Portland News Magazine

Eternally Present Past

February 26th, 2013 by John David Smith

Hello there,

Sangha members Marc Otto and Melanya Helene have created a new performance entitled “The Eternally Present Past.” It is equally inspired by the teachings they’ve received from the Sakyong and from their intensive studies of interpersonal neurobiology.




From the creators of Play after Play family theater and the award winning “Hopeless” — The Brooklyn Bay presents “The Eternally Present Past” – a new performance piece exploring how implicit memory shapes our experiences and relationships.


What people have been saying about The Eternally Present Past:

  • “A lighthouse of understanding. We haven’t stopped talking about it since we saw it.”
  • “Thank you for your audacity and your courage.”
  • “Genuine and human.”
  • “Utterly connected to my experience of life unfolding.”
  • “Your show was more than a show for me- it was a healing session, which is a strange thing to say, admittedly. I was processing what happened to me the whole next day, and I felt a gentleness, an aliveness, and a wholeness took root in my heart. I noticed in the days afterward that I just felt easier in myself, and more apt to be in a good mood. My self-critical voices were much quieter. I just felt better! I want to see it again! I want others to see it!”

WHAT:                  The Eternally Present Past 

WHEN:                                  March 8th and 9th, Friday and Saturday at 8pm

WHERE:                               The Brooklyn Bay
1825 SE Franklin St.

Portland, OR  97202

COST:                                    $20 general admission

TICKETS:                             http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/304447

Advanced purchase recommended.  Seating is limited

WEBSITE:                            www.thebrooklynbay.org

You are invited on a journey to explore our inner landscape.

Below our conscious awareness, bodily sensations, surges of feeling, behavioral impulses and perceptual biases continuously influence our relationships and experiences.

Have you ever wondered why you feel the way you do? Why do you keep falling into the same patterns of relationships again and again?

Based on the most recent discoveries in the field of Interpersonal Neurobiology, The Eternally Present Past explores and embodies our most basic human need – relationship – how we are affected by our past experiences and how we can transform our relationships.

Conceived, directed and performed by Melanya Helene and Marc Otto


Melanya Helene and Marc Otto have been performing together for over 20 years. They are married and have two teenaged children.

Melanya is an award winning performer and director, and the lineage holder for the mindfulness based performance process passed down from Scott Kelman. She has been leading groups, individuals and families through deep healing creative processes for many years.

Marc has an MA in Somatic Psychology from The Naropa University and 20 years experience in the mental health and addictions field.

Together they have trained extensively in many forms of non-verbal attunement practices, which is to say they have really explored how to connect and play.

Lesa Ricci Thanks and Farewell

February 18th, 2013 by John David Smith
Outgoing Director Lesa Ricci

Photo: J. Forrest Hale

Dear Portland Shambhala Community,

I want to express my deepest gratitude for the incredibly generous gifts that have been offered to me for my retirement as Shambhala Center Director. In addition to a beautiful silver Ashe necklace and the complete set of The Profound Treasury of The Ocean of Dharma by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, there was a shockingly large monetary gift which I understand so many of you contributed to — so large in fact, that my mind stopped as I looked at the check. I thought someone must have accidentally added an extra digit when they wrote out the number!

To those of you I haven’t had the opportunity to say this to in person, I also want to express what a profound honor it has been to serve as your Center Director. I have learned so much from everyone over these last nine years — the kind of learning that only comes from sitting in the middle of the fire :). In the end, there is no better gift than to have had one’s mind and heart forged by the mutual bravery, care and warriorship of one’s sangha. This is a most amazing community and I am so proud and grateful to be part of the it. While I will be leaving Portland at the end of March for Toledo, Ohio where I am going to support my mother for six months, my intention is to return to Portland if auspicious circumstances don’t lead me elsewhere.

Photo: J. Forrest Hale

Photo: J. Forrest Hale

I look forward to our Center continuing to flourish and grow in new ways under the capable leadership of our new Center Director Lisa Stanley. I have complete confidence that with the fresh energy of her leadership, we will continue to discover how, as a local Shambhala community, to best meet the vision of our Sakyongs. May we all do our best to help this world through deep practice and expansive engagement based on the direct and profound experience of Basic Goodness.

