Sarah-Jane Menato, Peri, and I recently lead a workshop for 17 and 18 year olds enrolled at the United World College in Wales. They are all committed to providing leadership for a sustainable world. We discovered that at the heart of their aspirations for serious global course corrections in the way we are living there is a deep need for personal sustainability. Laurie Chan offered her experience to us. May we take the spirit and power of her reflections into our Sunday quietude, and hold the welling-up in young people world-wide who are standing up, speaking up, asking for real answers and surfacing deep questions about how to live with honor, respect and gratitude for the planet.
"To be able to pause and to truly think is so rare and difficult to get in this fast paced life. I was brought up in this kind of environment back home, especially after entering high school. The idea is that we are more productive if we are constantly on the move, which isn’t true at all. If anything, it makes us tired and forget who we are, what our values are, who we want to be, and where we want to go…the most important takeaway I had from the retreat is that meaningful, seemingly life changing answers, are always inside of us, but it takes this kind of self introspection in order to put the pieces together and draw it out of ourselves. My personal big discovery was that I want to go back to my roots. For me, that means taking a gap year to where my parents were born to live in and learn about the culture and language. Growing up in such a culturally diverse place as the US, it can be hard to feel a strong sense of identity, which I feel especially now that I am getting older. This open, protected sliver of time allowed me to be distraction free and to have as clear as a mind as possible to be able to take the time to dive into myself. The weekend made little pieces that I’ve had thoughts about before come together and finally make sense. I realized more than ever how important it is to just stop and to be present.”