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Floris Winkelmeijer

Reaching my thirties in 2010 I felt I was doing pretty well. I had a lot of friends, a nice apartment in the center of Amsterdam, a lovely girlfriend, a well paying job at a bank with great prospects, I was going on holiday for about eight weeks a year to all sorts of exotic places, etc. And now that I’m writing this it still sounds appealing but I would never want to go back to that life. I’m happier than I ever was before. The part of me that is missing that life is the conditioned part of me that wants me to believe happiness comes from acquiring experiences, relations and stuff but I have been fortunate enough to realize that it is not the case. Happiness is always already here, we have just lost touch with it and don’t know our way back to it.

In 2010 I had a pretty big emotional breakdown. It is when I found out that I wasn’t the person who I thought I had been all this time. There’s a poem that helped me wake up to this truth and its called “Please hear what I’m not saying” by Charles Finn. It made me realize that I had been pretending to be “someone” for most part of my life and that I didn’t really know who was behind those masks I was putting on. Although the Poem doesn’t have the same effect on me as it had back then I post it here as it might have on you. Although I could not have put it in so many words back then that is when I began my exploration into who “I AM”. And it is proving to be a very exciting and fulfilling adventure.

I have to say it wasn’t easy in the beginning. I went through a lot of psychiatrists and other self-help strategies. And it absolutely helped me at the time, but only marginally. It just brought me back to some sort of equilibrium but it was not much different than before the breakdown. A few years past in which I felt increasingly at unease about what I was doing. I was feeling emptiness in the things I did and bought. I increasingly felt uneasy about my work and it was getting harder and harder to put my work-mask on until I could not handle the stress anymore of not being able to be who I really was. So that’s when I quit my job and my girlfriend, Lotte, and I decided to buy a camper van and go into the world to see how other people were living differently.

This trip brought us to the Awakened Life Project where we applied to volunteer for a period and did a retreat on Evolutionary Awakening and I increasingly got in touch with who I really am and that there is a bigger purpose to life than the personal pursuit of happiness. We did not search any further and came back to the Project to stay a few months. Lotte had got pregnant in the meantime and we spend most of the pregnancy in the yurt at the Awakened Life Project. We were meditating, working, inquiring and preparing for the arrival of “Isa”. We went back to Holland for the delivery but decided to come back to the Project after a few months after Isa was born. As meditation retreats and children not go well together we decided to join the existing sister project of the Awakened Life Project, which is known as the Awakened Family Project/Life in Transition.

The longer I’m involved with ALP the more I have come to Love what we are trying to do.

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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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