How I came to join the Cooperative
Journal — October 1, 2017 —
The year is 2017, and I am with João, a great friend of mine, going to visit his cousin. I tell him, “Get ready because for the next hour we will only be talking about Cryptocurrency”, and he replies, “I know.”
One hour later we are leaving his cousin’s house with a stash of more Euro bills that I spent ten minutes counting before giving up.
How did this happen? Well, let me tell you.
I was born in Porto, Portugal, studied in a Catholic school for the first seventeen years of my life, fourteen and a half if you consider that I joined them when I was two years old. Not much to say about this part of my life other than it sucked.
After that I went to study electrical engineering. My passion for technologies was present since the age of twelve, more or less, and this university degree was a big disappointment. I barely understood anything of what they were trying to teach me, and honestly, today, I don’t think they were actually trying to teach something. None the less, this degree gave me the opportunity to go on the last year of my Masters to make my thesis in San Jose, California, and something magical happened here. I realised that I was racist.
I was living all my life in the city of Porto, with the same ethnicity, same friends, same culture, same nich of this culture. And still I though I knew the world, because I had visited a handful of countries as a tourist.
When I went to Cali, I went to live in an international house with seventy people from different countries. For the first time I was not part of a majority and I was also not part of a minority. I felt human; it was an amazing, liberating feeling that initiated my journey as a conscious being.
It was during this year that I started to question many things that the society that I was brought up in taught me, and I was absolutely shocked with how much manipulation, lies and deception I was exposed to all my life.
I became obsessed with making sense of it all. How had humanity come to such a point of unconsciousness on all levels? I still had a thesis to complete, though, so I set this thoughtEditor’s note: this was originally written “revolution though[t]”. I wasn’t sure whether the author meant “revolutionary thought”, “thought of revolution” or “revolving thought”. aside for the time being.
I finished my thesis with the highest possible grade, came back to Portugal and immediately got a job offer to work as an IT engineer on oil rigs. I loved the idea; it had a mixture of my passion for technologies with the adventure of being exposed in the field. Best of all I had half a year of payed vacations forever.
Oil is bad? Well sure, but who cares? At this point my consciousness development research had been put on hold, and even if it did occur to me the thought of “is it good what I’m going to do?” I replied to myself that at least I am going to see for myself if what all these hippies are saying is true.
Nowadays I can say yes, it is all true, we have rules and regulations for not spilling oil and chemicals into the ocean. It is illegal. Solution? Wait for night time and do it then.
One year into the job I had enough money to pay the rent of a good flat in front of the ocean in Porto, I had enough time to surf and play video games and I had a long lasting relationship and friends that like to spend time with me. Still I was entering in a spiral of depression, I hated money more and more for the separation that it creates between people and the fact that I had almost no choice other than supporting organizations that I didn’t want to. I was getting sick every time I had to walk in a super market or a mall, and I felt completely misunderstood by everyone around me.
By this time I decided to say fuck it to everything, and the wise words of my friend Ferreira, at the time the only person that actually directly supported me were: “nem que te fodas mano!” That roughly translates into “not even if you fuck yourself! (go for it!)”. So I went, I quit my job, gave up my apartment and stored all my possessions in boxes, went online and typed in Google “Eco Communities in Europe”, first option that pops up is this incredible looking project that 30 years ago had the intention of building a concrete Utopia and it was in Portugal! Imagine that, what were the odds? It was Tamera. I immediately sent them an email and my luck was with me because they were just about to open for the yearly guest season, so I was right on time. I immediately paid for my first month of stay and I decided to question/complain about this money requirement later, after I got there.
I arrived in Tamera. I still remember the first day the first hour the first thoughts the first everything. I was reborn into the second chapter of my life.
I went through a deep process of healing and consciousness development during this time. I worked in the garden, learned about Karma Yoga, worked as a builder, as a kitchen helper and did an intensive Community Course with seventy other people.
During this time I fell in love with a beautiful lady named Maria, and together we entered into a partnership that lasts until today. I could write a book just about this time that I spent in Tamera, but for now let’s just say that I felt that I evolved into the next level of my being.
After the guest season was over me and Maria decided to go travel the world, maybe end up in India and apply all the magic that we learned in Tamera. Our first stop was a pirate beach called Barranco. When we got there we found that we were going to have a baby in about nine months from then.
