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Rita Belo

I volunteered at the Awakened Life Project for 1 month and one week. The site is one of extraordinary beauty with the waterfalls of Fraga da Pena literally at the bottom of the garden! I spent most of the time doing gardening work and one of the things I liked most was to learn that most of the seedlings considered “weeds” are actually true nutrient pumps! A good example is the nettle, with untold medicinal properties (prepared as an infusion of tea or a soup). Every day we made a huge green salad for lunch and dinner with a range of about 20 different kinds of wild herbs! So different from the not-so-creative salad mista a la Portuguese…

Sometimes we added colorful flowers that are also edible… In addition we made green juices grinding the leaves in a blender, adding water and some apples and then squeezing the mixture through a net. The juices differed in degree of difficulty (!), but these green blood transfusions are truly an explosion of green minerals and vitamins that certainly should be part of the diet of all of us!

But the most important aspect of being at the Project relates to the collective effort that is made for an experience beyond the separate ego. Each day begins with 45 minutes of meditation in which the space in us beyond the separate self is cultivated. But then it is in the interpersonal dynamics of relationships based on clarity, simplicity and authenticity that so much is revealed and explored. Everyone is invited to be who they are and to see how the collective ego manifests itself and then to learn how important it is not to feed this movement. The practice of meditation as well as another collective inquiry practice called “conscious conversation” are the binders of this group experience beyond the ego and they really create a palpable energy field, a kind of ” ego-free zone”! The ideal place to put aside that part of us that is reactive and unconscious, which insists on the separation and enhancement of the self. The culture of ME! ME! ME! has turned us into true ego freaks. A stay at the Awakened Life Project is an excellent opportunity to move from ME! to a Higher WE! and meditate on what the commonly used, but rarely deeply understood term, “WE are ONE” really means.

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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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