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Food Freedom

good-stuffHaving spent my childhood raised on Little Debbie snacks and soda pop, I’ve come a long way. It took me 20 years to completely give up my addiction to sugar and cravings for junk food––which is not food at all. Further, my children at very young ages taught me that they were capable of choosing their own foods and learning from their choices––I did not need to make decisions for them.

Aside from a small handful of breathetarians in the world (yes, people who don’t need food to survive), most of us eat food to grow and maintain our bodily functions. Proponents for all possible food realities exist: from raw food to fasting, vegetarian to macrobiotic, vegan to carnivore, paleo, gluten-free, organic, free-range, blah, blah, blah. We all eat. And we’re all different. We all enjoy different foods at different times in different quantities, prepared uniquely to our meet our evolving tastes. Well, that is if we’re lucky enough to be able think for ourselves and experiment with/choose foods that appeal. Ok, that is not likely true for most of us. Just a few of us.

As parents, we are often very concerned about the quality and quantity of food our children eat. We tend to apply our own likes and dislikes, standards for quality and preparation to what we serve our kids. We like to think that what we serve them will be nutritious and nurture their bodies and brains. How do we know? We make lots of assumptions based on our experience and knowledge but we rarely create an environment for our children that allows them to make these important, perhaps even critical, decisions for themselves.

Let’s talk about this. First, is it possible to offer a complete array of food stuffs to a child so they can choose for themselves? Second, could it be important that they be given this opportunity? Third, are we just asking for trouble with the approach? After all do we really want to be preparing different foods for each of our children every day? And what if they choose foods we don’t approve of, like candies and sodas and ice cream for dinner and, and, and?

I am going to skip the theory and philosophy with this discussion and just jump into what I currently think about it all.

Just as infants each breastfeed differently––nursing for longer or shorter times, often or less often, more some days and less on others––it is only natural that as they move to solid foods they will maintain their (ever-changing) eating patterns. As a mom, I want to honor my child’s natural tastes, preferences, likes and dislikes. As a toddler, I will offer her as wide a range of foods that I deem tasty and nutritious: fresh fruits and vegetables cut into small pieces or blended into smoothies or steamed lightly to make soft. I’ll offer fresh cooked beans, eggs, small pieces of fish and meat, bits of cheese, whole grains and breads. Watching her enjoy or refuse foods tells me what she wants more of and gives me incentive to find/invent more options in the areas of food she is enjoying.

As she gets a bit older and spends more time in the big world of friends who eat candy, fast food, other things I might call junk, I just watch as she experiments. Because I no longer eat those foods, she’ll ask me why when she notices and I will explain to her in as neutral a way as possible why I choose not to eat them. I will continue to trust her food choices, even buying the junk things she asks for. Even when, as challenging as it can be, she might want nothing but.

Here is what I have learned about this: when solid food offerings as in-arms babes are of whole foods (including, critically, breast milk), when they are supported later to make independent decisions about food choices in a non-judgmental environment as toddlers, offered a wide range of their own versions of tasty whole foods when they are hungry (not according to your schedule) always, the child will always return to foods that support their maximum growth and well-being, even when it may appear from time to time that they have fallen in love with a junk item. As a mom, I have lived through a few bouts of candy loving, a few years of what I considered very picky eating. All now adults, each of my kids has long been aware of their personal responsibility over their health and its relationship to the foods they eat. They’ve all learned how to cook, and do it very well. None of them regularly eat fast food or processed food––they all live away from home so I can’t be sure of this but based on our conversations and our many discussions of food and lifestyle, I know they place extraordinary value on consuming fresh whole foods. I also know they never report getting sick, aside from a cold every couple of years or so.

So, while I believe in this notion of “food freedom” and in a child’s natural ability to choose foods that support their body’s desire to thrive, I also believe in being the best role model I can be for this. Which means that I am responsible to myself for thinking about the quality of my own mental and physical wellbeing and what is required to maximally support my highest state. I admit that I have come to believe that processed foods, far removed from their whole state, with significant amounts of dyes, preservatives and synthetic additives are toxic to the human animal. Why would I offer them to my precious, beautiful children? That doesn’t even make sense to me. But since I trust my child’s ability to experiment and learn what promotes a healthy, vital state, I am comfortable with his exposure to the “real world” as he moves through life and his need to consider and understand the wide range of food options out there.

The bottom line for me as a mom who cares both enormously about the quality of my child’s health and his need for self-ownership is this:

1. My child is learning by watching me and the other adults in my home. What do we eat, how do we prepare it, how much do we enjoy it, how healthy are we, how much energy do we have?

2. Take maximum responsibility for knowing what foods allow for your own maximum state of wellbeing and commit yourself to offering that as a backbone to your infant and young child. As an example, even if you eat a macrobiotic diet and your child eventually chooses to eat a raw or omnivorous diet, he will come to understand at a very young age that the type and quality of food you eat is not random but carefully considered.

3. Let your child know that he is responsible for making his own choices and that you trust him to know what is best for him. Do this unconditionally if you can, it will carry much more weight.

4. Create or say yes to opportunities for him to explore the world of people, foods, health, disease––in other words, the “real world.” Share your opinions and ideas, continue researching, observing and learning and empower (don’t require) him to do the same. We’re all trying to figure out what works for us and I’ve learned too that our needs are always changing. It is a journey after all. And it’s supposed to be fun.

Sexual Beings

mother-loveLet’s talk about sex. And children. Yes, children.

We are born sexual beings. For many of us, somewhere between our birth and our active sexual life as an adult we have become less than satisfied, joyful, radiant beings, sexually. For most of us, we have learned to fear desire and unadulterated sexual pleasure, and ignorantly pass our fears on to our children: as wee ones we’re told don’t touch yourself – it’s dirty; cover yourself up – no one wants to see your private parts; boys and girls can’t share a bath or bedroom. As older children adults say you’re too old to be naked, you’re too young to know about sex, sex is for grown-ups. As teens we hear about sexual diseases, abstinence, sluts, whores, boys just want to take advantage of girls. Not to mention all the mixed messages we pick up from our culture: sexy is good but sex is bad, at nearly any age. As adults most of us are pretty fucked up. We might spend the rest of our lives wishing and trying to achieve comfort with our sexuality.

