How Culture Shapes The Human Brain

The power of Touch the Future’s Academy is its ability to create relationship. A dramatic illustration of this synergy is in the relationships between four interviews:

(New) Joseph Chilton Pearce on The Death of Religion and Rebirth of Spirit

(New) Darcia Narvaez, PhD on Neurobiology in the Development of Human Morality

(Now indexed w/tanscripts) James W. Prescott, PhD on Sensory Deprivation and Brain Development and

(Now indexed w/transcripts) Jean Liedloff of the Continuum Concept on her experiences with stone age tribes in the Amazon.

This constellation began with our discussion with Darcia Narvaez exploring her and neuro-scientist Allan Schore’s new book on the relationship of neuro science and morality, something James W. Prescott has been describing for years. What is morality? Our capacity to be kind to others. Indeed, this capacity is innate; however, like all capacities it must be developed and this cycles back to nurturing or its absence in early childhood with what we call nurturing directly impacting how the brain forms structurally and functionally.

Themes: 
culture
morality
sensory deprivation
brain development

A Few Ideas That May Help

A friend said she would like to share my ideas regarding children and family. This is really quite challenging. On the one hand the issues are so personal and so diverse. On the other hand, there are a few simple things that will guide anyone in the best possible way through the entire adventure.

  1. Celebrate parenting as developmental stage of expansion and growth for YOU

You will be challenged to discover new things about yourself in the same way your child is discovering who and what they are. Embrace this precious opportunity. Appreciate the value of being open and vulnerable. If you think you have all the answers, that the child should be this or that, at this age or that stage, you are not learning. You are repeating, not discovering, not expanding. Rediscover wonder and curiosity that not knowing everything invites. Greet each day with what some call ‘beginner’s mind.’

  1. Focus on your behavior instead of the child’s

Appreciate that your ‘behavior’ is the knife that sculpts your child’s destiny. For example, how you treat the people you care for, how gentle or rough you are packing or unpacking groceries, how sensitive and aware you are preparing meals, the tone of your voice, the quality of affection or violence in the way you touch anything, the weight of your heart - light or heavy, full of song and laughter or conflict and frustration, day in and day out, moment by moment. Treat you child as an honored guest, leading with sensitive care and respect, much more important than the Pope or President.

Celebrate Every Precious Day

Themes: 
celebrating

But We Forget...

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!

Themes: 
pleasure
brain development

More On The Only Force Powerful Enough

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.

Themes: 
unconditional love
safety
model imperative

Attention

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.

Themes: 
attention
parenting
para-normal experiences

The Only Power Strong Enough

 

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?

Themes: 
attachment
bonding
culture

Leaving The World A Better Place

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.

Themes: 
nonviolent communication

Marilyn Milos on Circumcision

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.

Themes: 
circumcision

What I Learned With Carly Elizabeth at Six Months

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.

Themes: 
parenting
ages and stages

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