Seeking Co-managers for Holistic Eco-Retreat Center, Organic Farm, and Conscious Community in Vermont
Seeking Co-managers for Holistic Eco-Retreat Center, Organic Farm, and Conscious Community in Vermont
Live and work on a beautiful secluded 120 acre nature sanctuary, holistic retreat center, and organic farm in the hills of Vermont.
Sky Meadow Retreat, a unique sole-proprietor business in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, is looking for several qualified people to manage the retreat and/or organic farm. You must have experience growing large gardens and permaculture crops for year-round self-sufficiency in a cold climate and/or managing a holistic residential retreat center focused on wellness and personal growth, including digital marketing and outreach.
The retreat hosts small groups of 10-16 people for retreats of 2 days to 2 weeks, as well as individual and couple’s solos focused on personal growth, wellness, and spirituality. It is located on 120 acres secluded at the end of a road in the small town of Stannard, Vermont on a 150 year old homestead, and has been operating since 1999. The primary building is a large newly renovated barn, and the land surrounding it has been gently landscaped to include swimming ponds, open fields, wooded trails, and a hilltop with expansive views of the Green Mountains.
In addition to the retreat, Sky Meadow is a working organic homestead growing much of the food for residents and guests, cutting wood for heat and building materials, and maintaining the buildings and land with primary concern for the integrity of nature and health of the environment. We are a truly holistic retreat center in that we source many of our needs from this land using our own labor, keeping us connected to the earth and part of our environment. We believe that connecting with the land in this way is an integral part of healing for ourselves and others.
The retreat is currently managed by a single founder/owner/resident with the help of interns who stay anywhere from several months to several years. We are looking for skilled and experienced people with long-term interest in forming a conscious community supportive of each other’s personal and spiritual growth. It is an ideal situation for someone who is looking for a home-based lifestyle integrated with nature, and a conscious residential community in a beautiful quiet setting.
You should have some experience with small business, retreat centers, hosting guests and managing interns, as well as rural community living and organic homesteading. Above all you should be dedicated to your own personal growth and awakening, seeking intensive support in the form of intentional community, and passionate about serving the spiritual advancement of humanity. You will be working closely in collaboration with the founder to understand the current vision and systems and how they all work together.
Compensation for managers includes housing in a beautiful, fully equipped and self-contained private apartment or cabin, access to staple vegetarian foods including all produce grown on the homestead, all utilities including hi-speed internet and phone, and a starting salary of $500/month, or your share of the net proceeds at the end of the year, whichever is greater. In coordination with the daily work required to maintain the retreat and farm, managers will be able to utilize the retreat facilities to lead group retreats and/or offer healing services such as massage or counseling.
This is a lifestyle fully supportive of your personal and spiritual development where there is space, time, and encouragement for self-nurturing and the intention is to use every interaction as an opportunity to become more present and conscious. You will be living and working as part of a small conscious community in a stunning natural setting that offers tranquility and seclusion plus meaningful connections with people and nature. The work is varied, challenging, and fulfilling as it contributes to the well-being of humanity and all of life.
Becoming a manager of Sky Meadow Retreat is a full-time occupation requiring you to live and work here. We expect you to make this your primary life focus and fully dedicate yourself to this home-based, homesteading lifestyle. If you have needs which require you to go out or be away more than several times a week, this is not for you.
Being here is a commitment to a different kind of lifestyle, one that is more whole and integrated, where you work where you live and provide for your own needs as much as possible from the land around you. To maintain the stillness and integrity of this sanctuary, we ask that you limit your car trips in and out, reduce your internet and phone use, be mindful of your resource use and trash generated, and simplify your life. If you have debts or financial obligations beyond taking care of your personal day to day needs, this situation will likely not work for you.
This works best for people who’s needs are simple, who enjoy being quiet in nature, are looking for a small intimate community of friends on a similar spiritual path, and want to settle in to a long term sustainable living situation that uses less resources and requires less money. You will most likely have to change your habits of consumption and simplify your life, exchanging meaningful work and the support of an intimate community for all the variety of entertainment, comforts, and stimulation that many of us have grown accustomed to in our society.
