Nuggets of Wisdom – Visual Images

Visual images are some of the most beneficial aids in my mindfulness toolbox. Today’s post is chock full of my “go to” images that I depend upon to keep me present in the moment and showing up in an authentic way. Even if I’m feeling really strong emotions (mine or others), these helpful tools keep me from impulsively reacting to big feelings.

About 20 years ago, I met the most incredibly calm and benevolent young woman. She was the instructor for my 5:30 a.m. hot yoga class. She would start our practice with a visual image: planting our bare feet firmly on our mat, we were to envision small roots growing into the ground, anchoring us in our yoga practice for the next 90 minutes.

When I was gaining a little traction with my meditation practice a few years ago, I recalled that image from yoga class and thought about how I could create a similar visual to help me take my meditation “off the cushion” and into daily life.

My visual image is of dropping my anchor into my very core of calmness — that place I find when I can let thoughts go and focus my attention in the present moment. In meditation this is returning to my breath. In real life, it is staying present with the situation at hand — and most importantly, not getting attached to my own emotions or those of others. I can make better decisions when I am calm. I will be much more likely to act in alignment with my true nature when I am calm. That mental image of dropping my anchor de-escalates things for me pretty quickly.

A wise mindfulness teacher once said that most situations are benign — they are neither good nor bad. It is how we respond or react to them that makes them positive or negative. What is a big deal to one person may not even get on the radar screen of another. Staying calm and paying attention to how others are feeling, helps me get a grasp on why a situation may be a big deal or a small one for someone else. Often this is more relevant than the actual circumstances.

This may be one of my personal favorites — the visual image of holding a brightly colored spool and letting out a little extra kite string, watching that kite dance a little higher in the sky, adjusting to the currents and gaining fresh perspective.

Sometimes we are just too afraid to let go, even just a little. We chase what we think we need or want so badly. We might micromanage our lives or others. We can be prone to hover or smother, be needy or greedy. We can let fear hold us back from trying new things, or taking that leap of faith.

At this stage of my life, I use this visual image most often when it comes to relationships, especially adult children and extended family. Letting a little kite string out means that I am holding space for others, recognizing that their lives are busy and that they want to solve their own problems. I don’t need to be tugging so hard for attention or to be the one they turn to for advice. I just…..let out a little kite string.

I credit Malcolm Gladwell for this visual. If anyone can look at a situation from a ga-zillion perspectives, it is Malcolm Gladwell. And he does it with a child-like curiosity and unabashed wonderment. To me, this is how it feels to look through a kaleidoscope, twisting and turning it with pure delight, fascinated by the changes.

So often, we view things from our same old vantage point. The fact is that we are changing all the time, and oddly enough so are those chronic ongoing situations in our own lives, in our communities, country and globally.

Listen to a few episodes of Revisionist History podcast with Malcom Gladwell and you will witness a big shift in perspective when a situation is viewed from all angles, and through the experiences of everyone involved.

Remember the old adage, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure? This visual is a little like that for me. I envision myself holding a smooth cylindrical kaleidoscope that has a little weight to it, placing it in front of my eye, and watching the problem present itself in a myriad of ways. It’s a reminder to withhold judgment, get out of my box, stay curious — and make sure I am actually looking at the real problem. (Credit goes to Michael Stanier Bungay and his book The Advice Trap for this wisdom. Far too often we jump in to problem solve so fast, we “solve” the wrong problem).

When I first discovered mindfulness, I had a little cork that I placed in a small clear vase on my kitchen window sill. I would see it every morning when I poured my first cup of coffee. It was my reminder not to get bogged down in rumination, disappointment or sadness. I had read an article in Mindful Magazine that talked about how freeing it is to let go of getting caught up in the negativity bias. The image of letting one’s cork float effortlessly through the flow of life was inspirational to me.

I didn’t know at that time just how much I was actually tethered by old behavioral patterns, my life history and the disappointment of a dream disintegrating. Over time, with awareness and daily practice, I freed myself from those weights and found that I really did feel lighter in many ways. Today when I feel myself growing a little heavy in spirit, I think about that cork on my windowsill. It’s a reminder to look for the good.

