Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cosmic Ordering... Soul Mates... The Aware Parenting Misnomer

Saturday Cuppa: Dr Stuart’s Tranquillity Tea
Calm, calm, calm!

Thank you!

I can’t believe how quickly Saturdays come around. There was a time I’d associate it with a sleep-in ~ now, my first thought upon waking is ‘what am I going to write about?’

A year ago I didn’t even know what a blog was [such a luddite ], and then when I did find out, my feeling was one of incredulity. Why on earth would anyone put their private thoughts out into cyberspace for any old nutter to read? And actually, often I still wonder that, and when a weirdo comment comes in it confirms my suspicions! It totally goes against the grain for a girl with a 12th House Stellium!
(In astrology terms, despite my extrovert front, I am very private.)

Alongside that, there are many times when I’ve wondered if it is worth continuing each week. The e-mails and letters I receive remind me that it does serve a purpose. For me, it has been a weekly discipline to put my thoughts down. I could, of course, just do it in a notebook, but like many disciplines it is easy to slip by the wayside when the only one expecting something is yourself. So here I am again, another Saturday morning, cuppa in hand, ready to share.

I’ve felt touched by the wings of angels this week in response to last week’s blog and completely humbled at the genuine affection, kindness and care shown to me.

Thank you so much. It was a complete leap out of my comfort zone in more ways than one. It’s one thing to initiate change or take steps when they’re instigated by one’s self, and a completely different ball game when some else is shouting from the edge, “JUMP!”.

Soul Mate

Our 10th wedding anniversary yesterday…and it’s funny, because a few days back I started thinking about all the failures I’d gone through in my life (not a pretty picture to adorn one’s mind with, but it came up from nowhere so I explored it) and was rather sobered …and promised myself by New Year’s Eve that I’d write a list of all my life’s successes. Why don’t they jump out as strongly as the times you stuff up?

One of the greatest successes is my marriage. It could be just that I got darn lucky and married one of those rare-breed types; it could be because our astrological charts have a great synastry…well, it could be a lot of things. I know it isn’t down to me because the odds are good that had I married anyone else, I’d likely have been divorced by now.

For all the failures, for all the gloomy bits, and for all the things I’d like to improve in life, the one thing I don’t want to change is my relationship. Clearly I’d like for us to keep growing, ideally in the same direction!

About 12 years ago, a few months before I met Paul, I’d had a tarot reading with a lady called Elaine. I’d seen her a few times but on this particular day I walked away feeling like someone had handed me a winning lotto ticket.

From being a “No kids for me” person not long before, I’d suddenly been stung by the maternal bug and really, really, really wanted to have a baby. And it had to be a girl! (funny how the sex of a child would be totally irrelevant now)

One small snag! HOW? I mean, I knew how to make babies...Had plenty of practice (cheeky grin), just knew I didn’t want kids with any of the, er, men I’d practised honing my baby-making skills with, and figured I was likely to end up a single mum from a one night shag, er, I mean stand.

I mean, after all, who’d want to marry me? Full of opinions, bossy, sees everything in black and white, into spiritual stuff, asks questions late into the night (the vast majority of men hate that! They really hate a woman who asks question after question…seems most of them don’t like to ‘think’ too much). Paul, bless him, more often than not has dropped off to sleep when a quiet voice in the dark asks, “are you still awake?” [Don’t look at me like that reader, they are always VERY important questions I have to ask!]

The tarot reader said there was a baby girl coming to me and told me all about what she’d be like (spooky when I look back on it)…but the thing that really stood out about the reading was when she said there was a man coming into my life who had ‘knowledge’...not book knowledge, but a deep understanding of life and people. She said I’d pinch myself everyday at how wonderful the relationship would be.

And you know, she was right.

I’ve not had a day of regret. And I still pinch myself. I find myself STILL thinking ‘what’s the catch? Why me? How did I get so lucky?!’
Maybe Paul is my compensation prize while I go through the other life dramas which are apparently there to ‘shape’ me and make me a better person.

Sometimes I look at my friends’ marriages and shake my head wondering why on earth they stay in relationships which don’t nourish them; which actually eat away at their soul while they eat away at the fingernails with anxiety till there isn’t anything left. I wonder how on earth they can go through day after day constantly bickering and criticising each other…

But then I see what *I* haven’t got. They’ve got beautiful homes which they own; they have lovely holidays to sunny climes a few times a year…they don’t have to count their pennies.

Now part of me really, truly believes, as Children of a Loving Creator, we CAN have it all! That life can be fun. We weren’t put here to miserable!! Yet make ourselves miserable we do.

Some people search their whole lives looking for a soul mate, someone to love and be loved by. Many people end up with someone else. Probably for no other reason than that they stopped the wrong train thinking there couldn’t possibly be another one coming along to the same platform! I’ll bet anything they were wrong. Far better to wait another 5, 10 or 20 years for a soul mate than to bed down permanently with a Soul Crusher! Isn’t it?

