June 2017 Letter from the Director

Dear Denver Shambhala Community,

I hope this finds you well and enjoying the beautiful warm summer weather. It is an exciting time for us here in Denver. There is so much to share.

So what’s happening at the Center?

Shambhala Kids had a very successful year. They will take a break for the summer and will be back in the fall. Recently there was a potluck celebration attended by families, members of our community as well as many from the Membership Ceremony that happened directly beforehand. It was a delightful time. We continue to explore and develop ways for Families and Children to connect to the Shambhala Path.

The Heart of Recovery continues to be a vibrant gathering Monday and Wednesday evenings. Led by Martha Hildreth and Dave Garton, these gatherings often are standing room only with up to 50 participants. Great job, Martha and Dave! Thank you for your patronage and generosity in spearheading such an incredible offering.

Social Meditation is going strong on Thursday nights, and new attendees are always welcome. There is an amazing leadership group cultivating this effort. They are looking forward to hosting Shastri Nick Kranz for another Social Mediation weekend on August 18th – 20th.

The Community Engagement Committee is moving right along. They met recently to explore possibilities in engaging the greater Denver community. This development is great news, and the timing couldn’t be better. Shambhala International now has an official Office of Social Engagement whose purpose is to guide Shambhala communities in outreach and social engagement activities. We are looking forward to seeing where this leads.

Dorje Kasung Activity

Please join me in welcoming our new Kasung Squad. Their presence is already starting to be felt within our community.

Aaron Snyder, Rupön: Sr. Advisor (and holder of DK lineage and dharma)
Stuart Aronoff, Khenchen: Court Liaison, Special Events and Training (and Regiment Transportation Officer)
Ryan Todd: Kasung Liaison
Laurie Lavine: Practice & Education
Arleen Garcia-Herbst: Communications and Command Team ADC

Find out more about the Dorje Kasung.

Sunday Sitting Participation and Membership is Growing!

Over the past three to four months we have been working hard to provide a welcoming container for Sunday morning activities. We are starting to see the fruition: open houses are well attended, often with up to 25 new individuals. Attendance at our Sunday morning open meditation is also up which has created vibrant community energy. Membership ceremonies are held quarterly and it’s so exciting to see fresh new faces around the Center! We invite you to practice, host, umdze, or be part of the open house. We could use your support.

We are Expanding!

We continue to explore Satellite Center activities in the Highlands area of Denver. Every Wednesday we have been presenting meditation at the Highland Event Center led by Shastri Jeffrey Stevens. Approximately 20 – 30 attendees on average participate with many new meditators showing up, curious about our community and the Shambhala Path. It is thrilling to see this group develop and grow organically. The sky is the limit!

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in Denver!

Many of you now know the big news – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has written a new book, The Lost Art of Good Conversation: A Mindful Way to Connect with Others and Enrich Everyday Life. The Sakyong will kick off the North American book tour in Denver on October 20th -21st. The event will include a public talk on Friday night and a daylong retreat on Saturday led by the Sakyong with Lodro Rinzler and Susan Piver. We are pleased to announce that April Stevens will be the Volunteer Coordinator for the event. If you would like to participate and get involved, please fill out the volunteer application.

Other Upcoming Events and Programming

We will have a community day on Saturday, June 24th. “Meditation in Action: Meditation on the cushion, at work and in the community.” Please note that this is a correction to the two-day (weekend) program that we originally planned. Please join us!


Welcome 09:00 – 09:15 am
Practice – Shambhala Sadhana 09:15 – 10:00 am
Community Rota – Enriching our Center 10:00 – 11:30 am
Practice – Discussion 11:30 – 12:00 pm
Potluck Lunch 12:00 – 01:00 pm
Lhasung 01:00 – 01:30 pm
(Optional: arrive or stay for the afternoon)
Community Rota – Enriching our Center 02:00 – 04:00 pm
Sitting & Protector Chants 04:00 – 04:30 pm

Please reach out if you have any questions. If you have a work project in mind or an idea to spruce up our Center, please contact our Membership & Volunteer Coordinator, Ryan Todd: [email protected]

Saturday, August 5th we will have a Learn to Meditate Program led by Martha Hildreth. Please spread the word. This daylong program is a fantastic offering for new meditators, friends & family interested in an introductory meditation and contemplative community experience. Learn more and register.

Fall & Winter Programming

Please stay tuned for our fall and winter programs. We will be offering a new cycle of the Way of Shambhala and as well as unique courses such as the introductory Karuna training led by Acharya Melissa Moore.

If you have any questions about upcoming programming and classes, please contact our Practice and Education Director, Jackie Roberts: [email protected]

Please join me in Welcoming New Volunteer Staff

Ryan Todd – Membership & Volunteer Coordinator. Ryan is also our new Kasung Liaison to the Leadership Council & the Denver community, membership & volunteer coordinator, as well as an administrator for our members Facebook page.

Josh Kendall – Communications Coordinator, who has brought so much to our community in such a short time. He will be working on our overall communication strategy, including the upcoming event with the Sakyong, and our internal and external communication plan. Stay tuned for so much more!

Amy Turino – Practice & Education Assistant. Amy is also our Shambhala Kids teacher, and part of the Social Meditation Leadership cohort. She is a gentle breeze of delight in our community.

Arleen Garcia-Herbst – Newsletter Editor extraordinaire and the SMCD Facebook and Twitter manager. I think we can all agree the newsletter is looking fantastic! Arleen has also been working on publicity, marketing, and our website.

Craig Griffiths – Website Systems. Craig has been working closely with our Website Administrator Carolyn Pickton in many unseen ways to make our site function efficiently and effortlessly.

I would like to acknowledge the departure of Kathy Pelmo our amazing Kitchen Manager and cleaner. Thank you for everything you brought to the Center, which was always above and beyond the call of duty. You will be missed! We look forward to seeing you around the community! And a thank you to Mike Mason for generously jumping in to take care of our Center facilities and keep things ship shape. We greatly appreciate it.

I would also like to thank the following volunteer pillars of our community: a long-time volunteer, and overall amazing Director of Practice and Education, Jackie Roberts. Our Center would be at a loss without you!
Carolyn and Todd Pickton for so many years of support, administrative and professional financial assistance. James Hollman, our Shrinekeeper, and Norm Henderson for audio support and hosting – pillars of our community. All the Ikebana artists, and a special bow to our coordinators Rachel Hanson and David Jenson. Nan Clydesdale for holding down the fort coordinating so many programs. As well as Joe Pollara and Kendra Sandoval for such an incredible job with Strategic Planning, consulting and visioning with the Leadership Council and the entire community.

There are so many more of you, volunteers who give so much, too numerous to mention here. Thank you! You are vital to the success of the Denver Shambhala Community.

Inspiration from the Shambhala International Leadership

Finally, I would like to share some news from Shambhala International Leadership. Recently I attended a Leadership Summit in Vermont at the Shambhala Retreat Center Karme Choling. This retreat was led by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the Kalapa Council and attended by leaders from all over the world. Many things were discussed such as diversity; privilege; social engagement; gender issues; finances; programming; and our goals, plan, and vision as an organization.

It was a heartfelt gathering that allowed for many productive and honest conversations. The takeaway was clear regarding our vision as an organization, understanding of the direction we are headed together, and a strong message of empowerment. I look forward to sharing this experience with all of you as we move forward, traveling this delightful, challenging and inspirational path.

With appreciation,
Glenn Austin

Executive Director
Shambhala Meditation Center of Denver
[email protected]