- Benfeita, Portugal
I’m originally from California. From the moment I came to Central Portugal I absolutely loved it. There were the obvious reasons; the gorgeous scenery, the extremely friendly people, the slow moving way of life where people took the time to speak with one another, but it was mostly the stillness and quiet that I experienced all around me and within me that told me that this was the place! So you may ask, the place for what? To answer that question I will need to give you some background.
I was raised in a middle class American household, I didn’t have a strong background in spiritual matters (and none were encouraged) but from very early on I just knew there was more to life than having and getting for myself. I tried the conventional route of getting married at 20 years of age, of having a good job, making money, buying a house, succeeding in business and in the end it was all empty because it lacked heart and purpose.
When I turned 30 I knew that I was completely bored with life, I had everything I was supposed to want and yet it wasn’t what I longed for. I finally surrendered to the call of my heart and gave it all up and moved to Japan for 4 years to practice Aikido and Japanese Tea Ceremony. This was a true awakening as I was engaging in things I never dreamed of, no one knew me so I had no particular self image to uphold. I had trained in Aikido for only a month before going to Japan so it was all new to me, doing a martial art, living in a foreign country and all my friends were “spiritual types” and serious practitioners who inquired into the big questions of Life, it was GREAT! I was so far outside anything I had done before that in a way my past fell away and was just a distant memory. I wasn’t limited by many of the ideas that I had about myself so that made anything possible.
After leaving Japan I spent time in California running an Aikido Dojo but still it wasn’t enough. So again after some resistance I followed my heart and spent the next 8 years in a spiritual community on the East Coast of the US. There I became more grounded in who I am beyond the mind and equally as important I learned a lot about the movement of ego. It was here that I found the joy of communion with others in a community with a common purpose and I walked away with lifelong friends and the foundational tools that I live my life by today.
After 8 years I decided to leave the community, following the same thread that led me to Japan and then I found myself getting into a relationship with Pete and moving to Spain where our shared vision for the Awakened Life Project arose.
Three important things happened during my time in Spain. One, I slowed down. I really looked inward and gave myself time to “just be”. Two, I met an incredible women named Ria Panen Godesberg who helped me to conquer limitations from my past and who helped me to enhance clairvoyant, intuitive abilities that I had naturally had my whole life. Everything fell into place and I was ready for the next step which was the 3rd important thing that happened in Spain. This is when the vision of the Awakened Life Project emerged. Here´s the story…
For over a year we were lucky enough to live in a quiet sanctuary in a valley with deafening silence. We were surrounded by plentiful gardens full of organic food, the Mediterranean Sea a 20 min. walk away and we were able to be there without all the distractions of the modern world. We found ourselves falling deeper and deeper into living a life of meditation and we blended in with the silence that was already there. We knew that this year was a gift that had been given to us and that it wasn’t just for us. We didn’t exactly know what that meant but this much was clear. As friends came to visit us we became aware of the effect that this place and our way of being had on people. Nothing was imposed and everything flowed. We didn’t try to create anything or re-create what had happened with the people that had come before. Life was ever new and what emerged when people were given the space to ‘just be’ was quite beautiful and inspiring.
So we knew that we wanted to create a place for others to come to, but what it would look like and how we would do it was completely unknown. So when we came to Central Portugal all we knew was we wanted to find a place where we could buy land, live off the grid, grow our own food, drink water fresh from the earth, breathe clean air, create a place for other people. In a way we had nothing to hold onto but in another way we had all we needed! We continued to follow the thread that had been guiding us up to this point. We found the land, we learned a lot, when we needed money we found it, when we needed people with particular skills they appeared, when it was time to grow and have permanent members they also appeared. Everything has and continues to unfold perfectly, not always on my timeline but ALWAYS perfectly. I have found peace and passion, I am learning everyday to trust more and more in that which I cant see with my mind but is so very tangible in my soul. And most importantly I am finding joy and happiness in responding to the call to evolve which constantly pushes me beyond what I think I am capable of.
For me creating the Awakened Life Project is and continues to be my response to this call. Simply I want to give back what I have been given, I want to be a full expression of Love and a vehicle for consciousness. I want to fulfill my purpose for being on this planet.
Right now it seems we are in a time of crisis but we are also in a time of great opportunity. We are on the cusp of transcending the old and creating the new. In order to do this we must align with the creativity of the Universe as Ourselves. We are all needed in this great adventure and we all need support, help and understanding in order to fulfill our full potential so we can be full participants in creating a new culture and thus a new world. The Awakened Life Project is here to support the best part of anyone who is interested and we are also here to not support the part of oneself that wants separation.
In a way my path has come to an end as I have found passion and purpose and in another way I am just getting started! I look forward to meeting those who are interested in living the truth of Unity, here on this planet, here and now!