This made us enter into a sort of a panic, because neither of us could imagine living in a family outside of community, so our first priority at the time was to build community, since it was not so simple to just go back to Tamera.
We made a call and two friends joined us. We spent the next six months in a house trying to apply everything we learned in Tamera and it was hell, everything failed and we were all miserable. During this time, I also sold all my possesions for very low prices on the market to pay for our expenses. We had about three months left until the labour so we ended this project and went down south to build our little nest where this baby was going to be welcomed into this world.
The nest turned out beautifully, and the labour was going beautifully as well, but Rey didn’t want to come out so fast. More than forty hours had passed and we decided that we should go to the hospital. There we were treated like criminals; the doctors were screaming at us asking what the hell were we thinking about when we decided to have a natural birth outside of the Hospital and being absolutely unprofessional about everything. Maria was in panic and I was trying to manage the situation the best I could, but inside in full panic myself.
The only thing calming me down was that Maria’s and Rey’s vitals were stable and the doctors themselves wanted the natural labour to continue, which was a good sign that everything was okay. And then they came with the needles ready to give them to Maria. When we asked what was in these needles, they took it as an insult and gave them anyway. At this moment Maria panics and Rey’s vitals drop. The doctors rush into the operation block and refuse my entrance, braking the law, which it seems that doctors don’t have any problem in doing, so actually the law is just some bunch of guidelines if you will.
This story can be transformed into another book. All I can say is that for the next three months Rey was a victim of medical abuse and incompetence repeatedly, and because me and Maria were not giving up the fight in letting them do whatever they wanted to do they forbade us to be next to our daughter. After an attempt of mine to take her out of there (legally) into a private hospital they called the CPCJ, a commission with the power to question us as parents and that could result in us losing the possibility to be with Rey permanently, all of it because they were actually afraid that in the private hospital they would realize all the mess that they have done in the public hospital.
Three months later Rey is out of the hospital, hurt and sad, and we go to an apartment in Castelo Branco (requirement of the CPCJ) for the next two months. In the mean time we were going to visit a community that gave us home and all the support we could have hoped for; this was Adagatyia.
By now Maria’s milk had dried up because she was not allowed to breast feed Rey, and in Adagatyia due to some magic of its own Maria’s milk comes back and the doctors could not believe it. For the first time they were taking us a little bit more seriously, and with that, together with the constant communication of my mother with the CPCJ, they finally decide to archive the process. We could celebrate our freedom for the first time in almost half a year.
With our freedom regained it was time to find a safe place that we could call home and focus on creating the environment for our family to live in. This was Adagatyia, a community of about ten people right at the beginning of development.This section of the story could be the third book, so I will mention very little. We again applied everything that we learned in Tamera: we introduced Forum, geistig hoursEditor’s note: this was originally written “talking hours”. In Tamera they’re called “geistig hours”. They’re like lectures, presentations or dharma talks. and morning circles and we embarked on an epic journey of community building. The people were very committed and this was essential, because we experienced first hand all the enormous issues that young communities face, from the social to the economical to the environmental, the whole package! But we were there to stay.
Next summer it was burning hot. It was this desolated land in northern Alentejo, the water was little and Maria decided to go spend some time at my mothers house with Rey. One week later I decide to hitchhike next to them so we could drive back together to Adagatyia. When I get there we get in a very emotional talk with my mother and she revealed to us that the real reason that the CPCJ archived the process was because she agreed with them that at any time that she felt that we were not fit as parents that all she had to do was call them and become the one responsible for Rey. At this moment Maria immediately calls for a Taxi and we escaped Portugal direction Austria so once and for all we could not be treated like this any longer.
When we got to Austria, with the intention to register Rey as Austrian and expecting to finally fall in the arms of a loving family, we got presented with very similar issues from where we came from. By now it started to become even more clear that no matter where we go in the world we will always have problems as long as we don’t have financial independence. I know that this might seem obvious, and until now I had been doing several jobs here and there to pay for the food and rents, but not enough to pay the debts that in the mean time I had made with Tamera and with a dear friend of mine.
