Embodying Collective Transformation
– France –
Week-long intensive trainings and month-long community residencies
Sharing personal and collective practices to address the challenges of our time and help create a world that works for all life
September | October | November
Thrive • Evolve • Serve
What is it?
A series of 3 month-long residencies consisting of a 7-day intensive training in personal and group practices for courageous collective transformation, followed by a 3-week community immersion to integrate and deepen these practices in our daily lives. The immersion includes time and space for you to continue your daily personal work and projects. Note: People can apply to attend just the week-long training, the entire month-long residency, or multiple months of residency.
Our shared purpose is…
To support each other to live whole and healthy lives
To deepen in practices of personal and collective evolution.
To take collective action to contribute to a world that works for all life.
Where is it?
Life Itself Praxis Hub, Bergerac, France. A palazzo in the Dordogne in the medieval town of Bergerac near Bordeaux.
Who is it for?
These community residencies are for you if you’re passionate about deeply committing to personal and collective transformational practices, in service to the well-being of the world you live in.
How much is it?
Full Residency (1 month):
Accommodation: €250 (shared) / €475 (standard) / €625 (premium)
Training only (1 week):
Accommodation: €65 (shared) / €120 (standard) / €155 (premium)
Our aim is that cost is not an obstacle to anyone in participating. If finance is an issue, please get in touch and we will see if we can provide support in some way or another.
If you’d like to offer a contribution to support someone else to join, we would be delighted to hear from you via email at email@example.com
How to apply
Please understand that there are a limited number of places available in each community residency and training. The application process consists of two stages:
- Application form
- Interview with one or two members of the Facilitation & Hosting team (see below)
Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted. Typically it will take 4+ weeks from your application date for a final decision about admissions.
Our hope is that you’ll find the application process to be a meaningful self-reflection and mini transformation experience in itself. We look forward to hearing from you! For more information on the application process, see our FAQ section below, or contact us with any questions.
Transformational Community Residencies
Why these community residencies?
The Embodying Collective Transformation residencies are about supporting one another to take wise and courageous action in response to complex issues of times – climate disruption, economic inequality, political instability, racism and nationalism, species extinction, declining mental health, etc. – in a way that creates connection, heals polarization, and serves the well-being of all life.
Engaging with these challenges requires humanity to develop core personal and collective practices and capacities. These include: to embody authenticity and empathy, hold multiple perspectives, make collaborative decisions, mediate conflict and polarization, navigate complexity, and take empowered action.
To build the capacity to do so in a meaningful and lasting way does not simply involve reading a book, watching a video, or attending one workshop. We believe people are best supported by being immersed in a community of practice – by being surrounded by others on a shared path.
Each month’s residency will open with a week-long intensive training on core practices to cultivate inner well-being and thriving interdependent relationships and communities. It is both a setup for the residency’s self-practice and demonstrator of the practices we are seeking to explore. The week-long training may also be booked as a stand-alone workshop.
What we will explore
Integrating both traditional wisdom traditions and leading-edge methodologies for human development, the practices and perspectives we will explore include:
- Deepening Self-Compassion & Self-Empowerment
- Nonviolent Communication
- Internal Family Systems
- Reinventing Organizations & Integral Design
- Meditation & Mindfulness
- Creative Expression, Movement & Play
- Clarifying Life Purpose & Vision
- Conflict Mediation & Restorative Justice
- Consciously Engaging Power & Privilege
- Collaborative Decision-Making
- Compassionate & Whole-System Social Change
- Sustainable Community & Ecovillage Design
Integrating Structure and Flexibility
Following each month’s training week, we’ll dive deeper as a micro-collective, building up rhythms and patterns to support our embodiment of collective transformation. The remainder of each month will combine a container of core shared practices with a largely open schedule to support personal work and projects. The aim is to offer a structure sufficiently strong to hold us as a community, and sufficiently flexible to integrate our individualism.