Can we dissect this? As human animals, we are delivered into this lifetime as a result of sexual orgasm. As humans, from birth to death, we are driven by sexual pleasure. Infants of both sexes will masturbate easily and comfortably within days of their birth – noticeable of course when no diapers are present. Diapers are the first thwarting of sexual expression and pleasure that occur for most of us. Young children out of the diaper stage will also masturbate easily and comfortably, as well as ask a lot of questions about how they got here, how babies are born, differences between male and female genitalia.

Much deeper than the pure pleasure of sexual gratification is the energetic heart of what makes us tick, what motivates us, what gives us the stamina to do the things we love to do and do them well. Our energetic heart is linked directly to the satisfaction we are able to achieve sexually. The pleasure that is derived from sexual stimulation is all about feeling good. As human animals, there is no physical feeling more intensely pleasurable than sexual stimulation that leads to orgasm. Nurturing this natural feel-good desire and satisfaction stimulates the whole being, in turn nurturing the easy and natural feel-good of other bodily pleasures: the enjoyment of tastes and sounds; personal expression and challenge through art, intellect, athletics, music. When sexual expression and pleasure is thwarted, the feel-good drive is stunted. Life starts to feel more like work than pleasure.

Somehow we have wound up living in a world that treats us – as infants and children – as dummies. We have come to believe that we have to teach children how to think and behave sexually, that there are wrongs and rights about it all. Sexual connectedness to oneself is as elemental to being a human as the connection to breathing, learning to walk, talk, eat, shit, play and grow.

Connection to the essence of oneself hinges on growing up in an environment that trusts our natural abilities to experiment, observe, listen, gauge what is safe or unsafe, what is trustworthy or not, make sense of the world, make choices that come from our developing and always evolving sense of inner authority. On our own terms. When nurtured to feel, examine and make personal choices from early on, growth is achieved in the highly unique and specialized way that is right and true for us.

I’ve had this conversation with lots of folks over the years and the concern about abuse always comes up: how do we protect our children from the abuse and exploitation of others, especially if raised to be “sexually free?” A child nurtured to enjoy the easy and natural feel-good in life understands what love, respect and trust feel and look like. They have learned to follow their intuition, question, and make decisions that adults support. As a result, and this is critical, they have learned they have a voice that’s respected, they trust their intuition and can speak authoritatively on it, they can act according to what they feel is right and trust that adults are in partnership with them. Such children are not easily lured or swayed or coerced to do things that don’t FEEL GOOD.

We are born enormously intelligent beings. We are not taught to be intelligent. Our reflexes, intuition, drives for survival are strong. We cry because we have something to say and hope someone is listening. We laugh when we’re happy. Moment by moment, step by step, we take on the world. As social animals we come into this life eager for loving companionship, respectful and trusting partnership with other human animals. Every time a baby is born we get a brand new chance to nurture a being to full vital expression, authority and self ownership.

If I was going to offer advice, here is what I’d say. Create every possible opportunity for your infant to be naked: in your arms with a towel, playing in water or outside, consider elimination communication (EC), extend the in between diaper times as long as possible. Let your baby do whatever they like with their bodies and genitalia. As young children, allow them to be naked as often as they like, on their own terms. When respected in the privacy of their own homes to feel free with nudity and their own sexuality they will easily learn that clothes are necessary for public appearances. If you share a family bed, allow your children to be aware of the energetics of adult lovemaking: they will associate the sounds of it later with mature love that involves sex. Further, nurture sex play for your children: doctor games, being married role plays. These are fun and important games for them that should be explored with love and respect not shame and fear. Welcome all questions about elimination, procreation, sexual pleasure and the responsibilities of each. Lecturing is not required – questions will come naturally and often prolifically, as their environment with self, animals, siblings, friends, etc. warrant.

With my three children, I saw that they each preferred to be naked all the time, even in winter, up to the age of about six, at which point they became very aware that everyone else is wearing clothes and their own personal sense of modesty set in. When my kids, influenced by their friends, would ask me when they would be allowed to date or have sex, I would tell them that those important decisions would be ones they would make, not their mother. Knowing when it feels nice and good to date and when to have sex are extraordinarily personal decisions that should and will vary from person to person. I always shared my opinions and experience with them but made sure they knew that these big decisions were their own to make. It’s worth saying too that I said such things to my kids knowing that it was possible they would make mistakes… and that I would continue to support their decision-making. Trust is not trust if there is a punishment or admonishment hanging over one’s head. At the same time, I did my earthly best to let them know that I would always do my best in giving them advice – if they asked. They did, often, knowing that the decision to make was theirs alone.

Successful then Happy or Happy then Successful?

A whole lotta folks talk about happiness being the goal of a good life. I am part of that camp. It feels awesome to be happy: when I’m happy I feel joy, relaxation, contentment, fulfillment, stimulation and in a state of flow all at the same time. When I am unhappy I feel anxiety, fear, anger or just in a quandary, unsettled. How to achieve this magnificent state of happiness? Read more

Learning to Be Alone

“If we don’t teach our children to be alone, they will only know how to be lonely.”

Sherry Turkle is credited with saying this and I was magnificently struck by the profundity of it when I read it awhile back. I’ve given it lots of thought and the wisdom of it has settled in a comfortable and, I think, permanent place in my psyche.

