OVERVIEW: The Taos Initiative for Life Together Watershed Way Summer Institute will give participants firsthand experience in what it means to live in communion and solidarity with others and the natural environment through wilderness trips, environmental justice work, field experiences, high desert homesteading, community organizing, adobe building projects, and sustainable living.
At 7,000 feet in the rural mountain Southwest in Taos, NM, the Taos Initiative for Life Together (TiLT) seeks to "be the change" in this time of historic challenge and opportunity in our ecosystems, our economies, and our communities. Through urban homesteading, permaculture projects, wilderness adventures, and conscious conversations, TiLT seeks to cultivate personal and spiritual formation, bioregional resiliency, and racial reconciliation in the Earth-honoring, people-dignifying, empire-resisting ways of Jesus, the Buddha, Gandhi, and St. Francis.
Our weekly rhythms are as follows:
We will begin our weeks with morning agricultural work on our land and at a neighboring CSA down the road, learning the ins and outs of high desert farming. In the afternoon, one cohort of participants will be working towards the implementation of a local food phone application while another will be working on a bio-regional activism-based podcast for Taos county.
Our team will travel 30 minutes North to the village of Questa to work on a community restoration and healing project with the local Hispanic community. This work will include adobe restoration, tiny home building, permaculture and learning about the rich Hispanic history of Northern New Mexico.
We begin every Wednesday with a conscious morning table talk over breakfast, followed by a day of home cooking - tapping into the information of our 'localmanac' - cooking bulk items and dishes for the week with local, conscious ingredients. We also volunteer at a local food bank every other week, connecting with the community around the issue of hunger. On the off weeks, we will engage in meaningful field experiences with connections around the community. In the evenings, we fire up our large adobe horno oven and bring the community together for a pizza night in our back yard.
Thursdays match the same schedule as Monday.
We return to Questa for a half-day of labor, connection and service, continuing our work towards healing and restoration of the community. In the afternoon, we will venture over to Lama Foundation, a world-class intentional community founded on the teachings of Ram Dass, for an evening Shabbat ceremony to kick off our weekly Earth Sabbath.
Encouraged Earth-Sabbath and fasting day - recharging one's batteries.
Encouraged spiritual practice in the morning, the rest of the day is yours.
- Field Experiences: Visit and learn about lifeways very different from dominant American culture such as Taos Pueblo, Lama Foundation, and the Earthship “Greater World” village.
- Cross-Cultural Community Engagement: Participants will learn of other cultures and help build community with local Hispanic and Pueblo peoples through various collaborative initiatives such as producing a community-based podcast as well as engaging in adobe restoration, tiny home building and permaculture projects.
- High Desert Homesteading: Learn skills and knowledge of growing food in the high desert through regular labor on the land, animal husbandry, farm experience, and cooking with local ingredients to embody a more intimate place-based connection with your food.
- Spiritual Development: Drawing from ancient streams of Celtic, Native American, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian traditions, participants will be encouraged to discover and embody a more expansive, wilder spirituality of hope, wisdom and mysticism in these often-troubling times.
- Communitarian Living: TiLT lives and operates out of a 12 room adobe hacienda in central Taos. Residents will cook together, share most meals, share bathrooms, and live in close proximity. That said, each participant will likely have their own room, and there are many places around the property one can find solitude. We discourage cars, encourage bikes, and downtown is just a short walk away.
- Rio Grande Rafting Trip: We will kick off the Summer Institute with a multi-day whitewater immersion. With the legendary Rio Grande River gushing in between majestic canyon walls, we will familiarize ourselves with each other and our place.
- Desert Trip: Halfway through our 8 weeks together, we will venture for a few days into truly wild and unique environments for a healthy dose of solo reflection and soul exploration.
- Mountain Top Backpacking Experience: We will cap off our summer together with a 4 day backpacking trip into the high country of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. We will put our team to the test, navigating our way through some of the most rugged terrain that New Mexico has to offer.
- shared rooms
- private room
- communal kitchen access
- communally cooked meals
- fast: streaming video
Flying into Albuquerque, there are fairly straight forward bus systems running all the way to Taos. We will arrange a pickup at the local bus station in central Taos.
If arriving by train or other means, we can arrange for pickup.
The Taos Initiative for Life Together Watershed Way Summer Institute is currently offering the following opportunities:
- Web Application Design and Development
- Media arts experience (audio, video, photography, video editing, etc)
- Knowledge and experience with sustainable, closed-loop, fossil-free systems
- People well-versed in personal spiritual pathway
- community organizing
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