By Maggie Colby
Our dear friend and vajra sister, Jill Scott, passed away in Halifax on June 1, 2015. We will miss her tremendously.
On the 6th of February, 2015, the following announcement went out to the Shambhala Community:
We would like to announce the retirement of Ms. Jill Scott, Associate Director, Office of Practice and Education, after 15 years of most excellent service. Her devotion and exertion have provided invaluable continuity to the pillar of Practice and Education through times of great change and growth in Shambhala. We wish her great joy in her retirement.
Since February, some of us who have worked closely with Jill over the years have been wanting to share more with the Shambhala community about her, as someone who many of you may only know from emails and announcements.
I could write about the numerous projects that Jill worked on over the years at the Office of Practice and Education, including, among other things:
taking everything online in the early 2000’s
building and managing the first Practice and Education web page
writing the annual P&E Newsletter
communicating ongoing changes to curriculum over the years to the entire community
reviewing thousands of program applications
answering countless phone calls, and most assuredly
responding to tens of thousands of emails
not to mention, supporting OPE through a number of transitions of Directors and International Program Managers!
But I think I will talk more about her qualities.For me, Jill is a magical being. Like many of the students who were drawn to the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in the 70’s, she jumped into his world fully, following her coincidences and her heart.
Over the years, this heart journey took Jill from New York City to Vermont to Boulder and eventually to Halifax, where she still resides. Jill, along with her husband Michael, whom she met along the way, became very close to the Vidyadhara serving him and his family (including the young Sawang) in many capacities over the years helping to create the foundation upon which the Shambhala community still stands.
Jill is full of wonderful stories from those days, some of which she would share with me in our former Tower Road office, while in between phone calls, emails and program application reviewing. These moments of sharing with Jill were always so precious.
Once she told me that she had asked the Vidyadhara ‘what role she would play in Shambhala.’ Apparently, he told her that she would be a “diplomat.” That is, a representative who can (according to my dictionary) ‘deal with people in a sensitive and effective way.’
This is precisely how she manifested.
Jill always knew, for example, how to answer a difficult email with skill and clarity. She rarely no, she never got emotional about challenging communications that would appear on occasion in her inbox. She could rise above conflict and address the heart of the matter in a way that would uplift even the most upset person, inviting them into genuine communication. She would hit send, then let it go. She wouldn’t reward herself, and never sought praise.
Sometimes, I would look at Jill and feel that no matter what she did outwardly in the office, there was an invisible activity around her person, just by virtue of who she was. There was a genuine dignity and windhorse just simply having her in the office that, I believe, were felt widely.
She had and continues to have invisible, radiant, excellent qualities. I suppose we all do.
On February 24th, about 25 of us gathered at the Halifax Shambhala Center to celebrate the retirement of our dear friend and colleague, Jill Scott. The occasion was elegant, artful and full of love just like her.
We love you so much, Jill.
Thank you for everything.
May 30, 2015
Republished from the Shambhala Times
* * *
By Jonathan McKeever
Jill Scott. A diamond so pure it’s black.
A friend so reliable she’s built into your life. Like a spouse.
Or an ache that’s always there.
She’s more than you can ever know. An exotic land seen from a train car
when you are blinded hopelessly by sunlight.
Or when you are right here,
in a small kitchen
watching her prepare for tea.
Scooping usucha into a perfect mountain shape.
What a guest will see
What she won’t. No distinction.
That is Jill’s grace. Each movement betrays
Aeons of forgiveness. A bright ardor.
More than anything, you can see how hard Jill has trained.
Her merit is a simple unadorned luster,
A heart burnished ember-bright
by relentless good intent.
She is the hush of night.
The whisper of thought.
She is the humble sister, and queen, that hosts
the very dance
* * *