What These Times Need

Pachamama Alliance • 14 November 2019
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This guest news article was written by Sue Staropoli, an Awakening the Dreamer Facilitator, Game Changer Intensive Moderator, and Drawdown Initiative Convener with the Rochester Pachamama Community.


Shortly after the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium was brought to Rochester, New York, in May 2012, a Core Team came together to carry forward the powerful Pachamama Alliance vision—an environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling human presence on this planet—in our community.

Over the past 7 years this group became a real transformational community, where we deepened our hearts and connection with one another. We became, as we had envisioned, beacons of hope in our Rochester community, promoting many aspects of the Pachamama Alliance mission through ever-expanding programs and partnerships, various working groups, and collaborative efforts. And we became a grounding source of support for one another in facing the painful challenges of our times.

In the fall of 2017 some members of our Core Team became engaged in pioneering the Pachamama Alliance Drawdown Initiative, offering Reversing Global Warming: Introduction to Drawdown and Drawdown Solutions: Getting into Action broadly in our Rochester community. Through this process a new team emerged: Drawdown Ambassadors. By 2019 this team had taken on a life of its own, with its own monthly meetings, vision statement, working groups, and a desire to be a real community beyond being a committee focused on action.

Like the Core Team, the Drawdown Ambassadors are grounded in the vision of interconnectedness of all life and issues, but I grew concerned that the teams themselves were separate. A plan evolved through conversations with Rogér Knoren in the Pachamama Alliance office to bring both teams together for an enriching Community Day.

Members of both teams were invited to join the planning team, which took shape with two people from the Drawdown Ambassador Team, one from the Core Team, two people who are on both teams, and Rogér. Over a three month period (with countless cross-country Zoom calls!) we planned a day entitled What these times need: opening our hearts, deepening connections, building a movement.

We defined the purpose of the event:

  • To unite the Core Team and the Drawdown Ambassadors into an interconnected, mutually-supportive community
  • To deepen our personal and collective capacity for meaningful, effective action
  • To help members of the Rochester Pachamama Community face the challenges of our times with centeredness, openness, depth, presence, vision, creativity, and connectedness, so that together we can be agents of healing, hope and evolutionary/revolutionary change in our community and our world

We decided early on that we would use Joanna Macy‘s “The Work that Reconnects” as our framework, since our goal was to deepen our hearts and connections.

Through hours of planning, we created experiences that would flow the group through our own version of Joanna Macy’s spiral—Gratitude, Honouring our Pain, Seeing Through Eyes, Discerning our Call, and Going Forth. Over 7 hours on a Sunday afternoon, 23 of us gathered to do exactly what our intention was—to open our hearts, deepen our connections and begin to visualize and grow a movement in our Rochester area. The many exercises moved us through different experiences and configurations (dyads, groups of four and large group) to engage us with one another in deep (and at times fun!) ways—with some music, movement and dance integrated within the process.

By the end it really felt like we had experienced what we had envisioned, and I had yearned for—two separate teams became one Rochester Pachamama Alliance Community!

We still have a long way to go to explore what our next steps are to deepen and grow this new community—because we still have separate action focus and separate monthly meetings, and not every person from each team was able to be present—but we are trusting we can find new and creative ways for us to be one community that is having a greater impact in our Rochester community than anything we could do separately. We have a meeting set soon to meet and explore how we move forward with some of the ideas generated in our Going Forth section of the day.

Personally this day was very moving for me.

I had come to love every person on both teams—and was so eager for them to meet and connect with each other. By the end I was so touched to watch so many people I love come to love and celebrate each other!! What a joy!

The journey continues—but it is with a very deep heart connection and a radical hope in our future. We may not know what will come in our world, or assure any particular outcome, but together we live and bring love into the world in profound ways through community; both our being and our doing.

It is very important to mention that the planning team itself, with the invaluable presence of Roger, became a transformational community. We modeled what we were wanting to happen—to bridge different perspectives/experiences and, through deep listening, to build a deep bond of love and respect that will be treasured always. We each brought our unique gifts, talents, personalities—and each voice was needed to create the remarkable and powerful experience we offered to our communities. (Now one community!)

I am so grateful!

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