"I've chosen this particular image of Agustin Tentets tending the fire for a reason. He's a young Achuar leader who we are priveliged to know, and his words to us are central part of our story today.
Today I heard from Ya’Acov Darling Khan who is my husband. To get a calll from your husband is not normally something we would remark upon. However, in this case it was, because he is in Sharamentsa, deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon with a Pachamama Journey called "Dancing with the Heart of the World".
Last time we were there in the Amazon was just before the pandemic hit, and it would have been impossible to even imagine this connection. So I had not expected to hear his voice again for many days.
Until a few weeks ago it was planned that we would be leading this journey together. However, I'm in Devon, England, on the slopes of Dartmoor. I needed to stay here, alongside my 90 year old father. It just didn't feel right to leave him in his current state. One of our teachers called this the "No option-option dilemma. You don't have an option but you have to decide anyway". And I feel the raw ache of not being there on this journey every time I see these images. I know and love Sharamentsa and its people and at the same time I know I'm in the right place here. And I can write and share this adventure with you from here. And that feels really good in my heart.
Ya'Acov and I had a brief moment today (the 7.2.23) when he had signal and we could speak. That is, now, occasionally possible. And of course this connectivity brings its own challenges. When the women of the group spent time with women of the community, this mobile phone thing came up as a major topic of concern and conversation. Some of the children here now have access to mobile phones and the parents are worried; "How do we protect our children from the damaging effects of this whilst making use of the positive side of being connected with the wider world?" A familiar question. The guests were able to share their experiences, what they have done and what is available for parents to restrict viewing possibilities. It sounds as if this was very important for the women here, as this knowledge has not been available to them. This is another unexpected example of the dance of mutual support in this "bridging the worlds" alliance.
Ya'Acov was walking down the path from the residential cabins to the dining lodge, right by the great river. I love that path; cared for as still with a wildness to it. I've always felt it had a particular magical quality. Now it carries even more significance for me, given that Ya'Acov and I could speak together there. As we talked, Agustin walked by and we had a moment to say "Hola!" I felt a kind of "spirit stamp of confirmation" that just as I was preparing Agustin's video for this blog, there he was on the phone. Like dreaming of someone and suddenly they are there. He told me how happy he is that his message is once more going out into the world on the wings of this blog.
Some years ago we had a deep meeting with Agustin Tentets in Sharamentsa. He spoke on camera of the powerful will and total determination of his people to protect the forest for the sake of all life in earth. The fierceness, clarity and strength of his call shook me. This was someone who knew what is at stake and spoke to that existentially choice with his total heart.
Since we made the film Agustin became president of the Achuar Federation. Now that role has passed on to somebody else, and he is with our group now.
So here is Agustin's video. It is passionate, fiery, strong stuff. Agustin speaks as a warrior who has chosen to use the power of his fire in dedication to life. I feel this is an important aspect to illuminate. Before you watch it, I suggest you take a moment to breath, and even better, dance, ground yourself and connect with the heart of your love for the world. And then listen from there.
Ok, how are you doing?
I experience this as a passionate call to wake up to what matters and not get distracted, disheartened or think that no one else cares. I am especially moved by his expression of his people's commitment to all future generations of life on earth. And that they make this commitment through their fierce protection of the forest.
And I find that this always brings me to my quest in my life and my inner question; "What lens am I focusing my love and commitment for all beings through?"
What comes first is being willing to feel that love, accompanied as it often is by deep emotion and recognise that something is calling you. It's a process to grow enough strength to actually feel that call and then to reach out and explore where it leads you. And it's probably not going to be comfortable. I love the phrase "Blessed Unrest" which comes from Paul Hawken, author of the book by the same name, a colleague of the Pachamama Alliance.
If you feel the urge to respond to Agustin's call to solidarity with him, with his people, with the forest itself, first of all I want to acknowledge your courage to allow feeling to move towards action. And I want to let you know that there are simple things you can do which are a direct response to his call. You can become an ally of the Pachamama Alliance. I suggest you find out about it. The "Awakening the Dreamer" Symposium is a stellar use of 2 hours of your time. This programme changed our lives and brought meaning and a sense of planetary connection in a way we did not know was possible. Do your due diligence and become a donor. A one off donation makes a difference but a commitment to being a long term regular donor, even of a small amount, has real significance. Knowing that they can depend on this income allows the Alliance to do more.
Movement Medicine is the methodology we (Ya'Acov and I and now many others) have developed to help us people of the industrialised world access our sense of purpose, belonging and the embodied capacity to follow the whisper of our soul. And of course, there are many ways and means to support this kind of growth in yourself and others. You can learn how we are connected with the Pachamama Alliance below. See Summer Long Dance.
In my experience and in my understanding, what we need to do as a species is something that depends on zillions of individual choices and co-operation, communication, collaboration, co-creation and the weaving of a whole new understanding of community. We simply cannot do what we need to do alone. And we're not meant to do so. We are profoundly social beings and the synergy from which new maps can energy is exactly that; it's to do with the creative meetings of different parts..
This is one of the many things I love about the Pachamama Alliance; the way it's ethic and how it works supports these kinds of collaborative cross-fertilisations. David Tucker said that it is like a David, of David and Goliath fame, in terms of how incredibly effective it is. It is such a small organisation relative to the massive oil multi-nationals. And it really does and has made a profound difference with its practical application of its purpose - to stand side by side with the peoples of the Amazon to protect the forest.
This comes with our gratitude and respect for Agustin, to the Achuar, the Pachamama Alliance which the Achuar called into being, and all those who are working for and with life on earth and to you for being engaged with this journey. Thank you from our hearts.
With love, Susannah Darling Khan
Find out about journeys in the Amazon with the Pachamama Alliance.
Find out about the Sacred Headwaters Alliance.
Find out about the Movement Medicine Summer Long Dance
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