Cosmic Ordering

I’ve sent the Universe my Cosmic Order for 2007 which includes things like our own spacious, light, WARM home (with veranda!) on acreage where we can be self-sufficient [non-believers would say a financial impossibility, but hey, it’s My Cosmic Order and I’ll ask if I want to!!!]; as well as a few other things which I feel would enhance my life and give me a day to day existence in the manner I’d like to be accustomed to… I feel very strongly about the energy value of money…a strange little thing that likes to elude me!

In my heart of hearts I’d like my purse to be full of money so I can go through life as a magical Fairy God Mother bringing joy and ease to others… both in Third World Countries in practical ways such as planting orchards and erecting sustainable housing, but also in the so-called civilised countries. I’d love to create vegan soup kitchens, eco-community housing schemes, gentle birthing cottages, and so on.

Ruth mentioned in comment to last week’s blog that when we witness someone else’s pain it essentially becomes our own. The world, despite all the beauty, mystery and amazing places, beings and happenings, also contains a lot of black energy. I would so like to sprinkle angel dust around the globe and frankly, Mrs Universe, money would help purchase some of that stuff! A heart full of love and a purse full of money has got to be a wonderful combination. Right? While money isn’t everything and doesn’t guarantee happiness, equally, love isn’t always enough to bring magic and joy where it is needed.

I phoned my mother at Christmas, and my heart ached at the thought of her sitting alone in her tiny flat in Tasmania, Australia. How is it possible to have eight children, (five of which are in Australia ~ one of whom is wealthy beyond belief) and not actually be invited to spend Christmas with any of them? The irony is we’d have given anything to have had her with us ~ just as we’d love her to live with us permanently if our home had ‘one’ more room.

But I know without a doubt, that the list of goodies in my Cosmic Order isn’t a patch on what I already have. And if I never moved into my soul-home or had a family holiday, if I never got to take the messages of The Mother magazine mainstream, if we never had kindred-spirit family friends living locally to us… that actually, in the scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter because my life is rich.

I truly have everything an Earthly Traveller could need ~ a companion who fits like a glove and makes me laugh like no-one else on earth. I have a soul mate to share my life dreams and night dreams with, and that is one of the greatest gifts I could have been given in this lifetime. (No doubt making up for incarnations as a celibate nun!?) I feel he was gifted to me for no other purpose than to help me grow and expand through his love and nurturing. Imagine if everyone had this? Surely love would make the world go round.

My girls are healthy, noisy, bright, and interested in life. They challenge me each day in all sorts of ways, but clichéd as it is, I wouldn’t be without the little rascals. It’s the little things they bring to my day…the light in their eyes. The jokes. The mischief. The funny things they say which have me laughing deep into the night each time I recall them. The pleasure and delight they show at the smallest things is priceless. They have made my life.

What awareness? The Aware Parenting Misnomer

In this issue of The Mother magazine, hopefully through your letter boxes this week (UK ones), I wrote a piece on Babies and Crying, in conjunction with Emma Lewis’s piece on Babies don’t need to cry ~ in relation to what has become known as Aware Parenting, a phrase used in connection with the work of Aletha Solter. One aspect of Aware Parenting is the misguided belief that babies need to cry and a good parent will let them do this, and so long as they hold the baby they are being ‘aware’. I’ve cringed reading articles by so-called experts who’ve forced a baby, toddler or young child through certain experiences in the blind belief that because they were with them through it, everything was hunky dory. Talk about the blind leading the blind. Justifying your own parenting choice to put a child through trauma is one thing, advocating it as *natural parenting* is a whole different ball game!

Sadly, it is being used by many advocates of natural parenting and is now endorsed by just about all the so-called natural parenting magazines around the world, except The Mother magazine. Of bloody course! Flippin’ heck, you’d think the natural parenting magazines would be in allegiance on something like this. But no, TM has to stand alone…be the loose cannon. Aggh.

So today, I feel like I’m setting the cat among the pigeons, by publicly paraphrasing what I wrote in TM…

Babies shouldn’t need to cry. They cry because something is wrong! This idea of letting them cry it out being ‘ok’ if they’re held in arms is, frankly, a load of rubbish. To compare a baby’s needs to an adult’s unexpressed issues is stupid. There are many, many adults who DO need to cry simply because their needs weren’t met as babies and toddlers. This is completely different to a baby crying because it is in pain, needs a poo, needs to feed, needs warmth, needs cool, needs a cuddle, needs *something*…but it doesn’t need to have its cry ignored.

‘Aware parenting’ is an insulting misnomer. Ignoring and not attending to your baby’s cries is not much different to leaving your babe physically alone to is a sugar-coated myth amongst a new breed of attachment parents to justify the suppression of a baby’s real needs AND their own maternal/paternal instincts. It breaks my heart that this may well become the norm amongst natural parents who ‘believe’ editors of natural parenting magazines.

When a baby cries, it is distressing and distressed. It suffers all types of physical, mental and emotional side-effects as a result. When it falls asleep afterwards, it is from exhaustion and a sense of ‘giving-up’ because no one cared enough to find out what was wrong. It is NEVER because they’ve cried out their ‘issues’.

