Best Easter Exercise Ever

I’m in a book club of Barbara Sher’s “Live a Life You Love” really delightful and doubly insightful program. It just so happens that the exercise this week has been around identifying things you *loved* as a child, anything you enjoyed doing, and why. There are more steps, each of them got more and more fun, but having this happen during Easter week was really superb because Ressurection of the Love Within Us – this is a worthwhile Easter ritual, yes?

We have to die to the life we think we need to wake up to the life that’s true. present. happening. in love. as love. reliably.

Identifying things you loved and why. I learned so much about myself through this – things that immediately rang true, but i’ve been overlooking and making assumptions about for years. what a lovely wake-up. For example, I thought I wanted to control things, but what I really long for is to be contributing authorship to things that are important to me, being a knowlegeable and positive part of the narrative. This is a huge shift. Working with people who truly care and supporting each other and promoting movement… such a different context of my interpretation of a specific, felt-sense drive. I thought it was me wanting to be famous (which turned my stomach just a little, as acknowledging Eric Klein’s ‘spiritual red carpet’ image), but it was really just wanting to be in lively, contributory conversation with people who care and naturally impacting the object/subject of attention. HUGE difference. Less embarassing AND more attainable. win-win.

Going back to our innocence, to the time when our interests got swept up for hours because we could, activities of choice and that calm alertness to topics we love. Reconnecting with even the most minute memories of enjoyment (for me, for example, it was coloring at 5) has led me on a surprising series of insights about what I really care about and want to do. I never would’ve expected it.

Barbara’s exercise asks for 9 memories – 3 from young childhood, 3 from adolescence, and 3 from young adulthood. i had trouble so just did every 5 years and then a few others popped in i remembered but don’t fully remember the timescale. then think about what you loved about the activity. Then, she has this killer exercise that comes after, but you’ll have to ask me about that if you’re interested. This step is insightful enough to fulfill my Easter Renewal urge.

people that get it…

it is so nice to be around people who get it. my cousin Debbie is in town and she so completely gets the key to happiness, and employing it she is happy. and she expresses it so lovelely.. She calls it her hula hoop, but only what is in the hula hoop is hers to control, and it’s a pretty small hula hoop – in fact she keeps a quarter on her desk and ‘that’s’ her hula hoop. As she told me about it, i could see how basic that hula hoop really is… am I sitting, standing or lying down or in motion? Am i hungry or cold or comfortable? what am I feeling? what part of me is showing up? these are such great questions and so few people ask them. there’s a lot of ‘what needs to change’ and ‘how do i get what i need?” – so much better with ‘how is this showing up in the feeling state of my body” – anyway, I’m really moved lately by how very graced I feel to be in this conversation and in this knowing of peace and happiness and in relationship with people who also care about it and can support this wonderful approach to life.

Debbie and I agreed that we cannot convince a soul to slow down. if they’re not ready, they can’t see it. and it’s so easy, and they don’t believe it one iota. it’s the immediate release of all the crap, and they’re just not convinced that’s the best way to approach it. And that’s cool. it may well be a time-of-life thing and you can’t get it til you get it. okey dokey. i’m psyched to be in this time-of-life, then. I really love it.

I also ran into a friend that completely lost interest when i said i wasn’t doing this for money. and i thought, but i do feel compensated: i do feel like i am getting a lot of current (if not currency)… i am being paid handsomely in peace of mind, curiosity, relaxation, interest, enhanced relationships, enjoying the way i’m spending my time. Plus then there’s the neuroplasticity that is integrating wholeness at night since i spend so much time on it during the day. it’s like compound interest. i think there’s something in here–this is an economic shift even though the states shifting don’t know how to quantify the trading… units of measurement are elusive: but then again Maya (the great Hindu concept of illusion) means ‘that which can be measured” – so maybe this new form of compensation, of currency, of effect – maybe this felt sense is the foundation of what is next… I gotta tell you, as this relaxed into my body, I’ve felt *Loaded* and that I have multiple streams of income, and i’m confident in my children’s ability to thrive and Tucker and my natural evolution to deeper levels of love freedom and relationship.  Yes, I feel *really* well compensated.

observed phenomena..

