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Reviving Fund for the ALP!

€14,528 of €30,000 goal

Raised by 130 people in 8 months

We are Pete and Cynthia Bampton, the co-founders of the Awakened Life Project  in Portugal.  We had a vision 10 years ago to create Heaven on Earth and this vision has started to manifest not only with the amazing people that have joined us but the creation of what is now the physical heart of the project – Quinta da Mizarela.  We are located in the mountains of Central Portugal. If you would like to read more about us please click here to go to our website.

On Sunday Oct 15th over 200 fires were burning in Portugal.  One of those was a fire surrounding the Quinta.  We had threat of fire just 10 days earlier and that fire was almost out.  As the winds picked up the fire re-lit and the wind spread it very quickly.  Fire was everywhere, roads were closing, there were no planes or firemen as there were so many fires. We escaped with some belongings with members of the community to a small town about 40 minutes away where we again were surrounded by fire. The next morning the wind was mild. By the end of Monday we got message that the Quinta was on fire and very close to the buildings. By Monday night we heard the buildings were spared but there didn’t seem to be much hope for anything else. 

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ A FULL UPDATE OF THE FIRE AND WHERE WE ARE AS OF NOVEMBER 1ST PLEASE CLICK HERE .


Below is a description Cynthia wrote on our community FB page:

« …These last days in all their intensity has brought so much to all of us. I have no words right now to describe what we have been through, the fear, the love, the togetherness, the pain, the relief, the sadness, the joy.

Today we went to the quinta. Pete and I were prepared for the worse as there is so much devastation everywhere. We knew the buildings were safe but we had no idea if they would be surrounded by blackened land.

We drove up the road, everything burned, the Quinta da Mizarela sign was burned, everything black. The caravans are gone, the bus and home of David and Raquel gone, firewood so neatly stacked just weeks ago gone, cork for our roof - gone, forest burned everywhere BUT then I heard some birds singing. We walked on the upper path by the caravans to prepare ourselves for the worse by looking down at the quinta. But we didn't see only black, we saw green! We saw colors of some of the big chestnut trees, we say sections of the valley floor unburned. I couldn't believe it.


We walked down the rest of the way, everything black on each side but when we got to the bottom so much was still beautiful. As we walked around it was very clear that much of this sacred place had been spared and there was also a lot to take in as so much of the land and structures are devasted.

A year or so ago Esteban and Adam made a big heart out of stone on the opposite side of the valley. We had forgotten about it as we couldn't see it anymore with the grass covering it. The grass burned and the heart re-emerged even though the grass burned and was black all around the heart there is no blackness. I was speechless as it was obvious that we are blessed, deeply blessed by a higher force that wants this project to not only continue but to go to another level, to create an even more beautiful expression of Love, Intimacy, Truth and Commitment…. »


Much was spared and much was burned.  We are thrilled that some of the beauty survived and devastated by how much land was blackened.  Our hearts break as we see the once lush surroundings smoldering and burned.  We feel the pain of the land, the animals, the whole surrounding area.

In the end 3 caravans burned, many out buildings, a big deck, compost toilets, fences, solar hot water system, hydro system, cables for the solar system, hundreds of meters of tubes carrying water to the tank melted.  One of the ruins between complete buildings is at risk of collapsing as wooden beams burned.

At this point there is no power or water.  There are burned tools, broken bricks, burned metal from roofs, burned plastic from tubes, burned barrels.  The smell of burned compost, burned everything, ash is in the air.
It is very intense to experience all of this.   

Some of our residents lost their homes, tools, chain saws, food, wood burners, workshops, wood for construction, cork for roof insulation. The list is quite long.

                                                  *******
We are asking for help to do the following

- Restore infrastructure to repair water and solar power systems
- Buy a new solar hot water system
- Buy a new hydro electric power system
- Build living quarters to replace yurts and caravans
- Replace tools that have been destroyed
- Replace 20 cubic meters of firewood needed for the winter
- Replace building materials lost in the fire
- Replace the burned irrigation system
- Hire the help we need to clear the forest of dead wood and reforest with fire resistant indigenous trees

We who have been through the fire are shocked and dealing with waves of sadness, fear, anger and grief.  This amazing place has been our home and given so much to so many who have visited.  

