What’s New Behind The Scenes…

Last August my husband, Joe, our two kids, Miles and Keira, and I arrived in Santa Fe to a house we had rented sight-unseen (thanks to the help of our dear friend, Greg). Nestled between St. Francis Dr. and the DeVargas Mall, the house, now home, is a tiny oasis of birds, bees, and flowers, with a mountain (top) view and forever sun. Not only was our landing back in NM like coming home for me, but I had been hired by Lama to pick up where Joe Brodnick was leaving off, as Fundraiser to the Foundation. It was as if my dreams were coalescing into a sweet, harmonious melody.

By the beginning of September, I was swimming through the files of Lama’s inner-workings. I had lived at Lama for two winters and three summers from 1993 – 1995. I had watched the fires consume the mountain in 1996 and put out spot fires around the Aspen when it was just safe enough to reenter. I had “grown up” at Lama. Discovered myself in the Mountain’s embrace and sometimes-cold-mirror-like reflection. But one thing I had not done, back then, was this pragmatic accounting for Lama as an entity.

One of the first things that I noticed was that our database, brilliantly created by Siddiq von Briesen back in 1997, was sorely outdated. Joe B. and I discussed Joe’s research on alternatives. I decided to make it my first mission (after completing the Lama Alive newsletter) to upgrade our database to a cloud-based system that would more readily serve and support our Residents, Cottage Industry Manager, and Fundraiser in the jobs we are all tasked with doing.

This may sound simple to those unfamiliar with database migration, but, as it turns out, Lama spins an intricate web. Not only do we have a database of more than 10,000 people(!), but our systems for tracking each lovely Bean has not always been that straightforward. I will spare you all the details, suffice it to say it has been months of puzzling, organizing, cleaning, and researching. And, let’s jump right to the conclusion: We are now steps away from the complete transition from a single-computer, FileMaker database to a Salesforce database, which will be accessible to the Registrar, Treasurer, Coordinator, Fundraiser, and Cottage Industries Manager alike. If you are anything like me and able to see the far-reaching implication of this (think: less time tracking and more time loving/praying/laughing/raising money for the Foundation/___…) then you will understand my gushing entry here.

Action Requested!:
While this is 95% good news, I do fear that in the transition, some folks will find their contact information askance. If you discover that any form of communication between us changes for the worse in the next few months, please do reach out so that we can fix it. Likewise, if you’ve moved, changed numbers or email addresses, please let us know.

And if you find that our communication with you changes for the better, let us know that, too. For a community dedicated to an evolution of interpersonal communication, we have long lacked the ability to stay connected with Beans not-on-the-mountain. It is my personal hope that this will begin to shift with more reliable and available digital data. More on that another time…

A couple of months into my new post at Lama, Mirabai Starr sent me an email detailing a project she had begun four years prior with Daniel Ladinsky, renowned renderer of the mystics (Rumi, Hafiz, St. Teresa de Avila…). Along with Jenny Bird, W. Alaudin Mathieu, Habib, Mona Haydar, and others, and with the expert work of recording artist, Omar Rane, they had created a heartfelt and elegant composition of poems set to music, all a gift to Lama.

For a variety of reasons, the project lay unfinished, and Mirabai’s email was a last effort to bring the CD to fruition.

Collaboratively, we were able to climb that last small hill (as the real work had already been done) and, I am so proud and excited to report, we are now announcing the release of this very special offering, The Mountains Hint at Our Beauty.  All proceeds from sales of this CD will go directly to Lama Foundation.


On behalf of Lama, I give a deep bow of gratitude to all the artists who worked on this project, donated their time, their talent, and their love to bringing this to life.

Years after leaving Lama and reentering the world, I would find myself anxiously awaiting printed mail from the mountain. There were days I would flip through these offerings as if they were oranges I could squeeze for juice. I would have licked the pages if I thought it would get me closer to ‘home.’ 

Lama Alive, the Summer Brochure, and, YES, even the raffle letter would bring rise to sudden joy and longing. I looked forward to these. So, if your experience has been at all similar to mine, you are probably now wondering WHERE your Lama Raffle letter is? Isn’t it time?!? Why yes. Yes, it is. HOWEVER,
We are saving our “asking” this year for our Fall fundraiser: a very special event, in which we will call on all of you to participate.


We are all called to give to Lama when we can, to support the continued prosperity of the Foundation, to assure our own return, and/or the benefit of Lama’s existence for others. This year we are embarking on a substantial fundraising campaign, in order to rebuild our beloved “Old Kitchen.” This new space will reemerge under a new name, with all the heart and intention we Lama Beans can transmit (clearly a palace-of-love). Read more about the rebuild HERE…

Due to the focus we need to hold on raising money for this venture, we will not be running the raffle this year. Fear not, those of you who like to win things! Our fundraising campaign will feature many wonderful gifts. Perhaps even better than a raffle, our crowdfunding campaign will yield a return for all participants, not just the few.

