Welcome to my blog!

We find ourselves in challenging times. To meet them more easily, I believe involves challenging ourselves to move beyond old, established habits and patterns.

Perhaps I am a bit late fully entering into the 21st century by starting my blog now, in 2010! In that my work and message has so much to do with slowing down and settling into a deeper knowing beyond and prior to our cultural modes, it may be appropriate to step extra slowly into the world of blogging and other cyber realities.

I suspect that, if you are drawn to my blog and the words here, you may also value this slower, deeper state we are all capable of. I invite you to read on and regularly, and hope the words below can support you in enhancing your ability to be, even in the midst of all the doing required in our modern world.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Leaning Out For Love

“There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever”
                        -Leonard Cohen

There is nothing quite like driving through the countryside accompanied by Leonard Cohen. Leonard sang to us yesterday and I heard these words from his song, Suzanne, as if for the first time.

“There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever”

Children do that. And they do truly do that forever.

We begin leaning out for love as we start our human journey. From at least conception on, our journey is about love, giving it, receiving it, being it, sharing it, returning to it. As the Beatles pointed out, “All you need is love.”

Little Ones Forming in Love
As little ones, we are love. Our hearts, the first organ to come online, start beating four weeks after conception. At that point, there is not much else to our tiny bodies. We are mostly heart. A huge heart bulge protrudes from our midline. We have a neural tube forming a brain and a gut tube that will form our digestive system, but we are mostly heart.

Our hearts, however, like all parts of our bodies, form in relation to context. The scientific belief in the primacy of genes has been falling lately to the newer epigenetic understanding that our genes do not determine our form but rather respond to determinants around us. These include both maternal states and the bio-electric field that precedes the shaping of our physical body.

If mom experiences ongoing or particularly intense stress prenatally, the little one intelligently prepares to live in a stressful world. Genes turn on or off in response to the environment. The nervous system develops accordingly, with hyper-sensitivity towards stress.

How do we lean out for love in stress?

What happens to our leaning when mom is too concerned about her own safety to settle in with her little one?

Children do lean out for love forever. They may or may not be met there.

Psychoanalyst, Ronald Fairbairn noted that little ones’ greatest need is not actually to be loved but to have their love received. We come in as loving beings, needing to be in love. Just to be. Just to be received. But what are we received by? How are we received?

While many parents truly love and welcome their new baby, children are conceived within a field of many intentions, often not relating to what the child most needs. Parents may have hopes, conscious or unconscious, that a baby will resolve marital tension. Little ones may be seen as replacing an older sibling who has died, rather than for themselves. A baby may be wanted as an anti-dote to existential despair, to provide a sense of purpose, to prove manhood or womanhood, to prolong the family name, to become the next doctor in the family, to be the first to go to college, etc. etc. How often are little ones welcomed and received simply as the loving beings they are, as themselves?

Even if the parents truly want to parent a new being, the news of pregnancy may be shocking or unexpected, and take some time to adjust to. Parents often don’t feel ready when they discover the pregnancy. They may also find their own prenatal and birth histories coming to the fore, flooding them with fear, doubt or insecurity, often without awareness of its source. This is an important time for parents to do their own work on themselves, with the support of a therapist experienced with prenatal and birth therapy, so as to clear the field for the little one arriving.

In the Shadow of Our Ancestors
Since moving to England, I have been more aware then ever of ancestral influences in our formation. It seems that almost everyone I encounter speaks at some point of the traumas experienced in war by their parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents. So often these traumas are passed down through the generations. Again, much of this inter-generational communication used to be seen as genetic. We understand now that we grow within fields. We are fields within fields. Our parents, their parents, and other ancestors contribute to the context our cells respond to.

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

This is an expression of wisdom from the law of the Iroquois nation, although I have heard other indigenous peoples in America refer to this responsibility.

It is helpful to remember that, no matter what we do and how we are, the children are still reaching out for love. It is our responsibility to meet that.

We want to meet that in our own children as parents, but there are other children reaching out for love. We are all interconnected. We are all part of a larger web. We all share this planet and our bio-electric fields overlap. There are children everywhere. There are even little ones within us, the little ones we once were, who leaned out for love back then and are still leaning. How can we meet those children?

Tender Leaning
Our intention will take us a long way. Awareness of our own histories and the histories of our ancestors still affecting us can take us further. It may help to understand that pregnancy is often discovered about four weeks after conception. Recently, technology has made it possible to confirm a pregnancy much earlier, but this is still a time when women have missed a menstrual period and are likely to suspect they are pregnant. It is also the time when the little one’s heart is forming and beginning to beat. How discovery of our existence at that time is received can have a profound effect on how we lean out for love throughout our lives.

Wounding from the time of discovery of the pregnancy tends to be expressed in our bodies in around the heart region. We may hide or protect our hearts by caving in at the chest. Or we may attempt to be strong and push our chests out, like soldiers impermeable to the hurts that are actually deep within. Whatever our wounds and tendencies, the little ones within us, as well as the children around us, can benefit from us learning to meet their leaning.

We can learn to love where love has been squashed. We can learn to trust where trust has been deceived. We can learn to be in present time, where we are safe, and to share our knowing of safety with the little one within. If our mothers could not offer this to us, it is time for us to offer it to ourselves. Then, as the children lean, they will be met.

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