Those who encompass the youthful “Y” generation, often referred to as “millennials,” are facing a paradoxical dilemma. On one hand, they are entering into a goldmine of opportunities for self-actualization that is beyond imagination. Never before has human interconnectedness been so tangible or our potential for individually spirited effectiveness so great. Some will break through barriers and explore frontiers we can’t even name today.
On the other hand, they are practically born knowing dangers and stressors many children of previous generations were not exposed to. Given the scope of economic insecurities, wars, environmental disasters, global terrorism, and political disillusionment, it is small wonder that many can get lost emotionally in their own rapidly shifting perceptions and experiences. The result can be confusion and suffering.
If ever there was a generation that needed to think outside the box, it is this one. How can we ever hope to help them, as friends or as therapists? Focalizing and other similar healing modalities offer us a promising place to start.
What is a “millennial,” exactly? While there’s no ironclad age range for this generation, my personal experience with 18- to 35-year-olds suggests to me they are the people we need to think of as millennials, although individuals may exist who bend such parameters. Over the next 10 years, they will account for three quarters of the American workforce and will comprise the largest human peer group ever. While they tend to be optimistic, artistic, eloquent, liberal, and more adaptable to change than any recent generation, they also know they are living in a dysfunctional world that is evolutionarily at risk. We need to reach out and find ways to help them reach their potential; their future is our future.
To survive and thrive, this population needs to think outside the box, certainly the old discarded confines from “steam punk” generations gone by. To fail to seize the moment in these times would be disastrous. They will need new ways of thinking, and will need to invent and/or discover these new modes of consciousness by themselves or with support of allied elders. Those who were educated either by the institutions built in the 1800s and 1900s, or “on the street” in a previous century, will be hampered by blind spots they don’t even know exist. All these “experts” and advisers can hope to do is to help the “Y” generation learn how to learn. Focalizing is one of the emerging technologies that offers a way for all of us to move more gracefully into an unknowable future, especially this generation and those following.
We are now transitioning from older conventional systems of healing, limited by dependencies on linear biographical stories, toward approaches that are holographic and grounded in our bodies. These methods are still evolving, yet the results can be remarkable. Focalizing is a process that helps individuals and groups to remove the conceptual blind spots that prevent them from achieving their goals and realizing their intentions. It is a process that helps us set aside familiar but limited thoughts and feelings so we can better access nature’s gift to us: our innate intelligence.
Focalizing these aligned technologies together helps us to suspend everyday thinking, thereby assisting us in transforming overwhelming conscious and unconscious life situations into opportunities for transformation. It facilitates access to our own enlightened intelligence so that natural healing can occur. This is not just a mental process; focalizing works in additional dimensions, bringing new perspectives and greater cognition. It reconfigures our emotional and psychological DNA, the energetic sequences within our psyches which were imprinted by our life histories. Through this process, one can be transported to a place of peaceful calm where intentions and desires can be safely expressed and manifested.
The old modes of rational, conditioned thinking cannot bring us to a rejuvenated state of joy and rapture. Through focalizing and other similar technologies, we gain deeper access to that fundamental quality of nature we call consciousness—and enjoy its innate ability to connect us with unseen realms of connectivity that lie “outside the box” of binary thinking.
Energy Surfing—the Millennial Way
I have often used the term “energy surfing” to describe an expanded mode of being-ness that keeps us “outside the box” of conditioned thinking. Coincidentally, the word “surfing” is one frequently associated with the newer generation. Surfing on ocean waves is still quite popular with young people, and it requires physical flexibility. Like riding a bicycle, it’s good to start young and never stop. Surfing is all about connectivity: continually rediscovering the heart of the wave.
“Surfing the internet” is a phrase closely associated with the emerging generation as well. Again, it suggests flexibility and connectivity—to flow freely and intuitively from one link to the next, ending up in a place you have never been before.
We can learn a lot by working with millennials. Starting out in an environment of unprecedented change and flux, they find dangers at every turn. They do not have the option of falling asleep spiritually, or becoming complacent and rigid. To keep at the top of their game, they have to open up to new sources of creative energy, and much of this is accomplished simply by not getting trapped in old energies and ways of thinking.
Also popular with the “Y” generation is “couch surfing,” an art involving no money, but a hospitality trade among strangers. Right now there are 110 million “couch surfers” in 220,000 cities, supported by an online hosting organization that is popular with the twenty-somethings. Some millennials have an admirable sense of how to network on all levels, another “outside the box” way of creative living I call “dynamic linking.”
Another “Y” generation art form is “butt surfing.” Some urban youth use this phrase to describe the ability to just keep going—“by the seat of your pants”—without visible means of support. Countless millennials are unable to find jobs but still find ways to accomplish all they need to by thinking outside the box.
All four of these types of “surfing” require that we stay “edgy,” mentally independent, fluid, and responsive to rapid change. They require that we learn to keep moving and trust in the process. It is more than a matter of not losing the ability to step outside the box; it’s also about not losing the belief that we can.
We can learn a lot by working with millennials. Starting out in an environment of unprecedented change and flux, they find dangers at every turn. They do not have the option of falling asleep spiritually or becoming complacent and rigid. To keep at the top of their game, they have to open up to new sources of creative energy, and much of this is accomplished simply by not getting trapped in old energies and ways of thinking. As new energies become available, changing thinking and behavior becomes easier. We’ve all had attitude changes at one time or another, and we’ve all stumbled across new solutions. In this new playground, we want to take full, conscious responsibility for the ability to catch a new wave, to shift our hearts toward the future. We need to think fluidly, abundantly, selectively, and self-reliantly, but most of all we need to think “outside the box.” That is the best way to get “juiced” with the creative energies that are around us, to feel and become youthful, no matter our age.
Animals and plants in captivity rarely are as large as those in the wild, which have more room to grow. A flowerpot is a good place to plant an acorn, but a bad place to grow it into a tree. If any of us were that acorn, we’d want the whole earth under our roots.
The choice to stay or move on is ours. If we have a choice between being a warm body for someone’s head count, and being a dynamic and vibrant resource for our own evolution or for that of many people, we tend to choose the direction our hearts and feet tell us to move in.
Many in the “Y” generation are still not completely aware of their potential, either individually or collectively. Some are filled with doubt. In order to develop the strengths and skills that will enable them to achieve what they must, they will need the acknowledgment and support of previous generations. By holding clear intentions and directing their energies toward a sustainable future based on their own vision of what this might include, the youth of this emerging generation can avoid becoming distracted by the cascade of stimuli around them. We owe it to ourselves to help the “Y” generation become leaders of the future, without getting in their way. Perhaps they will help us, as their elders, to remember to enjoy life as energy surfers and not get trapped in a box of our own uniformity.
- Benckendorff, P., Moscardo, G., & Pendergast, D. (2010, March 3). Tourism and Generation Y. Cambridge, MA: CAB International.
- How couchsurfing works. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.couchsurfing.com/about/how-it-works
- Machado, A. (2014, June 18). How millenials are changing travel. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/06/how-millennials-are-changing-international-travel/373007
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