Lea_p's Managing Partners travelled to the Amazon Rainforest.
I think it’s fair to say that we are deeply passionate about leadership and all things related; it is our work, our business, the majority of our conversations and what gets us up in the morning. Both of us have been on our own deep personal journeys to get to where we are today, but there are similarities - an event or events that have made us re-evaluate our lives, inspirational mentors, big challenges, deep personal exploration and a lot of study and training.
Many people who are on their own personal development journeys get to a point where two things happen, which was true for us, and these things often happen together.
1) Your personal journey becomes much bigger than yourself, you start caring about causes, the people on our planet (who you don’t know) and Mother Earth herself.
2) There is a connection with divinity; call this god, the universe, spirit, your soul – the name is irrelevant but spiritual intelligence becomes part of your psyche.
Lea_p’s deepest purpose is to re-evolve (as in evolve over and over) humanity. It feels big and scary and not something we often share with the world but it’s our truth. We believe that great leadership and spirituality are absolutely intertwined, and that spiritual leadership is the key to change how business and our world are run. By increasing our individual consciousness, we increase the collective consciousness and therefore have the ability to change our world.For us there feels like there is no work more important or imperative that we could be doing.
Over the past year we have been creating a very important program which we will soon be sharing, and as we were in creation we knew that mother earth and spirituality had to be part of it. So as always, the teacher becomes the student and off we went to learn more.
On the 20th of July we landed in the Amazon rainforest, along the borders of Ecuador after 2.5 days of travel (and lost luggage). It was time to leave everything behind; our busy lives, our to do lists, our stress and open ourselves up to another land and to a spiritual adventure.
We were staying in a beautiful village called Sharamentsa with a local indigenous
tribe of people called The Achuar. ‘
'As custodians of the rainforest, the Achuar maintain a rich culture, based on the intricate natural rhythms of their environment. All aspects of their culture reflect a spirituality oriented around dreams and visions. The Achuar have many ancient, refined rituals to access dreams and integrate them into daily life. Shamans, as the keepers of this ritual knowledge, play a central role in Achuar ceremonial life and community health.’
Our first day started with a trek through the rainforest to see The Great Kapok Tree and wow, is this tree great!! Lauren was moved to tears for the duration of being in its presence. The Kapoks roots come out of the ground about 9ft in the air and it grows high above the canopy, it is huge. This tree is truly magnificent. At that moment we knew we were in the presence of something special, the Achuar call it Nunkui, which is Mother Earth herself. This was an inner knowing, a connection with our own intelligence, our soul. In the silence, vastness and beauty of the rainforest we came back completely to ourselves.
Later, we sailed back to the village by canoe, floating gently on the river and witnessing a breath-taking sunset and here it was again, the magnificence of nature all around us inviting us to let go and just be present to the exquisiteness of Mother Earth. Our group sat in silence for nearly an hour watching this vast landscape. It took me back to being a child sat in a field, alone but knowing I was connected, looked after and safe. As children we are aware of our connection to the Earth and our Soul, and as we grow up many of us lose this. We are all connected and apart from nature being just beautiful for our pleasure, she is the perfect metaphor to remind us of this connection.
Now, another journey would begin: one that took a slower pace, with intentional reflection to define important questions we now had the space to hear the answers to, even though we may not be ready for them. Could this spiritual journey be the right space for defining or confirming our life purpose? For pointing us closer towards our own truth? For giving us the knowledge and tools to help other people define theirs too?
As a leader, defining your purpose is so important yet it can seem like a very high mountain to climb. We remember asking ourselves ‘how can I define a life purpose, it is so big? Where can I find ideas and how do I start?’It felt overwhelming with very high stakes, because what if we get it wrong?
What we experienced in the rainforest through the beauty of nature, the wisdom of ancient traditions and practices, profound shamanic experience and connecting (by stopping) back to ourselves reframed all this and made it possible to define our life purpose. It is already inside us (and you) and it gets revealed by listening to what is here, present in us (and you) right now.
What did we learn on our journey into the Amazon:
1) Intellect, left brain, language is so important AND equally so is intuition, connection, rituals, essence and mother earth. We need leaders who own the sacred balance of masculine and feminine in our businesses and our world.
2) Leadership and spirituality are absolutely interlinked
3) Moving from the individual to the collective is paramount if we are to make real changes to the needs we are facing as a species and planet.
4) We are connected, we are one and we ALL have more in common than difference.
5) We cannot survive without Mother Earth.
6) We all have a unique purpose for being alive at this time.
7) We finally found our luggage, a day before we flew back home! What a beautiful metaphor for letting go!
There are a few special thanks you who made this trip of a lifetime even more special:
José - Our Achuar guide, who trekked us through hours of the jungle and shared unlimited wisdom with us. He built bridges out of trees and vines in seconds, took us rafting, jumped in sacred rivers, fed us endless rainforest delicacies and kept us safe. José you are a leader and an incredible human being.
The Achuar Tribe of Ecuador who treated us with so much acceptance and love, who taught us about their culture, shared their knowledge and wisdom, reminded us of our essence and who we taught the Macarena!!
Pachamama Alliance who along with The Achuar have saved over 10 million acres of the rainforest and who made our journey there possible.
Julian and Steve our tour guide, interpreters, leaders, guardians and now friends. Thank you.
Our tribe, the Wampishuk (Butterfly in Achuar) Tribe, that was made up of Guy, Karen, Ingrid and Emily without you, our trip would not have been what it was. Thank you all.