Awakened Life Project : Projeto Vida Desperta Rotating Header Image




Peter Bampton


I’m originally from the UK but after years of travels both within and without, I can only relate to being a planetary or cosmic citizen, who now mysteriously finds himself in the mountains of Central Portugal!

For as long as I can remember I have been insatiably curious about the mystery and wonder of being conscious that I am alive, the awe-inspiring beauty of this planet and the unfathomable purpose of it all! Who am I? Why am I here? Where do we come from and where are we headed? How to live on our planet in a way that takes responsibility for pioneering a positive evolutionary alternative to the crippling modern mess of materialism, relativism and narcissism? How to evolve both our interiors and exteriors so that all dimensions of who we are as human beings are awakened, embraced and transformed?

We are living in tipping point times so discovering and living profound and practical answers to questions like these, for those of us who have the interest and innocence to ask them, is more essential than it has ever been. In fact, the future evolution of the human race depends on enough of  us waking up from the dream of separate existence. And the future is NOW!

My journey of seeking and discovering answers to these big questions has taken me around the world and turned me upside down and inside out… My passion for spiritual freedom and liberating understanding took me around the globe for several years as a lonesome traveller, into many intensive meditation retreats (almost becoming a Buddhist monk), to 13 years involved in an extraordinarily powerful and challenging communal experiment in evolutionary enlightenment with contemporary Spiritual Teacher Andrew Cohen, to a permaculture farm on the isle of Ibiza, and now into the mountains of Central Portugal and the birth of the Awakened Life Project.

In more recent years, I have found myself married in body and soul to my partner Cynthia and have pursued a longing to live an integrated, simple, vibrant, sustainable life in communion with Nature, thus I have been learning the art of permaculture while thriving (and getting younger I hope!) on a mostly raw food diet.

The vision for the Awakened Life Project has arisen organically out of  the convergence of all my passions and experience. It is a beacon for the evolution of consciousness. What does that mean? It means awakening to the Truth of who we are as One Self, One Life, One Consciousness. Hence this is a place to come to rest, to discover joy, peace and unity within oneself and with Nature. But it also means something even more important and desperately needed in this world, which is to take responsibility for the evolution of that One Life, One Consciousness as ourselves.

My primary passion is to transmit the deeply liberating contemporary spiritual perspective of integral evolutionary enlightenment, that has transformed my own life, through teachings, retreats and courses in Portugal.

I don’t quite know how I ended up in the mountains of Central Portugal along with my wife Cynthia, but a mysterious intuitive thread has led us here. I could never have imagined that so much amazing positive development could happen so quickly! It truly is an incredible adventure to be flying on the wings of profound trust as we revive and mould the ruins and terrain of Quinta da Mizerela into a beacon for meditation/contemplation, authentic communication/relationship, permaculture/sustainability, natural health/healing and all manner of as-yet-unknown potentials for awakening to our True Nature as expressions of the Creative Source of All That Is.

Mobile: 966333187

Cynthia Bampton


Hello, My name is Cynthia. I’m originally from California and I’m married to the beautiful Englishman named Pete that you just met above. From the moment I came to Central Portugal I absolutely loved it. There were the obvious reasons; the gorgeous scenery, the extremely friendly people, the slow moving way of life where people took the time to speak with one another, but it was mostly the stillness and quiet that I experienced all around me and within me that told me that this was the place! So you may ask, the place for what? To answer that question I will need to give you some background.

I was raised in a middle class American household, I didn’t have a strong background in spiritual matters (and none were encouraged) but from very early on I just knew there was more to life than having and getting for myself. I tried the conventional route of getting married at 20 years of age, of having a good job, making money, buying a house, succeeding in business and in the end it was all empty because it lacked heart and purpose.

When I turned 30 I knew that I was completely bored with life, I had everything I was supposed to want and yet it wasn’t what I longed for.  I finally surrendered to the call of my heart and gave it all up and moved to Japan for 4 years to practice Aikido and Japanese Tea Ceremony. This was a true awakening as I was engaging in things I never dreamed of, no one knew me so I had no particular self image to uphold.  I had trained in Aikido for only a month before going to Japan so it was all new to me, doing a martial art, living in a foreign country and all my friends were “spiritual types” and serious practitioners who inquired into the big questions of Life, it was GREAT! I was so far outside anything I had done before that in a way my past fell away and was just a distant memory. I wasn’t limited by many of the ideas that I had about myself so that made anything possible.

