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Enlightenment

Here’s a link to a biographical talk I gave on what “Light” means to me https://soundcloud.com/waitalks-1/light

Yes, a trauma-informed justice system is greatly needed as jailing people comes at much greater cost than financial as being removed from your primary caregiver is the biggest trauma any person can suffer. These traumatized souls often have less resources and access to healthy outlets to process the trauma and heal, thus resulting in a society of traumatized souls exploding all over the place.

Calling for reform, President Obama notes the impact of incarceration on families.

#ChildAbusePrevention #SexualAssaultAwareness *Trigger Warning*
It seems on a regular basis, there are certain sexual abuse and molestation stories that make headlines, one’s that finally get people’s attention. Truth be known that every 107 seconds, someone in the US is sexually assaulted (see https://www.rainn.org/statistics). The statistics are worse worldwide. These statistics do not surprise me, I am actually more alarmed that many others are surprised. Our society is a petri dish for sexual abuse. Sex is a basic physiological need. Healthy sexual development begins at day one of life. Our society tends to shame and repress our natural desires of sexual expression. So what do we do when we are not allowed to find healthy ways to express ourselves, we hide it and seek out any opportunity we can get no matter how wrong it may be. Next, we will take advantage of vulnerable people to get our needs met. On top of this, we have a double edge sword in our society where we “train” children, our most precious and vulnerable, that they must obey authority figures and they have no rights to say “No.” Then we neglect to teach children how to tune in and listen to their gut/intuition/heart/inner voice, let alone the skills to assert themselves in any context.

For more examples of this, check out: http://everydayfeminism.com/2017/04/ways-we-ignore-childrens-agency/#.WO-xaW7ZzO0.facebook

Sexual expression is a very complex and sensitive issue because even though we have been trained to feel mentally or morally wrong in most situations, it is fundamentally a physiological need so it still feels good physically. It is not enough to have the one ‘big talk’ or random assertion that “You should have no one touch you” and “to tell mom or dad if someone does”. It is a constant open dialogue in small teachable moments throughout life. It is in the subtle messages you send via your choice of words, clothes, media, and so on. Although it angers me how ignorant people are to these messages or that children are having sex and that trusted adults are molesting children everywhere, I understand why we ignore the signs. To accept that this is going on in your city, your school, and even worse, your family would mean that you have to accept the responsibility that this went on without your awareness. Of course, it is easier to be in denial, it is a natural defense mechanism as who would want to take any responsibility for suffering.
And the common reactions of when these stories of sexual abuse make headlines, “Yay, let’s string ’em by their balls and make them suffer” or “They should rot in jail!” make me feel sadder. For me, those reactions are just as violent as the crimes themselves, ignore the root problems, and no one can heal. I was given inappropriate attention since I can first remember, I was molested by a neighbor and sexually harassed on a regular basis whilst attending a catholic school. These events had led to traumatic consequences and emotional scars that I am still healing. Yet, I forgive every one of the boys and men who used me as an object and no longer wish ill on them. I know that they were doing the best with the resources they had. I do not blame them as we live in a culture that promotes sexual abuse. I choose to be part of the solution. I empower, educate, and support people to find healthy, respectful, and non-violent ways to get their needs met.
Here are a few links to get you started:

http://birdsandbeesandkids.com/

http://somesecrets.info/blog/2013/12/29/how-to-educate-your-child-in-body-safety

http://goodmenproject.com/families/the-healthy-sex-talk-teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21/

http://coreparentingpdx.com/2013/sex-can-your-kids-really-talk-to-you/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joyce-mcfadden/things-little-girls-need-from-their-fathers_b_3348956.html

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/parents/resources-for-parents

Books

Talking with Your Child About Sex: Questions and Answers for Children from Birth to Puberty by Mary S. Calderone and James W. Ramey

Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids – A Guide to Sharing Your Beliefs about Sexuality, Love, and Relationships: Everything YOU Need To Know Before Middle School! by Amy Lang