What does it mean to be lonely? Read more

Need

What do I need to live? What do I really need? Food, water, air – ok, I get that, duh. I believe I also need love. What does this mean, I need love? Sure, it feels good to know that there are folks in the world that love me, whenever they love me. This is not what I’m talking about though, because love from others cannot only be fleeting, but if I believe I need such love, then I am dependent upon that love. And the only dependence that feels right and true for me is dependence upon myself: on my ability to meet my needs, listen to myself, act according to my highest wishes, and yes, love myself. Read more

Thank you, Jamie Grumet

Jamie is an AP (attachment parenting) mom and was on the cover of Time magazine this past May, openly nursing her four year old son. While I did not read the story because I’ve just plain old learned from years of experience that mainstream news is not what I like to read, I was still very much aware of the brouhaha it caused. Apparently there’s lots of folks out there who find nursing offensive (ok, I knew that) and nursing a child beyond infancy downright abnormal. I also caught wind of folks who felt enormous guilt because they were not in alignment with nursing, extended nursing or stay-at-home mothering, which AP, of course, requires (you can’t be “attached” to a child if you’re working or they are in someone else’s care). Oh well, I can’t control anyone else’s thinking or believing or actions, but it gave me an opportunity to feel a soft, comfortable gratitude that I had had the profound benefit of AP with my three children and allowed my whole world to shift as a result. And, honestly, I was grateful to Jamie for being willing to expose herself to millions of readers … and Time magazine for choosing attachment parenting as their cover story (even though I know the motive was sensationalism which sells magazines, duh). Read more

competition vs. COMPETITION


I have tried but just can’t let this olympic season play itself out without voicing my opinion. I hate the Olympics. Hate should be capitalized, and I don’t even believe in hate. I believe in love but there is just not a single thing to love about this hideous tradition in sports. Read more

Is Unschooling a Cult?

Despite the fact I formally, very consciously and officially gave up the “news” over three years ago, I have still become aware of the news media’s fascination with Tom Cruise and his, uh, third wife is it? Katie, or as he renamed her, Kate. I chose to read some of the hoopla and of course Scientology always plays a big part in Tom’s controversial life. Whenever Scientology is mentioned in the media it accompanies fear and the word ‘cult.’ Read more

LIberation from Education

Do I honestly think education is a bad thing? No, of course I don’t. I just want it redefined.

Virtually everyone would agree that this thing called education is a requirement for living in the world, unless we prefer a solitary life on the top of a mountain communing with animals and spirits. (hey, that’s not a bad idea!) And education, after all, is nothing more than information, right? And the information we each take in will vary from person to person, as a function of each’s interests, past experience, dreams, inclinations, etc. Even when we’re trying to force feed education, as in assignments, classroom, coursework, etc., each person is still only learning what they are inclined to learn.

Conduct this experiment anywhere, anytime: take 10 people to play at the park, to a local museum, out to eat at a restaurant, to the library… whatever…wherever. Leave each person alone and free to observe, act, meet others, eat as they choose. Gather together, after the outing, and compare notes: I am certain you will discover the huge range of thoughts, interests, preferences, and of course, learning, that took place. No two people will emerge from an outing of any kind with the same “world view” on what took place, what they felt, what they learned, what they want to do more of. If you gave a test afterward, how could you even begin to determine what was valuable, much less to everyone … and what gives you the right to think your notions of “what should have been learned” are important or valuable anyway? How about asking each person instead what they felt was important or valuable to them about the outing. Let go of your preconceived ideas about right and wrong and realize that what each finds important IS important.

If you are a parent or a teacher, use each person’s guide of what’s important to help you continue to nurture that. For the person who met new friends and wants to see them again, honor the learning that takes place through friendship and interpersonal communication. For the one who loved all the details of the bugs and leaves or colors of the paintings, nurture their interest and curiosity in nature or art. For the one who preferred to just sit alone and daydream or read a book, get them more books or more daydreaming time! All doors to exciting opportunity, invaluable exploration and self discovery open when we are free to move about the world in thought and action with freedom-to-be.

This is just as true for teens and adults as it is for young children. Follow the interest, one step at a time and watch as doors open with options for incredible learning and growth and sustainability on whatever level is right for you.

When people have the freedom to immerse themselves in the things, people and places that are of genuine interest and value to them – whether you agree or understand it at all – they are growing, learning, blossoming, thinking… and becoming thoughtful and intelligent, resourceful and respectful of self and others. They are learning on their own terms how wonderful life is, how much there is to enjoy, what love is and what it feels like. These are the inspired benefits of education. And inspired education that can only take place when the learner is in charge.

Intuition is Your Best Defense

With all the information constantly coming our way, all the diverse people we come into contact with, all the choices that are available to us, it can be challenging to sort through it all and make decisions and choices that are… well, right for us. And there is also a natural part of us that aims to learn from others, grow and challenge ourselves, and so we actively SEEK information and new ideas and interesting people. Whenever I feel muddled in the dissonance or confusion of ‘what really makes sense here?’, I step back, find a quiet place and trust…

my intuition. We all have it. We’ve all been thwarted from using it and trusting it and acting on it since we’ve been small children… most likely. I’ve never grasped the clarity before now of why this happens – WHY does our world not foster and nourish us in following our intuition? Why as adults do we get such mixed messages of ‘follow your gut’ and ‘listen to your heart’ and yet get questioned when we do just that, or criticized, insulted or accused of being selfish or not concerned for the greater good?

There are a few reasons:

- People are lying to us all the time and if we trust our intuitions about them and what they want us to believe then we won’t follow them or conform to what they want us to do. This applies to parents, teachers, voices of religion or other dogma, government and corporate leaders. even our friends lie to us… why? (that’s a different blog post)

- We’ve been educated and conditioned to look out for #1 and in the process move everyone else to a back burner. This puts all of us in a position of creating a ‘self’ that is constantly wanting confirmation and validation from others. As we seek this we naturally deny another’s intuition about us or how our views, etc. apply to their own life… and seek only their agreement. Do we really want a nonstop conversation with others who question us all the time about our choices, our beliefs, our actions?

