“If I lose the pain, I’ll lose the love.” ~ The Double Bind Nature of Trauma Bonds

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“If I lose the pain, I’ll lose the love.” ~ The Double Bind Nature of Trauma Bonds

“People have two needs: Attachment and authenticity. When authenticity threatens attachment, attachment trumps authenticity.” ~ Dr. Gabor Mate The child who endures abuse from a parent is stuck in an impossible bind. If he pushes away, he loses the parent. If he doesn’t, he endures the abuse. Children generally choose attachment over authenticity. It is a biological imperative to do so that comes from many generations of living in tribal societies where our life depended on being in connection with our community; from being dependent on one another for survival. If that bond was to break and we were outcasted, abandoned, it could mean our life. Attachment is also biologically wired into us because we need our parents, especially our mother, for nurturing and survival. […]

Set Fixing and Solving Aside. Your Relationship Needs You to Only Listen and Empathize.

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Set Fixing and Solving Aside. Your Relationship Needs You to Only Listen and Empathize.

“The more you need people to agree with you, the less open you are to what they think, feel and believe. You cannot share with them because you are trying to change them, and they cannot share with you because you are not listening.”  ~ Gary Zukav The temptation is to come to solutions with your partner, to figure the problem out that’s causing anger or resentment between you. But what if you did something quite different? What if you put the need to fix or solve to the side and instead focused just on connecting? What would that look like? Sitting together, perhaps a candle lit, one of you shares how you are feeling. The other responds with listening and empathy, only. No defending, […]

The Safe, Inviting and Eloquent Language of “I Miss” to Bring Another into Your Heart

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The Safe, Inviting and Eloquent Language of “I Miss” to Bring Another into Your Heart

Language is powerful. One word can make or break a conversation. Yes, most of what we communicate lies in the unspoken, the space between the words or energy underlying them; but the words you choose have the power to bring someone closer to your heart or further away. Connection—the tube The heart of communication is connection. Consider connection to be like a tube running from my heart to yours. The wider the tube, the larger the connection; the more can be passed through, felt and experienced between us. That tube is never static—it’s always changing given how something is communicated and what is being communicated. The tube, or openness between two people, fluctuates moment-to-moment depending on the words chosen, one’s energy and body language—the three main aspects […]

A Love Whose Time Has Come ~ Healing the Disembodied Human and Our Ravaged Planet

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A Love Whose Time Has Come ~ Healing the Disembodied Human and Our Ravaged Planet

“A person suffers if he or she is constantly being forced into the statistical mentality and away from the road of feeling.“ ~ Robert Bly We are a disembodied species, deprived of the weighted feeling of being in touch with our senses, attuned to the murmurings of our heart, the pleasures, ecstatic and intimate, that go with rootedness. We have lost touch with the once innate feeling of connectivity to strangers, the delight in a butterfly, the awe when struck by the glowing moon’s presence. We have squandered the feeling worlds of imagination and creativity born in pause and even boredom.  And we’ve lost touch with the inborn capacity to feel profound sadness and anger, fear and pain, to be unbridled in our emotional expression, […]

12 Questions Kids Need and Long to Hear ~ The Consent of Inquiry and How it Cultivates Self-esteem, Trust and Respect

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12 Questions Kids Need and Long to Hear ~ The Consent of Inquiry and How it Cultivates Self-esteem, Trust and Respect

“Trust children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.” ~ John Holt 12 Questions (Scroll to the bottom for 6 follow-up questions) What do you want? What do you need? What do you feel / think? How do you feel (about that)? What does your heart / intuition / gut say? What feels right / true to you? What brings you joy? What’s your dream? What would feel like fun? What would you love to do? What matters to you? What do you hope for? Jack’s story “One major study of 700 preschool classrooms in 11 states found […]

To Welcome Someone into Our Heart, First We May Need to Learn to Push Others Away

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To Welcome Someone into Our Heart, First We May Need to Learn to Push Others Away

There is a great emphasis put on letting love in. “Open your heart” says the self-help teacher. “Give yourself to love” sings the romantic poet. They make it sound so easy! Yet, for the one who learnt that love is unsafe, the heart is quite guarded. Coiled around it, usually for decades, is protective barbed wire. The closer one gets to the heart, the closer one gets to the wound and the protective mechanisms keeping people away. For this wounded one (who makes up many, if not most, Euro-westerners), asserting boundaries may be the necessary first step. Before letting love in, the old truncated impulse to protect must be exercised. Completing survival responses A precursor to the vulnerability of receiving is so often the vulnerability […]

Sacrificing Authenticity for Attachment: The Adaptive Survival Responses of Children and Their Influence on Future Relationships

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Sacrificing Authenticity for Attachment: The Adaptive Survival Responses of Children and Their Influence on Future Relationships

“If our environment cannot support our gut feelings and our emotions, then the child, in order to ‘belong’ and ‘fit in’ will automatically, unwittingly and unconsciously, suppress their emotions and their connections to themselves, for the sake of staying connected to the nurturing environment, without which the child cannot survive. A lot of children are in this dilemma – ‘can I feel and express what I feel or do I have to suppress that in order to be acceptable, to be a good kid, to be a nice kid?’” ~ Dr. Gabor Mate As children, we learn to sacrifice authenticity for connection. Done mostly unconsciously, our body’s intelligence recognizes that if we are our full, vibrant self, we’ll lose the attachment with our parents. We […]

How Better Attunement to Children Co-arises with Empathy and Care for Mother Earth

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How Better Attunement to Children Co-arises with Empathy and Care for Mother Earth

As we better attune to the needs of children, we cannot help but feel the needs of Mother Earth more deeply. And vice versa. This ripening sensitivity reveals what indigenous people have known for millennia: that children, we, are not separate from our environment. For generations, however, this awareness, empathy and care has been marginal, at best, in western culture. We’ve lived and treated our environment, including its inhabitants, as distinct from our body. And historic attachment disruptions with children have co-existed as expressions of this fundamental disconnect from the land and its manifold creatures. Colonizing hearts, minds and lands While indigenous cultures have long placed the child at the centre of the circle around which the family and community extends, western culture has built […]

4 Reasons I Take Issue With Teaching Children Meditation in School

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4 Reasons I Take Issue With Teaching Children Meditation in School

I take issue with teaching children meditation in school, particularly when done without a wider view of the systemic causes for child dysregulation and a more thorough understanding of trauma. Yes, meditation has been proven to be effective with young ones. I know the research is there backing it up. But… Take a moment to consider the four points below, and ask yourself: What is the real issue at hand? What do children fundamentally need? And if we addressed the issues I lay out, while better meeting children’s core biological needs for love and safety, would we still need to teach meditation? Or wouldn’t the desired result of meditation—calm—arise more organically? 1. Anxious systems The problem is not the child, but rather the systems they are […]

From Being a Helper to Being of Service

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From Being a Helper to Being of Service

One who is of service knows something the helper does not. Well-intentioned, the helper climbs down into the well of suffering to join someone in their darkness. They try to help, and so often do, but in their helping get lost in and with the suffering other, mixing and mingling with their pain. And this is because, without knowing it, helpers often seek to help themselves, to heal their unresolved pain, through the suffering other. The greater the pain, the greater the impulse can be to “help”. I will lead you out of the well I myself am lost in. And so we join together in this old dance, not realizing that on some level I am asking you to help me as I am […]