Terra Wicha Journeys to the Heart and Lungs of Planet Earth
It’s 9.30 pm, and I have finished writing a story for my blog. I check FaceBook and see a promotion for Pachamama Alliance’s Awaken the Dreamer course. I click, and get drawn into the wisdom within.
The online course is 2 hours so although I was planning on winding down to get ready for restful sleep I dived in and completed the course that night.
The first step is one of mindfulness and respect for Indigenous wisdom. I knew I was in the right place.
My mind was alight with ideas, positivity and hope. Despair and depression at the rising rate of extinctions and ongoing destruction of Planet Earth was escalating around me yet this was held gently aside as a new story for humanity became evident. The videos were so easy to watch and the articles fired me up. A next step was inevitable.
That next step was the Game Changer Intensive. Living in Australia meant that only one group-time was available to me. Sunday night for the US was 9am for me. This would mean turning up to work late, or not being able to attend if I had to fly to the remote community where I was working early on a Monday morning. I signed up and several weeks later met the rest of my group. It was small and several people never turned up, however, at least three to five of us routinely dialed in to discuss the week’s readings and video viewings. I wrote on the Game Changer Intensive public response board and enjoyed reading other attendees responses. I was surprised though that not many people chose to reflect and write there. My thoughts were “Wow, if only everyone could do this course”. It definitely awakened the Game Changer in me.
Exploring the Pachamama Alliance website I found many more ways of increasing my knowledge and connection with the Amazon rainforest. I attended some online teleconferences and watched the videos promoting the Amazon eco-cultural trips. I knew I wanted to go. I looked at the obstacles and possibilities for making this a reality. Obstacle 1 was the distance and cost of flights from Darwin, Australia to Ecuador. I was renting a unit and my work was based on short contract periods that were renewed depending on funding. To be practical/economical to fly all that way I would be best served to go for several months. Accountability to the people I served on the remote community was probably consideration number 2. I had only been in the role 9 months but knew the community from previous roles over 4 years. I had been adopted into kinship family so I had responsibilities beyond work. To allow another 7 or 8 months I planned to go on the August trip however conditions at work and contract periods for the unit lease and work led me to make a snap decision in early February to leave work at the end of March and join the trip planned for early May.
More serendipitous meetings led me to team up with a couple of American (US) guys travelling to Australia. I shared my knowledge of outback-central Australia and took them on a 4 night camping trip from Alice Springs via Kings Canyon and Uluru. We stopped and meditated at the renowned energy point on the way to Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). My journey to powerful, natural earth and plant energy had begun.
A few weeks sorting house-hold belongings into my container and surfing my previous home-break and the famous Point Sinclair Surfing Reserve area (Cactus) took me up to Easter and my departure to Chile via Adelaide, Melbourne and Auckland. Surfing the coast of Peru from just south of Lima to the northern border was an amazing experience. I never knew that the coastal plain and hills were so barren. Cities were overflowing with plastic garbage and it was mostly a sorry site, but the waves were great.
The bus trip to Guayaquil, Ecuador was comfortable (I paid for the more deluxe seat) and I teamed up with a stranger to get to the airport on time to catch our connecting flight to Quito. After two days exploring I met up with the small group travelling to the Amazon Rainforest under the guidance of Pachamama Alliance.
There were many highlights of the trip; these are a few.
The first amazing experience was our interaction with Cristóbal Cobo, founder and creator of the Quitsato sundial. Cristóbal shared his passion to share the true location of the equator and mysterious stories of a time and people unknown who built monuments that correlate geometrically with the equinoxes, path of sun and many other celestial events. As I stretched my arms skywards, and stood to see where my shadow fell to tell the time, I felt a deep connectedness with the invisible stars above. Knowing that both the Southern Cross and the Big Dipper constellations could be seen from this point was amazing. I loved his ‘new world globe’ where Australia is no longer ‘Down Under’ but alongside the US. This was a great start to totally expanding my mind.
In another blog I will share my experience with the mother and son Shaman couple we visited on the way to San Clemente. I am sure a lot of healing took place there. We were all in a great ‘mental/psychic’ place to spend time with the Andean Indigenous people who open their homes to visitors, educating and feeding them with traditional wisdom. Everything is based in nature, the cycles of the moon and the sun. We separated home- grown amaranth and quinoa seed from its husks and watched the laborious methods used to ready theses ancient grains for yummy breads and soups. Plants used for medicine and food grows wild in the ravine. Work is done by human and animal power; no machines are used for crops. Keeping culture strong is Mindawie’s dream and motivating passion for the visitor-project. The encroachment of urban development and consequent fast-food consumer culture was in existence, and the number of families involved in the project is small, but significant for them and us. It was a memorable experience that has had positive impact on my life.
After an overnight stay at El Jardin, the tourist-frontier town to the vast Amazon forest we boarded 2 six seater planes in the town of ‘Shell’ and flew firstly across farmland and sites of mining development and then over the meandering rivers and huge trees. Arriving and waiting while the courageous warrior spirited Archuar leaders completed an elder’s meeting, I marvelled at the importance of keeping this area pristine and the culture strong. Guided walks to sacred trees, learning about traditional plants for healing and making things like string from vines was interwoven with meditation and mindfulness. Being so immersed in ancient forest brought the forest alive in me.
And yet, the experience over the next few days with the Sapara people at their Naku project ‘lodge’ on the Conambo River was the ultimate experience in my journey. Realisations and understandings of self, relationship with the plants and knowledge of my calling were all revealed there. At the welcoming ceremony I was given the name Terra Wicha. My spelling is how I heard it, but I have not been able to correlate the meaning with it and unsure if it is Spanish or their traditional and unfortunately dying language. I was told it meant ‘mother of ancient Indigenous peoples’. After deep immersion in the forest and several ceremonies I received a deep felt message that I was to return and work with the plants. How this could be possible dominated my thoughts and planning for the following months I spent in Costa Rica. I started to learn Spanish and considered many online businesses to support myself.
I have several plans partly under construction but I don’t know their timeline to implementation, if ever. For now, the present, I am in Mandurah, Western Australia caring for my parents in their twilight years. I am taking the opportunity of my at-least-1 year permanence to start facilitating Pachamama Alliance courses, starting with the one that has arisen from the work of Paul Hawken and his team of 200 researchers and advisors: Project Drawdown. Today, Earth Day is the launch of the new program. It has been several months in the pilot stage and has been named “Drawdown Initiative”. The aim is to bring thousands, if not millions of people into the conversation about reversing Global Warming.
The first event is “Reversing Global Warming: Introduction to Drawdown”. It is a 2-hour work-shop that invites participants to see the possibility and the role they can play. For those people who want to go deeper it is followed by a 5 session series called “Drawdown Solutions: Getting into Action”. This series will support participants to find their unique contribution whilst being held by a supportive community of similarly-inspired people.
Preserving and re-foresting the tropical rainforests is an essential component of reversing Global Warming as well as being socially and ethically important for the Indigenous people who have care-taken the forests for thousands of years. I have joined TreeSisters and gift back to Earth by donating to and volunteering for the organisation. There are many other actions that are opening up as my knowledge and understanding grows. As Paul Hawken says it is “Game-on, not Game-over” and we all have our own unique part to play.
I invite you to come along and explore your potential.