- We have forgotten how to be honest and value honesty in others, and further, we are threatened by honesty.

In the face of the nasty reality regarding the devaluation of intuition, it’s still there, just waiting and ready for us to tune into. When all is said and done, the one thing we can always trust is our own intuition. That voice that lives in the heart of who we really are is capable of guiding us toward right thought and action that feels good.

FEELING is what intuition is all about. My intuition is my own personal guide. My intuition is always in alignment with my best interests, my highest potential. When I am in tune with my intuition, I know it because it always FEELS right, it FEELS good. I know I am in communion with my intuition because I am never guided toward malevolent or negative thoughts or actions. There is always a profound, higher good that feels true and valuable and powerful. Acting on my intuition is sometimes challenging and even scary but it always pays off. Always. In ALL WAYS.

Comparing Myself to Others

I’ve spent a good part of my life believing that this is what we do naturally as we maneuver the world and assess our beliefs, skills, talents, etc.  Everything and everyone from professional researchers to schools to religions to media of all kinds have us comparing ourselves to others and leaving us striving or wishing for something outside ourselves.  How does my “education” measure up with others I hold in esteem?  How many times per month do I have sex with my partner and is it “normal?”  When did my child learn to read or live on his own or blah, blah, blah and does it make him smarter or slower or … whatever?  Where do I live and how big is my house and does it put me in the middle class or upper class?  How does my body shape up as a middle aged woman and does it make me better than others or average or worse?  How much time do I give to charity and is it “enough?”  How much money do we make and is it enough for us to live on in our retirement?  What is retirement?  What is aging?  What is life?  Why can’t I just be left alone to think and act for myself, free of the barrage of dictates from others on what is right, normal, average or superior?

I’ve experienced the profound joy and release of letting go of this belief, this action.  I’ve given up mainstream media of all kinds and done away with “experts.”  Seeing myself as a sovereign being, one with maximum freedom to think as I wish, act only according to my internal dictates, has me feeling amazingly …… solid and unobstructed, centered and clear, peaceful and alive.  

All of a sudden it makes complete and total sense.  Afterall, no other life form of any kind in it’s natural state compares itself to another.  Newborns and young children of course never do.  Animals, birds and plants manage to thrive in environments without ever comparing themselves to their fellow animals birds and plants (well, they thrive until we destroy their environments anyway).  How and why did we wind up in such a miserable state of dis-ease that invariably results from our “need” to constantly compare ourselves to others anyway?  Even if we’re not feeling dis-ease, why do we keep allowing ourselves to be bombarded with the comparisons constantly made for us?   And why do we keep perpetuating it?  EEEK!

Most of us seem to agree with the notion that we are here in this lifetime to learn, grow, evolve, love and enjoy.  Can we accomplish all these things if we’re not comparing ourselves to others in the process?  As I allow birds and animals, newborns and young children to be my guides here, I have to say yes, unequivocally.  Is it possible to accomplish great things without the competition for grades, status and external achievement?  I think it’s not only possible but even MORE likely, as the absence of externally motivated pressure to compare and compete allows us much greater freedom to create, invent, love and otherwise follow our inner guidance toward right livelihood, experiment on our own terms and evolve exponentially.

How does this feel to you?  Do you think it’s possible to to understand the world, learn to communicate effectively, do useful/profound/sustainable work, get a “real” education, all without the influence of media, “standards,” competition and externally driven pressure to “succeed?”  I am loving the fantasy.

Is Sex the Most Important Thing?


I’ve always felt that connection to sexual expression is critical to one’s healthy sense of self, but it’s only been recently that I have come to consider that it might just be THE most important thing in our development, our understanding of life and our communication with it. Read more

Submission… yup you heard that right

There was a time when I felt revolted and rebellious whenever I heard this word. It always connoted male or parental domination and my gut response never even allowed me to open myself up, consider the meaning and dissect what’s possible with this word, this action. Read more

Mind Power

OK, so we all know about the power of the mind. We know about quantum physics and law of attraction, we know how Reiki masters can effect healing on the other side of the planet as easily as if they were laying their hands on someone. But do we REALLY know what our minds are capable of…. do we really? Read more

Home Improvement

Home. It’s a sacred place, or at least I want it to be. A place where I always feel comfortable, loved, welcome. A place that is a retreat for my mind, body and soul. A place to rest, rejuvenate and feel fully alive, all at the same time. For me, my whole world is my home. Read more

Sky Gazing, Oneness and Love


One of my favorite things to do is stare at the sky. Not a gray sky, that doesn’t work so well. A blue sky, a stormy one or one scattered with clouds. I imagine myself high in sky, overseeing the world below me. As I breathe, I imagine that the breath I just took was air shared by another on the other side of the planet and that gives me a feeling of oneness; of being connected to everything and everyone. Read more

Big Happy Family… at what Cost?

When we become parents we dream of fun, happy times together… sharing enriching conversation around wonderful meals, taking beach vacations together and playing in the ocean and sand, gathering often, or even just occasionally, for meaningful celebrations. We like to believe that if we do everything right – love and nurture our children – that such occurrences will flow easily, naturally and rightfully.

I have spent 30 years loving and nurturing my children, watching, reading and thinking about the Big Happy Family and have learned that it’s not at all what I thought it was. Read more

Attachment Parenting

is all about commitment. My children were the ones who taught me all about it and how critical it is to sustainable health, wellness, psychological fortitude and the establishment of one’s BACKBONE – that critical element in the development of self that gives us resilience, confidence, self respect and a core internal belief that we are connected through love. Our backbone determines everything about us: how we take on the world, our curiosity, ability to try new things without fear, not give up, give unconditionally, love without fear of failure, trust and bounce back after a fall.