My love and gratitude to you all,


I Ching reading on Shambhala Day, February 11, 2013

February 18th, 2013 by John David Smith

i-ching-hexagramFor many years, we have always thrown the I Ching as a group during the Shambhala Day celebration.  Here’s this year’s, corrected, thanks to alert participant Abbey Pleviak.

First Hexagram

#58 Tui (Joy) 

Changing Line #1

Tui comprises the trigrams Lake over Lake.  This doubling up of the trigram suggests an elevated lake in the mountains, contributing water to a smaller lake on the plains that would otherwise be in danger of depletion.  Since the Lake trigram in the I Ching is associated with joy, the higher lake, fed by springs and mountain mists, becomes a symbol for the nurturing, happiness and encouragement we receive from people who inspire us, and from situations in which all seems possible.


The climate Tui describes is one in which the community is united by infectious buoyancy.  Anxiety and disharmony are banished by a sense of achievement and triumph that seems to promise even greater things.


Of all forms of motivation, the possibility of attaining true bliss is the most powerful.  Bliss in this sense means a quality of elation that touches all aspects of our being.  Sensual pleasures, intellectual stimulation and emotional contentment gratify only parts of our consciousness, whereas bliss enflames the entire being.  Tui pertains to conditions that give us a taste of this holistic delight and hold out the promise of more to come.


We should not, however, allow ourselves to become intoxicated by this communal exuberance.  Revelry will only distract us from capitalizing on this auspicious time.  Further advancement is possible if we are inspired by our successes, but neither besotted with or reliant upon them.  More obstacles lie ahead, but these will be mastered if we are guided equally by joy and by wisdom


Changing Line In #1 Position:

“Responsive opening, good fortune.”


This is the promising beginning of conversation: not mere self-expression, but the capacity to listen and respond.  You foster trust, and make mutual enrichment possible, by opening up your inner space to exchange.


The foundation for this responsive communication is autonomy and self-reliance:  it means that you have something to give, and that you can create a harmonious connection that is not dominated or distorted by what people “need from one another.



The Second Hexagram

#47 K’un (Exhaustion)

K’un consists of the trigrams Lake above Water.  This suggest a lake bed from which all the water has poured away downhill.  The image symbolizes a situation in which continuous affliction has depleted our vitality, faith and enthusiasm.


Since these qualities are among the most essential to us in our endeavors, the condition described by this hexagram is particularly dangerous.  Other hexagrams describing difficult times show that adversity can concentrate our efforts and determination.  This hexagram shows that despair can sometimes undermine even our desire for success.


Since we are generally unreceptive of advice in this state, K’un observes that our wisest course is to prepare for such eventualities well in advance, strengthening our resistance to self-pity before negative situations occur.  A sufferer of migraines does not make his or her assessment of life while suffering a severe headache.


We should also consider exhaustion and depression as passing conditions, not as indications of life as it truly is.  When we remind ourselves that despondency has physical as well as emotional causes and is a temporary illness only, its treatment becomes obvious.  We should allow ourselves rest and well-balanced nutrition.  We should also cultivate a positive mental attitude-this has been proven to be a major factor in many forms of healing.  Pessimism is a symptom of exhaustion, just as sneezing is of hay fever, and should be treated with no more seriousness.  As our strength and sense of purpose return, so will our outlook be renewed.

Paul Warwick Sukhavati

February 11th, 2013 by John David Smith

Friends, family, and students of Paul Warwick gathered at the Portland Shambhala Center on Friday February 8, 2013 for a Sukhavati ceremony for him.  Doug McCanne read a reflection written by Paul on his experience in the chapel in during the ceremony for his parent’s 50th Wedding anniversary:

From Paul Warwick, Cove, OR June, 1989

“The big moment for me was standing up and facing the family in the chapel and realizing that the problem was not what to say but simply to say anything without being swallowed up in a tsunami of joy and sadness and drowned in tears, and then realizing about religion – the homey religion of the chapel and the intricate religion of esoteric buddhism – that religion like everything else swims in the blood of the family, something that can only be lived to be known, and that cannot be understood because it can’t be stood outside of: growing up, feeling passion, making love, giving birth, nurturing, wondering, growing old and dying. Without this there is nothing; it is the contemplation and the flesh of religion. The utter beauty of family, all of us blazed in that chapel and spilled out on the grass and danced and sang.”


