Merrilee is a Drawdown Initiative Convener and active member of the Global Commons Writers Group. You can learn more about Merrilee on her profile page.
Where do you currently live?
The suburb name is Falcon, an old beachside location near Mandurah, Western Australia. Originally separated on two sides by coastal bush and the other by water, the estuary and the ocean, it is now back-to-back houses. Luckily there are still some big native Eucalypt and Peppermint trees in back yards and the block where I live is big enough that I can create a small permaculture edible forest. There is a great surfing beach nearby but the reason I moved to the area was to care for my parents. Diagnosed with secondary bone cancer in October 2017 my father lived a month after his 90th birthday. My mother and father lived in this area for about 20 years.
What are some ways you like to spend your time?
I value time in harmony with Nature, giving thanks to her beauty as I surf on a stand up paddle board, walk along the beach, swim or garden. I am a volunteer for Treesisters.org and I find I spend a lot of time typing responses to posts in Facebook groups and other platforms I belong to, encouraging people with climate action, nature based wisdom activities, sending prayers for healing, and gaining knowledge and news to share with others especially through my blog/web page. Caring for my mother involves finding meaningful tasks and craft ideas for her to do and sharing wisdom from what I am learning especially around understandings our true selves and death of our body.
How did you first connect with Pachamama Alliance?
Early September 2016 I decided to start a Blog and midway through a 10 day Blog challenge came across a Facebook advert for Pachamama Alliance’s Awaken the Dreamer. Serendipity or Facebook algorithms, it is hard to know, but I did the Awaken the Dreamer online that night and followed up by joining the next Game Changer Intensive. Curious and full of awe and wonder I went to the Amazon Rainforest with Pachamama Alliance within 6 months of ever hearing about the organization. I would call it a significant and pivotal point.
What is a memory or experience with Pachamama Alliance that stands out for you?
Deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest I set my intention to hear my calling.
The night before the dream interpretation I felt like I had not really dreamed anything. I woke early in the night remembering only the words "red flower". I could not remember anything connected to it or think of any meaning. After waking I resumed a meditative state to get back to sleep and thoughts of the Mirning peoples––their lost land, culture and language––and the association with the Sapara people predominated. (See https://www.sacredfamiliar.com/blog/2014/07/bunna-lawrie-whale-dreaming-song-creation.html)
I thought about the whale dreaming and the link of petroleum drilling in the Great Australian Bight and the licenses that have been granted over the Sapara peoples land. In the next segment of a dream I had a sensed feeling of our journey group up on the ridge. The next morning we shared our dreams and the interpretation focused on advising me to let go of thoughts and listen to the forest sounds in the distance, smell the scents. Manari, a Sapara healer and leader, advised all of us to let go of negative thoughts and not to speak in detrimental ways about others. It would assist the dreams to help us. I felt despair with myself as I was still struggling to let go of negative thoughts, especially to one of the group, who was my lesson.
Later that day the healing journey continued with a walk through the forest identifying plants and animals. We sat and meditated at the top of the ridge. In my line of sight the ‘person of irritation’ sat in a bright red coat. I had previously thought how inappropriate it was for walking through the forest when trying to spot birds. I turned to avoid her being in my sight even though I was going to close my eyes. As I focused on the sounds of the forest and breathing, the meaning of red flower came to me. Her spiritual name had been translated as flower. She was in red. Red flower. She was the red flower and then an image of a red flower came. It was my beloved Bird of Paradise. “No, I can’t have her as that image. No way!” I tried to resist and think of another red flower. The voice told me to stop resisting. The message was to love the red flower. Lesson learnt. Stop resisting and accept. I had space to accept this as we walked down the hill and spent the rest of the afternoon in quiet reflection. The interpretation of my dream came to me on the ridge!
I was at peace and ready for the next part of the healing and path finding journey. The vengeful thoughts stopped and later, if I felt aggravated or annoyed (which I still did), I could just think of the red flower that I loved. Releasing the negativity opened space for me to grow in areas that I wanted and allowed me to feel the peace and love in my heart that is there for all the creatures in the world and many people I engage with. I can replace irritation with an image of love. The red flower. The power of thought and word.
What is something you are proud to be doing in service of an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet?
After visiting the Amazon I really felt called to return and work with the plants. I wasn't sure exactly but knew the forest had called me. My main focus 2 years on is raising awareness of the Amazon and the beautiful guardians, the Indigenous peoples. Although I haven't been able to get back there the thoughts and dreams of the people and the forest continue to emanate a love so profound that is now part of me. Project Drawdown – reading the book, joining the Facebook group, offering the Pachamama Alliance Introduction to Drawdown and then offering a 10 day online Drawdown event in September last year have all been part of my activation for a more sustainable world. It is now a Facebook group "Rise for Climate Action and Shine". However, my focus is on the power of thought and intentions using the power of love. Through groups like the Global Commons Writer's group and Treesisters I have made many friends from around the world engaged in amazing action and I wish to collaborate to get the vision for a 'more beautiful world' seen by more people. My new web site aims to be a platform for projects to raise the vibration of love for Nature. It is still a fledgling and my dream is for it to fly adding to the vision of Planet Earth re-wilded at least 50% and all Earth protectors safe and honoured.
What is something that you would like to see change in the world in the next 10 years?
I try not to see the path of robotics, continued destruction and injustice on the planet. By choosing to see people connected, consciousness growing, our heart in coherence with our brains and the Earth resonance I chose to see a loving humanity. Whilst I chose non-violence and love intentions I see that laws and acts of rebellion have their place. Most significantly Rights of Nature and Ecocide Law offer a way forward when right wing, destructive, ecocide supporting politicians rule so many countries. I encourage readers to look into these aspects. Like the instigator of getting this law written into the Rome Statute of crimes against humanity (United Nations), Polly Higgins, I would like to see a million signed and supporting 'Earth Protectors' and a time (maybe 10 years), when we no longer need Ecocide Laws and the Earth is healing.
Love the Earth. Protect the Earth. Make it a crime to destroy the Earth.
Stop Ecocide: Change the law.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
I would like to see all people aiming to positively impact the planet work together, collaborate and support each other's work. I would like to support your work, your vision by 'liking it' and sharing. If you would like to share mine it is called NaturesHeartIntentions.org. It is not for profit but I am looking forward to being part of the Gifting Economy.