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I would never say that driving the sporty-red Polaris all-terrain vehicle was the main reason I applied to be the Retreats Assistant at Karmê Chöling. But it totally was.

Karmê Chöling’s Polaris is a lungta-raising machine.

I have absolutely loved being the Retreats Assistant. LOVED it. The retreatants who choose to spend a week or more alone in the woods, practicing while the sun arcs across the sky, are some of the bravest and kindest people I’ve met in this life. It’s been a privilege to support their practice.

If I were you, I’d jump on this job right away. It’s available. And if you enjoy the forest, stacking firewood and supporting people in deep retreat, it’s the best job in all of Karmê Chöling — and probably all of Shambhala.

But it’s no coincidence the Polaris was named after a celestial object. It tends to raise your gaze toward heaven, at least inwardly. It’s a lungta-raising machine, rarely failing to uplift my attitude when I turn the ignition key. And there’s something about clamping rugged, insulated ear protectors to your head that tells you you’re about to have a great ride. 

Manufactured by hearty Minnesotans, a signature feature of the Polaris Ranger is that it keeps passengers cold in the depths of winter, yet quite warm in the summer.

There have been many times in the last 18 months that I found myself skittering through the woods — fully appreciating tracks left in the mud by some deer or bobcat or yeti — and completely forgetting I had some acharya or other in the seat next to me, going into a weeks-long retreat. Please don’t tell them that. I’ve cultivated an image of being engaged. And you can too!

Each retreat cabin is its own shrine room. Each one seems to greet you as you approach to deliver water, pick up luggage or clean the chimney. They feel like friends and protectors. There’s something going on up there in the woods that’s alive, and it sets a tone for everything that happens down the mountain.

Jean Pittman and Mike de Give ride up the mountain in the Polaris, on what was possibly (and almost certainly) an unauthorized trip.

You’d have to be pretty dumb to give up a job this sweet.

Anyway, if you take this job, and need some help stacking wood or watching the sky or tracking yeti, you can find me on the second floor, writing immensely entertaining and professional blogs such as this one. I really can’t emphasize enough how professional this writing is. I am engaged. Pass it on.



 
 

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