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WHAT BABY’S POOP CAN TELL YOU ~ VACCINE SAFETY DOUBLE STANDARD

The

Science Behind

Happy Babies Is Your Prenatal Provider

issue 36 / winter 2012 / $7.95

Right for You?

STRENGTHEN YOUR

IMMUNE SYSTEM please display until 3.21.2013


HOL I ST IC HEA LT HCA RE

TM

Executive Editor and Director of Publishing Jeanne Ohm, DC editor@pathwaystofamilywellness.org associate editor Lisa Reagan copy chief Robert Staeger Managing Editor Andrea Quarracino creative director ~Design & Layout Tina Aitala Engblom technical director Gabe Small web editor Jamie Dougan Circulation Consultant Robin Hutson Marketing Campaign Consultant Evelyn Grewal advisory board pathwaystofamilywellness.org/advisory

on the cover WHAT BABY’S POOP CAN TELL YOU .......................32 VACCINE SAFETY DOUBLE STANDARD ..................28 THE SCIENCE BEHIND HAPPY BABIES ................... 10 IS YOUR PRENATAL PROVIDER RIGHT FOR YOU?..........................................................24 STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM .................42

Pathways to Family Wellness is a quarterly publication offering parents articles and resources to make informed healthcare choices for their families. Pathways to Family Wellness provides thought-provoking information from the holistic health perspective and invites parents to explore options for family wellness. The individual articles and links to healthcare information in Pathways to Family Wellness are based on the opinions of their respective authors, who retain copyright as marked. The information provided is not intended to replace a one-onone relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. The publisher of Pathways to Family Wellness encourages you to make informed healthcare decisions based on your researched knowledge and in partnership with a qualified healthcare provider. Pathways to Family Wellness is provided to you by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association in collaboration with the HPA: Alliance for Holistic Family Health and Wellness and Families for Conscious Living. All organizations are 501-C3 nonprofit status organizations and sales of Pathways to Family Wellness support their mission for public education.

Images used are for illustrative purposes only. © 2012 PATHWAYS TO FAMILY WELLNESS ISSUE 36, WINTER 2012. PRINTED IN THE USA.

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on the cover © Mae Burke, maeburkephotography.com

telephone: 610-565-2360 website: pathwaystofamilywellness.org info@pathwaystofamilywellness.org

article submissions Would you like to write for Pathways? We look for articles that challenge and confront, as well as articles that support and nourish. Please e-mail articles and information to: editor@pathwaystofamilywellness.org

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in this issue

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F E A T U R E page 10

Pre- and Perinatal Experiences for Health and Healing

Increasingly, research is showing us that our earliest experiences—both in the womb and in our first 18 months of life—greatly affect our health and well-being. Learn how the latest science demonstrates that the conscious care we take for our children, beginning at conception, has tremendous benefits. By Kate White, M.A., L.M.T., and Myrna Martin, M.N., R.C.C., RCST

4 LET TER FROM THE EDITOR Compassion

6

By jeanne ohm, D.C.

CONSCIOUS PATH

50 PARENTING Attention-Seeking Is a Big Fat Lie

Healing Our Cultural Disconnect By Lisa Reagan

20 PREGNANCY Mind the Gap

By Kelly Winder

24 BIRTH Six Signs You Should Dump Your Prenatal Caregiver

By Cynthia Overgard, M.B.A., HBCE

28 INFORMED CHOICE The Vaccine Safety Double Standard

By Rev. Lisa Sykes, M.Div.

32 THE OUTER WOMB The Gut, Microbes and Poop

By Jennifer Tow, IBCLC

36 HOLISTIC HEALTHCARE Shifting the Paradigm

48 GREENER PERSPECTIVES Elevate Your Harvest

By Jeanne Ohm, D.C.

42 NUTRITION Nourishing the Terrain

By Lisa DeNardo

By Karyn Van Der Zwet

52 TOUCH THE FUTURE Does an Oracle Have All the Answers?

By Simon Paul Harrison

54 FAMILY LIVING Painting Wet on Wet

By Sarah Baldwin, M.S.Ed.

The Power of Color

By Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten

58 COMMUNIT Y “We just need to build more.” Ethiopia’s Beleaguered Orphanages

By Jamie Grumet

62 MIND–BODY–SPIRIT Spiritual Stewardship and Planetary Health

By Arttemis and Krystalle Keszainn

64 NEW EDGE SCIENCE Why Consciousness Is Not the Brain

By Jeanne Ohm, D.C.

46

GRATITUDE

68 WELLNESS LIFEST YLE Peeling the Wellness Onion

By Sandra Dodd

Rejecting a Pre-Packaged Life

By Larry Dossey, M.D.

Chris Webb, M.S.

70 A MOMENT OF TRUTH You Say You Want a Resolution

By Bruce Steven Dolin, Psy.D.

extras for you 45 RECIPES

71 THE MARKETPL ACE

Three Green Smoothie Recipes From Lisa DeNardo


L E T TE R F R OM T HE EDITOR

Compassion W

hen I was much younger, I read a story in Hyemeyohsts Storm’s Seven Arrows, a book that introduced its readers to the ways of the Great Plains people, a peaceful society that existed for centuries before European settlers came to North America. The first story in the book described a gathering of people in a circle, each observing a drum or a feather in the center. Everyone, based on his or her position in the circle, would perceive the object differently. Now, continued the author, take an abstract thought and put that in the center of the circle. The level of complexity and diversity of interpretation deepens significantly. The cover of our last issue of Pathways represented such a concept, placed in the circle of many viewers when it made international news. Some of the extensive conversation that resulted was judgmental, and some was quite elevating. Yes, it was reflective of each interpreter’s perception—his or her point of view, at that moment in time, based on their personal cultural, religious, social, parental and educational experiences. Recognizing such diversity of experience, and the individual perspectives that result, leads us to realize that judging each other for our perspectives is futile. If our goal is to expand awareness to embrace other interpretations of an idea or concept, we can see the wisdom in avoiding judgment altogether. So in what state of being can we find the means to reach a connectedness amid our perceived differences? In this very question lies the answer. First and foremost, we must have a sense that we are already connected, and we must have the deep desire to foster this connection, something that judgment never accomplishes. With that sense of connection in mind, we will be able to approach the situation with compassion—the ability to see, feel and express this deep connection between ourselves and others. The articles in Pathways present ideas and concepts that often challenge the status quo, and therefore stir deep feelings in people exposed to them. It is our hope that our readers, when sharing these ideas with others, and perhaps encountering resistance and judgment, seek to show a true recognition of our collective connectivity and express the compassion necessary for the raising of the consciousness.

© TREENOOT S OJOEI YA

Jeanne Ohm, D.C.

/ D REAM STIME .COM

Many, many blessings,


A

nd he thought of those he angered, For he was not a violent man, And he thought of those he hurt, For he was not a cruel man, And he thought of those he frightened, For he was not an evil man, And he understood. He understood himself. Upon this, he saw that when he was of Anger or knew hurt or felt fear, It was because he was not understanding, And he learned compassion. And with his eye of compassion He saw his enemies like unto himself, And he learned love. Then, he was answered.

—THE MOODY BLUES, “THE BALANCE”

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C R E A T I N G C O N N E C T I O N I N C O N S C I O U S C O M M U N I T Y:

Healing Our Cultural Disconnect By Lisa Reagan

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© JAMES LEFT: P HOTO JA NECONTRIBU IRA DOE TED / DBY RE AMSTI LI SA RME EAG .COM A N : : BAC KGROU ND IMAGES D REA MSTIME. COM

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he seasonal transition month of September 2012 found me and Pathways traveling from the Art of Community conference in the pine forests of Charlottesville, Virginia, to its sister conference among the redwoods in Occidental, California. My bi-coastal research on creating community was rewarded with insights from pioneers and veterans of the intentional living, ecovillage and cohousing community movements, and the discovery of an ingenious, newly developed tool/toy for quickly connecting in groups that I am happy to share with you here. But first, why do we intentionally create conscious living communities, whether through Pathways Connect Gathering Groups or more permanent ecovillages? For Pathways Connect, our purpose as Cultural Creatives is to actively participate in the Global Wellness Shift by establishing safe and welcoming circles where we can be our authentic selves and bring our deepest parenting concerns. By acknowledging one another in these intimate settings, we also counter the scientifically acknowledged social phenomenon of feeling/being invisible in a dominant culture that does not reflect back to us our holistic values. To say that the importance of gathering and supporting one another as Cultural Creatives may be the key to tipping human civilization towards sustainability may sound too fantastic to be true, but according to some of the best scientists and thinkers of our time, it might just be that simple. As Paul Ray, Ph.D., shared with me in an interview this year, “It is the necessary mission of Cultural Creatives to bring forth their practical wisdom into the failing mainstream and unsustainable industrial worldview.” Ray is the co-author of Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World. Ervin Laszlo, Ph.D., agrees. “The evolution of the values and the ethics of people in all walks of life and parts of the world is the best and most reliable avenue toward the creation of a more peaceful and sustainable world. This evolution is occurring already, but it is not widely recognized,” writes Laszlo in his book, Quantum Shift in the Global Brain: How the New Scientific Reality Can Change Us and Our World. Laszlo is the recipient of the Peace Prize of Japan, the Goi Award (Tokyo, 2002), the International Mandir of Peace Prize (Assisi, 2005), and has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize (in 2004 and 2005). In an endorsement of Pathways’ nonprofit vision An intentional community is a group of people who have this fall, Laszlo wrote, “Wellness is the key to a peaceful chosen to live or work together in pursuit of a common and sustainable world. And wellness on the level of the goal or vision.  family is the way to achieve it. Pathways to Family Ecovillages are sustainable communities and neighborWellness and Pathways Connect are precious guides hoods, urban and rural, committed to living in an for achieving this paramount objective.” ecologically, economically, culturally and spiritually sound In addition to making visible the practical wisdom of way. The physical and living arrangements vary widely, our holistic values in an unsustainable culture, when we from loosely strung networks to much more cooperative gather with the purpose of forming a conscious living or communal agreements. community, we are also redressing the historically recent In a cohousing neighborhood, each family or individual trend of believing and then living as if we are disconowns their own private home, but some facilities and nected from one another and the Earth. “We humans resources are shared. Shared spaces often include a evolved in small hunter-gatherer bands,” writes Richard gathering or dining area, a playground or playroom, Heinberg in his foreword to Diane Leafe Christian’s Finding daycare, vegetable garden, office equipment, workshop, etc. Community. “Thus roughly 99 percent of our history as a species has been spent in groups of 15 to 50 individuals


© JAMES JA NE IRA DOE / D RE AMSTI ME .COM

Why I facilitate a Pathways Connect Gathering Group By Nicole Schwartz, M.S.W.

I BEGAN MY JOURNEY SERVING MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNIT Y as a social worker with a specialty in trauma. I worked at the Liberty Center for Survivors of Torture, and was the coordinator for the Pennsylvania Refugee Mental Health Network. I worked with the most resilient people I have ever had the privilege to serve. Many of the families that I served came from countries where the nearest medical facility was a day’s walk away, and the communities they lived in lacked regular access to nourishing foods. The women birthed with the love, encouragement and support of other women. Aunts, sisters, mothers, friends and neighbors supported a laboring woman through her birth experience and throughout her parenting journey. Most birthed several children vaginally without the technology that we have ready access to in the United States. After being resettled in the U.S., a sense of safety returned to their lives, and many of these women were blessed by the return of their cycle and fertility. They became pregnant and rejoiced in the chance to birth a baby in the U.S. Many, however, were provided the standard care in a local teaching hospital, and their birth became a point of retraumatization. Without the care and support of providers that viewed the mother in a holistic framework, made up of physical, emotional, social and energetic needs, these mothers were often subjected to intervention that was not appropriate for their level of risk. With a personal passion for anthroposophic and holistic health, I knew that there had to be a better way. In a country as privileged and developed as the United States, there had to be a better, safer, more nourishing way to birth our future. There had to be a way to match women up with a provider who was expert in serving her based on a level of risk. As I looked for one, I found the Midwives Model of Care, and my journey took a direction that I hadn’t foreseen. I attended midwifery school and became an expert in serving low-risk women who choose to birth at home. Today, I am a midwife. I still serve women and their families. I still, unfortunately, serve survivors of various types of trauma. But today, I am a sister who supports the women in my community through their childbearing year. I am hosting a Pathways Connect gathering in order to facilitate the organic growth of a support network for the women in my community—a network of women who can love, support and encourage our sisters, and one in which we share information with families on their wellness journeys, on their pathways to health.

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© RHEMA IMAG ES

where each knew all the others, and where resources were shared in a ‘gift economy.’ Even in recent centuries, the vast majority of people lived in villages or small towns. Little in our evolutionary past has prepared us for anonymous life in mass urban centres, suburbs and exurbs.” While we were not biologically or spiritually designed to live in a disconnected world, little prepares us now for the task of creating sustainable models for living, whether the issue is healthcare, attachment parenting, compulsory education models, or sustainable food systems. Consciously creating connection, building a support system and sharing our lives with like-minded souls is the thread that runs through all forms of intentional communities, whether group members are meeting once a week around the common purpose of family wellness or daily around a communal kitchen. It is interesting to consider that, while people have lived simply in communities close to nature for millennia, this historical fact and re-emerging model of sustainable living is considered fringe by defenders of the industrial, urbanized mainstream. Andrew Jacobs of The New York Times has written that, contrary to popular misconceptions, “most communes of the ’90s are not free-love refuges for flower children, but well-ordered, financially solvent cooperatives where pragmatics, not psychedelics, rule the day.” This was my observation at the Art of Communities conferences as well. While a few intentional communities survived their birth as communes in the 1960s, like Ina May and Stephen Gaskin’s community known as The Farm in Summerville, Tennessee, the exact number of intentional communities in North America is guessed to be around 12,000. Whatever their true numbers, the growing popularity of intentional living communities is evident by the long wait list of the 45-year-old Twin Oaks community, the hosts of the Art of Community conference in Virginia. Intentional communities, ecovillages and cohousing movements are inspired avenues for Cultural Creatives to experimentally work toward living sustainably and in like-minded community. Because all of these movements are responses to a growing need for sustainability and connection in an unsustainable and disconnected world, all of them explore why community building is so difficult in our culture, and have developed insights and tested tools for making the process easier. While most of us will not be moving in together or building a yurt village, thousands of families are actively seeking like-minded souls to share the joy of our brief time as parents together through Pathways Connect Gathering Groups. As Ina May Gaskin wisely quipped to me in our Pathways interview last year, “You are trying to have The Farm without The Farm!” [You can hear the entire 90-minute audio recording on the Pathways website.] She’s right. We are seeking the treasures of genuine connection and community of The Farm, and other intentional communities, in our Pathways Connect Gathering Groups. To help us achieve our lofty and necessary goals, what if a large


© ERIC A S HARP

collaborative group of experts on creating community took a few years to amass their wisdom and then shared all they knew in an easily accessible, open-source tool like a deck of cards or a mobile app? What if you could download these cards and have guidelines for games and activities with them online? For free? When I saw Group Works’ beautifully illustrated and boxed set of large cards at the Art of Community conference in Occidental, California, I knew instantly this was the reason I’d hazarded winding mountain roads and crossed a narrow salmon creek bridge. While Occidental is renowned for its high concentration of visionaries and famous artists, and was the hub of community-centered social movements in the late 1960s and early ’70s, I hadn’t expected to find such a potent and brilliant tool so easily! Published in 2011, the Group Works cards were created by more than 50 volunteers from diverse organizational backgrounds who collaborated over three years to express the core wisdom at the heart of successful group sessions. The cards are accompanied by a five-panel explanatory legend card and a booklet describing the deck’s purpose, its story, and ideas for suggested activities and practical ways to use the cards as individual facilitators or in a group setting. “The Group Works Deck and the underlying pattern language comes from the work of many different facilitators across many different disciplines and types of groups,” says Raines Cohen, a cohousing coach with Cohousing California, who worked on the development team. “We saw the same types of issues and the same powerful elements of solutions and looked for the essential common essence that we could effectively express with an image and text that inspires.” As we say in our Pathways Connect Dialogue and Resource Guide, how we talk about the often-hot topics of conscious family living and parenting (the process) is more important than what we are talking about (the content). While we also use non-violent communication tools in our groups to

The Importance of Pathways Gathering Groups: A Testimonial Having a turnkey community group is great, because it is inclusive of everyone. Pathways is able to be a broad enough umbrella to take everyone in, instead of being a niche group. Because of the networking of our local holistic practitioners and the parents working to create a local wellness community, Pathways Connect provided a hub for the energies to organize around. The Southwest Florida group is organizing a Green Expo for April 2013, featuring Ina May Gaskin and her new documentary, Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives. (Details are available at greenfamilyexpo.org.) Pathways Connect helps to give us a platform to talk about the paradigm of vitalism and innate intelligence. I have looked for 15 years for any other publication to help parents understand this concept, which is why Pathways is so valuable. You have done all the hard work for us. As small business owners, we need this tool to create a turnkey wellness community. It’s really empowering that we have all we need to talk about these issues in groups and don’t need to figure this out for ourselves. We are seeing the conscious change that is happening in our community. There are articles that we wouldn’t tackle without the Pathways Connect Dialogue and Resource Guide. Once people know about the Resource Guide, they have the confidence to read and to talk about these articles, like the one by Ervin Laszlo, the twice-nominated Nobel Peace Prize scientist. It’s really exciting to see the understanding emerge. I see the value in this project, which is why I am working so hard to make sure this program has a 50-year future. The Cultural Creative insights and the Global Shift insights in Pathways highlight exactly what is going on here. A lot of people don’t know that there are so many other people who feel the way they do. We just help them get together, and they instantly connect.

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—John Edwards, D.C., Southwest Florida Gathering Group

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T H E CO NS CIOU S PAT H


Lisa Reagan is the associate editor of Pathways to Family Wellness and cofounder of Families for Conscious Living, a national nonprofit supporting Cultural Creative families since 1996. Visit the website at familiesforconsciousliving.org. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamily wellness.org/references.html.

Inquiry Emergence

Ed Yourdon

Ed Yourdon

Kennisland

Nancy White

David Woo

Self-AwSaerlfe-nAesswareness

den Christopher Hol

Miguel Vieira

Inform the d issonance GrEomupbrM eD acin and Difference

Miguel Vieira

eable space solid, yet perm rcle is a safe, , sketch ta Ci A da focus that a d d te lla an chart co oup an outside, -keeping, u and your gr you and your Show the past, with an inside, n. A welcoming use of record l rso know who yo u know wh o pe ilfu , Sk to n om d. sd ea rso wis ah yo Th d e more you The mor u can rects ed m pe e lie di an pt yo fro r at c. ce es ely he et ac wh ot tiv ov s, m g— ec ch eo e eff e ea methin tiv,ely you can als, vid ecfit more effht y are, the morally are,atthare eryone can se s, graphs, mur Challenging so neof eliys timwa tices, or nse of our ld that reall reoices th e the rig that are the rig form where ev ac se fie e pr a , ak es m ion ch at at e us cre m w s ak es it d ne , help e ch heard, akov ideas, infor ntion your values, er you engage, m msc eroic attean learning engage., Di all voices are ve memory, s—provokes our ry. ve your goalshieve your orces collecti sto go ind e.scov inf d hie bl re ac an d es m.orDi th e, d dals an wi looking at thing ing lud nc an an ar cy es , rie inc shes en pe tco d ac anne oup inv scussion p ou incslud dim eds, biases needs, biases, and n ite grou sio s, ounts complac ex us gr m are sc rm a s sh ea di w su ite dr , p to ing vie s, inv ou rd s, r us ing o ng gr m he de ink les a eli als ea wi ep th fe Sh rding r view d enab ivity. It p needs a feelings, dr grou e he e. enSh needs a wide erwh thep genders creat an ptanceo of thg n’tnin reer om the group spots, and en disc acce ople wh we ernin theendetails. Zoo the details. Zoom scwn di intgo wh r uncritical pe ou do ine k int am sin s; ex wn to doerall trend sindk ov us to re vs. when o. all trends; . wh s, an vspa rnto p Culture tteen d the status qu r over Tap Space ~ Grou hed on e vision,ng pa,tte otan rts , ta d s, pe ion anrn convention an vis ~ out to se eec da se d:r Aesthetics of drelot tilliout es to,Ex atehe ific an , d Welcome ta d: Dis an sp da ing relatefo ~ en ific pl Op nd ec am the Group Mi ace ~ amples, sp time zoom in r~ex Inform ~ Holding Sp ~ Presence in for ex ~ Shared Air zoomPre ~ Harvestings. eat related: Feedback relrro paredness ~ ~ Power Shift d: gFe~edbac Roles lar de Choice ~ cu ll cuMo d rio Mirti an us attitude. Gr hip ~ Miaterin s. on Cycle for thepa ers xt lar cu ist ad a nte Le Gr e rti d Co All at d pa are d: an ltiv Sh cti ~ se to cu ntext relate Co History ction/A dCy us cle ~ fle an Re y oo ing ce on tor Ch en en cti His fer /A Dif e, op Refle~ction sonance and flectio e and provok Re m About You ~ ~ ncy fra t u are ~ ds ~ No ns Yo t ~ Embrace Dis er ho nsp ps tio ou et ep Tra shi es Ab m De ~ ion Not sful ~ Go eper ~ qu ~ ~ Tend Relat . Many succes related: Fractal ctal ~ Go De ys Fra p m ~ Listening wa issue 36 pathwaystofamilywellness.org ou d: yth th t’s Gr ate Rh 9 pa ha rel the w nce “W of id m rig: chn as suee d Converge nce Rhythm to ne re,tw cobe Trust the Wisdo eir aces d Co p nverge th sp anou Divergence an e at ~ es ce Gr th en ns tativ e ng ole erg tio Meec bi re p om Wh es Div m d Gorsp we elc ~p an s,unu ole Grou haveWqu Me “Ifaoyo bgtarou anedch ~ Su d pe Right Size Bite Go uctiv rou iftp and Wh ter?” atod Subg t Sh mpr ~ oin Bite wp ~ ts, feelings, an Shift t ofanthdeun rkt arre mos ss hetu e uc Toe wo ~ Right Size~ Vie ’s th ~ Viewpoint at thstr atty. We gather fac xie wh Soan oup’s awarene ing gr ?” lyz e do ra th u pa en yo d ep an uld de wo rity n, ro at ilia w? wh uld no fam l ca ar, ht fu e cz lp rig to reveal and tiv k he asra gene a uld asco nitywe rld. The most o” “spettacolopur

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Story. Stories, metaphors and myths convey complex ideas, context, meaning and nuance that simple data cannot. By telling personal stories we build trust and connection, encourage imagination and express the essence of who we are. By telling cultural stories we connect ourselves to others’ experience and interact with the whole system. Self-Awareness. The more you know who you and your group really are, the more effectively you can engage,make choices that are the right fit, and achieve your goals. Discover your values, feelings, dreams, needs, biases, and more. Embrace Dissonance and Difference. Encourage your group to honor contradictory viewpoints, sitting with the uncertainty and ambiguity this brings. Acknowledge all perspectives as equally valid and explore them as fully as needed, especially when tensions are high and agreement seems far away. Magic. At certain moments, something beyond the group emerges, accompanied by a sense of awe…and resulting in a unanimous feeling of astonished accomplishment. Conditions inviting magic include shared passion, urgency, openness, energy and trust—yet the quality is always mysterious, never guaranteed. Challenge. Challenging something—accepted wisdom, ideas, information, practices or ways of looking at things—provokes learning and new thinking, surmounts complacency and blind spots, and engenders creativity. It also invites us to reexamine our uncritical acceptance of convention and the status quo. 

