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Adult self- help and New Age book sales yield millions of dollars of revenue each year. That means that more adults are hooking in, if you will, and seeking answers to life's deeper questions and spiritual issues. Many of these quests were nebulous or not encouraged in childhood coupled with the acceleration we are all facing and the coping tools we are all desirous of. What is extremely interesting, if not terribly disturbing, is that teens and younger siblings, who are most certainly searching out answers in their ever quickening hormonal growth spurts, have only a small fraction of available literature to choose from if he/she so chooses to investigate these probing questions.
To be really bold, and upon my relentless personal investigation, I found there to be no such (you won't believe this) designated New Age, Self-Help, or Spirituality shelf sections in the larger conglomerate bookstores. What is a steady heading are the shelf designations "Religion" and "Inspiration" with these "other" books set amongst them or placed in the general "non-fiction" area. Imagine that immersion into a multi- million if not billion dollar market in the adult publishing arena! And yes, I have called and written to the bookstore's administrations about this issue, to no response. yet. Forgive me, but I just have the burning need to wrap my head around the reason as to why there is a seeming hesitancy to develop this arena of literature for our young ones.
Franz Metcalf, the author of Budda In Your Backpack, Seastone Press 2003 defines spirituality and religion in this manner:
Religion is a multidimensional system of ritual, myth, doctrine, ethics, social and material forms, and sacred experience. There is no one "right" religion; instead there are literally thousands of systems through which people relate to the sacred, giving meaning and order to life.
Spirituality is the individual person's relationship with the sacred. It's an inner experience, so it can vary from person to person even more than religions differ from one to another, yet spirituality, too, must always grow from certain unchanging truths. Some people find their spirituality through traditional religion. Others experience it through nature, art, science, or love.
Take this internet test if you will:
Choose fave search engine and punch in these terms:
I found one research project at the University of Colorado and the rest
is lean and repetitive..
can email me the results of your search and comments and I will print
your comments in the next column! Just watch as your amazement swells
with the lack of truly inspirational materials we offer our children
to explore and create their own spiritual/inspirational belief systems.
50 pages of abstracts and I found a few online magazine that's cool
enough to ponder, 4 great hard copy magazines including one anti bimbo
and self body worth for girls (on what bookstand???) I better call Berkeley
fast! And 2 lists of books that were spiritual without touting any particular
religion. WHEW! Why aren't these magazine available to the public especially
the seriously cool and with attitude magazines?? I'm
What our children need are valid and well-explained choices, but maybe as parents we attempt, consciously and subconsciously to stay in the control seat. Maybe we are a tad afraid of what soul/spirit searching they will do. Are we the Orwellian Gattica thought police? The search for spirit conjures pictures of wacky California cults, the casting off of their given name with other group nicknames and visions of robes, poverty, and the breaking of all civil communications with the nest.
We nurture and give what we believe is unconditional love. We owe it to our offspring to remove the condemnation of their explorations into subject matter that leaves us unsure and in some cases, unglued. The need to break away will surely parallel with the hormonal flow of puberty and beyond, but when they pack their bags for college and move away, that may be the sure cut way to explore safely without the constant parental comments and warnings in most exploratory young MTV/Spring Break scenarios.
We tell our children to follow their dreams with the subliminal or not so hidden message of:
Just make sure you get high enough marks to get that BMW without worrying about taking out a bad credit loan and a high enough paying position so you can handle life out there in a very materialistic world.
Personal empowerment, community participation, and spiritual awareness** is a sideline, something to do in your "spare" time.
take a little parallel view of the Trumped up, "The Apprentice."
Acquisition, accomplishment and pleasing big daddy boss with some downright
carnivorous behavior was met with much complaint from some very Ivy
League business professors. Yes, the girls were the ones who
I was at a recent open house night at my son's high school and several parents were voicing their ideas about their academic wishes for their children. One parent told of her decision to remove their child from a very prestigious private girl's school in Los Angeles and did so only upon the promise that the child get all A's in the public school she was transferring her to. After the third "She/He better get high grades or I'll pull the plug on the... story, I sprung up with this comment: (and yes, I can defend myself quite well after all these years in the outer fringes of the work world)
posed this: If a child receives high marks and graduates with notable
honors arriving at an early age with real estate holdings and a very
lucrative business placement, does it matter whether he is involved
in his community or in some major way contributing directly to his fellow
consider that the trigger can't be pulled when your heart is fully open
and you are able to comprehend the mind's ability to offer a glimpse
the years of pain memory you will encounter on a daily basis. No eternal
sunshine here. And I didn't say "punishment." I did say memory
and conditional recall. I am reminded of a film by Victor Salva (1995)
called "Powder." It was the depiction of a teen with an extraordinary
ability (through some very extraordinary circumstances) to empath all
emotion and data and be a totally open conduit to others. Too painful
for eventual existence on this dog eat dog planet, one intense scene
takes place in a hunting community. He hands the limb of a wounded dying
deer to another, who through Powder's ability to be a direct empathic
conduit, feels the actual emotions and body failings of the animal as
they lay dying. Unless you are in the habit of reading poetry
That leaves us with the larger more daunting task of creating people who trust their own personal sense of judgment and caring because we have given these children the right tools and emotionally sane guidelines without the infliction of FEAR.
recall the sense of deep calm and wholeness without question, without
fear, the feeling I had in no uncertain terms when I was holding my
son's small clutched hand on the way to kindergarten. It was like a
Sunday afternoon, curled up with a great book at dusk, when there is
a sense of stilled perfection and safety on the planet, no matter where
you were, at the waters edge or in a 6th floor granite walkup. This
completeness and soul satiety was nothing of an intellectual creation,
but of an emotional one, as is the core of this type of fulfillment.
It is a spiritual recognition of the soul that we are all searching
for, and if it weren't obtained that way through hard contemplation,authenticity
of teaching, and sincere discipline, I would have charged it long ago
to my ascended masters card.
Michaels is a professional astrologer/counselor who lectures and facilitates
workshops in medical astrology, empowerment, and healing. She has been
a lifestyle consultant for many in the entertainment industry and is
also the founder and director of Luna Research Services,