Life on the Mountain – One Woman’s View

By Tricia Cominsky, SMC Staff Member //

Shambhala Mountain Center officially welcomed my arrival in September of 2017 (unofficially, five years prior, on my first visit to this magical land). As a former corporate ladder-climber and people-pleaser, these 600 acres provided a soft and safe landing place to drop those old personas and masks. As much as I have let go, there has been such abundance to receive. I am grateful to have found true community in our Sangha. They see, love and support me as I am, unconditionally. In return, I do the same for them. There’s been a good amount of showing up for each other over these past eight months. Our little Sangha has held space for each other in every sense. There has been life-changing growth and so many hearts see the monumental changes taking place. As a wise teacher once said; We don’t have to be afraid of who we are.

There is such peace and grace in knowing that on the mountain we have the luxury of comforting one another face-to-face in real time. We have so many opportunities to spend time with one another: weekly women’s lunches, people of color meetings, yoga & zumba classes, three daily sitting practices—and the list goes on. Our weekly Heart of Recovery meetings are an opportunity for just this type of relating to each other and practicing active listening. As a woman of 46, 11 years sober, it has been my honor to host this wonderful group for over a year. In Heart of Recovery, we look to the ancient wisdom of Buddhism and the 12-step AA/NA framework to guide our work. The rich experience of holding space while we accept and become curious about our addictive and habitual tendencies and thoughts, is something I deeply cherish and respect. Witnessing our collective and individual growth is such a gift and true mindfulness in action.  

In contrast to all of the togetherness, there are beautiful moments of solitude and stillness.  Quiet mornings normally begin with expressions of gratitude – full inhale & exhale (thank you, lungs), eyes open and seeing (thank you, sight), ears alert (thank you, hearing), ten fingers, ten toes, body moving fluidly and a big smile (thank you, body).  Then coffee. As the stars slowly fade, the blue-black expanse turns indigo. Our great eastern sun begins a slow creep over both lodges, spilling down the rock face of Red Feather Campus (thank you, sun). Yesterday it felt like we were living in a snow globe. Big fluffy flakes fell all day long, accumulating over two feet! This morning feels and looks like a postcard (thank you, snow).

For practice, The Sadhana of Kindness beckons during sunrise. I feel wisdom and sadness in these words.  Frequently, I cry during this practice; the shared purpose, the inseparability of humanity, kindness being the breath of human exchange. Wouldn’t we all benefit by experiencing more kindness? What if kindness truly was automatic, like breathing is? I savor this idea and will make it a part of today’s ceremony of life. If I can help others smile and feel loved and seen, it allows the flow to continue. Basic goodness exists everywhere and in everyone. No exceptions. (Thank you, kindness.)

About the Author

Tricia moved to Shambhala Mountain Center in September of 2017. She is a very proud auntie to six nieces, two nephews, one great-niece and another great-human on the way.  Tricia loves yoga, meditation, being in service to others and spending time with the ultimate Bodhisattva, Mother Nature. You can find her in the lodges preparing space and rooms, sometimes in the kitchen, sometimes in the garden, but most always with a smile, asking How Can I Help?

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