Venwoude in Action

Our assistants program ‘Venwoude in Action’ is intended as another win-win exchange between you and Venwoude. In exchange for your time and energy, we offer an ideal environment to practice the insights and realizations you have gained on your path of personal and spiritual growth. The program is set up to help you integrate and anchor these realizations more deeply into your being and doing.

If you are new to Venwoude, participating in Venwoude in Action is an easy way to get to know us. It gives you a first-hand taste of how we live our vision and mission in practice. We love to use ‘work’ as a tool for self-inquiry, for enhancing our awareness and, last but not least, as a great way to deepen and celebrate our human interconnection.

Venwoude in Action can also serve as (part of) a reintegration program. The facilitator’s role is to keep inviting you to observe yourself in everything you do. What is your intention? How do you relate to work, to others, to yourself and your own needs, to your environment? The rich combination of simple activities, awareness training, teamwork, sharing and self-evaluation helps you become aware of your basic attitude towards work and life in general. From this awareness, you can start to discover and experiment with new ways of doing and being.

You are welcome to help out in the Kitchen, Housekeeping, the Pyramid, Maintenance or Woods & Gardens. You can come regularly throughout the year and/or during specific (silent) retreats or workshops. There are also special Assistants Weekends with a specific theme.

Costs: 20 euro per day (including meals and a place to sleep) or 70 euro for an Assistants Weekend.

Day Rhythm
During Venwoude in Action you take part in Venwoude’s Day Rhythm, including Working in Flow and the Day Opening. Throughout the day, there are specific moments for self-reflection and self-evaluation. You will be supported by the facilitator and by sharing your experiences with other participants.

“In my usual mindset, I experience ‘work’ as something unpleasant. Today, I have discovered how I can do this with love. That gives me a lot of inspiration for my day-to-day life.”

Assisting throughout the year

Together, after a first meeting, we will work out a suitable form for your wish to assist in our retreat center, depending on your possibilities and needs. For some people this means one day a week or one weekend or a few shifts a month. Others prefer to come for a whole week or specifically during retreats.

Opportunities for further growth
Our learning environment offers opportunities to grow in leadership and responsibility, from assistant to staff member to team manager to head of department. Recently, various assistants have initiated specific projects that enable them to take on more responsibility and practice their leadership and communication skills. A collective form of leadership among a group of assistants is another possibility. The heads of department will provide input, feedback and supervision.

 “I am not used to stop when my body needs a pause. By taking time to reflect on this, I became aware of the underlying cause of my compulsive tendency to always finish my tasks first. This opens up space for something new.”


Assisting during retreats

Assisting during a retreat is a special and intensive experience. Apart from our own Summer Retreat, there are various retreats throughout the year led by international spiritual teachers at Venwoude. Often these are silent retreats where participants keep speaking to a minimum. We support that silence by doing our daily work mostly in silence as well, which gives us an opportunity for self-reflection. This way of being and working together in silence gives all of our activities an extra depth that can be felt by all.

If you can’t or don’t wish to participate in a retreat yourself, this is a great way to still get some taste of the atmosphere. Sometimes there will be an opportunity to attend a specific session. Knowing that your contribution helps to make this special event possible gives an extra sense of satisfaction. During retreats, we recommend that you come for at least three consecutive days, in order to make the most of this opportunity.

Overview retreats in 2018

10 – 24 august: Isaac Shapiro

8 – 14 october: Doshin Michael Nelson Roshi


Assistants Weekends

The Assistants Weekends are a great way to get to know our Venwoude in Action program, or to deepen your experience. Each weekend has its own specific theme, such as working from awareness, taking care of your body, working as a team, or personal leadership.

In comparison with normal weekends, the Assistants Weekends are characterized by a common focus and more room for self-reflection and sharing your experiences. There is also more time to hear and ask about our specific way of working, including our Day Rhythm.

The weekend starts with an introduction meeting on Friday night at 7:30 pm, where we also share our personal intentions for this weekend with each other.  Afterwards you can go to the sauna or the Pyramid and meet the other participants. Saturday and Sunday you work in the Kitchen or Housekeeping. Throughout the day there will be moments for self-reflection and at the end of the day we come together as a group again. Towards the end of the weekend we will help you gain clarity about what might be your next step within the Assistants program or other options at Venwoude.

The weekend ends at 5 pm.

Costs: 70 euros

Review Assistants Weekend March 2018

Our weekend in March centered around the theme ‘Working in awareness’. Facilitator Hettie about this weekend:

“Again and again I am impressed by the power of this theme. Awareness is everything! It was so inspiring to dedicate a whole weekend to exploring this subject in practice, together. While performing our tasks, we regularly took time to reflect on where our attention was going. We all had our own personal focus in this, which revealed issues we all recognized.

There is so much to discover when working from awareness… How do you listen to your body? Where do you draw the line and where do you stretch yourself a little? How do you connect with others without losing touch with yourself? Fulfillment comes from directing my attention to how I do things, instead of focusing on getting results. You can’t become aware of this often enough!”

Interested? Please contact Hettie.