We’re teaching our babies and toddlers they’re not worthy of our love, when we practise this type of parenting.

Most people who practise ‘Aware parenting’ consider themselves adherents of attachment parenting; but attachment parenting is a spiritual and emotional practice, more than just a physical one. Each time you hold onto your child (rather than provide nurture, comfort and validation) while it cries itself out, you are witnessing a little death of its essential self. It leads to lazy parenting because, let’s face it, it is far easier and less challenging to have quiet kids who don’t ‘demand’ time or energy from us.

By all means we should hold our babies when they cry. That’s obvious. But we should also be looking to fix what upsets them. That’s what mothers and fathers are for!

I shudder to think what we’re doing to kids and ourselves by adopting this new way of parenting. Just who are we kidding?

Happy New Year

Why don’t you join me, blog reader, and write a comprehensive list of all your successes in life? Together let’s invite positive, progressive and accomplished vibes with us as we move forward. You can cheat like me and include the little things ~ like winning a swimming race in school or befriending an elderly, lonely person.

It could be when you were involved in volunteer projects.

It could be succeeding at a school subject when you’d failed for the 11 years previous…

It could be that one day you woke up and realised that your life was YOURS and not your parents’, and you finally felt liberated to make choices which worked for you.

Surely the injured wild animals I rescued as a child (joey, crow, etc.), and returned to freedom when healthy, must count? I’ll bet you found an animal or two too. Or maybe you chose to care and become friends with the kid at school who everyone else bullied?

And the trees I planted on our former piece of land ~ despite whatever I might feel regarding the legal nightmare and consequent loss of the field ~ that too is a success. Most of those trees will outlive me and bring life and nurturing to humans, animal and trillions of insects for a long time to come. That was always my vision. Perhaps it is irrelevant whether I was there or not to witness the unfolding beauty. Maybe the success has been and gone and I missed it!? Those trees will forever change the look of the landscape, where before it was just grass. If I die tomorrow, surely I’ll have left the world a slighter better place for that?

Roll on 2007, I’m ready for you! But don’t expect me to stay up till midnight tomorrow. No way kiddo, I’m going to be full of energy and bouncing with joy come January 1st. Life to live and all that.

ps. Note to Keith's Angela...thank you soo much for your gorgeous comment to last week's blog. I really appreciated it...where on earth in cyber space it has ended up I don't know! Sorry it didn't end up on the comments page last week...


hoon said...

I've read your blog for some time now and enjoyed it. For my own curiosity however, do you have any Oriental/African/Asian readers? A lot of the practices you advocate are traditional practices or at least they are in my culture, I'm Chinese. For instance, my grandmother practiced elimination/communication, although she didn't call it that, I slept with all my babies and they go everywhere with me, and my Mom still refuses to use to pram ( she says they're a royal pain in the behind ) and carries her grandchildren everywhere. However, the Mother magazine's readership does seem to be predominantly Anglo-Saxon. If I'm wromg I apologise because it would be nice for those of us who live here in the West to know that our baby-traditions are respected. Yours truly, Hoon, Salford

Harmonious Living said...

I would so like to sprinkle angel dust around the globe.........

YOU DOoooooo! You shower! angel gems through your
soul resonance,
your lifes work,
your mothering,
the Mother magazine and SO much more.
It is US who need to celebrate and appreciate and support you more in this work, so our kindred spirit community puts love into action rather than workshops 'about it'-
YOU are pro-active in 'getting it out there' that is a gift in and of itself - that is Love in Action.
Loved your sharing of 'soul home' -I am putting out for one too lol.
Namaste blessing and new year aspirations for us all.

Jeremiah McNichols said...

So happy to have found your blog. I am adding it to my blogroll at Z Recommends.

Thanks, specifically, for your comments on "Aware Parenting" and crying. I have a 2.5-year-old and am reminded of this issue as an art photography site renewed a debate I got embroiled in over whether it was acceptable to deliberately make young children cry in order to photograph them for an art project. The site named this photographer "Photographer of the Year" because of this project. I believed (and still believe) it was fundamentally wrong.

If you have any thoughts on this issue, I would love to see them addressed in your Saturday roundup.

Veronika said...

hi Hoon
The ethos behind The Mother goes beyond race, creed and culture and rests with what is intuitive in all human beings who tap into their mammalian instincts. We do have readers of Chinese, Japanese, African origin, but mostly our readers are Anglo Saxon.
Best wishes, Veronika

Veronika said...

hi Jeremiah...I agree with your post. It isn't art to *make* a baby/child cry...
Best wishes, Veronika

Mama J said...

Dear Veronika
A friend sent me a link to this blog article, as she knows that I have always had strong concerns about the 'aware parenting' movement, as she does too. We have felt very frustrated that it is so accepted amongst 'attachment parenting' circles, and that it has been embraced by a number of our friends. I have often thought about writing an article about it for a magazine in Australia which I read which has carried many articles about the 'need' for babies to cry. Thank you so much for your wonderfully articulated comments about why this is rubbish. I really appreciate it and totally agree with you.