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Posts tagged ‘Barb Lundgren’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Ready for Rethinking Everything- LIFE: Issue One

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

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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.

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

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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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

Rethinking New Year’s Resolutions

dove
Barb:

I am madly in love with this time of year. The holidays are over, the house is cleaned up and decorations are put away, the energy feels fresh and alive and I am ready. It would never occur to me however to make a New Year’s resolution as my culture invites me to do.

Resolutions are fraught with the weight of shoulds, guilt, promises I am afraid I cannot keep. Why would I put myself through this? It doesn’t feel good!

Instead, what works marvelously for me, is holding a silent dialogue with my personal universe that goes something like this: I am ready for new information, I am ready for change, I am ready for upgrade in whatever form it looks like. I am open to everything that is coming my way that will facilitate my change and upgrade.

In fact, I don’t do this just at this time of year, but many times a year, whenever I feel in need of a shift, a change, an upgrade. I have stopped being amazed at how quickly this little exercise works for me. Within seconds, minutes, hours, or days, I am exposed serendipitously to new people, books, articles, conversations, ‘random’ information that catches my eyes or ears, causing me to think or act in slight or dramatically different ways, ways that give me that glorious feeling of having learned, of having achieved an upgrade in my life. Now THAT feels good.

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~ Hal Borland

 

Sarah:

For much of my life, I felt resistance at this time of year. Angst about what goals to have for the upcoming year. Wondering if I achieved the expectations I had set for the year before or disappointed that I hadn’t made any so there was no gauge. It’s the version of life where there is a beginning and end, always a goal to be won… or lost. Something to prove… to ourselves or others. The feeling that we’re not where we should or could be… that we could be ‘better.’ You know what feels amazing? Knowing that I’m exactly where I am. Not where I should be, could be, or was. I’m exactly as I am. And there is always room for upgrade in my heart, mind, and life.

And, yes, I feel that way all year. It is a continued practice to honor myself and my journey. The New Year has not ever resonated with me as a time to press reset or begin again – ‘out with the old’ and all that. I am a work in progress- always! The shifting of gears began several years ago when I opted out of the resolution cycle. I meditated instead to find a word that felt powerful and necessary for my changing self at that time. Some I can remember off-hand that I’ve played with are ‘honor,’ ‘trust,’ and ‘truth.’ They change as I feel I’ve incorporated the meanings of these words (as they pertain to me, my experiences, my thought processes) into my SELF. I recently have a new one-word mantra and it feels exciting and fun – a new game of upgrading and consciousness for me!

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Get Ready for Rethinking Everything- PARENT!

2012 is upon us!

And so is the release of our very first magazine as Rethinking Everything Publishing.
Rethinking Everything Magazine, after two years of bold, edgy, exciting rethinking, has blossomed into three separate and distinct publications.

But you knew that, right?!

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-Parent-Issue-One-Cover

We’re ringing in the New Year with
                 beautiful pages that touch the soul and
                                FOUR stories bound to rock your world.

 
teresaTeresa Graham Brett of Parenting for Social Change brings us her personal story of recognizing the hypocrisy of traditional parenting and forging new relationships with children based in love, respect, and equality in Unlearning Adultism.
daynablogDayna Martin – world reknowned advocate for radical unschooling – shares private and powerful moments of life in a co-sleeping family in The Sacred Flow of the Family Bed.
inok resizeInok Alrutz paints the moment by moment memories of her bold, painful, emotional, empowering, and evocative journey into motherhood in Birth of a Universe.
LauraLaura Grace Weldon – blog maven, writer, farmer, and mom – kicks fear to the curb and hands the power of consequences to her kids in What the French Revolution Taught Me about Parenting.

 

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.

 

 

Give.

Barb:

So we’re in the throes of the giving and receiving holiday:  what am I going to get, did I think of everyone, did I spend enough or too much, yada, yada.

Boring.

