Sacred Journeys – June 2014Kim Elkington June 1, 2014
Honouring the Elders and Youngsters Inspiring Social Change
The Bed and Breakfast facility that I manage has created many opportunities for life to send me interesting people in a timely fashion. The recent arrival of a special guest had all the significance of just such an encounter. First I need to set the scene.
A week earlier a very dear friend had died. She had experienced difficulty breathing, which was diagnosed as pneumonia, and suddenly she was gone. She was the type of person who made the world better by being in it. Her life was committed to peace and social justice. She listened to an inner voice that most of us have heard, but were afraid to follow. It meant making sacrifices, living differently, finding new ways to walk softly on the earth, and walking her talk. Her heart was full of the courage of Ghandi (her mentor), committed to living from a deeper collective vision of peace. As a humanist she was not just projecting a positive vision, but knew it required that she be filled with forgiveness and be unafraid to cradle the sorrows of the world.
As an artist she drew attention to the casualties of war and the ever-present danger of nuclear waste to both our health and the environment. She and I would sometimes stand in the river here and do ceremony, thanking the water and wind and sun and earth for their loving gifts and patience with us. She loved the work of Joanna Massey, who saw that we will need to form a nuclear guardianship to watch over the nuclear waste that future civilizations might accidentally dig up in 5,000 years which would destroy the planet.
For many, her impact was simply that she chose not to own her own car, and participated in creating a car-share program. In the mahatma villages in India, she introduced reiki to everyone, which was translated into Hindi so all the villagers could help each other. She was all about honouring everyone in her community, and doing it with an infectious giggle.
Skye was always optimistic, buoyed by her steadfast faith in humanity. She trusted that we could collectively ‘awaken’ from the nightmare that our fear of taking responsibility for our actions was creating in the world. Instead, she trusted that we would spark a massive shift in our intellectual, moral and cultural climate by focusing on love. When she died, however, she was deeply tired, and was also holding some disappointment in her body that the world seemed to have not changed as much in her lifetime as she had hoped.
So the week after she died I was really feeling her sorrow about the future, and how much work we have ahead of us. On the day and at the same time she died (one week later) I was playing a mantra she loved, when a young man arrived at my door. He had heard about me through a friend of Skye’s.
She would have loved Daniel, a 21-year-old full of vision and confidence that his generation was here to take over now and make the world that Skye dreamt of a reality.
Over our first cup of tea, we were talking about ‘Generation Waking Up’ which is a global movement and campaign to bring forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world through the actions of awakened youth everywhere. There is an interactive video you can watch which is used as an educational tool by Daniel and thousands of others at generationwakingup.org.
Another movement is the PachaMama Alliance, which was birthed when the indigenous Shuar and Achuar peoples of Equador chose to reach out to westerners to form an alliance and symposium similar to Generation Waking Up. We also spoke about the divestment movement, which is university youth trying to confront the fossil fuel industry and take the political and social power away from the folks running these industries. That week, Stanford became the 10th university to join the movement, divesting their 18 million dollar endowment fund from coal, and instead investing in sustainable companies that are good for the earth.
The good news is that 50% of the world’s population is under 25 years old, and they are the largest generation of educated, technically savvy, globally connected youth to ever exist. When Daniel’s visit was over, we spoke about Joanna Massey, Skye, and the efforts of her generation. He added that part of the movement is to respect and work with like-minded elders who have paved the way for social change. ‘We’re here now,’ he said with a sparkling smile.
Kim Elkington is the co-founder of The Algonquin Tea Co, a line of quality teas made from organic wildcrafted Canadian herbs. These days, Kim works with Local Sustainably Wild-picked Canadian herbs to make organic herbal, black, green and chai tea blends. Find these products online: www.wildcanadiantea.com, or www.algonquintea.com Email Kim at: email@example.com