Home / Blog / Resident Spotlight: Alley Smith-Morrissey

Recently, I medically retired from the military and came to Karmê Chöling.  I served in both the Marine Corps (active duty) and the Navy Reserve.  For my entire military career, we have been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And let me tell you, war is disorder, groundless, violent, chaotic, and it changes you forever.   

I came to KCL in Vermont to connect with warriors – a different kind of warrior. Warriors who believe in basic goodness and the sacred path.  These people are authentic, altruistic, genuine, empathetic, sincere, and loyal. In many ways, they restore my faith in humanity and have helped me recognize my own sanity.  In other words, the Shambhala teachings have helped me keep my head on a swivel.

Alley Smith-Morrissey

No doubt, I struggle with survivor’s guilt and PTSD. I miss the intoxicating feeling training for war, being at war, deployments, and coming home.  However, now I am truly home and in a great place to develop my mind and practice. KCL is teaching me so much about the transformational power of being connected to a community and healing therein.  It’s true — the Buddha is the doctor and great healer. The Dharma is the medicine and the Sangha is the hospital.   I consider myself extremely fortunate to be on this journey to discover the precious Awakened Mind.    

“Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is just show up.” Brené Brown



  1. Mike de Give says:

    So nice to have you in the house, Alley. You are kind and upbeat helpful and friendly.

  2. Dear Alley,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and
    Thank you for serving our country. What a turbulent time we are in. How amazing that you have come home to KCL. Many blessings on your transition and your continued journey on the path of Warriorship.

  3. Ellen Fasano says:

    Very inspiring! I have been a student of Shambhala and the Buddhist dharma for 40 years. I have served as an asylum officer for US Immigration for 25 years. I have interviewed many victims of war with raging PTSD. I have been coping with vicarious trauma as a result of my work. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about the Shambhala and Buddhist dharma and how it helps to heal trauma.

  4. It is wise of you to come home to KC, letting meditation, and the wisdom of Buddha and Shambhala teachers, ease you back into a state of mind filled with peace, and emotional healing. War can take a toll on your emotions, your adrenaline levels and physical health. You’re on the path now to healing, and happiness. Congratulations on your wise decision and thank you for your story.

  5. Kathy Meade says:

    Standing by in your other home. Be well sangha sista.


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