I believe that every woman, upon giving birth, feels a powerful biological drive to nurture and protect her newborn. If left to her own devices she will be drawn into an immediate and deep connection with her child, afterall it’s a simple preservation of the species drive. What happens to most mamas however is a rapid disconnection with their infant. Read more

Boundaries

Can we talk about boundaries? Everyone agrees that boundaries are important. What most don’t agree on is who gets to set the boundaries.

We all have our own sense of privacies, personal space, intrusive behaviors, etc. We all like to think we know what those are for ourselves, afterall it’s really all about what feels right and good and safe and empowered. What we never know is what another’s boundaries are. We make a mistake when we try to set the boundaries for another, especially for a child. Read more

rethinking… HISTORY

I have been puzzling over our education system’s desire to teach history for a long, long time, since I was a child. Not just war history, but any kind of history. Basically anything that has preceeded this moment. Not because it’s boring or largely limited to dates and dry facts, but because it just doesn’t make sense to teach it. Read more

Phooey to Gurus

As the founder and producer of the life-altering Rethinking Everything conference, I have had lots of folks over the years tell me I am their guru. I rebel against this! Heartily! With every cell of my being I rebel (and I say so). I don’t believe in gurus, gods, worship or idolatry. I am always left to ponder why so many folks seem to want, or even need, a guru of some sort to follow, emulate, fawn over, or …. use to justify their own inability to ask within the big questions, get the deeply intimate and profound answers and live accordingly. This is my dream for everyone, to discover their own heart. Read more

rethinking the nature of MOTHERHOOD


There’s a video making the rounds in cyberspace this week, I guess because Mother’s Day is cropping up, that was done to honor the roles mothers play in the precious lives of their children. A male friend sent it to me and called it heartwarming. Of course I was eager to click and watch; I am all about mothering and think it’s the most important job anywhere. I did and I was not only appalled but physically nauseous. Read more

Population Control

My daughter is a natural mother. She has spent a good part of her life playing with baby dolls, talking endlessly about the ins and outs of mothering, parenting and things like discipline and abuse, babysitting – and being the best babysitter on the planet – and dreaming of being a mother. She was even pregnant once at 21 and miscarried. She is now 27, visited me recently for a week, and we had lots to talk about.

One of the things we delved into was whether she still had big dreams to become a mother. She has created a life for herself she totally and completely loves: she is a business owner and loves her work, she is a roller derby queen and passionately loves her sport. She loves being in a feel-good relationship without any plans or pressure to commit herself to the future of that relationship. She is in a place of asking herself whether she is willing to give up all that she currently loves and adores to become a mother… and why she would even consider it. We spent some time dissecting this. Read more

What Will Become of You?

What Will Become of You?

I’ve been guided to much clarity over the years to the importance of nurturing our young children’s interests – their authentic interests – not the ones we sometimes limit them to and then make them choose. As I look at my own life and those of many around me, I see so much to fascinate about.

Here are just a few stories that are fresh in my mind: Read more

Hold Me

I have had lots of opportunity to observe and contemplate touch.  

I am remembering a handful of years back when my family adopted a new dog, one who was fully vaccinated for the deadly Parvo virus.  We had this sweet dog for only a matter of weeks before she contracted Parvo.  It is a horrible, horrible illness that acts fast on the intestinal lining, causing internal bleeding, loss of appetite and lethargy.  After just one day of watching our dog deteriorate we took her to the vet, she was diagnosed, we were told that Parvo was an incurable virus and that our two choices were to have her euthanized or take her home and watch her die a painful death in less than 72 hours. Read more

Connecting Telepathically, a guest story on the RE blog

Connecting Telepathically
A Guest Story by Sandra Moore Williams

Last year I had a chance to fly to Tennessee from Texas to see my new grandbaby, who was then five months old. I had been unable to be there when she was born, but my daughter Heather’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law had descended like angels onto the household to help her manage for the first month. I was most grateful and so was she.

As we planned my trip, my daughter warned me that little Mira would let no one hold her except her momma. Not even her dad. So I decided to try getting acquainted telepathically before I arrived.

About two weeks before the trip, I sat down and reached out to her in meditation. I introduced myself as her grandmother and visualized a picture of myself so she would recognize me. In the ensuing two weeks, I spoke to her daily mostly in mental pictures, and reminded her who I was and that I loved her and was coming to see her. I visualized her in my arms and loving her. Read more

Vaccine & Immunization Rethinking: RE blog post

Vaccination & Immunization Rethinking

When my first child was born at home 29 years ago in the peaceful and nurturing surrounds of our own private universe, the thought of shattering his world with painful and intrusive vaccinations was abhorrent to me. Of course I wanted to safeguard him from the ails that vaccinations purportedly protect us from. I just didn’t want him to experience pain he did not understand. I am a researcher so I went to work, reading everything I could find on the history and science of vaccines and on what it means to be immunized. Read more

Eating To Save Our Lives. An RE Guest Blog Story.

Eating To Save Our Lives. A Guest Blog Story.
submitted by Kelli Bailey

I developed a malignant breast tumor when I was 37 and pregnant with my fourth child. If that hadn’t happened, I would not be enjoying my incredible new role as a coach enabling other parents to raise their children as healthy, heart-centered, independent thinkers.

How it Began

Life was stressful enough for my husband Chris and me in the summer of 2007. We had just sold our home and closed my daycare business, most of our belongings were in storage and our family of five was living in a 600 square foot apartment while we searched for a new home. In the midst of all that, we were driving for eight hours both ways every two weeks so that I could continue receiving pregnancy care from my beloved obstetrician.

That was when I received the diagnosis. Read more

Everything is Energy and Energy is Everything

Everything – every single thing – we do or think takes energy. Easy to see… right? Everything we do or think releases energy. Sure, of course – you can see that. When you are in a good mood, for example, others around you can tell – they can feel it. Likewise, when you are crabby or angry, those same others know it, and you don’t even have to say anything.

