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 18 months, researching kincentric leadership, applying it in their fields, and testing tools and approaches for sharing it further in the future.
The week at Findhorn Ecovillage and Community is one such opportunity to join us in pioneering the field of Kincentric Leadership.
About the retreat
Joining this retreat is a taste of community life at a vibrant meeting point between river, beach and mountains in the north of Scotland. The Findhorn Ecovillage Community is a 61 year old intentional community founded on three core principles; cocreation with nature, inner listening, and love in action. It is home to around 600 people dedicated to living those principles in every aspect of their lives, and is embedded in a wider region rich in kincentric projects, heritage and ways of life that long precede it.
In this retreat, we focus on growing our potential to cocreate and recreate just and viable alternatives based on consciously reweaving community within the more than human world. We will dive into questions like - How can we reweave kincentric place-based communities? What does it mean to be indigenous to a community of place? How have we become disconnected and fragmented in our relationships of soil, soul and society? What can Findhorn Ecovillage and Scotland teach us about recovering wholeness in our relationships to the natural environment, to the spiritual roots of our being, and to one another in the fulness of community?
We will draw on the experience and expertise of community members, local ecosystem restoration leaders, wilderness immersion and nature-based transformation experts as well as the Findhorn river, dunes, gardens, woodlands, estuary and beach to tap into the wisdom and practices of the land, community and ecovillage movement. Guest facilitator Alastair will guide us through our explorations of the Scottish and Celtic context, exploring our themes in ways that open out the imaginal realm, including the bardic tradition and its relationship to an ecology of the imagination such as local tradition understands in part through the lens of “faerie”. Joshua Konkankoh will guide us deeper into African indigenous wisdom, knowledge and approaches to reconnecting with Earth building bridges of solidarity.
Together, will develop the ability to articulate what kincentrism is, why it is relevant, and how it relates to and can inform our own field of expertise. We will blend facilitated sessions, guest presentations, hands on work and emergent group-led wisdom to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of the polycrisis and the role of kincentrism in transforming its root causes, based in local, indigenous and scientific ways of understanding nature. During the retreat, you will also spend a day in solo practice on the land.
Join us to:
Get a taste of a 60-year experiment in community living and cocreation with the more than human world
Learn about similar experiments all around the world working in solidarity to address the root causes of the polycrisis
Experience meditation, movement, nature communication and wilderness immersion as pathways to awe and kincentric awareness
Meet community members and learn about their practices and activities as kincentric leaders and practitioners
Explore indigeneity, colonization, spirituality and relationship to land through the lens of both African & Scottish practices, history and traditions
Spend time in silent contemplation alone on a wild beach inhabited by a seal colony of more than 200 individuals
Join community meditations, singing and events as well as optional saunas and wild sea swimming
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
The ability to articulate what kincentrism is, why it is relevant, and how it relates to your own field
A more nuanced understanding of the polycrisis and the role of kincentrism in transforming root causes
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
Findhorn Ecovillage & Community
The Findhorn Ecovillage and Community is a 61 year old settlement in Scotland founded on the principles of inner listening, cocreation with nature, and love in action. It has grown from a handful of people staying in a desolate and sandy caravan park, to a vibrant community of around 600 people from 25 countries immersed in lush gardens, regenerating native forest and a community-owned land trust protecting a stretch of wild beach and dunes. The Ecovillage was designated UN-Habitat Best Practice as a model for holistic and sustainable living in 1998, and re-designated in 2018.
The community is also home to a number of organisations, including the Findhorn Foundation - a centre for transformational learning hosting thousands of people every year, Trees for Life - restoring the Caledonian forest, Global Ecovillage Network - linking over 6000 ecological communities around the world, and Park Ecovillage Trust - working to make the community carbon negative by 2030.
You will be visiting the community during a time of transformation brought on by the covid pandemic, the burning of the main Sanctuary and Community Centre, and many painful processes related to these recent events and more. Like any ecovillage or community or human creation, Findhorn Ecovillage is not perfect, and neither is it an exhibit frozen in time. It is a place to which thousands of people have dedicated their lives and love, doing their best to bring a dream into reality - and are still doing so. To enter it is to enter the home, sacred ground, and hearts of its members, and to enter it now is to do so in tender times.
