Reviving Fund for the ALP!

€14,628 of €30,000 goal

Raised by 131 people in 22 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. 


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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Hello Everyone, I posted an update 3 days ago and found out that it only posted one little bit of it of what I wrote.

For some reason no matter what I do it won't post even a shortened version.

I wanted to send it to all of you that have donated so please click on this link and you can read it all on our website!


I have added a couple of videos from the last week as we have successfully taken out the old sluice gate that was damaged in the flash flood and put in a new sleek one!

Enjoy the post and thank you for everything!
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We all walk on the shoulders of those who have come before and this is true for all of us. ALP could not be what it is and what it will be without those who have come already, those who are still here and those who are yet to come. One thing I realized after the fire was that ALP is not something that I/we are building that will last after Pete and I are gone; it is living and breathing in every moment that people give themselves to it. When people stop giving then there is no ALP. There isn’t anything to hold onto, there is nothing permanent in this world, there is only love, devotion and action in every moment. This brings a liberating responsibility to be fully here now and do all we can to be who we already are!
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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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€14,628 of €30,000 goal

Raised by 131 people in 22 months
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