Archive for: January 2013

Everything is Beautiful. . .

A long time ago, I had the opportunity to tour the old Dammasch State Hospital, the largest psychiatric hospital in Oregon. I was still an undergrad student and my impressionable mind was wide open. Our group leader led us into a day room filled with people of varying ages who were obviously out of touch with reality. I admit that this experience was a shocking first-view for me. As we spoke to the residents there, shaking hands and interacting, suddenly I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. Background music was playing, and I was astounded as the loudspeaker began to play “Everything is Beautiful in its own way. . .” I began to tear up as I looked at all these people who had basic human needs similar to my own. They needed affirmations; they needed interactions; they needed basic human contact.

Image credit: designpics / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: designpics / 123RF Stock Photo

I have never forgotten that experience, and any time I happen across this song, I recall that day vividly. It reminds me to be grateful for the blessings I have in my life. It reminds me how important it is to offer respect and love to everyone I come in contact with—especially those who have been dealt a hand with no aces.

Human beings were not designed to live in isolation. John Donne admonished us that, ‘No man is an island.’ When I view our world as a part of our larger universe and realize that we are all connected by the breath of life, it reminds me not to judge my brother or my sister.

Gratitude encourages us to hold positive thoughts for others. It humbles us to be reminded of our own imperfect humanity, and keeps us from passing judgment on those in whose shoes we have never had to walk.

Play the song that is bound to a vivid experience I have never forgotten:


Beam me up Scotty!

 Human beings were designed to connect—no two ways about it! Loving bonds with family and friends provide meaning to our lives. When we find ourselves isolated emotionally, physically, and socially—without those connections—we may easily begin to wonder why we exist.

The ability to connect is developed early on by the warm loving relationships of mommy-baby time. In order for this bond to be successful, quality time in the womb, and with mom and dad in the first two years, is absolutely essential! This connecting ability that baby learns at a very young age lays the foundation for emotional maturity later in life as an adult.

In this real, 21st-century world we live in, our youngest citizens don’t always get this basic nurture. So for some connecting comes naturally, and for others—due to both genetic and environmental influences—forming strong connections is a real challenge.

If only we could call on Scotty, as Captain Kirk did so often in Star Trek. Instead of transportation back to the starship Enterprise, we could just use our ‘starship communicator’ to plead, “Just connect me up, Scotty!” Alas! In really-truly land it is not so easy! Sometimes forming—or strengthening—those relationships seems impossible.

Not to give up however! Some of us have found that forming a bond with an animal can provide us with the warm connection we need when our relationships with people seem to be challenged to the max or even failing.

One such young man hangs his hat in West Yorkshire, UK. Teen Nick Gilling was having trouble in school. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and he stood out in the classroom—and not in a good way. He was perceived as ‘different’ and other students bullied him, kicking him in the stomach and leaving bruises.

One day Nick simply refused to put on his school uniform that was so bound up with memories of the cruelty of his schoolmates. His mother did what she could, and in her research discovered an education and training group named PAWS – Parents Autism Workshops and Support, which matched young persons with a pet which had been trained to help them function.

AlfieNick loved Sally, the Corgi his family got through PAWS, from the beginning. He began to do things for her that he had been unwilling and unable to do for himself. After Sally and Nick had become dear friends, one morning Nick and his mum were battling it out over him putting on his school uniform. When he refused, mum dressed Sally in Nick’s uniform and Nick loved it! He had an instant breakthrough, and the next day he put on his uniform on his own. The impasse was broken! Sally to the rescue!

If you find yourself dealing with social challenges and feel distanced from other people, feeling lonely and isolated, perhaps you could meet your basic human need for loving relationship by getting a pet. If you are unsure if you could properly care for a pet, visit your local humane society and offer to volunteer to pet the animals one day. Who knows what rewarding relationship Scotty might beam you off to?

Taken from on 16 January 2013

Want to learn more about early childhood experience? Check out the Pre-Parenting book by Dr. Thomas Verny and Pamela Weintraub on Amazon.


Honey’s Mama is no Boo Boo!

TLC’s Honey Boo Boo is going strong! And with the fate of her girls weighing heavy on Mama’s mind, she is squirreling away the dough for the betterment of her offspring.

I find myself wondering what helps her keep her feet on the ground in the face of all the brouhaha and sudden influx of money.

One of my basic beliefs is that human beings were absolutely designed to connect! If you were to try to invent a social grouping that would promote the good of society long-term, what kids on slidebetter group could you think up than creating families?

We’ve heard for eons now that ‘The Family that Prays Together, Stays Together.’ That has evolved into the mantra of ‘The Family that Plays Together, Stays Together.’

In an ideal world, mamas and daddies would love each other, procreate in loving community, and protect and provide for their offspring. The kids would grow up knowing they are important and valuable members of their family group. This would prepare them for their own journeys into the world as they come of age and make more babies.

Humans who grow up in an atmosphere of acceptance and benevolence make great citizens! Sometimes I think we have gotten too far from the warm connections that maintain our humanity and we end up unwittingly trading our inborn stock as humans for the drivel of ‘what’s-hot-today.’  Let’s not forget where we came from and who we are designed to be in our full potential!

As for Honey Boo Boo’s mama? She sure seems to have a lot of fun with her little ones!

Whatever line of thinking floats your boat, strong and loving connections with family promote better mental processing, and these bonds in turn encourage pro-social behavior! This is easy to remember and internalize!

Loving your family = sharper cookies = better decisions.

A great start for 2013!

2013 – Are you triskaidekaphobic?

So did I send you running for the mirror to find an imperfection? What’s triskaidekaphobia (pronounced TRIS-sky-deck-uh-FOE-bee-uh)??

Have you ever heard that when large hotels are built, many financially-shrewd and/or superstitious developers choose to leave out the 13th floor? The Trident Hotel at Nariman Point in Mumbai is but one of many who display a fear of the number ‘13’.

However, Arnaud Karsenti, a bold Florida businessman, decided to capitalize on this fear. He is managing principal and co-founder of 13th Floor Investments, a business designed to attract investors that ‘think outside the box’ and are looking for a biz strategy that goes beyond the mundane.

Fireworks 9So where does 2013 find you? Are you tuned in only to the ho-hum for this year? Or are you ready to take on a new challenge and move forward? Look out your window and see something in a new way!

We all succumb to our fears on occasion–whether it’s the number 13 or a pervasive fear that we aren’t good enough. Making mistakes is how we learn how to do things better.  Like I have told my students in the past, my couch at home never makes mistakes–but then it doesn’t do anything either! So be bold! Be strong! And push ahead in your self-growth this year!

Kudos to all you adventurers who are willing to move beyond your comfort zone! Grab those new insights as they pass through your field of consciousness, and give a full-body embrace to the present as you engage in your value-added future!

Three cheers for 2013!