Mon, 03/30/2015 - 13:11
Carly Elizabeth is eight months young and doing exactly what she is destined to do, learning explosively every moment. This month has been one breakthrough after another. Tossing one hip over the other. Rolling onto her tummy. That was big. Then, pushing with her arms backwards to sit upright. From there it was getting her knees under, butt up. Finally she pushed one arm out and then the opposite knee, and she was off. ‘Huston, we are in orbit.’ Life changing.
There is no attention deficit here. Carly is moving, touching, reaching every second. Ops! Watch the plant, the kitty, no, the banana. That was only two weeks ago. What was so difficult and frustrating is now routine. Carly practices her moves like Ben Hogan hit golf balls or Michael Jordan shot hoops, just to see what they could do. Self-imposed conflict and resistance seems curiously absent. There she goes again. Today she is exploring ‘up,’ reaching up, standing up, even climbing up. Just a moment ago she pulled herself up on the leg of a white wooden stool, stood there, waited for our attention and giggled. I know this is no big deal but somehow it all seems miraculous. How many billion years? From bacteria to one of those transparent jellyfish like creatures in the primal oceans, to plants, reptiles, furry mammals, on and on to you and me and now Carly Elizabeth. And all of this without texting or Instagram, without words, verbal concepts, comparisons, judgments, grades, shame and trophies. A miracle indeed!
Fri, 03/20/2015 - 13:14
The Challenge and Responsibility We Call Parenting
The miracle we are is a constantly changing interplay, a constellation or radiant galaxy of trillions of independent but interdependent cells relating, communicating and cooperating. No thing is ever the same, not for a blink. As we now know there is no such ‘thing,’ as an atom, only movement. We are that, only movement.
We honor that impermanence, that we are a river moving or we misconceive. We create an abstract, somehow fixed notion that we are static, a me, mostly as a defensive strategy to avoid anticipated and self-projected fear.
Fri, 03/13/2015 - 17:16
It must have been in the mid 1970’s, sitting at the counter of the local health food store a drop dead gorgeous young woman pulled up. I commented on how beautiful she is. This turned the conversation. ‘Life is all about attention,’ she said. Now, that’s a Wow insight! In 2004 biologist Rupert Sheldrake published stunning research on the feeling of being watched. You know, turning your head at the red light and the person in the next car is looking right at you - attention. I was about fifteen feet away. A mother was looking after her two-year-old on the grass, a puppy resting near. I made no physical gesture. The moment my attention landed on the puppy, the tail began wagging, head up, ready to play. Fifteen feet is a long way. It was attention.
Mon, 03/02/2015 - 11:20
Carly Elizabeth is seven months young today, just this week beginning to pre-crawl. I wish I could be so attentive, persistent, focused, so sensitive and aware of everything instead of being preoccupied with all my stuff. Carly craves engagement and it is truly one of the most challenging tasks as a parent to keep up, to stay in the present moment, to share this experience together right now. Oh, how easy it is to give that demand for complete engagement over to some mechanical or technological thing, but at what price?
Tue, 02/17/2015 - 11:57
Our lives are a series of little miracles. In 2000 my life was unraveling, exploding really, as if a cherry bomb went off in a house of cards. The phone rang and my life changed, at least a little. A colleague had given up on several ‘do good’ organizations and landed with a man who discovered a compassionate way to listen and communicate that puts the brakes on violence. A few weeks later I packed up my crew and broadcast cameras and spent the weekend in San Francisco recording what became the Center for Nonviolent Communications’ core curriculum, at least on video. You know the name. Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD., cashed in his chips last week leaving behind a world one step closer to peace, kindness and what Marshall affectionately called ‘natural giving.’ Marshall came to my room one evening and we taped a personal interview.
Tue, 02/10/2015 - 15:09
One of my personal heroes is Marilyn Milos, founder of NOCIRC, http://nocirc.org. Her story of personal activism is exemplar; a model for anyone seized by a passionate insight that something is wrong and must be corrected. As a nurse training to become a midwife she witnessed her first circumcision.
Wed, 01/28/2015 - 20:40
I can’t believe it! No, it can’t be true. Impossible! It must be a mistake. Indeed, Carly Elizabeth and I (and of course Z) are six months young today.
What began as a tender ‘first, do no harm’ obsession deepened and expanded into a radiant love affair, a dance of infinitely subtle feelings, gestures, an expressive ebb and flow of shared meaning marked by a palpable urge to evoke safety, trust, happiness and wonder, anticipating what delicious experience will happen next. Every movement she makes is unmistakably intelligent. Not the limited, narrow intelligence we call intellect, rather a keen sense of relationship.
Mon, 01/19/2015 - 16:36
Take it for a test drive and let me know what you think.
With a warm heart,
Fri, 01/09/2015 - 16:16
John Bowlby coined the term ‘attachment’ for a healthy mother-infant-father relationship and was plummeted by his peers for doing so. Marshal Klaus, MD., helped popularized the term ‘bonding’ to describe the precious cascade of discovery-contact-response encounters shared by newborn and mother during their first moments and hours after birth. Bowlby was influenced by infants who had missed or were deprived normal mothering , those in intuitions and orphanages. In these infants something was broken, detached. Klaus observed what may be called attached mother-infant relationships as they discover, make contact and respond in completely new ways, postnatal, coming together, forming new patterns. Each term ‘attachment’ and ‘bonding’ were and are appropriate given the context. Both terms break down and lose some of their meaning however, when applied to the larger, ever-changing reciprocal dynamic we call childhood and parenting. Attunement may be more precise when describing this overarching movement.
Fri, 01/09/2015 - 12:37
Carly and I (and of course Z, mother and wife) landed in a hip, crowded and loud bistro in Laguna Beach the day after Christmas along with my brother Mark. The waitress removed one of the chairs and slipped in a wooded highchair. In three days Carly Elizabeth will be five months young. As the early morning sun danced across the hotel sheets Carly was balancing, arms stretched, almost sitting up by herself, but not quite. Even so, the wooden highchair was too low and too far away. I pushed a dish aside and sat Carly on the table with my arm around her.