Alison has been part of the AIMC community since 2010 and was instrumental in finding our “Home” at 200 Rosemont Ave. She is currently the chair of the Home of Our Own (HOO) Committee and the liaison with our landladies. Alison was an active member of the board from 2016-2019.
Alison’s spiritual path began in 1970 with Transcendental Meditation. In college she majored in World Religions and later spent 10 years on a Sikh-based path which focused on meditating on the Sound Current for 2 ½ hours a day. She was introduced to Vipassana in 2010 when she attended a dharma talk given by Kathryn Turnipseed at the Bhava Yoga Studio. Rather than promoting religious beliefs, Kathryn just talked about life as it is, which Alison found refreshing. Later that year she went on retreat with Jack Kornfield at Tara Mandala in Pagosa Springs, CO. She really connected with the practice and Jack encouraged her to “find a teacher.”
In addition to the Jack Kornfield retreat, Alison attended several retreats with Eric Kolvig at the Madonna Center in Albuquerque and at Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe. She regularly attends visiting teacher weekend retreats at AIMC and loved her experience at the Vallecitos Mountain Retreat Center.
Alison is now semi-retired. For 21 years she served as administrator at the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics and has years of experience cooking for people in their homes as well as caregiving. In 1980, soon after moving to Albuquerque, she got a 3 week assignment as weekend cook and companion for our beloved Georgia O’Keeffe. This wasn’t an easy job but generated many interesting stories–if you can get her to share them. On the fun side, she’s also worked as a “wedding officiant” since the ‘80s.
And if you want to know anything about our AIMC Home, Alison will know. The building is more than 100 years old and was originally a community center for Martineztown (our neighborhood). In case you were ever wondering about those large barn doors, at some point in the past the building was used as an auto repair shop.
Another interesting story is the history of the large wooden Buddha that you see on the front altar every 3 months (that story coming up). After fruitlessly looking for a large Buddha statue on-line and throughout New Mexico, Alison spotted our wooden Buddha while in Chinatown in San Francisco. She texted the board to get approval for the purchase and went back to Chinatown the next day to pick it up. It turned out that that was the first day of Chinese New Year, Chinatown was packed with people, and many streets were closed off. Alison and her friend quickly realized it would take a miracle to find a parking place near the Buddha store but sure enough, just as they approached the store, another car pulled away. Everything about procuring our large wooden Buddha flowed smoothly and with ease. So auspicious!
And why do the altar Buddhas keep moving locations, you might ask? Well, members of the sangha had very strong, differing opinions on which one they liked better–the gold one or the wooden one. So wisdom prevailed; acknowledging that these were just “preferences,” the HOO Committee came up with a compromise to rotate every three months!
When telling this story Alison commented that she enjoys the people at AIMC because they work hard to find a place of harmony amidst their differences. And, after ten years of struggling on a path that regarded the mind as the enemy, she is grateful for a practice which teaches us to watch the mind, work with it and ultimately befriend it.