Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Becoming Mentors to Youth -The Call of Ancestors

The earth is in great upheaval, great awakening. There has never been a time like this. Are we willing to speak to our adolescents about what is vital to a healthy life and a sustainable earth? Can we reach out to them? Do we consider that our obligation? Are we beholden to the call from an ancient source, one that is raw with the passions and expectations of impatient ancestors? We are mentors, elders, and a knowing, watchful core of guardian ancestors awaits our awakening to this rightful approach to the young.

I know that environmental stewardship must become part of the collective consciousness, not the unconscious where it mostly lives. Ecopsychologists argue that our alienation from nature, from wild nature, our distance from things of this earth, our prolonged time away from where we were born and grew up in the evolutionary ancestral map of time, this unexpected vacation from our homeland of the naked mother has been the source of our willing disregard for the growing, living, breathing earth.

Our youth do not cross the threshold to an adult life with guidance beyond what they muster from friends, peers, and the occasional thoughtful teacher or parents. They are not swept up with an energy equal to theirs, an energy brewed and stoked by watchful elders, timed to send the youth across boundaries of fear and childhood dreams, into a magical world of adult mystery and power. The stumble about, emerging as if from some awful misshapen chrysalis. They come to an adult body half-child, half-adolescent, part-man-woman, part-child. Michael Meade (1993) wrote,

“in many tribal cultures, it was said that if boys were not initiated into manhood, if they were not shaped by the skills and love of elders, then they would destroy the culture. If the fires that innately burn inside youths are not intentionally and lovingly added to the hearth of community, they will burn down the structures of culture, just to feel the warmth”

Assuming we adults could find adequate, if not mighty ways to initiate our youth into adulthood, if we could set the stage for a healthy maturation, it would most certainly demand that our youth plunge deep into the work of the soul. It would require a descent into wild physical nature, to uncover one’s own wild inner nature. A rite of passage worthy of its salt sends a child into the wilderness to birth the adult, to discover the first semblance of the elder-to-be. Wild nature is rugged, it is dangerous, but it is where we came from and in some odd twist, it welcomes us back with an embrace that must be felt to be understood. We must be reborn through a nature-based vision quest at the onset of adolescence. It must be conceptualized and supervised by same-gender elders. These elders must have found some sanity for themselves out of the insanity that post-industrial growth society has delivered to us all. This is a vertical relationship. This is mentoring. This is elder-initiate community building. This is a change that is much needed.

In this process of initiation, not only is a healthier adulthood assured, but the ecological unconscious, the steward of the earth is born once again in the initiate.

No comments:

Post a Comment