Of course as soon as I talk about Bodyfulness sessions being regularly shared, I have a few moments to myself. It’s interesting. I really enjoy the dedicated time, and so I am not disappointed, but there is a voice inside me saying “did I do something wrong?” Even though I am not upset. Isn’t that strange? Isn’t that just so obviously conditioning? Being so quick to think there is a problem? I have a problem? I *am* a problem?

Thank goodness for the practice, because as I take a deep breath and relax into the feeling state of my body, it is clear: no problem. It is clear: only opportunity. Opportunity to listen, to be, to bask. to be curious, to relax, to let whatever arises arise. Even if it is a question of worth.

When my mind distracts and goes into that question, the practice invites that question to show itself in my body, reveal any physical correlative space. Today it is in my jaw most prominently. OK, jaw. I hear you. I can be with you. I invite you to relax with me, but it is not necessary. I love you as you are and hold the space for your relaxing, provide the breath which maybe you can ride towards relaxing, but especially as I release my resistance to your tension and let you be as you are.

and as i deepen my attention to the feeling state of my entire body, a great openness is available that invites the tensions to dissolve. the feeling state is open, it is a judgment- free zone. it is relaxation itself.

and then another thought. and another physical referencing, and another opportunity to ride the relaxation of the exhalation into curiosity, equanimity, peace and presence.

Talk about going to the gas station. Filling up. Making the vehicle capable of going miles and miles with ease.

I noticed this this morning as well. The thought “I might be screwing this whole thing up.” the checking in with the feeling state of the body: a general feeling of wholeness, some specific areas of holding tension, the releasing of resistance to said tension, in some cases the relaxing of tension, in other cases the equanimity with it just being there. there, within the feeling of wholeness. This feeling of wholeness? i consider it excellent evidence that I am not “screwing this whole thing up.” That thought, while juicy and sticky to my mind, holds no sway in my body. Thank you, body. It is nice to have someone reasonable on the team. Before i started putting my attention on you, my mind may have taken me on a particularly uncomfortable journey with that thought – one that perverted the present moment into an assessment of the future based on some metric I’m not even sure I value. I wasted a lot of time that way, and gave myself significant unnecessary anguish. Excellent habit to break! But it is my body that broke the habit. The mind could not – believe me, I tried.

Another thought: maybe i am ruining my children by not making them jump through the standard hoops. Wouldn’t it serve them better to opt to more rigorous hoops than simply no hoops at all? It is a question. Every part of me would’ve predicted I’d set some deliciously challenging hoops for my kids, making them little superheroes capable of crushing anything. I am surprised by my choices, but I can’t deny the results. I can get insecure and question the future as much as I want, but assessing the present moment, much like checking in with the body, reveals wholeness. Areas for growth? Naturally. but from a position of wholeness into greater states of wholeness.

This is not a popular way of being, which I admit still makes me question it. But as I reference those questions into the feeling state of my body, the experience I receive as reply offers a surity no amount of thinking could replicate. I’ll take it. by simply being with it. and being very, very grateful.

well, that was fun…

I really like this shared practice. I’ve only had a few minutes with no sharers these last few weeks, and I have to admit I like all the ways. I like it when it’s one-on-one, I like it when it’s a group, and I like the moments to be in the practice as a solo practitioner. The great news, though, is that having company in this resonant field strengthens it, and seems to strengthen the moments throughout the day when I pause and check in with the feeling state of the body. I go deeper, faster. The listening takes on a much different quality than had attended it prior to this experiment of shared practice. Even the listening takes on a quality of being.

I think at the beginning of the practice overall, when I started using the phrase “the focus of attention on the feeling state of the body,” probably about 2 years ago, the listening was marked by both a sense of curiosity and importance and “I hope this works.” “I hope that eventually I can understand what is going on inside, make sense of it, and open up my life through it.”

