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A Brotherhood of Being

These are reflections from some of the men that participated in the Strong Spine Big Heart Men´s Retreat... 

Finally! I have been looking for something like the men's retreat for such a long time! All I was able to find before this experience was a series of techniques, names, approaches which were great but at the same time so limited. Awakened Life Project and the men retreat is something completely different. It is just Being. So simple but so difficult at the same time. Two days where you can stay and profoundly connect with other men. Two days where you can finally be yourself. Two days where you can open you heart because the only goal of everyone is to help each other to grow. Two days where you can be vulnerable, get challenged in your beliefs, be supported and inquire and at the same time to support and challenge others on the real topics that are limiting us from becoming an authentic man: patriarchy, selfishness, control, power, lust and so on. A life changing experience definitely recommended to anyone who is really looking to evolve as a human being.   

Marco Nilo, Italy

An immensity of singularities blended up as one continuum of non-dual existence. Perfect, seamless, extra-very-ordinary in such a way it actually requires attention to notice. A strong spine and a big heart was the motor guide in a ride in which  the full picture was one of strength, stability and dignity which represents the sacred masculine we endeavor to express freely!

The way that new men who had contact with the kind of work that we at the ALP Men's Group do for the first time in this retreat indicates to me that the longing for deep togetherness in men in general is HUGE, and that we can be an inspiration and a catalyst for change!!

Joao Pedrosa, Portugal

What was the most extraordinary for me was that while we were in retreat, we no longer seemed to be in retreat. Everything was there - the love, communion, deep care and togetherness, the depths of our intention and commitment, all what we've ever talked about, worked hard to realize and let go. The freedom to be and the deep relaxation springing from such a genuine field of trust, the lightness of being and spontaneous joy, that new culture of a brotherhood of men deeply caring for each other and the world, awake to their true nature, free from the habitual standard of fear, pride and aggression, in touch with a soft and loving nature, coming together as one without the limitation of there being anyone at all...It was all there to such a degree that we simply became THAT.  At that moment we became that which we've been looking for and anything lesser became unimportant! This stuck with me as a standard to aspire to, of what an Awakened Life can be together. I am very grateful for being part of such a company and having had the honor to take part of that retreat.

Joel, France

This retreat was a very powerful gathering of men coming together who want to become more integrated and deeply authentic. The existential relaxation, the intimacy and the unity that was between us during these days does not exist in conventional male culture, yet this is exactly what so many of us crave for. 

I was very inspired by the new men who joined the group of us who already have been working together for years - it was very inspiring and amazing to see how they could just open up and  jump into this field of unity, so we could function as one seamless group.  The retreat brought home to me once more, how incredibly important the work we are doing is - looking at this in a deep time context I can see that we can now consciously break out of societal structures which have kept men isolated and limited for so many generations. 

Marko, Austria

It was simply one of the most revealing experiences of my life. Something important happened inside me that showed me a direction. A direction so simple and obvious that it seems insignificant if it is not viewed with the depth it deserves. I have realized that I must always be guided by my Heart and nothing more. That we should trust this guide as if it were our father who knows what is best for us. If we follow our heart we are going in the right direction, regardless of the consequences.Try this and see. It is extremely gratifying to feel fear disappear when we do what we have to do. Thank you all for having taught me this.

Foi Simplesmente uma das experiências mais reveladoras da minha vida. Algo importante aconteceu dentro de mim que me mostrou uma direcção.Uma direcção tão simples e óbvia que parece ser insignificante se não for encarada com a profundidade que merece. Realizei que devo orientar-me sempre pelo coração e nada mais. Que devemos confiar nesse guia como se fosse nosso pai que sabe o que melhor para nós. Se seguirmos o nosso coração estaremos a ir na direcção certa, independentemente das consequências. Experimentem isto e verão. É extremamente gratificante sentir o medo desaparecer quando fazemos o que temos de fazer. Obrigado a todos por me terem ensinado isto.

Sergio, Portugal

Getting in touch with Awakened Life Project through the men retreat was an amazing and truly transformative experience. Considering myself as not a "group person" before the retreat, I felt so openly received and respected from the first moment that my usual resistance faded immediately. I realized that everyone was there to go deeper and evolve together. Being open, honest, vulnerable, loving and caring for each other in search of an authentic expression of manhood created a stunning, powerful energy. That ground of loving brotherhood that the group provided gave me the courage to face the demanding challenges of fighting the ego's influences and overcoming self imposed limitations. A work that for me has just begun but now I know I am not alone in this.  

