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Spiralling Upward!

By Laura Williams


In the 4 weeks I’ve been here it feels like so much has changed within me I could write a book!  I could certainly wax lyrical about the natural beauty of the place, the steeply wooded hillsides which smell intoxicatingly of hot pine in the sun; the icy, breathtaking falls of Fraga de Pena where mountain water tumbles over the rocks and through the lush vegetation; the wildlife I’ve seen, wild boar, geckos, blackcaps, tree pipits, goshawks and buzzards; the tranquillity as the only noises I hear when I wake up are the river and birdsong. I’m also loving the work on the quinta…productive and satisfying days spent designing and building spiral beds in our inspiring permaculture garden; the people, relaxed and easy camaraderie with Glen, Joanne, Mim, Billy, Pete and Cynthia; the wonderful fresh raw food, meditation, clean air, water, freezing cold dips in the morning and hot showers at the end of the day (I wasn’t expecting those!).


These things are truly wonderful and mean a great deal to me but I’ve found similar elsewhere, if not all in the same place, and not experienced what I am experiencing right now and  have done since a few days after I arrived – a new and real sense of freedom.

It started when I arrived, within a few hours I was overwhelmed with emotion and regret that I hadn’t delayed my flight by a week to see my Aunt who was visiting the UK from the US. I’d nearly changed my plans to do so several times but a strong intuition had told me not to.  I talked to Cynthia and she just said, well look at your options, perhaps you could go back to see her, you’re free to do what you want. And suddenly I was. And it was no small thing. So used was I to not being free, instead being bound by duty, guilt and the big one – what everyone else might think –  but so ready was I for freedom I was suddenly able to drop all that. As it turned out I couldn’t go back because the day after I flew, the volcano erupted in Iceland, so if I had stayed in the UK an extra week I would have missed my Aunt (because she couldn’t even get to the UK) and my own flight. So perhaps my intuition to come here had been right after all and I felt a surge of confidence at my ability to make the right decision.

So this was exciting – ‘I’m free to act’. But there was more depth to come. The following Sunday I picked ‘Living Enlightenment’ by Andrew Cohen off the book shelf here and it set me alight. I’m not sure why but something about the direct and confident delivery of the possibility of true Freedom to anyone, anytime really excited me. I read it from cover to cover in a few hours, excited and inspired. But quickly the all too familiar doubts along the lines of  “Yes, but you won’t get it” began to set in. Later, as I was telling Cynthia that I’d been reading it, I started to cry as I explained to her how much I wanted to be truly Free, more than anything else, but that I was so frustrated because I didn’t know how to get there. She simply said but you’re already Free and if you want it that much that is what will help you realize Freedom from all that binds you. Pete joined the conversation and we talked about this for a while until I was laughing through my tears because I suddenly knew they were right… I am already Free, not in an “I am free to do what I want when I want to do” egoic way, but in a deep and profound way in the sense of my Truest Self, that I can access no matter what’s going on or how I feel. The anxiety I’d been having (and that I’ve had for years about anything my ego wanted to stir up) dropped away and this amazing sense of spaciousness opened up and stayed with me for days. I was liberated in a way I haven’t been before.


I’ve also discovered that I don’t need to feel the spaciousness or any particular state to still know that I Am, my True Self is, Free. And because Freedom is already there I don’t have to look for it on the outside, or add to it in any way. That’s not to say I don’t have to participate in life anymore, quite the opposite, I can participate more fully because I’m not expecting life or anyone in it to give me the feeling of freedom and fulfilment I’ve always been looking for. I also don’t need to be looking inside myself all the time, frantically searching around in my head and body, for it either! This has freed up an amazing amount of energy to truly take part in life, to be with other people and be myself.

That’s not to say that my ego won’t consistently and repetitively try to convince me in all sorts of ways that I’m not free and it has a myriad of strategies that are so familiar – “you did that wrong”,  “you always do it wrong”,  “you should have done it like this/them”,  “they don’t like you”, ” you can’t do it’  ad nauseaum . But I’m learning the trick is to recognize when this is happening, then simply drop it and especially the emotion it has generated, and the quicker the better as all the ego wants is for me to feel separate and definitely not free. An example of this was an evening I was preparing dinner, nettle soup, and things were running late and there were guests and I started to go into a familiar overwhelm of fear that I couldn’t get it done in time. My energy started to drop, I started to feel irritated at those around me and my ability to make decisions left me. But suddenly I saw that this was happening. And, almost as quickly, for the first time I realized without prompting that I had a CHOICE which is an instant anathema to the victim mode I had slipped into. So I dropped the emotional drama, knowing that the soup being a few minutes late was not a problem, and my perspective and energy instantly returned. And instead of it all being a chore and a drama I really enjoyed preparing the soup. And everyone else really enjoyed it too!

And the wonderful thing about being here is if I’m not sure if it’s ego or not I can ask, which I do a lot! I still often need help when I’m believing the ego’s lies. And if I don’t notice I can be reminded. The turn around from being a victim of my thoughts and emotions to being victorious in recognizing where they are false is, and continues to be, the most liberating thing I’ve ever experienced. I have, and always have had, and always will have, the choice to be Free. And it’s not over yet…



  1. John Jones says:

    Copy of email sent

    Well……………………………..Laura sounds great and it suits you so well………… name, new way of living. How did you get to hear about this great sounding place in Portugal. Sounds like an inspirational and / or intuitive thought process to me… Loved your “newsletter” on your thoughts and actions. Do you remember me giving you this attachment years ago? Sounds to me like you are in that “physical” place now…………..Keep in touch……..let me know how your adventure is going….

    Love Ya …………..John

  2. Laura says:

    hey john,

    thanks for your post, lovely to hear from you. and yes it was definitely inspriration and intuition that brought me here and Im so grateful for it.
    Which attachment do you mean as you gave me few?

    Something you said early on that I wrote down was

    `Feelings are real and must be experienced, but they have little or nothing to do with reality´

    at the time I couldn´t quite grasp the significance of that but now I understand and what liberation there is in that. Though it takes some remembering when the emotions really kick in and I still need practice!

    Will call in August

    love Laura

  3. John Jones says:

    Laura I sent this as the attachment on an email to your other email address. Luv ya. John

    This Process

    It is to enable the creation of a free space where you as a stranger can enter and become a friend. This Process is not to change you, but to offer you a space where change can take place.

    It is not to bring you over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.

    It is not to lead you into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment.

    It is not a method of making God and our way into the criteria for happiness, but the opening of an opportunity for you to find God your way.

    The paradox of this Process is that it wants to create emptiness, ……..not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where you can enter and discover yourself as created free; free to sing your own songs, speak your own languages, dance your own dances; free also to leave and follow your own vocations.
    This Process is not a subtle invitation to adopt my life style, but the gift of a chance for you to find your own.

  4. Roberta Anderson says:

    Wow, what an inspiring and beautiful post, Laura! I have been fortunate to spend some time at the Quinta myself. You are so fortunate to have landed in this beautiful spot, where there is such opportunity to learn not only practical skills, but as well a great deal about oneself. Have a wonderful stay there!

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