Labor Day has a special meaning to me – very different than the reasons why they established this holiday. My reinterpretation of its meaning makes it the most personal, most precious, and most delightful of holidays.
As a mother, it is a day I celebrate the labor of childbirth – especially the arrival of my own children. Labor Day is the intersection point between expectations and anticipation and the arrival of what has been awaited so long. It is decisive closure of the preparation phase, and the beginning of a whole new trajectory, rather different than what seemed normal so recently.
Certainly, it is the initiation of a trajectory for the new baby, the fruition of propitious circumstances that set the tone for their entire life journey. Whatever is to come for them will carry the energy and flavor of their entry into the world.
That makes every Labor Day a launch day – deserving all the hoopla of a new sea-worthy ship being launched with a broken champagne bottle. For it is not just the child being launched into life, but so many of the hopes and dreams of his or her parents, of his or her family, of the larger community.
A Dedication to a World Where They can Thrive
We should each take a sacred vow at the birth of any child in our scope of associates (or attention) to assure their inchoate possibilities receive the best possible chance to flower. It carries the wish that the newborn individual will find a way to achieve a life well lived of their own one-of-a-kind making. And in the penumbra of that oath, let’s take a moment to wish that same auspicious outcome will be bolstered for myself.
Re-dedicate yourself to make the world a better place for their sake – not as a slogan, but as an “I can make it happen” commitment. Like the new baby, such efforts can be small, but they carry the power of earnest desire as well. Desire made tangible in a thousand small acts.
So, that makes Labor Day (and the date of birth) a day of resolve. It is undertaken on the actual date of birth. Then each subsequent birthday is an opportunity to re-commit that oath.
For the mother (and father), labor and delivery bring a very different center of gravity into their lives. No day that follows will be unaffected by the life of this child. It is equally true whether this baby is a first-born or a later-born child. Each adds a host of new dynamics to their shared life. Just as for the new baby, the trajectory ahead will be into uncharted territory.
In addition, that shift into motherhood or parenthood moves the ego further off of center stage. The future looks quite different from here. So, there will be very new dynamics ahead, along with all the challenges and rewards that come with it.
It is the unexpectedness that should be paid heed to, for these will bring black swans that mark the presence of new energies in play.
That matrix of novelty is especially true in these chaotic times (and I’m not talking politics, which is simply a reflection of the larger chaos). Black swans are evidence of the fresh energy of initiation.
As one of my mugs says, The spirit of improbable events walks the land. The Mug. Trust the black swans that come to you to be bearers of good news and beckoning possibilities. Mug – Black Swans are Everywhere.
It is that energy and mindset that I associate with Labor Day. It is why I rejoice at each birth or birthday. It is not about work or labor (economic activity), but a time to transcend the mundane of physical work.
In that spirit, I provide “The Hour of God” by Aurobindo, that I feel drawn to revisit from time to time. For too many reasons (that I cannot write here), I sense that we’re on the verge of The Hour of God.
The HOUR of GOD
There are moments when the Spirit moves among men and the breath of the Lord is abroad upon the waters of our being; there are others when it retires and men are left to act in the strength or the weakness of their own egoism. The first are periods when even a little effort produces great results and changes destiny; the second are spaces of time when much labor goes to the making of a little result. It is true that the latter may prepare the former, may be the little smoke of sacrifice going up to heaven which calls down the rain of God’s bounty.
Unhappy is the man or the nation which, when the divine moment arrives, is found sleeping or unprepared to use it, because the lamp has not been kept trimmed for the welcome and the ears are sealed to the call. But thrice woe to them who are strong and ready, yet waste the force or misuse the moment; for them is irreparable loss or a great destruction.
In the hour of God cleanse thy soul of all self-deceit and hypocrisy and vain self-flattering that thou mayst look straight into thy spirit and hear that which summons it. All insincerity of nature, once thy defense against the eye of the Master and the light of the ideal, becomes now a gap in thy armor and invites the blow. Even if thou conquer for the moment, it is the worse for thee, for the blow shall come afterwards and cast thee down in the midst of thy triumph. But being pure cast aside all fear; for the hour is often terrible, a fire and a whirlwind and a tempest; a treading of the winepress of the wrath of God; but he who can stand up in it on the truth of his purpose is he who shall stand; even though he fall, he shall rise again; even though he seems to pass on the wings of the wind, he shall return. Nor let worldly prudence whisper too closely in thy ear; for it is the hour of the unexpected.