One day, I was sitting at my desk, staring at my computer, and thinking of various ways that I could take what I’d learned in my four-year shamanic school out into the world. Typing a few words here and there, the Pachamama Alliance website appeared on the computer screen. It defined itself as a global community that offers people the chance to learn, connect, engage, travel, and cherish life for the purpose of creating a sustainable future that works for all.
I read their story. The Pachamama Alliance was born out of an invitation from the Achuar people to work in partnership with them to preserve their land and culture while bringing forth a new worldview that honors and sustains life. The Achuar people have lived and thrived for centuries deep in the Amazon rain forest, spanning borders of modern-day Ecuador and Peru. They kept their sophisticated culture and worldview remarkably intact as late as the mid-20th century. In Achuar culture, dreams are a guiding principle of life, shared each morning before sunrise. Shamans play an important role in the spiritual life of Achuar communities, including interpretation of dreams. But not all dreams are sweet. Dreams can often require facing and transforming that which you most fear.
Intrigued, I looked deeper into the Pachamama Alliance community and learned they offer different ways for people to learn, engage, and connect locally and globally so they can inspire, educate, and empower each other to build a movement working toward an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet. One of these ways is a free, donation based, online eight-week course called the Game Changer Intensive. In this course, people are able to delve into a wealth of carefully-curated resources, including videos, readings, and activities, at the comfort of their own homes and on their own schedule. There’s also an opportunity to interact with others online and on weekly small group calls.
Over the years, I’ve taken the Game Changer Intensive course three times, the last time having finally met someone local from Ann Arbor. Betsy McCabe, a volunteer moderator of the Game Changer Intensive group calls, is a musician, educator, mother and activist of social justice and environmental sustainability. Betsy grew up in Georgia and has lived in Tennessee and Washington. Michigan has been her home for almost 30 years, where she raised two children. Her educational background is in the liberal arts, and she says that in her “first career” she worked as an environmental policy analyst (including 10 years with the US Environmental Protection Agency), and that in her “second career” she was an independent piano teacher.
“Now in my third career, I am performing and teaching music,” she said, “and I’m engaging and acting for social change and transformation with volunteer work through the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ), Friends of Restorative Justice (FORJ), and the Pachamama Alliance.”
Like me, Betsy is a facilitator of the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, which explores the challenges facing humanity at this critical moment in time and the opportunities we as a human family have to create a new future. This is a half-day workshop developed by the Pachamama Alliance and has been delivered by skilled facilitators to hundreds of thousands of participants in over 380 countries since 2005. People gather at Symposiums around the world to discover the value of ancient wisdom in addressing our modern crises and their personal role in bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet.
I’ve learned so much from the courses offered by Pachamama Alliance and I’m so happy to have met wonderful people along the way, particularly someone local like Betsy. Now, I’m excited to share what I have learned and am grateful that Betsy will help present the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium at The Path of Consciousness spiritual and writing conference and retreat this October 5-7 at Colombiere Retreat Center. Click here for more info about The Path of Consciousnes and join us to help create a new future for our children, grandchildren, and the seven generations to come.
For more information about the Pachamama Alliance, click here