Each day of the week is an Opportunity to focus on a specific skill set. These skills are the Keys to building more elegant ways to live and share our gifts.
Our curriculum also includes daily practices such as meditation and weekend intensives on various topics, like A Permaculture Design Certificate. The Program gives Graduates a skill set to create fundamentally better choices for themselves and the Planet so that we can build a more beautiful World.
Monday: Build a More Beautiful World
Every Monday we focus on the skills of Physically Creating things, whether that be a tiny house, A Painting, or new business. THere is no requirement for what you create, just that you do Something.
In the Spring, we will be finishing a tiny house, but besides that we can create whatever we want. If you really want to pursue art or music, then Mondays will be a day to check in and show us that you've made progress. If you want to build things, make bio-diesel, or learn to weld, you can do that do, too. The sky is the limit. Below is an image of us building and welding metal flowers out of scrap. It was a great experience for so many reasons and you can read more about it here.
ONE OF THE REASONS TO COME TO TRANSITION LAB IS group dynamics. WHEN A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS COMMITs TO BRINGING THEIR GIFTS TO LIFE, IT IS A MUCH MORE POWERFUL PRACTICE THAN TRYING TO DO THE SAME THING ON YOUR OWN.
Tuesday: Knowledge of Self
Tuesday is also known as hike day, because developing a sense of who we are is always easier in nature. In red rock canyons or on the summits of high peaks we participate in a variety of exercises that are designed to reveal who we are. We also study the neuroscience and meditation techniques that can give us a better understanding of the strengths and capacities of our minds. Many of these teachings come from the brilliant book Original Mind, by Neuroscientist and Educator Dee Coulter.
Part of developing our knowledge of self includes a Shamatha Meditation practice for one hour a day to calm our hearts and practice compassion. There will also be ways for students to participate in a Sweat Lodge, Vision Quest, and other ceremonies if it seems appropriate.
Wednesday: LOCAL FOOD
While students are in Montrose, we highly recommend that they create a relationship with a farmer and exchange labor for food and knowledge. There are currently 5 amazing organic growers within 30 minutes of downtown Montrose who can always use help with projects. Other options include gardening in your front yard or with a host. We have found that this part of the curriculum best serves our students when they self-select and create the relationships they want. So, we would love to make introductions, but it is up to you to decide what to pursue.
We will also earn a Permaculture Design Certificate as part of the curriculum, which will take place for a weekend in June, and then a full week in July. For this project, we will actually design and build a Permaculture garden in our community.
Thursday: Building Communities We Dream Of
On Thursday afternoons, we will get together to consider systems that either contribute to building a more beautiful world, or inhibit it from happening. We will have a book club that examines things like the Monetary System, Democracy, and the stories our culture tells us about how the world "works."
The materials that we will focus on in this course are Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn, Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein, and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, also by Charles Eisenstein.
Thursday's courses tend to include the most intense philosophical conversations. We will have a Q & A with Daniel Quinn himself about Ishmael and his other works. We will also work with James Branscome, a retired Managing Director of Standard & Poor’s. He will help us understand the global economy and help us develop business plans. His mixed background of both working on Wall Street and being an integral part of the Highlander Folks School, which trained the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, gives him one of the most unique and invaluable perspectives on business and social change.
We will also have a weekend guest course taught by Ashley Sanders titled Advanced Democratic Citizenship. Ashley, more than anybody else we know, has skillfully engaged in the democratic process. She was Ralph Nader's Youth Spokesperson, and then worked as an organizer on everything from torture issues to climate justice. More recently she has been an active member of Peaceful Uprising, worked for Democracy Unlimited, and served on the Executive Committee of Move To Amend, which is working to overturn the Citizens United Decision. Ashley will help us directly engage in the Democratic process in the ways that seem most appropriate to our concerns as citizens. She hopes to continue to unite righteous joy, righteous anger and righteous dissent in as weird a way as possible for many decades to come.
We also practice Conflict Mediation Techniques with Anna Adams, LPC for several reasons: The first is that conflict is one of the most powerful teachers because it shows us exactly who we are rather than what we project ourselves to be in the world. The second reason is that living in community is one of the most difficult things that anybody can do. It requires us to maintain healthy relationships throughout all of life's twists and turns. Anna excels at teaching folks how to deal with conflict in extremely constructive and empowering ways. Therefore, we will work with her to help us take care of ourselves and our community as we come to understand the complexities of relationships. Students may also use this time to meet with Anna on a one-on-one basis to identify, address, and overcome obstacles in their minds.
Friday: Creating Affordable Housing
We leave a few days a week open for you to figure out your living arrangement. Perhaps you need to have a job and pay for rent. Perhaps you want to work a permaculture garden in exchange for rent. Maybe you just want to camp and live off savings. It is up to you. However, we encourage students to enter into some kind of creative relationship that allows them to both meet their basic needs and grow as an individual. Many students have directly interacted with and improved our community in exchange for rent for just 10 hours of skilled labor per week. This is perhaps the most powerful and transformative part of Transition Lab because a skilled resident relationship empowers us to "pay for our rent" by engaging in activities that we really want to be doing, like building community gardens, cooking delicious meals, providing eldercare or daycare, or just offering a helping hand around the house.