To Me or Not to Me?

If there is a single force that generates inequality, violence and war throughout the world, other than the Central Bank, I vote for the self-image we create gazing up for assurance and approval as infants. At this early stage of development what emerges from that glance is not a fixed image, rather feelings: of acceptance, of care, welcoming, understanding, empathy, encouragement or their opposites; rejection, anger, frustration, neglect and the various forms of abuse.

Over time the repetition of these feelings coalesce, merge and form predictable patterns and these in turn create the scaffolding upon which our social identity is formed. Belonging means survival. Rejection could mean death. So we began to judge our worth and value based on the emotional reactions we experience in the mirror of our primary relationship.

Being accepted and maintaining the bond or attachment with mother extends to father, siblings, extended family, tribe and village. Instead of glances our value is based on comparison; our score, grade point average, nationality, race, profession, political party, social status, cast, club, gang, and religion. Our identity and self-worth are sculpted by the selfish needs of these social groups and within each sub-group is a pecking order forged by comparison, allegiance, obedience and conformity. Conflict, greed and war are implicit in this structure and this structure is based on mental-emotional images that forge our identity.

Themes: 
bonding
culture
parenting
praise/rewards
self image
violence

Just Listen

It begins very early, perhaps with the first spark of life; relationship, connection, a drive to resonate with life and especially with forms just like us. We call it family, bonding, attachment. But we get so confused, all that chattering in our head and the obsession that others must hear those voices too. We want to be seen, felt, understood and appreciated. So we tell them, all the time.

That is one side of the communion dynamic, sharing who we are this moment. The other side is observing and listening. One side has a need to be known and the other has a need to know. These two sides of the communication coin are very different.

Of course, we know what it feels like to want to be seen, appreciate and understood. As a baby we look up and smile, hoping that others will smile too. We scribble paint on a slip of paper, hold it up, and say ‘look.’ Most adulterated adults – I call them dults – look at the paper and begin their predictable rant; ‘Oh, isn’t that nice. Look at how big the sky is.’ ‘Is that the sky?’ ‘People don’t have three heads.’ Inside the child sits whispering to him or herself, ‘No Mommy. Look at me. Look at what I did.’

Themes: 
bonding
communication
parenting

Pleasure is BAD Get Over It

The Time cover Mom Enough, marked the 20th anniversary of The Baby Book by William Sears, MD, labeling attachment parenting practices such as child-led weaning as “extreme.” No surprise, expected really, by echoing a professional party line dating back over 100 years times ten and more.

Please review and share the fabulous re-shoot and Pathways Family Wellness Magazine follow-up on Times most provocative cover story in decades.

To understand why, first realize that a woman’s body was built, among other tings, for pleasure. In a culture where pleasure is BAD pleasure becomes a commodity, something to be possessed, sold and controlled, especially by males whose normal sensory development has been retarded resulting in a cultural hyper-need-response to what is deprived, driving up the value and the compulsive need to possess and control it.

Ashley Montague notes in the Dehumanization of Man (and Woman via children), ‘the central issue of Western thought and civilizations is freedom vs. control.’ In 1932 with the publication of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley predicted an increasing and rapid centralization of power and control, not through oppression and terror, we have that too, but rather through the subtler devices of conditioning, persuasion, new drugs and distraction. What does rapid centralization of power and control have to do with breast feeding and equally intimate circumcision?

Themes: 
birth
bonding
brain
breastfeeding
circumcision
culture
parenting
pleasure
sensory deprivation
violence

She Knew She Was Worth More...

she knew

Strolling to the office, a plaque rested in a merchant’s window.

She Knew She Was Worth More Than Babies...

Worth more than babies? What could possibly be worth more, be a higher calling, the greatest and life changing challenge anyone, man or woman will face than caring, nurturing, uplifting, inspiring, encouraging the greater good of evolution’s billion year creative effort, the human being?

Themes: 
bonding
culture
parenting

The Greatest Show On Earth…

greatest show


Celebrating Fathers 2012

One becomes two. The teen suddenly looks at girls (in my case) and girls look at boys - differently. Needs and powerful longing for something deeper lead to becoming a father, like it or not.

It has been my joy and great honor to be a father. Through the experience one sees how the entire process of becoming a human being, or anything for that matter, unfolds.

Bonding is primal, not at all intellectual. Women, if they are paying attention, get IT much more directly, under their skin. The radiance of a new being pulsing and moving deep inside.

Themes: 
bonding
parenting

Transcending Self-Image-Culture

bonding and culture

We all know that nurturing cooperative, creative, egalitarian individuals and societies is essential. The key that establishes this is turned very early. Research physiologist James Prescott, surgeon-epidemiologist researcher Michel Odent, author Joseph Chilton Pearce and clinical psychologist and researcher David Chamberlain have been saying and writing for 50 years that the deep, living, “primal” channel of communication we call “bonding” or “attachment” sets the biological template for either peaceful, expansive personal and cultural development or for fear-based, defensive, selfish, aggressive or passive personal and collective stagnation.