You probably know by now that I love to feel good and I’m sticking to it.  What makes me feel wonderful and alive and clear and joyous, especially at this time of year, is giving.  Giving with absolutely zero thought of what I might be rewarded with in return.  Surprise giving is super fun and easy.

This year one of the things I loved doing was preparing a 25 day advent gift surprise for my kids, sending them a big box of individually wrapped goodies and special things, one for each day from December 1 – 25.  Since our family has given up gift giving completely over the last handful of years, this was a total surprise to them and it was fun for me because I got to use my imagination and revel in the fun they would have.  The best part of it for me was knowing that I would not receive any sort of present in return.  It’s just so much more fun to give!

Giving anonymously is also so gratifying, because it delivers the extreme pleasure of knowing the recipient will feel like there is a real Santa, wondering who gave them this gift and lapsing into the fantasy that gifts just drop out of sleds in the sky, right through the chimney.  I try to do as much of this as I can.  One of my favorite memories when my kids were in their early teens was this:  we all got wrapped up in this anonymous gift giving fantasy and chose two families for whom we made and shopped for unique gifts for each member.  We wrapped each gift in old timey Santa-like wrapping and put each family’s bundle of gifts in a big, handmade red velour Santa sack and tied each off with a big red satin bow.  We could hardly wait to secretly drop the bags off on their respective front porches in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve!  Honestly, I think we had more fun with this than the recipient families did because it was SO much fun.  In other years, sometimes we just choose dogs in the ‘hood to deliver anonymous dog toys to!

Gift box wrapped in gold paper
Photo courtesy of weddingmusings

Sarah:

I gladly gave up the wondering about what I would get several years ago- when I realized that I could have whatever, whenever (yes, we’re on a budget.  It’s a state of mind.).  Why wait until Christmas?  It felt forced and ridiculous to stockpile wishes for a single day of gluttony rather than feeling worthy any old day of the year.  And that’s when I really felt the burn to give.  GIVE.

I was just talking with a friend today about our desire to volunteer and help in virtually any capacity in a hands-on way.  I don’t want to donate to a telethon or send a few dollars a month to ‘adopt’ a child in Africa.  It’s just not the same.  And yet it is virtually impossible to find volunteer opportunities to which I can bring my children (who love to volunteer).

There were a couple of years that we chose a child or two’s lists from a community giving holiday tree and had a wonderful time shopping for the items on their list.  We’d imagine what they looked like and how much excitement or warmth (or both!) our purchases would bring them.

I was recently inspired by a friend’s Facebook post that she had bought a gift card at the register and asked the cashier to apply it to the purchase of the person behind her in line.  She was inspired to pay forward an act of kindness previously done unto her.  I thought, I can do that!  Then I started thinking about other ways of giving directly but anonymously.  It was refreshing to think that everyone delights in random acts of kindness and that I didn’t have to seek out organizations or people who meet a specific level of need.  Generosity feels amazing and is contagious.  It really gives us the much-needed perspective that we always have enough to share.  Have you seen The Long Way Down?  I am reminded of African families in their dirt floor huts out in the bush eagerly sharing their bits of food with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman.  No matter who you are, it feels good to give and share.

But one question often eats at me around the holidays – why not all year?  When I was young, little unexpected gifts showed up often in my shoes- whenever.  It was so magical.  My mother seemed just as amazed as I but I now suspect she was the anonymous giver… and loved every minute of it.

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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

Get Away to Get in Touch

Sarah:

This past weekend I did something I’ve been dreaming about for years.  I went to a lake cottage with five other women for the entire weekend- Friday to Sunday.  I didn’t plan it.  At a moms’ night out a month or so ago one of the moms commented about one of the women’s retreats she had been on.  I’d heard of people doing this but she’d been on more than one?!  It seemed so lavish and, indeed, gluttonous.  And yet it felt entirely necessary.  Before the resistance of my responsibilities and the unlikely possibility of my getting time away could creep in, I asked for more.  “How do you do that?” I asked so simply.  “I plan them,” she said.  “And I go on them.”  Like every other thing in my life, it could be that simple.  Dream it.  Plan it.  Do it.  There was a collective excitement and before I knew it, a family friend of hers had graciously lent us their guest cottage for the price of the (very minimal) cleaning fee.  We were on.

