Blissfully Informed Hippie Chick

Encouraging people to think critically about everything.

A Transformation

I preface this piece of prose with this: I have hesitated in publishing these words out of doubt. I feel their truth in my soul, but I doubt it with my mind. I desire authenticity, though. So I share this, my soul, with you now…

A Transformation

The shedding of the false self
The Phoenix, rising from the ashes
How can one un-know what one has discovered? 
Continual change
Sometimes slow, sometimes sudden
Jerking forward
Launching me into the unknown
New territory
Hidden paths
Thoughts I never knew I possessed
It feels like death
Full of fear
But is it death? 
Or merely re-birth? 
The turning of the wheel of time
The changing of the seasons of life
I can’t be the same person I was before
I don’t even recognize that person when I look back
I pity her
But I don’t
She knew all she knew
She had only her experiences to draw on
I have more
More perspective
More knowledge
I’ve gained so much in so few years, it feels like a new lifetime
A new life
The death of the old me
And the birth of a new me
The beginning
Life renewed
I had wanted to kill myself
And I did
I am no longer her
There are remnants, memories
But they don’t feel like me
I feel transformed
Alive in a way I never was before
Like I’ve come out of a fog
Out of a deep slumber
Out of a cave
Into a new world
A new time
A new understanding
Is this the death I saw? 
The death I have felt for more than 2 years? 
The imminent doom? 
The feeling of dread? 
The thoughts that have consumed me, captivated me, suffocated me…
Can a soul live two lifetimes within one body?
Without physical death separating the two? 
A transformation of spirit within one body? 
A new existence bearing the same face? 
Or is it the same? 
I cannot tell
My old self seems a hollow shell
An empty vessel
A lost soul
Trying to make sense of this world
This reality
This time and place
I feel as though the hollowness of me has been filled
With meaning
I feel I have so much more to offer this place
These people
Other lost souls
Searching for the truth
Searching for answers
I don’t know all of the answers, but I know the most important one
WE are one
We are entangled
Interwoven on a level that most cannot see
But it exists all the same
I see it
All around me
The patterns
The web of interconnectedness
The force that binds us all together
We are so lost, we humans
But there is a way back
To harmony
To peace
To coexistence
People say I’m too optimistic, but I can’t help what I see
It’s so tangibly real to me
I can almost reach out and touch it
I am here to help them see
To help them believe once more
That there is good in us all
That peace is within our grasp
That harmony is but a generation away
It’s not just a dream
We must just believe
Have faith

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A Journey of a Million Tiny Steps

My nearly 3 year old, Natalie came to me a little bit ago and said “Na-Na hair cut” while holding her hair. (“Na-Na” is her name for herself.) After a few questions, I confirmed that she wants her hair cut to her shoulders. I told her that she should think about it some more and talk to daddy about it later. I explained we that once it’s cut, we can’t put it back on, but that it will grow back slowly. I told her that after she thought about it more, if she still wants it cut, I’ll do it. I feel that it’s important to respect her wishes, especially because this is about the age when our older two girls cut their own hair without my knowledge.

I love that my toddler came to me with her desire instead of trying to do it secretly. It makes me feel really good about the trust she has in me, the depth of our connection.

Autonomy over one’s hair is such a non-issue compared to important things like physical safety. I was so upset when my older girls cut their hair. And now, I can’t tell you how often I feel like going back in time and shaking myself by the shoulders and telling myself to wake up and stop stressing over such petty things!

Sometimes, looking back at my old Facebook posts is really painful. Seeing my statuses about spanking the older girls for the stupidest things. Being so exasperated at what I now know is normal child behavior. It makes me cringe.

It breaks my heart when I see other parents locked in power struggles and screaming matches with their kids. For more reasons than one. Now, I understand how badly those parents are hurting. How frustrated and confused they are. How badly they want their kids to grow up to be responsible, kind adults, but how clueless they are as to how to encourage those traits. And how most parents are actually doing better with their kids than was done to them, so I see how much pain they’re carrying around that they may not even realize they have.

But how do you kindly and gently tell people to look in the mirror and change themselves when they ask in desperation how to get their kids to “obey”? How do you even begin to explain to them that obedience isn’t the goal of parenting? How do you get them to admit that their parents did the best they could with what they knew, but obviously what they knew wasn’t good enough?

I’m at a loss of how to simplify the last 5 years of my life, my journey from authoritarianism to peacefulness. Because that’s what it’s been. A journey of a million tiny steps that have led me to where I am now.

I think the only way to show others is to invite them into my world, into my home, and show them what parent-child relationships can be like. How family time can be peaceful. How chores don’t have to be a struggle. And then wait for them to ask, “How do you do that?” And then explain that I can only truly control me, I can only change me. And once I began to change myself, my relationships were changed in the process.

I guess the problem is that everyone is unique, so what needs to change, and in what order, will be different for everyone. I suppose the bottom line is letting go of controlling others and beginning to control myself. I guess if I had to simplify it, that’s what I’d say.

