins.

These “SMC in the City” programs enable city-dwelling participants to engage in a short retreat experience, stretching mind and body.  Programs will range from daytime and evening talks to one-day and weekend programs.  These city programs stand alone and are also  ideal preparations for Shambhala Mountain Center’s more in depth retreat atmosphere.

Bruce Tift, MA, LMFT, and a teacher at Naropa University, gave an SMC in the City evening talk earlier this month in Boulder on Relationship as a Path to Awakening. Over 100 people attended the talk held at the Boulder Shambhala Center.

In regards to the Boulder talk, Bruce Tift wrote, it “was an overview of one way to understand and work with the very difficult and provocative experience of intimate relationships.” He hopes that people came away with new ideas about how to take better care of themselves and how to help keep their hearts open to their partners.

Tift will also be teaching a longer “Relationship as a Path to Awakening” retreat this weekend, April 26-28 at Shambhala Mountain. “The April weekend will go into much more depth on the same subject,” Tift explained, “and will hopefully be more personal.” There will be a mix of theory with experiential understanding.

There is still space available, so visit our programs page to learn more about the class and sign up today.

And join us for another juicy talk with David Loy on the Karma of Money, Fame, and Sex in Denver, May 18th, 7pm at the Denver Shambhala Center.

For more upcoming SMC in the City programs click the links below:

SMC in the City: Boulder

SMC in the City: Denver


Three Variations on a Theme: Squash and Broccolini Salad

squashThis is the Part III in our series of squash recipes. All recipes courtesy of Brian Carter, who fearlessly leads the kitchen at Shambhala Mountain.

Check out Part I, Butternut Squash Cups & Tabouleh and Part II, Squash Veloute. We thought it appropriate to post our final squash article today in celebration of the significant amount of snow covering Colorado. Happy spring!

This salad is perfect for Winter.  And Spring. Both hearty and festive. Serve at room temperature.

1 lb. broccolini
1 acorn squash
1 small red onion
24 oz pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1 cup roast whole almonds
1 pomegranate
3 oz. Manchango cheese

Pre-heat oven to 300. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim woody ends of broccalini. Julianne onion into paper thin slices, toss with sherry vinegar and let sit for 90 minutes. Peel squash and cut into ½ inch cubes. Place into a roasting pan, add pomegranate juice cover with lid or foil, and braise for one hour. Once water is boiling blanch broccalini for 5 minutes then shock in ice water till cool. Remove squash from the oven. Carefully drain braising liquid, or reserve for another use. Drain onions, as well. Combine broccalini, onions and squash. Garnish with almonds, pomegranate seeds, and manchego.



Small Deaths, Big Deaths, and a Wider Perspective

DominieFor Dominie Anne Cappadonna Ph.D.  CT, death has had an immediacy since birth. Born in the “womb of war” as Pearl Harbor raged, Cappadonna has been repeatedly “informed” by global dying. She grew up in a medical family in a Children’s Hospital, co-created the first holistic medical team in the world in refugee medicine and worked in the Killing Fields of Cambodia, and recently she both suffered and embraced the loss of both her parents, her husband, and many friends within a few years.

“Given multiple deaths in a short period of time, I knew that my work as a Transpersonal Psychotherapist, Chaplain, and mentor needed to more fully engage our important teacher, Death itself,” she explained. So, Cappadonna trained and became internationally certified as a Thanatologist: a death, dying, and bereavement educator.

“The subject matter of death and dying concerns us within the Bardo of life itself and appears inescapably intertwined, coemergent with LifeDeathLife,” said Cappadonna. “So I feel our conception and birth to be our invitation to engage consciously with this natural moment to moment occurrence. With each breath, as they say, we experience a life enhancing inhale, a quiet pause of abiding and a ceasing of the breath of life as we exhale. So intrinsic. At one point we will inhale and exhale for the last time.”

Cappadonna is teaching a May 10-12 Befriending Small Deaths–Big Deaths at Shambhala Mountain Center. We recently asked her a few questions about her fascinating life, about “small” and “big” deaths, approaching death with curiosity, and the workshop she will soon teach.

SMC: Tell us about your early experiences with death.
DC: I grew up in a medical family in a Children’s Hospital, at a time where there was no HIPA and I was free to visit children in the medical units in their wide spectrum of healing. Many of my friends were children I met in their healing time. We continued in friendship after they went back home. Some of my hospital companions died. Death was kitchen-table conversation. I knew I could die as a child, and at any age. Death was treated with respect as a natural process in our family, and I was held securely in this knowledge.

SMC: Tell us a bit more about your work with refugee medicine.
DC: We worked in the Killing Fields with 150,000 Cambodian refugees in a United Nations camp on the Thai border. I also worked inside a camp of Khymer Rouge. As a humanitarian, I practiced being with humans with wounds beyond label of friend or enemy. Our team brought back Cambodian families, and they have taught me a great deal about the resilience of our human Spirit.

SMC: What are small deaths?
DC: ‘small deaths’ are daily and numerous. Death of dreams, hopes, visions, viewpoints, emotional states, events such as losing work, breaking up, aging, loss of anything dear to us. What I ‘thought’ would arise or fall away and more. It can be the smallest thing, like the death of a pen. I’ve shifted from using a pen in my appointment book to using a pencil to honor the impermanence of things!

SMC: What does it mean to approach death with curiosity?
DC: To recognize our cultural tendency to deny or avoid death, to take death out of it’s natural place in the circle of life. To approach death with curiosity suggests to respect the reality of what we see around us and know for ourselves directly. Respect at it’s Latin root means: “to look again and again.” Looking at big deaths~small deaths allows us to be present and alive to this moment and appreciate this generous opportunity of being alive to learn and grow.

SMC: What sort of spiritual skills does one need to be fearless in the face of the unknown?
DC: There are a number of spiritual skills in all wisdom traditions which offer tools of courage, and which engage our body, mind, emotions, and spirit. I will offer some that have a Buddhist basis and are universal in nature.

SMC: Is there anything I’m not asking you that you want to share with me regarding your retreat?
DC: It is a rare privilege to meet within the Great Stupa. The generating field of this world peace center creates a resonant field of profound wisdom, fearlessness, joy, and compassion as our vessel for learning and Being. To be so held within, as well as roam out in the lush fields of spring surrounding the Stupa, cultivates a spaciousness and warmth that expands our conscious awareness of ‘never born, never die’ in an essential way.

Sign up for Cappadonna’s weekend retreat!

A Perfect Start

By Melanie Klein

A perfect start.  I’m referring to my first opportunity to lead a program at Shambhala Mountain Center: Retreat and Renewal. I think it’ll be a terrific way to offer something back to this special place that has repeatedly refreshed me, challenged me, and inspired me.  I first came to “the land,” as SMC-ers put it, in 2005 and have been attending programs here ever since.

At Retreat and Renewal, I will be more guide than leader, assisting participants to fill their weekend dance card, so to speak, with whatever appeals: meditation instruction and practice, yoga, hiking, massage, a guided tour of the Great Stupa … On Saturday night I look forward to offering a taste of the dharma, for those so inclined to join, and together exploring skillful approaches that reveal our innate intelligence and good-heartedness, even within the over-busy lives most of us lead. And I’m delighted that our morning meditation sessions will be held in the shrine room with the best view.

It seems to me that Retreat and Renewal is also a perfect way to start for those who’ve been wondering what SMC is like, or who wish to come back, but had a thousand other things to do first. It’s Friday evening through Sunday lunch (offered monthly through May); lodging in Mission-style comfort; letting someone else do the cooking.  Short and sweet, and just maybe… absolutely beautiful.  I can hardly wait to get started.