During my time in Japan I traveled in India and Nepal and met American Spiritual Teacher Andrew Cohen (and I also met Pete at one of Andrew´s retreats!).  After leaving Japan I spent time in California running an Aikido Dojo but still it wasn’t enough.  So again after some resistance I followed my heart and spent the next 8 years in Andrew Cohens community on the East Coast of the US.  There I became more grounded in who I am beyond the mind and equally as important I learned a lot about the movement of ego.  It was here that I found the joy of communion with others in a community with a common purpose and I walked away with lifelong friends and the foundational tools that I live my life by today.

After 8 years I decided to leave the community, following the same thread that led me to Japan and to the Andrew community I next found myself getting into a relationship with Pete and moving to Spain and ultimately to co-creating the Awakened Life Project.

Three important things happened during my time in Spain.  One, I slowed down.  I really looked inward and gave myself time to “just be”.  Two, I met an incredible women named Ria Panen Godesberg who helped me to conquer limitations from my past and who helped me to enhance abilities that I had naturally had my whole life.  Andrew gave me the tools and understanding that I needed to gain a bigger perspective on LIFE but it was Ria that gave me the confidence to live what I had understood. Everything fell into place and I was ready for the next step which was the 3rd important thing that happened in Spain.  This is when the vision of the Awakened Life Project emerged.  Here´s the story…

For over a year we were lucky enough to live in a quiet sanctuary in a valley with deafening silence. We were surrounded by plentiful gardens full of organic food, the Mediterranean Sea a 20 min. walk away and we were able to be there without all the distractions of the modern world. We found ourselves falling deeper and deeper into living a life of meditation and we blended in with the silence that was already there. We knew that this year was a gift that had been given to us and that it wasn’t just for us. We didn’t exactly know what that meant but this much was clear. As friends came to visit us we became aware of the effect that this place and our way of being had on people. Nothing was imposed and everything flowed. We didn’t try to create anything or re-create what had happened with the people that had come before. Life was ever new and what emerged when people were given the space to ‘just be’ was quite beautiful and inspiring.

So we knew that we wanted to create a place for others to come to, but what it would look like and how we would do it was completely unknown. So when we came to Central Portugal all we knew was we wanted to find a place where we could buy land, live off the grid, grow our own food, drink water fresh from the earth, breathe clean air, create a place for other people.  In a way we had nothing to hold onto but in another way we had all we needed!  We continued to follow the thread that had been guiding us up to this point.  We found the land, we learned a lot, when we needed money we found it, when we needed people with particular skills they appeared, when it was time to grow and have permanent members they also appeared. Everything has and continues to unfold perfectly, not always on my timeline but ALWAYS perfectly.  I have found peace and passion, I am learning everyday to trust more and more in that which I cant see with my mind but is so very tangible in my soul. And most importantly I am finding joy and happiness in responding to the call to evolve which constantly pushes me beyond what I think I am capable of.

For me creating the Awakened Life Project is and continues to be my response to this call.  Simply I want to give back what I have been given, I want to be a full expression of Love and a vehicle for consciousness. I want to fulfill my purpose for being on this planet.

Right now it seems we are in a time of crisis but we are also in a time of great opportunity. We are on the cusp of transcending the old and creating the new.  In order to do this we must align with the creativity of the Universe as Ourselves.  We are all needed in this great adventure and we all need support, help and understanding in order to fulfill our full potential so we can be full participants in creating a new culture and thus a new world. The Awakened Life Project is here to support the best part of anyone who is interested and we are also here to not support the part of oneself that wants separation.

In a way my path has come to an end as I have found passion and purpose and in another way I am just getting started!  I look forward to meeting those who are interested in living the truth of Unity, here on this planet, here and now!

Mobile: 967098280

Mim Elkan


I’m Mim, and I’m here with my partner Adam.  We’ve been at the Quinta da Mizarela since October 2009.  And I’m still asking myself, how on earth did we come to be here?

It began with a conversation about washing machines.  That’s when Adam and I were living in London.  It seemed crazy to be living in a row of houses full of washing machines, lawn mowers, and electric drills, when all these things could be shared.  Which took us to the realization that both of us had been interested in the idea of living in some kind of community for years, but had never done anything about it.

