In our recent Around the Fire newsletters, we’ve talked a lot about Becoming—what it means to move from adolescence through initiation to becoming an adult. A couple months ago, I had the pleasure of attending one of our Ukilái annual men’s gatherings in the dramatic, red rock desert lands south of Moab, Utah. More recently, we initiated four new young adults in Sacred Emergence: Initiation into Adulthood for Young Women .
For many years now we have been offering initiation for young men and women, annual retreats for adult men and women, and programs to support both the beginning and end of life. These Lifeways programs are the foundation for a broader vision that we call Life Cycle Living.
Life Cycle Living is a common background perspective on life—a traditional wisdom—known to many cultures. It is based on the understanding that humans are part of nature, and that our lives move in natural cycles just like the rest of the beautiful tapestry of life around us. Each stage of a human life presents certain challenges as well as particular gifts for an individual and the community in which they live.
These days we have a more linear orientation, and we tend to favor moving at the fastest possible speed. The result can be a lot of stress, and also great uncertainty about who we are and what we are meant to do. Technology manages to get us “there” quicker, but the “there” seems less and less satisfying, and we find ourselves constantly yearning for something else.
Life Cycle Living offers a framework that better aligns our human lives with the exquisite wisdom of the natural world. Even in the best of circumstances, our futures are full of mystery and there are sure to be unforeseen challenges. But from the perspective of Life Cycle Living, we are able to better move with the basic ebb and flow of the world around us, and we can find amazing support as we meet the unknown.
Reawakening this perspective of Life Cycle Living, is a vast and deep undertaking. At this point we have only a basic outline of what the complete vision of Life Cycle Living would look like.Our current Lifeways programs are part of the initial foundation for this vision of supporting the growth and maturation of individuals from birth all the way to death. Building out a more comprehensive vision will take a long time—perhaps 30 years—and we can use your help in realizing it!
These are difficult times. We believe that the best investment for our collective future is in helping people develop their potential to think and act wisely. I invite you to join us in creating this important legacy for those who will follow us by reconnecting with traditional wisdom through one of our events or by contributing your time or money to support our ongoing work.
Lawrence I. Messerman