Last weekend I had the honor of helping facilitate and guide four teenage young men as they completed a solo rite of passage. We spent Friday to Sunday deep in the woods and up in the mountains. We slept under angled tarps against the rain and the boys spent a 24 hour period solo and fasting.
It was led by master facilitator Alan Levin from Sacred River Healing. Alan is a is a friend and mentor who has led these rites of passage for decades in the woods and in the desert. The man is humble, authentic, and truly profound. Our time in the woods was the culmination of several meetings over a few months that prepared the hearts, minds and spirits of the participants.
It had the feel of an ancient ritual as modern devices and distractions were conspicuously absent. The young men found that when cell phones, TV and the internet were missing; the wind, thunder and animal noises can be heard. And when they got in tune with their surroundings (and slowed down the pace of their lives – with 24 hours to fill with just themselves as company) they began to subtly settle into a deeper understanding of things. I use the word subtly because when I used to hear about these quests I thought of huge revelations. You should go start an orphanage in Africa type things. Turns out those are very rare. Way more common are small shifts in perspective. Every one of the young men had several “oh, I get it” moments that they reported when they slowed down and listened to nature and their own inner wisdom.
It was the coolest thing. And a word kept popping into my head during the weekend. HOPE. Because despite all the “world’s going to hell in a hand basket” messages broadcast at us from every angle in our crazy modern world, here were young men going in the other direction. A direction of connection and inner knowing. These guys will be leaders and mentors. They will model a type of depth in their peer groups that will raise the vibration of many. This makes me hopeful.