“Community” is a big word, and one that seems to cover a multitude of sins.  We started to think what it was we meant by this word, what we wanted and what the issues were.  We knew we wanted some kind of spiritual basis to the community, as well as a focus on sustainability.  We are both interested in health (I’m a naturopath and Adam studied nutrition).  We’ve both done our share of “self-development”: bits of therapy, group work, tantra, dance, meditation… Much of what’s available on the new-age scene, and both knew that we hadn’t (yet?) found what we were looking for there.

We visited a couple of eco-villages, and realised that many seem to focus on being “nice alternative neighbourhoods”.  A fine goal, but not what we were after.  We went on a couple of workshops, run along the “Scott Peck” model [see his book The Different Drum], and this seemed to get closer to our dream: we wanted a community where issues didn’t get buried, and where there was enough trust for people to be “real” with each other.  We lived in a shared house with other people who had an interest in community, and tried to be as honest and upfront as possible, and discovered how difficult this can be, and how much our personalities can get in the way.

We also spoke with people who had lived in various communities.  Some seemed to focus heavily on sustainability, with less emphasis on spirituality, and these often seemed to collapse under high levels of conflict.  In others, issues were dealt with in such an intense way that no meal could be eaten without an “atmosphere” of some sort.  Hmmmmm: too stressful!

In a kind of random way we decided to buy an ex-public-transport bus (just a small one), convert it into a mobile home, and travel to look for community and sustainable living.  In an equally random way we chose to start in Portugal:  Neither of us had ever been there.  We liked the sound of it.

We met Pete and Cynthia in yet another random way: they were running a meditation group at a place where we were volunteering, and I decided to go along. Only it wasn’t just meditation, it was also what they call “conscious conversation”, and I found it really powerful.

After the group we stood chatting, and so came the invitation: “Come and see us in our place up in the mountains.  It’s beautiful.” So on our day off Adam and I pootled up there for a visit, loved the place (it’s stunning!), but even more loved the vision and the way that we communicated with Pete and Cynthia.  So we asked if we could come as volunteers, moved our bus, and fell into a different way of being.

So different in fact, and often so wonderful, that when Pete and Cynthia asked us after three months if we would like to stay a year, we agreed.  It was really exciting to experience a whole year of the development of their vision.  A year of developing the infrastructure – things like new buildings and hydro-electricity.  A year of working with permaculture ideas in the garden – and Pete has some really great plans. But infinitely more important, it also means a year of learning more about being who we really are.

So I’ll try to explain a bit more about why I find it different, living here, from any other experience I’ve ever had:  Pete and Cynthia used to live in a spiritual community with a spiritual teacher called Andrew Cohen, and they seem to have a whole heap more understanding than other people I’ve met about really liberating ourselves from all that “personality” stuff, so that we can really be Free.  They have introduced us to a new language, in which talking about egos, about taking things personally or impersonally, about transcending the limitations of personal conditioning  and about conscious evolution, is quite normal.

However this is not about talking, about words, about language. How did Cynthia put it?  “It’s not about talking about being awake, it’s about being awake and talking.”  We are all really trying to live in a way that supports our individual and collective freedom.  For me, this means saying stuff that bothers me, and trusting that we can talk about it openly until it is sorted.  And we do.  And it works.  The conversations might start with some small issue, around food or the leaking tap.  What is interesting is that by really following all the threads, all the underlying emotions and patterns of behaviour, we really do liberate ourselves.  And at the end we are all buzzing!  This is not about exhausting introspection but about joyful exploration.  Each time we do this I find myself feeling…bigger…more whole…able to give more.  It’s hard to find the words, as I feel so many things.  The really amazing thing is that I know everyone else is feeling it too!

There are five of us resident here doing this at the moment.  Friends and longer term volunteers who share our interest also join in just as readily.  On Fridays we do a silent day of work on the land punctuated by periods of meditation and then culminate with an Evolutionary Inquiry group in the evening.  There is also a monthly women’s group, which I go to, and a monthly men’s group – and what a surprise: I’m not allowed to go to that!  So there are a whole group of people connected with this Quinta, who all want to explore this stuff together.

If this sounds over-intense, full of angst and constant soul-searching, it’s not.  We all care enough to take things gently, to allow time for change to happen, and most importantly to have lots of fun.  So the reality is that we all take our evolution incredibly seriously, but at the same time we also take it lightly, or to be more accurate, we don’t make it heavy.

