Families and Children Blog

Thank You to Growing Brave Donors

Dear Donors,

This October, thanks to your help, over 80 people gathered in Boulder, CO to connect, share wisdom and envision the possibilities for families and children in Shambhala. Many questions arose. Many inspirations were sparked. Many warm conversations brought forth the richness and the needs of Shambhala.

We are SO GRATEFUL for your generous financial support of this project which helps us to align Shambhala vision with what it means to live in community and to create good human society. Thank you! Your generosity actually made this possible!

If you are interested in what is happening going forward, please read the rest of this message.

Among the many people committed to the vision of Growing Brave together;  Acharya Adam Lobel, Minister Wendy Friedman, and Minister Jane Arthur took part in many Open Space conversations convened by parents, children, educators and engaged community. Collectively we responded to emerging needs articulated at our conference, sharing wisdom and forging a path forward together. The richness of what arose was captured in the notes from the various breakout groups. At the end of the conference, the three ministers empowered the Families and Children Committee, and every single other member of this engaged community, to continue doing the work of trusting our good hearts and inviting wisdom from the community that always surrounds us. This is our path forward.

Because of you, we are able to harness our energy and continue to make profound connections. We are now inspired to create more working groups, councils, support systems. Together we will establish strong lines of communication to needs, resources, and wisdom.

We (the Families and Children Committee) will be hosting several online follow up conversations via Zoom. These conversations are open to anyone interested in continuing the conversation. You can join us:

Saturday November 4th at 2pm Atlantic Time (Join this Zoom conversation here)

Friday November 10th at 1pm Atlantic Time (Join this Zoom conversation here)

We’ll share the stories, programs and initiatives of the Family and Children programs supported by your generous gift, in facebook posts, articles in the Shambhala Times, and more here, on our blog.

Truthfully, we could not do this without you. We sincerely appreciate your generosity.

With deep gratitude for all of you,

the Families Hub Core Committee

Leslie Gossett (chair), Laura Burnham, Steve Sachs, Tracy Suchocki, Marcelle Gilkerson, Marisa Montagna and Nicole Wolf

Beyond Filters: Where to Meet Our Children

(by Anne-Marie Keppel)

I believe the eleventh hour to be upon us, and perhaps coincidentally, I have witnessed a thrilling shift within Shambhala.

October 2017 was a new dawn in Shambhala for me. Though I have been sitting on cushions since I was five, and gobbling up any available dharma from the teachers, books and open talks at Karmê Chöling since 2005, I could in fact be, the world’s worst Shambhalian.

After twelve years of “being on the Shambhala path” I really should be on Scorpion Seal 64, right? Meh, well, through a variety of reasons including being a single working mother combined with a slight skepticism regarding how much merit actually emanates from shiny pins, I’m now thrilled to be registering for level 3. Don’t laugh, understanding the extent of the cocoon teachings in level 2 is worth spending several years on.

The last reason I have been such a delinquent student is, I have not witnessed a lot of action… I have not witnessed a lot of bold extension by practitioners into the grief zones and confused pockets on the planet. For Shambhala to really pull me in, I have been waiting for the “and now get out there” part of the path.  The part where you say, “enough about me!” and organize volunteer groups in your town to scrub out old buildings and create new drop-in meditation centers for teens.

The Growing Brave Shambhala Children and Families Conference  in Boulder moved at such a pace I was dizzy with inspiration and motivation. The program was led by Acharya Lobel, Wendy Freidman and Jane Arthur. Yet, the program was run by participants. What. Shambhala doesn’t do that, I know.  I had no idea how such a flip in structure would turn out, but holy bananas when the wisdom of the group is allowed to flow out into the program space, is then formed into tangible orbs and the Acharya leads from behind… Well, magic happens.


Letter from LA

Letter from LA

Dear amazing sangha friends:

Many of you already know about the Growing Brave Conference for Families & Children in Shambhala in Boulder October 6 – 9 next month.  I am proud to be among seven devoted people who have worked for over 2 years to make this conference happen.  Our intention is to create an entirely new paradigm for the way those of us in Shambhala relate to our children and their families.  After all, children are the future of Shambhala, and what they contribute now and as adults will help create a new paradigm for the world.  Isn’t this what “enlightened society” is all about?

Children in Shambhala have long experienced themselves as beings at the edges of Shambhala.  Too often they have been offered “childcare” so their parents could sit and learn the dharma.  We can do better. Their busy parents have often felt isolated and unsupported as they attempt to participate in sangha activities.  It’s time to consider that it is not just parents who raise the children, but the whole sangha who does this.  We’ve all heard, “It takes a village to raise a child”…and that’s us!

The conference in Boulder will be amazing and will include children.  Among other things, we’ll be discussing Shambhala curriculum for children.  Acharya Adam Lobel (who has two young boys) and Minister Wendy Friedman will guide those gathered. There are many people eager to come and the tuition is low to encourage them.  For those at a distance, it means taking time off work, bringing kids or finding childcare for them and spending a good deal of money to make the trip.  We have many people asking for scholarships, and we also need to cover the conference expenses.

This is why I’m asking everyone in our sangha to donate $10 toward this worthy initiative.  I’m not suggesting more because it’s even more important that we all give generously to our local sanghas as we traditionally do during the Harvest of Peace next week.  At a recent werma feast in Eagle Rock almost everyone there donated at least $10, and $240 was raised on the spot.  I think we can easily surpass that amount with your help!

Here’s how to make the donation with this direct link:


You’ll immediately receive a printed receipt for your donation.

With much appreciation for your help in this endeavor!

Laura Burnham, on behalf of the SMCLA Family Council


When we think of creating enlightened society, we often think how great it would be to become a part of such a place. Awake, kind, compassionate human relationships that foster life and create sane social structures. How good it would feel! And sometimes we find glimpses and tastes of just that. And sometimes we forget that enlightened society doesn’t just create itself. It’s a lot of work! And there is no magical “center of the mandala” to whom one can submit ideas and visions and have them executed to fruition. Rather it falls upon all of us to offer our efforts and skills toward the fruition of what we know to be beneficial to good human society.

The Growing Brave Families and Children’s Committee has been working diligently for over two years, meeting weekly and spending countless hours bringing the Shambhala Vision for families and children to greater fruition. But it didn’t start with us. There have been International working groups on Families and Children before us who accomplished amazing work. There are countless individuals who have dedicated their lives, time, and energy to families and children in Shambhala. There are resources, documents, manuals, curricula, and countless other amazing developments that took a lot of work and inspiration to create. It doesn’t end with us either. As we compile all of these things in one place, we invite you to join us in the lineage of Shambhala Families and Children work. We know that amazing things are happening all over the world, and we are longing to connect with you. We would like to hear your stories, see your content, and ask for your help.

Welcome to our very first blog! We are so excited to be creating this website on Shambhala.org where we will compile all things Families and Children related. The Families Hub is a place for parents, grandparents, caregivers, centers, groups, leaders, teachers, and anyone working with families to come and find access to ideas, documents, curricula, photos, blogs, contact info and more.

Here are three ways you can contribute to this important effort:

  1. Gather written documents, templates, program plans, and resources from programs for families and children you have offered and submit them to us to share with others
  2. Tell us the stories of your own successes and failures with creating families and children’s programming, parenting on the path, or working with Shambhala teachings in everyday life with families and children. We can use these as the seeds of future blog posts and work with you to create wonderful articles.
  3. Join us in the collective evolution of this process. There is no hard “launch” of a project like this. It’s living, breathing, growing, and alive. If you have skills, time, or energy to offer to this project, be in touch with us to help support this community effort.

You can contact us at [email protected].

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