Celebrated on September 29, Michaelmas is the holy day in which Archangel Michael is revered in the Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions. Saint Michael, as he is often called, is considered the highest of all the archangels and is usually depicted carrying a golden sword in his hand. Michael and his sword represent courage, strength, protection, justice and truth, especially in times of darkness.
I Waldorf schools throughout the world, Michaelmas is a celebrated festival honoring Saint Michael as well as the Fall Equinox. Teachers, children and parents gather to share in the victorious defeat of a fearsome dragon, sing songs, and feast together on the bounty of summer’s harvest. Oftentimes the story of Saint George and the Dragon is acted out in a play; in many versions of this legend Archangel Michael offers his gifts of strength and courage to Saint George during battle.
Brave, low voices rhythmically chant:
The dragon, representing the dark, fearsome and untamed aspects of ourselves, is conquered thus saving innocent lives – and perhaps freeing a princess as well – symbolizing our own innocence and nobility.
As we enter fall, darkness slowly returns to our lives as our nights stretch to outweigh our days. This fall, with several wars raging, the economy plunging, systems crumbling and the energies of old patterns dying within and around us, we are likely noticing elevated levels of fear. For some, we are in the midst of many unplanned and frightening changes. Whether fall, fear or faith prompt you, remember you can always call upon Archangel Michael for his Light. You can sink into an intentional meditation (like the Meditation Transcript offered by Doreen Virtue), you can create an alter in honor of fall and/or Archangel Michael, or perhaps you offer him a sincere song, letting him know your willingness and desire for support through challenging times.
Allow yourself to sing with an open heart on behalf of yourself, your community, country or even the whole planet:
Children are both our students and our teachers. For those of us who are parents, those lines can be blurred and crossed on a daily basis.
When we became parents, we knew we wouldn't be perfect, but we certainly didn't think we'd "mess up" in so many ways, did we? Likely, most of us went out of our way to read the latest parenting books, connect with "Mom" (or "Dad") groups and find resources that supported our parental values. Our intentions were good and we were focused. At a minimum, we surely knew what we weren'tgoing to do, and that was probably everything that our own parents did do!
Then baby came, began growing ever-so-fast and real life started to happen. Is he ever going to sleep through the night? I can't believe I just yelled at her! They want to do WHAT? What the heck did Dr. Sears know about MY child anyway?! Hmmm... maybe a boarding school IS in our budget!
Whether we are at the wee stages of wobbling toddlers or are trying to keep enough groceries in our fridge to feed that overgrown teenager, we have already learned that our off-spring not only have a mind of their own, but annoying habits that reek of our own dirty laundry! So what can parents to do to guide their children at this bump in the road?
For starters, it's an invaluable gift to hold space for and allow a child's "mind of their own" - as well as their spirits - to blossom. Imagine what you would have felt if your own parents had simply listened to and valued your perspective. What if they had really seen who you were, rather than spent so much energy trying to make you what you weren't? As parents, we can certainly "disagree" with our children - and it is our duty to set loving boundaries to protect them - but to truly see and honor our children for who they are is one of our most challenging and important tasks.
Children have two types of "bad habits" - the first they came in with, and the second is the stuff we've unconsciously handed down to them. The latter is usually what rubs us the wrong way the hardest.
To deal with - and integrate - our children's "faults" begin by seeing them as gifts instead. Perhaps your child is really hard on himself; Oh, he is a perfectionist and likes things to be done well.Maybe she is spacey and can't seem to concentrate at the task at hand; Ah, she has a lively imagination and is still living in the wonders of childhood. If we look closely, we will see that everyone's darkness actually comes from their light! By accepting and loving the darkness, we illuminate it with light which allows it to shine anew. The easiest way to integrate the energies we see as negative is by first seeing them with a positive perspective. From there, we can assist our children in bringing out their gifts in more "acceptable" or "productive" (loving!) ways.
Now for the pesky bad habits that they've taken on from us! Hopefully, reading (and re-reading) the previous paragraph will help this area because the same approach applies. Loving our own darkness can actually be harder than loving someone else's - unless of course that someone else is the one we've raised and is mirroring back to us that really, really dark stuff!
It is common knowledge that children are little sponges and learn by what we do and not what we say. And, unfortunately, most of our own bad habits simply ooze out of us without our awareness. STOP YELLING!, we yell. Why are you so critical of yourself / your brother / others?, we criticize. Or we worry, My child is such a worrier, what should I do?
Once we clearly acknowledge our own issues manifesting through them, we can begin to heal ourselves and support our children. Since much of this stuff is deep-rooted and out of control, seeking professional help from a therapist, spiritual counselor, or other professional may be a great step toward releasing these patterns in ourselves. The key here is to be completely loving and gentle with ourselves as we face and clear our own issues. For our children, when we begin our personal journey toward loving self-care, we are modeling a new behavior for them to follow.
