Women and Emerging Futures

The next wave of my own evolution lies in exploring the potential of women to profoundly shape our world. Not only if women can but if women will...do what is required to make the difference. This demands redefining our notions of 'leadership' and reclaiming meaningful expression for women. To progress beyond historical notions of evolution through incremental change, we must redefine what it is to be human - and women are the key.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Therapy for infants?

I did it again. Just when I thought I was getting over myself, I made the mistake of picking up today’s edition of The Ottawa Citize”. In the front section (always where you’ll find the most irritating, annoying and frightening events of the world!) is a piece called “Tots on the couch” – declaring that ‘Children as young as a few months are being taken for psychotherapy as OLGA CRAIG and PHILIP SHERWELL discover in London and New York.”

My initial reaction? If the kids could vote in any of it, I’m sure they’d be opting for their parents to be ‘therapized’ – while they find something fun and entertaining to do!

Here’s what is very clear to me. Anyone who thinks this is a useful thing to do is not familiar with Bruce Lipton’s work, particularly his pre-natal findings and the impact of DNA on framing our humanity to match a pre-conceived (by our parents) expectation of context. Add to that a recent quote by Queen Silvia of Sweden during a recent visit to Montreal, saying that children are the often-neglected victims of conjugal violence: “I think it’s only lately that we really realize what it means for a child to be present, to listen and to see when their mother is being attacked and assaulted.” What goes on in their lives, matters.

All meaning is context dependent – and that includes the meaning that our children attribute to themselves, their world and their ability to move through their world. Long before they have language, their little bodies are accessing, storing, retrieving and transmitting vast amounts of information that you and I might call sensory grounded. Things like sounds and images; like sensations of the tissue of the body or ‘vibrations’ – a word often used when others do not capture the essence of an experience. How they are touched and spoken to; how ‘relationships’ are unfolding around them, with their accompanying sounds and vibrations – all of these matter. All, energy and information moving through the incredible bioprocessor that these infants are.

It may well be that the bioprocessor of an infant is even more sensitive, since s/he has not yet learned how NOT to see and NOT to hear and NOT to feel. Vast amounts of information, without the buffer of language. Truly, a recipe for acute and accurate sensory ‘truths’.

Our children are profoundly shaped by their parents and the environments their parents create for them. Why? Because they have no choice. It’s really tough to get your own place and leave home when you’re two! They are physically and emotionally at the mercy of the people who are their ‘keepers’. And, if the world we’ve created is any accurate measure, their keepers are quite likely nuts in their own, unique way!

Children (and the younger, the more acutely) reflect their environments. They are massive, exquisite, sentient beings of energy and information, perpetually in flow and boundless in their willingness and ability to engage their world….until it becomes too painful for them to do so.

I wonder what kind of a world we might shape if we were to begin to notice what our children do and how they do it, not with labels and diagnoses but with interest and curiosity and wonder: what are they telling us about ourselves? What are they telling us about the people they are spending time with, and the environments they find themselves in? How are they sending us signals about how we – as those with the ability to respond – are shaping their world and either enhancing or limiting their ability to engage and move through it?

Fifteen years ago, I decided that it made no sense to engage with children without first engaging with their parents. Over my 25 years of doing this, I have met way too many people who, well into their 40’s and 50’s, still carry the mark of their having been parented and their early environments. I am no longer astounded by the things that parents do to their children and the ability of those children to carry this forward into their lives – often living limited or secret lives of their own – until it can no longer be contained.

We could learn much from our children if we chose to listen. Rather than seek to have them ‘fixed’ or ‘reprogrammed’, we may do well to see them as the mirrors of ourselves that they become. Only then can we recognize our critical role and engage differently.

My last thought about ‘Tots on the couch’… Just how ridiculous are we willing to become?

Breathing is good……


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