Two-bit Guru | Pachamama Symposium

Image courtesy of The Pachamama Alliance. For more information, please visit

We, Alayna and I, attended our first Pachamama Awakening the Dreamer Symposium on Saturday and neither of us knew what to expect. I had a good grasp of the structure of the symposium, but structure is one thing, the actual experience is something else. It was sponsored and facilitated by the good folks from the Bridget Center in Kewaskum, WI. I’d never been to Kewaskum before but I do enjoy the sound of the name. It sounds so authentic. It’s the name of a Menominee medicine man. Seems an apt place to hold this kind of symposium.

The 4 1/2 hour symposium ran two hours in the morning, a half-hour lunch, and then two hours in the afternoon. The morning session covers the gloomy facts about what is happening to our planet and the afternoon session raises the gloom.

The lunch was vegan, built around a terrific sweet potato chili thick like a stew, and there were chips and avocado and salad and bread and dessert. I wasn’t vegan before lunch but after lunch, I’m thinking maybe. I promise I will never ever again make a joke about vegans eating sawdust and burlap casseroles.

We saw a lot of video about the problems of our planet, the same stuff I wrote about previously, and we meditated for a couple of minutes here and there, and spoke with one another as part of the program. As the day progressed, we were speaking with one another just for the heck of it. There must have been more than 40 of us present. Four facilitators kept the program moving along.

Once we got into the afternoon an easy comfort seemed to pervade the room, and for me at least, I felt a warm glow in my chest, like when you meditate or hold a kitten. This feeling grew as time went on. I think this is how everyone felt. We felt community.

In the final act of the symposium we tied hand-crafted bracelets on each others wrists.

What did I like best about the experience? All of it. But if I had to choose, I’ve gotta say The People. That’s why it all worked, of course, but meeting and interacting with the people, that’s what put that warm glow in my chest.

Note: It turns out the only name I mentioned in this post was Kewaskum, whose spirit probably had infused the gathering and gave us a great energy. I chose not to name other names, so to speak, because I met a lot of wonderful people, both participants and facilitators, and if I know me (and I do) I might forget somebody or misname them or something. All I can say is Alayna and I really appreciated being part of the community on Saturday.