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 retreat season filled with new and exciting programs and new and familiar faces. – Yes, so much has changed for us all. My hope for you, dear friend, is that you are meeting these changes with an honesty of spirit, tenderness of heart, the means to tend deeply to your whole self, and the will to soothe the ails of others. We hope that your connection to Lama, however little or great, can buoy your heart and spirit amidst these trying times.

As you might expect, this summer will look unlike any summer in recent Lama memory. In a normal year, the summer retreat season is an integral part of life here on the mountain, not only as a primary source of income, but as a clear and direct channel for service, a value that is held dear to us all. Summer is also an opportunity for us all to share the experience of Lama –the land, meals, the Dome, sunsets, and heartfelt connection. We know that our love for this place and what it stands for is best expressed through sharing it.

For all of these reasons, it has been truly difficult to come to terms with closing for the summer, but we feel that it is the best course to ensure the health and well-being of all. We plan to use this “quiet” time to create a more beautiful and thriving Lama Foundation to share with you all once we can do so again safely.

While we residents continue to care for Lama, we are seeking creative ways to responsibly wield the privilege we have of living on the mountain. We have begun making donations to our local food bank, and have created a bulk foods delivery service for those here on the mountain. We are also exploring ways to stay connected to our extended Lama family with more online offerings like our already popular Zoom Shabbat services. A multi-day retreat filled with offerings from Lama beans around the world is also in the works.

Perhaps not unlike yourself, my fellow community members and I have been seeking solid ground to stand on amidst this pandemic. No surprise, it has not been at all forthcoming. What we have instead is a host of deep questions: What does intentional community look like during a pandemic? How do we respond not from fear, but with intention, responsibility and consideration? What deeper wisdom awaits us here? How do we listen for that wisdom amidst the din of doubt, uncertainty, and anxiety? What does our service look like now? – The fact that there are far more questions than answers seems to reflect how fertile this moment is. I would say it also invites us to seek for the Friend in the unknown. To be sure, it is time to get comfortable with not knowing.

In November, trustees, residents, and a handful of continuing members met with Ben Haggard to continue an ongoing conversation about Lama’s relevancy and evolution in the world. The pivotal moment of that three-day meeting was the generation of the following statement of direction for the Foundation: Preparing individuals and communities to respond consciously and creatively to profound disruptive change. I could scarcely think of a more appropriate way to categorize the moment we are in now.

This is what we are asking ourselves: What does Lama have to offer to help people meet this moment consciously and creatively? One answer (of many) to that question is that we hold firmly to each other–all of us who have been touched by this place, who have had our eyes opened, even just a little bit, to the radical possibility of another way of living. And while we hold to one another, we can reach out to others as well. We can share our spiritual practices and the burdens and blessings in our hearts. We can share what it is to listen to another and truly hear. We can share what it is to love a place so dearly that tears flow in the recalling of it. Even though Lama may be physically closed this summer, we can still share it. This is what we are setting out to do and we hope that you will join us.

With great love and a deep bow,

-Kestrel, Lama Foundation Coordinator


A painting of Lama's old kitchen

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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. 12/3/2017, beloved by all. Listen

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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,

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, this sacred space has now sat largely unused for far too long.

Last year, Lama Council approved the first phase of renovation: the building of an internal structure that will stabilize and enable future dismantling of the exterior while building anew. In March, the Council approved further direction: The new structure will retain the elegance of the initial design, minus internal posts, and add the capacity for year round use. Lastly, approval was given to begin fundraising, with a goal of approximately $250,000.

What will the ‘Old Kitchen’ be when it is renewed?
And how do we move forward?
We are thrilled to be asking these questions, at last. 

As we head into summer, the first phase, approved and already funded, will begin. Continuing Members, Myles Saigh, who developed the 3-phase reconstruction plan and cost estimate, and Ray Bernhardt, who has agreed to spearhead the reconstruction, will be building the internal, stabilizing structure. This alone will give the community-at-large time to rally together around this exciting project.

While we have yet to fine tune our plans for this new building, we do know that the building’s use(s) will be flexible, with internal spaciousness and capacity for varied use at the discretion of each resident circle, season to season.

At annual meeting this summer we will develop a Design Committee, who will help determine specific features – how much to customize, type of siding, heating options, vent-able window styles, etc. This committee will work with Ray to help determine more specific costs.

Fundraiser, Tracy Cates, will be seeking a Fundraising Team to work with her to spearhead the campaign that will support this work.

We invite all of you to join these discussion as we proceed, and to get involved as you are called to do.