Mapping and Circle Measurement st,e Forest, Seeing thSeeeFinorgeeth s e Trees Seeing thSeeeTinreg th

ACEI Cheung

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Sample Cards in the Group Works Deck Witnessing with Compassion. Grounded in your heart, offer gentle observations free of judgment. With kindness and presence, place attention on what you notice happening, rather than your reaction to it. Unity and Diversity. Hold simultaneous awareness of both what is shared in common and what is unique. Sometimes it is more important to honor the distinctions and hear the differences; other times it is crucial to focus on similarities and common territory. Both are needed. Seeing the Forest, Seeing the Trees. Shepherding a group discussion includes discerning when the group needs a wider view vs. when to sink down into the details. Zoom out to see vision, patterns, and overall trends; zoom in for examples, specific data and other particulars. Inquiry. Choose to cultivate a curious attitude. Great questions frame and provoke, opening us to new pathways. Many successful methods have questions at their core, such as: “What’s at the heart of the matter?” and “If you were czar, what would you do?” So what’s the most powerful question we could ask right now?

Darryl Wallis

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express individual feelings and needs, Group Works cards speak to a greater level of awareness of group dynamics, and allow playfulness and deep connection to happen more quickly in intentional meeting spaces. If you are a Pathways Connect member, check your e-newsletters for upcoming teleconferences exploring the Group Works decks together. You can also connect with me in our weekly Pathways Connect support calls. While my full report on the Art of Community conferences will appear in the summer 2013 issue of Pathways, the golden nuggets found in the Group Works card deck are too yummy to not share immediately, and are sampled below. Enjoy discovering the treasures of connection in your Pathways Connect Gathering Group by finding or starting your local group here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org.


FE ATU RE

By Kate White, M.A., L.M.T., and Myrna Martin, M.N., R.C.C., RCST

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Š JAMES JA NE IRA DOE / D RE AMSTI ME .COM

Pre- and Perinatal Experiences for Health and Healing


© JAMES JA NE IRA DOE / D RE AMSTI ME .COM

I

t has been nearly a century since pre- and perinatal psychology was introduced by Otto Rank, a student and colleague of Sigmund Freud. His slim book, The Trauma of Birth, was a gift to his mentor and friend in 1924. This birthday surprise detailed how Rank thought that difficulty during birth could affect infants’ psyches in such a way that it would affect them the rest of their lives. Although Freud warmly received the gift, he later rejected Rank’s hypothesis, souring the relationship between teacher and student. Since then, this idea has followed the same pattern in the world at large. A small cohort of practitioners accepted the belief that yes, babies’ early experiences do influence behavior for a lifetime, while the medical, scientific and popular communities ignored, disengaged or even repudiated this idea.

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ow, in 2012, human development and a confluence of disciplines—neuroscience, cellular biology and trauma resolution therapies— are supporting how early experiences have lifelong implications for health and happiness. These experiences—prenatally, during birth and in the first year of life— affect the child in positive and difficult ways, depending on what happens. Healing is possible, no matter what difficulties occur. After Otto Rank, several influential practitioners took up the thread that these early life experiences were deeply meaningful, yet it was not until the 1960s, after the publication of research articles on how caregivers

Parents and professionals need to know that how they are with their baby, even before conception, can influence their baby’s development and also that of future generations. and babies interact, that the vital importance of this early bond received scientific support. This research detailed how the style of attachment between mother and baby could have lifelong and multigenerational implications. Later, the U.S. government designated the 1990s the Decade of the Brain, and directed considerable funding toward scientific research into embryology, neurology and related fields, especially the human genome project. It was thought that humans had more than 100,000 genes that could be mapped, and therefore disease and health could be easily tracked and hopefully manipulated for the greater good. Only 25,000 genes were discovered, however, and research turned toward looking at how the environment influenced gene expression. This field of study is called “epigenetics,” or how the environment and genetics interact. With the birth of this new era of the epigenome, the nature/nurture wars can finally be settled. These days, researchers, scientists, therapists, medical doctors and other professionals realize that while the genes tell the body what to do and how to develop, electrochemical information in many forms coming from a person’s thoughts, feelings and experiences influence how the genes function. In addition, chemicals in the environment around a human will influence how the

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genes express themselves. These epigenetic changes can be multigenerational: Experiences that grandparents have, especially at crucial developmental times, influence their grandchildren’s lives. Geneticists are now tracking a variety of diseases through the generations. Professionals can track how experiences influence the baby in utero, especially high levels of stress. Parents and professionals need to know that how they are with their baby, even before conception, can influence their baby’s development and also that of future generations. Mothers, fathers and families can look at this paradigm and take away what many mothers have asked for over and over: an instruction manual for being with babies and children that will help them help their children to find happiness in the world. Every parent wants the best for his or her child. Those of us supporting human development know best practices and optimal processes that parents can consider, and also can offer support if life experiences have been difficult. Life is unpredictable and mostly not in our control, but we can do our best to positively influence the outcome. Metaphorically, we can chart our course like a sailor consulting the starry sky. Let us consider positive early life experience as a constellation of stars, each contributing to a child’s well-being: ▪ Ancestral lineage—people are securely attached and there is no disease (rare) ▪ Father and mother are “conscious” and prepared for baby ▪ Lovemaking is tender and intentional ▪ Conception and implantation are easy ▪ Uterus is healthy and baby is growing in a good spot ▪ Mother and father lead healthy lives, with mild to moderate stress ▪ Good and regular prenatal care ▪ Birth is optimal, natural, with no interruption— not too short, and not too long ▪ Baby is not separated, has lots of skin-to-skin contact, “self-attaches”; there is no difficulty breastfeeding ▪ Neonatal period is relaxed and uneventful; completely breastfed on demand until at least 6 months Pre- and perinatal approaches to health and healing can be broken down into several broad areas that support human development prior to conception through the first few years of life. This makes supporting new families of vital importance. These days, neuroscience, cellular biology, attachment research and advances in understanding genetics and the brain all support these best practices. As mentioned before, this was not always the case. Patterns of Attachment Secure attachment or interpersonal health is one process that can be highlighted that crosses all disciplines and development stages. Attachment, or the bond between parent (caregiver) and child, has been intensely


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studied since the 1960s, starting with the research of Sir John Bowlby. Generations of researchers have studied the impact of caregiver behaviors on human development, eventually leading professionals to categorize these relationships resulting from his initial observations. Training programs now exist to teach all kinds of professionals how to recognize trauma in these early relationships, as well as patterns of behavior that can influence a person’s worldview. Many aspects of cognitive and physical health have their roots in this one aspect of human life. Today, researchers can effectively predict with 85 percent accuracy which attachment style a parent will develop with her child, based on how she was treated as a child and how she has since come to terms with it. The bottom line is that children need the presence of a non-stressed, consistent caregiver who is attuned to the needs of the child for optimal health. This parent does not need to be perfect, just “good enough.” A big part of the formula of resilience is the ability of the parents to recognize mistakes or “misattunements” and genuinely apologize to the child, and change the behavior. Parents help their child develop self-regulation by being well-regulated themselves, being able to name and be with their own emotions, and to help their babies and children do the same.

Today, researchers can effectively predict with 85 percent accuracy which attachment style a parent will develop with HER child, based on how She was treated as a child and how SHe has since come to terms with it. Parents gain greater understanding of their physical, emotional and spiritual inheritance by understanding environmental and health patterns in their ancestral lineage. They can also seek out professionals who understand attachment and get help to address relational patterns in their lives. Much of early childhood trauma lies in these relational patterns. The good news is that

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RESEARCH

Animal and human research now supports the importance of pre- and perinatal health like never before. Here are just a few of the citations for the data-curious: Animal Studies

Human Studies

In 1958, a study involving rhesus monkeys showed that comfort (being able to cling to a cloth “mother” monkey) was favored over food (a wire monkey with a bottle). This early study influenced Sir John Bowlby, whose observations of infants became the foundation for attachment research in human development. In 1998, a study of the health of rat pups that had been carefully attended to by the rat mothers through grooming showed that the mom rat’s soothing behavior (grooming) led to less-stressed children. When the researchers put these stressed baby rats with very attentive mothers, their internal chemistry shifted to be more like that of the resilient pups. The findings imply that attuned, attentive mothering can restore healthy homeostasis to a stressed living system. A 2000 study of bisphenol-A, or BPA for short, a common chemical found in plastic, found that it caused epigenetic changes in agouti mice. Baby mice of mothers who were fed BPA became obese and cancerous. Furthermore, this genetic predisposition was carried over into future generations. More research showed that the predisposition could be shifted with diet. A 2012 study has now shown this chemical has an impact on behavior in mice, suggesting it creates social cue deficiencies similar to autistic diagnoses in humans.

As far back as 1998, researchers knew that early trauma was connected to difficulty later in life. The Adverse Childhood Experiences study found that twothirds of the 17,000 people surveyed had experienced one or more of these possibly traumatic experiences: emotional, physical or sexual abuse; emotional or physical neglect; or growing up in a household where someone was an alcoholic, a drug user, mentally ill, suicidal, where the mother was treated violently, or where a household member had been imprisoned during the patient’s childhood. The ACE study professionals found that these early experiences contributed directly to these patterns of illness and behavior: • alcoholism and alcohol abuse • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) • depression • fetal death • poor health-related quality of life • illicit drug use • liver disease • risk for intimate partner violence • multiple sexual partners • sexually transmitted diseases • smoking • obesity • suicide attempts • unintended pregnancies Moreover, the researchers claimed that addiction was not a moral failure of

awareness can shift these patterns and that even the most stressed patterns can become a healthy, happy present. Babies’ Needs at Every Stage As pre- and perinatal specialists fanned out from that initial core group of practitioners who kept alive the fire originally lit by Otto Rank in 1924, regular practices in birth, baby care and child rearing came into question. Originally thinking babies to be born more as objects with no feelings, pain receptors or thoughts, professionals and parents alike approached them as though they were blank

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the individual, but a method to address the emotional and often physical pain from early trauma. Swedish researchers analyzed health records for generations starting in the 1980s, especially times of famine or plenty in traditionally agricultural societies. They determined that if there was a famine while a girl baby was in utero, the experience would affect her genes so severely that it would make her grandchildren more susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. The same research proved that the sensitive window of development for boys was during adolescence, or when sperm was being produced. Furthermore, this susceptibility leaped a generation, influencing grandchildren as opposed to children. Research collaborations regarding this Swedish data are still ongoing. In 2009, another study examined the brains of people who committed suicide and found evidence that childhood trauma could alter the brain. Thirty-six brains were studied, including 12 each from groups that had experienced childhood trauma and committed suicide, people who had committed suicide but had not been traumatized, and those who did not commit suicide. The researchers discovered different epigenetic markings in the brains of the abused group in areas which alter the stress response, making suicide more likely. —K.W. & M.M.

tablets upon which could be written a script. These days, we know that babies have experiences in utero and can be affected chemically, hormonally and by the birthing process. Research has also shown that babies who are spoken to and played with prenatally and postpartum develop at a faster rate, with higher cognitive and physical developmental scores. Awareness of what is optimal can move us beyond or capitalize upon what our ancestors and historical experiences have set us up for. Conscious conception: The mother is the first home for humans. Once a woman or a couple decides on


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pregnancy, this early in utero environment can be nurtured with nutritional changes and awareness. The best thing that parents can do prenatally is resolve their own early history. An adult’s unconscious preand perinatal pattern can influence how a baby is conceived, nurtured, born and raised. Couples can seek out counseling to decide on how they want to parent and what their family values will be. Prior to conception, women can cleanse, ridding their organ systems of possible toxins from plastics and other chemicals ingested without their knowledge, hidden in foods and air pollution. Whatever is going on around a mom three months before conception will influence the DNA selection for a baby. The father’s experiences, environment and stress levels also influence the DNA in the sperm. As parents move toward conception, their state of mind can influence DNA selection. It is also important for moms to take prenatal vitamins, especially folic acid and fish oils (omegas 3, 6 and 9). Moms and dads can cultivate a sense of safety and protection in their bodies, in their relationship and in their environment to help prepare for the pregnancy.

Moms and dads can cultivate a sense of safety and protection in their bodies, in their relationship and in their environment to help prepare for the pregnancy. Prenatal communication and bonding: Secure attachment begins prenatally. A deep, nurturing connection between the mother, baby and father will optimally develop feelings of safety, lovability and a potential to be loving in the baby. Research has shown that reading and singing to the baby in utero begins the attachment process, as does seeing an unborn child as a participant in the pregnancy rather than simply a passenger inside the mother waiting to makes its appearance. Historically called “prenatal stimulation,” holistic practitioners have developed other tools to connect with the unborn,

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Breastfeeding exclusively and on demand until six months of age is also a perinatal best practice. including interactive kicking games, massage, and the use of music and light. Parents can communicate their intentions to the unborn in a loving manner, even if it is just a thought. Birthing practices and recovery from birth: Pre- and perinatal psychology approaches respect a family’s wishes for their birth experience, but births with little or no intervention are optimal for babies and moms. This allows the endorphins related to the birthing process— oxytocin, beta-endorphins and other natural, endogenous painkillers—to flood the mom and baby. Couples can also hire a doula (a skilled person trained to support women and families in labor) to promote an easier labor through touch, movement and positive state of mind. Research shows a decrease in cesarean section rates and other interventions for births attended by doulas, and even an increase in the satisfaction of marriage in couples who hire them. The midwifery model of care also has excellent outcomes, relying on continuous support of the mother during labor. Yet many couples often find themselves with overwhelming experiences related to birth: long labors,

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little support, fast labors, babies who need help through forceps or vacuum assist, anatomical anomalies in the mom or baby, placenta placement issues and more. Interventions save the lives of babies, but they are often overused. Therapeutic methods such as telling and writing the birth story, psychotherapy, and bodywork such as massage, chiropractic and craniosacral therapy help decrease post-traumatic stress that can lurk in the background should birth become overwhelming. Skinto-skin contact has amazing results for babies recovering from difficult experiences. Putting the baby on the mom right after birth has become so important that the World Health Organization is supporting a movement called the Baby Friendly Initiative, providing incentives to hospitals that leave the baby on the mom for one hour after birth without interference if there has been no intervention, and two hours afterward if there has been. Skin-to-skin and self-attachment: The benefits of skinto-skin practices after birth include temperature regulation, improved breastfeeding initiation rates, glucose regulation, normalized heart rate variability, increased bonding between mom and baby, and decreased crying and fear. Research has shown that preemies brought into skin-to-skin contact with their moms need less oxygen. Skin-to-skin bonding also increases oxytocin production for moms, as well as better milk production. Overall, it has a calming and healing effect on babies, helping to regulate their breathing. Breastfeeding and baby massage: Breastfeeding exclusively and on demand until 6 months of age is also

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THERAPIES

Science, medicine, spiritual faiths, different therapies and the study of nature all tell us that life is about patterns. Here’s how therapies use these patterns to help us thrive:

© K ARIN H ILDEBRAND LAU / D REAM STIME .COM

As the seed holds the instructions for the unfolding of the plant, so too does the human genome and DNA influence human development from before conception. As the soil, the weather and the environment around a plant affect its growth, so too does the place, people and energetics of the community and the world impact the growth of a humanity. The foundational benefit of preand perinatal therapy is that it will teach you about your emotional self, your thinking and beliefs, and the patterns you play out in relationships, especially those whose roots lie in your beginnings and remain in your unconscious, affecting your current life. Your ancestral patterns, prenatal period, birth and first 18 months of life experiences are encoded into your body and in your implicit memory. If powerful and unaddressed, these encoded memories often run in the background, creating filters for life’s experiences for positive and negative recapitulating patterns. These patterns can also include health issues, including cardiac, respiratory and immune system disorders. Fifty percent of the etiology of these health issues stems from prenatal experiences.

Because our first experiences are so influenced by our families, early patterns of attachment and our childhood experiences are also encoded into our biology. Therefore, small, nurturing, safe groups are part of the pre- and perinatal process. This kind of therapy—such as Myrna Martin’s Birthing Your Self process workshops—offers a safe space where patterns can be recognized and then repatterned for a healthy, more vital life. Other benefits include: • Development of a well-regulated nervous system • Awareness of patterns and their triggers • Tools to stay in one’s adult consciousness and orientation, and to stay in the present moment with the people currently in your life • Tools for increasing satisfaction and relaxation • Development of certain skills if their growth was interrupted or skipped • Compassionate reflection of compensation patterns • Reinforcement of healthy patterns • Redirection of energy toward new patterns so you can thrive

a perinatal best practice. Benefits include increased immunity, greater bonding, longer periods of sleeping by three months, and a decrease in common ailments such as ear infections, allergies and asthma. Data shows that breastfeeding lowers the risk of diabetes, obesity and certain cancers, but more research is needed to confirm these findings. In addition, parents can be taught to massage their babies, promoting bonding, decreasing stress, increasing circulation and immunity in babies, and supporting well-being in the family overall. Mom as support, mom as healer: If a mom is not feeling supported during the pregnancy, birth and the first year of her baby’s life, it can be difficult for the family. Depression and anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum translate in the baby’s experience such that he or

Professionals who seek training in pre- and perinatal therapies can integrate information about the earliest traumas into their practices. The need for the insights of preand perinatal therapies extends into a broad variety of health and wellness disciplines, as patterns of difficulty show up everywhere: psychotherapy (including bodyfocused therapies like somatic experiencing), bodywork (especially craniosacral therapy), education, birth, nursing, doula support and midwifery, medicine and more. These patterns can look like allergies, food issues, financial distress, relational difficulties, phobias, compulsive disorders, chronic pain, gender issues, depression, chronic health conditions and so much more. If you are interested in more information about pre- and perinatal health and healing, see Myrna Martin’s website (myrnamartin.net) or the website of the Association for Preand Perinatal Psychology and Health (birthpsychology.com). This spring, Myrna is offering training in pre- and perinatal therapies for professionals in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Vancouver, British Columbia. —K.W. & M.M.

she may have behavioral, physical and cognitive issues later in life. Moms need to feel good after they have their babies, with circles of support to bring food and help spell the new mom and dad in the care of their new baby. They often sacrifice their well-being to take care of the family, however. If they can be gently shown that care for the mother equals care for the whole family, then the first year of life for the new family goes better. What Adults Need: Healing Early Trauma After studying all the possibilities in environmental, chemical, hormonal and practical influences on a developing human, there may be a feeling that we should know now how to cure these huge epidemics in mood disorders, endocrine difficulties, behavioral challenges

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and various illnesses, even cancer. The truth is more that we are aware of patterns that can influence our physical, mental and spiritual health. Determining the right path for reaching optimal health for each individual once grown into adulthood is tricky, and involves rebuilding the brain and the nervous system to a more optimal

state. It takes time, but it can be done. Adults can often track their difficulties back to the pre- and perinatal period in a variety of ways and select from a group of practices to influence health and healing. Initially, adults for whom pre- and perinatal practices are ideally suited are those who have difficult physical,

PARENTS

No person or family has an optimal constellation of factors for human development; however, we can change our stars.  That’s the good news.  Here’s what parents can do: If a woman is considering getting pregnant she can most positively influence healthy gene selection by preparing at least three months in advance.  Bruce Lipton and other cellular biologists have shown that what a woman experiences in that time can create an environment that influences which genes are selected, especially if she can avoid high stress or experiences of fear or loss.  Babies conceived during wartime or famine have an entirely different experience from those conceived in times of plenty.  Women can take vitamins, especially folic acid, and eat healthy foods, especially fish oils and other foods that positively influence neurological development. Potential parents can examine how attuned they are to their own emotions and how comfortable they are expressing these emotions with the people they love and trust.  Parents can practice talking about their feelings with each other to increase their own comfort levels with emotional expression. Having parents who can do this with ease and help their children express and understand their emotions is one of the best predictors of a child’s happiness and ability to selfregulate feelings. Mates can create a loving and conscious atmosphere for conception.  Most of us know that not all babies are planned, and even when planning, it can be stressful to conceive if there are patterns of infertility.  Parents can also influence their baby’s development through communication with the baby in utero.  This concept can be a stretch for some parents, but research has shown that babies can experience their parents’ intentions and communication, even if they don’t understand the words. These babies exhibit enhanced

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visual, auditory, linguistic and motor development. In general, they sleep better and are more alert, confident and content than infants who did not receive this level of communication in utero.  Births in families where there is prenatal communication tend to have less intervention, and the babies are bigger and stronger.  These families also have more intense bonding and greater coherence.  Parents can talk, read, play games through touch, and sing to their unborn.  Stress plays an important role in human development.  Truly overwhelming or toxic stress, whether caused by war, domestic violence, a huge workload at the office, or other adverse circumstances, can program a baby’s nervous system so he or she is hard to settle, negatively affecting sleep, communication, eating and even motor and cognitive development. Not all stress is bad, however. Occasional moderate stress can spur humans to be more resilient. But women need to determine how much is too much for them, and get support they need.  Therapies such as massage and other forms of bodywork, meditation and relaxation techniques are important resources here, as are exercise, walks in nature, and anything that helps a mom feel better and more in charge of her environment. Parents, mothers in particular, can look at their own history and determine how they were parented.  Research has shown that we parent our own children in the same manner in which we were raised, with up to 85 percent accuracy.  The best way to prepare is to make sense of your history and address problems in the presence of a qualified counselor.  It is not what happened to us as children that matters, but how we have come to terms with it.

