A doorway into the Kincentric Leadership Programme
Are you excited to join a pioneering international learning community addressing the polycrisis and dedicated to conscious collaboration with the more than human world? The Kincentric Leadership Programme is an integral part of our mission to establish a new paradigm of leadership grounded in Kincentric thought and practice - and this retreat is a doorway into it.
During 2023, four retreats will each welcome 20 fully funded participants to the programme. Supported by teachers, wisdom holders, facilitators and mentors from many backgrounds, these 80 people will journey together for 12 months, researching kincentric leadership, applying it in their fields, and testing tools and approaches for sharing it further in the future.
The week in the Auroville Community, South India, is one such opportunity to join us in pioneering the field of Kincentric Leadership. The retreat is held in collaboration with Inner Climate Academy, and hosted in Auroville, South India.
About this retreat
What is the leadership that emerges from inter-being, from a relational space of connection with the more-than-human?
At a time when uncertainty, collapse and conflict is predominantly visible in our world, how do we find grounding in our relationality, in those regenerative spaces that can become the nebula of a new way of being in this world, in spite of the challenges.
We invite you to a journey of inquiry, welcoming the multiple intelligences that form our world, from within to without, exploring what it means to step into kincentric leadership.
Weaving introspective explorations, facilitated dialogues, group processes, movement, silence, guided visualisation and meditation, solo time in nature, and artistic expression, these seven days will nurture deeper connections with the more than human world, starting from within our own bodies. Together we will generate radical inquiry about our place as humans in a multi-species world, supporting each other to lead from within the web of life: our roles as leaders and how it translates into our actions.
Guest speakers will bring in indigenous perspectives, personhood, rights of nature, and kincentric elements in peace building.
“When human beings lose their connection to nature, to heaven and earth, then they do not know how to nurture their environment or how to rule their world - which is saying the same thing. Human beings destroy their ecology at the same time that they destroy each other. From that perspective, healing our society goes hand in hand with healing our personal, elemental connection with the phenomenal world.”
Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
The retreat will include:
Conversations with cutting edge teachers and leaders, including an indigenous shaman and storyteller, an ecocentric peace builder, researcher and activist focusing on the rights of nature,
Simple but powerful techniques and attitudes to help us listen to the more than human world
Wilderness solo at the heart of the week
Morning meditation, movement practice, silent walking meditation
Learning from each other, sharing inspiration, eating together, living together, grieving together, celebrating together
An exploration of the different aspects and challenges that arises when leading with kincentric perspectives
Simple home-cooked, vegetarian, organic food, grown locally or on site.
We will blend silence and conversation, learning from indigenous, scientific and spiritual ways of understanding nature. There will be a combination of facilitated sessions, guest workshops, solo nature time and community sharing. The aim will be to deepen our own lived experience of kincentrism and sense into how it could be translated into leadership and action in our own field of expertise.
You will gain:
Deeper understanding of the multifaceted and diverse intelligence, agency, and intentionality of the more than human world
Insight into both indigenous and scientific ways of understanding nature
Lived experience of yourself as an inherent and inseparable part of the wider web of life
Tools and practices for nurturing such experiences in yourself and others
A refined sense of your own unique way of being in direct relationship with the more than human world
Insight and practical ideas from inspiring examples of kincentric leadership in practice
A creative and supportive environment in which to explore what kincentric leadership could look like in your context
This retreat is for you if you are...
A leader, individual or collective, in any field, actively engaged in responding to the polycrisis
Committed to cocreating solutions and life-ways that replace systemic violence and totalitarianism towards other life-forms and people with a kincentric approach
Interested in expanding your strategy, activities and ways of working to include the wider web of life
Keen to deepen your relationship with the more than human world
Open to exploring multiple paradigms and ways of understanding, approaching and relating to the more than human world
Excited about joining an 18 month kincentric leadership programme with people from around the world, and able to commit to the whole programme
"If dominating and destructive relations to the Earth are interrelated with gender, class, and racial domination, then a healed relation to the Earth cannot come about simply through technological ‘fixes’. It demands a social reordering to bring about just and loving interrelationship between men and women, between races and nations, between groups presently stratified into social classes, manifest in great disparities of access to the means of life. In short, it demands that we must speak of eco-justice, and not simply of domination of the earth as though that happened unrelated to social domination.” – Rosemary Radford Ruether
Contributors & Facilitators
"Dancing with life, allowing more and more the flow of life through us and shine our true colors to the world". Elisa's passion is exploring our individual and collective evolution of consciousness that embodies our unity, growth, quest for deeper truths and most importantly playfulness. She lives in Auroville (India) and holds space for transformative experiences, to embrace all aspects of ourselves and translate our personal and professional values into conscious actions in our projects and our everyday life. With an integral approach, she explores inner and outer governance, to see how a shift of our inner being can bring a systemic change in our immediate surroundings. She works with facilitation, conflict resolution, holding crisis as opportunities for growth, community governance - collective organisation (especially collective decision making processes), and uses her legal background for exploring new forms of justice (such as restorative justice).
With Inner Climate Academy, Lakshmi Venugopal brings her diverse international experience in the environment field spanning two decades, from activist to project manager to researcher to facilitator. She believes that the ecological and climate emergency that we face at this moment in history, is an opportunity for human beings, as a species, to transform ourselves into an ecological civilisation that honours the Earth and all living beings (including fellow humans). She is an experienced facilitator of Deep Ecology and the Work That Reconnects. Her sessions help people rediscover their profound connection to themselves, each other and the Earth. Her research on the concept of eco-civilisation, following the work of Freya Mathews, and her deep inquiry into multispecies learning and coexistence, forms a fertile ground from which the vision for ICA flows.