10 Conversations to Have with your Teen about Sex, Dating & Relationships by Dr. Pepper Schwartz

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 seem to melt away peacefully.”   Looking back at it, it took many life changing habits and loving myself through every transition. Although, I could write a book on all the subtle changes and positive actions, here are a few of the things I did:

  • Leave my comfort zone
  • Remove myself from judgments
  • truly play and engage with my children
  • breastfeeding
  • identify and reduce emotional, chemical, and physical toxins from my life
  • journaling
  • follow my passions
  • practice mindfulness
  • prioritize self-care
  • take responsibility for getting my own needs met
  • stop making excuses and blaming others
  • simplify my life by doing things by hand and needing less material objects
  • drink lots of water
  • get active: yoga, Zumba, walking places (instead of driving)
  • embrace vitalistic chiropratic care
  • read “Changing Habits, Changing Lives”
  • eat real, nutrient-rich food

The emotional aspects took an integral role in the weight loss and actually changing what I ate and exercising more came later. It became more about how I did things than what I actually did. It was a state of mind. It was a gradual, affirming and peaceful process. It seemed as I expanded my awareness of my negative thoughts and habits and detoxified my body/mind/soul by making conscious efforts to process the toxins in a non-judgmental and gentle way, that the weight melted away.

“Strong healthy cells are what make 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

When I returned to live by my home town where naturally many of the negative habits and beliefs originated, and I gained most the weight back. I look at the list above and it is easy to see why…many of the positive actions on that list have ceased. I have become obsessed not to disturb other’s peace that I have lost my own. I struggle not to judge my every move, thought, emotion and have a nagging fear that loved ones believe the worst of me. I must believe the best in me and trust that I deserve to treat myself right, no matter what. I vow to consciously revive this list with unconditional love and trust. I also ate a lot more fair-trade, organic dark chocolate 😉

As change is life’s only constant, I find embracing change a good habit to learn. I appreciate this in depth blog about the difficulties in changing habits: http://www.theemotionmachine.com/changing-habits-what-keeps-me-stuck-in-old-ways

 “The essential message of unconditional love is one of liberation: You can be whoever you are, express all your thoughts and feelings with absolute confidence. You do not have to be fearful that love will be taken away. You will not be punished for your openness and honesty…There may be days when disagreements and disturbing emotions may become between us. There may be times when psychological or physical miles may lie between us. But I have given my word of my commitment…So feel free to be yourself, to tell me of your negative and positive reactions. I cannot always predict my reactions or guarantee my strength, but one thing I do know: I will not reject you! I am committed to your growth and happiness… There is nothing else that can expand the human soul, actualize the human potential for growth, or bring a person into the full possession of life than a love which is unconditional. We have labored for so long under the delusion that corrections, criticism, and punishments stimulate a person to grow. We have rationalized the taking out our own unhappiness and incompleteness in many destructive ways…Unconditional love is the only soil in which the seed of a human person can grow…Of course, free will is a factor in every human life. Everyone must say his or her ‘yes’ to growth and integrity. But there are prerequisites. And one of these is someone must empower me to believe in myself and to be myself. ”

 Excerpt from Unconditional Love  by John Powell

This description of love is the epiphany of what I aspire to cultivate. I am blessed to reap the benefits of this intense intercourse. My marriage has liberated (and challenged) me in ways I have never dreamed. The problem in lies that although we all deserve this unconditional love, we become to feel resentful when we don’t get it. This resentment then distorts our efforts to give our love unconditionally as well as thwarting those who wish to give it back. It very quickly becomes a volcano of unmet needs and hurt. I see resentment push our children over the edge and make amuck of marriages. We wonder how a couple can be so in love on their wedding day then filing for restraining orders or divorce years later. When I listen to people talk to their children and/or partner, I am not surprised by our state of affairs.  So when your child says they hate you, or your partner says they no longer love you (although they usually “act out” way before ever saying this, and kids are more honest and direct), do you retaliate with the things they did wrong or empathize with their fear and hurt?