Pregnant moms and their mates can seek out good prenatal care and select minimal intervention during birth.  In addition, birth and postpartum doulas can really help the new family get off to the best possible start.  Research has shown that the presence of a doula can decrease the need for interventions and even increase the satisfaction of a couple’s relationship. If there has been a difficult birth or separation between mom and baby, then parents can use skin-to-skin practices and therapies to help repair and support bonding.  This is effective even if the baby was adopted.  Breastfeeding is also a best practice for optimal human development, but if that is not well established, parents can still support their children with health practices and play.  Research now shows that the first 18 months of life are when significant nerve pathways are formed. The brain develops rapidly until age 3, when unused and unstimulated neurons will be pruned.  Since a baby’s nervous system goes 10 times slower than an adult’s, parents and caregivers can slow down and provide appropriate enriching experiences through touch, music, rhythm and communication.  Parents can talk with their babies.  A connected, attuned experience is vital for all aspects of a baby’s development. Moms and caregivers need to be encouraged to make themselves a priority.  Babies will entrain off of what a mom is feeling.  If she is exhausted, anxious, depressed or nutritionally drained, her baby will feel it.  There is truth to the saying “If mama’s not happy, no one’s happy.”  If the mother needs to go back to work, families can select educated and resilient care providers and help for the family to make the transition.  —K.W. & M.M.


emotional and relational patterns in their lives that they can’t seem to shake. These are most often chronic states such as lifelong depression and anxiety, attention and comprehension disorders, relational difficulties such as an inability to feel safe or connected, sleeping and eating disorders, and endocrine issues. First and foremost, adults need to understand their history and acknowledge how it affects them in the present. Early difficulty does not need to be re-experienced to be healed. However, the person who has such a history needs to make sense of what happened and feel settled around it. Dysfunctional compensation patterns are part of the survival pattern for adults who had to respond in these ways when the early trauma was occurring. These compensation patterns, which have outlived their usefulness for the most part, are brought to light without shame and then transformed with compassion and the presence of an attuned therapist trained in early trauma resolution. Often working in a small, safe group is very effective. These relational traumas occurred in the context of a family, and a small, nurturing group can create the environment of a healthy family in which the repatterning can occur more easily. Current trends in trauma resolution include body-based or somatic therapies, because the roots of unhealthy patterns lie in preverbal, birth and even embryonic states. True healing of difficulty during this early period requires a somatic component, not just talking. Therapists are trained in a variety of techniques that safely lead an adult to understand and repattern early difficulty. Most often there are dynamic and profound resources within an individual that also play a huge role in a healthy outcome. Some bodyworkers call this “the health in the system” of the person with whom they are working; therapies reorient an adult toward this healthy place within. The Future of Pre- and Perinatal Science The pre- and perinatal paradigm for health and healing has immense importance to human development. New research supporting the vital importance of this period is published weekly. Holistic healing trends influenced by advances in these therapies include the mother- and baby-friendly initiatives, increases in breastfeeding initiation rates, increases in home birth and natural birth, increased awareness and adoption of skin-to-skin practices and policies, and the integration of therapies led by advances in neuroscience and the importance of healthy, balanced relationships in early life. The latter has been coined “interpersonal neurobiology.” The future is bright for further integration of practices around human development.  For more information: Belvederearts.com. Copyright 2012

Myrna Martin, M.N., R.C.C., RCST, has 40 years of experience working as director of Nelson and Area Mental Health Services, therapeutically as a nurse, family therapist and craniosacral therapist. Her private practice focuses on early trauma resolution with babies, children and their families as well as adults. She teaches workshops and seminars around the world. Myrna is director of the Kutenai Institute of Integral Therapies which offers pre- and perinatal professional training, somatic trauma resolution and biodynamic craniosacral therapy. Her next pre- and perinatal professional trainings will be in Charlottesville, Virginia, beginning in April 2013 and Vancouver, British Columbia, in May 2013. These trainings provide professional education for a broad range of people working with pregnant couples and families with children in the early years as well as adults. Visit her online at myrnamartin.net. Kate White, M.A., L.M.T., is a certified massage and craniosacral therapist living in Charlottesville, Virginia. Having studied with many teachers in the pre- and perinatal field since 1999, she is currently the coordinator for Myrna Martin’s pre- and perinatal professional training. Visit her online at belvederearts.com. Visit Pathways Connect’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/PathwaysConnect) to view an exclusive four-part series featuring Kate and Myrna discussing prenatal and perinatal psychology, what babies need, what adults need and how the science of this field is emerging and transforming our view of wellness. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

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MIND CPD is the most common reason for performing a caesarean. But how common is it, really? By Kelly Winder

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n the 18th and 19th centuries, poor nutrition, rickets, and illnesses such as polio caused pelvic anomalies, which resulted in loss of life during childbirth. Indeed, initially CPD—short for cephalopelvic disproportion, a condition where the baby’s head is thought to be too large to pass through the woman’s pelvis—was the most common reason for carrying out a caesarean. In modern times, however, CPD is rare, since our general standard of living is so much higher. True CPD is more likely to be caused by pelvic fracture due to traffic accidents or congenital abnormalities. Often CPD is implied rather than diagnosed. In cases where labor has failed to progress or the baby has become distressed, medical staff commonly assume that this is due to physical inadequacies in the mother rather than look toward circumstances of the mother’s care. But these problems frequently occur when CPD is not suspected, and they have many other causes, such as fear and uncertainty, difficulty adjusting to a medical environment, lack of emotional support and non-continuity of caregiver. Many women worry about how something as big as a baby will come down such a narrow vaginal passage, so implications of pelvic inadequacy can confirm personal fears, lower self-esteem, affect the progress of any subsequent labor and add greatly to feelings of failure. CPD is also sometimes suspected when the baby’s head fails to engage, although both this and failure to progress have proven unreliable indicators. When CPD is suspected, x-ray pelvimetry may be suggested. This is when the mother’s pelvis is measured by taking x-rays to assess pelvic adequacy. Quite apart from


THE GAP the health risks of x-rays, this method of pelvic assessment has been criticized since it has been shown to be inaccurate, and because often the results do not influence the way that the delivery is managed. Due to concerns over x-ray exposure of women and babies, some hospitals offer pelvimetry by a computed tomography (CT) scan, which uses a much lower dose of radiation. However, there is no reason to believe that the resulting measurements provide a more accurate diagnosis of CPD than conventional x-rays, for the same reasons. What if your ultrasound says you have a big baby? Well, maybe, maybe not. The Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine states the following in its policy, “Statement on Normal Ultrasonic Fetal Measurements”: “No formula for estimating fetal weight has achieved an accuracy which enables us to recommend its use.” A woman’s degree of motivation to achieve a vaginal delivery, along with the level of support she receives, are likely to be more influential on the outcome than her pelvic measurements. Even in undisputed cases of CPD, it should still be possible for a mother to go into labor without compromising her baby’s safety. In fact, a period of labor prior to caesarean section is believed to reduce the occurrence of respiratory distress, and can therefore be beneficial for the baby. In any case, CPD is difficult to diagnose accurately, since there are no less than four variables that cannot be measured: 1. The pelvic girdle is not a fixed, solid structure. During pregnancy and labor the hormone relaxin softens the ligaments that join the pelvic bones, allowing the pelvis to give and ”stretch.” The degree of pelvic expansion achieved will vary from woman to woman and from pregnancy to pregnancy.

A woman’s degree of motivation to achieve a vaginal delivery, along with the level of support she receives, are likely to be more influential on the outcome than her pelvic measurements. 2. Babies’ heads mold into shape. Babies’ heads are made up of separate bones which move relative to each other, allowing the baby’s head to “mold” and thus reduce its diameter during passage down the birth canal. No one can predict the capacity of an individual baby’s head to mold. As this is a feature of the normal birth process, it should not adversely affect the health and well-being of the baby. 3. The position that a woman adopts during labor and delivery makes a difference to pelvic dimensions. Squatting, for example, can increase pelvic measurements by up to 30 percent. One of the most common birthing positions—semi-reclined, with the mother’s weight on her coccyx—restricts movement of the coccyx, however. This can severely compromise a belowaverage pelvis. 4. Baby’s position is important. The position of the baby can be crucial, and whether its head is well flexed or tilted can mean the difference between an easy delivery and delivery being impossible.

“True cephalopelvic disproportion is a tenuous diagnosis because greater than two-thirds of women diagnosed and given C-sections deliver even larger infants vaginally in subsequent births.” —American Journal of Public Health

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Concerned? Here are some tips. 1. Read about optimal fetal positioning. I have heard from many doulas and midwives (and have seen for myself) that women get sent off for caesareans due to CPD or “failure to progress” when the baby was simply in a posterior position or not in an optimal position. It is believed that modern lifestyle (more sedentary than it once was) could be a reason for babies in posterior or other less optimal presentations.

Prior Diagnoses of CPD When a diagnosis of CPD has been made, many people still believe that this constitutes a reason for elective repeat caesarean section in future pregnancies, despite the wealth of evidence to the contrary. Indeed, there have been many documented cases where women have been diagnosed as having CPD and then gone on to deliver vaginally a larger infant than the one that was delivered surgically. Karen, a birthing mom whose first baby remained high and was caesarean born due to failure to progress in labor, was diagnosed as having CPD following a CT scan. She went on to deliver her second child, a healthy 9-pound 7-ounce baby, vaginally. The likelihood of vaginal birth is not significantly altered by the indication for the first caesarean section (including “cephalopelvic disproportion” or “failure to progress”). Some women will be able to accept and concur with a diagnosis of CPD, perhaps even preferring the caesarean way of birth. Others will want to be able to come to their own independent conclusions, and some of these may wish to labor again under more conducive circumstances, to have the chance to give labor their “best shot.”  NOTE: Parts of this article reproduced with permission from Caesarean.org.uk.

2. Get a second opinion. If you’re being told your body is not able to give birth vaginally and you’re not happy or convinced, it’s definitely worth seeking a second opinion. Don’t give in to pressure if your caregiver isn’t willing to listen to your concerns or give you the chance to birth vaginally.

3. Hire a private midwife or doula. By hiring your own private midwife or doula, you will have someone to listen to your needs and concerns and advocate for you, while offering some huge benefits. For example, doula-attended births result in 50 percent fewer caesarean sections (which can be more likely to happen if your ob-gyn “thinks” you have a big baby). Doula-attended births also tend to feature shorter labors, with less pain relief needed.

4. Attend independent birth education classes. It’s a great idea to attend birth classes unaffiliated with

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your hospital. They offer a good range of information specific to giving birth as actively as possible. Hospital classes are often limited and are more specific to basics and pain-relief options. Private classes are not bound by policies and protocols and offer the best education for a couple wanting honest and accurate information.

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Kelly Winder is a mother of two, a doula and the creator of BellyBelly.com.au—one of the biggest family websites in Australia. She is passionate about informing and educating women and men so they can have an empowered journey from pre-conception to parenthood. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.


Chiropractic Care for Children:

Safe, Gentle, Effective More parents are discovering the many benefits associated with chiropractic care throughout childhood. Our doctors provide special care for infants, children and pregnant mothers. Find a Doctor of Chiropractic

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BIRTH

Six Signs You Should Dump Your Prenatal Caregiver By Cynthia Overgard, M.B.A., HBCE

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Embracing Change While many couples are aligned with the right practitioner from the start, others realize somewhere along the line that they’re with a caregiver who’s all wrong for them. When I was twelve weeks pregnant with my son, my own obstetrician drew an imaginary C-section line across my bare abdomen with her finger, presumably to acquaint me with the scar she anticipated despite my perfectly healthy, low-risk pregnancy. To me, changing practitioners is an indication that a birthing mother feels informed, empowered and ultimately responsible for her birth outcome. She realizes it’s up to her to hire—yes, hire—the right birth expert. For some, this “right practitioner” is a hospital obstetrician; for others, it’s a midwife (who can attend your birth in hospitals, birth centers or your own home). Unfortunately in modern culture, we tend to put more energy into choosing the right real estate agent than the right childbirth practitioner. Philosophies and practices can differ dramatically from one practice to the next, and your job is to find the caregiver whose values, goals and approach are best aligned with your own. What matters

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o doubt about it: Deep breathing, visualization and relaxation tools are powerful when it comes to having a positive birth. HypnoBirthing has helped not only me, but also hundreds of my client couples to have comfortable, natural births. But the tools alone aren’t enough, and they won’t serve anyone in the care of an obstetrician with a sky-high cesarean rate.


is how much you trust her, and the degree to which you are convinced she shares your desire for the most natural, unhurried, satisfying birth and postpartum bonding experience possible. The notion of ending a relationship with one’s caregiver is intimidating to some, but it needn’t be. For me it was as easy as requesting a copy of my records from the receptionist (remember, these are yours by law, so you owe no explanation), and handing them over to my new caregiver. What’s Love Got To Do With It? Some women admit they aren’t crazy about their caregiver’s philosophy, but insist they just love her as a person. No matter how much you love your OB, just remember, you love your baby more. And sure, you can engage in an emotional and lengthy “breakup” conversation if you wish (“I’m sorry, doctor…It’s not you, it’s me”), but make sure doing so will serve you in some way—and I don’t mean to alleviate your guilt. No complaining, no explaining. Your baby is counting on you to align with the right person. In retrospect, I was lucky to have been with an obstetrician who was wrong for me on every level. Once I was clear on the kind of birth I did and didn’t want, it was obvious I had to leave. It’s far tougher for women who just aren’t sure. Their heads tell them they made a sensible choice, but their intuition nags at them to reconsider. It’s the women in this category to whom I dedicate these six red-flag signs you should break up with your caregiver.

RED FLAG #1: Your doctor engages in presumptuous usage of the word “let.” For example: He says he won’t let you go past 40 weeks, won’t let you eat or drink in labor, or can’t let you labor without an IV. You are the hiring manager here. It’s his job to serve you. Before engaging in any medical procedure, he must inform you of the risks, benefits and alternatives before then asking your permission to move forward. (The law of voluntary informed consent has your back on this one.)

RED FLAG #2: She has a high cesarean rate—or, worse, doesn’t know what her cesarean rate is. The World Health Organization has long stated that no country on Earth should have a cesarean rate greater than 10 to 15 percent. Cesareans are our country’s most common major surgery, and childbirth has become our nation’s top revenue-producer for hospitals. (The fact that most hospitals are for-profit institutions is troubling to begin with.) Consider this: In 1970, one in

twenty births in the United States were cesareans. Today that statistic is one in three, and climbing every year. If your OB doesn’t seem to care about her own cesarean rate enough to track and disclose what it is, then maybe you should find someone who does.

RED FLAG #3: He speculates with concern about the size of your big baby or small pelvis. The pelvis that conceived your baby would hardly recognize the pelvis that’s going to deliver it. Hormones cause the pelvis to relax and “stretch” significantly during labor, allowing an impressively wide passage for your baby. Second, babies’ skulls aren’t fully formed at birth for a reason: The baby’s head is designed to compress in order to fit through the passage. So even if your baby has an unusually large head, nature has this additional trick up its sleeve—it’s called molding—in its magnificent quest toward survival. Third, most of the baby’s weight is in the body, and the body tends to slip out very quickly and easily once the head and first shoulder have presented. So why do we spend so much time worrying about big babies? The head positioning is far more important than the baby’s size. As for macrosomia (the medical term for excessive birth weight, defined as newborns who weigh more than 8 lb. 13 oz.), it’s best not to get anxious over it. For one, it’s impossible to determine a baby’s weight in utero with ultrasound or any other technology—so there’s no way to know if your baby fits the definition until after the birth. And on a personal level, I have a hard time taking it seriously: My son and daughter both handily satisfied the definition of macrosomia according to their “excessive” birth weights. Not only did I birth my big babies naturally, but also unusually quickly, and without molding or tearing. Big babies are born all the time, often to very small-framed women. This is not pathology. It’s not even an anomaly.

Some women admit they aren’t crazy about their caregiver’s philosophy, but insist they just love her as a person. No matter how much you love your OB, just remember, you love your baby more. issue 36 pathwaystofamilywellness.org

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The only reason you have a due date is that our culture is determined to turn the art of childbirth into a science. All other mammals seem to be birthing just fine without them. The only reason you have a due date is that our culture is determined to turn the art of childbirth into a science. All other mammals seem to be birthing just fine without them. But okay, let’s go along with it: Your due date marks 40 weeks of gestation. Now here’s where it gets interesting: Babies born between 37 and 42 weeks are considered “full term”; less than 37 weeks of gestation is considered premature; and post-term or “overdue” is greater than 42 weeks. By its very definition, your due date is a midpoint in the bell curve of your baby’s likely arrival dates. Research suggests that at least 80 percent of babies are born +/- two weeks of the due date. What does this mean? Going past your due date is normal. Labor-induction drugs like Pitocin have only been FDA-approved for usage when medically necessitated. Going past your due date is not a medical event. It’s as normal and common as can be. You might not feel concerned about this in mid-pregnancy, but your caregiver’s approach to due dates can end up being the make-orbreak of your birth plan. If you haven’t done so already, ask your practitioner when she’ll consider you “overdue.”

RED FLAG #5: He expects you to give birth in the supine position (lying on your back). The supine position significantly restricts your pelvis. All that wonderful space I mentioned earlier is now countered by the mattress pressing into your lower back. Not to mention that most women find the supine position to be

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downright unbearable, when other positions (e.g. handsand-knees or squatting) feel totally manageable. You might as well use gravity to your advantage whenever something in your body is attempting to come down and out. If you’re birthing naturally, the pressure and weight of your baby will tend to guide you into the safest and easiest position for birthing. At the very least, your caregiver should encourage you to be in a position that’s comfortable and convenient for you, rather than anybody else.

RED FLAG #6: Your intuition is telling you something. Having second thoughts about your caregiver, but you can’t put your finger on it? You don’t have to. But don’t ignore your intuition. Giving birth gently and easily is only possible with trust—a trust in nature, your body and your baby. Relinquishing control to these forces of nature is rooted in self-trust. Your intuition is already telling you if you’re in the right hands. Are you listening? Cynthia Overgard , M.B.A., HBCE, is the founder of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, LLC, a prenatal education and resource center in Westport. Cynthia has been published internationally multiple times and has prepared hundreds of couples for comfortable, satisfying childbirths. She left her corporate career after naturally water-birthing her own babies, Alex, 7, and Vanessa, 3, and lives with her family in Westport. Visit her online at HypnoBirthingCT.com. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

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RED FLAG #4: She treats your due date like a deadline.


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INFORMED C H OIC E

THE VACCINE SAFETY

DOUBLE STANDARD

By Rev. Lisa K. Sykes, M.Div.

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t a United Nations meeting held this past July in Punte del Este, Uruguay, the World Health Organization (WHO) finally revealed its 2004 guidelines on eliminating, reducing, and replacing thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used primarily in vaccines, to public health officials worldwide. Why would issuing eight-year-old guidelines about removing a toxic preservative from vaccines matter? It is, to say the least, a long story, filled with large doses of intrigue, back-room dealings, and major disparities between the haves and have-nots of the world. But in truth, it all comes down to three simple facts. One: Thimerosal is toxic. Two: Stocks of thimerosal-free vaccines are readily available, particularly in wealthier, Western nations. And three: Millions of people, especially those living in developing countries, continue to be unnecessarily exposed to mercury through vaccines that contain toxic doses of thimerosal. These three facts have been at the heart of a decadelong fight led by the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs

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(CoMeD) to pressure local, state and national governments worldwide to ban the use of thimerosal in human pharmaceuticals, especially vaccines. CoMeD charges that eight decades of scientific studies and extensive peer-reviewed scientific and medical papers have all come to the same conclusion: Thimerosal, 49 percent mercury by weight and a recognized neurotoxin, poses a significant health risk, especially to pregnant women and children. Manufacturers acknowledge that exposure in utero or in childhood can lead to mild-to-severe mental retardation and/or autism in mercury-sensitive children. Earlier this year, a study funded by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare again found that prenatal exposure to the drug thimerosal produces permanent brain impairment and autism-like abnormalities. That study, conducted by Dr. Ida-Eto, concluded, “…embryonic exposure to thimerosal produces lasting impairment of the brain…thus every effort should be made to avoid the use of thimerosal.”


LEFT, TOP: Rev. Lisa Sykes with Maasai children on the Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya. The chief of this village had only recently consented to permitting the children here to be vaccinated. Those in developing nations receive more shots with mercury, and often higher levels of mercury in those shots, than their counterparts in developed and mostly Western nations, where the standard is often “mercury-free” or “trace-mercury.” LEFT, BOTTOM: The third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC3), charged with writing a global, legally binding instrument on mercury, met in Nairobi from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4, 2011. Other negotiations have included INC1 in Stockholm, INC2 in Tokyo, INC4 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, and INC5, which will take place this January in Geneva. The completed treaty is due to be signed in October of 2013 in Minamata, Japan. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY THE COALITION FOR MERCURY-FREE DRUGS

Astoundingly, the material safety data sheets for thimerosal list not only mild-to-severe mental retardation, but also miscarriage and abortion as potential outcomes to in-utero exposure. Despite such grave warnings—and the fact that safer, less toxic alternatives are readily available and economical—thimerosal continues to be used as a preservative in vaccines, including the flu shot administered routinely to pregnant women. Thimerosal—an unnecessary, undisclosed and unsafe vaccine component—is leaving millions of unsuspecting victims in its wake. I personally can attest to this point. Like so many others, I was injected with thimerosal without knowing it when I was 28 weeks pregnant with my second son, Wesley. This prenatal exposure, coupled with further exposure to mercury from numerous, routine thimerosal-containing vaccines after his birth, disabled my son, who ultimately was diagnosed with both autism and mercury poisoning. We estimate lifetime care for Wesley will cost more than $20 million.