The energy of yes and no also carries energy. When you ask for help and someone responds with yes it feels good. When they say no it feels not so good. Likewise, when someone asks you for help, for example, it feels good to say yes, partly because you can tell that it makes them happy but also because it feels good to help. If you respond with no, you know the recipient feels less than good and you probably feel less good than if you’d said yes. Mostly though, the shared energy that comes from the recipient of the yes is enough for everyone to feel good.

I am always puzzling over why parents say no to their children. Read more

Cloth or Paper? The Great Diaper Debate. RE Blog Guest Story.

Cloth or paper? The great diaper debate.
a guest story submitted by Sheila Cameron

Many parents ponder which is better. It wasn’t until I read the history of diapers in Today’s Parent article Diaper Dance (Sara Cassidy, Feb, 04) that I asked, “What about neither?” I was intrigued by the notion that diapers didn’t always exist and that they are not used in many countries around the world today. Before this point I had merely accepted them as normal. Read more

You Can’t Do It All

In our fucked up (civilized) world we have come to believe that we can be both (good? great? the parent you want to be?) parent and employee/business owner/worker bee. No, we cannot. It is impossible. Oh sure, we can go through the motions. We can work at a job, whether at home or elsewhere for hours a day, collect or generate income, have children and … hire a nanny/ babysitter/ day care to parent them when we’re not around. A whole lotta people do it so it must work ok, right? Incorrect. How did we ever come to think this was not only feasible but actually beneficial for us, for our children, for our families? Read more

Who Do You Love?

Is there anyone you love? Do you know what love is, what love feels like? In my world, to love authentically and deeply is to give completely with everything you are, your whole being, your heart and mind… and never ask for anything in return. Never ask the object of your love to give you something in return. Read more

Jealousy

Are you jealous? Do you feel discomfort when your partner develops a bond with another or when your child prefers the company of another over you? Do you feel envious when a friend achieves exuberant success or lands a welcome windfall of money, love or opportunity? We live in a world that not only views jealousy and envy as commonplace, but natural and a part of life. What’s up with that? Why is discomfort so accepted and supported? Read more

Are you Intelligent?

I’ve given gobs of thought to this thing we revere called intelligence. We all want it, right? We want it for our kids, certainly. Very few people in any walk of life, when asked, would not claim to be intelligent. It’s in the eyes of the beholder afterall, right? Read more

Who Wears the Pants in Your House?

my husband and I during our early years together

I overheard someone use this phrase (again) today, and my skin crawled as it always does when I hear this or a sister expression like she wears the pants in that family, he is henpecked, be a man and let them know who is boss. Yuck to all of it. Read more

Daydreaming… about Daydreaming

I have been daydreaming… about daydreaming.

I have long been aware that many of my most creative insights, profound intuitive thoughts and lightbulb moments occur when I completely let go to the wide open space of nothingness and do that thing called … daydreaming. Read more

Consistency is Debilitating

Barb:

A few people recently have been asking me about the value of consistency in child rearing, and, since I have strong feelings about this, I thought a blog post was in order.

What is consistency anyway?  By definition and action both, it means being bound by an idea, a should:  kids should eat dinner before dessert, they should go to bed at the same time, they should be treated the same so that they learn that this is the way things are.  Huh?  Does this really sound intelligent to you when wrapped up in a nutshell in this way? Read more

Why I Taught My Children To Talk Back

Black Phoebe composition manipulation composite_bird

photo courtesy of Mike Baird

Barb:

When my kids were kids, as young as 3 to 5, it bugged the hell out of me when they would do what I said. Ok, go ahead and read that again.

Oh sure, I was happy enough when we’d all finish eating, for example, and I’d say please bring your plates to the sink and they would do it. The easy stuff. What really got to me was when I would ask them to do something, like clean up their toys or their room or help me with a chore or go brush their teeth and … I could sense immediately that they did not want to do what I had asked them to do … and they would begin to do it anyway, despite what their feelings were about it. THIS is what bugged me. It felt like abuse to me. I know how I feel when someone asks me to do something I don’t want to do … and I certainly don’t want to do it just to please them (doing things to please others because it feels good is a completely different type of act). Read more

Rethinking Compassion

compassion quote

Barb:

It’s time we had an honest, heartfelt conversation about compassion.  Yes, that warm and fuzzy, touchy-feely word we associate with goodness… NOT.  Compassion is not those things.  Compassion is mostly disabling and dysfunctional. 

Not to throw the baby out with the bathwater here, compassion is a natural and probably useful feeling for the hopelessly and terminally ill, the hopelessly depressed aged and abused children too young to take charge of their lives.  In all other cases it really doesn’t serve us or the recipients we feel compassionate toward.  Read more

Practice Skepticism

skeptical

Barb:

When my kids were young I took one of my well worn t-shirts to an embroiderer and had “practice skepticism” embroidered on it.  This was back in the days when I had no time or interest to shop for clothes, so that t-shirt got lots and lots of wear.  I still have it and can’t throw it out because I feel so aligned with that guidepost.

Let’s be clear though, it’s not that I don’t believe anything or anyone, in fact trust is something that comes easily and naturally for me.  So, skepticism is not a religion for me, just a guidepost. Read more

You Don’t Need to Be Happy For Me… I can do that for myself.

Growing through the snow

photo courtesy of Steve Hodgson

Sarah:

Last week we published a post about the importance of being selfish. The jist was that we deserve to be happy and to seek personal fulfillment. I mentioned that not everyone in our lives may agree and I’d like to elaborate. Just as we, ourselves, may be rethinking a life of obligation, unfulfilling work, and strained relationships, there are those who do not see a way or a need to change this traditionally accepted view of living. Being happy can be perceived as a personal affront to some people in our lives and downright crazy to others. Read more

Bonding at Bedtime

sleep safety

Barb:

This ad I saw recently has been eating away at me. A wonderful story we recently published in our first issue of Rethinking Everything PARENT by Dayna Martin on her family bed has spurred me to chime in. Read more

Being Selfish Rules

selfishness
Barb:

I am so happy to have discovered a life of unmitigated selfishness. It’s not a recent discovery, and in fact I raised my kids to be completely selfish too … although honestly we never talked about it quite that way.

