When Children Believe “I Am Wrong”: The Impact Developmental Trauma Has on Belief Systems and Identity

1 Comment
When Children Believe “I Am Wrong”: The Impact Developmental Trauma Has on Belief Systems and Identity

“In the past decade, mental health visits to the emergency room have jumped 66 per cent, and hospitalizations for conditions such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders are up 55 per cent. Meanwhile, the waits for psychological and psychiatric care are months and even years…. According to the new report, one in three adults have suffered from physical or sexual abuse before the age of 16. Two-thirds of them never told anyone.” ~ Andre Picard, The Globe and Mail, September 4, 2018  “Childhood trauma leaves scars that are genetic, not just emotional, study affirms… Neglect, abuse, violence and trauma endured early in life can ripple directly into a child’s molecular structure and distort their DNA, according to a new study this week from the University […]

Resting in Connection ~ Slowing Down Enough to Heal and Form Secure Attachments

0 Comments
Resting in Connection ~ Slowing Down Enough to Heal and Form Secure Attachments

Healthy relationships require us to rest in connection. In resting we come home to ourselves and into the arms of another. We soften enough to open our hearts and trust and receive the love we long for. This resting state is experienced to the extent that our nervous system allows for it. Our parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for calming) must be engaged and our sympathetic system (responsible for arousal and mobility) must be disengaged enough to allow for what Peter Levine calls “homeostasis” or “relaxed alertness”. In other words, resting in connection depends on there being a “smooth back-and-forth shifting between moderate levels … of (nervous system) activity”, or a “flexible seesawing” between parasympathetic and sympathetic systems, which enables us to be balanced, centered and […]

“It’s okay.” “I’m with you.” “It’ll all be fine.” ~ Why Children Need to Hear These Words More Than You May Know

6 Comments
“It’s okay.” “I’m with you.” “It’ll all be fine.” ~ Why Children Need to Hear These Words More Than You May Know

“New research at Stanford University encouraged middle school teachers to take on an ‘empathetic mindset’ when students were being disciplined. The study found that the number of pupils who were suspended across the academic year halved, from 9.6% to 4.8%.” ~ Study: Focus on Empathy, Not Punishment, Improves Discipline We all know how well children saturate themselves in the present moment. Lost in doodling, leaves, bugs and clouds, the present moment wraps itself around young ones like a warm, secure blanket. Here children enter a deep state of relaxation where they trust all is good in life. One reason children rest so well in presence is because they rest well in their heart. The heart dwells in what I call the “zero point”: The child […]

From Prince to King: To Graduate and Welcome a Queen, the Old Contract—the Need for Mother’s Love—Must End

0 Comments
From Prince to King: To Graduate and Welcome a Queen, the Old Contract—the Need for Mother’s Love—Must End

“Much male fear of feminism is the fear that, in becoming whole human beings, women will cease to mother men, to provide the breast, the lullaby, the continuous attention associated by the infant with the mother. Much male fear of feminism is infantilism—the longing to remain a mother’s son, to possess a woman purely for him.” ~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets and Silence For the male to graduate from Prince to King he must forgo his dire need for his mother’s love. So long as the old contract stands—the insidious, unconscious and fear-based agreement between he and his mother—he cannot fully enter the heart of his waiting Queen. His mother was once a God to him, an ardent provider of love. She was love, and when that love […]

Connection Precedes Learning and Self-regulation ~ Why Relationships are Foundational in Education and Life

2 Comments
Connection Precedes Learning and Self-regulation ~ Why Relationships are Foundational in Education and Life

Note to the reader: If you have already read my previous articles on connection and the right brain, you may wish to skip further down to the section on co-regulation. Connection precedes learning How often and in how many ways do we make learning far more important than connection? The school system has been designed to make learning paramount and so often at the cost of the core biological need to bond. This breaks the hearts of so many teachers I present to, leaving them in tears, angry, frustrated. They dearly want to connect with their students, but find it extremely difficult given the expectations of the institution and classroom size. They dearly want to listen to and connect to their own hearts, and do […]

Maybe It’s Not Meant to Be Solved ~ Surrendering to the Heartbreak of Not Having the Answer

0 Comments
Maybe It’s Not Meant to Be Solved ~ Surrendering to the Heartbreak of Not Having the Answer

“The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.” ~ Frank Herbert “If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders.” ~ Andrew Harvey Maybe the problems we face are not meant to, nor can be solved. Our determined beliefs tell us otherwise. We can solve our flat tire and painstakingly slow computer, and we are fortunate to have our broken leg fixed at the hospital. These are relatively simple issues to deal with. But the same linear, quick-fix mindset from which we approach these human dilemmas […]

Nothing in Nature is Linear, Yet We Push and “Ready” Children Along Straight Pathways

0 Comments
Nothing in Nature is Linear, Yet We Push and “Ready” Children Along Straight Pathways

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ~ Albert Einstein “(A) study, titled ‘Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?,’ compared kindergarten teachers’ attitudes nationwide in 1998 and 2010 and found that the percentage of teachers expecting children to know how to read by the end of the year had risen from 30 to 80 percent. The researchers also reported more time spent with workbooks and worksheets, and less time devoted to music and art.” ~ The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids | Erika Christakis, The Atlantic “In the 1970s, the German government sponsored a large-scale comparison in which the graduates of 50 play-based kindergartens were compared, over time, with the graduates of 50 academic direct-instruction-based kindergartens. Despite the initial academic gains […]

In Judgment We Find Safety. It’s Where We Get to Keep Hiding.

0 Comments
In Judgment We Find Safety. It’s Where We Get to Keep Hiding.

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~ Wayne Dyer In judgement we find safety. If I can condemn that person in some way, I get to continue hiding. By making someone wrong, I get to keep protecting myself in “right”. In condemning life as “unfair”, I don’t have to ever start living. By judging someone’s artistic expression, I get to continue keeping my inner artist in check. By judging someone’s sorrow, I don’t ever have to feel my own. In judging, I get to keep scapegoating others for the anger and shame held in my self-judgment. Those around me become my screen, my vision of myself. I don’t see them as they are; I see them as I am. […]

We Heal Not To Continue Healing, But To Live

2 Comments
We Heal Not To Continue Healing, But To Live

There comes a point along the healing journey when we reach a threshold. We know, intuitively, that it’s time—time to translate all the wisdom we have gathered and gifts awakened into art, into service; time to make courageous changes, to stop searching and begin planting roots for living. It’s time to make ourselves much more available to life, to those who need us. For those who’ve been staunchly committed to their healing journey for years, this can feel incredibly daunting. A great deal of time and energy has been given to turning inwards toward pains and struggles, to giving their fullest attention to themselves. But to now suddenly land somewhere and turn outwards, to commit to someone or something new, to step into the vast […]

Grieving — A Return to Wildness

0 Comments
Grieving — A Return to Wildness

Grieving is an act of wildness. For a short or long period of time we allow ourselves to be raw, uncontrolled, like the undomesticated nature of life itself. Deeply they are intertwined—grieving and life—one feeding the other. The wildness of grieving opens us to the wildness of life. Something takes hold. A torrent of unexpected sorrow, the urge to scream, the primal instinct to pound the floor, to wail to the stars, to dance, to move as something mysterious and ancient shakes us loose. Like the screaming raven, torrential storms and crashing seas, we too become untamed. Our intimacy with the rigid, fearful, overwhelmed, wounded parts of ourselves, and the world, takes us there, an intimacy with that which aches to be felt and set […]