Similarly, the U.S. State Department, through its Office of Environmental Policy, is espousing a position on mercury in human pharmaceuticals that harms both the reputation of our nation and the health of our children. Testifying in July 2012 at the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC4) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the State Department delegation voiced its support for a ban of mercury from cosmetics, while quietly opposing the removal of mercury from vaccines injected into pregnant women and newborn children the world over. This pattern of quiet opposition has been replicated internationally. Since June 2000, the World Health Organization repeatedly has held meetings—always behind closed doors—to discuss the use of mercury in vaccines. While those meetings purport to examine alternative vaccine preservatives, as well as the economic, programmatic and manufacturing implications of moving to single-dose, preservative-free vaccines, the results of those sessions include repeated and hollow declarations that there is no evidence of harm from the use of

Thimerosal, an unnecessary, undisclosed and unsafe vaccine component, is leaving millions of

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unsuspecting victims in its wake. This is but one of the many unspoken costs of not discontinuing the use of thimerosal in vaccines and other drugs. In the United States, statistics show that in my son’s generation, vaccines typically contained more than 100 times the maximum safety exposure limit for mercury. As a result, more than one in six children in the U.S. today is affected by a behavioral or developmental disorder. More than 25 percent will have at least one lifetime chronic medical condition. A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued in May of this year indicates that one out of every 88 children in the U.S. has autism, up from a historic rate of 1 in 10,000. Given those alarming numbers, you would assume government pressure to ban thimerosal use would be intense. You would be wrong. Instead, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to assert that there is “no evidence of harm” from thimerosal use in vaccines, and that “the benefits of influenza vaccination outweigh the theoretical risk, if any, for thimerosal exposure,” a claim that contradicts science, medicine and common sense. Moreover, the CDC continues to refuse to state a preference for giving available thimerosal-free vaccines to pregnant women and developing children.

thimerosal in vaccines, and that certain vaccines in the developing world must continue to contain thimerosal. Such unfounded assertions have led not only to a continued plethora of misinformation about thimerosal, but also to the quiet but steady establishment of two standards of vaccine safety, one which is predominately mercury-free for developed, Western countries and one that is mercury-preserved for developing countries. This de facto economic prioritization of mercury-free vaccines for wealthy Western nations, while developing countries—and especially the women and children who live in them—receive mercury-containing ones, constitutes a double standard of safety. This practice is even more egregious when we consider that thimerosal failed the United States’ and the European Union’s pharmacopeia tests for an effective preservative. The bottom line is that the existence of a two-tier standard for vaccine safety clearly reveals a lack of ethics and honesty for all the world to see. This disparity must be corrected rapidly, and preference in production must shift to mercury-free vaccines globally if we hope to avoid accusations of discrimination based on economics or nationality with respect to global

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immunization policy. No vaccine should be used as a delivery system for an undisclosed poison, for this is a denial of the right of informed consent and of the medical directive to do no harm. No preservative that in repeated studies has been proven to pose a significant health risk leading to autism for some should continue to be foisted upon the most vulnerable among us. This exposure is entirely avoidable, and it must be stopped. Unfortunately, the United States will not act to completely ban the use of thimerosal in the manufacture of vaccines for American children. The FDA refuses to take this action because banning thimerosal use would result in a corresponding closure of markets for these products in developing countries, where regulatory laws are patterned closely after those of the U.S. Perversely, in order to keep these foreign markets open to unsafe vaccines, the U.S. government is adamantly defending the use of mercury-preserved flu shots for the American market. Moreover, the CDC refuses to even state a preference for no-thimerosal vaccines for pregnant women and children in the U.S. Worse, the American people systematically are being denied their right to informed consent because the facts regarding the known dangers of thimerosal and the availability of mercuryfree alternatives are being suppressed. Despite the duplicitous nature of the U.S. government’s dealings with respect to thimerosal’s use in vaccines, there is hope. Four years ago, the 11.5-million-member United Methodist Church passed the first global resolution on “Protecting Children from Mercury-Containing

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Rev. Lisa Sykes at the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON). Rev Sykes represented the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD, Inc.), of which she is the president. A non-governmental organization (NGO), CoMeD is the strongest voice advocating for a complete ban of mercury in medicines, especially vaccines. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY THE COALITION FOR MERCURY-FREE DRUGS

Drugs,” which advocates for a ban of mercury in medicine on moral and ethical grounds. This faith-based movement has been spearheaded by the United Methodist Women (UMW), which historically has advocated in the areas of education and health, both in the U.S. and around the world. Spurred on by the United Methodist Church’s historic resolution, CoMeD and other organizations have advocated relentlessly for a ban on thimerosal’s use. Along the way, CoMeD has picked up numerous allies. Earlier this year, the Health Freedom Congress, comprising 40 health freedom organizations from across the U.S., passed a resolution to support removal of thimerosal from all drugs. Significantly, not only did the Health Freedom Congress pass the resolution, but all 40 of the organizations involved were listed individually as direct signers. These organizations speak for tens of millions of Americans involved in the Health Freedom Movement. Just as important, unlike the American Academy of Pediatrics or other professional organizations that have a direct financial stake in the vaccine issue, these organizations represent the interests of average Americans who are making health decisions that are best for their families. In April 2012, Chile adopted legislation making it the first developing country to prohibit the use of thimerosalpreserved vaccines. Ironically, Chile’s decision was announced as the World Health Organization (WHO) was meeting in Geneva, Switzerland—again behind closed doors—to discuss the ongoing negotiations to write a global, legally-binding treaty on mercury. As the world’s largest distributor of mercury-containing vaccines, WHO concluded, perhaps not surprisingly, that thimerosal should not be banned. All of which brings us to the United Nations meeting this past July in Uruguay. Met with unprecedented


resistance to its defense of the use of neurotoxic mercury in vaccines—including an impassioned speech by Cristina Girardi, a member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile—the World Health Organization finally revealed its 2004 guidelines on eliminating, reducing and replacing thimerosal in vaccines to public health officials worldwide. This move by the WHO is a huge response to a nascent, global outcry against mercury-containing vaccines and other drugs. Many individual nations and entire continents are now expressing their desire for mercury-free vaccines. But the fight is far from over. Until the U.S. takes action to safeguard its own children from the ravages of mercury in vaccines, not to mention protecting children around the globe, we must continue to pressure the powers-that-be. In an era when cost-effective, much less toxic, and more effective alternatives are available and, in fact, already in use as in-process sanitizers and preservatives in vaccines and other pharmaceutics, there is no conscionable justification for the continuing use of thimerosal or any other mercury compounds in medicine. A society that values freedom simply cannot continue to diminish the intellects and the potential of its own children by unnecessarily injecting them with neurotoxic mercury. 

Rev. Lisa K. Sykes, an ordained United Methodist minister of more than 20 years, has advocated for a ban of mercury from medicine since 2000, when her son was diagnosed with mercury poisoning from thimerosal in vaccines. The story of her advocacy and a history of the thimerosal controversy are told in her book Sacred Spark (sacredsparkbook.com). She is currently part of the United Nations Environment Programme negotiations to write a global legally binding treaty on mercury and is president of the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (mercury-freedrugs .org). She is a co-author on numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles and author of the first global resolution on “Protecting Children from Mercury-Containing Drugs” passed by the United Methodist Church in 2008. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

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AND

Poop What Number Two can tell you about the number one person in your life By Jennifer Tow, IBCLC

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The Gut, Microbes


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here’s a topic I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about…to the point that I think I may be obsessed. To put it into perspective, I live in Paris. Just wandering through the streets of the city in the springtime is a visceral experience worthy of song and poetry and—of course—blog posts. The other day, I was walking the dog with my 12-year-old son, thinking about the gut and the brain. Not the way they communicate, but the way they are. The way we are. I caught myself as I hurried to catch up to Leo. I slipped my arm into his and set a pace to match him, as I finally took in the sun, the breeze and the perfect beauty of the day. I pushed the other thought away…for a while. Clearly, it has returned. It always returns, because mommas and babies and families are not as well as we could be. Not by a long shot. As a lactation consultant, I used to think about breastfeeding. I thought about my own babies, my clients and their babies, and what I read and observed and learned. I loved nursing my babies, and I love helping other mommas nurse their babies. So, I am still a lactation consultant, but now I pretty much think about the gut. And all that is associated with the gut—like the brain, hormones, the nervous system, structure, personality, emotions and general well-being.  Because I think about the gut and the brain, I also think a lot about bacteria and inflammation. Not because bacteria cause inflammation, but because more often than not, lack of bacteria does. In essence, bacteria are the way we are. Today, I took my son to the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. The building is ancient, of course, but so are the displays. The cursive handwriting on the jars intrigued me as much as the specimens. There were thousands of skeletons and fossils and organs of species long extinct and of those still here…including Homo sapiens. Leo asked me what was here before any of them. “Microbes,” I said.  Microorganisms and Your Little One Microbes have a 3.4 billion history on Earth and microbial mats are the oldest known ecosystem on Earth. Whatever form life on Earth takes, microbes share the journey with us. They are the way we are; they are the way that life is. NASA and other scientific sources use the term co-evolution to describe the fact that all life has evolved in relation to microbes. Microorganisms can form endosymbiotic relationships with other organisms. Examples are rampant, but the relationship that interests me is the one between the bacteria that live within the human digestive system and the human organism itself.  These microbes synthesize vitamins, ferment complex indigestible carbohydrates, contribute to immunity and even influence our personalities and cognitive functioning. They drive our relationship with the world around us. So, how does this relate to babies, birth and infant

feeding? In every possible way, it turns out. While the infant gestates in a sterile environment, the mother’s body is prepared at birth to immediately alter that scenario, exposing the newborn to her own microbes, inoculating him with the flora that will rapidly multiply, populating his gut. As the infant journeys through the birth canal, he is exposed to a medley of microbes, designed to optimize his potential for thriving in the world his mother inhabits. The inner terrain and the outer terrain find perfect balance in the transition from intra-uterine to extra-uterine life. According to archaeologist and prebiotic researcher Jeff Leach, “…this cycle links the co-evolution of intestinal ‘microflora’ of the mother to child, and may represent a more significant bond for those who understand it exist [sic]. This evolutionary bacterial rite of passage has been and continues to be critical to the success of our species, and all mammals for that matter.” Once inoculated in the birth canal, the baby is further populated by the microbes in his mother’s milk, on her skin and in her mouth. In the normal physiologic process of birth and feeding, the infant is being prepared for life in the world the mother’s body has adapted to survive in. This is where my head starts to whirl. I ask question after question, trying to make all the connections. There

The human organism, which contains 10 times more bacteria than human cells, has its blueprint for functional health and well-being laid down in utero and is given form and structure in the birth canal and at breast. is no doubt, given the physiology of this process, that several things should and should not happen. First, babies clearly need to be born vaginally. At birth they need to be touched only by their mothers and they need to go to breast. They need to be kissed by their mothers. This process of inoculation by microbes that initiates in the birth canal is given robust life at the breast. The human organism, which contains 10 times more bacteria than human cells, has its blueprint for functional health and well-being laid down in utero and is given form and structure in the birth canal and at breast. Human milk contains carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides, which are virtually absent in cow milk. They are undigested in the stomach and small intestine and are

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able to reach the colon intact, where they provide food for the bifidobacterium, enabling them to multiply rapidly. Now, here are two pieces of interesting information that fit a lot of things together. First, again according to Jeff Leach, “As the bacteria thrive on this ‘food’ from mother’s milk, they grow in number and absorb water, resulting in more regular and soft bowel movements. It’s important to know that the bulk of infant feces are made up of live and kicking bacteria.” Secondly, the insoluble fiber in human milk acts as a kind of irritant in the gut, causing the production of a lubricant that further speeds up the process of elimination. Someday, I am going to write “Confessions of an IBCLC Heretic,” because for almost 20 years, I have been saying that it is absolutely not normal for babies of any age to have fewer than several significant bowel movements per day. Not per week; per day. The more I learn about the gut and the gut-brain axis, the more I have to learn. But I am confident that human milk is not “all used up” and that babies are not “efficient enough that there is no waste.” Such comments do not even bear up under the scrutiny of common sense. If all those babies who stop pooping at 4 to 6 weeks are using up all the milk, what are the babies who are pooping 6 to 8 times per day doing? Making it? Babies need to poop.

it is best that babies not be touched by anyone who is not the mother before the baby nurses. Introduction of any

How Our Gut Flora Shapes Us There is so much that our contemporary, invasive birth practices impose on mothers and babies that damages intestinal flora. Frankly, I think disruption of this essential process of gut inoculation is reason enough to avoid a cesarean, unless there is clear and real medical necessity. And it is reason enough that babies not be touched by anyone who is not the mother before the baby nurses. Introduction of any substance other than mother’s milk damages the gut— this includes artificial milk, sugar water and drugs. So, the infant gut, pristine in utero, becomes a hotbed of microbe activity at birth, and the nature of those microbes will become how and who that baby is. Gut flora determine our relationship to the environment around us, as 75 percent of the immune system resides with the gut. They determine much about our emotional well-being, since 80 percent of our serotonin is in the gut. The enteric nervous system—often referred to as the “second brain”—is embedded within the gut. Gut microbes determine our vulnerability to disease and stress, and direct our potential to thrive emotionally, physically and intellectually. 

substance other than mother’s milk damages the gut—this includes

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Given the significance of gut function to the well-being of the infant, I want all babies to have strong, healthy guts. So when I see a baby who is not on solids, not sick, getting enough food and still not pooping as often as I know healthy babies do, I want to know why. I will rule out or refer for treatment any tongue-tie and other structural causes of vagus nerve suppression, such as birth trauma. I want to rule out oversupply or overactive milk ejection reflex. I want to know what the baby’s poop looks like. Pasty poop is not normal, nor is mucus or poop that soaks into the diaper. Neither is poop that’s green, simply a skid mark or takes a lot of straining to achieve. And volumes of poop once per week does not indicate the milk has been “all used up.”

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artificial milk, sugar water and drugs.


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It means it has been sitting in the colon, going nowhere. Pasty poop has not absorbed enough water. Poop that smells foul indicates an imbalance of intestinal flora. Other indications of poor gut function include cradle cap, eczema, skin rashes, “baby acne,” a red ring around the anus, thrush, dark circles under the eyes, difficulty organizing states, cognitive delay, difficulty sleeping, poor appetite, poor growth, “colic,” “high-needs” behaviors, congestion, reflux, refusing the breast, arching at the breast, gassiness and infection. Restoring Gut Health Clinically, I know that gut function is a problem because when babies are treated, gut function is restored. Restoring gut function is a complex topic and is somewhat individualized. Treatment eliminates allergens and food sensitivities, and might include use of probiotics, pascalite (a kind of bentonite) clay for detoxification, digestive enzymes, slippery elm bark powder and other healing herbs, castor oil compresses on the belly and, most important, healing the maternal gut through elimination of pro-inflammatory foods and the inclusion of healing foods and supplementation as needed,

especially to support the liver, restore the intestinal lining and balance hormones. Structural work, body work or energy work for baby and mom provide essential foundational support. Remember, the intestinal flora in the mother’s gut ends up in her milk, so healing cannot focus entirely on the infant. The process of microbe inoculation that is clearly a primal imperative in most babies is interrupted and incomplete at best. Within weeks of birth, many mothers are observing the kinds of symptoms I have described. Because common tends to be referred to as “normal,” often symptoms are dismissed by healthcare providers or labeled as a dairy allergy (as if there is no other allergy), reflux, GERD, “colic” or worse: a “breastmilk allergy.” Many moms end up weaning prematurely because the gut damage tends to worsen with time, or the “treatment” involves weaning to artificial infant milk. Sometimes, on the other hand, the symptoms seem to disappear. Certainly the gut can heal, especially on an exclusive diet of momma milk. But often the symptoms have simply changed, or are not recognized as such. Ear infections, frequent colds, bed wetting, asthma and “tummy aches” often replace the vomiting, colic and sleeplessness of infancy. The bottom line is that our babies need healthy guts both to survive and thrive in the world. Passing off as “normal” common indications of poor gut function serves no one—least of all, the baby. I will continue thinking about the gut and about microbes and about how we are as they are. And with any luck, as people become more attuned to the primary urgency of protecting the gut integrity of infants, practices will change. In the meantime, I hope we will all begin to see babies in a different way, and be more inclined toward restoring full function than simply managing dysfunction. And that we remember that to heal the baby, we have to begin by healing the mother.

Jennifer Tow, B.F.A., IBCLC, practices holistic lactation. Through Intuitive Parenting Network, LLC, Jennifer relies on her 23 years of passionate information-gathering, education and training in holistic practices to provide holistic lactation consulting, parent education and mentoring to families. She offers workshops to parents and health care providers on topics related to infant feeding, attachment and holistic practices. She is the mother of 3 children born at home in 1988, 1992 and 1998, and a granddaughter born at home in 2009. Visit her online at holisticibclc.blogspot.com. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamily wellness.org/references.html.

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Shifting the Paradigm Since the founding of the germ theory of disease, scientists have offered a holistic perspective. At long last, their efforts are taking hold By Jeanne Ohm, D.C.

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toxic sunscreen) and in the backyard dirt, decades before grew up in a household afraid of germs. When my the study came out saying exposure to animals and dirt sister was born, my father had all guests put on is healthier than living in antimicrobial households. surgical masks to protect her. We all had our tonsils We insisted that symptoms should not be suppressed taken out “just because,” and antibiotics were considwith drugs, but rather allowed to run their course while ered a miracle discovered by science. My generation was addressing the cause (which is actually the path of the one first introduced to fast food—we really believed healing, not disease). When we questioned the use of it was food! Our mothers were sold the idea that formula vaccines (a practice rooted in mainstream, germ-phobic could be better than breast milk. So began the modern, theories) we were further scorned for our blasphemous manipulated, misdirected generation. perspective. Fortunately, before I had my kids, I was introduced to We met other practitioners—naturopaths, homeochiropractic. I discovered the body’s amazing intelligence paths, midwives and herbalists, as well as parents who and its innate ability to heal itself. I learned about nouralso understood these basic ishment, a healthy attitude principles—and we rejoiced and a functional nervous “All truth passes through three stages. that there were others who system. Among the many were living from this logical teachings of chiropractic’s First, it is ridiculed. but undermined paradigm. founder, D.D. Palmer, and his Second, it is violently opposed. But we remained a marginalson, B.J., I was most fascinated with B.J.’s comment, “If Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” ized group. Often ostracized, certainly ridiculed…and in the ‘germ theory of disease’ —Arthur Schopenhauer some instances, violently were correct, there’d be no opposed. one living to believe it.” Fortunately, my husband Understanding the Paradigm and I were able to live the “chiropractic lifestyle” with The germ theory proposes that microorganisms are our kids. Years before the American Academy of Pedithe overriding cause of many diseases. It was initiated atrics recommended breastfeeding (yes, they finally by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century when he examined did in the ’90s) we were strong advocates for it. Long before the allopathic healthcare system was recognizhumans and animals that showed signs of being sick ing the importance of nutrition, we as chiropractors and found that they had very high levels of bacteria and were recommending and consuming good, wholesome, viruses compared to those who were not sick.  He then pesticide-free foods. made the assumption that germs infect our body and In 1951, again far ahead of the times, B.J. Palmer cause sickness and disease.  Pasteur, along with German published a statement warning against the use of antibiphysician Robert Koch, is considered one of the fathers otics. We knew that germs were not the cause of disease of the germ theory. The practice of allopathic, convenand we cautioned against the overuse of antibiotics tional medicine to this day is still based on this theory. decades before USA Today headlined their dangers in the Less known is that several of Pasteur’s contemporaries 1990s. We also let our kids play in the sunshine (without refuted his idea that germs cause disease. Claude Bernard,


T WO T HEO RIES O F DIS EAS E GERM THEORY

CELLULAR THEORY

1. Disease arises from microorganisms outside the body.

1. Disease arises from microorganisms within the cells of the body.

2. Microorganisms are generally to be guarded against.

2. These intracellular microorganisms normally function to build and assist in the metabolic processes of the body.

3. The function of microorganisms is constant.

3. The function of these organisms changes to assist in the catabolic (disintegration) processes of the host organism when that organism dies or is injured, which may be chemical as well as mechanical.

4. The shapes and colors of microorganisms are constant.

4. Microorganisms change their shapes and colors to reflect the medium upon which they feed.

5. Every disease is associated with a particular microorganism.

5. Every disease is associated with a particular condition.

6. Microorganisms are primary causal agents.

6. Micro-organisms become “pathogenic” as the health of the host organism deteriorates. Hence, the condition of the host organism is the primary causal agent.

