As usual springtime in Colorado has been a battle between winter and summer with blithely absurd weather predictions like “Snowy, High of 57” which should mean “Rainy” but actually means that it will snow and then climb up to 57 degrees, or vise versa. Some first-timers to SMC came in the middle of such a snow storm. These American White Pelicans stopped for a rest from their migration. While they are seen regularly in the lakes around Fort Collins at this time of year, we have been very lucky to have them visit us for a day or two.
Shambhala Mountain Center is a constant, physical reminder that we are at home in the world, regardless of a moment’s inconvenience or a freak snow storm. Our pelican friends are not the only ones practicing patience. At SMC, a cloud will come over the mountain ridge, like a bad mood, spitting sleet, and pass through the valley but this barely dampens our sunny valley. This is the perfect place for Anthony Lawlor’s Dwelling in the Sacred program to examine the qualities of place and placement that wake us up and instruct.
Pelicans spend most of the year in coastal regions, but the American White Pelican migrates inland to the midwest and western mountains (us!) in order to breed. The bumps on their bills tell us that they are in mating season. The bumps will actually fall off their bills once the mating season is over.
Bumps, lumps, and other awkward parts rise and settle constantly whether you’re a bird, beast, or flower. Chogyam Trunpa Rinpoche compared the cultivation of fearlessness to a reindeer growing horns. At first soft, rubber, awkward–very unlike horns–until the reindeer realizes that it should have horns. So too a person going beyond fear comes to realize that they should feel tender and open. Such change is nothing to fear. If you have seen a friend change over the course of a meditation practice, you know this.
In this season of transitions, we are preparing for lots to come and depart. The summer Set-Up crew has arrived to populate our valley with tent villages. We’ve hosted programs on major life transitions and will be hosting more teachers who are familiar with the work of transitioning.
We will probably even host more migratory birds.
What kind of transition has helped you wake up to this miraculous world we share?