Bucks County Herald

Patricia Walsh-Collins: Shared Teachings

Chaos to Liberation

“It is the greatest disappointment of my life.”

These words pierced my heart as I heard the despair voiced by my two high school friends. Both are good people from good families, and each suffers the unattained expectations of their adult children.

My heart ached as I speculated about the circumstances, and the lens through which they had deemed their children disappointments. What ideologies and deeds fueled this discord?

Despite our best efforts at attentive, conscious parenting, many young people are living with fear, lowered expectations, self-doubt, and a deep sense of insecurity. How could they not? The transition is upon us as chaos seeps in through the cracks. We seesaw between the energy and paradigm shifts of the old and new order. This is not life as usual. Perhaps they too, are disappointed in us?

Our young people feel the financial burden as past expectations and securities evaporate. They are burdened with inequality, social injustice, and government policies aimed at annihilating protection of all life. Their anxiety is real and justified.

As government obliterates any continuum of known security, our young adults will be the ones to redefine success and happiness. Their path forward is obscured, but illuminated by their own light, these beautiful beings will bushwhack their way through the chaos.

What I see emerging through the fear and doubt are empathetic, compassionate individuals with an ability to communicate their emotions and awareness, far exceeding their years. I see a capacity to live in the present, while holding a vision for the future. I see kindness.

My first and most powerful lesson in the rain forest of Ecuador was that of relationship. In the forest, everything is perishable due to the harsh environment and realities of living close to the Earth. The indigenous Kichwa place their attention and energies in their relationships. When all else rots and degrades, relationships remain, providing security.

We too are living in a harsh and interdependent environment. Our investment (emotional and otherwise) in each other, especially our young, will stabilize, secure and guide us through this unpredictable present, and our unknown future. Hold them close.

Our generation’s task is to step into our elder shoes and walk beside our young, listening, supporting, and counseling. I’ve heard it said, “You will know yourself through what you create.” I am excited to see what they create. Our collective futures will be shaped by their conscious decisions. And with love and effort, their chaos will give rise to their liberation.

Patricia Walsh-Collins is a 39-year resident of Bucks County, with a 23-year career as a professional educator. She is creator and owner of Art of Spirit and Art of Spirit’s Earth School.

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