We as a community are challenged and stretched in ways we have never experienced and we are together in facing the financial and emotional situations that are arising.  

There is a lot to do so we ask for your financial help so we can get started. Any amount will be greatly appreciated and much needed. Sometimes people think 5 or 10 euros is not enough to bother with but it all adds up and any help is a gesture of support that is happily received.

Thank you very much and Love from,
Cynthia, Pete, and all the Awakened Life Project Family

This is a photo of the quinta a few years ago.  I can't find my harddrive with more recent photos but it's nice to see it green and flourishing as it will again. :)



What the quinta looks like now.


The ALP community members


Marco's caravan burned.


What's left of a caravan


The bottom of the valley


The 'Palace" which was the tool shed and also the donkey house.

David and Raquels home - the bus

Smoke as the fires started.

The fire came right up to all the buildings.  It was a miracle they survived.
What is left of the Bank of Mizarela - one of our compost toilets.
So strange to have the courtyard in tact even with a blooming rose!
Old donkey shed
The bus
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There has been a lot of activity!

4 years ago Sorin from Romania was here for as a volunteer and then participated in our 2 month Intensive course. He is very creative, an architect and a hands on person that can build interesting structures and art installations. He had already left his mark on the quinta in many ways. After the fire he contacted us and wanted to offer his help and hands. He was with us for 3 weeks and brought a lot of skill, energy, creativity.

One project that Sorin worked on was rebuilding a roof over the door of the meditation room. The other one needed to be cut down when we had to take down part of the ruin across from the meditation room. So we had the chance to make something new and more beautiful. For 10 years it seems the right people for the job seem to show up and this happened again.

The rest of the crew is also working hard in the garden, building a new compost loo (which I will highlight on the next update so stay tuned!), getting ready for our first event after the fire - a weekend meditation retreat.

I will include a beautiful photo of the roses blooming in the courtyard and the fantastic crew at the quinta right now.

So I will leave it at that for now. Thank you again for all of your support. Construction materials cost money and because of your support the money is there to take the next steps needed.

Much love and gratitude,
Cynthia, Pete and ALP Family



View of the new meditation room overhang
Roses blooming in the courtyard
Crew at Quinta
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Hello Everyone,
After a few months of not updating I am back and want to share some of what has been going on here at the Awakened Life Project.

As you saw in the last updates the rains that came after the fire brought on flooding, mud slides, and erosion. There wasn't much we could do to regenerate the project until the rains stopped which gave us a chance for all of us to regenerate our bodies and hearts and to find our way through the trauma that we found ourselves in.

As Spring emerges we are stronger after everything we have been through and continue to go through. Trauma, grief and sadness have lifted to a significant degree and as we emerge nature is also emerging in full force. We seem to be emerging all together!

A day or two after the fires the first blades of grass emerged. Now as of May 6th so much more has followed as fruit trees blossom, chestnuts and oak leaves appear in abundance, birds singing, bees buzzing, ferns and plants growing under the burned trees so the hillsides are greening again, wild flowers everywhere as part of natures response to fire is more seeds are germinated. The glory of Spring brings strength, smiles, peace and gratitude.

AND we also have a lot of work to do and we are getting on with doing it!

We are cutting down dead brush and trees. We are being careful to give everything a chance to grow as sometimes it takes time for life to re-emerge. The landscape has changed and it is bringing forth something new. We have learned to stop comparing to how the project used to be and see it only for what it is now. As we do this we find ourselves seeing the beauty of something new that is emerging. We can appreciate the old and embrace the new so it feels we have come full circle.

5 people from last year have returned for our whole season to give their hearts and souls to the land, rebuilding and most importantly to the spiritual context that this project is all about. It is very hard to explain how inspiring it has been for Pete and I to see Bernard, Batu, Sonja, Katrin, and Marco give so much with open hearts and strong bodies in the face of so much to do.

