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Integral Evolutionary Spirituality, Community & Sustainability
Glen Friedman

Since I can remember, I have been fascinated by the big questions of life. Who am I, what is this place, and why am I here? As I began to learn about how the world works, I began to reject it.

Growing up I was resistant to school and extracurricular activities, and I deeply valued unstructured time. I was always working on a creative project in some form or another. From selling rocks from a red wagon on the side of the road to computer consulting, I became a young entrepreneur, driven by curiosity.

As a teenager I became aware of bigger ideas about life. I resonated with the concepts of Infinity and Unity of everything. When I saw life from a larger perspective, I realized the trance of materialism that everyone seemed to be in. I felt that many things in life were not as important as I was made to believe.

At first, this manifested as resistance to the system and a lack of care for the people participating in it. But as I struggled through those rebellious years, I realized a more human quality to what I was experiencing. Distrust, confusion, and “I don’t care” turned to a positive relationship to life that included everyone and enveloped complete trust, openness and a thirst for what could be possible if people truly worked together.

I became inspired by the movement towards sustainability and funneled my creative energy towards that. I was set on the ambitious idea to create a mobile sustainable home from an old school bus, so bought a bus and converted it to run on waste vegetable oil from sushi restaurants.  Somewhere along the way, probably when I recognized the fate of trying to grow my own food on a bus, I lost the inspiration to continue. But succeeding in a complex task I knew nothing about gave me the confidence to search for something bigger to do. At the time I was three months into my freshman year at a state university. I really began to see the path I was on in a different way. I questioned if it was really where I wanted to go. I knew for sure I did not want to be a part of a 9-5 routine that I was not passionate about to earn money and have a bit of spare time.  I wanted to DO what I was passionate about, as the only thing, every day, all the time, if I could earn money for it or not.

To me, this university was not a facility for true learning, but a place for evaluating my ability of memorizing and regurgitating information.  I wanted to experience a more holistic life in harmony with nature in order to learn what it really means to be sustainable. I wanted my life to embrace bigger ideas.

After deciding to travel Europe and visit sustainable projects, I came across the Awakened Life Project website. Not only did it seem like a perfect model for sustainability, it was a place for embracing big ideas, and that was what really fascinated me and drew me to come here.

The context for life I walked into was light-years ahead of anything I had ever experienced. This pure approach to life, through the way we meditate, eat, create, and relate to each other gave me the clarity to see my own experience more and more objectively, and to discover real freedom; that I can always choose what to manifest in life. I found myself at home here, and fully behind the vision of the project.

Through the creative work I have taken here I have found a passion for the technical side of sustainable living. I have witnessed that my “can-do” positive attitude, and ignorance of limitation make it possible to do things like design a custom sustainable central heating system while at the same time building the site for a hydro turbine and coordinating a construction team, all with no prior knowledge or experience. I find that I am always pushing the edge of my abilities, and this is exciting because I can see the results; that I am becoming more organized, more effective, and relaxed amidst what used to feel overwhelming.

At this point I could not be more fulfilled, because my life has become a dynamic flow of positive change. The deepest sense of self that I have discovered here has no question about who it is, and the unlimited passion I express by growing this Awakened Life Project leaves no question to why I am here.


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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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