I do not understand what is going on inside.

Don’t let that dissuade you, I’ve always been rather slow on the uptake with languages. and I’m pathetically literal as any of my sly or sarcastic friends will attest.

That this is not about understanding, though, is the biggest revelation. It is simply about being, which seems to me infinitely easier than understanding. And it is about integration, which happens naturally and in its own time when given the space and freedom. To quote Eric Klein again, progress “proceeds at the pace of integration.” We can understand a thousand things and have literally none of them impact our lives. When we integrate, everything changes and cannot revert to old patterns. Trying to shift old patterns is really difficult. Integrating wisdom, though, does it effortlessly. Accessing wisdom, step one. recognizing it, step two. sitting with it just as it is (ie., not trying to ‘do something’ with it, jump-start it, etc) might just be step 3. Whether we access that through meditation or napping, I don’t think integration takes root under pressure of any sort. Certainly not in my experience. Relaxing feels remarkably effective.

I really did spend a lot of time trying to pressure myself into becoming. Just thinking about it now makes me exhausted. As I check in with the feeling state of the body, as I relax with my exhalations I feel an unfolding throughout the body. Thomas Hübl talks about “complexity is simplicity in the wrong size container.” I was enamored with complexity, thinking it demonstrated an intellectual capacity that would be able to construct an impressive amount of peace and prosperity for myself and all, if only i could put all of the right complexities into place and I needed a few more (obviously, since i hadn’t coalesced them into peace or resounding success yet). Relaxing as a practice expanded the container, is expanding the container. Then the complex becomes simple and the peace is already there, and that feeling sensation of peace sings the song of resounding success regardless of what might be going on outside of the feeling state of the body. Indeed, then I get to bring that resonance to whatever is going on outside. That’s new. and infinitely more productive than bringing my newly contrived interpretation of complexity to whatever situation I’m hoping to impact. I mean, every once in a while it worked. Enough to keep me enamored of my complexity-perpetuating mind.

This relaxing, though, works every time. The more relaxation, the easier. It makes no sense to the mind that has been trained that busyness produces results. Relaxing produces results and a bit of laughter.

I’m still not sure how to broaden this relaxing into the world of developing profession. I’m relaxing into it and so far find the whole process extremely gratifying. I know with some certainty the models I am not interested in following. I am curious about how it may unfold. And, although curiosity often involves turning over stones and things, this curiosity feels more patient than exploratory, and that feels relieving. I mean, I love exploration and the pursuit of satisfying curiosity, too. and that often comes into play. But today, right now, this restfulness feels right and feeling right is so delicious, I think i’ll sit i

 

Noticing and Choice

Noticing, while it seems simple, is a remarkably powerful act. It’s subtle. It doesn’t take much effort, but it opens up a new world of possibility that Not-noticing would have you think doesn’t exist.

We notice things we are tuned to notice. The adage, “you find what you’re looking for”  fits. Right now, I’m looking for times that I’m holding a habitual tension that is absolutely unnecessary and I am definitely finding them (even though, through this practice, I finally am also finding times when I am not), but the cool thing (for me) is that (finally) I am not reprimanding myself or cursing the fact that I established this dastardly habit. Now I’m just so dang happy I’m noticing. Because noticing lets me make a choice. And even if I have to make that choice again in 5 minutes, I’m feeling happy that I’m directing my attention in this way. I mean, most of my attention used to go to all the things I haven’t yet accomplished in life and developing strategies to redeem myself. This is a much better choice.

I’m also noticing patterns in people around me, and as I sortof wondered how not to become a proselytizer, I remembered some excellent training I received from the Ishaya’s Ascension people and remembered compassion. But not just any compassion. Compassion and then the turning inward of that compassion to activate a vibrational resonance of wholeness, so that I can use the noticing of what I’m perceiving as pain to be call for me to clean up my own vibration.

We had a discussion last week about people we might have felt compassion for, but through this bodyfulness practice, can see them in their wholeness and in many cases that compassion was misplaced – that compassion was actually judgemental or ableist or worse. Oh, how coming from the body instead of the mind saves us from even our “best” selves.

