Ziji Working Groups

Ziji’s Working Groups are how we organize ourselves to do practical work in the world. As of October 2016, we’ve adopted the Working Groups model to replace the Ziji Council as a centralized leadership body, and we’re defining the current Working Groups in a series of weekly meetings.

If you want to know more about the work of one or another Working Group, please feel free to contact that group’s contact person directly—they will be happy to talk to you. Also, the Working Groups organize their work on the Ziji Collective Slack account and on Google Drive, so if you’d like to look at the work that’s going on across all the Working Groups please email us at contact@zijicollective.org for an invitation to those accounts. You can also email contact@zijicollective.org to propose a new Working Group that you’d like to lead.

Finance Working Group

Contact person: Danielle Livellara (danielle@daniellelivellara.com)
Other members: Yuko Barringer, Alex Rodriguez, Emma Siemens-Adolphe

The Finances Working Group is responsible for developing tools and practices for how the Ziji Collective relates to money. This includes managing our relationship with banks and other financial institutions, developing accurate and transparent bookkeeping practices, and developing tools for fundraising and development of larger-scale projects.

Contact Us If:

  1. You need money for something Ziji-related
  2. You have an idea that could increase Ziji’s access to financial resources
  3. You want to work to take a wakeful attitude toward finances forward in general

Communications Working Group

Contact Person: Annica Crouse (annica.crouse@gmail.com)
Other Members: Fred Meyer, William Drescher

The vision of the Communications Working Group is to create and maintain connections within the Ziji Collective that would not otherwise happen because of distance and lack of connectivity.

Our goals are to create and maintain the Ziji Collective’s online/digital presence, make the right people aware of the activity of the other working groups, and maintain (digital) resources for general use within Ziji.

Contact Us If:

  1. You want to help connect people who share the Ziji vision
  2. You need help promoting something you’re working on
  3. You want to understand who’s doing what inside Ziji and how to get more involved

Expressions Working Group

Contact Person: Fred Meyer (fredclaymeyer@gmail.com)
Other Members: Dylan Bianchi

The Expressions working group exists to promote the forms and practices that Ziji uses to express its vision of basic goodness and enlightened society. Some specific goals include:

  1. Creating a “How to Start a Ziji Group” online resource for people just getting started.
  2. Recording the basic details of existing forms, like mindful young meditators’ nights, mindful open mic nights, social meditation, and open space technology.
  3. Helping people understand where to learn more about each form in Ziji.
  4. Promoting the creation and inclusion of new forms: trying to figure out “what works and why it works” for new forms and practices.
  5. Specifically: piloting a form to make group study of the Buddhist and Shambhala teachings wakeful and uplifting, and starting one or more online study groups.

Contact Us If:

  1. You are interested in helping to record, promote, and develop wakeful forms and practices within Ziji
  2. You want to learn more about a specific form or practice, like social meditation or open-space technology
  3. You’re interested in exploring how Ziji’s overall vision—connecting with basic goodness and helping promote its expression as enlightened society—can be “crystallized” into specific ways of engaging with the world and each other

Coordination Working Group

Contact Person: Corey Adkins (adkinsbass@gmail.com)
Other Members: Bruno Límenes, Angela Valencia, Lia Duggan, Fred Meyer

Coordination is the working group that serves as the connecting hub for global Ziji activity. It accomplishes this through:

Contact Us If:

  1. You are curious about or would like to contribute to the development of new ideas that are not currently held within the structure of Ziji Collective.
  2. You would like to host one of our ongoing weekly calls.
  3. You are an outside organization looking for an administrative point of contact with Ziji Collective.

Summit Planning Working Group

Contact Person: Court Donner (ereiamjh@gmail.com)
Other Members: Danielle Livellara, Camille Carter

The Summit Planning Working Group is organizing the upcoming Ziji Collective Summit in Nashville, TN, and establishing practices & conversations for future summits.

Contact Us If:

  1. You are interested in contributing to the organizing of venue, housing, transportation, finance, or any other aspect of event planning.
  2. You want to contribute your thoughts & ideas about past & future summits.
  3. You’re interested in joining conversations on when & where the summits are held.