The little things that unfold in our daily lives offer buoyancy to us if we are paying attention. Make eye contact with someone when you are having a conversation — you will feel your cork rising when you see it in their eyes that they know you are really listening to them. It’s magic and it’s rare….because too often today our faces are gazing at our phones and not each other. Call a friend or your sibling instead of texting — hearing each other’s voices adds the spice. Don’t be surprised if you learn so much more than you expected. Think about someone who makes your life better — and send them a card or a text expressing your appreciation. Smile more. Laugh out loud. Listen to the sounds of nature. Read a good book. Listen to your favorite music. Dance in the kitchen. Take a break.

Just holding on to those little moments of joy for ten seconds releases happy hormones and that will definitely let your cork rise and buoy your spirits.

I hope you enjoy reading about my visual images. I do love sharing them. Sometimes a simple mental image that is all we need to bring us back to the present moment.

Nuggets of Wisdom

I started collecting inspirational quotes in my teen years and to this day, I am still fascinated by them. One day, my friend told me that the little nuggets of wisdom I shared with her about mindfulness were like inspirational quotes for her. I laughed and said that my little homemade quotes were like daily gummy supplements for self-awareness. My daughter told me that she likes them because it the perfect way to squeeze a little mindfulness into her crazy busy day keeping up with two young children.

So, I am launching a new component to my blog posts — and aiming to share my Nuggets of Wisdom twice a month.

This first one came to me when I realized that all too often, we inadvertently interrupt others and pull their attention away from the present moment. Just taking a few moments to take stock of a present situation may be all that is needed to realize our comment or story can wait a bit. Don’t break the spell of a mom reading a book to her child, or your partner engrossed in meal prep, or a friend taking a moment to gather her thoughts.

Those moments when we pause and just observe another being focused in their own activity is an opportunity to witness another’s joy, fascination or vulnerability.

We’ve all got behavioral patterns that we unconsciously fall back on– things like avoiding conflict, being a control freak or being a consummate helper, not asking for help. Just like a good purge of clothes that no longer fit or are outdated, a purge of these old conditioned patterns free us up to fully embrace our current life and the person we are striving to be.

I’ve often described this processing as gaining a lot of real estate in our lives for new growth opportunities, richer experiences and more contentment.

Too often we ignore our intuition. Paying attention to our “gut instinct” will usually point us to the best choices. Our best friends and trust buddies will be honest with us, and help us see the blind spots we may be missing. They are good at holding space while we sort things out. Road blocks may be invaluable signs that something isn’t right for us, or that we aren’t quite ready. New beginnings are the springboard for learning, growth and resilience. Fresh starts are like a blank canvas ripe with opportunity.

Any habit that we wish to change does require commitment and daily practice. It’s fun to work on enhancing a personal quality that we want to let shine. I truly believe it is easier than breaking a bad habit too.

Replacing being judgmental with being curious was a quality I worked on. It really shifted my perspective and honed my empathy for what others were dealing with in their own lives.

What quality do you want to expand?

This might be my personal favorite — put a little gratitude in your attitude!

No matter what is going on in our lives, we often have so much to be grateful for, but we are so busy focusing on what’s going wrong that we overlook the obvious.

Take a moment to think about one or two things in your life that you are truly grateful for – and if it just happens to be a person in your life, tell them! A little note, a text, a hug or making them a cup of tea will be a blessing that goes both ways.

I hope you enjoy the Nuggets of Wisdom. I’d love to hear from you with comments, ideas, and your own nuggets of inspiration and wisdom.

Master Class

I’ve been captivated by the extensive research that explains how childhood experiences shape our personalities and impact our ability to cope with life’s inevitable adversities. It intrigues me on several levels. One, it helps me unpack a lot of mystery and confusion about relationships I have had since childhood. And two, it fuels my advocacy for children, mental health and the importance of personal growth.

I’m extremely grateful for the work that Dr. Bruce Perry, Brene Brown and many others have been doing over the past several decades that is culminating in a greater awareness and deeper understanding of our hard-wired need for love and belonging. Research is shedding a lot of light on all the ways people go about trying to fill these deficits of worthiness, trust, and connection — and what goes wrong more often than not.

The cause of these feelings of deficit are often rooted in our childhood experiences and even the culture of the time.

Acceptable and normalized punishments for “bad behavior” from my generation have thankfully evolved. As is so often the case, because we did not understand basic brain functions, we were making things worse — for ourselves and our children. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. We are now beginning to understand that a child’s bad behavior is not a choice, but a natural limitation due to childhood brain development.

Our personalities and our behavioral patterns are all shaped in early childhood. They are a direct result of our lived life experiences. We develop our coping mechanisms and behavioral patterns as a child to to keep us safe all while also seeking to be accepted, to be valued and to be heard. We need love and belonging to grow and thrive.

