From Caterpillar to Butterfly: Quarantine is Humanity’s Necessary Metamorphic Time in the Chrysalis 

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From Caterpillar to Butterfly: Quarantine is Humanity’s Necessary Metamorphic Time in the Chrysalis 

Use this time of quarantine wisely. It’s not a time to push away the silence and pine for the “good old days”; rather, it’s a unique opportunity for self- and world-reflection. This is not a time to wish us quickly back to the comforts and familiarities of “normal”, to the life of the caterpillar; rather, it’s an essential right of passage, a metamorphic period where “normal” must dissolve into the butterfly. The metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly is a widely-held representation of the stages of transformation that no human being can avoid, try as they might; a transformative period we are now in the thrust of. The stages are, in essence: 1) Leaving the known and comfortable; 2) Incubation and dissolution of self; 3) Emergence […]

Healing and Self-Love: The Courage to No Longer Diminish the Truth of Our Childhood Adversity

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Healing and Self-Love: The Courage to No Longer Diminish the Truth of Our Childhood Adversity

Listed at the bottom are 25 examples of adverse experiences you may have diminished in order to cope and survive. There’s a saying: “Love is a place we go when we no longer wish to hide.” The same is true with healing. Because healing is seeing and feeling something for what it is, without diminishment, which is an act of self-love.  The response to my article COVID-19: A Call to Wake from the Perennial Dream of “Normal” has been overwhelmingly positive to say the least. So struck by the emotional response, I feel the need to add the following information as an adjunct.   Healing occurs when we no longer diminish our childhood adversity—both what happened (verbal and physical abuse, for example) and what didn’t […]

COVID-19: A Call to Wake from the Perennial Dream of “Normal”

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COVID-19: A Call to Wake from the Perennial Dream of “Normal”

When the world pushes you to your knees you are in the perfect position to pray.   ~ Jalaluddin Rumi    In times like this, with the world besieged by outright panic and high levels of uncertainty, the words of ancient wisdom keepers, such as Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi, resonate loudest. Now is a good time to take in the sages whose words have so often fallen on deaf ears. Indeed, with growing fear and a collapse of global infrastructure—sporting events, conferences, schools, businesses, etc.—collectively, we are being brought to our knees. The slowing and stoppages bestow a rare opportunity to see/consider something we cannot when lost in the busyness of everyday living; when upright in our usual stance. We are being forced to uncover […]

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 […]

The Co-Arising of Play and Grief: How Empowered Choices Draw Out the Pains of Childhood

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The Co-Arising of Play and Grief: How Empowered Choices Draw Out the Pains of Childhood

It’s been said, and it’s certainly been true in my experience, that if you laugh long enough you’ll cry, and if you cry long enough you’ll laugh. Two sides of the same coin, these emotions are closely entangled. As participants connect to the joys of play in my playshops, it’s common for them to feel the stirrings of grief rising within. With each moment of exuberance and freedom reclaiming its rightful place in their body, it becomes harder to deny the despair from having lost their innocence decades ago; from forgoing beauty and wonderment to survive a challenging or unbearable childhood. Indeed, for many who delve deep into the wild fields of childlikeness, grief co-arises with newfound playfulness. Play draws it out from its sleepy […]

Hidden Treasure

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Hidden Treasure

I turned my back on him, the younger part of me. There was no choice. Alone, unable to hold and afraid to feel the magnitude of what occurred, knowing, at some deep, subterranean level, if I could just keep it, him, at bay, locked in his room, I could stay strong and rise above, escape the overwhelm, weakness, the unbearable aloneness. I could move away, far away, fast forward into life, chasing success after success. What seemed so important. Yet, after many climbs to high mountain tops, the view, that oh-so-dear rush, lost its charm. Truthfully, it never felt quite enough. Nothing felt enough. Something was always missing. Little, if anything, touched that old, desolate part of me still hiding from, reaching for me. My […]

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 […]

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 […]

You Are Not Broken. There is Good Reason You Feel the Way You Do.

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You Are Not Broken. There is Good Reason You Feel the Way You Do.

A proud, successful man says, “My father was tough on me and I’m glad, because I wouldn’t be the man I am  without it.” A humble, wise man says, “My father was tough on me. I realize now how  emotionally absent he was and that’s why I am  a ‘success’ today.” You begin walking the healing path because you are tired of living, being a certain way; tired of feeling sad, empty, angry, lost, confused, isolated, afraid. You just want things to be different. You want to feel happier, more productive, more at peace in your heart.  A counselling client of mine once said to me, “I just want to get past being so accommodating all the time.” She spoke with a tone of judgment—self-judgement. […]