Residency at Lama Foundation
For those interested in spending a winter at Lama and living on the land year-round, residency at Lama Foundation is a life-changing experience. Residents commit to one year of service at Fall Meetings. New residents begin as Summer Stewards. Please plan to arrive at Lama Foundation no later than August 1st.
Residency at the Lama Foundation can be one of the most profound times in one’s life. People have been transformed by the experience of taking on full-time stewardship of Lama. Each autumn, a new resident circle forms to maintain the physical facility and hold the heart space of Lama Foundation on behalf of the entire Lama family through the winter and into the next summer.
To become a “resident”, everyone starts out as a “Summer Steward”, and meetings for all interested in becoming residents (including those who are already residents) start in August. Therefore, we ask anyone wishing to become a “resident” arrive at Lama Foundation by August 1st. The earlier one can arrive, the better. (Housing for the winter is determined by the order of one’s arrival in the summer season.) People commit to one full year of service to the Lama Foundation at the annual autumn membership meeting in early October. The membership process is a consensus-style decision; that is, residency requires a 100% “yes” vote.
Technically, the “resident circle” consists of “participating members” and “caretaking members”. First timers join as “participating members”. Many who have been a Lama resident have used this first year to really get to know Lama Foundation, to feel deeply into its annual schedule, and also to do lots of self-exploration. The quietude of winter can be so deeply nourishing, with much space to experience the rhythm of a personal spiritual practice. As winter turns to spring, service becomes focused around the creation of the community container for the upcoming summer. Summer requires full-on service as one applies their winter’s learning to the needs of the community and its visitors.
Those who continue as residents may choose to become a “caretaking member”. Caretakers step into the leadership positions at Lama, and feel a deep heart connection with all the activities on the land. They help to hold the long-term visioning of the Foundation and to transmit the “Lama culture” to the next group of participating members.
In the autumn meetings, the circle creates the winter schedule and distributes work responsibilities. Importantly, all membership and work-related decisions are made by consensus which demands time, energy and group communication. This is one of the fundamental group practices at Lama Foundation. If each resident is committed to setting aside their “personal agendas” in favor of the greatest good for the whole group, then Lama’s infamous stack of meetings can potentially build a group energetic in which each member feels a depth, a trust, an intimacy as if they are “married” to each other member of the resident circle. Lama magic!
Lama Foundation provides each resident with numerous methods of support. This includes room and board, a small monthly living-expenditure stipend, a medical stipend, and a spiritual practice stipend from the second year of residency. (Lama Foundation lifetime tuition payments may be deferred or minimalized so that money is not a barrier to anyone seeking residency.) There is also a series of intensive retreats where each winter circle invites teachers of their choice to give private retreats for the residents. These can be a major highlight of the winter experience.
Nevertheless, Lama’s rustic location and facilities require that potential residents be in good physical health, able to live at a high altitude, prepared to live with snow on the ground for 5 months straight, and, be comfortable with below-zero degree nights. They will need to be able to live economically with their monthly stipend, and to commit to a full year of service to Lama Foundation. The personal rewards for this rigorous life in community can be extraordinary! Please bring any questions or concerns about “residency” to any current resident.