- 7:15-7:45am Physical Movement
- 7:45-8:15am Meditation
- 8:15 – 9:00am Self-Organized Breakfast & Clean-up
- 9:00 – 10:00am Collective Home Care*
- 10:00 – 12:30pm Morning Session
- 1:00 – 2:00pm Lunch
- 2:00 – 2:30pm Lunch Clean-up
- 2:30 – 5:00pm Afternoon Session
- 5:30 – 6:30 Collective Home Care*
- 6:30 – 7:30pm Dinner
- 7:30 – 8:00pm Dinner Clean-up
- 8:00 – 9:30pm Evening Session
*Choose one Collective Home Care slot per day
REST OF THE MONTH
- 7:15-7:45am Physical Movement
- 7:45-8:15am Meditation
- 9:00-10:00am or 5:30-6:30pm (your choice) Collective Home Care
- 6:30pm: Community Dinner
- Wednesdays 7:45-9:30pm: Community Meeting & Heartspace
- Saturdays 10:00am-12:00pm: Community Learning/Service
Throughout the remaining time in these 3 weeks, we will construct an agenda collectively. At any time, anyone is welcome to convene a session on a topic or practice that they’re passionate about and contributes to the well-being and development of the group. It could be a workshop, shared movement or physical exercise, or even a game, an excursion or a film screening. You are welcome to attend and host as many sessions as you wish; attendance is not compulsory.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
– Mary Oliver
Facilitation & Hosting Team
Karl Steyaert is a visionary cultural catalyst with over 25 years experience facilitating personal and collective transformation across North America, Europe and Asia. His clients range from non-profits, intentional communities and ecovillages, to universities, governments and Silicon Valley tech companies. Having designed and directed programs in Integral Sustainability for the University of Massachusetts at Findhorn Ecovillage (Scotland) and Auroville (India), as well as supporting the development of dozens of ecovillage and community projects worldwide, Karl has a passion for co-creating hubs for the evolution of consciousness and life-enriching culture. He is a certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication, and a Level 1-3 trained practitioner of Internal Family Systems therapy, as well as having extensive training and experience facilitating collective trauma healing, restorative justice, aikido, and meditation. Karl has studied with Marshall Rosenberg, Richard Schwartz, Thomas Hübl, Arnold Mindell, Joanna Macy, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Adyashanti. In 2013 he founded the Cultural Catalyst Network – a global community of changemakers integrating inner, interpersonal, and systemic transformation.
Jocelyn Ames is a community catalyst with over 10 years of experience embodying a toolkit of practices for personal and collective transformation. Her inquiry into making the world a better place for all was seeded by her schooling at the United World College of Southeast Asia. After completing a BA in International Development and Geography at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London, 2012) she went on to explore more grassroots and systemic approaches to collective change and sustainability. She has dedicated many years to living and experimenting in various forms of community around the world while tending to the inner ecology of the self, the interpersonal ecology of relationship, and regenerative relationships to the earth through yoga, permaculture, Nonviolent Communication, mediation, Internal Family Systems and menstrual cycle awareness. Since 2020, she has been working alongside Karl as host and developer of the Cultural Catalyst Network, as well as being a ‘social fabric weaver’ within the Microsolidarity network.
Nadine Helm loves contemplative practices, deep connection and presence with life and all beings. She began her study of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in 2004, began facilitating in 2007 and is on the path to certification. Besides NVC and Living Compassion (work of Robert Gonzales), she is trained as a yoga teacher in the Sivananda tradition, yoga therapy instructor, Level 1 trained practitioner of Internal Family Systems therapy, received Mindfulness and MBSR teacher training with Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Bob Stahl and Thich Nhat Hanh. Nadine spent three years living and working in an Ashram and about 8 months at Plum Village monastery. Nadine gives workshops and accompanies people in individual sessions on the fascinating journey into the inner world, intuitively allowing the pillars that shaped her to flow together in her work. www. embracing-life.com
Catherine Tran studied English at the University of Cambridge (UK) before completing a joint M.A. in Cultural Narratives at the University of Guelph (Canada), University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), and University of Perpignan (France) in 2021. During her master’s she explored the role that art and literature might play in cultivating ecological responsibility, and she’s currently interested in what it means to be a responsible human being in a web of interspecies interdependence. This has led her to working for Life Itself, an organization of pragmatic utopians committed to action for a radically wiser, weller world. She participated in the Cultivating Conscious Community residency facilitated by Karl at the Life Itself Hub in January 2022, which inspired her to commit to embodying collective transformation.
- These community immersion experiences have been so valuable. They gave an opportunity not just to learn the different skills, practices, and systems we need to thrive in living together, but also gave a chance to practice them for a longer period so that I could integrate them more as a culture and a way of life. Living with a group of people provides abundant transformational opportunities and the support to grow from these experiences. That’s been hugely valuable to me.
- Donal Gannon
- CNVC Nonviolent Communication Certified Trainer
- This experience truly opened my heart. It made me feel what compassion is, beyond conceptual knowing, inviting a level of depth and openness that I hadn’t experienced in a group before. It was so enriching to learn together how to transform restrictive habits into openness, and how to improve the quality of our daily-life interactions. I leave the course with insights and tools that will help me to keep growing as a human being. This is so much needed in the times we live in.