When I first thought about living in a community, I had something much bigger (maybe 20 people?) in mind. I still hold that dream as a possibility.  But I’m discovering that the skills that I’m learning here, about liberating myself and transcending my personality, are the same skills that I need to live well with other people and to offer something truly meaningful to the world.

Adam Murray


What I was

Some years ago I had a good career in IT, which I gave up on the grounds that doing a soulless job wasn’t making me happy despite the good pay.  In the context of a prevailing materialist culture this was an unusual step, perhaps radical, maybe even subversive.  Whatever, I had begun to see that most of us weren’t getting a good deal in life.  Our lives were being structured around the needs of the gargantuan machine known as ‘the economy’, which drained our energy and in return gave us toys and narcotics to keep us amused, distracted and pacified.  When I saw the film ‘The Matrix’ I recognised the metaphor.

Around this time I was hearing a lot of doom-laden talk about the future of the world – peak oil, climate change, species extinctions, superbugs, the unsustainable economic system, conspiracy theories galore – and I was given to listening to it.  As a result I became very cynical, a bit paranoid and angry about my fellow man.

When Mim and I had our conversation about washing machines and community (see above) I was more than ready to leave my comfortable, but fairly pointless, life in London and look for something more fulfilling.  I found it difficult to articulate why I wanted to live in community.  The best description I could come up with was “I want to live with people I love.”  This didn’t really address any of the practical issues of community living, but it was enough of a driver to start me inquiring about them.

But for me the project of seeking community became heavily tinged with notions of how to survive the maelstrom that would follow the impending collapse of civilisation.  It was all a bit dark.  My attitude was one of running away from a world I hated.  The only positive aspect was the thought that some of us could construct some sort of cultural safety net for mankind – islands of knowledge and experience that would be useful in ensuring we weren’t thrown right back to the stone age.  I felt pretty superior.  Part of me couldn’t wait for the collapse to happen, so I could live out my heroic fantasy.

What I am now – Big Changes

When I met Pete and Cynthia I was immediately struck that their vision was far more optimistic than any other I had come across.  I was introduced to the idea that humankind’s development was not finished yet: evolution is still ongoing, and an evolutionary leap is required to solve the problems we’ve created from our current perspective.  When Pete said they wanted to create a beacon to attract people who are ready to awaken to who they really are and create a new world, I wanted to be part of that.

So instead of running away, I now feel that I am running towards something.  There is a positive intention here to make a different life.  I realise that while I hate what I call “the big con” (the way we’re all being cynically exploited and told that it’s making us happy), what is more important is what I love: the freedom to live a life of integrity. A very important aspect of this is personal responsibility – it’s up to me how I live my life: I make choices, and I accept the consequences.  Living here is exciting and challenging as I’m taking on the ‘Inner Matrix’ of illusion about the nature of my being.

I also love the practical side of this life: building fences and gates; making steps; random bits of carpentry and plumbing; doing things with my hands; getting the chance to create truly useful things that make our lives work well, rather than spending my time writing computer programmes for projects that weren’t important in the first place.

Laura Williams


From as early as I can remember I have experienced a deep connection with wildlife and plants and I had become interested in environmental matters and sustainability by the age of 11. I was deeply saddened by what I read and watched and took the fate of the world on my shoulders. With a burning desire to bring about change I went to University to study Ecology and became passionately involved in environmental activism, campaigning against a range of issues from the Criminal Justice Bill, new roads, Climate Change and Genetic Engineering. Ultimately myself and other activists placed these single issues under the banner of Anti-Capitalism and it was not long before I felt I was ´against´ everything.


I spent most of my time and energy trying to persuade people to change their views and lifestyles using any means necessary and became despairing and depressed when my message and actions seemed to fail to even start to bring about the revolution needed to bring down the system. (I lived by the saying “The earth isn´t dying it is being killed and the people killing it have names and addresses”). Much of my authentic intention to bring about positive change was fuelled by anger towards and a sense of separation from those ´killing´ the planet which simply increased my hopelessness and would often lead to black depression. I frequently burnt out and used drink and drugs to escape from the world and my own mind.

