Cultivating Conscious Community Residency – Jan 2022

One month residency & workshop to co-work and co-live on the theme of:

What are the patterns and practices to cultivate conscious community?

Key Info

  • What: 1 month residency to work and practice around question of cultivating conscious community. Starts with a 5d intensive workshop led by Karl Steyaert, founder of the Cultural Catalyst Network and 20y veteran in the development of conscious communities. More info »
  • When: 4 Jan 2022 to 4 Feb 2022 (workshop 4-9 Jan)
  • Where: Life Itself Praxis Hub, Bergerac, France (near Bordeaux)
  • Who: anyone interested in living or creating conscious community
  • Facilitators: Karl Steyaert & Rufus Pollock (see below)
  • Cost (month): €550-750 (plus €210 for food) depending on room type. This includes participation in the workshop. 
  • Cost (workshop only): €600 depending on room type (food and accommodation included)
  • Notes on costs: 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.
  • Interested? Apply now »

Please find out about our common principles which need to be agreed on before coming.


More and more groups are interested in creating spaces for personal and collective growth.

But, how do we do this? What are the practices, what are the structures? At present, there is a lack of systematic shared knowledge in this area. Moreover, this knowledge is for the most part embodied – it must be practiced not simply read or talked about. Furthermore, these competencies are best learned (and sometimes only learned) through actual experience and practice in the collective.  

This month-long residency is an opportunity for those interested in creating or participating in growth-oriented collectives both to explore and to embody related practices and patterns.

Explore: share, discuss and pattern the various practices and approaches in this area. 

Embody: the residency is also a real-life pilot of them in this micro-collective

Some of the essential practices we will explore and trial include:

  • Creating Welcoming Spaces
  • Self-Connection and Self-Compassion
  • Empathic Listening
  • Authentic Self-Expression
  • Facilitating Conflict and Mediating Polarization
  • Collaborative Decision-Making
  • Consciously Engaging Power and Privilege
  • Giving and Receiving Conscious Feedback
  • Cultivating Collective Wisdom
  • Whole-Person and Whole-System Awareness

Workshop: 4 Jan to 9 Jan 2022

The residency will commence with a 5d intensive workshop 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.

You can register to only attend the workshop.

4 January Arrival: We invite people to arrive on the 4th so that we can be settled and ready to begin together on the morning of 5th.

5-9 January Workshop: On these five days Karl will lead a training to cultivate inner well-being and thriving interdependent relationships and communities.

This training is a heart- and consciousness-expanding experience that integrates core personal and interpersonal practices such as:

  • Self-connection, parts and self awareness
  • Empathic listening
  • Recovering from reactivity
  • Making clear requests
  • Consciousness of power and privilege
  • Transforming enemy images
  • Collaborative decision-making
  • Giving and receiving life-enriching feedback, and more.

The workshop has been developed through decades of organisational and community development and experimentation, as well as study with Dr. Richard Schwartz (Internal Family Systems therapy), Dr. Marshall Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication), Thomas Hübl (Collective Trauma Healing), and Thich Nhat Hahn (Order of Interbeing).

Some may already have a background in some or all of these practices, and that in some cases you might even be leading training in these practices yourself. If this is the case, we invite your support for the work by being test participants and by giving your valuable feedback and suggestions regarding the training.


This experience truly opened my heart. It made me feel what compassion is, beyond conceptual knowing. Karl leads by example, 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.

This is a training in self-leadership – the ability to stay close to yourself and engage with the world around you from an open mind and an open heart, so that you are more able to actually be the change you want to see in the world.

– An Van Damme, Workshop Participant and Process Facilitator

I appreciated the magic, the warmth, the safe space to be seen and see others with an open heart, the inspiring facilitation by Karl, tangible skills (NVC 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, Workshop Participant and Social Entrepreneur


Karl Steyaert

Karl 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 universities and ecovillages, to metropolitan governments and Silicon Valley tech companies such as Netflix. Having designed and directed university programs in Integral Sustainability 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 trained practitioner of Internal Family Systems therapy, collective trauma healing, restorative justice, aikido, and meditation. In 2013 he founded the Cultural Catalyst Network – a global community of change makers integrating inner, interpersonal, and systemic transformation.

Rufus Pollock

Rufus is one of the co-founders of Life Itself and co-curator of the Praxis Hub in Bergerac. He has been engaged both with community and transformative practice for over two decades as a Zen student and a leader at Landmark. As well as being passionate about transformative community, Rufus has also been an active social entrepreneur and researcher founding and growing a variety of non-profit initiatives as well as teaching economics at the University of Cambridge.

Part of the Sympoiesis Series

Sympoiesis #3 is the third in the series of month-long residencies 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 and a time space dedicated for writing on C.A , on a specific project or/ and daily work – A key aspect is learning how we can integrate community and practice, collective and private, absolute and relative in our daily life. 


Life itself residencies are based on a daily structure in order to create a container in which the collective body can move together and sustains each participant . This is the question of what we call the Minimum Lovable Product , what is the structure sufficiently strong to hold us as a community and sufficiently flexible to integrate our individualism? those residencies are directly inspired by the monastic zen communities adapted to our secular reality, a laboratory for mettamodern communities.

Here is a proposal that curators will adapt freely with their group :

  • 7h30: sitting in silence 30 mn ( Zazen)
  • 8h00: free breakfast
  • 8h45: rôles for the day
  • 9h00 collective cooking , cleaning and gardening practice ( 1h00)
  • 10h00 : collective sessions or personnel work
  • 13h00: lunch at table alternate with informal buffet style
  • collective sessions or personal work in afternoon
  • 19h00: 3 mn share by pair
  • 19h15: just sitting or other meditation 30 mn
  • informal diner
  • 20h30 : evening practices ( 1h30)

No planning on week ends. No evening practices on Wednesdays

Please find out more about our residencies.


See also the overall FAQs for all the residencies.

Can I do my normal work during this residency? (Yes)

The initial 5-day workshop will be full time, but after that you can self-work. Of course, we imagine that many participants are coming specifically to work and collaborate around the subject matter of the residency.

Can I come for part of the month?

Yes, though we prioritize those able to spend the whole month. If coming partially we also prefer that you attend the first part of the residency that includes the workshop.