The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya.
Offerings at The Great Stupa.
Kelley performing one of her duties as The Great Stupa Caretaker.
Flag raising performance.
Trails throughout the center marked by flags.
The mess hall.
The dorm where I stayed.
I am posting from San Bernardino National Forest in California which in time you will see many lovely photos of, (it’s such a beautiful place!), but currently I’m still playing catch up. Above are photos from my interesting stay at Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado where I visited my friend – and as we like to refer to each other – soul sister, Kelley. Kelley lives and works at the center, where she takes care of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya. We first met as crew team members while building trails for the city of Boulder, Colorado in 2008.
I say it was an interesting stay because I have never before thought I would visit such a place and it turns out I had a hard time understanding what it was all about and what went on there and well, why. I asked poor Kelley a ton of questions just trying to get a grasp on the people, ideas, and traditions. Like the song and chant from both the crew and guests as the flags were raised – what was that all about? What exactly are Shambhala teachings? What do guests do there for weeks on end? What do crew do there for fun? And most importantly, just where are the showers? – they were communal- I stuck to washing up in the sink!
Even though I didn’t feel a connection to the teachings and traditions, I absolutely loved the space in and around the center. Kelley and I spent a day hiking in the nearby mountains and the rest of the time was spent relaxing out of doors. I awoke each morning around 7am and met Kelley for breakfast in the mess by 7:30. The mornings and evenings were crisp and cool while it was perfectly warm during the day. Marked trails guided you all around the expansive center and I couldn’t help but shake the overwhelming feeling that I was at summer camp which made me smile. I always wanted to go to summer camp.
In the end I am so thankful for such a wonderful and new experience and most importantly for getting to reconnect with an amazing friend after years apart. It was so great to be back in Colorado again, too. The beauty, the scent of the trees and the dirt, and the lifestyle, are not to be beat. When I left Kelley and the center I drove to Boulder, Colorado, my old workplace and home, and that my friends is coming up in another post soon. For now, I am itching to go on a hike through this beautiful national forest!