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 […]

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

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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 […]

Put “Reality” Aside. Children Need You to Dream With Them and Dance In Their Wild World.

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Put “Reality” Aside. Children Need You to Dream With Them and Dance In Their Wild World.

“The magic, the wonder, the mystery and the innocence of a child’s heart are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world.” ~ Michael Jackson In one of my Remembering to Play playshops a father shared that his young son expressed interest in one day becoming an astronaut. “How did you respond?” I asked. The father replied, “By saying, ‘how are you going to do that?’” It wasn’t just about the words the father chose but the doubt and concern he reenacted in his tone, a tone his son would have felt. It’s very tempting and easy to jump to the How. For the inhibited, rational adult, forgetful of the child within, the logistics of the dream are far more alluring than the dream […]

Much More Than Things, It’s YOU Children Want ~ Playing With Simple Moments of Joy and Connection

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Much More Than Things, It’s YOU Children Want ~ Playing With Simple Moments of Joy and Connection

I had the fortune to wander through a forest-nestled playground with a group of young children a few weeks ago. It was the beginning of Autumn here in Vancouver. The leaves were turning golden yellow and burnt orange, falling large and small from soaring maples. The idea was to take the kids to one of the most imaginative outdoor playgrounds in the city. Full of colorful slides, swings, bongo drums, climbing apparatuses, bouncy and spinny things, the playground did not fail to delight their curious eyes, exploring hands and climbing feet. After a while I suggested we change things up. There was another playground about a 10-minute (or 30-minute for little legs) walk away. I thought it would be nice to stroll along the winding […]

Pause For Love ~ Remember Who You Are, Why You Are Here and What Matters Most

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Pause For Love ~ Remember Who You Are, Why You Are Here and What Matters Most

I was sitting with my book designer in her apartment, struggling through what seemed like another litany of hurdles that go along with publishing. But that day there was a new challenge we’d yet to confront. A fuse blew, killing her internet connection. We needed that connection if we were to do the research and share material between our computers. So she phoned her landlord. “Hi Nigel. I’ve blown a fuse. Can you come replace it?” Nigel? Nigel Williams? It couldn’t be. Yet it was. I could hear his old, familiar, distinguishably sluggish Welsh accent moaning through the phone; my long lost uncle who I’d not seen in twenty years, someone who’s had as difficult a life as anyone I know, and someone my family […]

Gratitude is Not Just About Giving Thanks, but Ensuring Those Less Fortunate Are Not Forgotten

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Gratitude is Not Just About Giving Thanks, but Ensuring Those Less Fortunate Are Not Forgotten

Gratitude is a beautiful practice of acknowledging the goodness one receives. It moves us from simply taking and consuming into a felt-sense of appreciation for the love and abundance in our lives. Gratitude is not limited to time and space. We can give thanks to our parents who have passed on or the kind stranger who came to our aid twenty years ago. And we can give thanks to someone we have never met who lives across the world. In expressing gratitude, however, we are not just feeling appreciation; we are offering an acknowledgement that we see another and that they matter in this world. This is the deeper part of gratitude few speak of. I was walking by a homeless woman who was collecting […]

The Adventure We Long For Lies in our Childlike Heart and in Feeling the Unexpected

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The Adventure We Long For Lies in our Childlike Heart and in Feeling the Unexpected

“Tiny humans see magic and possibility where big humans only see mess and responsibility. May we see the magic again through their eyes and rediscover all the possibilities life has to offer.” ~ L. R. Knost A child is excited to wake up in the morning. Open to surprise, she wanders through her home and yard drawn to the next thing capturing her attention. Maybe it’s the dog, or her new magnetic toy, or the bright golden dandelion blooming through the sea of green grass. Each moment is filled with wonder for this young one, a bubbling awe leading her from one fascination to the next. Each moment is an unfolding adventure. As people depart the wonders of childhood for the predictabilities of life, however, […]

A Complaint is an Unspoken Request ~ Practical Keys to Asking for What You Want

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A Complaint is an Unspoken Request ~ Practical Keys to Asking for What You Want

A woman complained for years that her husband did not give her an anniversary card. One day a friend inquired if she had ever asked for one, and she said no. And so the woman mustered up the will to ask and from that point onwards her husband always gave her an anniversary card. A simple story, a true one, and one full of meaning. If only we’d just ask! A complaint is an unspoken request. Otherwise said, when we don’t ask for what we want we tend to complain about our needs not getting met. Given how much humans love to complain, we can safely say that asking for what we want is not easy. And why should it be? It’s vulnerable to put […]

Children Hear “No” a Lot! So How About Giving Them a “Yes Day”?!

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Children Hear “No” a Lot! So How About Giving Them a “Yes Day”?!

“The moment I decided to follow instead of lead, I discovered the joys of becoming part of a small child’s world.” ~ Janet Gonzalez-Mena   A friend of mine parents with a playful touch, and she does so, in part, by offering her kids a Yes Day! Read below and watch above for the details. This may inspire you to say No a little less and Yes a whole lot more! Here are the wise words of Juliette Woods: Today at our house was “Yes Day!” It’s a day once a year when I say Yes to everything my children ask for. (There are a few ground rules around legality, safety, cost, etc.) They get my full attention, there is always laughter and play, and extra snuggles; […]

The Disease of Being Right

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The Disease of Being Right

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” ~ Rumi It’s well known that when children are abused, emotionally or physically, often, if not usually, they believe it’s their fault. They did something wrong. This was true for me. I took to heart the various abuses inflicted on me when young. It was if a sword was pushed deep into my heart. The deepest wound is to the human heart, a wound that perhaps can never fully heal. It was not just that I believed I did something wrong, but more so, I believed that I was inherently wrong. There is a distinction here, an important one. We are not human doings, after all, but human beings, deeply […]