Global Seva Amazon: Day 1

Posted on March 31st, 2014

Well, I’m here. The First Day. Those words seem so loaded, so full. Of promise and expectation. Of trepidation and fear. Of anxiety and excitement.The day has been full. Introductions, names, yoga, intention, grounding, presence, sharing, listening, exploring boundaries, learning, laughter, connection, information, heartbreak, overwhelm, hope, sleep.It’s easy for me to feel disembodied. Part of me is still at home with my husband and kids, part of me is here with this diverse group, and part of me is floating somewhere in between. I’m trying to hold all of the parts and pieces at once. To be present to it all. To honor the process and place in which I find myself: the lush environment, the different faces, the melodic language. To honor the countless people (loved ones, friends, students, teachers, strangers) who helped get me here: the hard work, the belief, the support. To honor myself: my strength, my commitment, my abilities. To release and let go of any lingering fear, doubt, insecurities, or inadequacies. To be open to the possibility of my own potential.And part of that potential is finding my voice and contributing it to this cause. Calling more people and more voices to contribute to the conversation. How do we save the Amazon? How can I help people understand the importance of it? Is it the facts? The Amazon Basin as a whole contains 10% of the world’s biodiversity. Ecuador’s tiny corner of the rainforest is the most biodiverse of all countries in the Amazon Basin. It contains the highest levels of endemic plant and animal species per hectare. There are 10 distinct indigenous groups with their own unique culture, language, customs and traditions.Do people connect to the heartbreak and devastation that has happen in Ecuador over the past 30 years? Texaco/Chevron purposefully used sub-standard, obsolete technology and intentionally covered up evidence of spills. Even though the largest class action environmental lawsuit in history ruled against them, they continue to legally lash out against anyone who spoke out against them. The current government is auctioning off blocks of pristine rainforest in the southern section of the Amazon to pay off the country’s debt.

The complicated, overwhelming, enormous nature of the problems facing Ecuador and the rainforest makes me want to weep and hide and disconnect. But I can’t. So I educate myself about the encouraging actions being taken. The united, powerful movements that have been created by the various indigenous groups. The referendum in Ecuador to prevent the government from drilling in the Yasuni National Park. The work of Amazon Watch and other groups working tirelessly to hold Chevron accountable for their actions.  So here I am. The First Day.

Part of me rejects the idea that this day is a first, which implies that this day is not connected to all the days  that came before it. When in reality today is part of a much longer continuum of days, events, experiences all converging to get me here.  Today is only one piece of what is yet to come. This is the First Day. And it is possible because of all the days before it. And it will contribute to the creation of the days yet to come. So, I’m here. Taking it all in. Contributing what I can. Finding my voice.

AUTHOR: Tamara McGuire lives in Chesapeake, VA with her husband Matt and two kids, Buzz and Mikayla. She loves working in her garden and running in the woods nearby her home. Tamara successfully mobilized her community to raise $20,000 for OTM’s 2013 Seva Challenge to support organizations in Ecuador working to protect the rainforest and uphold the rights of its people. For more information or to donate, visit:

NOTE: The views expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not necessarily represented by OTM.