I don’t mean to demonize the mind, there. I really mean to spotlight the perspective of wholeness, which of course includes the mind but does not render it “special” or “in charge” in any way.

So noticing is my new “achievement.” I used to really, really work to achieve things (you know, so I could value myself), now I’m really happy if I’m noticing little habits that don’t serve me – because that little act packs a whole lot of power. It is the threshold of choice and choice is the entryway to freedom (which we all have all of the time, except in our own perception). Noticing my shoulders creeping up while I’m cutting vegetables is as big a win as most of the things I spent my days working toward. Mindless doing the grand gestures has got NOTHING on small gestures tended to by our own wholeness.

 

failure doesn’t mean as much

I’ve been talking a lot about the changes i’ve noticed in the way I’m going about my life – that for the first time, I checked in with my body and was far more relaxed than I’ve ever been, that I’ve made fewer small swears, etc. and of course today, after saying it again, I did each thing almost in order.

It made me laugh.

What a win! It made me laugh. It showed me not to think I’m “done” and to know that it’s process. I didn’t take it as a failure as much as the comedy of observed phenomenon immediately reverting to old patterns. All of the things I felt were gentle and funny and reminding me not to get ahead of myself here. Remember, I’m not trying to fix, I’m trying to notice and I noticed all of those things. So it was a win. Even if, at the same time, it was a series of remissions.

This noticing, this willingness, this curiosity over control – this is what I want to cultivate. And every time I think I’m ready to “walk the spiritual red carpet” as Eric Klein might say, life trips me in the funny way. And I’m so grateful!

I want to laugh more, and I want to notice more, to catch myself without judging myself…

I love the paradigm that has stopped me looking to “complete things properly/ideally” and recognizing that life is process and seemingly it will always be process, and that by engaging in life wholebodily, wholeheartedly, I am in the process in a way that fully negates “right” and “wrong” and fully embraces “now” and “we’ll see” and trust and curiosity.

None of this was available to me when the mind held the only keys to my day. And it has been developing as I’ve engaged in this practice, beginning with the tiny step of a single breath per day acknowledging the possibility of wholeness. And as I “curate my time” to make this checking into the feeling state of the body so regular as to be one of my primary activities of the day, the benefits just keep unfolding.

Not to say that every day will hold this kind of discovery. But, it might. And when it doesn’t, I know how to re-engage, how to re-focus. Because once you know, you can’t unknow. And yet, because it’s an ever-unfolding revelation, once you think you “know” (as a state instead of a process)then life will, in my experience, very gently, very comically, very certainly remind you that we’re all just walking each other home…

today’s challenge

My challenges lately have been bite-sized. As I engage in this practice, my body drains the drama out of the situation at hand, and it becomes much more manageable, much less potentially catastrophic, and gentler. I’m appreciating this trend. I’m also feeling that as long as I’m consulting this internal universe, the external universe will be doling things out in appropriate measure. It’s only when I’m in my head, dedicated to “figuring it out” that the size and intensity creep back up.

It’s very rewarding to hear the success stories from some of the people who have been frequenting the online practice. Real ease. Exchanging anxiety for curiosity (best trade-up ever) and negative self-talk for inquiry. Yesterday a woman who had only come twice came back in fascination at how well it works, how easy it is, how completely in control of it she feels. My guess is she’d done a lot of work to prepare the soil, but she is not the first person to gasp in disbelief at how impactful this practice is every time we use it.

The difficult part now is not proselytizing. Watching people struggle with exactly the kinds of anxiety, frustration, desperation and searching for answers that this practice cures quite quickly. It’s particularly tough when they’re too busy for it, as if they’re not breathing 20,000 times per day anyway. That’s just the acculturated mind’s way… It wants to be in charge, and anything it didn’t come up with it isn’t particularly interested in. That’s got to be ok.

