Teenage and young adulthood signifies the perfect storm of emotional and hormonal overload, academic and familial expectations, and navigation of the confusing unjust and often cruel social dynamics of friendship and peer relations.
This is the beginning of an intense study of the Self while they and the world around them ripen into something momentous and daunting, complex, and mysterious. Our young people are feeling the marvellous illusion of youth begin to fade. They are beginning to discover that there is labor in the world; that the food on their table and the roof over their head comes with hard work.
They are simultaneously confronting overwhelming bodily sensations, intoxicated by life’s possibilities and promise, catching loves first glimpse of love itself, while meeting heartbreak and lust for the first time. Equally, they are enraged by life’s lack of possibility and promise, and crushed by its monotony.
Even those who are able to attain educational success spend half of their waking hours being taught what seems inconsequential and not applicable to what they are desperately working to master.
They are searching for something to stand for and a way to stand out while figuring out how to fit in without losing who they are meant to become. Our young people are hungry for reliable companions to their anger, intensity, curiosity, and passion as they are being introduced to all of life’s poetry.
We must be trustworthy guides to their internal experience in order to invite their unique gifts and genius, and to share our experience and wisdom. The success, richness, and depth of our culture depend upon it.
I am a mentor, unwilling to flinch at the enormity of this task at hand.