A rare place where you can discover yourself and others at a deeper level

The reason why I participated Awakening Leadership Training Program (ALT) is that I have been struggling for a while in my life. I have experienced depression, withdrawal syndrome, and that let me think deeply why I am living, the reason for being here. Although I tried to do several different things such as changing jobs, living in different places, and doing volunteer work, I found that my world view has not changed and I repeated same way of thinking and doing. At last working place, I noticed my colleague also had depression or some physical symptoms, but still continued working. This experience eventually made me think “ok, this is enough.” Then I started to look for something alternative, holistic and healing. Finally I found Global Ecovillage Network(GEN), and Ecovillage Design Education(EDE). I found EDE very attractive because it seemed containing everything I was looking for- healing of self, how to live in the community, new way of economy and reconnection with nature. So I decided to join EDE at Gaia Ashram in Thailand. During this amazing program, I met the director of ALT program, who came to lead meditation and I enrolled extended version of EDE program over 6 months because I did not want to stop learning there.

During the course of the program, I noticed that I did not want to leave or skip class because I found every module quite interesting. My ALT alumni friends also suggested it is good to stay for a longer time so that I can go deeper inside of myself. It was also great that we visited local communities and connected to these warriors who protect nature and human dignity. Without ALT’s help, I would not have been able to visit those remote areas of Thailand. One other reason I stayed for a long period of time is that I found it is so rich to learn from other participants, not only from facilitators and the content.  Our whole group became really close as we shared vulnerable moments together. At last, I felt ALT as family. Many people said atmosphere of ALT is very safe and welcoming. This is a rare place where you can discover yourself and others at a deeper level.

Before the program, I used to listen to lots of voices which coming from outside. Those could be from parents, society, etc. I was not able to listen to my inner voice very well. But because of ALT, I encountered many moments which my friends really expressed themselves and got close to their soul. The same happened to me, and I decided to pay more attention to nature and intuition which will lead me to live authentic life.

I think this program is for anyone who struggles in life, or holds these unsettling feelings or questions about life, or anyone who finds it resonates with them. To me, it was already very rich to just meet like-minded people. The whole experience just gave me so much awareness and empowerment.

Azusa, Japan