Category Archives: childhood development

Do You Need More Support?

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Life’s major changes tend to expose our weaknesses and give us a pressure-cooker opportunity for growth and self-reflection. I learned a difficult lesson around this with the birth of my daughter. Although her birth was “easy”, the scorching summer heat, and her mother’s stress and isolation left Kiya not getting enough milk. Because we did not have layers of support in a critical time – through my own lack of awareness of that basic need – we struggled on alone without knowing how to look for a solution.

We’ve moved on from that time with many powerful tools that help heal the traumas of that experience. We grow together as a family and, today, I actively seek the willingness to be supported… for the benefit of my entire lineage. I see people everyday trying to “go it alone” on one level or another. There’s usually some pride in it and always suffering. And mostly, tyranny of the urgent reigns where life’s most vulnerable aspects are concerned.

But, we can be more strategic in Big Times if we practice developing tools in Whatever Times. We need layers of support around us everyday in order to thrive – people we can look to who care for us and can help if needed; loved ones, allies who can sense when we’re not okay and have our permission to do something for our benefit. Even and especially with the littlest things. A knowing phone call. A meal. A walk around the block. A job to do. Whatever it might be.

Our out-dated “rugged individualism” model measures success by one’s ability to live without layers of support. The resulting psychological, emotional and social isolation generates a lonely, irritable, suspicious, heavily medicated culture afraid to seek the connections needed for happiness.

Collectively, we can begin to change this right now – mold a more effective future with every encounter. As we grow our families, met new neighbors and craft new business success strategies, we can make sure our alliances meet a deeper need for connection and support. Not just one of profit or utility. These small, daily steps on an individual level, create a better foundation for every child born, every company built, and every society reshaped from a need that had gone unmet.

For me, the journey always begins with facing my own need to be loved, seen clearly, and not alone. To push against the isolating barriers in my own society. To reach for my inherent right to belong and feel connected. To be present to the life right in front of me. When I do this, I feel human again, unafraid and fully empowered to love. And my children can feel it right away. That’s worth its weight in gold to me.

How Was Your First Day?

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Every indigenous culture knew this: we are fully conscious beings before conception, all along our human journey, and beyond that. I’ve got a stack of books with decades-old scientific studies that verify this ancient knowledge. And still, I see people everyday treating small humans (in utero and in the world) as objects or not-very-smart-creatures who just need managing.

Maybe the reality of such big awareness packed in a tiny body is just too much for most of us. So we deal with our own overwhelm by minimizing their experience and racing along at our adult very-important-person-in-the-world pace. We prepare for their outer world arrival with lots of stuff (kind of like getting a desk and office supplies for the newbie in the office). We think about how we’re going to fit their training into our schedule in a way that doesn’t break our brains or the bank. (The newbie doesn’t know how to use the print-copy-fax-email-collate machine, but I have 12 meetings this week!)

How many times have we seen (or been) the ‘newbie’ on the job trying fit in, learn their role and navigate social politics, all while they try to find the bathroom and time clock? Some of us have managed to avoid that experience or have been completely supported through it. Some of us were also born into families that were inspired and elated by our amazing consciousness and held us tenderly through every milestone of development. High five to those folks!

For the rest of us, who weren’t gifted with that rare experience and came in as the newbie to families (or jobs) where everyone was just trying to survive the day… everyday. We can give the next newbie a better ride on the trip of life. When we feel their presence in the room, or see their awe-filled expressions, we can stop. Smile. Breathe. Feel the space inside our own skin. Tell them we’re so grateful they came, with all their gifts to share. And let them know we’re here to help them have the most awesome life on Earth they can imagine. Because everybody deserves that.

Kiya’s Teachings

It’s so easy to get lost in useless details, chasing the same dishes around the kitchen day after day, wondering when I’ll ever know how to live “right”. There’s no satisfaction in my perfectionism. Then Kiya comes along and re-minds me how to be present  by the everyday things she does.

Like licking brownie drippings on New Year’s Eve…
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enjoying winter evening rays at the dog park…

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testing the outer limits of fashion…

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and embracing her  inner Artist.dsc_2527web

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Neither wind nor rain, stress or strain, the darkest night or brightest day keeps Kiya from being Kiya. This tops my list of reasons why Kiya is my greatest teacher and inspiration. Everyday, she learns and grows into more of who she already is. A bright and sensitive, complex spirit monkey. And then some.

Friends Make Change Easier

dsc_2295web3Sharing Kiya’s bloody lip ice pack

dsc_2297web4Kisses make booboos feel better

This last Halloween, Kiya’s friend Ruthie shared her extra fairy costume so they could both dress up for gym class. It’s a tiny tumblers for people 1.5 – 3 years old where little ones can run around and check out the gymnastic world. Ruthie loves it and sometimes Kiya does, too. They both really dig the trampoline!

These two photos remind me of how much each of them has changed in the last 10 months, and how much they’ve been through together: a dozen teeth, bumps, bruises, stolen toys and treats, endless disappointments from not getting what they want, missed naps, sun in the eyes on car rides, grumpy mommies, withheld breastfeeding moments, and so on. It’s hard being a small person, but it’s a lot easier and a lot more fun, too, with friends.

And that’s just one more gift Kiya and her friends have given me: community. We’re not alone on this human trip, even in our loneliest moments, and I’m so grateful for the loving wisdom and unexpected patience of friends.