As we make our way into the adult world, we subconsciously take these childhood experiences and patterns with us.

Imagine how many relationship problems could be resolved in a supportive and meaningful way if we actually addressed the “right’ problem. Between the armor we have all piled on to protect ourselves from childhood trauma and insecurities — and the behavioral patterns that become walls to scale, we truly do get in our own way of achieving a wholehearted life.

When I left a failed relationship six years ago, I decided I needed to unravel whatever it was that I was doing that was blocking my success in rebuilding my relational life after Skip’s death. I had no idea how invaluable that broken relationship would become as a reference point for educating myself about the complexities of living an authentic, wholehearted life.

One of the most revelational tools I discovered was the Enneagram.

The enneagram was the equivalent of having an MRI to uncover my learned behavioral patterns and the core motivation driving them. When I took my first enneagram test to determine my type, I found it to be remarkably accurate. It dovetailed perfectly with my childhood experiences, and the people pleasing skills I carried far into adulthood. It was a helpful starting place for me to unpack the “why” questions. Why was I a “rescuer”, why did I avoid conflict and why was I so afraid to express my own needs.

As I began to recall childhood memories, I saw the pattern of frequent occurrences of painful experiences. In order to navigate the chaotic uncertainty, I developed coping skills to mitigate adverse consequences. I was also witness to the experiences that my two younger brothers had and as the big sister, I felt a responsibility to protect them.

The enneagram evaporated all the beliefs I had that I was somehow irreversibly flawed. It allowed me to realize that the behavioral patterns I’d developed were simply coping skills intended to protect me. These now irrelevant behavioral patterns were the product of my environment. I was not a product of my environment. At the core, I was a big-hearted, tender, spirited girl.

My personal growth work was to reconnect with that girl — and step out of the armor I no longer needed.

I don’t think my story is all that unusual. A hardship or a heartbreak causes pain and self-reflection. Some of those events bring about change that cannot be avoided, like me having to get on with life after Skip died. Some become the catalyst for proactive change and that can be a job, a divorce, a diet, a move — or personal growth. Self-awareness, personal accountability and acceptance can all feel very vulnerable and overwhelming.

It is often a family member or close friend who becomes the emotional glue when we are in that vulnerable state. They care for us through the healing. They encourage us through the transition. It just takes one trusted, caring human being to make a meaningful difference.

Dr. Bruce Perry has repeatedly stressed the value of having one trusted person that we can confide in, who will provide the scaffolding we need as we work through the awareness, the healing and the growth. In fact, professional therapy may not even be required for most people.

I was so blessed in this department — for some unknown and incredible reason, my friend Judy and I reconnected at that very vulnerable point in my life six years ago. Although our lives had taken remarkably different paths, we found ourselves in the same place at the same time. We both were knee deep in some personal development work. We initially stuck our toes in the pool of vulnerability and self-disclosure and once we discovered how safe and therapeutic it was, we took deeper dives.

Honestly, we didn’t know then just how helpful and transformational our deep friendship would be for our personal growth. We did not know about Dr. Perry’s research. We bumbled along for a while without the benefit of the enneagram, peeling back layers with the encouragement of Brene Brown, daily devotionals, inspirational quotes and self-help books. Our trust in each other grew organically and our healing came naturally. We forged a rare sisterhood built on our mutual commitment to become better versions of ourselves and we held each other accountable to the work, to our progress and to continued learning.

I was recently listening to a podcast with Dr. Bruce Perry where he was describing a “teaching” experience he had twenty years ago, but didn’t realize it at the time. He needed to have more experiences, more knowledge, more insight to extract the wisdom from that teaching moment. This really resonated with me because I too have very recently become aware of the master class I was enrolled in during chapters of my life.

It is only now, as I sit on the other side of a lot of hard personal introspection and the work done to heal and transform, that I can look back and see others through a much better lens. If I step way back from those confusing, dysfunctional relationship issues, I am aware that we were often addressing the wrong core problems. We were attempting to treat the consequences of behavioral patterns. We should have been addressing the key motivations.

This is precisely why it is so imperative that we each “do our own work.”

