Michael Mendizza

Writer, Filmmaker

What We Crave The Most


Parenting, Playful Advice

We try to avoid it but it happens anyway. I knew within a few hours that our colleague brought home more than sales leads from a recent trade show. She, a ‘wipe everything possible’ gal, was crawling with invisible micro-beasts and didn’t know it, one of more than 300 viruses that cause the common cold and flu. Falling to sleep I could only wonder how hard I would be hit.

Waking the next morning I got my answer; fever, chills, body aches, that familiar congestion in the chest soon to blossom into ‘the hack.’ Most painful was my need to reject Carly when she reached up. I tried to hide but she knows everything. Where could I go? Z and Carly seemed fine but I slept in the playroom anyway.

The next day Z felt a little achy but not bad and Carly still seemed to be fine. It wasn’t until the third day that she began to show her true colors. Carly came into my office smiling, sat on the floor by my chair and began to cry. I picked her up and she rested her head on my shoulder, something she rarely does until it is time for bed. It was 11:00 AM. She has only been up for three hours. I walked her into the bedroom and we sat in the nursing-rocker and rocked. She loved it and so did I.

Because Carly is preverbal words are very limited. Trying to explain micro-beasts to a toddler is a big challenge. Here is where empathy saves the day. She did not need my explanation. My holding her softly, and simply saying, ‘yes, I know, it feels horrible,’ meant that I knew how she was feeling and was right there with her.

Birth trauma psychologist William Emmerson taught me a profound lesson. When things are not right, and this can mean extremely not right, being connected with someone that loves you makes a profound difference in how the experience is interpreted and therefore processed. The physical pain comes and goes. What lingers is the memory of the trauma, and for the very young this memory is stored in the body. When the loving, empathic connection to another is not there, the child holds on to the trauma feeling the need to protect him or herself. When the empathy-connection is there, love and care supersede the transient physical pain. The child focuses on the feelings of being cared about. Nonverbal waves of affection sooth the aches. Being safe, even when trauma strikes, preempts the need to hold on to the trauma for self-protection. The trauma ebbs and is released.

These sensitive times allow space and pause to focus on what I call ‘tuning-fork-resonance.’ Joseph Chilton Pearce spent the last decade exploring the ‘intelligence of the heart.’ Having almost as many neurons as muscle cells, each pulse or contraction of the heart generates an electromagnetic field that radiates, informing every cell in the body and at measurable distance of fifteen feet, how we are relating to both internal processes and external events.

Biologist Bruce Lipton noted years ago how our interpretation of events shapes the impact that event or experience will have. My heart being filled with assuring, loving, caring, healing resonance is felt and mirrored by Carly, and all without a word. These two extremely powerful, direct, primal, noncognitive forces were enveloping Carly and me as we rocked. In a few short minutes she drifted off. After rocking a bit more we lay on the bed together knowing that our tuning-fork-resonance was filling the room. She slept soundly for a long time.

I have always used affectionate touch as a primary vehicle to communicate. Carly and I hold hands when driving in the car. I play with her feet at the dinner table. Until very recently we bathed in the tub or showed together. Why did we stop? I got in the way. She is now secure and stable enough in the tub to play on her own. With me out of the way she can roll over on her tummy, kick and blow bubbles. As with our spiritual practices, we use crutches to get close enough to the transformational fire to toss the crutches in the blaze. Carly no longer needed my being a crutch, at least in the tub. Assuming competence and knowing when to step safely away is, in today’s hovering obsessed world, more important than being a crutch.

The first full day and night of Carly’s cold systems were the worst. Appropriately she slept extra-long. With my ‘hack’ in full force I continued to sleep in the play room. She woke bright and smiling and ate a giant portion of baby avocado sushi. The health food store sells small packages of dried seaweed used in making sushi rolls. For a long time Carly would gobble up plain sheets of seaweed. One day I diced up fresh avocado, sprinkled in some freshly grated parmesan cheese and rolled the seaweed into baby sushi rolls, slicing each in half, just like at the sushi bar.  Carly stood on her stool and watched each baby-roll being prepared. She ate the entire package including three quarters of an avocado and polished off a healthy portion of fresh coconut milk on the side. That was a great sign. After lunch her energy faded, her head found its way to my shoulder and we together rocked, inviting Morpheus, the Greek god of sleep, to weave his spell. And he did.

I had the privilege of supporting the John Tracy Clinic, leaders in audition and the cochlear implants for deaf children. I recall the deep pain parents feel discovering their child is not ‘perfect.’ As I continued to rock Carly as she slept in my arms I mused about all the children in all the hospitals in the world and all the parents’ hearts breaking day after day. Carly and I had a common cold, not leukemia or autism. Though it is increasingly hard to find we have real food and clean water. (I just read that we need to eat 26 apples to get the nutritional value of one apple in 1950.) Carly and I are not victims of endless wars.

It is really quite disgusting to realize that we can end hunger and many diseases, provide holistic education and nurture parents in ways that allow them to nurture their children for a fraction of what we spend on killing each year. We think that politicians and the corporations they represent are to blame and to some extent that may be true. But we allow them and only we can stop them. So, untimely we are responsible as we are for compassionate education and the health and wellbeing of each child. The state only looks after the state and always has.

I knew that our ‘tuning-fork- resonance’ was at work as Carly and I rocked and this was the best thing we could do. Nature heals and seeks optimum by design. Our job is to get out of nature’s way and let her do her job with peace, deep rest, affection and coconut ice cream for god measure.

Carly’s cold lasted a day and a half. I’m still hacking a week later. Sick days are a gentle reminder to celebrate the greatest gift of all, our vibrant good health and ‘tuning-fork-resonance,’ the two things we crave the most.

Michael Mendizza