Praxis Hub Residencies: Being at home in troubled times

Context

Life Itself is gathering groups and communities interested in radically committing, together, to be in kinship with our troubled world. We will respond to chaos together, with artistic and spiritual practice that includes deep attention to humble activities like breathing, cleaning and food. 

Under the banner of Sympoiesis, we are running a series of residencies and retreats that are a spiritual cooking-together of various ingredients: people, practices, workshops, art, community life and actual cooking. The ingredients are drawn by the opening of a space, a vacuum to be filled by people and practices too spiritual for politics, too “political” for the monasteries. The idea that life can be divorced from spirit is at the heart of our trouble. Let’s sit with this great trouble without giving into the narrowing impulse to “save the world.”

Residencies combine both an activating frame of collective practices with the space for you to continue your daily work – a key aspect is learning how we can integrate community and practice, collective and private, absolute and relative in our daily life.

Key Information

  • What? Exploring the liminal space of collective and personal awakening to cultivate the disposition to be at ease with whatever comes and adjust to it .
  • How? we believe in Community of practices, a frame which combines both a dynamic regenerative engagement for the collective and the space for you to continue your daily work – a key aspect is learning how we can integrate daily practices ( sitting, cooking, cleaning, circling) as an activation rather than an obligation ( a service you give to your Self) . Each residency is oriented around a key theme or question . See below for the detail of each residency.
  • Where? The Life Itself Praxis Hub, Bergerac, France (south west)
  • Who (is coming and can come)? We are open to all who wish to engage in practices : system-thinkers, spiritual ecologists, bodhisattvas, change makers, symbiotic entrepreneurs, poets, painters, ecodharmists, people ready to just be with what comes, good and bad. 
  • How can I participate? Please apply online using the form below.
  • How much does it cost? This depends on residencies regarding if there is workshop included or no : approx €650-1350 per month / per person for room plus €210 for food (€8/day). Couples can share rooms at a substantially reduced rate. Financial assistance may be available.
  • More questions? See the FAQs below.

Sympoieisis*, “making together”. 

This concept, proposed by Donna Haraway, seemed appropriate at a time when, despite our best intentions, any attempt to do things together often leads to conflict. Whether in our personal relationships, our workplaces or in the most beautiful intentional community projects, violence, injustice and power dynamics inevitably come to the fore. 

Stuck in our perceptions, we are often the victim of the one we oppress, unable to get out of our crossed projections. 

So the question is how to deal with this dynamic which is part of our collective trauma and which is rooted in a culture of polarisation of which we are only the mirror? How do we get out of the paradigm of good and evil, of failure and success in order to stop feeding the injustice, violence and oppression in this world?

Rather than hope for a different future we start adapting deeply now, remaking the future sympoietically. We are being-with what is coming.,We create a frame of togetherness to adjust to the trouble.

 *A term that Donna Harraway developed in her book Staying with the Trouble which means: “interfacing between different viewpoints (and in fact disciplines of science) to establish a principle of collaboration (synergy) by which the expertise of either standpoint can be combined, and enhanced, to bring out new understanding.”

Why Sympoiesis residencies

We know that many of us are interested in the transition, the state of the world. In our own ways, each of us is sensitive to it and wants to contribute to it.

However, we see that whatever good intentions, either in our personal, work or community life our automatic mechanisms seem to bring us back to suffering, injustice and oppression.

It is becoming clear that we need collective bodies (communities, sangha etc) to transform those mechanisms through collective practices and new social technologies.

Each residency will run for a month with the first starting in mid October 2021. Residencies combine both an activating frame of collective practices ( sitting, cooking, cleaning as the MVP) with the space for you to continue your daily work.

  • Radical responsibility: to be aware of one’s own needs and one’s impact on the intersubjective field and collective.
  • Radical engagement : to be aware that the daily practices of meditation, cooking and cleaning are an integral part of the transformative experience of the Hub and require a commitment of your time. A minimum of one hour per day is required. Additional practices may be included by those hosting the residency. 

The Bergerac Praxis Hub

Too crazy to be monks but too engaged to be secular , we carry the intention of the ungraspable concept of a mettamodernist monastery. We believe community of practices to be the space for the Self to sit enthusiastically in the trouble and feel at home.

The Bergerac Praxis Hub of Life itself is a new center devoted to the development and deepening of practices for psycho-spiritual response to our cultural situation.

Emphasis will be put on those that embrace the difficult task of transforming our habitual ways of being and thinking, not by arguing with each other but engaging with ourselves and our conditioning, playfully, critically, experimentally. We can create new being together. We might call it a space for spiritual practices with political implications.  

The Hub is a residence at the service of change agents. A laboratory to test and develop collective practices that can support our capacity to be together in this time of complexity, both individually and collectively.

The Hub is an experiential place that seeks to highlight the activation process resulting from community. A proposal that aims to bring out another way of thinking and living in the world by questioning the relationship between the intimate and the collective along the question of identity.

Each month a group of residents will be invited to explore a question and will be asked to produce a text in order to share the fruit of their experience (open source). Each group will be able to draw on the research of the previous group to weave a collective tapestry in the realm of contemplative and social technologies.

Read more at https://lifeitself.org/hubs/bergerac

About Life Itself

Life Itself is a multidisciplinary network of pragmatic utopians. We are committed to practical action for a radically wiser, weller world. We create hubs, start businesses, do research and engage in activism to pioneer a wiser culture.

We are especially interested in investigating what is community today, creating centres of communal living, offering residencies and engaging in contemplative activism. We have hubs in Berlin, Bergerac and London. In the pipeline is the creation of a cooperative real estate investment fund (forecast 2022) and the renovation of a residential complex a few minutes from Plum Village the largest zen monastery in Europe.

Colophon

Image Credits: Christelle Enault