Another place we can make a difference is with clear communication. Verbally acknowledging these similar patterns can help your children understand and embrace their shortcomings. Age appropriate conversations about your common issues of perfectionism, negative self talk, or worrying can help create a bond between you and offer your child a new perspective.
Finally, if and when all else fails - or perhaps this will be the mark of success! - learn to laugh at you and your child's perceived shortcomings. After all, laughter is known to be the world's best medicine!
Our Children, by Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you, but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies, but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
But seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves also the bow that is stable.
In an action oriented society, we are often compelled to DO, DO, DO. We set goals, make to-do lists and create objectives for just about everything. (In metaphysical circles we set "intentions.") Most of us are in perpetual motion toward our future as we climb, achieve, accomplish, step forward and create the life we want. Our walls are lined with diplomas, awards and credentials validating our ability to do that which we have set out to do. And, to keep the motivation and momentum going, we have vision boards, manifesting groups, motivational CDs, how-to books and classes to support our intended successes.
Can you feel the anxiety creeping in as you were reading that first paragraph? (Or do you feel the excitement of an adrenaline rush?)
For a moment, stop and take a deep breath in and then release it with a great big sigh! Ah.... that's better.
Let's begin by looking at the basics of who you are and why you are here so we can put this energy of DO, DO, DO into perspective.
You are human-spiritual being who came to planet Earth to experience life. Sure, we all came for different reasons, but essentially we all came to experience life on Earth. As a human being, you are hard-wired for growth, you didn't need to "intend" or set a goal to physically grow up; it simply happened. And, of course, nourishment and support of your human body were required to consider this growing up a success. As a spiritual being, you are infinite and ever-expanding. Again, the "forward" momentum seems to be hard-wired. Thus, in both these realms, it makes sense that this desire to grow and achieve is completely natural and in alignment with who you are.
However, there is an underlying energy which we often forget. In our humanity, we are also mortal beings; our physical growth eventually stops, even appears to move backward, then we die. So, although it is natural to move forward, moving forward eventually leads to our human death. Spiritually, however, the infinite essence of ourselves is somewhat of a paradox. In reality there is no time or space, so the movement of "forward" or "expanding" (which imply a direction moving across time and/or space) doesn't actually exist either!
We have spent most of our lives dealing with our human selves, and as we become more conscious and connected to our spiritual selves, we are experiencing the discomfort of this paradox. Here we may find confusion reigning over both the body and the spirit. The awareness of our spiritual expansion fuels our inner drive to "move forward" and do that which our souls came to do. Unfortunately, frustration can couple with the confusion if we have no idea what that is. To make matters even more challenging, as the energy expands within us, our physical bodies are feeling so tired that we can't seem to get off our tails to do anything anyway!
Understanding what is happening is helpful, but doing - and even not doing - some basic things can make the journey into this next phase of awareness easier to "accomplish."
Earlier this year, when I offered Akashic Records readings at a Sacramento Healing Arts Festival, nearly every client asked me, “What should I be doing with my life? What is my soul’s purpose?” At a time when so many people are spiritually waking up, many of us are finding an inner drive to know more about what we “should” be doing as well as a desire to be on our “path.” Though my specific insights were as unique as the person asking the question, I definitely see a collective, common answer for all of us.
When I first began working in the Akashic Records, I, too, would ask questions with the wordshould in it. Within no time, I learned that “SHould” is simply could with “SHame” attached to it. We ask "should” questions because we want to be doing the “right” thing, not only because we are noble, willing people, but because we somehow believe that if we did what we should be doing, then we would have joyful (i.e. “rewarding”) lives for doing so. These beliefs, however, can be rooted in duality (good/bad, right/wrong), which actually keep us bound to the energy of self-judgment and shame, which is obviously not a very joyful foundation.
If we release the concept of should and recognize the neutrality of could, we can begin to free ourselves from the shame game. Imagine releasing your concerns over not doing the “right” thing or being on your “right” path because you allow yourself to stop feeling wrong. Trusting you are always on your “right” path because it is “right” where you are can bring a sigh of relief to your heart and mind. When we accept what is, as it is now – without shame, judgment or worry about what isn’t – we more easily call forth joy, compassion and acceptance from and for ourselves and others.
Our lives are full of possibilities!... or shall I say, coulds. There is no rule anywhere (except in our minds) that we should do anything at all. Within all of these possibilities, however, we could choose to live in joy. Joy resonates at “high frequencies” which feels good to our bodies and souls. Perhaps this is what we yearn for when we seek our “Highest Good,” or perhaps we want to feel a sense of belonging or purpose.