I imagine it is how my body has felt towards me all of this time. I’ve got the key, it’s simple, reliable and right in front of you – or more accurately right inside you, but I was stubborn and insisted on climbing mountains and diving depths, exploring mazes and ruminating. And it sat there, with the answers, just waiting for me to turn to it so it could gently yet powerfully turn the lights on.

This is a gigantic step, and you can’t force a flower to bloom. Oh, the infinite love in the universe is evident in its infinite patience for our ridiculous flailings. I guess it’s part of the adventure. I’m certain it has purpose, else it wouldn’t be here. Trying to figure out that purpose would be a tremendous waste of time, methinks, because the figuring out is most of the problem.

One of the most satisfying effects of this practice is the settling of the mind. You’d think the mind would resist, and maybe it does – i’m far enough in I’m not entirely sure – but much like a rowdy toddler, it is actually delighted to have some guidance, to have a grown-up in charge facilitating that ice cream cone and while it may protest bedtime, it does so while yawning and closing its eyes. My mind has become calmer, more accepting and a hell of a lot more fun – I’d say over the last two years, but then exponentially so with this shared practice the last two months. I have had a lifelong habit of gasps and little swears when things don’t happen as I expect. Drove my kids nuts. I haven’t done it in 2 weeks, maybe 3, even when it’s surprising or particularly annoying. I check in with my body and everything feels ok. sometimes i even laugh. now there is another excellent trade-up.

Paying attention to our bodies and honoring what we find has another fantastic benefit i don’t know if i’ve mentioned before. You want other people to honor their bodies as well. When I would readily subjugate my body for a “higher purpose,” I expected other people to do the same – not doing so would be evidence of disinterest or laziness or something. Now, I find “because I don’t feel like it” a perfectly acceptable excuse. I don’t want people to do what they don’t want to do anymore, no matter how much sense it makes to me. I am curious about what percentage of the world’s problems are caused by people doing things they truly aren’t aligned with in the name of some cause they’d really like to help. I think the best way to help is to be ourselves and follow our natural energy levels and interests (which are always changing and always in flux). That’s another thing people have been mentioning, this dedication to self and care for self really frees up a lot of stress. And as we tend to ourselves, sometimes we find we have genuine contributions we can make. subtly. no need for grandstanding. just the outward expression of our love for this very diverse world…

 

how my job’s changed over the years

I really enjoyed my professional life. it was non-traditional most of the time, pretty sexy some of the time, interesting all of the time (or i’d bolt) and it made me feel functional in the world, often like i might have even been enhancing it even if just by being overtly friendly most of the time. Indeed, sometimes I relied on that.

I was laid off while pregnant with Josie and shortly after she was born we moved. The newness (and crankiness) of Rhode Island was disorienting, so I was pretty happy to be able to stay at home with her and really embed myself in – well, Tucker was rebuilding the house, so I was embedded in the pre- and post- reorganizations during all of the little steps of our little family. He did such a nice job on that house. But, it did take our entire 8ish years. During that time, I got sick. Once, before I got sick, I was interviewing for a job with the Boston Symphony (a sponsorship role, as I have no musical talent) and was one of the final candidates. I was crushed to have them select the other candidate. That was my last foray into the working world prior to my body shutting down. Cue the ‘woe is me’ music.

My body quickly became my job, as demanding a job as motherhood but initially much less rewarding. It made me sign a non-compete. Everything I did was measured against it, morning, noon and night. It was like one of those crazy contracts big monopolies try to saddle artists with – ‘we own everything you do, ever, because we gave you this buck once…’

I did not come to my body as my teacher without resistance.

Honestly, even after I accepted it as such, i had a solid 6 years of just being in ‘trying to fix it’ mode. Fix my body, at any cost. dig under every rock. try every remedy. be willing to change…. oooh, that was the hard one. But, then once i became willing to change I had no idea what to change into! What diet was right? Should i be pushing through the pain of this exercise to gain mobility, or should i be reading this pain as a sign to stop? Trying to find the single right answer in the haystack of possibilities was a fools task, and i embraced it whole-lifedly. Is this what will save me? Hmmm. don’t feel amazing yet, time to switch… is this what will save me?

