Saturday, October 28, 2006

The gift

Brew of the day: Ginger & Orange ~ warming for a wet, cold, windy Autumn morning here at the base of the Pennines.

I fell in love yesterday. Clearly the highlight of my week! I’d dropped my daughters off at a friend’s place for some informal art lessons while I went off to a meeting.

While there, I met the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. I went through my memory of all the children I’d worked with in Montessori and Steiner schools, and also in my late teens when I worked in a childcare centre, and as a nanny. This little girl was in a class of her own.

Although completely besotted by her physical beauty, I was enchanted and drawn in by her innocence. Radiating in the glory of her true and authentic self, I reflected on the thought that there is
a woman in every girl, and wondered what the coming years would bring her way. I prayed that when the veil of innocence is removed that it is something she does for herself, rather than cruelly have done to her.

A child like her is becoming increasingly rare in this modern age. Children and adults the world over are searching for their spiritual selves. Many are at a loss as they search for their sacred selves in an increasingly heartless and soulless material world. The cultural side-effect is a plague of discontented people.

Despite all the harshness of this crazy ol’ life, it’s soul-enhancing and encouraging to still meet children like this one who aren’t covered in sparkly make-up, donning high heels and wearing t-shirts which say, “I’ve got attitude!” or “I can’t be bovvered”. That’s supposed to be cute? I don’t think so!

One of the things which really warmed my heart was her immediate trust in me, and that she was able to be friendly and open without question. My experience in this past decade is of children greeting strangers with complete suspicion ~ no doubt a legacy of their parents.

Good parenting is an investment which truly has ongoing dividends, and replays itself day in, day out, in ways we don’t always recognise or perhaps even appreciate. It’s so clear to me that while this girl probably arrived in the world all goodness and light, these qualities have been allowed to develop under the nurturing hands and hearts of her parents. It’s vital, as a culture, that we work together to protect the beauty and innocence of all our children. They deserve nothing less.

There’s a girl inside every woman.

I enter this new week taking that little girl’s beauty and charm in my heart, and remember that I too was once young, charming and delightful (so I’m told!!)…and such qualities must still exist within.

Of course it was easy to be enveloped by such a lovely child. We both arrived into our new relationship fresh; devoid of baggage. When I went back to greet my own daughters I carried in my heart the essence of that encounter, and imagined being with them each day on a new footing. Baggage left outside the door!

As conscious parents we need to be vigilant about coming to each moment with our children, as if it was a new experience.

A Course in Miracles teaches us about removing the blocks to the awareness of Love’s presence. I truly feel humbled by my time with such a lovely little girl, and will treasure the gift as I share it with my own children.

I know it’s rather clich├ęd now, but have you hugged your kids today?

Have a fab week, Veronika.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Madonna's adoption ~ parenting from the heart

Brew of the day: Lemon Verbena

The UK media have collectively played piranha this week in their attack of the singer, Madonna, adopting a Malawian child.

It seems that because she’s so positively wealthy that she couldn’t possibly have a maternal bone in her body ~ after all, isn’t she just a Material Girl? Some papers suggested that the baby is her ‘pet’. What causes people to be so cruel, so unable to look past their own prejudices?

If adoption fees and the general cost of living (compared to average wages) weren’t so horrendously steep, many more of us would adopt children both domestically, and from abroad. I know that if I had her sort of income our home and hearts would embrace several orphaned children. I don’t think I could step into an orphanage and not want to bring every child home. Strangely, as a child, while my friends were off playing other games, I used to imagine running the ‘best’ orphanage in the world. A place where the children felt loved, nurtured, were fed beautifully nourishing meals and had the best possible upbringing. Why I had such thoughts as a ten year old I don’t know.

As an adult, I’ve been put off the adoption process by the stories of friends who’ve gone through it and felt they had to lie about their lifestyle choices (eg, conscious food, unschooling, attachment parenting) so they would be seen as ‘normal’. I’m simply not prepared to go through such bullshit because some social worker doesn’t know the first thing about living naturally, or is instructed to follow a set of guidelines. Perhaps if I lived in another country, where social workers were more broadminded than in the UK, adoption for our family would become a possibility.

Adoption shouldn’t be about money, but it almost always becomes a financial issue. Others in the media have used the fact that it is a trans-racial adoption as their battle tool. “Poor child will have so many insecurity issues about growing up with people who don’t look like him.”

