http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/317/unconditional-love I hope at least one person will play the episode above and listen with heart. Here are a few tidbits:

  • A monkey would prefer to cuddle all day with a soft fake monkey and only go to the wire version for quick sips of milk when dire only to rush back for more cuddles.
  • We can die without touch.
  • Some authority prescribed no-contact with parents because they thought they knew better.
  • I was reminded of hearing the second radio-story on autism a few years ago while commuting a few years ago. This is real life for more than you know.

EveryONE needs and deserves UNCONDITIONAL love and safe spaces to express one’s thoughts and feelings, especially the negative ones. LOVING, nurturing, positive RELATIONships and healthy stimulating environments go hand in hand. When fear dominates our brain than we sabotage our positive connections. Our society is suffering from relational poverty due to fear-based and…

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“Strong healthy cells are what makes a body strong. How do you help create strong healthy cells? The key lies with the food you put in your mouth, the thoughts you put in your head, and the feelings you place in your heart.” -Susana Belen


I had gone from a size 14  to a size 2, that’s 85 lbs gone in 2.5 years. Yet I had lost so much more than just pounds: I lost decades (and possibly a generation’s worth from an epigenetic viewpoint) of unconscious weight, unprocessed traumas, and toxins.  I had no intention to lose this much weight. Sure I hoped to lose some of the 40 lbs of baby weight gain (from 2 consecutive miscarriages, one stillbirth, and a live birth). I had a dream weight in mind (which I surpassed by 25 pounds) but never did I hold myself to that standard.  I never tried a diet as I do not believe in them. When my herbalist asked how I lost the weight, I said: “I don’t know, it just seems to melt away peacefully.”   Looking back at it, it took many life-changing habits and loving myself through every transition. Although…

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“I’m sorry that you’re hurting so desperately right now.
I know how painful the seconds, and minutes, and days can be, how long the nights are.
I understand how very hard hanging on is, and how much courage it takes.
I ask though that you hold onto one day at a time.
Just one day, and slowly this despair will pass.
The feelings you fear you’re trapped in will serve their purpose, and then fade away.
Difficult to imagine isn’t it?
Almost impossible to believe when every cell in your body
it seems cries out in agony, desperately in need of comfort.
When it feels like the only thing in the whole world that can touch
your pain and banish it is beyond your grasp.
And after all this time, the assurance that you will heal
has become an empty, broken promise.
Just let one tiny cell in your body…

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Our mother’s wellbeing and safety whilst we are developing in utero along with our early life experiences strongly influence our brain development. Also, stressful events that occurred to our parents will naturally affect us as children. Sadly, our culture is full of violence and negativity yet also doesn’t support processing negative events or emotions. The presence of at least one safe, nurturing, and responsive adult to be there for us to process emotions and negative events, especially during stressful times, is vital for well-being and positive development.

Without a safe supportive person, and instead of processing, our automatic defense mechanisms get triggered. We tend to ignore or dismiss are stress signals and negative emotions, then use distraction or substances to cope. The really hard part is to process the negative events, you have to at least acknowledge them and open yourself up to the negative emotions. Also, very few people know NOT how to react negatively and to truly hold space for someone who is processing negative emotions.

What doesn’t get processed then gets stuck in the body and unconscious levels of the brain. I highly recommend learning about how Adverse Childhood Experiences lead to health issues. The more stress or toxins (emotional, chemical, environmental, or physical) you add, the more you tax your body and the mind/body/spirit become dysregulated. The more you stay in a dysregulated state, the more harmful, pervasive, and lasting the effects. Thus, unprocessed stress kills more than anything…our minds and bodies will unconsciously manage the stress. With no safe places or skills to process the stress,  it will manifest in many problematic ways like physical ailments, disease, negative behaviors, habits, and conflict consequently destroying our wellbeing and relationships.

Here is an excerpt from From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. National Research Council (US) and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development; Shonkoff JP, Phillips DA, editors.Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2000.