Julian Baller, Germany

I think that “unique” is the word that best captures the quality of the men’s retreat 2017 for me.

Unique because I never dived so deep in togetherness before and unique in the meaning that everything that emerged has ultimately stayed with me. This leaves me with the strange experience of not having anything to bring back home – no new practice, no mind blowing insight that I can boost my daily life with, nothing to apply or to integrate in my day to day – it was simple profound Presence, and it was IT!  

Poul, Denmark

In the last men’s retreat of Awakened Life Project a deep realization of men coming together in profound trust, love and intimacy emerged. We simply relaxed and allowed what wanted to happen and to be manifested through us in the most simple, natural and joyful way. There was the feeling that there was a higher intelligence driving the all process and continuous inviting us to simply surrender to that and be ourselves. This retreat was an extraordinary celebration of Reality; a collective awakening to the truth of non duality in real time and in relationship that informed and created a new ground for what is possible.

I'm very grateful to Pete, for holding the space and opening the door to the deepest longing of men’s hearts.

Pedro M, Portugal

The men’s retreat, or as we later called it, the no-retreat, has been one of the most profound, yet extra-ordinary, experiences I have lived. Its depth comes from the fact that this retreat broke many ideas of what living a so-called Spiritual or Awakened Life was. There was no space for false fascination for ideas of what this life could be since the Presence, Love, relaxation and natural simplicity in which we were all resting cut through the illusion that there is a separation between what we are all looking for in life (happiness, fulfilment, Love, etc.) and what is already happening. It also taught me that every moment and every space is Medicine, if approached with the right intention, leaving no other choice but to joyously accept my natural Trust in the Mystery and that my job is to be aware, to relax, to be, to be available and to surrender to what wants to be created. Writing this, three weeks after the retreat ended, I feel like I have been launched to a whole new level; the level in which I actually have always been standing and living.  

Esteban Ferrero Botero, Colombia

It was an amazing gathering of men who for five days lived a profound communion and a higher level of We. Whatever we were doing that strong We was present. And it was beautiful to see that no one was in control of anything. In fact, everything was happening in a very natural way and because of that, freedom, pure magic, relaxation, joy, happiness, a lot of care from each other, oneness were so present. I never felt this before between us. There was basically no barriers between us of whatsoever was pure brotherhood in a level I have never experimented before in life. This level of WE, when embodied is life celebration every second. And I felt we were there, celebrating and in deep appreciation of every single drop of life.

Thanks to Pete, I want to acknowledge that the way you conducted this retreat was very impressive. Always felt you knew the way it was to go but you always allow the Mystery (and that includes us) to participate in which way to go.

Pedro P, Portugal

We lived an amazing 5 days beyond what I ever imagined. There is so much togetherness between us and so much love. I feel it is really like swimming in love. Daring to drop the masks and be real and open with my brothers.

Everyday seemed a journey by itself. A journey diving deeper and deeper into who we really are. As one body moving together. Flowing as a water stream, powerful and vulnerable. And we are swimming in That as our Self. Walking in the mountains made it so obvious for me. Walking for all humanity, all life. Felt like walking for eternity. It felt there was a thousands of beings walking with us. I felt it as a walk and a journey that stretches through several lifetimes. And it is whispering a story. I don’t know what exactly, but it is the story of our humanity. I feel it whispering the story of every man and women that walked and are walking their journey of Life. A deep sense that we are all in this together. Sharing the pains, the beauty, the pleasures, the glory and love that makes everything possible. That makes and Is Everything, Everywhere! And it is nurturing. I’m left with this sense of Fullness as if I ate and drunk so much without the side effects. It, somehow, feels like that. And it continues, beyond this retreat of no-retreat.

I have found what I was looking for: An authentic loving brotherhood. I wasn’t aware of how much I wanted that. I remembered how much I was frustrated in my teens to see myself and my friends stepping out of our authenticity and starting to put on masks on our faces. It was like living in a nightmare. One evening in a circle I realized that nightmare has come to an end! I found my tribe for real!

Adam, Morocco

You can read more about the Awakened Life Project Men's Group here.


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About the project

The Awakened Life Project is situated in a beautiful and wild ecological reserve in the mountains Central Portugal. We offer volunteer programs, courses, events and retreats to support the liberation of the human spirit in a context of evolutionary emergence and communion with the ecological web of life.


Quinta da Mizarela
3305-031 Benfeita
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