Then to have a filling fall out and regain so much health so quickly – you can’t predict that stuff. Willing to run around like a chicken trying to find a needle to sew on its head, and then go ’round and have some random event change everything. I couldn’t tell if my gratitude was as big as my incredulity.

But, it taught me something. I taught me quite a bit, actually.

While “finding the answer” (in honor of my body) was the first leg of my journey, “being the answer” (by inhabiting my body) quickly became far more interesting.

Every moment spent relaxing into my body frees my mind a little bit. Stringing a lot of moments together always instigates an inspired action at the end, something i’m pleased to be doing, even if it’s only getting a glass of water. but, sometimes, it’s writing to an old friend or pulling out a game to teach the kids… or writing down an insight, or maybe this blogpost.

While the fixing stage had my days full of researching modalities, making appointments and buying and cooking specific foods, this being stage has me remembering to listen, to relax… trying to say a silent blessing in each interaction.. being curious about how this interaction is the unfolding of life and what fullness of attention I can bring to it. Much, much, better.

My physical symptoms still accompany me daily. they are the guidelines within which I work, and sometimes they decide what will or will not get done. i anticipate maybe someday achieving a state of consciousness that may allow the ailments to fall away. but i do not have that skill now, and so i trust that these ailments are part of my highest unfolding, and accepting them as my teacher seems like the way to make the most of the whole ordeal. Do i wish my hands and arms worked normally? Sure. that’d be lovely. But if this was the only way I could come to this appreciation of life itself, the importance of embracing life exactly as it is – recognizing that all of life is Life Itself expressing its utter joy at being alive… well, i’m just so grateful for the path that led me here…

I’m making my job evolution because its my defacto job anyway, on all the levels. This is how i spend my time reading and writing and being in practice. it’s how i do my best to manage my relationships. i still struggle with all of the uncertainty I struggled with at the beginning of my journey – perhaps even a little more, actually – but for less and less mindshare each day. each practice tips the scale in my favor, time in possibility over time in wishing things were different. such a subtle difference and yet such a dramatic one.

 

its only exhausting if we’re clinging to something

One of the difficult truths is that sometimes things need to break before they can fix, and sometimes insight comes *after* an unfortunate circumstance.

I think yesterday’s comments about youth are actually aimed at a culture that *doesn’t want to be where it is.* Little kids want to be big kids, teenagers want to be on their own, young adults sometimes want to be established, sometimes want to move back home where they’re protected, middle-aged people want to be younger, older people long for easier days. Not everybody, of course, but lots of people. Why are we addicted to ideas we’d be better off in some other way? It really does feel like an addiction – a compelling habit.

I wrote that this morning, then someone hopped on the call and I had a full house at noon, so now it’s night and i’ve been thinking…

I don’t believe life ends. i believe we end, these individuals in these bodies, but life itself doesn’t end. it just keeps going and going and going. we impact it without question but it is a pretty strong force moving exactly how it moves.

So with that thought, that life never ends, my first response was “sounds exhausting!” and i had a cadence of culturally proliferated thoughts about ‘the grind’ and yes, the grind would be exhausting – but Life isn’t a grind. our perception of our own lives compared to what we can imagine they could better be – that’s a grind. constantly judging ourselves as needing something outside of ourselves to be ok, to be whole, to be complete. If you drop all expectations of yourself but to be here in this body doing the best you can and keeping the lights on. and if you can’t keep the lights on, receiving this next phase of your life with what it elicits in you – sorrow or determination or whatever it might be, because that, too, will change, because that’s what life does. so even when things look horrible, can we breathe and be in our lives with curiosity, sure that we cannot help but become ourselves. [cue the entire broadway musical “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” or the bible story which is just as good but not as catchy]

Exhaustion comes – i’ve been exhausted by life and trying to figure out who I am and who I’m supposed to be and why i think that and financial ups and downs and values and kids and family.  But only when I’m trying to meet some picture i have of who i should be and how i should show up for them and how this impacts their/my future and blah blah blah blah blah. completely exhausting.

being in my body, being curious, breathing in and out – not exhausting. doing it for a bit typically ends with getting up to do something useful because i’m operating from rest – having not been spending energy, some has stored up, and isn’t this a good time to…x… so actions stem from authentic energy and are often quite ‘in the flow.’ good incentive to be in the body. This- this is not exhausting. it is fascinating. can it be just that simple of an orientation shift? it’s also a values shift.