“This account of early brain development emphasizes the ways in which the nervous system is designed to recruit and incorporate experience into its developing architecture and neurochemistry. Normal experience (e.g., good nutrition, patterned visual information) supports normal brain development, and abnormal experience (e.g., prenatal alcohol exposure, occluded vision) can cause abnormal neural and behavioral development (Black et al., 1998). Plasticity is a double-edged sword that leads to both adaptation and vulnerability. “…

“In this report, stress refers to the set of changes in the body and the brain that are set into motion when there are overwhelming threats to physical or psychological well-being (Selye, 1973, 1975). Stress can have dramatic effects on health and development (Johnson et al., 1992). This happens because the physiology of stress produces a shift in the body’s priorities. When threats begin to overwhelm one’s immediate resources to manage them, a cascade of neurochemical changes that begin in the brain temporarily puts on hold the processes in the body that can be thought of as future-oriented: finding, digesting, and storing food; fighting off colds and viruses; learning things that don’t matter right now but may be important sometime in the future; reproducing and rearing offspring. Many of these neurochemical changes take place in the very same brain structures (e.g., hypothalamus and brainstem) that function to regulate heart rate, respiration, food intake and digestion, reproduction, growth, and the building up versus breaking down of energy stores (Stratakis and Chrousos, 1995).”    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK225562/

“Where we stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence  are the four universal healing salves.” ~Gabrielle Roth, Maps to Ecstasy:  A Healing Journey for the Untamed Spirit

A child will learn more positive skills and values from a vulnerable and calm adult who reflects on and changes their own behavior than a defensive and angry person who threatens consequences and dismisses their child’s needs and feelings.

Positive Reframe...

When my son was three, he had a small snow globe with Pluto the dog in it. Every time he’d play with it, I would say, “Be careful, it is glass so if it falls it will break.” One night, he played with it intensely, not heeding my warning, he dropped it and it shattered. My initial reaction was one of exasperation and panic as I quickly removed him from the area. I fought back the impulse to snap, “I told you so… you didn’t listen” but I know he still felt that negative energy as he felt horrible, broke down in tears and was inconsolable. My husband and I both hugged him, and I stated, “It is my fault because I should have taken it away from you. I knew better.” I calmly suggested he go play with his miniature sandbox and he agreed that would make him feel…

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We have status quo…


“If the Tao is lost then morality takes its place.

If that fails, we have conscience.

When that fades, we get justice.

When that disappears, we have status quo.”

Lao Tzu,  Tao Te Ching

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When I hear someone support #45, I still initially react with shock, disgust, and am perpetually dumbfounded about how someone in their right mind would vote for him. My stomach tightens and can’t fathom this reality.  Then after noticing all the thoughts, feelings, and sensations and processing them in ways that feel safe and validating, then my calm mind and heart connect. I know that we all are truly doing the best we can with the resources we are aware of. We only know what we know and we do not know what we don’t know. Me reacting harshly or aggressively will only polarize and entrench us more.

All negative behavior comes from a state of stress and unmet needs. We all have the need to feel connected, heard, seen, felt, understood and safe. When we perceive a threat to these needs and our livelihood we react from the unconscious parts of minds with fight, flight, or freeze. Through that lens, I know that our greatest hope will come from me being a bridge and connecting with his supporters by understanding their needs and fears. This is not easy and can often seem futile yet my response of benevolence is not attached to an agenda of trying to change them. I can only control my actions and thoughts. I feel at most peace when my intentions, actions, thoughts, and feelings align so that is where I choose to focus my efforts. We are all on a journey and this is where mine has led.

This intense soul-searching and alignment first hit me hard when I had to provide court-ordered family therapy where parents neglected and abused their children. It was extremely difficult for me to not get angry at the parents and scream “What is wrong with you!?” as I believe no one deserves to be hit and what is done and said to children at the most sensitive and critical stages of development has astounding impact. Obviously, I have professional and ethical standards where I would never react angrily but my body, mind, and soul were constantly being pulled and wrenched, and I was hurt and angry at these parents. I accepted the reality of my thoughts and feelings and worked through them because I knew if I didn’t, my judgments and negative feelings would unconsciously pass onto the family and still be stuck in my being.

When I was able to put my judgments aside to be present with the parents and empathize with feelings, I could help them meet their needs so they could be the best parent for their child. I truly believe that it is in bests interests of the child and our society for children to remain with their parents as long as the parents are safe and open to taking responsibility for their role. In this process listening and accepting the parents for they were and not judging them, then the parents didn’t need to fear or fight me and starting to trust me and be vulnerable. After hearing so many horror stories of the parent’s childhood, I realized these parents were wounded children themselves using the only the tools they had gotten. They also had the threat of losing their children through the court system. How terrifying is that?