I will not argue that contribution and service aren’t satisfying and helpful virtues. Indeed, these are quite admirable aspects of our life experience. I will point out, however, that both the need for belonging and fulfilling a purpose are fear and ego-driven. Our personalities want to feel part of something greater and grander than ourselves because we don’t feel adequately great or grand within ourselves.
The idea that we don’t have a “Soul’s Purpose” actually scares many of us. We base our sense of self worth on these deeply rooted beliefs. Not only does the idea of purpose imply that we should be “doing” something, conversely it implies that if we don’t fulfill it, we are somehow not “doing” our part (or are possibly on the “wrong” path)! Thus, we must not be worthy!
You ARE the part – the purpose – and you are actually the path! Your soul is worthy and whole in this very moment; your human aspect is simply trying to re-member this Truth! Each of us could choose to re-member that wholeness with joy – or not – but I will say that joy not only feels good, it creates a clearer, more beautiful path to experience while on our journey.
The drive to unveil our purpose, then, is actually our desire to reveal our True Self – this is what is known as our Spiritual Awakening. Once we awaken to the Truth that we ARE worthy – simply by BEING – and accept it inwardly, we can more easily live outwardly in alignment with this Universal Truth.
Can you imagine a world where each of us behaves as if we are undeniably worthy just because we exist? From this basis, contribution and service become authentic, joyful expressions of our True Selves, rather than shoulds along a path that hopes to prove our worthiness to ourselves and others.
As you awaken, listen to your inner urge to find your heart’s desire, then reflect on the wise words of Ram Dass:
Sometimes we can confuse self care with selfishness. In the world's view, it is not always seen as a positive thing to focus on one's self. "It is better to give than to receive" seems to be so ingrained in our thought pattern, that if we do allow ourselves to receive, we can often feel guilty for doing so. In the least, we usually put a cap on our receiving and self care allowance.
When times are tough, one of the first things to get wiped off our budget and to-do list is self care."I don't have time for that right now!" or "I don't have any extra money to do things for myself," are common reactions when facing life's challenges.
Yet, taking time and care for ourselves during such challenges can not only make them seem less challenging, it can also help preserve our bodies, minds and spirits for a full and healthy life. And, if we choose, self care doesn't have to cost much time or money at all; it can simply become a way of life.
Unfortunately, many people are so disconnected from themselves that they have no idea of what they may want or need. Others seem to be hard-wired to only giving that receiving (even from themselves) is a foreign concept altogether. So how can one begin focusing on self care?
One of the most valuable concepts around basic self care has been offered through various 12 step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, which encourages us to "H.A.L.T." We often resort to self defeating behaviors (addictions, negative thinking, lethargy, and depression to name a few) when we either get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Thus, paying attention to these fundamental vulnerabilities is a great place to begin a journey into self care.
Try not to get too:
Basic self care can start with simply tuning into your body and emotions then finding ways to meet your own basic needs. This is far from selfish; self care refreshes and revitalizes you and allows you to be in a better space to interact with the world.
We are going through some intense shifts right now. All “hell” is “breaking loose” – all things that have caused us “hell” in the past are breaking loose from our systems and we feel completely overwhelmed and chaotic. But, remember, it is breaking loose! We don’t want this stuff any more anyway… oh, wait… or do we?
Our souls are evolving so quickly that the human ego is having a hard time adjusting and even letting go of the old patterns that are oh-so-familiar to us. Recognize that it is no small task adjusting to the newer realms that aren’t even physically manifest, but which have (and have always been) manifested in the larger, grander place that we “know” in our hearts and currently identify as the “newer” or “higher” realms. We are in BOTH (all) realms right now and it is quite confusing and, yes, even painful at times.
Who are we? We are beginning to forget the illusion that we created and don’t have a frame of reference on which to TRULY identify. Remember, the ego is all about IDENTITY – “me” – as well as fear. So as we start to loose our footing – our identity – it really scares the ego.
Be patient. This one is a “biggie” blasting away a lot of dense patterns. Remember, many of us are clearing so much for the masses and the masses are a huge energy field, which is why it can seem extra difficult a times (or even "unfair").
Additionally, we can feel like we are “loosing contact” with our “higher connections” (or guides) as we clear our patterns, but in reality they (we) are still “there” (here!). Can you find the strand of trust that runs through your core?
When we are caught in the middle of this shift it can be scary stuff, yet it is also very healing. We are getting so close to being “done”, but once in a while these energies are really hard to take.
If you find yourself scrambling as "all hell breaks loose" within and around you, try to remember some of these basic suggestions: Call a friend, contact a spiritual mentor or counselor (someone who really "gets" it), expect little or nothing from yourself, meditate and ask to FEEL your guides, cry, breathe, go out in nature for an hour or more, journal, get a massage, play with children, do something fun, cry some more, and if at all possible, tap into that trust and remember you are whole and holy and are grander than you can imagine!