- An Van Damme
- Process Facilitator
- The training and community immersions have taught me so much about how to live more consciously. They have supported me to grow into a more full-hearted and alive human being, to learn to move toward and transform conflict, and to take bold action to contribute to the world.
- Henry Kellogg
- Sustainability Entrepreneur
- I appreciated the magic, the warmth, the safe space to be seen and see others with an open heart, the inspiring facilitation, tangible skills (Nonviolent Communication distinctions, Parts Work, empathy, dialogue practices come to mind first), embodied experiences of these skills and ways of being, personal transformation, and a reminder of the beauty of community.
- Corinna Zuckerman
- Social Entrepreneur
The ultimate goal in life is… to become the truest expression of ourselves, to live into authentic selfhood, to honor our birthright gifts and callings, and be of service to humanity and our world.
– Frederic Laloux
Is there any reading or self-study I can do to prepare for the residency?
Yes, we ask that you go through at least the Core Resources of the Recommended Resources.
What are you looking for in the application?
In the application process, we are most interested in how we can acknowledge and reflect both on how we all shine, and how we all struggle. Our understanding is that none of us is complete in our development, so we invite you to respond as honestly as you can about both your celebrations and challenges.
As we wish for you to express yourself in this application in a way that is as natural as possible, if you would rather respond to some or all of these questions using a video recording or some other means of communication, please feel free. That said, written responses are very welcome.
We realize there are a number of deeper reflection questions, so we invite you to aim for less than 250 words (or 2 minutes speaking) for each response.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Can I come for part of the month?
Yes, as long as you attend the first week training, you can apply to come for less than the entire month, though we prioritize those able to spend the whole month.
Can I join more than one residency?
Yes! You are welcome to join 1, 2 or all 3 residencies.
What are the arrival and departure dates and times?
Arrival days for each of the Training Weeks respectively are 2nd September, 1st October and 1st November. You are welcome to arrive any time on those days to get settled in. We will kick off all together with dinner at 18:30, followed by a short Welcome and Orientation circle.
Departure days for each Residency are the 30th of each month. We kindly ask you to vacate your room by noon so we can prepare it for the next person, unless you are staying on for the next Residency. If you wish to stay longer, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to check for possibilities.
Will there be time for my personal work and projects?
It is only during the training week that we ask everyone to make themselves available for the full schedule, barring major outside commitments (which we ask you to communicate as a part of your application). The remaining three weeks of the residency combine some daily shared practices with a largely open schedule to support personal work and projects. So there will be time for self-work then. A key aspect of the residency is learning how we can integrate community and practice, collective and private, absolute and relative in our daily life.
Do I have to attend all of the daily and weekly practices?
The daily and weekly practices listed above are considered essential aspects of Embodied Collective Transformation. The general understanding is that everyone agrees to participate consistently in these practices, but if there is an occasional schedule conflict with an outside commitment, we simply ask that people communicate with us in advance. We ask that people reflect on their desire to commit to these shared practices before applying to attend.
Why have regular daily and weekly shared practices?
Put simply, meaningful change requires consistent practice. Any kind of deep or lasting change – whether to cultivate compassion and equanimity, to become a master facilitator, or to help build a movement to address climate change – requires developing new patterns of being and doing. Extensive research into human development indicates that cultivating desired habits, and letting go of habits we don’t want, is most effectively supported by consistent, incremental practice. In other words, a journey of a thousand miles doesn’t just begin with one step; it also involves taking many small doable steps, day after day, consistently and over the long term.
Furthermore, consistent practice is tremendously supported by sharing our practice with others. Having dedicated companions – as we meditate, or cook, or strategize about a project – helps motivate us, keeps us accountable to our intentions, and supports us to experience a deep sense of belonging in community. Sometimes we may choose to do a practice in silence or with an internal focus, but knowing that others are with us transforms our practice profoundly, and helps us learn invaluable lessons about interdependence and how to build new cultural patterns.
What is the process for requesting financial assistance?
Our aim is that cost is not an obstacle to anyone’s participation. If you are experiencing financial constraints, please send us an email at email@example.com describing: 1) your current financial situation; and 2) the specific amount of support you are requesting. We will do our best to see if we can provide assistance in some way or another.
What happens when I apply to be on the waiting list?
If a Training or Residency is fully booked, you are welcome to submit an application to be on a waiting list. We will review your application and invite you to an interview if/when a spot becomes available. Note that this could even happen at the last moment if someone cancels unexpectedly.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: There are a limited number of places available. Applications will be reviewed as submitted.