And if you read nothing else in this long post, please turn your attention ‘on’ HERE NOW:

We need and want full participation from every person around the world who cares for, has been touched by, or relies upon Lama in some small or large way. We are going to be asking each of you to contribute something to this cause. 

Before we begin to actively raise money, we will be looking for a team of wild wanderers to work as the Fundraising Stewards, the Guardians of the “Ask,” the Keepers of the Flame of Prosperity — to enliven our planned 40-day campaign.

HELP WANTED: Specifically, I am looking for 3 – 5 creative and motivated volunteers to work directly with me to bring this campaign to life. It may require a couple of hours per week of your time in the beginning, with a hands-on commitment during the 40 days of our event. You do NOT have to live in New Mexico to participate, though you must have a computer and a phone.

HELP WANTED: I will also be looking for another 10 – 12 dedicated individuals who will work directly with our team on outreach. The time commitment will be flexible.

If you feel drawn to participate, please reach out to me at tracy@lamafoundation.org. Though the active fundraising doesn’t begin until September, the campaign begins now, and I would love YOUR help.

On September 1, 2018, Lama will launch a 40-day crowdfunding campaign to raise $250,000 – $300,000. Can we actually raise this money in such a short time? YES. With your commitment to participation, this will not only be a successful campaign, but a very FUN, LIVELY, HEARTFUL, and CREATIVE collaboration.

As we near the start date, I will be releasing more information about the campaign, the gifts, the inner-events, and ways to get involved. Until then, if you are feeling the pull, reach out and together we will begin this imaginative, fruitful, unifying process…


Lastly, let me thank all of you for supporting me in this work. Though you may not know it, it is due to your commitment to Lama that I am here in this service. I am always available if anyone would like to talk shop, reminisce, or discuss fundraising concerns.
May the road-of-life rise with you…

Warmly, your Fundraising Fairy,

April Tea ’24

From Jean K: Thank you for welcoming Chloe to our practice today. I think she will enjoy learningmore about how to fold the fukusa when she and I practice together. We are leaving you allnow to work on the garden. Many spring blessings to all!! From Lesley M: we are...

March Tea ’24

From Susan R: Quiet here this moment, but like returning salmon, the flow was powerful From Lesley M: Stopping the battle … Letting the foam have bubbles … Spring and Autumn mix From Dean O: In the middle of tea / the great-tailed grackles / returned to my yard today...

February Tea ’24

“Luck is the Guest that turned up.” Lesley   From Willi S: I am borrowing the words of Gary Snyder, which I think are uniquely applicable today.  We can all individually decide what he means by WILD.  "People often think of art as the most highly cultured, the most...

January Tea ’24

​From Jean K: Our lives / shirts on the ironing board / tears of grief and gratitude / with water and whisk we blend them all / and sip From Kate S: Hurrying to a place where I yearn to slow down, to listen to the sounds of making tea and the jumbled thoughts in my...

December Tea ’23

From Kathy:Running Teachers!! Shiwasu! From Jean:running teachers know the value of mistakes From Lesley:making tea to a single point … a knock at the door … a tap at the window … points in flowing motion From Jean:Phone call, I’m at the door, interruptions happen,...

November Tea ’23

  From VictoriaThe comments on sprouting and awareness of the abundance of kindnesses reminds of the Thanksgiving poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, which starts:We walk on starry fields of whiteAnd do not see the daisies;For blessings common in our sightWe rarely...

October Tea ’23

  From Kathy:   10 Virtues of Tea by Rikyu:  Blessed by gods / shakes off sleepiness / discharges filial duties / wards off disease/ makes one love and respect people / frees one from earthly desires / keeps one healthy / has contact withnobility / prolongs life...

September Tea ’23

  From Gerow Drinking tea/The shifting of the season’s light/ Illumines this double autumn. From Siddiq Approaching the gate / What can I look forward to? /  Never mind those thoughts!   From Deborah Summer to Autumn in 24 hours here; joining friends for...

August Tea ’23

  From Deborah MN First time at the library. Quite noisy and distracting. Fun though to join you even late.   From Karima Thank you soooo much for this beautiful tea time together! Must go.   From Kate I begin in uncertainty, slowly, my hands remember   From Jean...

REMEMBERING – The Old Lama Kitchen

Lama children on the steps of the Old Kitchen (1981).  Arielle, Asha (Bernard) and Jamil inside the kitchen (1981). Photos offered by Asha and Uwais Old Lama Kitchen - A few memories By Irit Umani, June 2023 When I think of Lama’s Old Kitchen, my mind almost...