About the only Madonna song I know is Like a Virgin (shows how long it’s been since I’ve listened to mainstream music radio!) I’m not writing this as an ardent fan. I’m writing as a mum.

Parenting comes from the heart, not just the womb. It is in our capacity to truly love that we become mothers or fathers. It has nothing to do with whether we’ve biologically grown a child. Almost every woman can give birth. There’s plenty of evidence for that! While it can’t be disputed that the hormonal rush of GIVING birth triggers the ‘love hormone’… as humans we are capable of loving everyone if we allow it. Love is thicker than blood.

Money can’t buy love…Madonna’s showing that. Some people suggest she should just donate money to the orphanage. Yes, she can do that. She is doing that. We can all do that. But it kind of misses the bigger picture, doesn’t it? Children need to be raised in loving arms. How on earth will these kids know how to become loving parents themselves if they’ve not been kissed good night; loved and nurtured through their traumas and triumphs; witnessed and taken part in the preparation of healthy meals? This is what makes ‘family’.

Madonna has children! She knows they’re not fashion accessories. She has very strong parenting values, such as not allowing her children to watch TV. Why is all this being overlooked by the morally bankrupt and self-indulgent British press? Her concert performances and songs are a persona… an ‘aspect’ of her. We all have many sides to our being; it’s not the preserve of celebrities. None of us can claim to know what truly motivates Madonna; what makes her heart sing; her deepest yearnings. Yet crucify her we do. Frankly, it says more about us as a nation than it does about her.

If adopted children come through the process feeling as if something is missing, imagine how on Earth they feel if they’re left their whole childhood in an orphanage? No one seems to talk about that!

My faith in Madonna’s ability to parent this child falls on the side of her spiritual faith. I don’t know anything about the Kabbalah but I do know that when our soul is regularly fed through spiritual practice it is much easier to recognise our ‘real nature’.

Yes, we can *choose* to identify with our skin colour, culture, religion, family roots & genetics, etc. It is society which has taught us to do that. But the job of any parent on a consciously embarked spiritual journey is to show their children that, in essence, beyond the physical we are all One. That our TRUE heritage isn’t to be found in our earthly ancestors.

I look to my own ancestry as an example. I was born and raised in Australia. Yet all my foreparents on both sides of the family tree were German. Does that make me ‘German’? I’ve often felt ‘guilty’ about that bloody war even though I’m not a relation of Hitler, who was Austrian actually. My parents were born at the beginning of the war, so it isn’t like they went off and shot anyone. I don’t get the urge to eat liverwurst or attend beerfests. My love of the fairytale Christmas Eve was no doubt entirely to do with the love my mother put into it, and not necessarily because of it being something in my bones. Strangely I don’t resonate that much with Germany or Australia. Frankly, I couldn’t care if I never went back to Australia again. About the only thing I miss is the smell of the Eucalyptus trese and a good belly laugh by the resident kookaburra.

Yet, when I landed in New Zealand, I felt I found home. I still don’t really know why, yet I also *know* there are countries I’ve not yet discovered which will also feel like coming ‘home’.

Being ‘Australian’ gives me a sense of boldness; the ability to just get on with things, and to say things as they are. I never resonated with the great British reserve or stiff upper lip thingy. And yet my Dad has a very strong pioneering spirit with strong leadership skills. And he’s not remotely Australian.

This winter, my girls and I are going to learn German at night classes… I never learnt the language as a child because my older siblings had been teased so much by the Aussies for speaking the language…so when I came along my mum decided not to put me through it.

My husband tells me it is more valuable to do Spanish than German. Mmmmm..maybe from an English perspective! The girls did French a while ago and are just about to restart with the local Home Education group. It might be helpful in France or Canada…but I can’t see it making a jot of difference here in Cumbria. At least with German (which they learn when my mum stays with us) they can write letters and talk with their two living grandparents. Our motivation to learn isn’t based on any great love of my German ancestry. It does seem though, while my parents are still alive, something that my daughters can share with them. When a person is born, they’re capable of learning any language in the world. It is through our being immersed in a language that we take on its patterns…clicks, rolled Rs, tones, etc. It isn’t to do with what our bloodline is, but completely to do with what we hear in early childhood.