During our stay in Austria we find out that Maria is pregnant. This time she is going to have the labour in a hospital in Austria, not something that we can completely celebrate because there was a reason why we wanted to have a natural labour in the first place, and not that that reason was wrong, just that this is somehow what we, almost without really talking about, naturally decided to do: go to the hospital this time from the beginning.
There is absolutely no more time to continue living in this instability, and the desperation at this point was so high that thinking rationally was for me really out of the picture. The emotional tension between us as a couple has been immense, and for far too long already it was unsustainable. I knew that something would have to happen, and for this I decided to leave.
I decided it was time for me to leave and go and find a way that I not only could find peace with money but also invite it fully into my life, as this was an essential first step in bringing stability for the family.
For the first time the Alma family gets separated without any date of return. It was a very hard moment but no option seemed to be available.
I left with fifty Euros in my pocket and a backpack with a blanket and my laptop. I had no idea where to go or what was I going to do, I just knew I had to do something and invite money.
I decided to make a prayer. I prayed to the Universe to please to give me guidance on how I can come to peace with money and have it part of my life as something positive. After this prayer I started to hitchhike. The first person that stopped was a cryptocurrency investor. The sign was more than clear. It was a true miracle and my brain started immediately to link all the dots in my head as to why cryptocurrency is much more than just money, how it actually is a political revolution and a humanity evolution all put together. Banks were always entities that I was forced to maintain a relationship with, and now I was able to see an alternative! A completely decentralized form of currency that brings the power of money back to people. I was fascinated by the changes that happened inside of me, I was not feeling bad anymore when the topic of money came up. I made a website that I could give to everyone I met to guide them through the begining steps of cryptocurrency.
During the next month I was hitchhiking in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Everyone that I met, I was talking with and spreading crypto. I felt so amazingly good, like if I was making a peace activism action at the same time I was making money. All my money possesions are since then in cryptocurrency, I spent my last 10€ buying some 0.0000something bitcoins so I could trade in the markets.
During this time I remembered a friend that I had made two years ago in Tamera, Spencer.Editor’s note: thanks for thinking of me! I remember that he was also passionate about cryptocurrency and I decided to send him an email asking for a donation.
Spencer immediately replied sharing with me that on the same day that I sent him this email, he himself was praying to the Universe for a team of individuals to approach him to become part of a cooperative with intentions very similar to the ones I had in my head. I immediately tell him that I am on my way! Also he gave me 0.25 BTC that allowed me to get started.
Searching for a quick way to get back to Portugal to meet with Spencer I read a post on social media of a contact of mine called Arne looking for someone to share the ride to Spain. He had a car but no driver’s license, another perfect fit out of the hundreds of perfect fits that had been happening during this last month.
When I met with him magic happened immediately. We were exactly in the same frequency wave of thought of intention of activism of everything. He quickly fell in love with crypto as well and we, two pirates together, initiated the ride of our lives.
We drove back to Portugal and met with Spencer, who had the structure for the creation of this cooperative incredibly prepared and studied. I was part of other business cooperatives and I can safely say that the work that we did in the first day surpassed months of work in a normal business coop. Not surprising, since we are an unbusiness after all!
We got introduced to a completely different way of work from the economical to the social aspect. Everything was still like a dream coming to life. He is the organiser and he organised us incredibly. Every time that we met, our minds were clear and our goals clearly set. We were introduced to the techniques of one-minute management and our productivity was immense, at least compared to what I was used to. I’m pretty sure in the future even this amount of productivity will seem small in comparison.
I went to Porto with Arne and this is where the story of the Euro bills that I mentioned in the beginning took place. Everywhere I go I still try to spread crypto, and this was just another example.
Right now our cooperative is growing. We are going to get a bus that I will live in and have an office inside, as soon as I can, I go to Austria to get my family together again, and we shall drive back to Portugal and make our home. Adagatyia failed in the mean time as a community and today is a family-oriented ecovillage. I don’t know yet where we will live or with who, but I do know that the cooperative is clearly where I want to give my full energy work wise, in less than a month, all my financial issues disappeared and I actually can contribute to the world using my knowledge of the area of work that I love. Also I imagine to live in a community with the people that are part of my cooperative.
Until then, I hope to see you soon.
Lots of Love,