Saturday, March 12, 2011
This book was written by a woman I met at a Christmas Eve Brunch for Unschooling Mom's that I attended with my daughter-in-law. It contains a powerful message. If we want to live in a world that supports authenticity we have to begin parenting consciously.
Transform Childhood, Transform the World
Parenting for Social Change is about creating new paradigms for parenting that affirm the dignity and respect the rights of all children.
The parent-child relationship is the foundation from which we learn how to interact in the world. As children many of us had our experiences invalidated, our voices silenced, and our needs and wants trivialized by parents or other adults. We learned that the world was controlled by those who had more power. Though we may have experienced glimpses or moments of a different way of being in the world, often those were few and far between. The paradigm of control and domination by those who had power was our primary experience.
A commitment to social justice parenting asks that we examine the biases and prejudices we have been taught about children and childhood. Through honest self-examination of our internalized beliefs and beginning the process of unlearning adultism, we can create deeper, more respectful, authentic, and joyful relationships with the children who share our lives.
We can create a world in which children's voices and lived experiences have value and meaning in what has been adult-dominated world. Rather than seeing childhood as the training ground for a productive adult life, childhood and children can be valued in the here and now.
Social change parenting starts from within. Each of us with the willingness to move beyond the paradigms we were taught can create an amazing place for children (and adults!)in this world. There is not an end-point that results in perfect parenting or a perfect life, but rather an exciting process and journey of learning and growth! Please visit Teresa at her website http://www.parentingforsocialchange.com/
for more reviews, information, articles, ideas, etc.!!
Here is a review by an unschooling mom. See her full post at http://www.wanderwonderdiscover.com/
Parenting for Social Change by Teresa Graham Brett is a wonderful, thoughtful, and honest book for any parent who wants to change and transform their parenting from a place of control, to a place of respect and dignity. Teresa offers her experience, her insight, and her authentic self from her own journey from parental control to parental partnership. Her writing is informative, clear, and cites valuable research on how dominance damages children. She challenges us to question our own social views and how we may treat children as "adults-in-training", rather than human beings with their own right to expression, opinion, and choice. I see so much of myself in her stories and examples as a former authoritarian parent. But, I must say, societal messages are so pervasive, as are our messages from childhood, that even the most peaceful of parents would benefit from reading this book to re-examine the subtleties of conditional love. Here is one of my favorite paragraphs from her book, pg. 96:
"Let's be clear: our work as parents isn't about doing things differently so our children will change. It's not about finding the magic words or methods that will ensure compliance and eliminate disagreements. Instead, it's about examining ourselves so that we can see how our ways of being with children have been constrained by our previously held beliefs, values, and attitudes. We do this so that we can experience authentic relationships with the children we love so that they can live their own lives, free of our baggage."
Friday, March 11, 2011
Art at Mandalas.com
The eyes are the "windows to the soul." When we gaze deeply into the eyes of another person, we can see beyond their physical body and personality into their essence. The practice of eye gazing is an ancient practice found in both Hindu and Buddhist Tantra as well as in the Sufi tradition. This practice is considered to be a path to enlightenment. It is a wonderful way to connect at the soul level. It can to done with your beloved before and during sex.
Eye gazing is something you have probably done naturally, while gazing into the eyes of a newborn baby or when you first fell in love. Even when you are in a conversation and maintain eye contact, you are doing a less focused form of eye gazing. Eye gazing can be done as a one-on-one meditation with a friend or beloved. It can also be done solo by gazing into a mirror. You can integrate it into daily life by engaging people briefly, in passing, with the intent that when you meet their eyes you will see beyond their form, into their essence. Some of the benefits of this practice include: becoming more present, opening your heart and expanding your awareness of the Divine in all beings.
1) The Heart Salutation
You begin this practice by acknowledging the Divine in each other with a Heart Salutation. Sit across from your partner and look into their eyes. Maintaining eye contact throughout the rest of the process, begin by extending your arms towards the earth, palms together. Then, inhale and keeping your hands in prayer position, bring them to your heart. Exhale, as you bow forward and acknowledge the Divine in each other with the Sanskrit salutation "Namaste," which means "I honor the Divine in you as a reflection of the Divine within me." Inhale, as you straighten back up. Finally, exhale as you allow your hands to return to the starting position, pointed towards the earth.
2) The Bubble
Now, create a bubble around you and your partner. Do this by waving your arms around both of you defining the shape of the bubble that surrounds you. Then gesture, as if removing an object from your bubble and verbally say out loud what you are removing from the bubble. These are things that won't serve you in this practice (the past, distractions, anger, worry, etc.) Next, gesture and state what things you want to bring into the bubble. These are things that will enhance your connection (love, willingness, presence, trust etc.) At this point, you may want to offer an appreciation or blessing to the other person ("I honor your heart, which gives so much love to the world.") Creating the bubble helps to call you into present moment awareness and creates a safe space in which to practice the eye gazing meditation.
3) Share Your Desires, Fears and Boundaries
Once the bubble is created, share your intentions/desires, fears and boundaries related to this practice. First, one person speaks while the other person listens without judgment or commentary. Then you switch roles. Here is an example:
"I desire to stay present, open and connect deeply to your soul."
"My fear is that I will get self-conscious and will start acting silly."
"My boundary is to stay connected to you, even if resistance arises."
Why boundaries? When I teach this practice in my classes, people often have resistance to setting boundaries. I explain that boundaries are not walls, they are bridges. Bridges help bring people together. Intimacy happens when people have "healthy" boundaries. Healthy boundaries allow you to feel safe, stay open and be present. Boundaries are dynamic, so it is important to check-in periodically with yourself to see if your boundaries have changed. If they have changed, update your partner so they can honor your new boundaries. Here are a few examples:
"I need to end this practice by noon."
"I don't want to be touched during this meditation."
"I am committed to staying present in this practice. If I go into thinking, I will close my eyes for a moment and bring myself back into the practice."
4) Eye Gazing Practice
Once you have created the bubble and shared your desires, fears and boundaries, begin the eye gazing practice. Traditionally, it is recommended that you begin by gazing into left eye. This is because the left side of the body is considered to be the receptive side. Use a soft gaze. This is not a staring contest. It is ok to change eyes if and when you feel called too. Just relax, breathe and allow the experience to unfold. Notice what arises without judging it. Be open and curious, like a child.
You can do this practice for as long as you want. I suggest you begin with 2 to 5 minutes of eye gazing the first time you try it. Then close your eyes, go inside and reconnect internally for 1-2 minutes. When you are ready, open your eyes and begin again. Extend the time as you get more comfortable with the process. Doing this practice for an extended period of time can take you to new levels of connection. Set aside a time when you can practice for 45 to 60 minutes. Eye gazing is a great way to discover how open you are and to notice when resistance arises. If you feel resistance, allow it to be there. Feel it and see if you can allow it to melt away.
5) Share Your Insights
Afterward discuss your experience with your partner. How does it feel to be seen? How does it feel to look deeply into another person? Were you able to see beyond their body and personality? Did you notice their face changing form? Did you feel your heart open? This is a great practice for developing intimacy. It can be helpful to keep a journal of your experiences.
Eye gazing is a simple and powerful practice. It cuts though illusion and opens the door to Truth. When done regularly, it can transform your understanding of who you are. Even if this is the only Tantric practice you ever do, you could Awaken through it alone. I invite you to practice eye gazing with your friends as well as your lovers. When done before and during sex eye gazing can enhance your connection both sexually and spiritually, making love then becomes a powerful meditation.
Copyright 2011 Crystal Dawn Morris