Although I understand a handful of German words (the ones used when I was naughty as a kid! Kleine Hexe = little witch), the language itself exists in my head and I’m sure I’ll pick it up quickly. But the same would have been true had I been adopted by a Chinese woman or someone from India. Their language would be what lives in my subconscious, even if they raised me to speak English.

My daughters, despite having spent most of their life in the UK, consider themselves New Zealanders and often talk about going back and seeing where their placentas are buried, not far north of Goat Island. Like me though, they think there are many countries with which they’d feel an affinity.

My husband is English, so the girls have all that ancestry too.

In metaphysical psychology circles (eg. I used to teach a course by Dr Rice called Why is this happening to me again?)…we learn that at conception, we have every thought within us that both our parents ever had up until that point. Scary thought?
Wait! We also have every thought their parents had up until the point of their conception, and their parents had, and their parents had. All that ‘potential’ junk before we’ve even started life?!

It is vital that we go beyond such limitations and teach our children that there is only One Mind…and true brilliance, love, harmony and peace can all be found here.

If they wanted to, my kids could get into a real head spin about who they are! As parents, we’re instead teaching them that the goal of each and every human is to recognise that there are no real differences between us, just masks. Our skin colour, religion, heritage, culture, race ...they’re just pretty patterns to make our lives and journey here interesting. But it isn’t who we ARE. As for family, it isn’t about blood. Family is when we look in another’s eyes and see love. Only love.

Have a lovely week ~ Brightest blessings from Cumbria in the north of England, Veronika

VBAC books
Hello, I am one of the authors of 'Caesarean Birth in Britain' published earlier this year. I am currently working on two projects to produce two handbooks: one on 'How to avoid unnecessary caesareans' and the other on 'VBAC (Vaginal birth after caesarean).

I wonder whether you could post a notice on your site asking interested women (and/or their partners) to contact me. I am particularly interested to hear from women from the UK who have successfully achieved vaginal delivery in the face of medical pressure for a caesarean and women who have achieved VBAC, particularly those achieving vaginal delivery after two or more caesareans. I very much appreciate your help. Helen Churchill (Dr).

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Forgiveness ~ the final lesson for humanity

Brew of the day: Pear & Nutmeg Tea

There are some, many, who think that the ‘real’ world with all its violence, drudgery, deceit, sensationalism, modern gadgets, is where we all need to live (especially for the sake of our children, lest they ‘miss’ out on something). These same people believe that those of us who revere a world where love, simplicity, manners, kindness, family values, respect etc., are important are somehow in a dysfunctional La-La Land, and ought to get a ‘grip’.

Two weeks ago there was ‘another’ mass shooting in an American school. It is always tragic when such events occur. And yet, for me, somehow this seemed even more painful. Those whose lives were touched were from the Amish Community. They live peacefully, away from modern life, honouring the divine in themselves and those around them.

I first heard about the Amish twenty years ago, when visiting my best friend Amy who lived in Pennsylvania. Entranced by the simplicity of their lifestyle, their deliberately gentle ways never left my mind.

What has struck me most about this shooting is the complete forgiveness coming from all those families whose children were killed, as well as the Amish Community in general. Some of them even attended the funeral of the murderer so they could offer support to his family. How many people in our *civilised* culture would do that?

It occurred to me, that perhaps, this tragedy was ordained in a way that our human thinking can’t imagine. These people have shown us what we all need to learn, embrace and practise each day of our lives. Forgiveness. For GIVE ness.

I know, for me, it isn’t always an easy practice if I’ve felt wounded by another’s arrow. Yet if the Amish can forgive, literally within hours, something so horrendous, heartbreaking and senseless as the shooting of their beautiful, innocent children, then what excuse have you or I to hold grudges about pissy little things? None.

Probably the greatest deterrent to becoming a race who can forgive is our immersion in the ‘real world’. Little secret here: this world isn’t REAL. It’s all an illusion. When we get so caught up in needing to be someone, have something (car, house, career) and filling in every waking hour with ‘stuff’ or noise, we lose all sense of Who We Really Are; of our divine origins. If, in essence, we’re all One, then how can we hate our ‘syster’ without hating ourselves?

Our attachment to the illusion which is modern life is the very thing that hinders our innate ability to remain in tune with the Divine. Forgiveness is the only thing which can set us free from our pain.

