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first things that I noticed was that our database, brilliantly created by Siddiq von Briesen back in 1997, was sorely outdated.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,


Poems written by participants of Lama Tea, June 2, 2022 Prepare to face the moment, just how it happens. — Karen Higgins our attentive preparations join hands with the ringing clash of the unexpected past meets future two hands blessed and blessing — Lesley Maclean...

September Tea

Hopping bunny stops To sniff a morning glory Vining through lettuce — Tracy Cates Return to tea, Return to friends. Love and blessings everyone! — Kate Shane glowing jars of autumn bounty bunny madonnas crickets at my window it's autumn! — Kathy Lyons Hippity HOPPING,...


Lama Tea, July 7, 2022 When we look up at the stars, what do we feel? Do we feel the awesome vastness of space? Do we stop breathing or thinking? Do we feel ever so teeny? Do we feel an inexplicable connection? Is there fear? joy? quiet? heart thumping brain...

A Letter from the Coordinator

Beloved Lama Community, So much has changed for us all in these last few months. Not long ago, residents were deep in retreat for our winter intensives, wondering if the Community Center kitchen project would ever be totally completed, and eagerly awaiting a summer...


Lama has a podcast page on SoundCloud! https://soundcloud.com/user-615961713 Listen on SoundCloud Remembering our recently departed Elaine Sutton, as she reads her works just days before passing on into the great unknown. Elaine Karen Sutton, B. 9/16/1949, D....

General Sale

Use this form to make a payment for a retreat, hermitage, or any other purpose that is not a donation. Please include a note about what your payment is for. Our payment forms are offline momentarily. Please check back later.

The “Old Kitchen,” And The Beginning of A New Era

The “Old Kitchen” was a place of nourishment for so many over the decades. Not only was it the wellspring of countless meals, but it was a central gathering place, a direct channel to the dome, and a harbor for those seeking connection. Due to structural instability,...

A Generous Gift: The Mountains Hint at Our Beauty

Four-and-a-half years ago a group of talented artists, musicians, and poets, all lovers of Lama, began an audio project, focused around the poetry of Rumi and Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky, as a generous donation to the Foundation. This week, we are very proud...

Dargah – Home Stretch

While the Lama oaks burst into fresh green, the final stretch of the Dargah construction has begun.  We substantially completed the construction in 2017, thanks to the hard work of many work-crews.   Project Manager Malik Braun is back on-site. The remaining work...


Donate to Lama Foundation and help us preserve the legacy. Lama Foundation is over 50 years old. We would love to make it another 50 years! Click Here for more information.