Interbeing: The Journey of Interdependence

Pachamama Alliance • 25 September 2019
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On September 7 and 8, 2019, Pachamama Iberoamerica hosted a conference on Interbeing: The Journey of Interdependence in São Paulo, Brazil. In this guest News article, Erik Friend of Comunidad México describes the experience.


More than 30 Brazilians and 11 people from the Pachamama Iberoamerican Core Team from Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Ecuador, Brazil, and Argentina, gathered to create a space of connection to explore the challenges and opportunities about how we relate to one another.

Group Image


We are in a time of an interesting and sometimes wrenching tension between our individual awakening and empowerment, and our reemerging empathy and interbeing. Sometimes the contrast is stark and other times it is subtle, and many times the subtleties are the fertile soil for the most revolutionary transformations, like the smallest of seeds that germinates and blossoms into a largest of tree.

We talked about these subtleties, and one that found resonance was a story from a friend of mine, Carlos Lenkersdorf, who lived for thirteen years with the Mayan Tojolabales in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. Carlos explained if someone from the community you are talking with had stolen a television we would say, “One of us has stolen a television.” Yet the Tojolabales would say, “one of us we have stolen a television.” This subtlety changes everything. In the first linguistic construction you would proceed to punish and lock the person up. In the second, you would gather the community together to ask ourselves what is out of balance in the community that has caused us to steal a television. This is interbeing. This is all about how we relate, not just to our partners and colleagues, but how we relate to and can recognize the we in… you name it: the politicians who we think are not doing enough or doing exactly the opposite of what is needed.

Our event opened with intentional conversations for people to share their dream for the world in small groups; immediately we could feel a special energy and knew that the people who came had responded to call bigger than themselves. Charles Eisenstein joined us with his thoughts in the tonality of the greater we with his wonderful and poetic words. We anchored this deeply among us through movement, dance and music; taking the “concept” of interbeing out of the head and into the body. Pachamama Alliance Co-founder Lynne Twist generously shared her wisdom, shown in the video above. We closed the day with the participation and ceremony by Carlos Castillejos, a Maya-Toltecan carrier of ancient wisdom. Throughout the day we had the active living wisdom, the voices of our younger ones Martin, Isabela and Mariana calling to our attention what should have been obvious, but somehow gets missed.

The following day we heard from a panel representing Fire, Earth, Water, Air and the Rainforest, each sharing their unique perspective on who we are as a whole interdependent interbeing. Followed by a panel of grounded Brazilian proactivists detailing projects on the ground in the country. And finally, we had a session helping each of us identify actions steps we can take to mobilize our potential to move in the direction of our dreams. But knowing that this is a time of the collective, of collaboration, of coming together; knowing that the possibility for, as Charles Eisenstein says, “the better world our hearts know is possible” is in that tension between who we are as individuals to who We are as a community. One of us we have a dream.

We as Pacha People have called that tension “Blessed Unrest.” For me personally one of the greatest learnings in creating this event, which was fraught with tension and continues with tension, was just that: let’s open our arms and embrace the tension. The We is in the tension, right there in that uncomfortable gap between you and I.

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