Living selfishly is pure bliss and everyone around you benefits from it. Contrary to what we have been culturally taught about being selfish, I’ve learned that it’s actually a secret to life. In fact it might even be the meaning to life. Some of you know just what I mean. For the rest of you, here is some insight on the magical, glorious selfish life. Read more

Unlearning Adultism

Great Grampa

Sarah:

Hello. My name is Sarah and I’m a recovering adultist. Before our children were born, my husband and I were the best backseat parents out there. We firmly believed that children should have a ‘healthy fear’ of their parents and intended to use the ‘wait till your dad gets home’ method of parenting. But our children kicked our intuitive selves into high gear with their births and their amazing and beautiful development and innate sense of themselves. We listened, learned, researched, talked, and acted according to this new awareness that our children were not an extension of ourselves but rather individuals who deserved and needed respect and nurturance of their independent growth. Our vision of our relationship with our children was one of mutual respect and joy. To maintain this, we knew we needed to shift our perspectives and act in a way that fostered this desire. Read more

Talking with Kids About Sex… is a Crime?

birds-and-bees
Barb:

I have been thinking, thinking, thinking about a story my husband recently told me about a new person – we’ll call him Bob – he met in his meditation class who has gone through a horrific experience I am having trouble making sense of.
Bob is a divorcee, having sought the separation from his wife due to their differences in sexual worldviews.  Bob enjoys monogamy and his ex-wife preferred a swinger lifestyle.  Bob tried it to please his wife but didn’t enjoy it.  Their feelings were strong enough on this that they separated.  Bob has a nine year old daughter who he shared custody with and she asked him after the divorce why he and her mom were no longer together.  He was honest and explained what the issue was.  Read more

Chaos is Bliss

Chaos

Photo credit: Bernard Ward

Barb:

This is unconfirmed, but I heard through the grapevine that that Duggar family is preparing for their twentieth.  I watched their reality show once after hearing so much about it, and they scare me.  All those orderly, well behaved kids and teens that act like parents themselves was just downright spooky.  I suspect abuse of the highest order.  I am not making any accusations here, just raising my haunches in suspicion.  Read more

I’m Not Proud of You.

no good job 

Sarah:

I’ll admit that this was a difficult concept for me to entertain or employ when I was first introduced to eliminating praise in my relationship with my kids by Alfie Kohn’s article Five Reasons to Stop Saying “Good job!”  If you haven’t read it, I’d encourage you to start there.  But I’d like to take it one step further. Read more

Sex and Circumcision

 circumcision-blog

Barb:

I knew intuitively when I became pregnant for the first time, many years ago, that if my baby was a boy I did not want him to be circumcised.  I didn’t have any health or medical reasons for feeling this way, I just couldn’t imagine having the top of his penis cut off – at just a few hours or days or weeks old.  Hello?  Really?  People do this to their children??  Yowzaa, I knew I wanted no part of such a mentality, even if it meant that he would grow up with penile infections, look different from every other male and feel like a weirdo. Read more

Video Games? – Just another tool.

 

video games

Barb:

I was shopping this week for a new DVD player/Netflix streamer and was asked by the clerk helping me if I had a video game system I could use instead to do the streaming.  A wave of joy and contentment and relief flooded my entire body quickly as I happily said ‘no – those days are behind me… or at least they are for the next handful of years until my first grandchild is old enough to want to play with one.’  I will enjoy those interim years, alot. Read more

Are My Kids ‘Keeping Up’?

Sarah:

My kids are young – 7 and 9. The familial and societal pressure for them to ‘keep up’ and ‘succeed’ is great. One of the first questions I’m asked when I tell people we are life learners is, “how do you know they’re keeping up?” My children don’t go to school. They never have. We thought about it long and hard and then again. We’ve investigated every nook and cranny of our highly educated brains and it always comes back to learning through living. I’ve podcasted about our difficult and thoughtful coming to awareness of what our lives would be – are – together as our children grow. We are together. My husband and I sometimes step back and marvel at the constant learning that goes on for our children. Read more

Same Rules Apply

I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with some very dear friends. Our families met while traveling and continue to intentionally cross paths as we meander North America. As I thought about writing this post, a repeated exchange between the young son and I came to mind. Read more

Degrees of Sexuality

Sarah:
In chatting recently with one of our upcoming authors for the premier issue of Rethinking Everything – SEX, I was exposed to some new information about research and individual associations with regard to sexuality. To preface- I grew up in rural, small town America where everyone (I thought) was heterosexual, had a male and female parent, and there was virtually no conversation or elusion to debate this standard of normalcy. Read more

Growing Younger

Shining Pearl
photo courtesy of MrGreenBug

Sarah:

I just finished re-watching a video my husband made for me for our 12th anniversary. We don’t usually exchange gifts so this was a particularly lovely surprise. The collection of pictures set to music is a moving tribute to our 17 years together – college, vacations, pregnancies, births, homes, and family. The energetic shifting of the photos tells the real story of our lives. Read more

God Loves Me Sometimes

_MG_0275

photo by Sarah E. Parent

Barb:
I have a sweet little friend in my life that lives nearby. She is just 7 years old and likes my dog and me and we take walks together. She is always happy and excited and she talks constantly. On a recent mile walk together she told me she had two birthdays. TWO birthdays!? I said. Yeah, I am 7 years old and 2 God-years old, she said. What is a God-year? I asked. I accepted God into my life 2 years ago so that is when I was born to God, she said. You mean you were not a real person to God until then? I asked. No! I was dead to God until I told him I loved him and accepted him in my life, she said. Read more

Presence… Controlled By Our Past?