I was often puzzled why people in my life could not see and feel how much I loved them. I would wear myself out, doubling down on my efforts to help, to rescue, to solve, to soothe. The truth is, they were not in “receiving” mode — they could not take in what I was offering and accept it unconditionally as proof positive that they were loved, valued and seen. All the armor they wore, all the core beliefs they had about being unworthy, unloveable and not belonging blocked any possibility that they could absorb these affirmations and confirmations. It underscored my belief that I was a failure. Two people trapped in old history, false narratives and blind spots. Mother and daughter, husband and wife, brother and sister. Nobody wins in these scenarios.

Dr. Perry talks about how the wheels get set in motion in early childhood years — a disregulated stress response system contributes to poor coping skills and emotional regulation later in life. Learned behavioral patterns close us up to receive what we need the most, so that even when we get it, it is foreign to us and we feel vulnerable. This is the root cause of emotional triggers, PTSD and panic attacks. Left unaddressed, these factors will set us up for a cascade of problems throughout our adult lives.

Overlay Brene Brown’s research on shame and vulnerability on top of Dr. Perry’s findings and you get a profound sense of why her work resonates with millions of people all over the globe.

Brene has taught us that when we numb all these hard emotions in an effort to get some relief, we also numb the joy in our lives. This is yet another example of not being in “receiving” mode. Numb the pain and check out for a while. It means we “disconnect” so we just double down on what causes the problem. Disconnection, isolation, not being present in the moment — we are treating our pain with the very stuff that causes it.

Sitting with our real feelings, even the hard painful ones, is our brain and body’s way of processing. It builds resilience and it helps us self-regulate in a healthy way. We use the phrase “No pain, no gain” for our physical health, but we shy away from it for our mental health. As Dr. Perry says, no one gets out of life unscathed. We will all suffer loss, health issues, heartaches, adversity. We can — and we should — do hard things.

We have the tools to do this in a safe, healthy, productive way. It can start with a trusted friend. Asking for help is not an admission of weakness — it is a sign of strength and a desire to overcome whatever is holding you back from enjoying life and building resilience. This is precisely why Brene calls vulnerability the birthplace of courage and creativity.

I believe that the enneagram is another invaluable tool for self-discovery. Just as it evaporated my false beliefs about who I am at the core, it can have that same impact for others. It diffuses all that negativity and heavy emotional investment we have around our sensitivities and needs. It turns the spotlight onto the core motivations and that gives way to clarity and understanding. I believe we all really do want to support and help each other, but it gets so hard, so frustrating and self-defeating if we put all our time and energy into solving the wrong problem.

The more I learn about all nine types in the enneagram, the greater my awareness of what makes others tick. I have a clearer sense of what drives their behavior especially if I am familiar with some of their life history. A little awareness, coupled with a healthy dose of empathy can go a long way in creating the scaffolding for anyone who wants to get a foothold on their own personal growth.

Life is always providing lessons for us. The more we know what we don’t know, the greater the motivation to discover. I started out just trying to make sense of my own life six years ago and now I find myself a part of something that will greatly benefit my children and grandchildren. Imagine how we can all benefit from these game-changing, transformational shifts in how we raise children and how we support with each other.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

The Malleable Brain

Can you imagine hopping into your car and expecting it to fly? What if you tried to start your car’s engine with the house key? What if your inner child, say around age 4, was in the driver’s seat as you pulled into the stream of traffic? Now that I have your attention, let’s unpack how we are subconsciously doing just that in our lives because we really do not understand how our brains work.

I hope you will stick with me as I curate some of the most revelational insights from Dr. Bruce Perry about neuroscience and how incredible our brains really are. You will start to piece together why there is such a growing interest in meditation, unpacking childhood trauma and discovering dynamic new ways to treat mental health issues.

Neuroplasticity is the term that is used to describe the malleability of the brain. It is the brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. This is why we can learn new things, enhance our existing cognitive capabilities, recover from strokes and heal from the emotional impact of traumatic events.

Neuroplasticity plays a key role in healing people whose stress response systems are not functioning well. Dysfunctional stress response systems are often the root cause of mental health issues. We make matters worse by not understanding how the brain works and having unreasonable expectations as a direct result.

We can help people heal and reset their stress response systems but we must go about this in a much more (w)holistic way. My goal is to shed some light on valuable information so that we can have better advocacy for mental health.

Dr. Bruce Perry has been doing research for over 30 years on the effects of trauma in childhood. His findings reveal that the first two months of life are crucial for brain development and establishing the regulatory set point for our stress response systems. Consider this the “factory settings” for our brains.

Infant brains are truly astounding. While the baby appears so helpless, the infant brain is undertaking incredibly rapid changes in those first few months of life. The quality of maternal interaction, bonding and connection is crucial during that timeframe. If an infant has attentive, attuned and responsive caregiving, the stress response system becomes very resilient and that child will be better equipped to handle future adversities.

It is the timing of developmental adversity that is key.

If an infant has high developmental risk in the first two months of life, and then is given a more stable, caring environment for the next 11 -12 years, that child’s outcome will be much worse than if the situation were reversed.

If an infant has a nurturing, connected and stable environment for the first two months of life, and then has 11 – 12 years of neglect, abuse or dysfunction, that child will have a better stress response system and will be better able to cope with life’s adversities.

“If an infant has chaos and unpredictability in those first 2 months, the stress response systems are discombobulated. That person will have incredible vulnerability and a cascade of problems that have origins in that first two months of life,” says Dr. Perry.

Dr. Perry shares that a major roadblock in the way we are collectively addressing mental health is that we are treated as if we are all the same.

The complexity of the brain and its functions, along with the incredible differences in each of our life experiences is a clear indicator that this needs to change. Consider that there are 86 billion neurons in the brain. Each one of those neurons has thousands of synaptic connections. Dr. Perry points out that if you visit a children’s mental health clinic, there will be only 6 basic diagnoses — “6 little boxes to put all those diverse problems in.

Contrast that with our approach to heart conditions. The heart has 16 billion cells and only one major function — to pump blood. A visit to a pediatric cardiology clinic would reveal hundreds of unique diagnoses.

As we become better educated about the complexities of mental health, we can become effective advocates –for ourselves and for others. We can help move the field of mental health forward.

Let’s start with basic neuroanatomy, the relationship between structure and function. How does the brain actually work and how does it process information? Picture the brain as a floret of broccoli– the top of is the cortex, the most human part of the brain. The middle part is emotional and the lowest part is regulatory. Self-regulation is the ability to adapt our emotions and actions to situational requirements and to internal standards and norms.

Traditional adult perspective is that the brain is rational, that it is a “top down” process — a misconception that the cortex is running the show. But this is not at all how the brain processes information. A fundamental principle of neuroscience is the concept of “bottom up” functioning.

Getting up to the cortex means going through the lower part of the brain first. Dr. Perry describes the lower part of the brain as Grand Central Station for regulation. It is where our five senses get ignited, and changes occur in our oxygen levels and heart rate.

Are you beginning to understand why your heart races, your face flushes or you feel like you can’t breathe in a sudden high stress situation? This is happening subconsciously and our reptilian brain is trying to keep us safe.

Dr. Perry makes this stunning observation: The lowest and dumbest part of our brains (the part that can’t tell time) is the secret to understanding stress.

Wait, there’s more. A key component of the activation of our stress response is that it immediately begins to shut down parts of the cortex. So the very tool that “top down” people expect us to use to self-regulate is shut down and made less efficient by the very act of becoming disregulated.

And lastly, the cortex doesn’t fully mature until we are about 30 years of age.

Let’s review: As adults, we pride ourselves on self-control and executive function. We can more readily self regulate and use our cortex to prevent us from saying or doing something stupid. That is, if we have a cortex that is mature and organized. We’ve had years of practice, not to mention a boatload of mistakes when we did lose control of our emotional regulation. The consequences of losing our tempers resonated in a way that made helped shift us from “reaction” to a more controlled “response.”

Children and young adults are works in progress. The same is true for adults with low set points for self regulation.

This is the very reason that we struggle to understand why young children are misbehaving. We think they are making a conscious choice to misbehave! Frankly, it is also a critical piece to the puzzle of mental health for adults. According to Dr. Perry, many mental health professionals, educators and most parents are unaware of this game-changing concept of “bottom up ” subconscious functioning.

There’s one more piece to the puzzle that we are often missing. Even when the set point for stress self regulation is very low, Mother Nature equips us with a natural calming mechanism. Why then do we “over-ride” that feature in children? Let’s unpack this:

Rhythmic patterns are hard-wired in utero and the brain instinctively relies on them as a basic self-regulation tool. Dr. Perrry explains that when in utero that little body is sending signals to its brain continuously –“I’m not hungry, I’m not thirsty, I’m not cold”. Those signals send the message “I am safe. I am regulated.” The signals that come in from the sensory part, through tactical, vibratory and auditory routes, are the syncopated rhythms of mom’s heart rate, and the opening and closing of valves. The tiny body makes an association of patterns and rhythms with being well regulated.

After birth, mom will rock her infant at 60 – 80 beats per minute and the baby calms down. We do this instinctively for newborns — we rock them, play music for them, have them listen to sound machines, take them for stroller walks and car rides.

Then our children become toddlers, preschoolers and adolescents. We tell our kids to sit still, stop tapping their foot or wiggling in their chair. Guess what? These little actions are tools of self-regulation for kids. As unaware adults, we make matters worse by chastising them for utilizing their innate tools of self-regulation. We “over-ride” Mother Nature’s factory settings.

We try to get kids to use “top down” regulation and no kid can do that. Not even the kids who are well regulated can do that. Remember that Dr. Perry explained that parts of our cortex gets shut down when we are deregulated. This impacts attention span and the ability to actually open the cortex to absorb what is being taught.

“The irony is that we are not proactively teaching children how to self-regulate,” says Dr. Perry.

When kids lose interest or are unable to focus, they can also dissociate. Every one of us has also experienced dissociation — when we tune out and go to our inner world. We do it when we are in conversation with others, we do in a classroom, we do it at work. We even do it while driving!

By now, I am hoping that you are beginning to connect the dots about why mindfulness and meditation has become so popular in recent years. As more neuroscience knowledge gets distilled in a way that we can wrap our heads around it, we discover that we “check out” in many ways as we routinely go through our daily lives.

We subconsciously let our emotions and the lowest part of our brain direct our lives. We let our minds wander and miss important content and context. We get caught in a loop of anxiety, rumination or imagined fear that is not serving us well for dealing with reality and making good decisions.

Most of us are doing all of this with pretty good factory settings for our stress self-regulation. Imagine how hard it is for those who struggle with poor emotional regulation set points.

I’ll stick with the car analogy to drive home an important point — we are diligent about taking our vehicles in for regular maintenance. The wear, tear and age of a car takes its toll. We have an opportunity to expand the understanding and the treatment of mental health in that same context. Mental health education, tools and support are the ongoing maintenance we need to improve the overall quality of our lives.

The good news about mental health breakthroughs and advancing the field, is that neuroplasticity means that we can “reset” faulty set points for self-regulation. New neural pathways can be created and sustained using the same standard operating tools we are born with — somatic rhythmic patterns and repetition. That is what is meant by “neurons that fire together, wire together.”

There is however one key component that is rarely discussed. That is the over-arching value of having a strong human support system. Dr. Perry calls this “scaffolding”. We gain tremendous healing benefits from having a person with whom we feel safe who will scaffold us through our “reset” and growth process.

All learning has some discomfort associated with it and a fear that we are not going to master it. As a young child, we learn to crawl, walk and ride a bike because someone scaffolded us through the learning curve. We need that same type of scaffolding for our mental wellness and personal growth. Dr. Perry says that “if you want to heal a lot, go slow.”

He explains the concept of low dosing — an easing into healing and resetting. A person gets out of their shell (leaves their comfort zone) for just a little. It’s a small, controllable dose of discomfort. Then they return to their shell. This is repeated over time, a little dose at a time. Over time, with this slow and steady repetition, they will change and grow. It is important to remain open to these little doses of learning.

Slow, repetitive low dosing and scaffolding is something that each and everyone of us can do for someone else.

And here is a pro tip — two seconds of eye contact sends a signal for a new neural direction. Just two seconds of eye contact can be a wonderful bonding connection. Eye contact when you are scaffolding someone is the best tool in your box.

Dr. Perry believes that while a weekly therapy session is a major entry point, it is the collective support we get from our family, friends, teachers, coaches and others who foster our long term healing process.

I love this image that he shared — a therapeutic web — a collection of people in our lives who give us these tiny doses of kindness, affirmation, information and loving support.

A clear understanding of how the brain works coupled with awareness and intention is the foundation for addressing mental health in a more meaningful way. The more mindful we are, the better we are able to show up and support others. All of us an actively participate in that supportive therapeutic web.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

WiseGirl YouTube interview with Dr. Bruce Perry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Odom2J9wprg

As Born for Love reveals recent changes in technology, child-rearing practices, education and lifestyles are starting to rob children of necessary human contact and deep relationships — the essential foundation for empathy and a caring, healthy society. Sounding an important warning bell, Born for Love, offers practical ideas for combating negative influences of modern life and fostering postive social change to benefit us all.

Recommended Resources:

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxi4Ub8BAy0