Here we achieve security by developing presence and learning to let go of the myriad fears generated by an untamed mind. You will be encouraged to find stability within yourself, in your relationship with your inner source, instead of the accumulation or over-use of resources. Here our entertainment and nourishment comes from working and being with each other in present time, being in nature, and hosting guests who come for healing.
We structure our weeks with 5 working/community days and two personal/free days, allowing flexibility for circumstances such as longer retreats or homesteading/gardening tasks that require attention outside of these hours. It is important that all residents and interns structure non-working down time here for personal well-being and maintenance of a relaxed and productive lifestyle. At the same time, as a manager of a business, you should expect to put in extra hours as needed.
The homestead has its own yearly rhythm of work which is most intensified from April – November when we don’t have snow on the ground. The retreat is shut down December – March, and our busy season tends to be May – October. The winter months offer more relaxed days focused on indoor projects such as building maintenance and office work, including marketing and retreat planning. This is also a time when long-term residents and managers can arrange longer time away for travel or teaching.
The process of becoming a manager begins with a Conscious Living Internship for at least a month. This initial phase is intended to allow you time to become familiar with Sky Meadow, the way things work now, and the skills which form the foundation for the community, including Insight Meditation and Conscious Communication. No money is exchanged during this period: you do not pay us to be here, and we do not pay you for your help. This is an initial trial period, which may last several months, in order to discover if we are compatible and can work and live together with each of us getting our needs met.
There is a high degree of structure here compared to some other communities or centers. On working days, we meditate together in silence from 7:00 – 7:30, check-in at 9:00 to set up the day, eat lunch together at noon, and have focused work periods from 9-12 and 2-5. There is an optional evening mediation from 5-5:30 and we are on our own for breakfasts and dinners. On personal days you are free to structure your time as you choose.
Interns commit to work at least 30 hours/week for the retreat and homestead, doing a variety of tasks, many of which require physical labor outdoors. The work is always varied and can be challenging in ways that build your strength without depleting or injuring yourself. The rest of your time here can be devoted to your personal business such as teaching or healing work, or your personal growth and spiritual nourishment. We meet as a community one evening a week for a longer personal and confidential check-in, taking care of day to day business, and long-term planning, including scheduling time away or use of the facilities for your own retreat or healing work.
As a community devoted to personal growth and consciousness we meet at another time each week to focus on Meditation and Conscious Communication. This is an opportunity to get feedback and direction for your practice of meditation and learn and practice the skills of Conscious Communication. We have found that both of these are essential for a healthy and vibrant conscious community, and focusing on them together once a week keeps them fresh and alive, enabling us to better utilize them in daily life.
We ask that you take the time to learn these skills and practice them at Sky Meadow, in addition to any other personal practices you already have. This allows us to share a foundation of tools that enable presence and interrupt the habit of thought that tends to consume and distract us.
To be a candidate for manager you must already have some proficiency in interpersonal communication, silent sitting meditation, self-awareness, and ability to surrender personal preferences and ideologies. You must be self-motivated, able to assume full responsibility for several “departments” or areas of work at Sky Meadow, be accountable, self-disciplined, efficient, and able to see the big picture while also tending to small details. You will need to be comfortable working in close collaboration and under the supervision of Miles, the retreat founder, to understand the systems and procedures developed here for the past 30 years, before making changes.
You must be able to focus, be present, and learn new skills quickly and efficiently. You will put in a minimum of 40 hours of work per week, and often more, doing what needs to be done while at the same time taking care of your basic needs. You will be eligible for a share of the income from Sky Meadow and may negotiate a monthly stipend until that income is available. You will also be eligible for one of the larger living spaces such as the Pond House cabin more suited for long-term residency. Managers with long term interests and potential will also have the opportunity to become partners in the retreat center business.
You can learn more about Sky Meadow Retreat and the founder, Miles, at www.skymeadowretreat.com