During a time in which many struggle with a sense of hopelessness, I feel honored to share with you a deep optimism. This is not an optimism based on a fairytale or blind faith. It is rooted in experience. Our current generation of teenagers is learning how to pave the way for a more conscious and compassionate world. I see it and feel it daily.
We end our semester-long mindfulness course with a final project that invites teens to spend four hours in silence and solitude utilizing the tools that they’ve learned in the class. This is their opportunity to practice befriending themselves and resting in that which is most authentic within. In preparation, teens are asked to create an intention for the project.
I could tell you about countless beautiful intentions from teens who have been deeply engaged in the class I teach at Madison High School. Instead, I pause to share what two teens who have struggled deeply in life had to say:
"I hope to be more fully with me on this retreat. To be able to see the world and the conditioned mind differently. To see it all clearly."
"My intention for this retreat is to connect with a real part of me that I haven’t. I know this part of me exists now."
This is huge. These are marginalized students, with lives affected by intense inter-generational trauma, violence, substance abuse, and poverty. It is huge that the teens who have the most obstacles are seeing new possibility. They are having a direct experience of knowing how to find peace.
As cliché as it might sound, these teens truly are our future. For me, this is a flame of hope. Every day I witness teens learning to experience a deep connection with others, feel their own adequacy and inherent worth, and love unconditionally. Every day I see teens learning to embody an experience of presence and love. Every day.
Thank you – not only for the way that you support Peace in Schools but for the way you value creating the possibility of a more conscious and compassionate world. During such times of turbulence and divisiveness, it is, indeed, a powerful thing that we have ways to embody the alternative.
Peace in Schools is building a model that manifests the alternative. It is a model of love and of connection. We are so deeply grateful that you are part of this. Thank you for feeding this flame.