The nature and quality of the mother-infant bond, or lack of it, physiologically shapes the primal wiring that determines our interpretation of personal and collective relationships. And it does so for a lifetime, resulting in children, adults and cultures that are fundamentally calm, cooperative, creative and peaceful, are able to form and sustain meaningful relationships, or not. 

When full bonding fails or is damaged, which can begin before conception, not only individuals but families and entire cultures can become anxious or depressed, addicted – whether to substances, activities or greed, chronically ill and/or unhappy, self-abusive or violent. Interfering with the intimate continuum of this process is a crime against children and the natural world.

We must again learn to uphold and respect human bonding as a critical life sustaining ecological process and priority.

The greatest obstacle to meeting this challenge is not the biological imperative and intelligence to care for and protect our children; rather it is socialization and cultural beliefs that impair or prevent full bonding from unfolding. Millions of years of innate intelligence are in conflict with cultural conditioning and the root of this conflict is embodied in our social identity, our self-image.

Themes: 
bonding
culture
freedom
parenting

A Brief Very Incomplete History of Parenting

playful parenting

Male and female roles in pre-agricultural societies were egalitarian. God was nature. Assumed male superiority with its implicit violence against women and children emerged with monotheism, the old-testament, a single male-dominate King laying down the law. Can you believe we still believe this fairy tale?

Down through the ages children were livestock, bred as a buffer for survival. Abuses of all kinds were harsh and systemic. Women nurtured when they could and men disciplined. The extended family was communal. Children more or less belonged to the tribe. Personal identity was not individual rather communal. One was a Cooper, a barrel maker or a Smith, blacksmith. Allegiance and values were set by family, village or community and these were controlled by the iron fists of magician-priests.

Children have always lost their fathers to wars and there have always been wars. With the industrial revolution we disposable males were herded into factories, with a corresponding loss of influence in the lives of our children. A century later, in the mid 20th century, the 50’s and 60’s to be more precise, children lost their mothers to women’s liberation and the work place, by design. Women’s Liberation meant the Rockefellers and other old-money social engineers would ‘profit’ from the missing 50% of the labor pool and children would be forced into government certified conditioning factories with nice doublespeak names like ‘day care,’ earlier and earlier.

Themes: 
bonding
childhood
parenting

Not Broken Don't Bond It

not broken

The point is maintaining relationship – not connecting something that is broken.

The terms bonding and attachment imply separation, to bond, connect, glue together separate parts. Life is relationship. We are never separate, except in our minds.

We are the light, the air, the water, the nutrients, the heat, the vibration, gravity, ever-changing movement and much more. The human body and brain is defined by the environment. Each mirrors the other. But we forget. The deeper reality and challenge is to prevent this ongoing, dynamic and reciprocal connection from being broken.

Joseph Chilton Pearce and I were exploring the root cause of our social and political calamity. Joe lamented that nature’s agenda during pregnancy, birth and the sensitive postnatal period – doesn’t happen. What could be fails to unfold. ‘Houston, we have a problem.’ See: https://ttfuture.org/files/2/members/esa_jcp_biology_culture.pdf

Themes: 
birth
bonding
childhood
play
pleasure
pregnancy

The Importance of Hugging

violence
Compassion? Wisdom?
Sorry, no one by that name lives here...

My son recently graduated from college. He could have been one of these UC Davis students. The well fed skin-head on the right is the riot clad officer hosing our children with pepper spray as they sit, Gandhi style, arm in arm, nonviolently. This act, not by students but by our friend the civil mercenary, and others like it around the world (see below), rips the thin skin of civility off our eyes. Serving and protecting, yes, but who and what? Watching his unaffected cruelty, like food poisoning, vomits up the question, How could he do such a thing?

In 1981 when a friend was nearly raped and murdered by a stalking stranger I asked the same question, Why would a man do such a thing? How can a man who supposedly loves his wife beat her so violently it caused brain damage? Or a coach, scream at an eight year old for dropping a ball? Violence is so easy, so natural. Or is it?

Themes: 
bonding
brain
culture
democracy
freedom
media
television-computers

DNA Remembers and Expects

dna remembers

“The addict’s reliance on the drug to reawaken her dulled feelings is no adolescent caprice.
The dullness is itself the consequence of an emotional malfunction not of her making.”

Gabor Mate, MD, Author,
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Close Encounters with Addiction

More on Pleasure, Pain and the Developing Brain

The development of each new human being involves the complete evolutionary process of life on the planet. Native traditions recognize and honor this fact. Western civilization, driven by an anti-feminine passion for male intellect does not, thus the classic mind-body split. One self-world view nurtures the deep ecology that we are, the other attempts to dominate and control nature, including our own.

In each of us is the entire process of creation, what Joseph Chilton Pearce calls Evolution’s End. Each stage of development anticipates the past and creates the necessary foundation for the next unknowable leap forward to unfold. The developing fetus in the liquid world of the womb, for example, has no use for lungs and yet creates lungs anticipating an oxygenated environment it ‘knows’ nothing about. The entire spectrum of human development implies this unfolding anticipation and unknowable expectation.

Themes: 
birth
bonding
brain
breastfeeding
culture
environment
play
pleasure
pregnancy

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