Clinging to things is exhausting – identities, ideas of what should be…

My friend posted a brilliant Chinese proverb on FB today: “Tension is who we think we should be. Relaxation is who we are.”

Let’s Relax!

tyranny of the young

I believe the children are our future. No question about it. I strongly support youth activism and young adults being more involved in policy.

that said, I am sick to bits of this obsession with youth in our culture. While there is no question that my daughter looks better in her bathing suit than I do, I love aging. I love my world opening up in new ways – the same way it has since I was little. I kinda like my grey hair, and while my body has prompted me with all kinds of challenges, I meet them and appreciate what they bring to my life. I loved being 20 and I loved being 30, but I can tell you, I don’t want my 20 or 30 year old self deciding my future. I just didn’t understand many things that are wildly important to me now. Each phase of life has so many gifts, and the gifts of energy and beauty that youth have so powerfully are really delicious in service of some of the wisdom gleaned by elders. Bernie Sanders’ campaign is an excellent example. Although, fighting for a world of equality seems like a no-brainer – and one inherent to most kids. How “civilization” has devolved into consumerism is tragic. It’s a world gone mad and literally on the verge of destroying itself. It reminds me of piñatas. Man, I had one piñata at one birthday party and i would never do it again. Those 4 year olds were so manic about getting as much as they could. It was creepy. It feels like that mentality grew up and got in control of business and government.

Right now in our culture, it looks to me like parents are more afraid of their kids than intent on nurturing these beings into bright, caring, confident creators. In trying to set them up for success, it feels a lot like we’re stripping them of their individuality and innate connectedness in favor of making them look appealing to colleges or employers. At, like, 5. That there’s crazy talk, and it’s an epidemic. It may be that I’ve pulled too far away from this model, but I am very pleased to unplug from the idea that children have to conform to be acceptable or discover their gifts. And the “get what you can” mentality (as represented by the piñata) is noplace I’d like to live. I’ve seen kids organize masses of candy so that everyone gets some and there is some left over. Those are kids who have been cultivated by adults who have raised them to be cooperative instead of competitive. It’s lovely to watch. Because not only does everyone get the candy and have some fun in the process, but they had discussions about the merits of individual candies, tried another person’s favorite to see how it related to their candy-enjoying priorities. The event only took a few moments (like a piñata) but the kids expressed themselves, listened to each other, experimented, problem-solved and all came away with some, and more left over for teachers or visitors (this was at the international school where my dear nephew, Brent attended). It was a journey of discovery instead of a free-fall into ‘get all you can and f#@ everyone else.

It’s the context. The difference between piñata mentality and cooperative mentality is something that caring adults bestow upon (and at the same time draw out of) young people, and young people take it and make it even richer and more through their own unique contribution. Put the two year olds in charge and you have pandemonium. Give the two year olds safety and guidlines and boundaries, and while they’ll break some, they’ll flourish in the rest and be absolutely adorable doing so.

Sorry for the rant. Really, this came up in the context of the prefrontal cortex running the show in our bodies. It’s the youngest part of the human organism and we’ve let it take off and control everything and it’s wreaking havoc. The full system is valuable – all the parts. The cognitive brain is amazing in service of really any goal, but it service of itself it’s a freaking 2 year old, but infinitely less cute.

We are in such a weird part of history. We’ve fragmented the stages of life and put some above others. Brothers and sisters, we are a whole; and until we start acting like one we’re stuck with a dysfunctional society.