Forgiveness of others and, just as importantly, forgiveness of ourselves is the only path to spiritual freedom.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Cervical Cancer Vaccine & Coke

Brew of the day: Licorice Tea

GARDASIL - Cervical Cancer vaccine: Just who IS the beneficiary?

Hands off my daughters…

The Lancet (medical journal) came out this week stating that they want all teenage girls vaccinated with the new cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil. All the usual bullshit in the media about it being ‘good for them’. You’d think they were talking about apples!

Well, they can keep their filthy hands off my daughters, that’s for sure. Personally, I wouldn’t vaccinate my children for all the money in the world, ever. My own choices aside, why on earth is a vaccine that has SHOWN in clinical trials that it can cause birth defects AND has the potential to pre-dispose girls to cancer, being touted as the best thing since sliced bread? Come on!

And where are their LONG TERM studies into fertility? Are they telling these young girls how it might impact on their ability to have children several years after the injection? ‘course not, they won’t give a damn. But hell, you can imagine at a few hundred quid per girl, someone’s gonna be lining their pocket rather handsomely.

Mothers and fathers, know that you have the right to say NO. Know that you can take as long as you need to make an informed decision about this. Don’t allow yourself OR your daughter to be bullied. She’s relying on you to make an intelligent decision, not one based on fear. And most importantly, don’t rely on the government or your local doctor to tell you the whole truth. It’s not in their best financial interests to tell you how unethical it is to inject the virus for (sexually transmitted) genital warts into your not-yet-sexually active daughter.

My beautiful sister sells this vaccine to doctors. It breaks my heart just as it broke my heart when she sold childhood vaccines to doctors. Her car boot full of GIFTS for the doctors who took on the various vaccines kinda paints an interesting picture about what medicine entails these days… Hypocratic oath? Or Hypocrite? No prizes for guessing what I think.


The front line ~ friend or foe?

This week I heard of a Health Visitor (public enemy no. 1?) telling a new mum that breastfeeding beyond 16 weeks is unnecessary, as there is no nutritional value in breast milk after this time. Excuse me? Women like this are on the front line, their job is to support women to make ‘healthy’ choices, not undermine them!

Quite frankly she should be removed from this position immediately. How many other women has she given this advice to? How many babies were removed from the only food designed to build their brain and immune system, because this woman didn’t know something as basic as what feeds the human mammalian being?

Nobody in the health profession should be giving breastfeeding advice which contradicts the World Health Organisation’s statement that ‘breastfeeding should continue well into the second year, and beyond.’ Nothing about 16 weeks in there!


On your shopping list?

This week I read an article in Wellbeing magazine which listed the top 25 grocery items bought in Australian supermarkets (from the 1990s). Bear in mind that this result won’t be that different in other so called civilised countries…it to me, incomprehensibly, has coke (or pepsi or diet coke) mentioned seven times (different sized bottles or cans). Other ‘necessary’ food stuffs included chocolate by different companies on several occasions. The only things remotely described as‘food’ on the list were tinned beetroot and baked beans. Out of 25 items?

1. Coca cola 375ml
2. Coca cola 1 litre
3. Coca cola 2 litre
4. Diet coke 375ml
5. Cherry ripe (chocolate)
6. Nestle’s condensed milk
7. Tally ho cigarette papers
8. Mars bar
9. Kit kat
10. Crunchie bar
11. Eta 5 star margarine, salt reduced (must be healthy?)
12. Baked beans
13. Tinned beetroot
14. Diet coke 1 litre
15. Bushell’s tea
16. Cadbury dairy milk
17. Pepsi cola 375 ml
18. Coca cola 1.5 litre
19. Corn flakes
20. Maggie two minute chicken noodles
21. Generic brand lemon drink
22. Panadol tablets (to hide the pain of all the above assaulting the body no doubt)
23. Meadow lea margarine
24. Lemonade
25. Mrs Macregor’s margarine

It doesn’t take a genius to see that out there in the REAL world, we ain’t gonna be here in seven generations. Never fear about the impact of global warming knocking us off through drought or heat, Coca cola will erode all remaining viable brain cells before then.

I heard an interview with Jamie Oliver last week talking about some woman giving him a hard time for his ‘good’ food campaign…he noticed her infant, under 12 months, in a pram with Coke in its bottle. Says it all, really.