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Alice Fitzgibbon

I grew up in a little fishing village in Ireland: family, school, Sunday Mass, potatoes, lots of playing in nature. I loved art and music, dreamt of being a film composer, and earned an Honours Degree in Western Classical Music at University. On paper it was a perfectly great life but after an eating disorder and continuing episodes of depression I had increasingly urgent questions: Whats going on? Materially, I have everything I want but I'm a mess. Why can't I deal with this privileged life? So I decided to drop the whole thing, all the projects and ideas, my whole "life" and just go travelling. My intuition told me there must be something else out there- some way of living and some paradigm that makes sense. 

I backpacked and couchsurfed around Europe for a year, worked as a Music Teacher in Paris for two years, spent two years in and out of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, worked in England, Germany and the US. I loved the hustle and bustle of travelling - the constant thinking on my feet, the surprises and spontaneity, the incredible coincidences, the beautiful conversations, the moving generosity of strangers, the lack of control, the continuous cracking open of old paradigms and the fostering of new, more truthful ones. After 21 years of the same village suddenly there were piles of languages, metro systems, landscapes, cultures, music, traditions that I didn't understand. Everyday there was something new. It was thrilling. 

When I left, I never had any intentions of living in community - If I dreamt at all it was of a little hermitage by the sea or a cave in the Himalayas: something peaceful, faaaaar far away from people's messy emotions, expectations and conflicts. But in 2017, after 6 years of spiritual exploration with this teacher and that teacher, this ashram, that ashram, this technique, that technique, I found myself at an unexpected junction. I had found the answers I was looking for but I lacked the contextual understanding to consistently live them moment to moment. It became clear that behind my supposedly strong independence was a lot of arrogance and the fear of being vulnerable. If I really wanted to be free, I needed the support of a sangha and a teacher. And I needed to commit: fishing around for the perfect way of life/paradigm/teacher/ashram/technique was beside the point. The key was commitment, not perfection. So I googled "intentional communities" and The Awakened Life Project was the first to respond to my mails.    

I first came as a volunteer in 2018 and have been a resident since May 2019. Every month I relax a little more and I learn more and more what it practically means to not take things personally, to take responsibility, to live passionately, to truly care for myself and others and not create separation. Ironically, standing still has turned out to be as thrilling as travelling; now the world comes to me through our amazing volunteers, I am constantly thinking on my feet solving issues in the garden, people's capacity for transformation constantly surprises me, beautiful conversations are the norm, I am still not in control of life, and paradigms are being melted and reformed even quicker than before. And throughout all the movement and change, life has become very simple: theres only here and now and freedom is a choice anyone can make, anytime, anywhere. I want to give my life to that understanding and I have no idea where that will bring me but I am open for a great and challenging ride.

Alice Fitzgibbon, Ireland

+1 351 000 000

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About the project

The Awakened Life Project is situated in a beautiful and wild ecological reserve in the mountains Central Portugal. We offer volunteer programs, courses, events and retreats to support the liberation of the human spirit in a context of evolutionary emergence and communion with the ecological web of life.


Quinta da Mizarela
3305-031 Benfeita
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