7. Disease can “strike” anybody.

7. Disease is built by unhealthy conditions.

8. To prevent disease we have to “build defenses.”

8. To prevent disease we have to create health.

Source: Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth, by Walene James

a colleague and physiologist of that era, resolved that the health of the individual was determined by her internal environment. “The terrain is everything,” he wrote; “the germ is nothing.” Other scientists tested Bernard’s theory. Elie Metchnikoff, a Russian immunologist a generation younger than Bernard and Pasteur, suggested that a synergistic interaction exists between bacteria and its host. He, too, claimed that germs were not the problem. To prove it, he consumed cultures containing millions of cholera bacteria; he lived to write about it, and didn’t even get sick. His contemporary, French chemist and biologist Antoine Bechamp, also believed that a healthy body would be immune to harmful bacteria, and only a weakened body could harbor harmful bacteria. His research contributed to this understanding when he discovered that there were living organisms in our bodies called microzymas, which essentially form into healthy cells in the healthy body and morph into unhealthy cells when the terrain is less than ideal. The conclusion: Germs do not invade us, but rather are “grown” within us when there is diseased tissue to live on. Rudolf Virchow, another 19th-century scientist (dubbed the Father of Pathology), wrote, “If I could live

my life over again, I would devote it to proving that germs seek their natural habitat—diseased tissue— rather than being the cause of diseased tissue; e.g. mosquitoes seek the stagnant water, but do not cause the pool to become stagnant.”  In this day and age, we have been taught that germs— bacteria and viruses—are bad, which ignores the vital functions they perform. They are designed to decompose dead and dying material. Germs are our planet’s recyclers; without them, life on earth couldn’t exist. Out of the billions of bacteria and viruses we have in our bodies, most are considered “friendly germs.” Bacteria is essential for proper digestion and it scavenges dead cells in our body so they can be replaced by new healthy cells. When our body tissues become weak due to poor health management, normal bacteria and viruses start to multiply and scavenge our unhealthy, dying cells. Our immune system responds as a survival mechanism and we develop the symptoms of being “sick,” but the germs are just doing their job. The question then becomes, what creates sickness and illness?  Is it the germs or is it an unhealthy body? It has been said that on Pasteur’s deathbed, he admitted that Bernard was right and he, Pasteur, was

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The body, like all of nature, exists by maintaining a state of balance. It is dependent upon an environment that nourishes and nurtures with interconnectivity and cooperation between whole systems, and an underlying recognition of intelligence ANTI ANTIBIOTIC In The Green Book, published in 1951, B.J. Palmer cautioned against using antibiotics, incorporating this analysis from French endocrinologist Jean Gautier. “To begin with, a particular medicine will cure a number of illnesses, then little by little a certain number elude it; next, those on which it has effect, demand larger and larger doses. This is the case with the sulfamides and the antibiotics so widely used today. These products are so ill adapted to our organism that a certain number of individuals become intolerant of some and ‘resist’ others. Doctors cannot succeed in understanding why it is enough for one person to have been more or less in contact with a sick person treated by antibiotics and then see these medicines become ineffective and even provoke a serious advancement of the disease. It is because modern medicine finds its therapeutic means more and more in the retorts of chemists that it cares so little about physiological and endocrinological phenomena.”

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wrong. Nonetheless, an era of antibiotic drugs, chemical pesticides and herbicides, vaccines and antibacterial soaps has ensued, resulting in a germphobic society and a pharmaceutical empire to lead the attack. But even worse, all of these weapons have interfered with the body’s natural microbiome and impaired our immunity. Fast forward to June 2012, when the release of coordinated research from the Human Microbiome Project Consortium organized by the National Institutes of Health rocked the world. As The New York Times reported, “200 scientists at 80 institutions sequenced the genetic material of bacteria taken from 250 healthy people. They discovered more strains than they had ever imagined—as many as a thousand bacterial strains on each person. And each person’s collection of microbes was different from the next person’s. To the scientists’ surprise, they also found genetic signatures of diseasecausing bacteria lurking in everyone’s microbiome. But instead of making people ill, or even infectious, these disease-causing microbes simply live peacefully among their neighbors.” Instead of the “one germ, one disease” theory that

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and a respect for the natural processes and order.


has dominated allopathic medicine for centuries, these findings imply that there is an entire ecosystem of bacteria symbiotically at work in the body, a concept understood by holistic practitioners for centuries. “This is a whole new way of looking at human biology and human disease,” says Dr. Phillip Tarr, a researcher and professor of pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine. “It’s awe-inspiring and it also offers incredible new opportunities.” The following quote by Ronald J. Glasser, M.D., sums up the health crossroads we now face. This former assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota writes, “It is the body that is the hero, not science, not antibiotics…not machines or new devices. The task of the physician today is what it has always been, to help the body do what it has learned so well to do on its own during its unending struggle for survival—to heal itself. It is the body, not medicine, that is the hero.” As more doctors realize the self-evident principles of supporting the terrain, perhaps the allopathic model of killing the “bad” germs to fight disease may finally shift to improving the terrain to support the friendly bacteria. The body, like all of nature, exists by maintaining a state of balance. It is dependent upon an environment that nourishes and nurtures with interconnectivity and cooperation between whole systems, and an underlying recognition of intelligence and a respect for the natural processes and order. Therefore, the essentials for a healthy terrain can be broken into several general premises: Nourishing the Terrain, Coordinating the Function and Trusting the Process. Nourishing the Terrain When we think of nourishment, we naturally reflect on nutrition...the food necessary to establish a healthy terrain. After decades of propaganda leading us to believe that commercially produced “foods” are OK, we are coming to a rude awakening that we have deviated far from the natural, whole foods that truly nourish our bodies. Because this critical awareness is not upheld by all supporting systems in our society (agricultural, educational, economical, political, medical), only proactive individuals are making this difficult transition. We must be vigilant in selecting the foods we eat, how they are grown, how they are prepared and their consequent ability to nourish our cells. We know the importance of organically grown vegetables and fruits. Finding the best sources and preparations for our families may not be as convenient as we would like, but is certainly worth the extra effort. Our Nutrition section in this issue (page 42) offers a few important suggestions to incorporate nutrient-dense foods and eliminate those that overload us. Included are family-tested recipes that improve the terrain and enhance immune system function.

Coordinating the Function The classic medical text Gray’s Anatomy tells us that the nervous system is the master control system of the body, determining the function of all systems, all functions and all organs. Newer to science is the profound interconnectivity between the nervous system and immune system. Once thought of as separate, these systems are now considered intertwined. It is now widely accepted that a healthy immune system supports nervous system function, and vice versa. This is very important for us to recognize if we want to create a healthy terrain. The nervous and immune systems are interconnected in several known ways. Adrenal glands are one common link. Chemicals and hormones that are produced by cells of both systems are another connection. Additionally, research shows that the brain uses nerve cells to communicate directly with the immune system. Chiropractic care was first linked to improved immunity during the deadly flu epidemic of 1917 and 1918, when chiropractic patients fared better than the general population. This observation spurred a study of the field. The data reported that flu victims under chiropractic care had an estimated .25 percent death rate, considerably less than the normal rate of 5 percent among flu victims who received no chiropractic care. In 1936, pioneering endocrinologist Hans Selye began groundbreaking research on the effects of stress on our health. B.J. Palmer tells us: Selye’s great contribution to science was this clear concept, that disease affects people according to their previously developed ability to adapt. The writer goes on to relate that the physician prefers to hear that you have had childhood diseases rather than avoided them. He knows that a bout of harmless chickenpox while you were a child, will probably immunize you for life, but that if you contract it first as an adult, it could run a very serious course. This is somewhat of a reversal to medical thinking in years past. This may seem strange, but the writer has this to say regarding antibiotics.  “All too often, a patient will insist on a shot of glamorous penicillin or some newer antibiotic for a mild infection. The physician will explain that the drug is not necessary—that it is better for the body to use its own defenses—but the determined patient shops around until he finds someone who will administer it anyhow.” “The frequent result is that, although the individual’s own natural resistance would have conquered the infection, the antibiotic suddenly robs the body of the germs necessary to stimulate the antibody producing mechanism into action. And, a stubborn chronic disease takes hold, against which, antibiotics are now powerless.”

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LACK OF EASE D.D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, took the word disease and added a hyphen: Dis-ease is a non-entity, he explained, like dark and cold. Dark is the absence of light (the entity). Cold is the absence of heat (the entity). Dis-ease is the absence of ease—the entity, which can also be termed the reality—the achievable, the norm, the expected. Ah, feel it? The emotional threat is discharged already.

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experienced a 7.96 percent decrease in immunity cells. More research is certainly warranted. Trusting the Process You may eat a perfect diet of raw organic, biodynamically grown whole foods, drink purified water, jog five miles a day, and get adjusted weekly, but if you are overcome with negative emotions enhanced by adversarial thinking, you will not be healthy. Your immune system, via your nervous system, listens to your inner thoughts. Holistic healing practices have always recognized the relationship between thoughts and health. In 1910, D.D. Palmer introduced the idea of the three Ts. He explained that thoughts, traumas and toxins could cause distress to the nervous system, impairing its ability to function. The science of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) studies the interaction between thoughts, their effects on emotions, and the resulting immune system function via the nervous system. In 1985, research by neuropharmacologist Candace Pert showed that neuropeptidespecific receptors are present on the walls of cells in both the brain and the immune system. This revealed an interdependency between emotions and immunity via the central nervous system. Her work gave scientific credence to the ancient healing practices that have accepted the mind-body relationship. In her book Molecules of Emotion, she writes, “We know that the immune system, like the central nervous system, has memory and the capacity to learn. Thus, it could be said that intelligence is located not only in the brain but in cells that are distributed throughout the body, and that the traditional separation of mental processes, including emotions, from the body is no longer valid.” That said, being conscious of our emotions is imperative in understanding health. For example, take fear, an underlying emotion that has an immense impact on health. In previous editorials and numerous additional articles throughout Pathways, we have looked at the stifling effects of fear on our well-being and normal, natural function. Fear propels us into the fight-or-flight mode—an override of our sympathetic nervous system. In this defensive state, our bodies limit cellular reproduction and growth as the systems of protection are

© WEST WO OD FAM ILY CHI ROPR ACTIC

In chiropractic we understand that nerve system function can be interfered with by subluxations, which create interferences to the normal transmission of nerve impulses. When this occurs, any and all systems are affected. Certainly immune system function, dependent on proper functioning of the nervous system, can be impaired as well. Since then, additional studies have supported chiropractic care to improve immunity. One study found that disease-fighting white blood cell counts were higher just 15 minutes after spinal adjustments. In a similar study, the immune system response in HIV-positive patients under regular care for six months showed a 48 percent increase in white blood cell counts. Conversely, the group that did not receive chiropractic adjustments


A MIND AT PEACE In Pathways we offer several sections to give you time to pause, reflect and absorb a healthier perspective— Gratitude, A Moment of Truth and Mind–Body–Spirit. Find these sections from each issue on our Pathways website, print out your favorites and use them as daily meditations. Also, our Pathways Connect groups offer a community of local, like-minded parents meeting in holistic practices to support and nurture the family wellness lifestyle. Find a Gathering Group near you on our site and enhance your mind-body healing.

activated. To paraphrase Bruce Lipton, we cannot live in a state of imbalanced protection and growth at the same time. He maintains that the state of being that fosters growth is love, and that the protection mode is activated by fear. When we are in a state of unresolved fear, we cannot heal, regenerate or be well. A wise person once said that “fear” could be an acronym for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” When we look at the germ theory and feel the underlying emotion it produces, we can clearly see it is fear-based. The terms used in the course of allopathic medicine reflect this fearful, warlike mentality. We have to kill the cancer, destroy the germ, fight the disease, be rescued in labor, struggle through breastfeeding—the list goes on, with a mental perspective whose constant is fear. Ah...and here is the killer (pun intended): The solution to these “problems” cannot be accomplished by our own selves; we are dependent upon an outside entity (in this case, modern allopathic medicine) for salvation. For example: Germs are our enemy and our only solution to overcoming them is that hopefully, someday, somebody will find that magic potion that can “kill those germs.” Until then, it is hopeless. Responsibility for our own lives has been stripped, and this disempowered state of mind creates even more fearful emotions. Healing in this model becomes an emotionally charged, futile pursuit. So, how do we break the cycle of fear? Other than reading inspiring words of wisdom and surrounding ourselves with like-minded practitioners and friends, Pert advises us to get in touch with our bodies: “Your body is your subconscious mind and you can’t heal it by talk alone.” Bodywork, movement therapy, simple exercise, spinal adjustments and massage can all release stuck emotions by clearing blockages to normal body function. Ancient healing arts and modern holistic practitioners all recognize and support the mind-body connection in healing. Pert concludes, “…almost every other culture but ours recognizes the role played by some kind of emotional catharsis or energy release in healing.” Let’s be honest—the role of the mind in healing is not new, it has just been allopathically suppressed. Hippocrates (the Father of Medicine) made these statements centuries ago:

Humans are created to be healthy as long as they are whole: body, mind and spirit. ▪ People are characterized by self-healing properties that come from within and an innate healing force. ▪ Health and harmony is the normal state for all life. Now, the accepted definitions of health are returning to Hippocrates’ way of thinking. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines it as “a state of optimal physical mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.” Pert agrees, “Last but definitely not least, health is much more than the absence of illness,” she writes. “Live in an unselfish way that promotes a state of spiritual bliss that truly helps to prevent illness. Wellness is trusting in the ability and desire of your body-mind to heal and improve itself, if given half a chance. Take responsibility for your own health—and illness.” I am excited to see science catch up to the holistic paradigm, challenging fear-based theories and supporting the return of logical wisdom. The reason why most holistic practices did not accept the germ theory from its onset was because the major premise of their healing model recognizes there is an innate intelligence in living matter: There is order, synchronicity, and a respect for natural law. It is a shift in consciousness, toward understanding and adhering to these vitalistic principles, that will have the most profound effect on our individual selves, our families and the future of humanity.  ▪

This article was written by Jeanne Ohm, D.C., who expresses grateful appreciation for content gleaned from The International Wellness Directory (mnweldir.org); Daniel B. Woods, D.C. (newhealthyideas .wordpress.com); Eric DiMartino, D.C. (dimartinochiropractic.com); Cynthia Chatfield (healingcancer.info) and a lifetime of living the chiropractic lifestyle. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

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Nourishing the Terrain

Exploring the connection between nutrition and immunity

19th-century physiologist Claude Bernard postulated that sickness was not caused by bacteria, but rather by human beings’ internal environment. “The terrain is everything;” he wrote, “the germ is nothing.” The presence of bacteria, he maintained, is a symptom of an unhealthy environment. So the question becomes, how can we build our immunity so that we are not prone to illness? How can we nourish our terrain?

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nourishing and cleansing the juice. When you first start juicing, it’s best to start off with the more palatable veggies: Carrots and celery are a good place to begin. Then, as your systems adapt, you can add more potent detoxifiers, such as cabbage and dark greens. For kids, start with small amounts, and dilute them with pure water. Juices can be strong detoxifiers, and kids do not need such concentrated doses. Smoothies are a better choice for fruit than juicing, because juicing concentrates sugar intake, and an overload of sugar, even fruit sugars, is not good for us. Lisa DeNardo has provided three kid-tested smoothies on page 45. A mother of five, Lisa adds greens to these and accomplishes both the green and fruit requirements. Be creative. Let your children participate. Listen to their feedback...and then serve them daily. Water, almond milk, coconut milk, or raw dairy milk can be added, and yogurt or kefir will bring in another whole level of benefit for the gut.

hen we refer to enhancing immunity, the first logical step is to look at the food we eat. Our current intake of processed foods, sugars and commercially raised meats has drastically upset the healthy balance in our terrain. Our immune systems are taxed, trying to compensate for the toxic overload. Can you remember when not too long ago, the powers-that-be disregarded the importance of foods and health? Today, there is common agreement that we should eat at least 6 to 8 servings of vegetables per day. Unfortunately, commercial entities imply that by eating fruit bars or drinking bottled juices we can meet these needs. Let’s face it, corporate media will continue to promote an agenda that serves their profits until we, the people, reveal the self-evident truth. It’s tougher than it seems. In September 2012, a systematic review of nutrition literature, Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier than Conventional Alternatives?, concluded, “The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.” The media reported this as, “Organic foods no healthier than conventional foods” and “Organic foods may not be healthier for you.” Alas, the corporate agenda is always hard at work.

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Whole, Living Foods That being said, selecting whole, living, organically grown produce in its most natural, raw state is still the best course of action. In Pathways No. 26, we cited the most important fruits and veggies to buy organic—the so-called “dirty dozen.” In the case of juicing fruits and vegetables, organic is a no-brainer to avoid the effects of concentrated pesticides. Even better is biodynamically grown produce. (Two recent Pathways articles— “Fence Rows and Gut Health” in No. 31, and “Beyond Sustainability” in No. 34—explore these topics in depth.) As parents we sometimes struggle with meeting nutritional requirements for our kids (and ourselves). Juicing vegetables is a great way to meet your daily needs. For fruits, add smoothies to your families’ daily diet. Juicing is an efficient, easy and quick way to incorporate vegetables into your diet. The darker the green, the more

Fermented Foods and Probiotics Incorporating fermented foods rich in probiotics is a huge immune-system enhancer. Recent years have revealed the importance of the digestive system to immunity. Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that overcome the presence of yeast, parasites and invasive bacteria, and protect the gut lining from “leaking” undigested foods and toxins into our blood. Yogurt is a well-known source of probiotics, but the most prolific source is kefir. Kefir was first made famous by Elie Metchnikoff, the Russian scientist who praised its values of restoring good bacteria and drank it daily. The most costeffective, nutrient-dense kefir is homemade. Making it is a simple process: Once you obtain the kefir grains, simply feed it milk daily. The better the milk, the better the kefir, so your optimal choice would be raw, unpasteurized milk from


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grass-fed Jersey cows. Pathways No. 32 includes a whole article on kefir, its benefits and preparation. Miso is another food rich in probiotics and life-enhancing enzymes. Miso is considered a “yang” food in the macrobiotic world. It is salty, soothing and warming, and works great to overcome “yin”-like symptoms of runny noses and scratchy throats. It can be used medicinally much the same way chicken soup is used, and is simple and quick to prepare. A mild and kid-friendly choice is brown-rice “white” miso. Start by sautéing a finely chopped onion, carrot and a dark green, such as kale. Then add 2 to 3 cups of pure water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the broth/vegetable mixture in a bowl. Mix in a teaspoon of miso per bowl. Do not add the miso directly to the boiling water: The temperature will kill its beneficial properties. As you bring more fermented, microbe-rich food sources and their friendly bacteria into your diet, expect your immunity to improve.

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Immunity-Strengthening Herbs and Spices Onions and garlic have been used medicinally since ancient times, and should be a regular, daily item in your meals. Both have strong, natural antibiotic and antiviral properties and continuously strengthen your immune system. Garlic contains hundreds of active compounds, of which allicin appears to be the most potent. For garlic, the least amount of cooking provides the best medicinal value, so if you are cooking it, chop it finely, let it sit for a few minutes and then add it as one of the last ingredients to your dishes. To engage kids in eating more garlic, baking whole cloves softens and sweetens them to be used as a delightful spread. Onions contain potent antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral. As with all paper-skinned vegetables, onions retain their nutritional value when baked or cooked on low heat. You can add caramelized onions to sweeten sautéed greens. When your immune system becomes overtaxed, herbs can offer a boost to support healing. Unlike drugs, herbs are foods that nourish the body. They also stimulate a healing response and support the immune system, rather than suppressing symptoms and wreaking havoc on normal function. Master herbalist Susun Weed lists the most common

Although all of these herbs can be purchased, they are also easy (and beautiful) to grow. Susun Weed shares how you can harvest them and make your own tinctures. To make your own Echinacea antibiotic tincture: Put 4 ounces, or 115 grams, of Echinacea cut root in a quart jar. Fill the jar to the top with 100-proof vodka. Cap tightly, and be sure to label it and keep it safely out of children’s reach. Wait at least 6 weeks before use. This tincture is even more potent after 1 year. PHOTO BY TIA OHM. herbs with antimicrobial properties: Calendula, chaparral, goldenseal, myrrh, poke, usnea and yarrow, with her favorite being Echinacea. She says: “I find Echinacea as effective as (and dare I say, sometimes better than!) antibiotics if E. angustifolia/augustifolia—but not E. purpurea—is used when you make your own tincture. Tincture, not capsules or teas, is used; the root, and only the root, is used; and very large doses are taken very frequently. To determine your dose of Echinacea, divide your body weight by 2; take that many drops per dose. There are about 25 drops in a dropperful; round up to full droppers. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, take 90 drops/4 droppersful. There is no known overdose of Echinacea tincture. With acute infection, I take a full dose every 2–3 hours. When the infection is chronic, I take a full dose every 4–6 hours.”

Drinks to Warm Up Your Immunity In the cold, winter months we welcome warm beverages to sit and relax with. There are numerous herbal teas that boost immunity; once again, organic is best. Herbal teas include varieties like rose hips, lemongrass, red clover, spearmint, wintergreen and a selection of berry teas. They can be consumed hot or cold. For younger children, dilute the teas. A teaspoon of coconut oil adds a touch of sweetness, as well as essential fatty acids found in high amounts in breast milk, such as lauric acid. This gives A daily intake of homemade kefir from raw milk offers a more potent dosage of another boost to your immunity. friendly bacteria than any probiotic supplement. You can start offering children Another warming beverage kefir when you introduce solids. (Kefir made from grass-fed, raw milk retains all is white pine tea, a vitamin C of the low-allergic reactions that raw milk offers, and often kids “allergic” to dairy booster that has been used for do not have the same response with raw-milk products.) When moms include centuries. Susun Weed has a kefir in their diets, exclusively breastfed infants will benefit. If the infant was born

vaginally, this intake is probably sufficient until they start eating other foods. For infants born by C-section, breastfed or not, infant-specific probiotic supplements are highly recommended. Numerous studies have shown that failure to go through the birth canal directly affects the gut flora of the infant. issue 36 pathwaystofamilywellness.org

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wonderful write-up about white pine and its gifts, and we share her link in our resources.