Extracting myself from the defeatism of my activism I spent some time working in wildlife conservation and research, working abroad and on a remote island reserve in Scotland. Although in some ways I was in my element, living remotely and surrounded by epic numbers of wildlife, still I continued to feel depressed and drink alcoholically and eventually ended up in rehab where I sobered up with the help of the 12 step programme of recovery. The 12 steps are a spiritual solution to addiction and it took a lot for me to overcome my closed and atheist attitude to life. But thanks to the gift of desperation I opened my mind just wide enough to let the new ideas in. Slowly and unsteadily I developed a faith in something powerful beyond my small self. I didn´t know what this something was but just that I needed to surrender to it daily and allow it to permeate and guide my life. With this new outlook I moved to Wales to re-ignite my passion for growing and lived and worked on an organic vegetable farm. I see the food we eat as one of the foundations to environmental sustainability and was saddened by the shortage of widely available local organic food. I wanted to find out just what it takes to produce and distribute. Is local sustainability really possible? I learnt much about all aspects of growing vegetables and was so happy on the farm living and breathing agriculture. I fell in love with polytunnels, sowing and seedlings and started eating a lot of raw and wild food because it was suddenly available to me. I became a little disheartened, however, at the difficulties of providing high quality organic food to sell, we had to work so hard it seemed to come at the expense of quality of life. Also aspects of even organic growing seemed to resemble conventional growing without the chemicals; intensive and monoculture, I started to explore alternatives…
I came across the concept of Permaculture and realised I´d been practicing or wanting to live like this for years without knowing it had a name. I’d spent my life observing nature and being awestruck by the perfection and efficiency of natural systems. It seems utterly intuitive to me that to live sustainably, happily and we should imitate natural systems, combining the intelligence of man with wisdom of nature to care for ourselves and the planet. When I discovered the concept of Forest Gardening I was thrilled, the natural progression of permaculture principles applied to growing food and other materials more closely imitating a natural system than any natural or organic farming concept I had come across; a forest ecosystem intelligently tweaked and adjusted in order to be of maximum benefit to humans. I took a course and was completely inspired!

At the time I was volunteering at an organic community gardens in Aberystwyth called Mentro Lluest where I was learning much about garden design and plant propagation amongst other things from Kenny McCausland. In search of a longer growing season, more experience and forest gardens I decided to WOOF abroad. I was really drawn to Portugal, though I wasn’t sure why. At first I was just hoping to learn about forest gardening then I decided to look for places that might have something of a spiritual focus. When I found the Awakened Life Project Website I was surprised and delighted to find a vision that I resonated with so completely, I had assumed it would take years to find a place like this; a community with a coherent vision, committed to evolutionary spiritual growth and sustainable living. Even so I wasn’t fully prepared for being totally met and supported on all levels of my being or the love and unwavering commitment to something bigger than themselves of the people I found here. I’ve found meaning and purpose to my life and I don’t say that lightly.

Because we all hold an evolutionary context all the challenges and all the joys of life at last make sense. I’m learning to take complete responsibility for everything in my life which is a new and entirely liberating stance. After years of running away I’m learning to be myself which is a lot bigger than I ever imagined it could be!

Annelieke van der Sluijs


With my roots in the nordic culture of The Netherlands and a background in Industrial Design Engineering, the five years I have lived and worked at our farm in the Serra da Estrela together with my partner have been a constant stream of realisations, discovery and “conquest”. One of the most enriching experiences has been to engage in the active process of learning through observation and interaction, really “living through” experiences in stead of understanding them on a conceptual, theoretical level. It is incredible how far away I was from the source and the logic of life itself.

After working on mastering basic agricultural and home steading skills, the need for a framework that would guide decisions on land structure and use arose my interest in Permaculture. In 2006 I did my Permaculture Design Course in Colos, Alentejo. From one moment to the other I did not only find a sound basis for further development of our farm, but also a perspective for my professional pathway, linking my previous design and teaching experience with permaculture.

Combining farm work and permaculture projects from 2008, my scope broadened and I started to recognize a pattern in many initiatives I was part of: lots of goodwill to create a better future together, but very little success in creating the overall vision and unifying trust needed to be able to function together like a self organising mechanism, hardly needing any guidance or control other than intrinsic feedback.