We are building a new compost toilet (only 1 survived after the fire), a new entranceway, new vegetable beds. Our irrigation system was destroyed so we are taking this opportunity to re-think where we are growing food.

A wonderful group of people came here from Lisbon last weekend to help us burn the massive burn piles that had accumulated in the last month or so of organic material that had to be cleaned and cut. Sofia (the woman who organized this group) came to our 10 day retreat last August. We didn't know the 7 people she brought, they just wanted to come help the people who had been in the fire in any way they could. They helped a lot and we were moved by the love and care they brought to us and the land.

The Portuguese government has responded in ways that we didn't think was possible with funds and also with help to make rebuilding a bit easier. There are still steps to take but we are grateful for their help. There is still a lot that needs to change in Portugal to respond to the high fire risk, both in helping to clean the land and prosecuting the people have intentionally set fires but we are encouraged by the actions that we are receiving now.

I can only post 3 items on each update so I am going to update a lot in the coming weeks and months so you can see what is happening in photos and video and so I can include more specific stories.

So many people gave us so much, financially and emotionally. We received so many emails and donations expressing to us how important this project is to people. Some of the most touching were parents donating because their children had come here and they were grateful for the change that occurred for them. Every time we were low on energy it seemed a message came in to lift our spirits and give us the strength to continue.

Your financial support gave us the breathing space we needed to find our way and now the funds to order materials, get our systems running and to support the work that needs to be done.

We have found liberation by putting everything on the table and not imposing any ideas onto ourselves or each other during the last months. By doing so individually and as a community we found a deeper sense of ourselves where we already rest in a Mystery that is beyond all activity in this manifest world and which gives us the capacity and understanding to appreciate all that the manifest world teaches us.

Thank you to all of you! For months I shared stories of devastation and now I am very happy to share stories of rejuvenation!

I will start off with a couple of videos and then will keep posting.

We are having a few events this year, we hope to see some of you here as we are open! :)

Much love to you all,
Cynthia, Pete and the ALP Family
Valley is getting greener everyday!
Wisteria blooming!
Spring bringing color and joy!
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Hello Everyone,
Happy New Year! I hope 2018 will be an amazing year for everyone.

The situation here is we are kind of in damage control more then rebuilding mode.

The fires have taken away all the growth on the mountainsides and we are dealing with massive flooding almost every time it rains moderately. There are 3 watershed areas and this is where we are getting major waterfalls when it rains. There is nothing to stop the water so it rushes down the mountainsides eroding the land, taking out paths and flooding the valley below.

The track down to the buildings was badly damaged in one storm but since then we have been diligently cleaning out the trenches and adding new ones. In fact that is what we did again today! So even though there was another storm where we had a lot of water the track didn't sustain anymore damage so our efforts are paying off.

The garden below is washing away bit but bit so I am not sure what will be left in the Spring. We mostly have a variety of berries down there so I think they will survive. And the trees are holding their own.

Mud is everywhere and has gotten into the yurt a bit. I haven't been down there in a couple of days. I think I am avoiding it as there really isn't anything we can do other then take what we can out of the yurt.

It will be interesting to see what the landscape looks like when the rains stops in the Spring.

I have attached videos of the most recent storm on Dec 30th to give you an understanding of what I am talking about. And also a photo of Tux the cat happily cozy inside. So even though a lot is going on outside we are warm and cozy inside!

The hydro system is ready for pick up but because of the flooding situation it will be impossible to put it in until the Spring which is ok. It just means we are on very limited power using only the solar system. When there is little sun there is little power so we are supplementing with the generator when needed. Solar panels pick up some sun even in cloudy situations but it is not very much.

So really all we are doing now is cleaning trenches and monitoring the situation. Tomorrow we will put up some corrugated plastic on the yurt shower below which will help to keep the water and mud out. And we are taking the damaged plastic that burned on the shower and using it for keeping the water out of the wood shed. The wood shed lost a few planks of wood in the fire so this will help keep the wood dry. After that it is really just wait until Spring and see what is left.

