My friend Dawn Engle is here visiting me from Colorado. Dawn is a beautiful woman, so bright and shiny and radiating love everywhere she goes. Dawn co-founded the amazing non-profit organization called PeaceJam with artist Ivan Suvenjieff. Dawn was sharing with me how PeaceJam really took both Dawn’s gifts and Ivan’s gifts to come into existence. Ivan brought the idea, passion and inspiration, and Dawn brought the structure and the ability to hold a large idea and to distill it down. Creating PeaceJam also meant contacting the Dalai Lama 18 years ago and sharing their dream and idea. He loved it. It was about empowering a new generation of young peacemakers. After getting the Dalai Lama’s blessing and support and participation, they went on to contact other Nobel Peace Laureates. They now have 13 Nobel Peace Laureates as members. In fact, Desmond Tutu married Dawn and Ivan in his church in South Africa in March of 2002! To date, more than 600,000 young people have participated in the PeaceJam program, creating almost two million service projects around the world.
Dawn and Ivan then had the vision of creating a “Nobel Legacy Film Series” showcasing each of the Nobel Peace Laureates who are a part of PeaceJam, and the gifts they are bringing forward on our planet today. They wanted to start with Rigoberta Menchu Tum, the Mayan Nobel Peace Laureate from Guatemala, because this is the year of the Maya, 2012, and there is tremendous interest in the Mayan Calendar at this powerful moment in time.
Dawn and I first met at the Vancouver Peace Summit in 2009. We met again in Canada in 2010 at a conference about “Ending Rape as a Tool of War”, organized by the Nobel Women’s Institute. Dawn talked to me about her dream for creating this film about the Maya and Rigoberta Menchu. Every time I am talking to someone about something and we both cry and get goose bumps I know it is something that is important and my body is telling me so. I jumped on board to become a Producer of this film.
So it is a great joy to have Dawn here with me this week. We had the opportunity to screen this film with my beloved community here at MoonBear Sanctuary. “Mayan Renaissance” is a beautiful film about the untold story of the Maya. It would be impossible to tell Rigoberta’s story without sharing the 4,000 year history of the Mayan people. The movie takes us through time, starting with the glory of the ancient Mayan civilization; then the colonization by the Spanish starting in the 1500’s; Mayan resistence and resilience; the United Fruit Company taking over land and using the Maya for cheap labor; the United States involvement and even the effect of Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, using psychology to manipulate people and to use the threat of communism to justify US support for a coup which ended ten years of democracy in Guatemala; and then the 35 year war with mass genocide of the Maya. Rigoberta Menchu Tum testified while the war was still going on and her book “I, Rigoberta Menchu” describes her life and the life of the Maya and the torture, murder, and genocide of the Maya people. She was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for her non-violent work to create an end to the civil war in Guatemala.
Rigoberta is a courageous woman who has stayed true to her roots, to her connection to the Mayan Calendar, and the rhythms of nature. She ran for President of Guatemala in 2007 and 14 members of her party were assassinated. She ran again in 2011. Not with the expectation of winning but to create the first ever Indigenous People’s party in Central America, giving the Maya a voice in the government and planting seeds of what can be possible in the next 100 years.
After the screening of the film we asked the audience to divide into groups of four people each to share what surprised them, what they learned, and what they would take home in their heart. We wanted to allow the people who had witnessed this powerful film to be able to feel their feelings, and give them each a chance to have their voice heard. When we shared as a whole group it was so touching to hear how deeply moved people were, and to see the importance of bringing so much that has been held in the darkness and the shadows into the light to be seen. And what shone through most strongly was the triumph of the human spirit and what is possible on our planet today.
Dawn ended by sharing the view of the Mayan Elders that 2012 is not about one moment in time, such as the day of December 21, 2012, but that this is a 40 year “Era of great responsibility”, and that December 21, 2012 is the simply the mid point of this 40 year period. If we are on the Earth at this time each one of us has a role to play in bringing forward the new paradigm that is possible for our planet – one of love and unity. As we step into a new 26,000 year cycle, we are all co-creators for what that can look like and be. What are your passions? What is your role at this potent and powerful time? All we have is the present moment – this moment, right now. The point of power truly is in the present.
The “Mayan Renaissance” film will be used to educate people around the world about the untold story of the Maya, and to bring forward what has been suppressed, and new possibilities. It will be used as an educational tool for restoring the shattered self-image and confidence of the Mayan people. It will also be used as an educational tool starting with 600 Indigenous youth leaders from all over the entire world, this year. Along with the film they will also learn about the Mayan Calendar. Where the Gregorian calendar has been used for business, and divides and separates, the sacred Mayan calendar (the Tzolkin) puts us back in touch with the rhythms of nature and the universe and our own relationship to these rhythms each day. The Indigenous youth will then be able to take all of this back to their own communities. New seeds will be planted around our world
For more about PeaceJam and the “Mayan Renaissance” film please go to www.mayanrenaissance.org. The “Mayan Renaissance” film is playing on PBS in Colorado during the month of July. So far, for July, it has been the most popular show! It will air on PBS around the USA in October. It will also be available for $1.99 to watch online soon, and via digital download and DVD, distributed by the Tribeca Film Institute. Check Amazon.com in August of 2012, to be able to see and experience this powerful film for yourself – and then if you feel called please take the time to discern what your role will be in helping the Maya to create a new and better future, for all of humanity.