“Strong feelings do not vanish by being banished; but they do diminish in intensity and lose their sharp edges when the listener accepts them with sympathy and understanding.”  ~Haim Ginott between parent and child

It is a sad myth that listening to one’s negative feelings or outbursts will reinforce their negative behavior. There is a huge difference between giving unconditional love and meeting vital needs versus “giving in”. I truly want to help people learn how to see this difference. To embrace the discomfort as well as genuinely accept, validate, and truly listen to another’s pain. I know it is not easy, more often gut-wrenching and you usually won’t get the ideal result you were expecting, yet it will make a difference. Imagine if more of our communications with loved ones and strangers were more supportive than critical, then just maybe a few less of us will be buried feeling alone, afraid, and miserable…

Because in the end, when we all see the ugly things that we see, and we think the ugly things that we think, and we sometimes even vocalize those things to the people around us, it turns out that we are all unknowingly screaming the exact same words to each other.

“I want to be okay, damn it. I want to be okay.”

If you close your eyes for a moment and listen, you’ll hear the world’s cry.

“I want to be loved. I want to feel normal.”

Listen closer.

“I want to not be judged.”

The more you are able to hear it, the louder it gets.

“I want what I believe to be okay.”

Louder. Louder. Louder still.

“I want to not be hated for who I am.”

Until suddenly it’s deafening.

“I am a good person. And I deserve to be loved.”

That’s what we’re all really crying.

Through the verdicts, and the odium, and the cries of foul-play. That’s what we’re all really crying.

“I am a good person. And I deserve to be loved.”

~Dan Pierce of Single Dad Laughing

click link for full article “The nine words that just might fix us all” http://www.danoah.com/2011/12/the-nine-words-that-just-might-fix-us-all.html

These ideas listed below is my first attempt of a handout that goes along with an interactive workshop for families where I live.  The title “Be Happens” is the phrase my 2yr old coined from all the times I say “it happens” when we spill, and me playing “Don’t Worry, Be happy” to relieve my stress. She started to sweetly say “Be happens” whenever we made a mess.

Be Happens*: Enriching Resiliency & Connections between Caregivers & Children

*Tuning into senses, thoughts, feelings, and actions that happen

in any moment within our bodies, minds, & hearts.

Resilience: the ability to cope effectively in the face of stress, adversity, and potentially traumatic experiences.

Stress: anything emotional, mental, physical, or chemical that is prolonged, unpredictable, and overwhelming => Any stress can become traumatic if it continues on unexpressed, unprocessed, and/or misunderstood

Dysregulation: being in a state of STRESS beyond our threshold of tolerance resulting in changes of the chemistry and functioning of our brain/body connection.  Dysregulation => dysfunctional survival behaviours => creates unconscious emotions of fear =>activates flight/flight/freeze mode of reactions.

All negative behavior comes from a state of STRESS andor unmet need.

Emotional Regulation: the ability to experience a feeling, know that the feeling signals a need and then know how to get that need met.

Inconsistent amounts or quality (unique to each individual) of the following vital needs may trigger Stress/Dysregulation:

  1. Nutrition/Hydration
  2. Temperature
  3. Sleep
  4. Level of stimulation (from all senses)
  5. Connection/respectful touch
  6. processing negative thoughts, feelings, toxins

Be Detectives as a family and spy around for what might be triggering you to act out…

Get regulated together by doing the following:

  1. Take Deep breaths
  2. Eat/Drink water
  3. Rest/Sleep/Meditate
  4. Reduce or change stimulation (i.e. adjust temp, turn off electronics, lower noise level, get fresh air and sunlight)
  5. In crease production of happy, calming hormones by doing fun, interactive activities  such as smiling, silly faces, singing, music, hugging, playing games, tickling, dancing., exercising, attend social events, spending special one-on-one with each other
  6. Process negative feelings/thoughts by drawing, acting out, playing, reflective listening, asking open ended questions, identifying/labeling possible feelings, empathize

 Making healthy habits that meet your vital needs will help regulate your body, mind, & heart connections as well as harmonize your thoughts, feelings, actions, and RELATIONSHIPS.

