5 February 2023
7 min read

"I've been asked to share a bit more of my journey and how it is for me to be here in Devon, not there in the Amazon. Today the group are in transit between Sapara and Achuar territory hopefully having a chance to digest their experience so far. So I'm doing the same, weaving between the stories.

I am sad not to be there and I am excited and happy to be here doing what I am doing. I’m getting used to these two strong emotions playing inside me like two Amazonian pink river dolphins; sometimes one is visible above the water, sometimes the other. More on these mysterious, shy and beautiful creatures coming soon.

Writing this blog is pushing me to remember in sensual detail the experience of actually being there. As I hunt for the exact words to convey my embodied sense, I’m having the unexpected experience that, in some mysterious way, I do feel present there as well as here. I realise that I’m developing more faith that, spiritually and energetically I am connected and that this is not a function of distance - but of love, attention, and embodied imagination. At the same time it means there is absolutely no way I can skip feeling how much I miss physically being there. What a paradox. I feel we are so together and yet in different hemispheres.

Ya'Acov, Maria and little Manari - yesterday

I wrote these words last night (Saturday night) and then Ya’Acov sent me a message. It felt like a miracle. He’d arrived and had a short moment in a place where they have connectivity. And then he called and for a brief moment we were able to face-time. We cried with such good humour and such intensity at the same time. So happy and so sad. He is well and the group is well, and the journey is strong and deep. The participants are orientating with what they are learning and dropping into their personal vision quest with the spirit of the forest.

I first heard Lynne Twist saying those wonderful words about "playing your part" (more on this in #5) in the "Awakening the Dreamer" symposium.

When I heard her say "your part" I felt as if I woke up. This told me I’d been asleep in a way I hadn’t been aware of. And at the same time I landed deeper inside myself and within the dignity of my own journey.

Bill and Lynne Twist, co-founders of the Pachamama Alliance, in Achuar territory

I love what Phil Stutz says (in the film 'Stutz') about seeing each next thing we do, however apparently grand or mundane, as the next pearl on a string of pearls. He suggests that we give equal importance and value to each pearl. Society does not, in general, have an “equal pearl” agreement. So, it takes a certain quality of inner fierceness to choose to honour the “little big things” in oneself or others.

Not going to the Amazon this time has given me the opportunity to find out how grounded I am in this knowledge. Can I recognise and honour this pearl? I think I’m doing OK with that because what I am doing has deep meaning. I want to thank each one of you who has found a way to convey to me that these blog posts mean something to you too. That makes a real difference to me.

Do you know the feeling of being at a funeral and wishing that the person who has died was there to hear all those tributes and expressions of love? Stay with me, I think it will make sense in the end. It's something I feel as being really important, this appreciating someone whilst they are still alive. It offers them a chance to receive an echo back of the meaning of their life. And it also means that when they are gone, you are not left with un-given pearls. I'm just now recognising that this is connected with my passion for embodied listening. It's about the depth of life which can emerge in the simplest moments when we pause to reflect, appreciate and take time to allow understanding to emerge; of ourselves, each other and the great art and arcs of life that we are part of.

I made a short film about David Tucker (more about him in #3) to honour something of his Pachamama life. I made it to share with him when he was still alive, to remind him of the important roles he had played for so many people, indigenous and otherwise. And I know it meant so much to him and his family.

We all have this healing power to reflect back to each other the effect of our lives, whether on this big "end of life" scale, or simply in how we reflect, appreciate and honour the little and big moments.

Agustin Tentets and David Tucker at Sharamentsa

Right now, as you will know if you’ve read the earlier blogs, I am staying home rather than travelling in the Amazon with Ya’Acov and the group. I' made this "choiceless choice" in order to be alongside my frail but vibrant father Richard Darlington, who will be 90 in April. 

My Dad has had some beautiful and audacious visions in his life and accomplished many of them. Today, film maker Emilio Mula came over and we filmed a strong, deep conversation between Dad and myself, in which I was using a palette of deep listening skills and Dad covered amazing ground with lucidity, humour and a deep sense of presence and purpose. These included some good questions to help open the door for Dad to say what he really wanted to say. We’ve been working together on these “door opening” questions for weeks, in preparation for the filming time with Emilio. This picture gives a clue about one of his "audacious dreams".

Terry Waite and Richard Darlington at Emmaus Mossley 2021

Wow. I learnt important things about my father I didn’t know, even though we frequently have meaningful sharings and always have. Reflecting on this process, I’m aware how much magic and majesty is around me which I often don’t see, don’t know and don’t expect. Not expecting it I don't enquire and so don’t open the door for it to emerge into the light. Taking ‘special’ time out; to listen, to ask, reflect, celebrate and honour was so valuable today.

After we had finished, Dad went back to rest in his ‘Dad’s Den’ next door and I had a compelling need to go out to where the river meets the sea. I'm grateful that my not being in the Amazon now means I can do this too whilst Dad is still here to be the author and the viewer of his own film.

Moxi and the River Erme Estuary - today

Ya’Acov and the group have now left Naku and are on their way to Sharamentsa, next to the powerful Pastaza river, which is the Achuar community they will be visiting next.

As Moxi (our dog) and I played on the banks of the river here, I felt the resonance between these two very different rivers and the forests which flank them.

Thank you for sharing this story, unfolding itself in real time. Tomorrow we will be back in the Amazon in Sharamentsa with the Achuar nation who have such a different vibration than the Sapara. And its possible I will have heard directly from Ya'Acov and the group. Either way, there will lots to share...

Domingo Paez at Sharamentsa

Stay tuned!

With love, more to come


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

Susannah Darling Khan

Susannah's life is dedicated to the quest for a world where beauty and compassion flourish....