Eliminating Toxins As you increase your intake of nutrient-dense foods and your cells are becoming more nourished, you may notice two things: 1) improved bowel function; and 2) an adversity to more processed foods. This means your body is eliminating more efficiently, appreciating real foods, and teaching you what’s best for you. This is a good time to actively eliminate classic offenders to your immune system. Sugar: Sugar suppresses immune system function. It weakens the terrain and creates numerous imbalances in the body. It is in almost every store-bought product. Sometimes it is replaced with substitutes like “beet sugar,” which is made from genetically modified beets and has its own set of toxic effects. Also, don’t be fooled that fructose is any better than sucrose. It’s worse, in fact, because it requires conversion by the liver before it can be absorbed. Both are immune suppressors. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used in packaged foods because it is sweeter than sugar, so less is needed. HFCS is also cheaper, but realize it is certainly coming from GMO corn, Round-Up–ready crops loaded with pesticides. Educated consumers laugh at the new commercials coming out with farmer Joan walking through “nature’s” corn fields. The consumer is becoming informed, and Big Agra is in active defense. Also, don’t be fooled by the big organic brands replacing HFCS with agave syrup. Agave has more fructose than HFCS. If you have a young child who hasn’t yet been introduced to sugar—don’t! It can be that simple. That means when you wean, avoid all sugars and juices, especially concentrates. Those of us who have lived on sugar for many years have it tougher. Sugar is addictive and not so easy to eliminate, but it is doable. While you’re at it, you might as well eliminate processed white flours. They break down to simple sugar, and have the same adverse effects on our digestive and immune systems. Commercially Grown Meats, Dairy, Fish: All meats from commercial livestock are a huge source of toxins. Raised in unhealthy, miserable conditions and fed pesticide-laden, GMO, inflammatory grains, these animals

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are pumped with antibiotics and hormones to compensate. This includes cows, poultry and pigs. Their meats are colored and frequently processed with chemicals. Consuming these meats is a toxic overload. In issue No. 25 we suggested watching the 2008 documentary, Food, Inc. If you are a meat eater, you may have found it depressing. We have written about the importance of locating sources of meats from pastured animals, optimally raised on biodynamic farms. If you do begin to incorporate this healthy meat into your diet, you may find when you do eat the other, less nutritious meat you can feel the toxic effects. If you drink milk, switch to raw, unpasteurized, wholesome milk from grass-fed cows and get the healthy probiotic benefits. Pathways has had some articles on the benefits of raw milk (in issue Nos. 28 & 34). Eggs from pastured chickens (see issue No. 27), supplemented with organic and soy-free grains, are ideal. As for fish, it must be wild. Yep, skip the tilapia (which is almost always farm-raised), and check your labels. Anything that does not specify “wild” is probably farmed. Farmraised fish are often grown in a sea of antibiotics, and ingesting these is a true deficit to our healthy immune system function. Also, it’s important to watch out for high mercury levels. To keep this to a minimum, try to choose smaller fish, like sardines. Tap and Bottled Water We need to drink ample, purified (not bottled) water to aid in this elimination process. If you don’t have a water filter in your home, getting one should be your next priority. A reverse osmosis (RO) filter will provide the purest water. Their costs have gone down considerably from when they were first made. An investment of $150 should buy a six-stage RO system with a 3-gallon storage tank. All components fit under your sink. Detoxing our bodies with sufficient, purified water is a must. 

This article was written by Jeanne Ohm, D.C., with grateful appreciation for content gleaned from Maureen McDonald, B.S., R.N. (sokhop.com); Susun Weed (susunweed.com); The International Wellness Directory (mnweldir.org); and Justin Ohm, D.C. (ohmchiropractic.com).

© RO BY N MACK ENZIE / D REAM STIME .COM

p

Making Pine Needle Tea Collect the youngest pine needles available from an area free of pesticide. Wash the needles. Then you can either steep them whole in a cup and drink when they get a bit pale, or you can boil water, add the chopped needles, and simmer for 20 minutes. (Heating any longer may diminish the effects of the high amounts of vitamin C.) The tea should get a red tinge to it. Taste the tea before adding your favorite sweetener: The younger needles have a sweetness of their own. Please note before making this tea: It has been observed that pregnant cows who eat pine needles have spontaneous miscarriages. As with all herbs, check with your naturopath if you are pregnant. PHOTO BY TIA OHM.


R E CIP E S

Greens for the Kids r

By Lisa DeNardo

Recently I have gotten a few e-mails asking about green smoothies, and which recipes my kids enjoy. For a while, I had a hard time finding a good green smoothie recipe that I liked. That’s when I just decided to bag the recipe idea and use my own taste buds for good measure. That’s the best advice I can give—however, here are three green smoothie recipes that my kids do enjoy.

O

nothing but more raw veggies. However, once I reintroduced cooked food, I began craving junk. It’s not even like I am hungry when it happens—just craving something…and often, I don’t even know what. It’s weird. This is just one aspect of awareness that this whole raw-foods endeavor has brought me. Taking a quick peek into my fridge, I see fresh nut milk, breakfast smoothies, green smoothies and lots of fresh fruits, nuts, seeds and veggies. As the inside of my fridge shifts in appearance, I know that it is reflecting my own inner shift, as well. It very well may be a temporary shift, or it may wax and wane as the seasons do. That is totally fine,

2 1/2 cups packed spinach

whatever it turns out to

WI T H

be. My kids have also

3 cups water

adjusted to reaching for

G R AD UALLY AD D

raw seeds or fresh fruit at

3 fresh peaches (minus the pits) 10 oz. bag frozen mangoes

WI T H

snack time. © L ISA DEN ARDO

3 cups chard (removed from the rib)

over a week. A lot happened during that week for me. I found that

salads and various other raw concoctions, I felt energized and great, craving

B LEN D

B LEN D

just ending a fast, after which we both fell into a raw diet for a little

when I got lots and lots of greens during the day in the form of smoothies and

Peachy Keen

Pineapple Mango Tango

ur house lately has been going through quite a shift. My husband was

My youngest got started on green smoothies early. I guess you could say it was one of his first foods. He loves them and will drink any kind, any time. He gets a cup out

2 cups water

when he hears the blender and asks for his “moo me.” The great part of it is

G R AD UALLY AD D

that he eats salads and greens straight out of the bowl now, cooked or not. If

3/4 pineapple 2 bananas 1 cup frozen mango pieces

Banana Cherry

that’s what green smoothies do to a kid, I say bring it on! The older kids had to warm up to the idea, but now they beg me for a green smoothie whenever I make one. In our culture, I have no doubt that our children’s bodies are craving this fresh goodness. Gotta eat—or drink—your veggies! 

B LEN D

3 large kale leaves (removed from the stem) WI T H

2 cups of water G R AD UALLY AD D

© TIA O HM

3 bananas 10 oz. bag frozen cherries

Check out more great recipes here!

Lisa DeNardo lives with her husband and five children on a little four-acre homestead in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. There she focuses on the things that are most important to her: growing and preserving food, collecting farm-fresh eggs, knitting, writing, taking pictures and homeschooling. More about her family’s journey towards self-sufficiency can be found at hullabaloohomestead.com. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamily wellness.org/references.html. As parents, we struggle with recipes that fulfill all our nutritional needs. If you are looking for good suggestions, visit Pathways’ recipe section online at recipes.pathwaystofamilywellness.org, where you will find creative, nourishing meals. Also, our Amazon bookstore, astore.amazon.com /internatio019-20, has great cookbooks. Have recipe suggestions for us? Send them over! E-mail them to editor@pathwaystofamilywellness.org. Download a free QR reader here: reader.kaywa.com. issue 36 pathwaystofamilywellness.org

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Š JAMES JA NE IRA DOE / D RE AMSTI ME .COM


GRATI TUDE

Rejecting a Pre-Packaged Life By Sandra Dodd

H

you and happiness. Joy, however, can be ongoing, and ow many things do you do because you’re supcan be felt before, during and after the meeting of goals. posed to? Because your relatives and neighbors Enjoyment—that word itself is hardly used. Enjoyexpect it? Because it’s easy and you don’t have to ment is seen nearly as a sin by some people: “You’re not think about it? How many of those things are taking you here to have fun, you’re here to work.” Why can’t work and your kids in a positive and healthy direction? bring joy? Any tiny moment can be enjoyed: the feel Changing paradigms is an option! If you’re operating of warm, running water when you wash your hands; a on one plane, with one set of rules and expectations, it view of light and shadow on the floor, or pictures in the is possible—and often advisable—to shift and see things clouds; the feel of an old book. Seeing an old friend can differently. It’s just thinking. It won’t hurt you. bring pure, tingly joy for which there are no words. Is school the center of children’s lives? Should it be? If you practice noticing and experiencing joy—if you Is the only acceptable goal of adult life having the take a second out of each most expensive house and hour to find joy—your life furniture credit will buy? will improve with each It doesn’t take much of remembrance of your new a shift to consider house if you take primary goal. You don’t need and education secondary someone else to give you perinstead of primary. What a second out of each hour to mission, or to decide if what might be primary, then? find joy gave you joy was an acceptHealth? Joy? Togetherness able source of enjoyment. and love? Can learning be fun? If it’s Part of the pre-packaged not fun, it won’t stick. Can life Americans are issued laundry be fun? If you have is the idea that happiness to do laundry and you choose comes after college, after not to enjoy it, an hour or more of your precious time on homeownership, after the new car. The stick that holds Earth has been wasted. Can looking at your child bring that carrot will not bend. If happiness depends on perforyou joy, even when he needs a bath and has lost a shoe and mance and acquisition, how long will it last? How long hasn’t lived up to some expectation that only exists in your will your car be the newest on your street before unhappimind? If not, a paradigm shift could help you both. ness returns? Your life is yours, and it is being lived even as you Here’s a little paradigm shift for you to practice. Perread this. Do not wait for approval. Do not wait for instruchaps happiness shouldn’t be your primary goal. Try joy. tions, or for a proctor to say, “Open your lifebook now and Try the idea that it might be enjoyable to cook, to set the write.” Have all the joy you want, and help your children, table, to see your family, rather than the idea that you’ll neighbors and relatives find some, too. Joy doesn’t cost be happy after dinner’s done and cleaned up. My guess anything but some reuseable thought and awareness. Tell is that such happiness might last a couple of seconds your kids it’s recyclable. They’ll love that!   before you look around and see something else between

If you practice noticing and experiencing joy—

© JOA NNE ZH / DREA MSTIME.CO M

—your life will improve with each remembrance of your new primary goal.

Sandra Dodd is an unschooling mom of three now-grown children, and the author of The Big Book of Unschooling. Anyone can subscribe to her daily inspirational e-mail, called “Just Add Light and Stir.” Sandra grew up in Española, New Mexico, and lives in Albuquerque with her husband and their two youngest. Visit her on the Web at sandradodd.com. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

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GRE E NER P E R S P EC T IVE S

Elevate Your Harvest How to build raised garden beds and get the most from your garden Article and Photos by Lisa DeNardo

I

© LI SA DENAR DO

Building the Beds When we moved to our new house this past spring there were some really nice thick pine boards in the basement; we used them to make two raised garden beds. When we build more beds, we’ll most likely get the same thick cut of wood, except we’ll use cedar, which is naturally rot- and insect-resistant. Depending on what you have lying around, you can always repurpose or reuse some materials as long as they haven’t been treated with harsh chemicals that could leach into your healthy, growing food. To build the beds, my husband, Jason, made some cuts and pieced the wood together, screwing in each corner twice and bracing it with a triangular scrap of wood at the bottom. Our board lengths were 12 foot 3 inches each, so each finished bed ended up measuring 12 foot 3 inches long by 4½ feet wide, and approximately 12 inches deep. Jason also took a two-by-four and braced the bottom center of each bed, just to help keep it from bowing out after we added the soil and fill. In the past we hadn’t done that, and after a couple years the beds got a little misshapen. I doubt that would happen with these beds since the wood is so thick, but we decided to do it anyway as a precaution. Next, I layered. Going with a no-till approach to these garden beds, we got to put lots and lots of cardboard boxes left over from our move to good use. I started cutting cardboard and covered the ground inside each garden bed, directly on top of the grass. I was happy to preserve some of those boxes in some way. They are riddled with drawings and writings of my children, and using them this way seems like a happier solution than burning them. They’ll still just decompose and break down into the earth, but I like that better than the

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© JAMES JA NE IRA DOE / D RE AMSTI ME .COM

am a big fan of using raised beds for gardening. My family has built and used them in the past, and each time we do I feel like we get better and better at it. I like using raised beds for a number of reasons, but the two that top that list are that they help the garden look very orderly and neat, and they’re easy to get to and to keep weeded. With raised garden beds you also have the advantage of creating and perfecting the soil right from the start. Since it won’t get walked on, the soil will remain loose and airy at all times, something plants and their developing roots need to grow. It also benefits from excellent drainage. But perhaps I am forgetting my absolute favorite reason to use raised garden beds…which is that you can extend your gardening season well into the fall, start harvesting much earlier in the spring, and even overwinter some vegetables. You can create a harvest the whole year through. Yum. To learn about four-season gardening, I highly suggest Elliot Coleman’s books, Four-Season Harvest and The Winter Harvest Handbook. Some of the vegetables we’ve had luck with growing year-round, and plan on working with this winter are winter density lettuce, giant winter spinach, evergreen hardy bunching onions, curly vates kale (but really, any kale would be fine), wild arugula and chard. There are others, too; raised gardens open up a whole new world of gardening.


©REAMSTIME D JAMES JA NE.COM IRA DOE / WOOD / DSAWITRI RE AMSTIKME HROMKR .COM ATH OK :: S HOVELS © KRE ATIW

thought of fire, which seems like destruction to me. I don’t know how I can be sentimental about things like this, but sometimes I just am. At one point my children came out and thought these boxes must be for them to play in, right? Nope, move over…it was time to add some hay. Jason brought a truckload of old hay from a nearby farm’s chicken barn. Chicken poop has a really high nitrogen content and typically should be fully composted before using it in the garden. While I don’t think that the chicken poop mixed in with the hay was completely decomposed—and it was definitely not composted— we did not add a concentrated amount. It was old, and I don’t think it will cause a problem simply by being included with a layer of the hay on the bottom of the soil. By the time any roots grow down to that level, if they do at all, the poop should be well decomposed. After the layers of cardboard and hay, Jason shoveled in a screened topsoil/composted manure mix. Next time we might add some peat in as well, just for girth. Since raised garden beds typically stay where you initially place them, it is a good idea to make sure the soil within them is packed full of organic, healthy stuff. This creates less work down the road. Raising the Roof After the beds were filled came the exciting part…putting on the hoops! We moved all of our PVC hoops from our old gardens and just reused them. For a raised garden bed approximately 12 by 4 feet, you will need five 8-foot lengths of 1/2-inch PVC piping to arch correctly across it. In the past we just stuck pieces of rebar or garden staking that fit into the pipes right on the insides of our garden beds and slipped the piping over it. But with little ones who might think these PVC arches look good to swing on, we decided to go a sturdier route. Jason picked up some little metal brackets (they probably have a name, but if they do I don’t know what it is) at the hardware store and evenly attached them alongside the beds. The PVC piping easily slips into them and stays put. It also makes it easy to remove the piping when we need to. Since we live in a valley, and the winds can be pretty strong, we wanted to stabilize the PVC framing just a little bit more. Jason cut another length of piping and screwed it into each of the PVC arches. Now it is very secure. We got right to planting in these mini greenhouses. The first bed is entirely Lacianto dinosaur kale. The

© L ISA DEN ARD O

“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” —Thomas Jefferson

Of course, it’s always nice to have a helper when you work.

second bed consists of Ripbor F1 kale and improved rainbow mix chard. That’s a lot of greens, but I say, the more, the merrier! We used greenhouse plastic to cover the hoops. We extended the sheeting past the garden bed, wrapping it in and folding it over to make sure everything was enclosed securely, and weighted the edges down with heavy rocks and chopped wood. This way it can withstand wind and the weight of snow throughout the winter. When it gets cold enough, we also put frost blankets right on top of the beds. The frost blankets boost the temperatures about 4 to 5 degrees, which isn’t a lot, but does keep the plants a bit warmer and protects them from the frost. The goal of this setup is to keep the elements a good two feet off of the plants, allowing them plenty of room to flourish. Each year, our gardening skills evolve just a little bit more. Through trial and error, we manage to learn some new things about ourselves, the way we work best, and what works best in our gardening space each and every year. With each cycle, we get closer to understanding a piece of self-sustainability…and gain an understanding of how and what to do again the following season. For us, these raised beds are just the beginning. Lisa DeNardo lives with her husband and five children on a little four-acre homestead in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. There she focuses on the things that are most important to her: growing and preserving food, collecting farm-fresh eggs, knitting, writing, taking pictures and homeschooling. More about her family’s journey towards self-sufficiency can be found at hullabaloohomestead.com. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

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PA R E N T I N G

ATTENTION-SEEKING IS A

Y

ou don’t have to spend much time around parents, teachers, or experts to hear the phrase, “They’re just seeking attention.” While tricks abound about how to suppress attention-seeking, what continuously baffles me is the lack of interest in what lies behind the behavior. Yes, children can sometimes be irritating, rude and sometimes downright naughty, but why? Biologically, what is going on for the child? All becomes clear when we realize that so-called attention-seeking is actually a child trying to communicate a need and feel connected. The need to feel connected is fundamental to our biology. Many of us have had times of feeling isolated and alone. In the past, to be alone would have meant death, or at least great danger. Children are biologically driven to connect with the significant adults around them. Their survival depends on our understanding their needs—if they feel no sense of connection, they have no faith in us understanding and meeting their needs. The more disconnected they feel, the higher their levels of stress hormone. They will act up until they achieve some sort of connection, and then their bodies can naturally calm again. Some disconnections are inevitable (some are even valuable), but how we handle them and, more importantly, how we handle the reconnection phase is fundamental to par-

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By Karyn Van Der Zwet

enting. The more we muck this process up, the more often we have irritating, rude and naughty children. Fact. (Note: Some children are so suppressed, behavior-wise, that they appear to be managing. They’re not, of course, if they’re emotionally disconnected. Rebelling tweens and teenagers or college-age and adult children who go “off the rails” or shut down are signs this has happened.) I now have to write when my young son is asleep. If I don’t, he is continually pulling on the mouse and tapping at the keyboard, and the noise he makes gets louder and more urgent. He is annoying, and as rude as a 17-month-old can get…and yes, I could interpret his behavior as naughty. Sometimes I find it difficult not to snap at him—often my task would only take 10 or 15 minutes of concentrated effort. His interruptions are damned frustrating! But he is showing his sense of disconnection. As soon as I reconnect, he’s quiet and calm again. Unlike natural separations (which they choose), children feel a sense of disconnection every time we force a separation—when we choose to be on the computer or speak to someone else; when we go the bathroom or take a shower without them; or even just by being on the phone. Many people treat these as times for discipline, star charts or other forms of training, when there’s a much healthier way to manage. It’s all in how we use our eyes.

© DARRI N K LI MEK / THINKSTOCK .COM

Big Fat Lie


The more disconnected they feel, the higher their levels of stress hormone. They will act up until they achieve some sort of connection, and then their bodies can naturally calm again.

When you greet your children first thing in the morning, at the end of the day, or when you have just been concentrating somewhere other than on them, try this: 1. Focus your eyes on theirs. 2. Stretch your eye sockets as wide as you can, and 3. Immediately afterwards, crinkle the muscles around your eyes to make them smile. (You might have to practice.) 4. Then enter their world for a few minutes. Let them tell you something, show you something or give you a hug. Just concentrate all of your attention, even your thoughts, on them. If reconnecting properly—this is biology, not opinion—is new for your children, they’ll initially not believe what they are experiencing, and it might take a while for you all to get used to it. Conscious eye-contact still feels unnatural to me, but for our children it’s now normal, and the results are fantastic. Aside from everything else, they behave better. There are three regular daily times of disconnection for most of us. Firstly, immediately after they wake: Consciously reconnect, and it will be a smoother process getting out the door. Secondly, when on the phone. If you can see your children, use your eyes to keep contact. Even so, don’t spend too long chatting. If they’re out of sight, make it as snappy as you can without being rude. You’ll save yourself a lot of bad behavior and bother by making this little sacrifice. Truly serious phone calls happen rarely. The other common disconnection happens, particularly for small children, when you’re in the bathroom or taking a shower. For these times, please consider putting aside your discomfort and allowing them in the room with you. They are going to feel anxious otherwise, and most children will do a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g to get you to reconnect. If they appear to be managing, what’s their

behavior like afterward? Well-trained children show their stress after an event, not during it. They’re still having the same biological reaction; it just manifests at a different time or in a different way, sometimes even as a health issue. (Besides, with all the anxiety around bodies, the better it is for them to see the more normal, misshapen, baby-stretched ones.) The younger the child, the shorter the amount of time it takes for them to experience disconnection, and the longer it can take to reconnect. Children instinctively know they could not survive without us; any time we are “absent,” they experience it as disconnection. It’s like everything else with parenting: The better the results over time, the bigger the right sort of commitment in the early years. (Hint: if it involves the words “training” or “self-esteem,” it’s not the right kind of commitment.) Temperament matters. One of our children has a much smaller tolerance for separation from me, and he generally needs longer to reconnect than our other, more sociable kids. We could train him not to show us his stress—with stickers, praise or punishment—but then it wouldn’t go away; it would fester. Rather, we choose to use the above technique so he knows we’re there for him and he learns to manage his emotions for himself. There are two key ways to tell if children are well-­ connected, and therefore less likely to show attentionseeking behavior. First, by recognizing how excited they are when they greet their parents after daycare, kindergarten or school—the more excited, the better. And second, by checking how easily they make eye contact with their mothers. Calm, steady and expressive, and all is well. 

Karyn Van Der Zwet is a teacher, writer and mother to three young sons. She is fascinated by what makes people behave the way they do and spent more than seven years reading everything she could about the human condition. She regularly writes for World Moms Blog, worldmomsblog.com, and for her own blog, kloppenmum.wordpress.com. Her second book, All About Tantrums: Why We Have Them, How To Prevent Them, What To Do When They Happen, is due out in 2013. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

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TOUC H T H E F U T U R E

Does an Oracle Have

All the Answers?