No wonder I was very excited to get to know the Awakend Life Project and take part in Cynthia’s women’s group and Pete’s retreats and courses. The conscious evolution perspective was just what I was looking for. The opportunity to take part in it “in action”, at Quinta da Mizarela, has made me get in touch with an inner clarity I was not aware of, accelerating my ability to see what it really means to take responsibility and where my energy can make a difference. The cooperation with Laura and Pete, giving shape to what we call “Integral Permaculture”, is a constant source of inspiration and evolution.

Since 2010 I live in Coimbra, where I coordinate a gardening project in the Botanical Garden and am working on transforming my urban appartment into a vibrant hub called “Supernova” to support inner and outer transition.

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 became confused by it. Many ideas and ways of living that I thought to be impractical were completely normal to other people.

As I fell into an American upbringing, I felt 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.

Around age fourteen I became aware of bigger ideas about life. I resonated with the concepts of Infinity and Unity. The possibility of endless universes inside the cells of my fingernail fascinated me.  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 the teenage years and several missed court dates, 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, the 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 created by people who embrace bigger ideas, and that was what really fascinated me and drew me to come here.

The context for life which Pete, Cynthia, Adam and Mim had successfully created here at the time 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. Five months later I found myself at home here, and fully behind the vision of the project.

The more interested I became in seeing the inner workings of my mind, or the intellectual structure we call ‘ego’, from a place of detachment from it, the more freedom I discovered. On seeing a habit, a pattern of behavior or thought that did not support my deepest interest, I could choose whether or not to support it.

Naturally, as I took this choice to change my own habits, I began to see more subtleties of ego that I was not conscious of before. Thus began the great journey of “taking out the trash” or freeing myself from the unwanted mental baggage that can distract me from expressing the deepest part of myself.

The context that facilitates this ongoing growth is created by the practice of meditation, and the vortex of trust and support created by everyone here.  By practicing meditation I gain the clarity to see my experience more objectively rather than unconsciously be consumed by it, so that when confronted with challenges around the daily tasks of sustainable off-grid community living (of which there are many) I can choose to have a liberated relationship to my experience. And if I get lost in an old habituated relationship to my experience, being surrounded by people who are only supporting a liberated direction helps it to become very clear.

Through the creative work I have taken on at the project 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.

Mobile: 922 275 469

Marko Maitz

autumn 012

My name is Marko, originally I am from Austria.

So how did I end up at  The Awakened Life Project? I cannot tell exactly where the path that has lead me to the Awakened Life Project began but I think that asking myself the question “which is the best way to live?´´ and starting to seek for the answer was a significant point in my journey.

I studied biology and then lived in Egypt as a diving instructor when I discovered Hatha Yoga which had a big impact on my life. I started to live a more healthy lifestyle and felt more and more drawn to live in a simple and sustainable way that would be good for myself and my environment. Then I discovered Permaculture – something that I would have liked to learn about when I was university!

So I completely dedicated myself to learn about Yoga and Permaculure. I went to India, started to meditate, and began teaching Hatha Yoga, I did Permaculture courses and spent more and more time gardening, beekeeping, working outdoors …

I was seriously striving to live up to the ideal of living in harmony with nature. For quite some time I invested all my energy towards living in as sustainable and eco friendly a manner as possible, when suddenly something unexpected happened. One day I recognised that I was deeply unhappy with the way things were going. With greatest discipline I had put all my energy into what I had thought would to be the right thing to do. I really had tried to live according to my convictions, but I was miserable. In fact I was so deeply unhappy that I was completely fed up with everything. I really did not want to go on living my life this way.

That´s when I decided that something fundamentally had to change. In this very special moment I consciously decided that from now on I would handle things differently. Instead of thinking about things and deciding what would be most reasonable, I would only focus on what felt right deep inside. I began to uncompromisingly focus on living in harmony with the deepest sense of my Self – I dropped my ideas and concepts of how I want to be and began striving to live in tune with my real and deepest nature.

Since then things have dramatically changed. I immersed myself in a process of reevaluation. When I understood how essential the communion with people that share the same intention was I chose to move and look for what is so nourishing for me.

A few weeks later I arrived in Portugal and came to Quinta da Mizarela where I found much more than I ever could have imagined to find. Here I am now managing the woodwork and I help wherever I can. Working outdoors on the trees and in the forests is great!

However I see my physical work here at the quinta as result of my commitment to the vision and context of the Awakened Life Project which becomes ever more compelling.