IMPRINT (For Paul)

Paul Warwick Sukhavati

Photo: J. Forrest Hale

     Son of Garuda flying away
Ropes that have held you
Unwinding, so open,
All break away,
From body so still,
Surrounded by loved ones
Chanting: No eye, no ear, no nose,

     But what about love?
You said it so well
Mind spins around
Feeling the rub,
“Without attachment
Love’s hard to do.”
Imprint of ropes
In the unwashed sky,
Grow fainter and fainter
Turning to threads so gauzy and golden
’til dust sprinkles down, around,
and dizzy from spinning,
We just settle down.

Great Good Feeling,
No Big Deal

— Ann Cason

Shambhala Times is Looking for an Advertising Sales Agent

February 7th, 2013 by John David Smith

The Shambhala Times needs an advertising sales agent to assist with generating income for the Shambhala Times. This role, funded on a 25% commission basis, will work to find both local and national clients willing advertise with the Shambhala Times. This person will be responsible for finding new clients, maintaining relationships with current clients and ensuring that the advertising needs of both the client and the Shambhala Times are met.

The most important skill to possess is the ability to easily relate to and communicate with other people. The ability to be self-motivated, organized and persistent are also highly desirable skills. We are looking for a motivated self starter who doesnt need a lot of oversight and who enjoys talking to people and has experience working in customer service. This position is ideal for someone who already has experience in the field of advertising and who wants to directly serve the Shambhala community.

Advertising Sales Agent will work directly with Shambhala Media and the Editor of the Shambhala Times.

Send us an email outlining your interest, and send your resume to: [email protected]

New email addresses and much else

February 4th, 2013 by John David Smith

Google-apps-cloudWe’re in the midst of a fairly massive project to implement Google Apps for the Portland Shambhala Meditation Center.  It’s going to make a lot of things a lot easier and it will make email to and from the Shambhala Center a lot more consistent.  In the future all official email to and from our center will to to something @ portland.shambhala.org.

The Governing Council has been the first group to begin using the new Google Apps — to communicate with each other and to share documents.  Each council member has an email address that’s “official.”  Now we’re starting to implement various calendars and (drum roll please)…

  1. Our intrepid Abbey Pleviak, Portland Shambhala Registrar, Volunteer Coordinator and Office Manager has moved from her old email address to hello (at) portland.shambhala.org.  If you get email from the Shambhala Center it will often be from Abbey at that email address.

Stay tuned as all the possibilities of Google Apps get explored and implemented for our center!

Shambhala Day — something new, something old

February 4th, 2013 by John David Smith

Please note on your calendars that Shambhala Day Year of the Water Snake falls on Monday, 11 February 2013.  And as is the tradition, The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche will give his Shambhala Day address live from Halifax at 2 pm Atlantic Standard Time on that date.

Before the traditional address, we’ve always had a “roll call” — a tradition that started on a phone hook-up many years ago, hilarious in part because the operator would call out each city by name, often pronouncing “Hello Albuquerque!” or “Hello, Santiago de Chile” in a unique way.  And it’s always been a wonderful chance for us to see and hear the global Shambhala Sangha other across time and space. This year we are experimenting with a new way to do the roll call, for two reasons: 1) because many centres experienced technical difficulties last year, largely due to people turning on and off cameras and microphones for the roll call portion, and 2) because Shambhala Day falls on a Monday and we know that many centres plan to view the recording later in the day or week.  So each center has submitted a photo or a little video clip.  Here is what Portland submitted:



This is a picture of all of us last year hooting and howling when we saw people we knew from around the world, like “Hey I sat a Dhathun with that guy!” or “There’s so and so who used to live here!” or even, “Hey it’s our turn on the roll call and that’s us!”