View these links for more info on children’s resilience and stress:

http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/attachment-and-development-resilience

http://brainwave.org.nz/wp-content/uploads//Stress-Article-2010.pdf

This is also a synopsis of some highlights I have learned from these amazing people and have peacefully weaved into my life:

Barbara Wetzel http://www.theergonomiccouple.com/

Juli Alvarado http://www.coaching-forlife.com/

Heather Forbes http://www.beyondconsequences.com/

Bryan Post http://www.postinstitute.com/

Bruce Perry http://childtrauma.org/

Randal and Sarah Farrant http://vital-wellbeing.com/ http://vitalmoms.com/

The first three years of life provides the template for all future relationships.” ~John Bowlby

When a baby is in the womb it is the emotional state of the mother which decides how her baby’s brain will develop…he gets his dose of mother’s molecules-of-emotion through the placenta. If a baby is flooded in 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 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…the mother-baby couple is the First Partnership. It is from this partnership that the baby learns to make relationships…Wise cultures are child-wise, and child-wise cultures do everything they can to ensure the mother and baby get off to the best start in the first 3 years of life. They understand the health of their culture depends on it…If the baby has a bonded relationship with mum, he grows heart-brain connections for the highest human qualities and so can make peaceful relationships with everyone in the group.” ~Pennie Brownlee, Dance with me in the Heart

Please watch this series on cutting edge research on brain development and relationships. Our world desperately needs this level of understanding if we are to maximize our human potential and achieve peace:

http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/series

If your baby could tell you what she really wants from you, she would tell you that she would like these three wishes: to feel safe, to feel loved, and to be respected.” ~Pennie Brownlee

Click this link to watch the webinar on Parenting with the Brain in Mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1LwEdsVImk

What is done to children they will do to society.” ~Dr Karl Menninger

I ran across the book, SummerhillA Radical Approach to Child Rearing by A.S. Neil  in 2010 as it was cited in Norm Lee’s site http://www.nopunish.net/pwp-ch2.htm. He writes “Neill taught me how extraordinary the possibilities when we really respect children, and place our trust in them and the democratic process.” I have not read the whole book, yet it speaks my language on many levels and greatly aligned with my research and experience. It feels validating that someone has had success using a loved-based and diplomatic approach. I also just read in Becoming Attached that John Bowlby (father of attachment theory) was a fan of Summerhill and progressive education.

I aspire to create safe-heaven like Summerhill on the island I now live and my sweet home Chicago. I will create a place where all children are accepted and will get their vital needs met. They will get unconditional love and respect they deserve. Where they will be safe to express and process all their thoughts and feelings. Where there is no boss because they are free to be their own boss and given tools and opportunities to regulate themselves. We will create a homestead to nourish ourselves from food to knowledge. Emotional intelligence, mindfulness and inspired, hands-on learning are the experience.

I have faith that we will make this dream come true

We will heal and transcend the suffering, negativity and the fear

The essence of free will and trust will emanate…

Here a few random quotes from the book:

“The thoughtful parent will be shocked to realize the extent of pressure and power that he is unwittingly using against the child. This book should provide new meanings for the words love, approval, and freedom… Children reared by such methods will develop within themselves the qualities of reason, love, integrity, and courage…”

“Obviously, a school that makes active children sit at desks studying mostly useless subjects is a bad school. It is a good school only for those who believe in such a school, for those uncreative citizens who want docile, uncreative children who will fit into a civilization whose standard of success is money.”

“Self regulation implies a belief in goodness of human nature; a belief that there is not, and never was, original sin.”

“Well, we set out to make a school in which we should allow children freedom to be themselves. In order to do this, we had to renounce all discipline, all direction, all suggestion, all moral training, and all religious instruction. We have been called
brave, but it did not require courage. All it required was what we had–a complete belief in the child as a good, not an evil, being. For almost forty years, this belief in the goodness of the child has never wavered; it rather has become a final faith.”