Alyen Leeachum Foning
Alyen resides in her ancestral home, Kalimpong - the Lepcha community, with its sacred mountains and rivers, at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas. Inspired by her roots, she uses her art and storytelling as a medium to help others remember their own ecological connections. Alyen is a textile artist whose works are inspired by Nature and indigenous world cultures. Using fabrics, colours, music and design, her work serves as a bridge between the fields of art and research, and between ancestral pasts and future generations. Through her storytelling we journey through longing, loss and disconnection and delve into our origins, shamanism and our deep connection and interdependence to nature. She is the creator of the installation ‘The Story of Munn’ ,which was exhibited at 'So Many Feminisms!' conclave by Godrej India Culture Lab in 2019. She also runs a design label, ALYEN FONING, that promotes the power of Mother Nature, communities, upcycling and the skills of local artisans in narrating stories through Art.
Rukmini Iyer is a leadership development consultant and facilitator, peacebuilder, certified coach and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. Aside from her global consulting practice, she serves on the Boards of Creators of Peace International and the Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association. She relates to consciously serving planetary evolution as her work in the world. This manifests through her engagement with corporate and socio-political work across the world.
Shrishtee Bajpai is a writer, activist, researcher working at the intersections of environmental justice, more-than human governance, indigenous worldviews and systemic alternatives. She is also an explorer and chronicler of stories narrating alternative worldviews, challenging the status quo and whispering the sounds of resistance-reconstruction and hope. She helps in coordinating the Vikalp Sangam process in India that intends to weave systemic alternatives and networks for collaborations, cross-learning, and co-envisioning the futures. She is a core team member of Global Tapestry of Alternatives, a process that is documenting radical alternative networks across the world and weaving strategic alliances among them. She is one of the founding members of the Rights of Rivers South Asia Alliance and is on the executive committee of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. She loves birding, walking, writing, reading, and discovering music.
Anna is dedicated to exploring community as a tool for resilience, regeneration, and liberation. She is a former member of the Findhorn Community and a co-founder of Kincentric Leadership as well as of Ecovillage Resilience 2.5+ a participatory research project about community resilience in the face of catastrophic climate change. Anna previously served as the Co-Lead and Education and Research Director of the Global Ecovillage Network and is a co-developer and facilitator of multiple trainings and tools for regenerative community design. She also serves as a trustee of Transition Network and Gaia Education.
Justine's core passion is working with others to awaken humanity to a deeper understanding of our kinship with all life. Justine was previously CEO of St Ethelburga's Centre, where she worked for 18 years, innovating programmes on spiritual ecology, radical resilience and communion with the wild. She has a PhD in psychology and belongs to a Sufi tradition, leading meditation and dreamwork groups for over 20 years. She became a passionate student of animal and plant communication six years ago, after a house plant unexpectedly asked her a question. She is also the author of "Generation Y, Spirituality & Social Change".
The universal township of Auroville
Auroville is an experimental, international community of over 3,000 people from over 52 different nationalities. Founded in 1968 and based on the philosophy of Indian philosopher and yogi, Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, Auroville seeks to achieve human unity through evolution of consciousness. Nestled on a reforested plateau of the Coromandel coast in Tamil Nadu, South India, Auroville aims to be a universal township where people from around the world live together in peace and harmony, transcending nationalities, religions and cultures.
While it has continued to focus on experimentation in the evolution of human consciousness practically applied in the myriad fields of community living (from governance to progressive education and research methods), the project has also achieved significant strides in ecological restoration. Since the early days, when the land was a barren plateau of eroded red earth, the community has become an example of afforestation of Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest, biodiversity restoration, regenerative farming, water management, waste management, alternative energy, construction and architecture.
Often referred to as the ‘City of Dawn’, Auroville is designated to be a place of self-discovery and transformation. In 2018, celebrating 50 years of progress, Auroville was recognised on UNESCO’s list of ‘Cultural Landscapes’ and as such, is the first and only internationally endorsed experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness.
In the context of India’s evolving economic and political climate, it is essential to acknowledge that the project of Auroville, like any sustainable development endeavor, faces ongoing challenges and requires continuous improvement and adaptation. You will be visiting the community at a particularly challenging time of transformation brought on by fundamental challenges to the internal governance and town development agenda. Like any community or human creation, Auroville is not perfect, but is a place where thousands of people have dedicated their love and lives, doing their best to bring a dream into reality - and they continue to do so. The community remains dedicated to its principles and ideals, working towards achieving a more harmonious coexistence with nature and creating a model for sustainable living that inspires others worldwide.
Auroville’s Verite Integral Learning Center (VILC) offers simple, shared accommodation in double or triple bedrooms with shared bathroom facilities.
All meals are provided and will be organic, vegetarian and vegan food. Please ensure you bring what you need if you have any particular dietary requirements.
To ensure comfortable arrival and settling in, please plan to arrive on the 7th December after 11:30 am and no later than 4 pm. On the 15th December please plan to depart from the guest house no later than 11 am.
Please bear in mind that we will be in close quarters in a simple, guest accommodation facility that cannot accommodate special, individual requests.
Participation, fees, room and board for all participants are generously covered by support from our funder. As a participant, you will still be required to cover all other costs, such as travel to and from the venue etc. If these costs are a barrier to your participation let us know in your application. We have limited travel scholarships and will be able to offer support to a few participants.
How to apply
We can have a maximum of 20 attendees. We are aiming for a diversity of perspectives and lived experiences as well as age, racial, cultural and organizational backgrounds, and will select participants with this balance in mind.
By applying to join this retreat, you are also applying to the full Kincentric Leadership programme, and we ask that you have the interest, time and ability to commit to pursuing it.
Once your application is accepted, you will receive ways to register for the retreat, as well as more practical information.
"Even one who knows action, must act knowing the nature of the world."
Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukural, Tamil Classical text