Contributors & Facilitators
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. Anna's main inspiration is her love of the more than human world, her long engagement with ecovillages, and the Matsés people of the Amazon, whose journey from kincentrism to colonisation changed the trajetory of her life.
Joshua Konkankoh is an indigenous elder, activist and social entrepreneur from Ambazonia, Cameroon. An expert in permaculture and ecovillage design as well as indigenous approaches to regeneration and earth-based living, Konkankoh is committed to reinventing the place of African wisdom in a new thriving global culture. He is a founder and elder of the African Way Association, Bafut Ecovillage, Betterworld Cameroon, The Sprit of Ndanifor and Indigenous and Modern, as well as a member of the inner council of the UNDP Conscious Food Systems Alliance. His work focuses on supporting women and youth to step into leadership, fusing indigenous wisdom and appropriate technology, awakening the spiritual connection that the wilderness offers between humans and the more-than-human world, and supporting people to re-establish connection with land, food sources and cultural heritage.
Alastair McIntosh, hailing from the Scottish Hebrides, has been described by BBC TV as “one of the world’s leading environmental campaigners.” He is a pioneer of modern land reform and community land buyouts in Scotland, teaches nonviolence, and is the author of several books including including Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power (Aurum 2001), Poacher’s Pilgrimage: a Journey into Land and Soul (Birlinn 2016) and Riders on the Storm: the Climate Crisis and the Survival of Being. A Quaker with an interfaith outlook and a Fellow of the Findhorn Foundation, he lives in Glasgow with his wife, Véréne Nicolas. There he is a founding trustee of the GalGael Trust which works with with poverty, community and human potential, and an honorary professor in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow.
As Co-Founder of Kincentric Leadership, 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".
Ash has been part of the Findhorn Community for over ten years now, dedicating most of her work to the flourishing community gardens and core principle of cocreation with nature. Ash previously focalised Cullerne Gardens, the community's main food growing space, and is now caring for one of the spiritual hearts of the community - the Original Garden, living her passion for the plants and all the other beings in the garden in alignment with the practices of the community. Ash is also an experienced practitioner and facilitator of a multitude of approaches to creating deeper connection and intimacy with onself and others, whether through breath, presence, mediation, relating, holding space for others, or working together in community.
We will stay spread out in the ecovillage, in local B&Bs or bungalows. There is a mix of twin and private rooms, but all options share bathrooms and common areas. There is also an option to camp in the beautiful Hinterland, for those who seek an experience closer to the elements. All accommodation is located in the main settlement of the ecovillage, but you will need to walk or transport yourself between different locations within the community for meals, sessions, etc. Our main room for sessions and some accommodation is wheelchair accessible, and we will do our best to ensure tours and visits are too.
You will be provided with breakfast foods to prepare for yourself in your kitchen, and lunch, dinner, tea and coffee every day. All meals provided and will be vegetarian, with vegan and gluten-free options available on request. There is an organic grocery store and cafe onsite, where you can buy any additional snacks you'd like.
Travel to Findhorn is relatively straight-forward, but can take long. If you are flying, the closest airport is Inverness, followed by Aberdeen, followd by Edinburgh and Glasgow. There is a train connection from London via Edinburgh to Inverness where you need to change trains for Forres, the closest station to Findhorn. Forres is also accessible by train and bus from or via Aberdeen, and by train from Inverness Airport. For the 5 kilometers from Forres train station to Findhorn, taxi is an option. We are also working on rideshares or community-sourced transport options and will aim to coordinate your arrivals.
Please plan to arrive before 5 pm on September 9, and and to leave your accommodation by 9 am on September 16. You will be able to store your luggage elsewhere should you need to. If you wish to stay longer in the area, the community is home to several Bed and Breakfasts that you can book independently.
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, covid testing, 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.
"No matter how much our own species preoccupies us, life is a far wider system. Life is an incredibly complex interdependence of matter and energy among millions of species beyond (and within) our own skin. These Earth aliens are our relatives, our ancestors, and part of us."
- Lynn Margulis
How to apply
We can have a maximum of 20 attendees. We are aiming for a diversity of perspectices 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.