“We are human like everyone etc, and our human frailties often come into conflict with our theories. In the average home, if a child breaks a plate, father or mother makes a fuss–the plate becoming more important than the child. In Summerhill, if a maid or a child drops a pile of plates I say nothing and my wife says nothing. Accidents are accidents. But if a child borrows a book and leaves it out in the rain, my wife gets angry because books mean much to her. In such a case, I am personally indifferent, for books have little value for me. On the other hand, my wife seems vaguely surprised when I make a fuss about a ruined chisel. I value tools but tools mean little to her.”

“I think that the Freudian emphasis on aggression is due to the study of homes and schools as they are. You cannot study canine psychology by observing the retriever on a chain. Nor can you dogmatically theorize about human psychology when humanity is on a very strong chain–one fashioned by generations of life haters.”
“To be a free soul, happy in work, happy in friendship, and happy in live, or to be a miserable bundle of conflicts, hating one’s self and hating humanity – one or the other is the legacy that parents and teachers give to every child.”

You can read the whole book here: https://trisquel.info/files/summerhill-english_1.pdf

I found a review of students who attended Summerhill: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/summerhill-alumni-what-we-learnt-at-the-school-for-scandal-2373066.html

“What it did was put me off conventional schooling, but it sure as hell left me with a childlike thirst for knowledge.”

Zoe Readhead, Neill’s daughter and Summerhill’s principal since 1985, says: “In society as a whole you would be considered ‘more successful’ if you studied maths and sciences than if you took art, woodwork and drama. Who can define success? The only person who knows if they are successful is the person themselves. We produce people who feel in control of their lives and have the courage to follow their interests.”

Hussein Lucas concludes: “The key feature that sums up the distinctive nature of the Summerhill experience is the virtual absence of fear: fear of failure; fear of authority; fear of social ostracism; fear of life and the consequent failure to engage with it with a feeling of optimism and a positive outlook.”

Excerpts from the Book—Passage of Change by Nancy Marie…

Our beliefs come from our experiences of what we think we see.

Gaining clarity about them

Can really set us free.

“When does all this happen?

Where does it take place?

How can I find the beliefs

That make my life a rat race?”

The whole process beings

While we are in the womb

Because that’s where Mother Nature

Prepares us to grow and bloom.

“How could I form a belief

Before I was even born?

How could I have an opinion

When I was barely a form?”

“Your mother’s beliefs and perceptions were chemically passed to you

By how she reacted

And what she thought was true.

“Your cells knew she was preparing

You to live your new life.

So it listened to her messages

Whether harmony or strife.”

“That set up a pattern.

A way of approaching each day.

So unless you change the message

Your life may go the same way.”

“If you received the message:

Life is filled with harm,

Your brain would sound

Your protection alarm.”

“Your cells would stop growth

So they could defend instead.

Until a new message

Was heard in your head.”

This excerpt was included in a newsletter from my chiropractor. Right now in my life I am working very hard at rewiring the anxious and fearful connections in my head and body. I am filling my mind and soul with all the loving and compassionate messages I need to hear to keep healing and thriving.

I want to learn to trust myself and others. I am using my conscious awareness to actively transform my life by expanding my limiting perceptions and addressing my self-sabotaging behaviors. I am acutely aware of all the physical, chemical, and emotional toxins consuming my cells and beliefs.

I am grateful that I have made amazing choices in my partner for life, higher education, profession, circle of friends and lifestyle.  I am super blessed that my parents are open and willing to join me on this spiraling, spring-like journey. I understand how their best intentions were cloaked in fear and pain.

I feel my most fundamental needs for love, understanding, encouragement, and support are permeating my cells to heal and grow. I physically have never felt so vital before. Emotionally, I have never felt this peaceful as I am right now.

Link to more excerpts from Passage of Change book:  http://www.innereyepublishing.com/passage.html

Link to learn more about my chiropractor’s philosophy: http://vitalmoms.com/

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