Now, I know it is easy to say, “Well I’d never be in that situation, so they deserve that.” Unfortunately, when you live in fear-based and patriarchal society, so much is not in our control. Those who are most vulnerable (women and children) are already exposed to such violence and injustice before they can even stand on their own two feet. How a mother is treated directly influences the development of the baby and our society.

When a baby is in the womb it is the emotional state of the mother which decides how her baby’s brain will develop…If a baby is flooded with the hormones of stress he puts his growth effort into the part of the brain that is designed to deal with stress and threat – the flight or fight part of the brain. He cannot do differently…When the baby in the womb is marinated in hormones of peacefulness, then he is free to get into to developing his higher brain functions. These are the structures he will need for highest human qualities like love, trust, beauty, respect, empathy, and truth…the womb provides everything the baby needs…” ~Pennie Brownlee

I know how a brain is best developed to maximize human potential and our society is far from providing that nurturing environment. I know #45 and the majority of our society are not getting their vital needs met.  I know we are all responsible to a degree for this neglect, current debacle, and are now forced to suffer through the natural consequences of our actions and root problems. The underbelly has always been there and the fact we are in this state only proves what my heart has witnessed for so long.

Even with this attuned awareness, I continue to oscillate between shock, disgust, anger, and radical acceptance and get caught up in the debate of #45. I am conflicted because I agree he is not fit to be president and angry at how ignorant and abusive he his of his power but I also know adding more stress to a dysregulated, traumatized soul will only lead to more pain and suffering.  Insults, personal attacks, blaming and shame all come from the same vein of fear and are defense mechanisms. Sure, I know how good it feels to connect with like-minded, share the misery and gloat in the wins, yet where is that getting us?

Fortunately, I have found effective and long-term change happens best when one can be honest and assertively hold people accountable for their actions while also being sensitive and respectful to the many conscious and unconscious layers of human experience. All my experience has shown to me how one often has to hit rock bottom and have the support of at least one calm, safe, responsive person in order to truly feel all the consequences and take responsibility to change. This seemingly downward spiral is a necessary part of our healing journey.

I know that this experience will raise our collective consciousness and connect us in ways never imagined possible but it will take the willingness to learn new skills to process all the negativity, self-soothe, listen compassionately to all sides, and assert needs respectively.  This is why I choose to respond to needs versus reacting from fear as this is the bridge where I have found the most power to effect positive, sustainable change. I truly believe that all problems and conflict would resolve if we all slowed down, pay attention, and truly listened with compassion. In doing so, we would discover our power to transform violence to benevolence, fear to love, conflict to connection, stress to resilience, and trauma to wisdom. Every moment and interaction is an opportunity to do so.

Embrace the fear and trust the process.


Here are some of my favorite related articles on the subject of #45…

A Zen Master’s Advice On Coping With Trump


Why Christian conservatives supported Trump — and why they might regret it

Attachment Theory in the Age of Trump

Donald trumps presidency will surprisingly be the worlds greatest gift

Why Trump’s Inauguration is Not the Beginning of an Era — but the End


I understand how anyone who has been physically punished would have to make sense of it in some way. You would need to believe that there was some value in it, I mean why else would the person you love and trust the most hit you, make you suffer more…You must have deserved it, Right!?!

It is a step in healing when you take the time to reflect on your upbringing as well as show appreciation for what your family has done for you. That’s good, yet the heartbreaking part for me is that the majority of people have been trained to believe “they are fine” and that we are getting what we “need,” to learn lessons and respect, then stop there as their conclusion. They don’t even know that they have other options to reconcile the conflicting messages. Stuck to rationalize it and pass on the suffering to their kids.

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“[Yet] our babies are starving. Oh they have plenty of food. Our children are starving for touch; they are starving for us. Our children are starving for human interaction and human relationships…We have become advanced in some ways but, at present, our culture is developmentally ignorant. We are a child illiterate culture. We think somehow that it is better for a child to learn letters and words from television than from a parent talking with their baby. We have lost our core child-rearing truths… And there is nothing more essential to a developing child than human touch, infants rarely touched can actually become ill and die.”

-Dr Bruce Perry, excerpt from the preface of Move Baby Move by Sofie Foster and Jerome Hartigan

I have heard Dr. Perry speak many times, and was blessed to participate in his trainings. I am enamored with everything he says. His research rings true on…

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