Michael Mendizza

Writer, Filmmaker

Touch Is Where We Meet


Bonding-Attunement, Parenting

We don’t need to go to an ashram to become enlightened. Experience resonates throughout the brain and body like solar winds shimmer in the northern sky. Watching and feeling Carly Elizabeth unfold each day is like that; brilliant, exponential, utterly appropriate, perfectly age and stage appropriate, never the same, not even for a second. What a miracle. You and I are that too if we are sensitive enough and quiet enough to notice. Carly is a good teacher whenn it comes to sensitive, quiet attention. As good as it gets.

Can you believe it? Eleven months young, wanting to touch, explore and experience – everything. The key to her unfolding light (and yours and mine) remains. Empathic appreciation, caring and profound respect for what my dear friend and mentor Joseph Chilton Pearce called evolution’s end, reaching for the stars, the very tip of billions of years of evolving complexity. How far will she reach? How broad and deep will her understanding and compassion be? What undreamed of possibilities will she uncover, savor and develop? Or will fear, what others think, tether her to a conformist post, repeating the same old, again and again?

Like an Olympic gymnast, her eyes on the gold, walking upright is the goal de jure. Flipping over and crawling was the last big breakthrough. Now, for several months Carly has been crawling, exploring cupboards, opening and closing bottle tops, drawers, jars, putting things in and out. A master of our wooden staircase she stands in the middle of the room, arms outreached, balancing, then one step after another. Seven steps is the best so far. My eyes are as big as hers. I am constantly amazed at her effortless drive, attention, intelligence and resolve. By effortless I don’t mean without effort. I mean that Carly’s expansive resolve is without inner conflict. There is the concentrated effort and learning of complete attention and there is the stress of moving forward with the breaks on. They are very different.

It is difficult for the adulterated adult mind to experience directly without abstract concepts imposing between sensation and action. One of the nearly infinite gifts that true innocence offers, and Carly is that gift, is opening a window in the adult mind to the wonder of quiet direct seeing, listening and action. Attunement demands that we experience and relate to the child as they are rather than how we want, need or expect them to be. In this way being with Carly is a meditation. One becomes still, quiet, words and the thoughts words cast become transparent, whispers instead of freight trains roaring. The shared meaning of this experience and the next becomes obvious, clear. Appropriate action flows like Fred Astaire dancing with Ginger Rogers. Carly trusts this quiet but very active attunement. The foundation of our relationships is built on trust and the play this trust invites.

Touch is where we meet and I touch Carly Elizabeth every chance I get. I rub her feet, play and sing Itsy Bitsy Spider with my fingers on her tummy, hold her close when we walk. Friend and colleague for over twenty years, James W. Prescott, PhD impressed in all our conversations, and strongly, the importance of affectionate touch and movement. ‘Pleasure is the glue that binds human relationships,’ he says. It is the absence of safe, playful touch (sensory deprivation) that leads to addiction and pathological violence. Swinging, rolling on the ground, rocking as she drifts off to sleep; today I placed Carly on a big pillow and pulled it like a spinning magic carpet on the living room floor, she laughing with delight. Touch, movement and quiet but dynamic attunement is where we meet.

I’m in no hurry for words and Carly Elizabeth will be walking when it is the perfect time for her, not me or the neighbor next door. In a very short month Carly will be one year-young. It is a miracle. We have learned so much together. I can’t believe it has been almost a year and we have only just begun.

Michael Mendizza