Ziji Stewardship Council

FullSizeRenderShastri Trinley Busby, assigned to Vancouver, British Columbia, first met the Sakyong in 2006. Her volunteer and contract work in the area of housing and poverty activism led her to the field of frontline social service support work in Vancouver’s Eastside, working specifically with marginalized populations who have experienced homelessness and live with concurrent mental health and substance abuse challenges. For the past 10 years, Shastri Trinley has been uniting her experiences as a meditator with her work as an activist.

BlueStraightMarguerite Drescher is a visual artist and graphic recorder/facilitator, trained in cultivating vivid expressions for learning. She is dedicated to living art and exploring the possibilities for social transformation through creative process. Marguerite is committed to surfacing all of the voices in a process with the understanding that a radically inclusive approach is what will allow us to come to sustainable strategies and actions on this chaotic path. Marguerite works with communities, governments and businesses, in Nova Scotia and around the world, mapping complex issues into simple images. Her business Brave Space offers graphic facilitation and process design. She is an unwavering Nova Scotian, with deep roots in that raw and magical place, and currently lives in Halifax.

Holly GayleyShastri Holly Gayley is an Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder, having completed a Masters at Naropa University in 2000 and Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2009. She has been practicing meditation in the Shambhala tradition for more than twenty years and regularly leads meditation retreats and workshops. Holly has frequently travels to Eastern Tibet for her research on contemporary Buddhist movements and enjoys trekking in the Himalayas and Rocky Mountains.

NickShastri Nick Kranz has been a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche since 1997. He has developed an approach to cultural transformation in the practice of Social Meditation, and worked with Youth Leadership development in the Shambhala community for the last decade. He brings the wisdom of meditation practice to businesses and organizations with www.mindfulinthemidst.com, He is also a founder of a farm to table grocery delivery service somethinggud.com, which is a benefit corporation with the mission to provide holistically healthy options. He is interested in the intersection of social entrepreneurship,  awakened intentional community, and collaborative right livelihood.

Adam-Lobel-250x333Kalapa Acharya Adam Lobel is a teacher in the Shambhala tradition, a Buddhist minister, and a scholar of philosophy and religion. Adam leads meditation workshops, courses on Buddhist philosophy and the social vision of Shambhala. He teaches meditation to youths within the prison system and a mental health institution. In 2008, the Sakyong named Acharya Lobel the Kalapa Acharya. The Kalapa Acharya presides over the Pillar of Practice and Education within Shambhala.Adam is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has an eight-year-old son, Javin, who is a Jedi Knight in training.

Noel McLellanAcharya Noel McLellan is a second-generation Shambhala practitioner living in Halifax, Nova Scotia with his wife Marguerite Drescher and their two ferocious young children, Gabriel and Esmé.  He teaches at the Shambhala School, helping to develop a transformative approach to education.  He oversees training for young Shambhala teachers and leaders in social transformation. Noel’s writings on education, culture and Shambhala are available at broken leaf.

alex bass twoAlex Van Gils is a composer and bassist whose music is inspired by his practice and study of Shambhala Buddhism. Alex is working towards his PhD in Music Composition and Theory at UC Davis, and is the Director of the Shambhala Meditation Center of San Francisco. His dissertation work includes an upcoming concerto for Jazz Saxophonist Andrew Van Tassel and Dave Möschler’s Awesome Orchestra Collective.

AlexmAlex Milsom is writing a dissertation at UCLA about Victorian guidebooks and tourism and teaches undergraduate English. She lives with two dogs and two turtles – all of whom she adopted from a local pet rescue (Karma Rescue) for whom she has volunteered for six years. When she’s not dissertating or driving to and from the Shambhala Centers, she can be found visiting schools and prisons to give talks about becoming animal allies and encourage people to adopt from shelters. She got involved in the Ziji Collective a couple years ago when she became part of a committee to help develop younger-ish sangha in Shambhala. She is the Chair of The Global Council and also helps mentor Ziji SoCal leaders in LA. Locally, Alex is the NCO for our Dorje Kasung squad. In addition she likes to give talks about Yeshe Tsogyal and the mother lineage.