Life Itself
Ordinary People
A Conversation with Valerie Duvauchelle

A Conversation with Valerie Duvauchelle

From Existential Crisis to Monastic Practice

In this episode of Ordinary People Sylvie Barbier speaks with Valerie Duvauchelle on the transformative power of Zen and embodied practices. Valerie explains her personal journey as she navigates the complexities of cultural and generational trauma, exploring the profound impact Zen Buddhism had on her connection with self, others, and nature.

About Valerie Duvachelle

Alongside being a culinary adventurer, a food activist and a tenzo (a zen cook in the Soto Zen tradition), Valerie is the Guardian of Life Itself's daily practices at the Bergerac Praxis Hub. She enjoys sitting in the uncertainty and is passionate about helping communities to awaken their enthusiastic collective heart through shared practice. She lives life according to her mantra: together, together, all together! 

About Sylvie Barbier

Sylvie Barbier is a French-Taiwanese performance artist, entrepreneur and educator. She co-founded Life Itself to build a wiser future through culture, space and community.

Ordinary People is a podcast series that delves into the lives of individuals who have defied societal expectations and embarked on extra-ordinary paths despite their seemingly ordinary backgrounds. Join us as we dive deep into their lives, uncovering their motivations, beliefs, practices, and moments of transformation. We demystify hero worship and share accessible narratives of real individuals who have transcended societal expectations and norms. Each guest delicately navigates the balance between introspection and worldly engagement. Listeners are offered empowerment, kinship and inspiration for embarking on their own extra-ordinary journey.


0:00 Using food as a transformative tool in the Zen tradition

5:58 Spiritual journey from France to Japan, finding Zen through meditation

11:45 Personal growth, trauma, and societal values

19:27 Personal growth, spirituality, and the transformative power of meditation

30:35 Embodied transformation and prioritizing full aliveness through shared practice and physical space

36:52 Faith and engagement in a group context

43:16 Spirituality, comfort, and safety

Life Itself
Ordinary People
In this series we delve into the lives of individuals who have defied societal expectations and embarked on extra-ordinary paths, despite their seemingly ordinary backgrounds. This series interrogates the belief that an extraordinary life may only be achieved by those who are naturally exceptional.
Listen on
Substack App
Apple Podcasts
RSS Feed
Appears in episode
Lauren Wigmore