Your Vocation and/or Hobbies: I work in coordinating various aspects of large, outdoor music festivals, usually with a particular focus on food and craft vendors. I like things that are large, outdoors, and musical! I also love to travel and read non-fiction.
Years Meditation: 13
How has meditation been of benefit to you? Meditation has been especially helpful in learning how to experience life without having to be right (or wrong). It has helped me develop a more precise vocabulary to describe emotional states. It has encouraged me to be brave and kind. And it has allowed me to connect with a deeply inspiring community of other people who have the curiosity and confidence to practice letting go.
How has Seattle Shambhala been of benefit to you? The center and its associated offerings (programs, gatherings, practice sessions) are the most immediate way for me to connect with other practitioners. The Seattle Shambhala community is a hotspot of sanity, creativity, awkwardness, discovery, kindness, and delightful not-knowing. To know that there are other people in my neighborhood, city, state, country and world who are working to embody enlightened society is a source of ongoing encouragement for me.
What’s your favorite activity, open house night, holiday or other center program? and why? I love to coordinate programs of all kinds, and especially some of the earlier Shambhala Training Levels (like Level II or Level III), because participants are often so inspired and inspiring! And it’s so helpful personally to review the teachings around which those programs are built. I also love to be in the common room when a group of people are sitting or standing and talking animatedly with each other– so much good energy!
What was your first experience at Shambhala like? I remember my first experiences at a Shambhala center as being at once absurd and trustworthy! One time I went in to the meditation hall and sat down, having read about meditation but never having had instruction, and I sat perfectly still for about an hour while both of my legs fell completely asleep. Nevertheless I was determined! It got much easier after that when I learned that I could adjust my posture as necessary. Another time I got to the Center about 20 minutes into the Sadhana of Mahamudra (which is a very evocative practice that features lots of vivid imagery), and was encouraged by a friendly person at the Centero to go on ahead and jump in. I had no idea at all what was happening with the chanting, but it still seemed like a good and interesting thing to do. In retrospect, I think both experiences were ones where I connected to a kind of non-conceptual warmth and fearless kindness, which are for me, the essence of Shambhala.