If you would like to join in, or have questions or ideas, please contact:
Bird bird@lamafoundation.org – or
Tracy tracy@lamafoundation.org

As a community we will create a new space that represents Lama at the core: for practice, for community, for prayer, for meetings, and for hosting the guest. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to manifest our love and revivify our dreams in Lama Central.

Let’s make the process as beautiful as that which we seek to make.


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 and excited to announce the CD release!

This 25 track album is a meditation of the heart. Each poem, read with musical accompaniment, imparts wisdom so sweetly that the listener is transported directly to the poet’s intent. 

All proceeds from the sales of this amazing project go directly to Lama, in support of Lama’s scholarship fund and of the land.

This is truly a treasure to be shared.
Listen and purchase on Bandcamp
Only $7.00, includes a 44 page booklet with poetry and photos.

“I just started listening, and I so needed to hear these readings today. Tears down my cheeks and tears from my heart. Thank you.”
— Maria Figliolia

“All the musicians and readers donated their time and talents to this project. A giant thanks to them: Jenny Bird – guitar, tanpura and voice; William Allaudin Mathieu – piano and voice; Habib – sitar, tabla, voice; Joseph McPherson – flutes. Christine Kahane sweetly read a poem with her dog helping. Mirabai Starr and Mona Haydar both read and blessed us, indeed. And no one got paid a penny, and all are glad.” 
— Daniel Ladinsky

“My hope is this CD will attract younger people to Lama who have a nourishing experience of the spiritual, or want to; and who have the essential work ethic to sustain their own precious lives, and impart love to whatever their hands touch.”
— Asha Greer


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 includes: grouting the stone floor, stone benches and stone columns; Anasazi-style stacked stone-facade work; bronze stairway banisters; and the drain system installation. 

The stone mason crew — led by Beau Gano (center) with Neil Martinez (left) and David Krout (right) — is working hard, continuing their superb work on the intricate and demanding floor, as well as the stone-facade finish. Once these finish-work projects are completed, Jai Cross will oversee the remediation of the construction-access road.

We eagerly anticipate some wonderful events at the Dargah this summer, especially the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Murshid Sam’s Dances of Universal Peace, the return of the Dervish Healing Order, and All Wisdom’s Children, with Murshid Saadi.




The Dome framed by a rainbow

The Dome framed by a rainbow
The Dome framed by a rainbow

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Prayer Flags

Lama Foundation Peacock

red tara prayer flag
A Red Tara prayer flag

Please visit our online store for prayer flags, t-shirts and more!

Lama Foundation helps support itself by producing ecologically sound products that carry messages of peace, awakening and community. Items include handmade prayer flags and T-shirts that celebrate various spiritual traditions as well as greeting cards that capture the beauty of Lama Mountain. Our cottage industry is part of a broader effort at Lama to develop local, sustainable and meaningful forms of economic livelihood and is named after Flag Mountain, a 12,000-foot peak that sits just north of the Foundation and provides a stunning reminder of nature’s power and elegance.

We believe in right livelihood, and care that our work not only benefits the Lama Foundation, but all who are involved. We strive to have our work not create harm to anyone, from our suppliers, on site workers, our customers, and our mother earth. Work is done by Lama residents and stewards in the spirit of “seva” (selfless service) and all proceeds benefit the Foundation. We work to create these sacred objects and to put our prayers and intentions in them, and to send the blessings of this mountain out into the world. We hope that our products confer our blessings and serve as reminders of the sacred.

cottage industries building Our Cottage Industries Building

Green screen printing

All our products are created on-site in our newly completed cottage industries studio. We use an environmentally-friendly, water-based screen-printing process to create our flags. Our strawbale facility is 100% Solar Powered with passive and active solar heating that maintains a comfortable temperature inside our facility year-round. No fossil fuels. Our water comes from our mountain spring; we use it to rinse out our biodegradable inks, and we use soy and citrus based screen-printing chemicals so that the water returns to the earth uncontaminated.

two men screen printing
Clif and Stacy printing prayer flags

Mission Statement

Sustainable livelihood is increasingly challenging in a globalizing world that thrives on profit and exploitation. Where possible, products of Flag Mountain Cottage Industries are produced in ways that enhance environmental well-being, social justice and economic viability. We use earth friendly (often organic) products and source our supplies from socially responsible companies. Furthermore, we don’t support sweatshop labor or practices that put Lama workers, suppliers or customers at risk. We believe in Right Livelihood and thus see Flag Mountain Cottage Industries as an opportunity for people to generate income with integrity. Lama residents and stewards involved in this effort work with the spirit of “seva” (selfless service) and all proceeds benefit the Foundation.

A group of people holding prayer flags

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