I came back through Milfontes, where I had first arrived some weeks prior looking for some kind of "eureka" to direct my search for happiness insight. Felipe, Susana and my good friend Ivo found me coming up from the beach to the road. "We know that you said that you could only stay one night," they said as we hugged, "but you have to stay another day. We already invited everybody to your going away party."
We cooked together, played songs, shared poems and laughed. At some point I quietly became aware that the person I was when I first arrived in Milfontes had melted into somebody a little bit softer, a little bit slower, a little bit happier.
Our intention with this leg of the documentary has shifted dramatically since coming to Portugal. When we took off our shoes and got a little bit dirty we found a whole world of happiness and hopefulness right under our feet. We found that living in tandem with the Earth is something that creates community and personal wellness, and there are endless ways to incorporate these principles into our daily lives to induce a higher quality of life.
For some, that might mean exploring community life by visiting or joining an initiative or even starting a community of their own. Or, maybe just remembering to cultivate one's garden is enough. The practice of nurturing, however we do it, is a cultivation of the garden of our being.
For the eco-community phase of the documentary, we'll see how the idea of community and the idea of sustainability are tied together by the same practice of nurturing. We'll spark some easy ideas for quality living while raising awareness about a few of the diverse initiatives already popping up.
Of course, these initiatives aren't just limited to Portugal. We have one more stop before we start the editing process for the documentary. And it involves a secret underground temple and whole lot of magic. It's off to Italy!
After visiting Frank from the last post, I visited another initiative. Sam from Cento E Oito showed me around after the crew greeted me warmly and insisted on feeding me.
Cento e Oito is a place where one can find space and personal freedom to live however one likes, and strive to cultivate oneself. The pace is slower and more relaxed, with an emphasis on just being present. There is no hierarchy of power, unlike their neighbors Tamera, for example. Many members learn about permaculture and community first at Tamera and then find their home here at Cento e Oito. Here one lives on 5 euro a day, free to contribute to the land and community in a way that feels authentic.
If only every day could be so cinematic.
One of the common rooms at Cento e Oito for community gatherings of all kinds.
On my last day at Cabaços I planted three trees outside of Manu's temple, which will grow to yield flowers that one can use to make symbolic offerings in the temple when one meditates. I named them Rose, Susana and Sarah - each a female character who lead me through Portugal in some way and so helped write the story that you just read.
Happy cultivating everyone.