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Integral Evolutionary Spirituality, Community & Sustainability
Sandra Szostak

Since I can remember my life was always based on fear. Fear of people, society, not fitting in, not getting what I need in order to survive, not fulfilling the expectations of others and so on. I always seemed to have questions and viewpoints other people hadn’t and therefore felt excluded and not able to live in this world. My heart told me things that felt so true and right but society mirrored values to me which were completely different. I was sitting in between two chairs. One was my heart and intuition that told me what I needed to do in order to live a life with meaning and that I was destined to live. The other was society, friends and family that lived according to the standard and represented what was supposed to be right and would give me security. This inner disunity made me deeply depressed and I knew I had to break out of it somehow.

The first step I took was going to Australia after I had finished school. It was the most profound time for me as I let go of so many limitations I previously had and for the first time in my life consciously experienced divine synchronicity and things clicking into place. I met exactly the people I needed to meet to help me realize something deeper. When I went back to Germany, back into the system (I started an apprenticeship in a bank) I couldn’t cope and got depressed again. My heart just wanted to break out and live a life from moment to moment, not knowing what would come next, not needing an outcome. But I wasn’t strong enough yet. I finished the apprenticeship, then started to study geoecology. This really was a dream of mine and a step into the right direction because the forecasts concerning job prospects weren’t too good. But I didn’t care. All I wanted was to help the planet and nature to protect itself against the destruction made by humans. At this time I also joined a local greenpeace group and at first it all seemed to flow into the right direction. But in the course of time I learned here too that it was all about success and being published. The pressure I put on myself was immense and after 2 years I was close to a breakdown and full of fear again.

How was I supposed to cope in a world like this, where it seemed so normal and right to act out of fear and the need for success? Where it was encouraged to put on a mask, to hide your feelings and to play a game nobody could possibly really enjoy? The big insight came to me when my naturopath told me that if I keep going like this I soon would have a breakdown. At this moment everything shattered and I could see how I have denied my soul for most of the time and for what? For a life that made me depressed and didn’t even feel real. For an apparent security that I did not feel.

When this awakening to my heart happened, I knew my live would change for good. All the fear that previously kept me from following my soul didn’t have any strength anymore. I could still feel the fear but what was more important for me now was the truth and where that would lead me. So far I have been on an incredible journey! I left my home country Germany, abandoned my probable university career and dived into the unknown. Since then, life has brought me to exactly the places I need to be to confront inner tightness and let go of the need for an outcome. By following my path I learn everyday that the only thing to do is to be myself and let go. As we are all part of one consciousness everything is interconnected and only by surrendering to that flow I came to know the Awakened Life Project. I would like to share that story in more detail because it shows to me so powerfully that some occasions at first sight don’t make sense but if one keeps following the heart no matter how unreasonable it seems to be, in the end, one will end up exactly where one is supposed to be.

When I started to walk my path fully committed, synchronicity happened at once and I got involved with a spiritual organization in England. I took some courses with them and right at the end, 2 weeks before I flew to Canada to write my bachelor thesis I fell in love with a man working for that organization. I wondered why…I just came out of a 5 year long relationship, feeling free and not wanting to have another relationship again until I was enlightened. Well of course this is not how the universe works. We tried to have a long distance relationship and it soon became clear that after finishing my thesis and travelling a bit I would come to the UK. Then again things happened and my heart told me to go to the UK right away, without having finished my thesis yet. This was the first big test how serious I was about following my intuition and not my rational mind (which was freaking out by the way). I knew that I needed to come back to Europe not mainly because of the man but because I needed to be there. When I arrived in England it soon became clear that the man and I weren’t supposed to be together in a relationship. I still didn’t feel any regrets having left Canada after 2 month of studying and not seeing a bit of the country. What happened next was that the man told me about the Awakened Life Project and I instantly felt, wow this is where I need to go next! So I applied and went for a Permaculture Internship in March 2013. The rest feels like history already… I felt at home right away and it became clear that I was supposed to stay longer, in the end for 4 months. During this time I learned so much and so many things clicked even more into place.

It feels like the circle has closed. When I was a teenager I only cared about animals and wanted all human beings, including me, to die, so that this abusing would have an end. Then I realized that animals need nature to live in. I then started to care about environment protection and became active in that direction. But at this point I still didn’t really like human beings. Since walking my life path I came to understand more and more the predicament our society lives in. I don’t blame anyone anymore for anything, but rather see the beauty and potential that each of us carries. The Awakened Life Project helped me to see our potential as a culture and therefore our duty if we want to live a life aligned with the whole. Life is good, people are good and what we can create together is beyond words. This knowing brings joy to my heart.

During the 4 months at the project I also came to know Jutta, another member. From the first time I saw her it felt like magnetism. I felt drawn strongly to her and after visiting her at Casa Ervas Silvestres/Avidanja, I pretty soon knew that I would join her project as a co-creator. It feels magical that these two projects share the same values and that I can be engaged in both of them. I have found a family that is only supporting the best part in each other, and is doing this through complete honesty and transparency, values that often lack in modern society. Everybody is more interested in being on the edge of evolution than staying in a personal comfort zone. This is the attitude we need if we want to change something in this world for the better.

I am thrilled to be part of this project now, and look forward to what will be next.

Sandra
 

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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.

Contacts

Quinta da Mizarela
3305-031 Benfeita
Portugal

info@awakenedlifeproject.org
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