Awakened Life Project : Projeto Vida Desperta Rotating Header Image

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By Glen Friedman


When I first arrived here at Quinta Da Mizarela, I was completely overwhelmed by the beauty. First it was the quinta itself, the terraces, structures, waterfalls, and then it was the purpose of the project. Everyone here was working together to really do the best thing they can do. Then it was the people. Getting to know Pete, Cynthia, Billy and Mim, the first people I have come across who really know what they are doing in life, was really refreshing and inspiring.

I became very enthusiastic about the project and really enjoyed every day from the start. Meditation and quinta work go together surprisingly well. My first few morning meditations really got my spirits up to contribute to the project, and I jumped right in helping Dan finish his pond, then clearing a terrace for the bees, and I even started building an elegant staircase to the bee area, just because I felt inspired to! I found a knack I never knew I had for working with stone and so began to build steps around the quinta, which always needs doing in the land of many terraces. Building steps with stones felt more like completing a puzzle; there was a perfect place for every rock.

mulch 078

Working with a clearer mind, I started to uncover things about myself I didn’t know were there: the work ethic of “better faster more” which I never knew I had. Buried in the unconscious was a work mentality I grew up with in the U.S.: Overproduce! Get it done faster! How much work can we pack into the day?! Everyone was quick to let me know that is not what the Awakened Life Project was all about, and I started to find a more comfortable work ethic. It is more important that things get done right and well more than doing them fast, because the point is to make steps that will last forever and display the care that goes into making them, not to make steps that one can complete between breakfast and lunch. Work became even more enjoyable.

After experiencing how great this place is, I started to wonder why I was leaving at the end of the month. I had planned to stay for a set period of time and then continue traveling, and I started to get worried about where I was going, if I had enough money, etc. After verbalizing these worries one night over dinner with Billy and Mim in their amazing “pimped out” bus, I discovered that the part of me that was worried and wanted to continue life just like it used to be was the part that felt uncomfortable with changing itself. When I thought about it, what reason did I have for leaving? I had nowhere to be, was having a great time, really enthusiastic about the project, and there was plenty of work to be done. Billy explained how he saw these kinds of choices from his experience, and it really made sense: it’s like kayaking down a white water river. You have to be focused on the now, the current moment, because the river is constantly changing. Sure you will end up where you are headed down river, but you can’t predict how you will get there. You have to pay attention to what is going on now, and let your boat follow the current of the river so you don’t end up in the rocks. I thought about where I was headed down river. Not a particular place at all. I was traveling to change myself, to evolve. So instead of following the path I had drawn out, I saw it was best to stay right here, where the water seemed to be carrying my boat along quite well.

A few slow rainy days passed, and something wasn’t right. I started to worry again and make a big deal out of things that weren’t really a problem: the weather, cravings for pasteries, the weather… and things escalated. Building the terrace for Billy’s picnic table was my current task. A project that I had helped inspire and had been so enthusiastic about somehow became hard work. I let my thoughts get out of control on small issues so that I became frustrated and angry for no reason, but I held it in, until it came into light what was happening. I began to calm down and look at those thoughts from a new perspective. It seemed silly that I was letting myself create problems that didn’t exist. There is no greater aspect of being here than being around people you can trust and can honestly confront. Although it was really hard at first, I exposed to Cynthia and Pete what I saw was going on and why I thought I was acting strange. From speaking with them I realized I had made a bigger step than I thought in deciding to stay here. I was going against the grain by wanting to change and allowing uncertainty into my future, and my ego (the part of me that doesn’t want to change) did not like this. I let myself place my attention in the wrong place because deep down I was afraid to change. Realizing how hard it is to really do what I want to do brought into light the challenges ahead, but the weight off my shoulders made it well worth it, and until the river changes and its time to continue traveling, I am here at Mizarela enjoying every moment.

And we put Billy’s beautiful picnic table on the terrace today!

Billy and GlynIMG_0045IMG_0049


One Comment

  1. sophie says:

    I loved reading this post! Thanks for sharing it Glen.
    xx Sophie

Leave a Reply

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Best Green Blogs