Found and Captured in South America

The Pachamama Alliance is a partnership with indigenous people to bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet

Since following the astonishing impulse to leave our entire life in Vancouver behind and move down to South America two years ago, we have been humbled by the deep realization that we humans are the ones being discovered, called upon, and essentially “experienced” by the Essence of Life – not the other way around. Thus, when we suddenly found ourselves at the compelling Pachamama Alliance “Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream” workshop in 2012, we knew we had been summoned to another mission.

The “Awakening the Dreamer” symposium is a powerful interactive forum concerned with the wellbeing of the great Pachamama herself – as the South American people call our Mother Earth, Mother Nature, and the Essence of All Life. We were especially captivated by how effectively this model engages people in meaningful reflection, dialogue and action about the environmental and social issues at hand… without leaving out the spiritual!

The workshop motivates participants to replace our current nightmare with a fresh, life-sustaining new dream, from the inside out.

The San Francisco-based Pachamama Alliance and its local sister organization, Fundación Pachamama located in Ecuador, are dedicated to empowering the indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their lands and culture. Using insights gained in the process, they inspire individuals from all walks of life to bring forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world.

Through a format that includes videos, talks, and group work, the symposium delivers the message with exceptional clarity. Made possible by the commitment of trained volunteers like us, this program is the best we know for communicating the urgency of our planetary situation as well as our capacity to generate solutions and get to work!

In fact, it is encouraging to see the effect of the Pachamama Alliance and other amazing organizations like it. The efforts are reflected in positive developments for some of the most dire situations around the world. For instance, the alliance has been involved in raising awareness about the proposed Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Brazil – the construction of the dam has just been suspended following a recent decision by a judge stating that an environmental impact study must be completed and the indigenous people of the area must be consulted before a final decision is made! This is a positive example of the influence that this kind of work can have in the real world.

Yet another concrete example of what this labour of love can bring about is the inclusion of Mother Earth’s rights in the constitutions of both Ecuador and Bolivia in the past few years.

The Pachamama Alliance’s statement of purpose describes itself as a partnership with indigenous people dedicated to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet. By weaving together indigenous and modern worldviews, we can get in touch with our dignity and the magnificent opportunities that are possible in our lives. Since our involvement with the alliance, we have experienced this personally, as the association has been a steady source of growth, encouragement, and inspiration.

The Pachamama Alliance appealed to us for many reasons, not the least of which is that it was born of a personal journey. A North American couple much like us, Bill and Lynne Twist, followed their hearts all the way to Ecuador, and while in the Amazon rainforest had a profound exchange with the indigenous Achuar people. Most importantly, they allowed this experience to touch them, change them and put them at the service of Life. This is why their story is worth telling a thousand times, for each one of us has the ability to fulfill the role of being an instrument of positive change.

For those of us attracted to community-based initiatives, this movement provides an opportunity to become part of something profoundly effective and powerful wherever we are. We have been amazed to see how quickly the dynamics created in this setting spontaneously move people from talk to bold action in their immediate lives.

Last but not least, for us starting out in a new country, our involvement with the Pachamama Alliance has given us invaluable opportunities, which are perfectly applicable in most other parts of the world:

• An anchor for our social activism
• Access to a community that constantly supports and stimulates our growth and development, to help us create life-supporting ways of being in the world
• A source of the progressive, free and courageous friends  (both local and international)
• The satisfaction of being guides to people from all walks of life who are wanting to make a difference in the world but are not always sure how to channel their efforts

We sum up our invitation to join us in this adventure by echoing the indigenous elders who have so eloquently expressed: “If you have come here to help us, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because you know your liberation is bound with ours, then let us work together.”

If you are interested in participating, contact the Pachamama Alliance at www.pachamama.org

Silvana Spano and Patrick Coady are originally from North America. They are now residents of Ecuador and are passionate Pachamama Alliance facilitators. They organize retreats and workshops in the World Heritage City of Cuenca in the Andes of Ecuador.

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