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A Healthy Integral Evolutionary Lifestyle

By Joanna Abernethy

Joanna & Mim

Joanna & Mim

I think the thing that grabbed me when I first heard about The Awakened Life Project was the fact that there were these people living in a remote area in a far away country (Portugal) who’d specifically chosen to set up a community to live and put into practice a way of life that expressed truth and goodness, and ongoing evolution.  Don’t we all long for that and hope that somewhere in the world people are actually living it?

Well how wonderful and refreshing it is to find that they are, and even before I got there I knew they were!   There was something about the freshness in the writings on the website, it had a presence and a pull, probably even unbeknownst to those who live there.  Another thing that grabbed me about the description and photos of the Project, were the tumbling waterfalls.  From my experience, there are water holes in the world that have a purifying effect, and especially waterfalls, so I was instantly drawn to the idea of  swimming in these beautiful falls!

I arrived into the town of Coimbra, Portugal, a lovely river city, and was collected by Project resident Adam, at the bus station.  We had about a 45 minute drive from Coimbra, so I was able to quiz Adam about why he decided to commit to living there instead of elsewhere.  Adam expressed that it must have been ‘grace’ that brought him there.  He said he had travelled and stayed on numerous organic/permaculture farms as a Woofer (Willing Workers on Organic Farms, or something like that) with his partner Mim, and while many of the farms were very nice, and well intended, Pete & Cynthia had the most important thing, a philosophical directionality, that the others lacked.


Good living practices of permaculture, combined also with the upward vertical teachings of Evolutionary Enlightenment and Integral life practice. These added so much more and made this community so exciting to be part of,  that is what I understood from Adam’s reasons for moving there.

Well I had not yet experienced what Adam was talking about, but after spending two wonderful weeks there I understood why he felt the way he did about finding The Awakened Life Project.  It feels like home, there is an impersonality there that is not cold, but calls us to a way of life that is positive, evolutionary, wholesome.  I spent the first two nights there in a authentic Mongolian Yurt, a round structure with delightful orange hand painted doors, too small to walk through without bending down to enter.

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On the first morning I awoke to the sound of donkey’s snorting around the yurt, and co-founder, Pete , scooping up their manure in a wheelbarrow for the permaculture garden.   I bathed in the waterfall pools every day, sometimes twice, and it really did have a deeply refreshing effect, and could feel it markedly afterwards.



The food is almost all raw, aside from delicious soups made by Laura who is also in charge of the garden, lots of salads and fruit locally grown if not produced on the Project itself.

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During the time there I worked in the garden, and mostly in the kitchen, helping with a one week meditation retreat that Pete was leading while I was there.


Aside from Pete and his wife Cynthia, Adam and Mim, and Laura, living at the Project there is also Glen, a young man (around 20) from Brooklyn, NY of all places, who ended up in the interior of Portugal, a world away from New York!  Glen said he had travelled around looking at sustainable communities and had initially thought that was the most important thing, the sustainable practices, but  had come to realize after being at Quinta da Mizarela, that the philosophical direction and the foundation of community was the most important thing, not just the sustainable practices, although they were important of course as well.

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Another great thing about being there was that a young Austrian man, Marco, who had recently arrived  and decided to stay for a while, was giving yoga classes every other day.


The Awakened Life Project is a beacon for a healthy, integral evolutionary lifestyle in communion with the beauty of nature!  Meditation, raw food, bathing in waterfall pools, working in the sun and fresh air, yoga, authentic passionate people, commitment to higher values and ongoing evolution.  Thank you to everyone, I feel so very lucky to have been there!

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