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Appreciating Jill Scott

flowersby Maggie Colby, International Programs Manager, Shambhala

On the morning of Monday, June 1st, two days after this article was posted, Jill Scott passed away peacefully in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She had entered palliative care only a few days before. Friends and family will be gathering at the Halifax Shambhala Center on the evening of Wednesday June 3rd to honor Jill’s life and memory. 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 in to his world fully, following her coincidences and her heart.

Jill ScottOver 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 wish to share some photos of that special event with all of you. To see them, please click here.

We love you so much, Jill.

Thank you for everything.

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11 responses to “ Appreciating Jill Scott ”
  1. Gayle Van Gils
    Jun 8, 2015
    Reply

    I was surprised and sad to hear of Jill’s passing. I had no idea that her resignation was due to serious illness. Everything Maggie said was so true! Jill was a calm port in a rocky period of little support in P&E. I counted on her in so many ways, and she was always there with the right answer. Jill will truly be missed.

  2. Christine Sloan
    Jun 5, 2015
    Reply

    Thank you Maggie. Indeed a fitting tribute to a jewel warrior. An example of kindness and sensitivity.

  3. I am so saddened to hear of losing Jill. I didn’t know her well but being in Halifax, and preparing for Kurukulla Abisheka, she was so gently supportive and available. Thank you Maggie for sharing these thoughts.

  4. Gene Bobker
    Jun 3, 2015
    Reply

    What a wonderful celebration of Jill. She was a wonderful woman in so many ways. We will all miss her.

  5. wendy friedman
    Jun 3, 2015
    Reply

    Thank you, Maggie.

    A fitting tribute for an elegant and dignified warrior.

  6. Rose Sposito
    Jun 3, 2015
    Reply

    Jill was steady, sane, loyal and gentle. I will always remember her
    in this way.

    With Love,
    Rose

  7. The loss of Jill is incomparable on a personal level and for the community on a larger level. You reside in her hearts forever. Love you so very much….beyond words.

  8. Irene Woodard
    Jun 1, 2015
    Reply

    No matter how small or silly,
    or important, I could ALWAYS count on Jill to get back to me
    with an answer in reasonable time…
    Truly appreciated knowing there was JS reading my emails…
    Big thanks,
    Love
    Irene Woodard.
    P and E Sky Lake

  9. Linda V. Lewis
    Jun 1, 2015
    Reply

    Wonderful, articulate article about Jill for whom it is so difficult to capture in words. She is and has been indeed a “diplomat” for whom Thrungpa Rinpoche would be most proud, and an available mentor to so many of us in person and on line, not to mention a dear friend. Thank you so much for these words and photos which honor Jill!

  10. Cara Thornley
    May 31, 2015
    Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this celebration of Jill. You gave voice to my experience of Jill over the many years she was so helpful to me, and many, many others, as you have said.

  11. Rose Ann Mancias
    May 31, 2015
    Reply

    I couldn’t have stated it any better. Thank you Jill for being a guiding light for myself and the Houston Shanga during my first year as director. Much love and gratitude for you and your service.

    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.

    Rose Ann


Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.



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