(hand-made Ecuadorian bracelets given to symposium attendees)
Two Saturdays ago, a group of 12 HA employees and spouses gave up part of their weekend to attend a symposium about the Pachamama Alliance, entitled “Awakening the Dreamer. Changing the Dream,” which was held here at our office. Most of us had no idea what we signed up for, except it was said to be inspirational and would change our world-view. Intriguing, but a whole Saturday?
Yep. And we learned a lot that day. For starters, we learned about the Achuar people, who are indigenous to the Amazon region of Ecuador, and that Pachamama is an Achuar term meaning “Mother Earth, Father Sky, all of time.” The Achuar have a centuries-old prophecy that an outside force would one day come to threaten their way of life. And the threat did come, in the form of western civilization. The tribal elders and shamans chose to approach the modern world looking for partners rather than turn away in isolation. Because like most indigenous people of the world, they knew that all life is connected. Today, the Achuar culture is alive and kicking thanks to the creation of the Pachamama Alliace. And although their precious region of the rainforest is not completely safe from the eyes of petroleum, mining and lumber interests, the Pachamama Alliance is a testament to the power of a small group standing up for what’s right in heroic proportions.
Their mission: To bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on the planet.
The symposium was a series of videos, exercises and discussions divided into four parts: Where we are today? How did we get here? What’s possible for the future? Where do we go from here?
I’ve got to admit, the morning was filled with facts that were so terribly overwhelming, we had a hard time listening. For instance, did you know that we are currently living in a time of mass extinction? That if we continue living this way without making any changes, half of all life on our planet will be extinct in just 50 years? That the U.S. ranks #1 in mental illness? That 75% of the human race doesn’t have the basic needs of food, clean water, shelter and medical attention? These are just a few of the startling facts that we learned that morning. One of us even asked, “Is there any good news?”
Yes, actually. There is good news. We came to realize that we are an incredible species. That we got ourselves in this nasty mess, and we can get ourselves out of it. But we need to act urgently. All it takes is asking the right questions, and searching for the truth. Because, as the Achuar already know, only the truth is sustainable and nothing phony or false ever lasts.
How can these indigenous tribes know so much and we modern folk know so little? The modern world is living in a dream. We’re moving through the world making unexplained assumptions that lead to grim consequences. If we seek the truth, we will find sustainable solutions.
Funny. That’s what we do here at work. We research the heck out of something until we find the truth and communicate it through strategic thinking and creative problem solving. (Duh.) We can do this.
So there’s the rub. In whatever your calling, whether it’s environmental, social justice or spiritual causes, the truth is the only thing that will last. And that all life is connected, so there is hope. We simply need to shift our thinking. Just do something, anything.
One goal of the Pachamama Alliance is to spread this story to 500,000 people in the next two years. I highly encourage you to look them up and bring them into your place of work, school, etc. —whatever tribe you belong to.
For more information and inspiration, visit: