Art + Life Retreat: Contemplative Creative Practices for an Open Heart and Mind

Artist to the Court Marcia Wang Shibata and Shastri Sandra Ladley

September 6–15, 2019

Tuition $400 + 9 nights

Artist to the Court Marcia Wang Shibata

Shastri Sandra Ladley

This program has been canceled. 

Contemplative creative practices that cut through concept and draw on nonverbal wisdom are especially potent in times like now. This retreat is for artists and non-artists alike to reconnect deeply with the space of creativity as a resource for our lives. We will have the opportunity to settle deeply into ourselves, nature and sacred community so that we can return home refreshed with creative methods rooted in meditative awareness to help us in these difficult times. The retreat will include Dharma Art teachings, meditation, and creative processes including movement, sound, writing, drawing, calligraphy and work with natural materials and the five elements. It will include Shambhala Art Parts 1-5 and Maitri Space Awareness practice.

This retreat is open to everyone. There are no prerequisites and it is relevant to all.
The retreat will include all five parts of the Shambhala Art (Dharma Art) training program and Maitri Space Awareness practice.
Artist to the Court Marcia Wang Shibata and Shastri Sandra Ladley bring a unique collaborative teaching partnership to this program. They have previously taught this program together in Mexico and Greece.
Marcia will share her deep understanding of natural hierarchy through her life work practicing Kado Ikebana the sacred art of flower arranging.
Sandra will guide us in Maitri Space Awareness practice which helps us understand how to work directly with the five elemental energies of mind and reality. The practice uses meditation, postures, colors, aimless walks, and creative play to investigate these energies.

Themes of the Program:
Part 1: Coming to our Senses We connect to our lineage of creativity and introduce meditation as the foundation for breaking the chain of concept so that we can open to space and communicate directly with the phenomenal world. We return to our innate sensing ability and the emphasis is on developing trust in our senses.

Part 2: Seeing Things as they Are – We explore raw direct reality vs. our version of reality created through projections. We practice differentiating between direct perception and projection so that we can communicate genuinely with ourselves and others.

Part 3: The Creative Process – We look at how the universe unfolds in a natural hierarchical system. We provide a tool box of how to be, understand and draw on this natural phenomenon in all we do whether it is called art or cleaning the house.

Part 4:The Power of Display – We explore the five elements of the universe — space, earth, air, fire and water — through exercises and talks. We’ll practice Maitri Space Awareness that uses colors and postures in rooms specially designed for this at SMC to give us a direct experience of these five elements. From this experience it’s possible to draw on this wisdom in art and life.

Part 5: Art In Everyday Life – This part investigates action itself and brings together the previous parts. The five elements are not stagnant; each has a specific flavor that is part of life’s unfolding. The actions will be explored in both their balanced and out of balance manifestations. The program culminates in a final installation and celebration which includes all of life’s great wisdom. Students “graduate” from the program and receive a Shambhala Art pin.

Artist to the Court Marcia Wang Shibata

Marcia Wang Shibata is a Master Shambhala Kado/Ikebana Instructor within the Shambhala Buddhist community and founder the Shambhala Kado Ridgen School of Ikebana. She is a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Having studied and practiced in both a major classical and modern Ikebana school, she teaches from the view of nature’s innate wisdom which is compassionate warriorship. Ms Shibata was further bestowed the title of “Artist to the Kalapa Court” in autumn 2013 by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Ms Shibata is also a teacher of Shambhala Art, one of the many vehicles through which the truth of life can be discovered by investigating the origin of creativity.

Shastri Sandra Ladley

Sandra Ladley is the Program Director and core faculty for the Karuna Training program in Contemplative Psychology. She is a senior Shambhala Buddhist resident teacher for the SF Bay Area. She teaches Buddhist, Contemplative Psychology and Dharma Art programs internationally. She draws on a wealth of experience as a trained artist, singer and counselor and as a leader in business and health settings.

Program Details

Registration takes place from 2– 5 pm on your program start date. All participants and volunteer staff must check in at our Guest Registration house. Please arrive before 5 pm to check-in and settle into your accommodations. Your program begins with dinner, followed by an orientation. The Guest Registration house closes at 5 pm after which no one is available to provide information or orient you to your accommodations. All programs usually end at 12:30 pm on the program's departure date, followed by lunch. Further specifics regarding your program's schedule will be available upon arrival. If applicable, you will receive an email from the program coordinator in the week prior to your program with any additional information you may need.