I almost couldn’t give it too much thought leading up.  What is it about indulging ourselves and feeding our needs that feels like we’re taking away from our loved ones?  I approached my husband in a whole new way.  I needed this and that’s what I told him.  He was super supportive and we worked on the logistics of the weekend so that he could do the things he needed with kiddos in tow or cared for.  I’m the cook so that was the main concern.  We worked out meal logistics easily.  Even the kids took it in stride.  Was it that I wasn’t asking?  I felt deserving and therefore I was.  Just like the planning, the carrying out could be easy for everyone.

Six women who knew each other in varying ways, at various depths, or not at all.  We all unschool our children who range in age from 11 months (he came, too!) to 21 and we all love to ask the big questions and dig deep(er).  Going into this, I thought Friday night to Sunday sounded like a lifetime.  What would we do with all that time?  We played Apples to Apples (which was a great ice breaker), took turns cooking absolutely delicious and decadent healthful meals, walked, appreciated art, listened to music, and sipped alcohol, coffee, and teas.  But mostly we talked.  And talked.  We challenged ourselves and each other but it didn’t feel overly uncomfortable or like work.  We were asking the questions and relating our tales and supporting each other’s experience in a way that encouraged thought and expansion. 

And I came away with a new beloved tool – art journaling.  The hours slipped away on Saturday afternoon and into the evening as we meditated, laughed, and worked intensely on our first art journaling piece coached along by our women’s retreat goddess and planner.  I peeled down through my art fear – layering color, texture, text, paint, pencil, and emotion.  This was not about creating a piece to display but rather about the process itself.  And yet, it is the first piece I have felt comfortable sharing.  It is a piece of me and every time I look at it, the same wave of meditation and focus as I experienced during its creation washes over me.

The centered feeling of intention, peace, and love has stayed with me and I intend to feed and nurture it. 
art journaling- focus

Barb:

Yay!  This is such a valuable experience.  Some of my fondest memories over the years revolve around my intimate communion with like minded mothering friends.  I used to organize such weekends myself and can totally relate to the rejuvenating effects of shared meals, group projects,  laughter, tears and conversation… lots of it.  The rejuvenation is so necessary!  I remember feeling newly alive in my marriage as a result and super ready for a whole new round of kid activities, full of vim and vigor.  CONNECTION.  We want it!  Plan it, do it, revel in it, benefit from it.  Your whole family will too.

Rethinking Everything- PARENT

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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

Parents Initiate a Culture of Control?

Barb:
I spent the day with a friend recently and we spent some good time talking pie in the sky about living together in community – lots of us talk about wanting it and yet … who is doing anything about it? And what is it we want anyway? We arrived at some interesting conclusions during our little dissection.

What we want is connection, we are social beings who learn from each other and, to varying degrees, enjoy the fun and games benefit too. We want support. We like to be in the company of others who share our views or challenge us in ways we like to be challenged. What else?

We very reluctantly concluded that what many of us fantasize about as we dream of living in community with one another is to be taken care of: having others cook, garden, share child care responsibilities and home construction and equipment purchase – so that we don’t have to have as much responsibility, spend as much money, work so hard.

My friend and I have both done lots of research on intentional communities and agreed that we hadn’t discovered one yet that ‘worked.’ We wondered if it was due to the fact that folks entering such communities have as a base fantasy the desire to be taken care of. If so, it’s no wonder communities are less than functional. In fact, even within our own families, those very small communities most of us live in, I would venture to say that they are less than functional when any member of the family believes the others have to take care of them.

