All posts filed under: Nature

Restoring Rio RMDC

written by Alyssa Graziano During the Cameron Peak Fire in 2020, the streamside of Rio RMDC that was once lush with willows, birch, and aspen was severely burned, leaving the stream with a high loss of vegetation, an eroded bank, and important wildlife habitat lost. The small but beautiful stream that runs through Drala Mountain Center, the Rio RMDC, flows into nearby Elkorn Creek— a tributary of the mighty Cache La Poudre River. The Elkhorn Creek watershed is a diverse and beautiful area; home to many Rocky Mountain species we all know and love such as moose, elk, mountain lions, bobcats, eagles, and mule deer. It is also a habitat for threatened and endangered species such as the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse and the Arapahoe Snowfly. The ponderosa forests of Drala Mountain Center are fire-adapted, and wildfire is a regenerative process that is a part of the natural cycles of the ecosystem here. However, severe fires as with the Cameron Peak Fire can cause many problems within watersheds, including poor water quality, erosion, flooding, and …

Permission to Rest

by Marissa C. Knox, PhD Photo credit: Marissa C. Knox, PhD I’m currently in a major life transition– adjusting to a new home in a new state with a new job in an entirely new environment – and I’ve been waiting to exhale until I finally feel settled. I’ve told myself that I can finally relax once I get through a full year of living and working here, experienced all four seasons of weather, successfully taught classes for two semesters, and I’ve figured out all of my new routines, and generally have “it” all together. And until then? I guess I’ll just brace myself and hold my breath. … Well, it may not be surprising, but this plan has not been working very well. In fact, I have only made it this far precisely because I have forced encouraged myself to exhale and rest. It has become undeniably clear that without rest, nothing else is possible. Giving myself permission to exhale, even when it feels like I don’t have the time, has been a portal …

Build a More Self-reliant, Resilient Life

by Kareen Erbe Design a life connected to your food, live healthier, and start building your resilience! Join us for the Introduction to Permaculture Weekend Workshop at Drala Mountain Center this Fall! Climate change, wildfires, a pandemic, food shortages, topsoil loss – these are unsettling and challenging times on so many levels. Sometimes it’s hard to feel hopeful about the future.  That’s why learning how to grow our own food and setting up a resilient yard and garden are some of the most positive steps forward at this time.  Come spend the weekend learning about permaculture and gaining the tools to design a site that will provide you with an abundance of food along with the tools you need to build a more self-reliant, resilient life.  Permaculture involves the development of agriculturally productive ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. Your instructors, Jerome Osentowski and Kareen Erbe have over 50 years of combined experience in the permaculture field. Author of Forest Garden Greenhouse and founder of the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute (CRMPI), Jerome Osentowski …

Autumn and Cultivating Equanimity

As Mother Nature changes with the seasons, human beings also experience transition. Everything from the activities we participate in, the foods we eat, and the time we go to bed, to our external/internal reflections change. With Fall right around the corner, we thought it was a good time to share Sara Avant Stover’s podcast “Reflection for the Autumn Equinox” to understand how Autumn asks us to change. Celebrate the New Year with Sara and Drala Mountain Center by Replenishing & Revisioning

Bringing Together East and West, Meditation and Movement

By Michael Sandrock Leave it to German novelist Herman Hesse to give some great insight into the life of men and women. Hesse, the Nobel Prize winner who influenced many in the 1960s in the era of consciousness-raising, wrote in his 1922 novel “Siddhartha:” Most people are like a falling leaf that drifts and turns in the air, flutters, and falls to the ground. But a few others are like stars which travel one defined path; no wind reaches them, they have within themselves their guide and path. How to find your guide and path? For many of us in the West, it is through athletics and a focus on the body, specifically long-distance running in recent years. In the East, the path included a meditation practice as exemplified by the journey of Siddartha, the future Buddha. Over the Labor Day weekend, the Drala Mountain Center will once again host a retreat that brings together East and West, meditation and movement, in its “Meditation and Yoga for Runners & Hikers,” one of many DMC programs …

Exhaling Deeply

By Kelly Lindsey It’s a beautiful sunny day in late July and I have just arrived at Drala Mountain Center for Family Camp, an annual retreat for families that I have been attending with my children for the past 20 years. Drala Mountain Center has been my spiritual home since I first set foot on this sacred land more than two decades ago. Each time I return and I glimpse the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya in the distance, my body softens. My heart opens. My breath deepens. I notice that as I exhale, a gentle sigh escapes my lips. It feels like I have been holding my breath for awhile. Living though a pandemic and bearing witness to the increasing amount of confusion and conflict in the world has at times felt like too much to bear. This is a place where I find refuge. I take a walk and begin to reacquaint myself with this place again. As I wander, I recall sacred moments of connection that I have felt throughout my many summers …

Why Meditation and Yoga for Runners & Hikers?

“I drove myself with an unconscious motivation of fear. Afraid that I am not special unless I prove I am special.” ~Marty Kibiloski In our upcoming Labor Day Weekend program, Meditation and Yoga for Runners & Hikers (formerly Running with the Mind of Meditation), you’ll learn how to enjoy the journey — not just the finish line. “The people that, I think, are drawn to running are used to hard work and pushing themselves and tend to be goal-setters,” says Marty. “We start to compare ourselves to other people.” This is where mindfulness, which employs the same principles used in yoga and meditation, comes in. Mindfulness is the basic ability to be fully present. It’s a mental state achieved by calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations without judgment.​ There are sound evolutionary reasons why running and walking have surged in popularity in the new millennium to become the exercise of choice for reducing stress, bringing us greater perspective, and connecting us directly to the wisdom of the body. The practices of …

Allowing the World to Come to You

Exploring the rich world of natural creativity we all share is the focus of our upcoming online retreat – AWAKE MIND: Write • Draw • Contemplate on October 8 – 9, 2022. Experience a little taste of this playful virtual adventure with this simple practice, Sky Earth Heart : A Threefold Path, offered by Barbara Bash, co-presenter of the retreat. Join Barbara and Victress for this virtual retreat in October! About the Presenters Barbara Bash Artist/calligrapher Barbara Bash has taught Brush Spirit and Contemplative Drawing workshops over the years. She was a student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche during the early years of the Vajradhatu sangha in Boulder with Victress Hitchcock. Barbara was a teacher of calligraphy and contemplative art practices at Naropa University. Barbara is an artist and writer/illustrator of books including her most recent True Nature: An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude Useful Links View Barbara’s website Upcoming Workshops Victress Hitchcock Filmmaker/writer Victress Hitchcock was a founding member of Centre Productions, the film company Rinpoche started in 1975. Victress has been a …

Permission to Exhale

By: Brooke Binstock  As I sit to write this post, I pause to feel the wind on my skin. I look around and see people sitting at picnic benches drinking iced coffee and connecting. It is a Saturday morning in Austin, Texas. It has been an intense time in the world and as an empath, I feel it all, heavy and slow moving. I consider how difficult it is for us as a culture to just be, rest and give ourselves time to process. It is a theme I have written about over and over again in my monthly newsletter. Just rest, slow down, breathe, pause, allow…  And though it’s one thing to write and teach about these concepts, it is quite another to put them into practice.  One Big Inhale When my co-teachers, Kelly, Marissa and I got together via zoom to talk about a theme for our upcoming retreat in September at Drala Mountain, we discussed how these past few years have felt like one big inhale. An anticipation, a collective worry, a …