I am so pleased to write the inaugural post for Karmê Chöling’s blog!
As the Marketing Specialist here, I promote the center and all of our offerings. I am so pleased and proud when a program I have worked hard to promote is bursting with excited participants. But what really matters to me is that people create a connection with this precious place and continue to feel the warmth of that tie after they leave.
Karmê Chöling is a place to practice. When people come here, they often zoom through our doors fueled by the speediness, stress, and anxiety of their daily life. The energy of the land, staff, history, and container of the retreat slow them down so they can learn and practice meditation in many of its forms. Through mindfulness-awareness practice, they can uncover the inherent goodness and confidence that was always with them.
When participants, volunteers, and staff leave, many people feel better able to be with themselves (even the parts they don’t like) and understand others. They may be softer, kinder, or feel more connected to the world around them.
Practicing also means making “mistakes.” Sometimes tempers get short, or anxiety flares up and people are unkind or careless. But there is room for that here. In Shambhala’s culture of no mistake, any difficult moments are seen as an important part of the path.
From my experience, this land and the people on it are constantly working to create enlightened society and to support others in doing so too. I’ve gone through some difficult moments while living here. Sometimes I get so angry at my fellow staff members that I can’t sleep. Or I wake up feeling purposeless and desperately searching for an idea that will make my life meaningful. Other times I feel so content with the present moment that I think I could do nothing but sit on the front porch of the main house and simply appreciate the land and beings before me for the rest of this life.
Throughout these moments and all the others, I feel totally supported by this place. I am allowed to experience whatever I am going through and encouraged to be with it fully. Each person who comes here, whether they know it or not, is a necessary part of creating this culture.
But things are always changing, and everyone has to leave Karmê Chöling at some point. Even our longest-running staff member, Max, will eventually move on to another life. (Hopefully not anytime soon!) When that time comes for me, my aspiration is to remember what it feels like to be here: that deep confidence that I am good as I am, and so is everyone and everything else.
That is also what I wish for anyone who comes here.
My hope is that this blog becomes a place where we can all share our experiences of being connected with this magical place — joyful, painful, and everything in between. May reading the posts in this blog help us all remember the truth.
“To be a warrior is to learn to be genuine in every moment of your life.” — Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Samantha Solomon was the Marketing Specialist at Karmê Chöling.
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