Aside from infants who require dedicated care, even toddlers are desirous and capable of ‘taking care of themselves’ in very real ways. They can and want to choose their food, feed themselves, choose their clothes, dress themselves (mostly, or at least they WANT to and are willing to keep trying), choose their preferred activities and friends, among many other things. Are we supporting their desire to take care of themselves or thwarting this? We harmfully thwart their natural desire for self sufficiency and independence when we choose their clothes for them, make them eat what we prepared instead of involving them in the choices of what to eat, enlist them in parent chosen activities instead of exposing them to a comfortable range of options and allowing them to experiment and choose on their own, etc.

If a small toddler learns that another is responsible for making decisions for them, that someone else knows more than they do about what they want and what feels best, then it’s only natural to follow the progression and jump to age 6 or 8 or 10 or 12. Heck, a lot of kids I know in those age groups still have parents who are making decisions for them and think they know more about what the child should want or eat or what activities are most enjoyable. Guess what, when a parent in this role is ready for their child to start making their own decisions and become accountable and enjoy life and be self motivated, they can’t, because they’ve been classically conditioned not to.

Hmmm… it’s no wonder then that lots of full grown adults, who grew up as children of parents who ‘knew more than they did’ continue to move through the world just (naturally) expecting that they will be taken care of – by governments, spouses, cultures, PPOs or HMOs, employers, etc. In my perfect world we would be replacing this conditioned thinking with personal responsibility, and it is so naturally learned right from the start. So what if our toddlers and kids are wearing mismatched clothes, choose not to brush their hair, eat dinner foods for breakfast, prefer friends who are 10 years older than they are or opt out of the team sports in favor of poker? They are engaged in that magical, powerful and empowered process of making decisions and living with the rich, fully accountable feelings that result.

parental control

Sarah:
The dichotomony of traditional parenting is ironic and detrimental in both rights. On one hand, most parents are devoted to the ideal of turning out self-sufficient, ‘successful’ adults at the age of 18 or so into the world and out of their homes. Having an adult child still living at home is commonly viewed as a parental failure. (Hmm- another blog post?) On the other hand, parents are curbing children’s desires to make their own decisions and do for themselves at almost every juncture. From picking clothing to friends to how to spend their time, children are instructed by parents, well-meaning adults, and schools as to what is appropriate, for how long, and the expected goal.

This is most obvious to parents whose children have attended and been removed from school. While many parents do not see the detriment of their own controlling and directive parenting techniques, a child constantly in need of direction, unable to occupy their time or identify and invest in their curiosities or interests has obviously been affected by the consistent limits, structure, and follower mentality of the school system. The effects of this can take years to resolve such that the child operates based on their intrinsic intention and motivation once again.

If we have as a goal that our children will function independently, is this not what we should facilitate? We do this by offering our opinions and support but not in making the final judgment. I’m not talking legitimate safety concerns with young children here. Readers feeling fear in the lack of control they are feeling in reading this will immediately jump to that. But, realistically, how often are our children’s decisions (you know, the ones we’re interfering with) actually related to their immediate physical safety?

Parenting is so often synonymous with controlling. In order for children to experiment with independence, control, and outcomes, they must have the ability to exercise them. We need not fear the teenage and early adult years if we have facilitated our children in empowered decisionmaking and individuation up to (and through as desired) the years of separation. The fact is, we don’t know ‘best.’ Maybe we are wiser. Maybe. In my experience, children value our input based in our own experience. And so, parenting is more accurately synonymous with communication. Why don’t you want to continue with piano lessons? What is it you love about poker? What draws you to this friend?

I find your assessment of the continued need for control (mislabeled ‘care’ by many parents) in adulthood eerie and accurate. The fear of operating independently is sheltered by other systems in place of parental control and school as people age. These systems capitalize on the lack of independent thought and fear and keep the majority of the adult population wide-eyed and fearful with membership cards, prescriptions, and expectations to keep them firmly in the hold of mediocrity.

The solution? Introspection and evaluating our own personal choices. What drives our decisionmaking? How can we improve our communication and interactions with our children to support their process and experience rather than govern it ourselves?

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