A

number of years ago I had the pleasure of teaching a class of 9- and 10-year-olds in my native England. We were in the middle of a history lesson when an incident occurred that created a profound change in my understanding of how to best support children. One of the children asked a question, and, after thinking about it for a few moments, I answered, “I don’t know.” You would have thought I had just announced that I was in fact an alien sent from outer space to suck out the brains of the children before me. Thirty mouths took an intake of breath, and thirty pairs of eyes swiveled toward me, all looking aghast. “But Mr. Harrison, you’re a teacher,” said one of the children. “You’re supposed to know everything.” The other children nodded in agreement. This was the way the world is, according to them. Teachers know everything, and students learn from teachers. Naturally, I explained that teachers certainly did not know everything; nobody does. I added that when anybody tells you anything, you should question it to see if it’s right for you. This went down well with some children, but most of them were visibly shocked by my admission of ignorance. I have spent the best part of a decade in various forms of teaching, which has allowed me to see a wide variety

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of different educational models. I cannot stress how much damage the “teacher as oracle” culture is wreaking on the long-term development of our children. Just because this model of doing things is normal, it should not be considered healthy. One of the major problems it creates is that it sets up an environment where children learn that all the answers they need in life are to be found and acquired from an external source. Children come to a point very quickly where they discard their own paths of discovery and substitute their teacher’s answer for their own. This leaves the child in a precarious position: What will happen when the teacher is no longer around to give answers? At best they accept someone else’s version of the world, and live by the creations of others. The worstcase scenario is that, without the prompting of a teacher to ask questions, independent exploration and discovery simply cease. One of the saddest things to see is a child who has lost the passion to explore life. If a child cannot find answers internally, or does not have the life experience that has fostered a desire to find answers, what will happen to his creativity? What will happen to his confidence? And what will happen to his independence? We have set things up like this, deluding ourselves that retention and regurgitation of information constitutes

D REAMSTIME .COM / A PRILANTE :: IG OR SINI TSY N : : STEPHA NIEFREY

By Simon Paul Harrison


It is the very core of us, our soul, that drives us to want to go on adventures, discover the universe, and find out who we really are.

success. Maybe it is success, if we’re trying to create a society of robots. However, it goes without saying that a human being is a creature whose very nature is to want to discover every last nuance of life. It is the very core of us, our soul, that drives us to want to go on adventures, discover the universe, and find out who we really are. If the answers come thick and fast from an external source—an oracle—they deprive children of the opportunity to respond to the calling of their souls. And, once the connection to our soul is lost, it’s very difficult to get it back. Apathy runs deep with children in our modern society, and a large reason for this is that we have taught them that answers come from outside themselves. It seems the oracle is not really an oracle at all, but a system that has completely lost sight of who we really are. Next time a child asks you a question, see if you can answer not with the little snippet of information, but with another question that helps the child use her creativity to find the answer for herself. Watch as she takes delight in responding to the call of her soul. Watch as the next time she has a question, she has the confidence and ability to find out the answer for herself. My experience is that when we support children like this they discover the most amazing things. They dive deeper into life than even we may have, and they in turn teach us.

This long-term approach obviously requires love, and it requires patience. If we cannot find these basics of life in our relationships with children, it might be time to stop considering the role of the teacher and adult to be that of an oracle. It should quickly become obvious we actually have very few answers at all. 

Simon Paul Harrison is the author of The Truly Alive Child, a visionary and life-changing book, and the founder and director of Wild Earth’s Children, a nonprofit dedicated to reconnecting people to nature. The Truly Alive Child provides powerful tools and techniques for all adults to support children in reconnecting with childlike wonder, love for learning and natural creativity. The tools include honoring uniqueness, developing deep relationships with nature, embracing the “real” child, and more. Education and parenting are explored from a holistic point of view, including how all adults can play a conscious role in creating environments that promote inner peace and compassion. The Truly Alive Child will change the way we think about education, what we are creating for the next generation and the future of our children. Visit his website, simonpaulharrison.com. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamily wellness.org/references.html.

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Painting Wet on Wet Waldorf Watercolors for Children

Why Wet-on-Wet? The intent of wet-on-wet painting is to give young children (5–6 years old) an experience of color without form. Because the wet paint is laid on wet paper, the colors flow, blending into one another in beautiful, unexpected ways. I recommend painting with one color at a time to get comfortable with the technique. Single colors can

Discovering the Magic After painting with each of the primary colors singly, try the various two-color combinations: red/yellow, red/blue, and yellow/blue. Children will be excited as they experience how secondary colors are formed when combining two colors. “Look, Mama! There’s orange in my jar!” Let them discover the magic for themselves. There’s no need for any further explanation at this age. After experiencing the single colors, then two colors, children can be introduced to painting with all three primary colors.

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be painted as “clouds” of color with varying intensity on the page, allowing some white to shine through here and there. You’ll be surprised how beautiful a painting with just one color can be!

et-on-wet watercolor painting is a technique taught in Waldorf schools and enjoyed by many homeschoolers. Watercolors are painted on a wet surface, allowing the colors to shift and blend into each other. It’s a satisfying artistic experience, and the beautiful results can be turned into lovely gift cards, book covers, paper lanterns or any number of beautiful objets d’art.

IRA DOE / D RE AMSTI ME .COM

By Sarah Baldwin, M.S.Ed.


What You’ll Need ▪ A sink, basin or tray in which to soak your paper; an inexpensive kitty litter tray (new, not used!) works well ▪ Heavyweight watercolor paper (I recommend 140 lb. weight; the size I like is 11 by 15 inches) ▪ 1-3 shades of watercolor paint: Carmine Red, Ultramarine Blue and/or Lemon Yellow (I recommend Stockmar paint, but artist’s watercolor paint in a tube works well, too) ▪ A watercolor paintbrush with flat bristles (1 to 1.5 inches wide) ▪ Two pint-size jars: one for water, and one for mixing paint ▪ One baby-food jar for each color of paint ▪ A flat, waterproof board or counter on which to work ▪ Two sponges (one clean and paint-free, and the other to wipe the painting board clean later) ▪ A rag Note: The above-mentioned supplies can be purchased online from Bella Luna Toys (bellalunatoys.com), but similar products can be found at your local art supply store.

Preparation 1. Submerge the paper (one sheet at a time, so that they don’t stick together) in water and let it soak while you prepare everything else. Paper should soak for about 10 to 15 minutes. 2. Mix your paint(s). When starting out, I recommend painting with one color at a time. Put a dollop of paint in the bottom of a pint jar (a tablespoon or so), and add water until the jar is about three-quarters full. Mix well. (I like to use a chopstick for this purpose.) You can test the intensity of the shade on a scrap of paper. Add more paint to make stronger hues, or add more water to soften.

© JAMES JA NE IRA DOE / D RE AMSTI ME .COM

3. Pour a small amount of mixed paint (just enough to cover the bottom) into baby-food jars (one for each painter). The remaining paint can be refrigerated to use again later. 4. Lay a piece of soaked paper on a painting board or another flat, smooth, waterproof surface. A kitchen counter works well, but keep in mind that the painting should not be moved from the surface until dry. Most watercolor paper has a rougher side and a smoother side. Lay the paper down with the rough side up. 5. Wipe the excess water off the paper with a clean, damp sponge. Make sure there are no puddles of water on the paper, and wipe away any air bubbles. The paper should have a sheen to it, but not be soaking wet. Now you are ready to paint!

Brush on Paper You want to model this technique for young children, so make sure you have set up all supplies for yourself and your children. Have each painter’s station set up with: ▪ A painting board and paper ▪ A jar of water ▪ Jar or jars of paint ▪ A rag I wait to hand the child his or her brush until after I’ve told a “color story” like this one: “One morning, Tippy Brush woke up and looked outside his bedroom window. It was a crisp autumn morning. As he looked outside his window, he saw bright red leaves falling from the maple tree and blowing in the wind, filling the sky with their color. ‘Oh, I want to play with red today!’ he thought. So Tippy jumped out of bed, but before he went outside, he had a nice foot bath… [Here I would demonstrate rinsing the bristles clean in the jar of water.] …and dried his feet clean with his towel [the rag]. Then Tippy ran outside and cried, “Good morning, Red! I’ve come to play with you!” [At this point Tippy (my brush) dips his “toes” (the bristles) in the red paint.] The red leaves were happy to have a playmate, and Tippy joyfully danced among the falling red leaves, until there were piles of bright red leaves all around.” [Here I would apply the red paint to my paper, placing red here and there, letting the colors dance on the page.] After telling the story, I would hand out the paintbrushes and let the children paint freely. When everyone is finished painting, allow the paintings to dry thoroughly before removing them from your board or counter. 

Sarah Baldwin, M.S.Ed., is an experienced Waldorf early childhood educator and author of the book Nurturing Children and Families, a book that covers all the bases of Waldorf education, from why to have such a class at all, to what sort of qualities a parent/child teacher needs, to a detailed description of the rhythms of day and season in her own class. She is also the owner of Bella Luna Toys (bellaluna toys.com), a leading online retailer offering families natural toys and art supplies inspired by Waldorf education. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

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THE POWER OF COLOR By Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten

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umankind is moving out of the mind and more into a feeling, sensing and knowing experience. Children are very aware of this. They feel, sense and know their way through life. They also know what some healers know: that the use of color is a very powerful way to heal, balance and connect. Each color has its own purpose. Colors can be used for balancing, grounding, healing, protection and connecting to source energy. Colors affect moods and emotions. Ancient Egyptians used colored panes of glass in their roofs. When the sun shone through the colored glass, they would sit in the colorful, healing rays. Nowadays we have special lights that produce similar effects. We paint rooms in our home with certain colors to portray a particular feeling or look. Sometimes we pick through multiple pieces of clothing to find the right color for our day.

Here are some simple ways you can use color in your home with your children: ▪ Let your child pick his color of shirt that day. ▪ Provide different color scarves to play with or wrap themselves in. ▪ Have different color blankets available to pick from. ▪ Mix sea salt and different color therapy oils to create a colorful bath. ▪ Paint their bedroom, playroom and bathroom colors to stimulate different needs. ▪ Supply a basket of sunglasses with different color lenses. ▪ Let your child express herself through coloring, drawing or painting with a wide range of colors. ▪ Take a meditation time out, and mentally walk your child through a soft visualization of climbing a ladder of colors, swimming in different color water or breathing in different colors. ▪ Learn about the human energy field and chakras.

Colors have their own frequencies and vibrations that relate to certain areas in the body, as do music and imagery. Combine all three and you have a very powerful trio. Here are some of the meanings and uses of common colors.

Dark Blue

Calms nerves and elevates the consciousness. Creates sleepy, philosophical discussions.

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White

Protection. Charges the energy field, brings peace and comfort, takes away pain. Connects us to our truth..

Pink

Yellow

Calming, and protects against negativity. Balances friendship and stimulates romance. (Obviously you’re not stimulating romance for your kids, but it’s good for mom and dad to know.)

Stimulates a working environment, and focuses the easily distracted. Works with the intellect and helps clear a foggy head.


Purple

Lavender

Green

Psychic protection. Helps us have a deeper connection to the spirit.

Purges the energy field.

Nurturing, balancing, general healing. Use as a physical healing shield.

Red

Blue

Orange

Passion, strong feelings, love. Charges energy fields. Burns out diseases and warms cold areas.

Cooling, calming, shielding. Helps with teaching and sensitivity.

Ambition, increases immunity, charges the energy field.

Gold

Silver

Indigo

Connects us to our higher selves and to our creator. Connects to mankind, service and divine love.

Opens up communication, strong purging of energy fields.

Helps form a deeper connection to spirit, opens the third eye and clears your head.

Maroon

Helps move a person into his or her task.

Carol Lawrence and Stacy Toten are energetic practitioners, authors, book reviewers and assistant editors for the All Things Healing family and parenting community. Together Carol and Stacy are intuitively fulfilling a calling and a passion to write children’s picture books. They provide nurturing tips and encouragement for parents walking an intentional, spiritually conscious parenting path by supplying an inviting platform for their established parenting community. Visit them online at intentional consciousparenting.com. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

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“It has been said that adoption is more like a marriage than a birth: two (or more) individuals, each with their own unique mix of needs, patterns, and genetic history, coming together with love, hope, and commitment for a joint future. You become a family not because you share the same genes, but because you share love for each other.” —Joan McNamara

“We just need to build more.” On a journey to her adopted son’s homeland, Jamie Grumet hopes to carry the spotlight to Ethiopia’s beleaguered orphans By Jamie Grumet

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our hands are shaking. Did you eat anything today?” my friend asked, as I sat inside the gates of the Awassa Children’s Center in Ethiopia. “No, I’m too anxious,” I replied, as I caught a glimpse of my son’s eyes peering in at me from outside the gate. My son was back in California. I started to think, “Maybe breakfast would have been a good idea. I’m starting to hallucinate from hunger….” Right then, a small, modestly dressed woman walked through the gates of the Awassa Children’s Project and looked up at me to reveal the eyes of my child. I was looking at the face of my son’s birth mother (or more accurately, his first mother) for the first time. I ran to her, immediately knowing who she was, and she embraced me. Ethiopian culture typically does not show outward emotion like crying, so I had prepared myself to be quite stoic during the encounter. I pulled away from her with both of our eyes filled with tears and I felt a kindred spirit. She looked me in the eyes and grabbed my face to kiss my cheeks over and over. “I love you,” she said in the Sidamic language. That was one of the few phrases I knew, and it was like food for my soul to hear those as the first words coming out of her mouth during our meeting. Just one and a half years ago, my family’s life was forever changed when we adopted our then 3-year-old son,

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Samuel, from Ethiopia. We started the process because we wanted to expand our family and we had a deep love and respect for Ethiopia. We did not realize at the time that we would also be adopted, into a new family and a culture we admired so much. A fire was inside of us after Samuel came home. Clearly, we would always be connected with the country because it is the birthplace of our son and his biological family. We learned during the adoption process that there were many children in orphanages who actually should still be with their birth families. Hearing Samuel’s birth mother speak about her love for our child, and to witness her praising God in front of me for bringing updates, videos, photos and the promise of staying connected, validated the other reason we had traveled almost 10,000 miles from home to visit Awassa, Ethiopia: family preservation. Our adoption story is not unique. Ethical American adoption agencies will agree that international adoption should be the last resort, but in reality there are not enough programs in place to help birth families keep their children after a spouse has died and they are financially destitute. Understanding that this was the reality of Samuel and his birth family, prior to our accepting his referral, left our family feeling hopeless.  Should we


Top: At the Awassa Children’s Center, Jamie shows Samuel’s birth mother the first image of him she has seen in almost two years. PHOTOS BY KYLE LAMERE, ISHOOTROCKSTARS.COM. OPPOSITE PAGE: PHOTO BY LORI DORMAN PHOTOGRAPHY.

accept the referral of a child we know has a living relative? Or should we pass on the referral, knowing another family will accept it? We decided to accept Samuel’s referral with the intention of keeping a close connection with his birth family and his region of birth. 

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he fire that lit inside us when Samuel came home was stoked into a deep passion that led us to create the Fayye Foundation in November of 2011. We wanted to bring financial aid to projects already in place in the Sidama region of Ethiopia and work for family preservation, whether through medical care for families, micro-loans for widows, or non-adoption orphanages. I had contacted Paul Chadha of the Awassa Children’s Project in March of 2012 about his solar-powered non-adoption orphanage and vocational school. This orphanage was created for double orphans; two background checks are conducted to confirm that both parents are deceased before children are accepted to the center. I was shocked that they were still able to work as a 100 percent volunteer organization for 10 years , with every dollar going directly to the center. May 2012 brought unexpected events in the life of our family as an image of me and my biological son ended up on the cover of Time magazine, which became one of the most controversial and most talked-about issues in decades. I froze at the level of attention our family was attracting; I was ready to hide until the curiosity would eventually fade away.

I told this plan of action to a friend, who replied very calmly, “If you do that, all of your efforts to raise awareness for attachment parenting and for the families in Sidama will be in vain.”  Feeling convicted and realizing that even if the majority of the attention was negative, the spotlight was still on our family, we decided to use every bit of residual attention to shine the spotlight where it truly belonged.  In June, I spoke with Paul, who invited me down to Ethiopia. “Okay!” I said, “Do you mind if I form a little team to bring with me?” Paul was extremely supportive of the idea. Within a week I had nine people traveling with me. Everyone brought their talents and stepped up to help bring coverage to the area. Terry Von Guilleaume from Destination Southern Africa spoke with Ethiopian Airlines about our desire to bring aid to the country. They jumped at the chance to offer us tickets for our group.  Dr. Jay Gordon signed up for the trip before he even knew why we were going—I just told him we were going to Ethiopia and he was on board. We had three professional photographers, a videographer, and even a token rock star to really make our group eclectic.  When we landed in Ethiopia, everyone was affected differently by the sights they took in, though all of us worked through emotions to accomplish our purpose.  On the road to Awassa, our caravan pulled over near a car accident, where Dr. Gordon saw a woman carrying a child with the worst eye infection I had ever seen. He

We decided to accept Samuel’s referral with the intention of keeping

a close connection with his birth family and his region of birth.

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Awassa. This center was created for orphans so they immediately jumped out of the car to treat the baby with could keep a connection with their living relatives in the sight-saving eye drops from his bag of medical supplies. area, receive a good education, medical care and love, That was the first of many spur-of-the-moment medical and become leaders for their region and their country. treatments that Jay gave to children in rural areas— We heard about Paul’s desire to build more vocational including an incident when a child who was working schools and children’s centers along the famous road and severely severed his arm and finger with a machete. Jay from Cape to Cairo, where HIV has hit most prevalently was always the first up and ready if someone needed help. and infiltrated the area.  As we drove down the streets of Awassa, we saw the The desperation of Paul’s sewer children emerge. voice when he said over the Some members of our phone to me, “We just need group started to cry as to build more,” suddenly they saw the children, without parents or they could keep made complete sense to our group as we listened to Paul advocates, living in the a connection explain how the 30 toddlers filth of the gutter. Many happily climbing all over us had the instinct to jump had entered the center. UNIout and take in the CEF had brought 50 chilchildren they saw, but dren to the center, although they soon realized there there had only been space were too many to count. for 10. The center stretched The helplessness and every way possible and took the hopelessness of the in 30. When I asked what happened to the other 20 chilsituation started sinking in.  dren, Paul stayed silent. He finally responded that they were “reintegrated” into society, which means they were hen we made it to the Awassa Children’s Center, dropped off in the community. It was essentially a death it was like a beam of sunshine for all of us. The sentence for most of the children. The day Paul found extreme contrast of the children outside of the gates and out the 20 children would have to be reintegrated, he the 100 children living inside was devastating. The ACP collapsed at the center and needed medical attention. We children were in a warm, loving, family environment agreed we would do everything in our power to not allow and living in conditions that would be sufficient for any something so evil to happen again.  Westerner. The children with HIV/AIDS had their own What struck me the most about my group was how quarters for sleeping—not to protect the other children our tone changed as our journey progressed. We origifrom those infected with the virus, but rather to keep the nally saw complete devastation; everyone had the gut children with the virus (and therefore a compromised instinct to come in and “save” anyone and everyone from immune system) in the cleanest environment possible, the devastation of their geographic location. However, and to not welcome any opportunistic illnesses from the as we started learning about the culture and the spirit of other children.  the people of the area, everyone started to feel a different ACP fueled the team’s resolve after the emotional kind of fire being lit inside of them. Awassa, Ethiopia, ride. We felt we had discovered something special in

we discovered something special in Awassa. This center was created for orphans so with their living relatives in the area, receive a good education, medical care and love, and become leaders for their region and their country.

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Save the Children’s

2012 State of the World’s Mothers Report

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he State of the World’s Mothers report reminds us of the inextricable link between the well-being of mothers

and their children. More than 90 years of experience on the ground have shown that when mothers have healthcare, education and economic opportunity, both they and their children have the best chance to survive and thrive. Along with rankings for 165 countries around the world, LEFT TO RIGHT (PHOTOS BY LORI DORMAN PHOTOGRAPHY UNLESS NOTED):

Dr. Jay Gordon playing with the children outside the gates of the Awassa Children’s Center. Life inside the Awassa Children’s Center. Some of the children brought to the center by UNICEF who now call the Awassa Children’s Center home. Team member Jillian Clinton overlooking Lake Awassa in the rural part of Sidama, Ethiopia (PHOTO BY JAMIE GRUMET). Mother nursing her toddler at an open-air market in Ethiopia—a normal, everyday occurrence in the area.

each report has a different theme. This year, the report focuses on the critical impact of nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, starting with pregnancy. The United States ranked the lowest among all developed countries, which means it only outperforms developing countries. Below is the scorecard: In the United States, mothers face a 1 in 2,100 risk of maternal death—the highest of any industrialized nation.

has a love of community of which the Western world can only dream. The way they value family and relationships with neighbors is how humans were created to live. Rather than coming in with our Western ways and ideals, we all started listening and learning from the people we heard were so desperate for our help. We discovered the people of Awassa and other developing towns are not infantile or any less developed in their state of mind as a community, but rather are our brothers and sisters that have fallen. We have the ability to offer our hand to help them back up, just as they can do for us. We need to realize that true philanthropy is love for one another and creating a global community. We need to learn the importance of other cultures and all of the things that many of these “developing” countries are doing better than we are. In this way, we can positively change the future of Western society. 

