written by Natalie Howard
Sacred Action through the Sarana Young Adult Program
words from a mother, teacher, & advocate of authentic living.
“Sacred Action borne out of Compassionate Spiritual Wisdom, Unites”— Don Oscar Miro-Quesada.
As a mother of 3 vibrant boys I do all that I do not only for my own well being and to be of service in the world, but I do what I do for them. I do what I do so that they grow up bearing witness to my life lived in sacred reciprocity and in alignment with leadership which has potential to change the world. I do what I do, in hope that their lives will be anchored in this kind of leadership, in hope that their understanding of our interconnectedness, of the importance of food sovereignty, of clean water, fresh air, the right to education, to gender equality, to freedom of expression become a reality for them rather than a dream lost long ago. I do what I do for you too, in service to the generations that will come.
As the days turn into years and my boys are now 14, 12 and 8 I am faced with challenges that only my daily mindfulness practice of meditation, of touching the earth and being in nature, of growing my own food and turning within have allowed me to have the tools to manage.
In this day and age childhoods seem to be running away from our kids into the digital vortex, supplemented by a constant stream of new technologies, distracting them from being present in their body. They have access to the whole world which is a good thing so long as there is balance with being present in the world.
I feel somehow we have lost our kids to this new digital universe without fully understanding the consequences of what is yet to come. The more this younger generation plugs in, the more they become disconnected from the physical world, from their own flesh and bone and from each other. We are beginning to sense this disconnect our kids feel not only with their own bodies but to the food that is being eaten, to the family unit and so on. We can see the breakdown happening right in front of us, and as a parent of young children it is worrisome.
Don’t get me wrong; there is many a benefit to the Digital Age we live in but I don’t think we have found our balance as a society with it yet. Technological advances have opened up bridges and allowed us explore our potential as human beings. The very nature of the Digital Age (also known as the Information Age) has allowed us as people to demand greater dignity over our human rights through social media which has become a powerful tool for self expression. Despite the leaps and bounds credited to new technologies, our youth are still deeply suffering. The individual process of teens and young adults stepping into their mature identity seems to be taking a toll. Addiction to devices has become a big problem, we no longer converse with each other at the dinner table but rather are over focused on our social media feed. In my household you will always hear me say: your device is not an extension of your body. Take a break. You can breathe and live without it.
The truth is we are becoming absent from our very own lives. In what I’ve deemed the Era of Distraction we are seeing more health issues and challenges appear from this space of disconnect. These are no longer ‘challenges’, we are in crisis. Our most intimate interpersonal world is in as much of a crisis as the world at large. We are in crisis over the health of our bodies as much as the health of our greater body: the Earth. We are in crisis with our food sovereignty, clean water, clean air, right to education, right to shelter, gender equality and freedom of expression.
We as parents are faced with great challenges of bringing the next generation back into the present moment. I call what the youth today are experiencing the Fear of Missing Out Syndrome, this seems to be rapidly causing great anxiety, depression, fear, anger and disconnect. As parents, caregivers, elders, and mentors it is our job to provide tools for our youth to live in the present. For the foundation for happiness is really that of being present in the here and now.
As human beings we are all searching for happiness, and it may come in many a way. So as parents, where do we begin to become present again in ourselves for our children; how do we teach our children to step forward into being present for themselves? How do we provide tools, processes and platforms for our kids and young adults to step back and engage with the world with more balance?
The Digital Age is here to stay, but rather than stepping into a black hole where we will never be seen again, can we use this sense of interconnection which the internet provides and begin to live in the greatest of harmonies amongst each other, knowing deeply that there is a bigger picture? The more we connect in the flesh and bone with one another, the more we can create a stronger foundation to anchor this digital universe which is full of creative potential for greatness.
I have been down the path of despair before, but it does not benefit me or you or those I serve. My healing journey has taught me to anchor in the hope that the more awareness and consciousness I bring to my actions, the more I am able to connect with my Self and the world around me and so I can access my innate power to inspire positive change.
Now is the time to act and bring forth mindfulness education, reconnection with nature, reconnection with the power of food, and reconnection to each other for all life is interconnected! For throughout my journey I have discovered that what I do for or to you, eventually comes back to me.
I feel very empowered as a parent and community member to be a part of the Young Adult Program that will take place at Sarana Springs this Summer (August 18-23). This program itself will provide a strong foundation and healing space for Youth and Young Adults to reconnect deeply to their heart, with Nature as the most powerful of medicines. We will be sharing mindfulness practices that allow us to normalize the inner conversation of despair and connect us to our breath- the source of our life. This retreat provides tools for youth and young adults to meet the challenges of today and contribute to the growth of a generation that will need to anchor into the ancient practices of mindfulness, nature awareness and food sovereignty to move forward and create a more peaceful world.
May we live in greater harmony and freedom.