I am fascinated with the relentless human drive for MORE. More money, power, oil, stuff, attention, real estate, "love", touch, achievement, impact, freedom, etc. Like some mythical state, "More" becomes a heaven that when reached, I know I will finally feel full, satiated, and complete. I used to call it "reaching my potential" and it usually involved a list of badass accomplishments, saving the world, and a soul mate. My own version of a blissy, floaty, virgin-filled paradise.
Ironically, the feeling state I am seeking is always available just underneath this drive and if I can slow down and get present, I get to experience it. It is subtle and requires shifting all of my awareness from this drive to this moment. From this place, this entire game of more is revealed. It is innocent and powerful and based on a fundamental misunderstanding. Just underneath the drive for MORE is ENOUGH. From this place we can aim this drive in infinite, creative directions. We can point this firehose of evolutionary impulse toward a new way of being and doing on this planet. When I understand I have enough, I AM enough, my soul tends to drive, my ego wiggles into the passenger seat, and this road movie gets a lot more interesting and fun.
Manari Kaji Ushigua Santi is one of the 500 remaining Sápara Tribe in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Rebecca F. Rogers and I just spent a few weeks deep in the jungle, walking through ancient primary rainforest, sitting in ceremonies, and learning from him and his people.
"The first step in healing your addiction to more", he told me, "is to stop judging it."
Manari doesn’t just drop wise words, he embodies it. Here I am, a white woman from the North, whose way of life is relentlessly encroaching not only on his way of life but the Amazon Rainforest upon which life on our entire planet depends, and his purpose is to heal me. Me! He offered cleansing rituals with sacred tobacco and shared his love for the mysteries and medicine of the jungle with remarkable generosity. “No worries,” he seemed to say, “just hang in this jungle for awhile, connect to these plants, and you will remember who you are.” He was right.
Here is a message he shared through his work with the Pachamama Alliance recently that I would love to share with you:
“With the support of Pachamama Alliance, we have prevented oil extraction in our territory for the past 20 years. Unfortunately, our government recently sold new concessions to the Peruvian national oil company.
The consequences are potentially fatal not only for us, but for our entire world. The Sápara believe that the destruction of our land would not only affect all humans but also the non-material, spiritual world: plants; animals; trees; and water—as we are all from Earth.
We must transform the behavior responsible for continuing to drive the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the crises we face together as a human society.
My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were powerful Shimanul—Shaman in the Sápara language—and decided that I would continue the lineage soon after my birth. I began special training to connect with the spirits of the forest and our ancestors. While my father is no longer living, he still teaches me in my dreams.
From the Sápara perspective, many of the challenges that humanity is suffering from are due to people not remembering where they come from and being disconnected from the dreams they have each night. Connecting through our dreams and with the natural world is a way for people to unblock and tap into insights they are unable to see now.
Pachamama Alliance is working to awaken people so that they can both see the possibility for and to create collective change around the world. This partnership is critical for both keeping oil development from our lands and for creating a future that works for all.
Now more than ever, we have to all come together to defend the rainforest. And we must come together to inspire the transformation that the world needs at this critical time.
I thank you from deep within my heart for your ongoing support, solidarity, and partnership. Together, we have been effective for many years in protecting the world’s most culturally and biologically diverse rainforest. Now we must finish the job we have started together and achieve permanent protection for the heart of the world and the lungs of our planet.
You can count on me, my people and our united indigenous nationalities to never give up defending our forests, water, and Earth. Please stand with us and together we will strengthen this Alliance for life on our planet.”