Archive for October, 2011

Don’t Sniff Don’t Smell: When Kids Hate On Parents

October 26, 2011

How might thinking about Gaddafi’s lurid death help us to be better parents?

Collective rage and murder wrought upon a crazed dictator pulled from a sewage drain wearing gold pants and packing a solid gold gun, while bizarre on the one hand, also illustrates an important dynamic in human consciousness:  idealization and devaluation.

Whether plotting a coup or parenting a toddler or a teen, the relationship between idealization and devaluation is infallible:  idealization masks secret devaluation; devaluation masks secret idealization.

Teens, for example, often exhibit know-it-all contempt and pseudo-independence (if they are safe enough to swagger), but they eventually tame it down and transition from rebel-with-an-allowance to worker bee in the collective hive, that is if we have a hive worth working for.

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Occupy Parenting and We Occupy the World

October 19, 2011

As a parent and as a person in the world I’m very excited about the Occupy Wall Street (and Boston, Chicago, LA, London, Paris, etc.) phenomenon precisely because it has no clear agenda.  It is the perfect foil and counterpoint to the double-speak and confusion that has wrecked our collective global culture and left it ripe for transformation.

Of course many will swoop in to try and brand, co-opt, and “lead,” this zeitgeist of occupying, however, the brilliance of the “movement” is that instead of theory-driven, charismatic leadership, it is self-organizing and organically arising.

While the flower-powered protests in the 60’s ended the Vietnam war, they did not usher in the Age of Aquarius.  Perhaps a new paradigm of “occupying,” of simply existing and mattering is what’s happening here, even if what “it” is ain’t exactly clear.

Occupying is a radical transformation of the old order that is so amorphous, and thus so impossible to effectively oppose, that it does not affect social change, it IS social change.

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the institute for non-action

October 12, 2011

You’ll probably think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  Well, also I am, but it’s the dialectic of opposites that proves essential if we hope to unearth and share in the abundant treasure that hovers all around us, waiting patiently for us to savor it in the vivid and immediate realm of life we are living.

I like to tell stories, and I like to explain things—I guess I like to have a little attention now and then and I also like to feel like I’m earning my place at the communal table; but what I really want is to belong, to love, to give, to participate, to feel soft and safe and to have a lot of fun.

In this way, you see, at the quintessential level, we’re really rather the same, you my lovely reader, and me.

And while I don’t particularly wish to start anything new, or lead any particular charge for change, I have been a little bit preoccupied with an idea that feels like some whispering echo from the 1920’s surrealists—or maybe from the pre-historic cave painters.

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Relinquishing Resentment

October 5, 2011

While we’ve been attending to fear and how it inhibits parenting and lives well lived, it’s worth keeping in mind the relationship between fear and anger—and anger’s brooding distant cousin:  resentment.

When we feel scared we may run away, freeze up or go into fight mode.  This marks the workings of our primitive brain.  Thus fear and threat are generally the root causes of anger.

When we are scared of things that do not truly pose a dire threat to us (but make us feel, and react, as if our very lives are threatened), or when we are scared that things may happen which in truth have already happened (like being, or feeling like we were, abandoned as children and thus chronically fearing abandonment) we move into the more neurotic realms of functioning, or perhaps dysfunctioning.

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