In fact, only three developed countries—Albania, Moldova and the Russian Federation—perform worse than the United States on this indicator. A woman in the U.S. is more than seven times as likely as a woman in Ireland or Italy to die from a pregnancy-related cause, and her risk of maternal death is 15 times that of a woman in Greece. The U.S. under-5 mortality rate is 8 per 1,000 births. This is on par with rates in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovakia and Qatar. Forty countries performed better than the U.S. on this indicator. This means that a child in the U.S. is four times as likely as a child in Iceland to die before his or her 5th birthday. The United States has the least generous maternity leave policy of any wealthy nation. It is the only developed country—and one of only a handful of countries in the world—that does not guarantee working

Jamie Lynne Grumet is a wife, mother and homeschooler, and an advocate for normalizing breastfeeding in the West. She is passionate about family and community preservation in the Sidama region of Ethiopia. She writes to build awareness for global community and conscious parenting. Follow her blog at IAmNotThe Babysitter.com. For more on Jamie’s work in Ethiopia, visit the Awassa Children’s Project at awassa.org. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

mothers paid leave. The United States is also lagging behind with regard to preschool enrollment and the political status of women. Performance in both areas places it among the bottom 10 in the developed world. Learn more at savethechildren.org. issue 36 pathwaystofamilywellness.org

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MIND — B O DY — SP IRI T

Spiritual Stewardship AND Planetary Health By Arttemis and Krystalle Keszainn

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flow of consciousness connects the health of our human body with the health of our planetary body. For example, choosing locally grown organic foods for their quality and nutrition also supports healthy agriculture and healthy land. Choosing renewable energy sources and conserving energy within our homes decreases pollution in the air we breathe. Choosing nontoxic household cleansers, detergents, and body products reduces the toxic accumulation in our bodies as well as the planet. Installing water filters in our home reduces toxic accumulation in our bodies, while limiting the amount of waste from store-bought plastic water bottles. Choosing more natural medicines for health and well-being reduces the amount of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that accumulate in our bodies and in the environment. As spiritual stewards, every empowered choice we make gives life to our body, and every empowered choice we make affirms the life of our planet. Spiritual stewardship extends throughout our world, as each individual grows into greater expressions of responsibility and empowerment. As humanity chooses individual responsibility and health, our consciousness naturally extends outward and we embrace our role. Imagine what kind of impact Earth’s spiritual stewards have! Many of us hear the call to reclaim our power. As we answer this call, we align our spiritual health with our physical health. We become responsible for the choices that affect us and the Earth. We embrace responsibility for the survival and well-being of our human body and our planetary body, simultaneously. As we reclaim our power, we propel ourselves to create a New Earth—together. 

Arttemis and Krystalle are founders of New Earth Center, New Earth Superfoods, and the Jump Start Cleanse. They are visionary entrepreneurs, teachers, and public speakers changing lives in Austin, Texas! Their company New Earth inspires, educates and transforms our world through technologies based on pure water, pure food and pure speech. You can visit their products, programs, and live events at newearthcenter.com or see their event calendar at meetup .com/NewEarthCenter. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

© DE NI SCRI STO / D REA MSTIM E.COM

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s spiritual stewards, we awaken to the truth that every choice we make affects our lives as individuals. Every choice we make also influences the collective awareness of groups, families, organizations, communities and humanity as a whole. Ultimately, we realize our choices affect the entire planet. Every thought, feeling, deed, word and action we choose reflects how we manage our energies in our bodies and our environment. Becoming responsible for our awareness as individuals directly impacts the people and world around us. Would the collective consciousness of humanity awaken into its greatness if more people chose to practice spiritual stewardship? Yes. As we make choices that reflect greater responsibility for our health as individuals—as spiritual stewards—we begin to reclaim the power that previously we gave away to pharmaceuticals, healers, doctors, gurus and even governments and businesses. As more of us reclaim our individual power, we collectively reduce the amount of power and control we give to others. Modes of healing that dis­ empower, as well as disempowering organizations and belief systems, will then begin to find a natural balance. As we reclaim the amount of power we placed in these services and organizations, our own power will return to us. Imagine this in terms of a large-scale shifting of supply and demand. When we no longer choose to depend on services and products that disempower us, the demand for them falls. The evolution and healing of humanity and the Earth occurs naturally when we choose to empower ourselves rather than give our power to others. We broadcast our choices to businesses and organizations through how we invest our money and time. Our purchasing dollars speak volumes—especially to big businesses whose primary motivation is their bottom line. When we choose to become spiritual stewards of our bodies, there is a natural evolution in what we choose to purchase, and why. This fuels the change and evolution of businesses and other organizations as they try to satisfy consumer demand. We affect ourselves, businesses, the economy and much more. Our actions as spiritual stewards support the Earth’s healthy environment. Our empowered choices give life to our bodies, and naturally give life to the planet. This


TM

ANDREA MARCONI, DC

NORTHERN VIRGINIA GATHERING GROUP

HUDSON COUNTY HOLISTIC PARENTING GATHERING GROUP

SPONSORED BY DR. LAURA T. BRAYTON OF HOBOKEN CHIROPRACTIC + WELLNESS

During the fleeting time with our children, our daily choices can empower them and promote well-being for the rest of their lives. Pathways understands our readers’ holistic values and needs, which is why our nonprofit mission is to provide families with the valuable information, trusted resources and unprecedented support for your journey as a family within a wellness community. There are Pathways Connect Gathering Groups in more than 250 communities around the country to help you find your own circle of families with shared values for wellness. Hosted by practitioners in your community, these groups converse, engage, and learn together about the toughest parenting choices: health and healing, birth and breastfeeding, nutrition, discipline, schooling and so many more!

Find your local Pathways Connect Gathering Group here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/directory Parent participation is free! Want to start a local group? Contact us to find out how we can help you connect. Call 610-565-2360 or e-mail info@pathwaystofamilywellness.org

Benefits of Sponsorship Practitioners can become a sponsor of a Pathways Connect group by joining the Holistic Pediatric Alliance or the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Free Gathering Guide: A comprehensive, logistical resource for creating ongoing Gathering Groups in your facility

Free digital versions of new issues of Pathways prior to mail date, for your sneak preview

Free practice listing on the Pathways website as a participating office and distribution site for Pathways magazine

Free fliers, promo aids and outreach ideas to promote your Pathways Gathering Group

Free access to the online Pathways Connect forum to discuss and share ideas with other practitioners

Free use of the Pathways Connect logo for your website, with linkage to discount subscriptions

Free discussion questions to be used in your groups for weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly Gathering Groups

Free Pathways Connect logo on your existing ICPA/HPA directory listing

Free practice personalization on each maga-

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NEW ED GE S C I E N C E

Why

Consciousness

Is Not the Brain

By Larry Dossey, M.D.

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hysicist Freeman Dyson believes the cosmos is suffused with consciousness, from the grandest level to the most minute dimensions. If it is, why aren’t we aware of it? “We don’t know who first discovered water, but we can be sure that it wasn’t a fish,” the old saw reminds us. Continual exposure to something reduces our awareness of its presence. Over time, we become blind to the obvious. We swim in a sea of consciousness, like a fish swims in water. And like a fish that has become oblivious to his aqueous environment, we have become dulled to the ubiquity of consciousness. In science, we have largely ignored how consciousness manifests in our existence. We’ve done this by assuming that the brain produces consciousness, although how it might do so has never been explained and can hardly be imagined. The polite term for this trick is “emergence.” At a certain stage of biological complexity, evolutionary biologists claim, consciousness pops out of the brain like

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a rabbit from a magician’s hat. Yet this claim rests on no direct evidence whatsoever. As Rutgers University philosopher Jerry A. Fodor flatly states, “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. So much for our philosophy of consciousness.” In spite of the complete absence of evidence, the belief that the brain produces consciousness endures and has ossified into dogma. Many scientists realize the limitations of this belief. One way of getting around the lack of evidence is simply to declare that what we call consciousness is the brain itself. That way, nothing is produced, and the magic of “emergence” is avoided. As astronomer Carl Sagan expressed his position, “My fundamental premise about the brain is that its workings— what we sometimes call mind—are a consequence of anatomy and physiology, and nothing more.” Nobelist Francis Crick agreed, saying “[A] person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behavior of nerve cells, glial


cells, and the atoms, ions and molecules that make up and influence them.” This “identity theory”—mind equals brain—has led legions of scientists and philosophers to regard consciousness as an unnecessary, superfluous concept. Some go out of their way to deny the existence of consciousness altogether, almost as if they bear a grudge against it. Tufts University cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett says, “We’re all zombies. Nobody is conscious.” Dennett includes himself in this extraordinary claim, and he seems proud of it. Others suggest that there are no mental states at all, such as love, courage or patriotism, but only electrochemical brain fluxes that should not be described with such inflated language.

all cultures of which we have record believed that human perception extends beyond the reach of the senses.

They dismiss thoughts and beliefs for the same reasons. This led Nobel neurophysiologist Sir John Eccles to remark that “professional philosophers and psychologists think up the notion that there are no thoughts, come to believe that there are no beliefs, and feel strongly that there are no feelings.” Eccles was emphasizing the absurdities that have crept into the debates about consciousness. They are not hard to spot. Some of the oddest experiences I recall are attending conferences where one speaker after another employs his consciousness to denounce the existence of consciousness, ignoring the fact that he consciously chose to register for the meeting, make travel plans, prepare his talks and so on. Many scientists concede that there are huge gaps in their knowledge of how the brain makes consciousness, but they are certain they will be filled in as science progresses. Eccles and philosopher of science Karl Popper branded this attitude “promissory materialism.” “[P]romissary materialism [is] a superstition without a rational foundation,” Eccles says. “[It] is simply a religious belief held by dogmatic materialists…who confuse their religion with their science. It has all the features of a messianic prophecy.” The arguments about the origins and nature of consciousness are central to premonitions. For if the promissory materialists are correct—if consciousness is indeed identical with the brain—the curtain closes on premonitions. The reason is that the brain is a local phenomenon—i.e., it is localized to the brain and body, and to the present. This prohibits premonitions in principle, because accordingly the brain cannot operate outside the body and the here-and-now. But consciousness can operate beyond the brain, body and the present, as hundreds of experiments and millions of testimonials affirm. Consciousness cannot, therefore, be identical with the brain. These assertions are not hyperbolic, but conservative. They are consistent with the entire span of human history, throughout which all cultures of which we have record believed that human perception extends beyond the reach of the senses. This belief might be dismissed as superstition but for the fact that modern research

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NEW ED GE S C I E N C E

has established its validity beyond reasonable doubt to anyone whose reasoning has not clotted into hardened skepticism. To reiterate a single example—the evidence supporting foreknowledge—psi researchers Charles Honorton and Diane Ferrari examined 309 precognition experiments carried out by 62 investigators involving 50,000 participants in more than 2 million trials. Thirty percent of these studies were significant in showing that people can describe future events, when only 5 percent would be expected to demonstrate such results by chance. The odds that these results were not due to chance was greater than 10 to the twentieth power to one. One of the first modern thinkers to endorse an outside-the-brain view of consciousness was William James, who is considered the father of American psychology. In his 1898 Ingersoll Lecture at Harvard University, James took a courageous stand against what he called “the fangs of cerebralism” and the idea that consciousness is produced by the brain. He acknowledged that arrested brain development in childhood can lead to mental retardation, that strokes or blows to the head can abolish memory or consciousness, and that certain chemicals can change the quality of thought. But to consider this as proof that the brain actually makes consciousness, James said, is irrational. Why irrational? Consider a radio, an invention that was introduced during James’s

lifetime, and which he used to illustrate the mind-brain relationship. If one bangs a radio with a hammer, it ceases to function. But that does not mean that the origin of the sounds was the radio itself; the sound originated from outside it in the form of an electromagnetic signal. The radio received, modified and amplified the external signal into something recognizable as sound. Just so, the brain can be damaged in various ways that distort the quality of consciousness—trauma, stroke, nutritional deficiencies, dementia, etc. But this does not necessarily mean the brain “made” the consciousness that is now disturbed, or that consciousness is identical to the brain. British philosopher Chris Carter endorses this analogy. Equating mind and brain is irrational, he says, as listening to music on a radio, smashing the radio’s receiver, and thereby concluding that the radio was producing the music. To update the analogy, consider a television set. We can damage a television set so severely that we lose the image on the screen, but this doesn’t prove that the TV actually produced the image. We know that David Letterman does not live behind the TV screen on which he appears; yet the contention that brain equals consciousness is as absurd as if he did. The radio and TV analogies can be misleading, however, because consciousness does not behave like an electromagnetic signal. Electromagnetic (EM) signals display certain characteristics. The farther away they get from their source, the weaker they become. Not so with consciousness; its effects do not attenuate with

But consciousness can operate beyond the brain, body and the present, as hundreds of experiments and millions of testimonials affirm.

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Moreover, Electromagnetic signals can be blocked partially or completely, but the effects of conscious intention cannot be blocked by any known substance. increasing distance. For example, in the hundreds of healing experiments that have been done in both humans and animals, healing intentions work equally well from the other side of the Earth as at the bedside of the sick individual. Moreover, EM signals can be blocked partially or completely, but the effects of conscious intention cannot be blocked by any known substance. For instance, sea water is known to block EM signals completely at certain depths, yet experiments in remote viewing have been successfully carried out beyond such depths, demonstrating that the long-distance communication between the involved individuals cannot depend on EM-type signals. In addition, EM signals require travel time to get from their source to a receiver, yet thoughts can be perceived simultaneously between individuals across global distances. Thoughts can be displaced in time, operating into both past and future. In precognitive remote-viewing experiments—for example, the hundreds of such experiments by the PEAR Lab at Princeton University—the receiver gets a future thought before it is ever sent. Furthermore, consciousness can operate into the past, as in the experiments involving retroactive intentions. Electromagnetic signals are not capable of these feats. From these differences, we can conclude that consciousness is not an electric signal. Then what is it? My conclusion is that consciousness is not a thing or substance, but is a nonlocal phenomenon. Nonlocal is merely a fancy word for infinite. If something is nonlocal, it is not localized to specific points in space, such as brains or bodies, or to specific points in time, such as the present. Nonlocal events are immediate; they require no travel time. They are unmediated; they require no energetic signal to “carry” them. They are unmitigated; they do not become weaker with increasing distance. Nonlocal phenomena are omnipresent, everywhere at once. This means there is no necessity for them to go anywhere; they are already there. They are infinite in time as well, present at all moments, past present and future, meaning they are eternal. Researcher Dean Radin, whose presentiment experiments provide profound evidence for future knowing, believes that the nonlocal events in the subatomic, quantum domain underlie the nonlocal events we experience at the human level. He invokes the concept of entanglement as a bridging hypothesis uniting the small- and large-scale happenings. Quantum entanglement and quantum nonlocality are indeed potent

possibilities that may eventually explain our nonlocal experiences, but only further research will tell. Meanwhile, there is a gathering tide of opinion favoring these approaches. As physicist Chris Clarke, of the University of Southampton, says, “On one hand, Mind is inherently non-local. On the other, the world is governed by a quantum physics that is inherently non-local. This is no accident, but a precise correspondence.... [Mind and the world are] aspects of the same thing.... The way ahead, I believe, has to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe.... We have to start exploring how we can talk about mind in terms of a quantum picture.... Only then will we be able to make a genuine bridge between physics and physiology.” Whatever their explanation proves to be, the experiments documenting premonitions are real. They must be reckoned with. And when scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age—the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it—will topple. In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind. This view will affirm that consciousness is fundamental, omnipresent and eternal—a model that is as cordial to premonitions as the materialistic, brain-based view is hostile. 

Excerpted from The Science of Premonitions: How Knowing the Future Can Help Us Avoid Danger, Maximize Opportunities and Create a Better Life by Larry Dossey. Copyright 2010 by Larry Dossey. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Larry Dossey, M.D., is a former internal medicine physician and former chief of staff of Medical City Dallas Hospital. He is the author of 11 books, most recently The Science of Premonitions. Visit him online at dosseydossey.com. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

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WE L L NESS L I F E ST Y L E

PEELING THE

Wellness Onion

By Chris Webb, M.S.

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I’m not worth it. If we make the effort to enact small changes, something might keep us from going all the way. Maybe we fall back into old habits or see an ad— which we now know is geared toward sabotaging our wellness goals—that triggers an old craving. The difference between following the less-trod path and heading in the opposite direction comes down to feeling worthwhile. The “I’m not worth it” conversation is one we might live in for months. Throughout our lives, someone might have contributed a spirit wound that made us feel “less than.” Enough spirit wounds can convince us that indeed we have little value. If we don’t see ourselves as worthy, then why make beneficial changes? Upon hitting this revelation, through the use of the other W’s and the H, we can get down to answering why this is so, and hopefully find ways to repair that damage and advance toward greater well-being. Nothing makes me happier as a clinician than the moment the client sees how they have come to view themselves as unworthy. Often so ingrained into our beingness, these feelings of unworthiness need a bright light cast upon them. Upon revelation, a person’s healing begins, because we cannot return to not knowing this characterization exists. It no longer invisibly haunts us; it has a name, and can be addressed. The rate of change varies after the revelation, depending on how deeply the spirit wounds cut. But change does happen.  Although I’ve been studying holistic health and improving my wellness for a decade, my unworthiness discovery emerged this year. After introspection, I understood why I felt that way, addressed the spirit wounds, and began to make changes that asserted my worthiness. I have felt grounded and at peace ever since, simply because I decided I am worthwhile.  We all are.  Chris Webb, M.S., writes about food supply, body image, simplicity, and wellness at LiveNakedly.com. Additionally, he is a trained Western herbalist and wellness counselor. Married to Sara, Chris is a stay-at-home dad to their daughter Kalia. Follow Chris on Facebook at facebook.com/rootedwellness and on Twitter @WebbWriter. This article first appeared at MindBodyGreen.com. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

CREATED WITH IM AGE S FROM D REA MSTIME. COM

s holistic practitioners, we are wellness investigators who must use who, what, where, when, why and how to help clear a path for optimal wellness to emerge from a client’s story. In training, we are often cautioned against going to the “why” well, but I find that most information comes from asking such questions. It’s the hardest question to answer, because it is a statement of interpretation rather than of fact. I find, however, that how we interpret events creates our habits more than the events themselves.  My clients inform me about human nature, holding up a mirror in which I can see where in my own life I have exhibited similar behavior. If a client tells me he wants to change and then comes up with excuses, I ask where in my life I have done the same. I am in the tenth year of my wellness journey, and it reminds me that I have hit similar pitfalls as I’ve moved through the world.  In my personal and clinical experience, the whys that prevent progress in health become deeply revelatory. Peeling the onion from the outside in, they are:   It’s too hard. My biggest mistake as a clinician is assuming that people who come to see me are motivated to change on the spot. When I embarked on self-discovery, I collected a ton of theories without trying any out. I knew in my head that things should be different— yet I did not implement anything. After 25 years of forming habits, the mountain seemed too big. I needed more messaging to contradict the lifetime of information I had already ingested before I could enact changes. Otherwise, it was “too hard.” I have no willpower. Once we get past the “too hard” stage, we discover that the few things we’re trying to change call to us louder than before. Ask my parents how long I lived in this conversation. Ask my wife, too! If something unhealthy was nearby, I was drawn to it even though it would make me sick. To me, this part of the conversation is not about willpower, but about the pervasive messages we receive via advertising. Most advertised food products have health-negative results— processed foods, fast foods, sodas, candies, snacks and sugary cereals. Repeated ads passively assault our brains for years, starting when we’re really young. It isn’t our willpower that keeps us from change, but the constant messaging.


wo rth ines se s

Š JAMES JA NE IRA DOE / D RE AMSTI ME .COM

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A MO MEN T O F T R U T H

You Say You Want a Resolution …but too often, they lead to failure. Try setting a New Year’s intention for better results By Bruce Steven Dolin, Psy.D.

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potentially benefits children, but also greatly benefits the parent who sets the intention—allowing an alignment of personal energy with forces greater than the wants and needs of the ego-self alone. Parenting is very challenging, and expecting to be a perfect parent is an ill-conceived notion. Losing our tempers less, being a little more patient, spending a bit more time listening to our kids…these are directions, not resolutions. But by dedicating to the good of others our mere attempts to grow, as parents or as beings aside from the care of children, we create a New Year’s intention that lends heart and spirit even to our abject failures and terribly human fiascoes and regressions. We can set one intention, a few intentions or many. We can keep our intentions in mind on a daily basis, or come back to them a year from now. But there’s surely room for one conscious breath at this pulsing moment, breathing in love and breathing out fear and desire as we silently harness the energy of our heart-minds and our gut-minds in a direction of loving kindness for our “children,” biological, adopted, animal, vegetable, mineral…and even ethereal, archetypal and purely energistic. So, let’s set a New Year’s intention. Let’s make this coming year, with all our strivings and struggles, all our victories and defeats, consciously stand to benefit all our collective children. 

Dr. Bruce Dolin, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in Beverly Hills, where he sees individuals, couples and families and has a sub-specialty of working with parents in the service of their children’s well-being. Bruce has a B.A. from the University of Michigan, an M.F.A. from NYU and a doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology. Visit his website, privilegeofparenting.com. View article resources and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.

© LU NA MARINA / D REAMSTIME .COM

W

hether or not we make New Year’s resolutions, we think about them. We tend to tell ourselves that after the holidays are over we are going to get into better shape, eat better and commit to this or that course of action. We make resolutions, or we think about what we would resolve to do, if only we didn’t doubt that resolutions are effective. On the other hand, we could leave the self-defeating resolution thing aside and instead consider crafting a New Year’s intention. For example, we could set the intention of dedicating our efforts this coming year to the benefit of our children. By consciously setting such an intention, we raise every other action to a higher level and infuse them with spirit. If our intention is to dedicate all that we do to the health, happiness and well-being of our kids, then our attempts to stop smoking, get to the yoga studio or reduce procrastinating all subtly go to serve something that transcends ourselves. Ironically, when we are consciously playing on the team of our families, and by extension our communities and our world, we may be more likely to make healthy and effective choices for ourselves. Resolutions tend to be exacting and rigid—an ironclad vision of our perfected selves. But we are not perfect, and all our attempts to be perfect inevitably fail, reinforcing low self-esteem. Striving for improvement, even by small increments, leads to real growth over time. Perfectionism dooms us to failure by setting the bar at a superhuman level. Yoga literally means “to bind”—harnessing body, mind and spirit to a singular focus or intention. Consciously dedicating our lives to the benefit of something, even something as broadly defined as “our children,” can arguably turn parenting itself into yoga. The core concept of Privilege of Parenting is that conscious parenting is, in and of itself, a path to happiness and enlightenment. Doing what is already on our plates, but with mindfulness and a dedication to something higher, liberates as it invites balance, strength and courage…of body, mind and spirit. Setting intention in this way


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Pathways to Family Wellness - Issue #36  

Pathways Magazine provides vital resources for family wellness. Our articles give parents the necessary information to actively participate...

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