Our lives have changed drastically since the fires. We are facing the reality of impermanence and insecurity as never before. It is becoming clear that it will take years to recover from what has happened. We grieve for the land, for lives lost, for the suffering of it all and we embrace what is on our plate. This project is about transformation and liberation so we continue to give ourselves to the process we find ourselves in and we will see where it will take us.

I have been alone here at the quinta for a few days as Pete is teaching the New Years Retreat. It has stretched me physically, emotionally and spiritually. I had a moment where I felt like I couldn't take anymore, that I was being broken and it was in this moment that I realized that Life was trying to break me and why not just allow myself to be broken? I understood that broken is not the same as collapsed, far from it. So I finally received more fully what was being given by this situation. The fear and anxiety, the deep ached that has been in my heart since Oct 15th faded to the background, and was replaced with a deep sense of peace and ease.

It was the next morning that the storm hit. Instead of being fearful I grabbed my phone and went outside to experience the power of nature in all it's glory and that is when I took the attached videos. In the last days I understand that the fear that is arising in me is really the fear of not knowing, not knowing what the water will do, not knowing how we will function in the next year, not knowing if I can physically live here, pretty much not knowing anything. And as insecure as this sometimes feels what is emerging is a blank slate of choice and potential and 'unstuckness' in all aspects.

I will keep the campaign open as some people have said they will donate later but for now I will put my attention elsewhere. One can only say so much about rain and trench digging!

Writing these updates has been like a therapy for me so thank you everyone for reading my words and responding with your comments.

And thank you for all of your love and support and we all wish you a very happy 2018!

Love,
Cynthia and Pete and the ALP Family
A view of the waterfalls from the storm
Water flowing on the valley floor
Tux cozy in his blanket
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Hello Everyone,
It is one week after a very big storm came through here. There was a lot of damage in the area but we were relatively lucky. We had waterfalls coming off the mountains in places we had never seen before. It was bringing down a lot of soil and rocks, breaking some of the stone walls. The mountains here are very rocky so we are not afraid of massive mudslides but it is possible for walls to give way. I've attached a couple of videos. A word of warning on one of them I sound very frightened and I was. I was filming as I was seeing the situation for the first time and I was frankly quite shocked as this has never happened before.

We ended up mud in the wood shed by the yurt, some walls came down, the veranda cover torn to pieces, a big limb of a bay tree broke off, some pines came down but didn't hit any buildings, the courtyard full of mud but other than that it was ok. The yurt crown cover blew off and some things got wet but not too bad. The stream that had been dry (and normally flowing this time of year) began to flow so now we can hear the beautiful sound of running water from every part of the quinta.

So now here we are one week later. It rained softly for a few days after the storm and the last days have been sunny and quite warm. We are getting about 4 hours of sun as we approach the solstice. It is very cold at night but the upside is clear, starry skies that seem almost unreal.

So the courtyard is cleaned up and we will have a women's group tomorrow. The women will come 1 hour early to give some help before we start the group. So that will be fantastic!


Sara from our community is here to help out and just to be with us and the place. It's amazing how just being together here (even though we don't always spend time together) is so soothing.

No rain scheduled for the next days and very little for the next week so this will give us time to put some log dams on the hillsides. I don't know if we will but we can think about it.

So in the meantime we are in retreat winter mode with the fire in the fireplace, cats snoozing in front of the fire and Sam the big dog joining us when he feels like it. He seems to enjoy sleeping on a bed of pine needles at the top of the track but when it gets too cold he gives his little bark at the front door to let us know he would like to join us inside. Don't worry he does have a regular bed up in the workshop so he is well taken care of.

So we wish you all a very happy holiday season. We are very grateful for all of you that have supported us through donations and loving messages, our beautiful family here, this stunning place and all the potential of what may happen in the coming days.

Big hugs to everyone!

Love,
Cynthia and Pete
Storm damage up by the buildings
Storm damage in the garden area
Fallen Bay Tree
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€14,528 of €30,000 goal

Raised by 130 people in 8 months
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