Reflection Challenge -sooc
photo courtesy of bahamamadreamer

Barb:

I am in the middle of yet another autobiography, my favorite reading material. Right now in the story I am immersed in the author’s childhood and finding myself feeling really uncomfortable as her replay reminds me of my own. I am dissecting this discomfort deeper than I have before and discovering a fresh take on it. Read more

Truth and Consequences

tree trunk heart
photo by Sarah E. Parent

Sarah:
There’s a great conversation to be had about consequences. In fact, I’ve had more than one with friends, at conferences, and on the phone. It has become clear in these interactions that the term ‘consequences’ can be interpreted, or misinterpreted as the case may be, in different ways. In my unfolding as a mother and, indeed, as a person, the comfort of camaraderie has been sought, found, outgrown, and cherished – not necessarily in that order and varying according to the experience. What I have found with regard to the subject of consequences is that there is a distinct difference between the intent and style of those who recognize consequences and those who use consequences. Read more

Get Ready for Rethinking Everything- LIFE: Issue One

The very first issue of Rethinking Everything- LIFE is coming your way!

waves

 
Rethinking Everything Magazine, after two years of bold, edgy, exciting rethinking, has blossomed into Rethinking Everything Publishing – three separate and distinct publications.

Here’s the skinny:

Rethinking Everything- PARENT :: publishes January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st
Rethinking Everything- LIFE :: publishes February 1st, May 1st, August 1st, and November 1st
Rethinking Everything- SEX :: publishes March 1st, June 1st, September 1st, and December 1st

We are excited to offer them all absolutely FREE!

re life issue one cover
We’re thrilled to bring you FOUR revolutionary stories of change to make you squirm

and open your eyes… and your heart.

justin wagnerJustin Wagner of OddballJuggling.com shares with us his journey from hard working, stressed out provider to joyful soul learning to play through life in Breaking the Cycle.

mattkramerMatt Kramer reveals his ground breaking theory of predatory leadership, the research behind it, solutions for a better world, and an opportunity for you… to help in his story, Obstacles on the Path to Utopia: The Price We Pay for Predatory Leadership.

heidemarieHeidemarie Schwermer lives entirely without money – every… single… joy filled day.  She shares her evolution from exchanging money to exchanging energy and love in Living Without Money.

renee andersonRenee Anderson has a theory about the Woe Is Me Life – a life of worry, self pity, and riding the surface energies of life – since she’s moved through and found perspective.  Her clarity could be your ticket to presence and joy.

Don’t miss it!
Subscribe now for FREE.

Have you shared us with your friends?  Thank YOU!

Do you have a story? (We know you do.)

Do you know someone whose story inspires? (Yes.)

Let us know what you’re rethinking.  We’d love to work with you.

Unassisted Birth- an old, new practice

Birth

photo courtesy of mandypics

Sarah:

I know I’ve mentioned this before but, for the purposes of this post, I’ll remind you. I was a labor and delivery nurse in my 20s and early(ier) 30s. I loved my profession and still have very fond memories of the time and care I put in and the fulfillment it created for me. I knew what I knew when I knew it. And I gave it my mind and my heart. During those years, we would periodically have a mom come in having attempted a homebirth or post-homebirth with an issue that required, or at least was perceived to have required, medical attention. I’ll admit, we nurses shook our heads disapprovingly at these women. Didn’t they know that a hospital or birth center was the place to birth?

Then I had both of my babies in the hospital with absolutely no intervention – no IV (or saline lock), my own labor and birthing positioning, fetal heart rate checks when I requested (rather than the serious over-monitoring to which we were prone), eating and drinking as desired, both babies immediately to my breast for feeding, etc. Everything changed. I began to question my practice as a nurse and whether I was doing more harm than good. I resigned while on maternity leave with my second child and began working at a hospital noted for their evidence-based practice model. This meant not practicing out of fear but based on the actual evidence that birth is a natural occurrence and that we serve as observers, supporters, and caregivers of the process – intervening only when absolutely necessary or requested by the mother.

My thoughts on birth have definitely evolved over time and the more I talk with mothers, fathers, doulas, and midwives. I had come to love the idea of homebirths attended by midwives and relinquished my need to play the professional savior when people chose pregnancy, labor, or birthing modalities that seemed foreign for me. I have to admit, however, that Inok Alrutz’s birth story in RE- PARENT’s Issue One floored me. This was the opposite of everything I had been trained to practice as a labor nurse. I squirmed as I read. Fear came forth and I wanted someone with objective experience in birth to intervene.

I know the primary truth of birth, though, which Inok finds in the process – the power of presence, the power of knowing, the strength and power of the birthing woman. I have seen fear change an issue-free birth into a nightmare scenario and I have seen strength, power, and fortitude of spirit – against all medical odds – create the most beautiful and transformational experience for a partnership as they bring their new baby forth. I know that this experience has made Inok who she will be as a mother – trusting of herself, powerful, present, and determined.

 

Barb:

All three of my kids were born at home and the last was unassisted, so my thoughts on reading Inok’s story were definitely not shock but gratitude and inspiration and empathy. I was powerfully empathetic as I imagined her fear and pain, birthing for the first time and not according to her ‘master plan.’ I was deeply inspired by her inner wisdom on birth and her and her baby’s natural ability to ‘figure this out’ without intervention. I am grateful, even now, every day, for the gift she has brought into the world and her own gift to all of us of her empowerment. Yes, I absolutely believe with every cell of my being that such gifts affect and effect us all in profound ways. Thank you Inok for knowing, for listening, for paying attention to your inner voice, your inherent wisdom, your natural and sublime ability to be a connected mother.

Rethinking Everything- PARENT

Rethinking Everything- LIFERethinking Everything- SEX

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