I’m not perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination. But I’m trying. I’m growing. I’m learning. I can look back over the last 5 years and see the incredible strides I’ve made. My journey is mine alone, it won’t look exactly like anyone else’s. But maybe my mistakes and realizations can help others in their own journeys. At the very least, maybe my admissions can help others not feel so alone in their transformation.



We Need Your Help



I am a pretty self-sufficient person. I began working to earn money when I was 11, mowing my neighbor’s front yard for $3 per week. I did other odd jobs for family and friends, too. House-sitting, dog walking, babysitting, stuffing envelopes at my grandma’s office. I even cleaned a dance studio in exchange for lessons at just 12 years old! I continued to work wherever and whenever I could until I got married, just before my 20th birthday. I got pregnant very shortly thereafter and began my dream job of being a stay at home mom. My husband has always been supportive of my decision to stay home with the kids. Now that the older two are home schooled, I have even more reason to stay home. But this means my husband is the sole breadwinner in our family. He works very hard to support us. We sacrifice a lot of “extras” in order to make this dream a reality. We don’t eat out, we don’t have cable or satellite, we don’t go on vacations, we buy everything we can from thrift stores or yard sales, I pack lunch for my husband to take to work.

While I have nothing at all against welfare (we’ve received various benefits more than once!), we prefer to take care of ourselves when possible. We take great pride in pinching pennies to afford good food and fun, inexpensive day trips for our kids (like hiking, picnicking, and other local activities).

But hard times come to us all. Which leads me to the part where we need your help. My husband lost his job a few weeks ago. He has since found a new job, but it is 4 hours away. He is living out of our suburban while he starts work, while I pack up the house with the kids. Our plan is to tent camp until we have saved up enough cash to rent a new house. We have just enough saved up now to get us a little storage unit for our few household items we can’t take, and gas to drive our two vehicles up north where my husband is now working. We don’t mind the camping part, at all! We think it’ll be a great adventure. But the reality is that it could take us a few months to save up enough to pay first and last month’s rent, deposits, utilities, etc. Not to mention paying our cell phone and car insurance bills, along with food and supplies. We are keeping our spirits up, because we really just want to be together. And this will be the easiest way for us to save money anyway. But getting a little boost of help would be most welcome. So I have started an online fundraiser to raise some money for our expenses. If you are able to give, we will humbly accept any amount you can afford. If not, we would still welcome your warm thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes. Thanks for taking the time to read this! Now here’s the link to our fundraiser:


You Deserve to Live


I’m tired.

Tired of this charade.

Tired of attempting to squeeze myself into the box that has been constructed by humans over the past couple thousand years.

Tired of this game known as “civilization”.

Tired of living the lie fabricated by these same humans.

The lie that says there is this thing called “money” which we are supposed to want as much of as possible.

The lie that says one human can own a piece of the Earth.

The lie that says one human isn’t “allowed” to plant food on another human’s “property”, even if it’s not being used.

The lie that says one human can’t merely exist without owing another human some form of monetary compensation.

The lie that there are lines drawn around the Earth that divide one group of humans from another.

The lie that one human has the “right” to kill another human for crossing one of those imaginary lines.

I’m tired.

This is not how humans are supposed to live.

This is unnatural.

This is unhealthy.

We are killing ourselves with stress.


The stress of constantly worrying about this imaginary thing called “money” that rules our very existence.

We are indoctrinated to believe that we must have money in order to live, that one cannot happen without the other.

We must have money for houses and cars, food and clothes, electricity and water, furniture and electronics, entertainment and insurance.

And if we don’t believe these lies, we are led to believe that we have “failed”.

We are a “waste of life”.

I disagree.

The lies…the money, the possessions, the civilization… they are the waste of life.

I’m tired of wasting my life.

I want freedom.

True freedom.

Not the packaged, branded, government-approved, flag-waving, war-mongering, false freedom that has been sold to us by that same small group of humans who drew imaginary lines over the face of the planet we all live on.


I want to be truly free.

Free to walk wherever my feet take me.

Free to use whichever plants my hands can grasp, for the benefit of my body.

Free to lay my head wherever it happens to be when I am tired.

Free to choose not to spend my days perpetuating the lies that these humans around me so blindly accept as truth.

But are they so blind?

Can they really not see?

Do they really not feel what I feel?

Are they really not aware that this web of lies exists?

No, they know.

They are aware.

They can feel it, too.

They are merely hiding their eyes under a blanket of security.

They are afraid.

Afraid to pull the blanket away and see the world for what it truly is.

They have been told that the world is a terrifying place.

Full of disaster and death.

Perhaps that is the lie that got us into this mess to begin with.

Perhaps when a handful of humans decided that their nomadic hunter-gatherer lives should transform into stationary agriculture and land possession, that lie was actually true.

Perhaps they had good reason to be afraid of disaster and death.

I don’t doubt they had good intentions.

But the threat they might have faced has long since passed.

We no longer need to live in fear of what might happen.

We have the technology and knowledge to live in pretty much any way we desire.

We are capable of attaining true freedom.

The catch is that your freedom cannot hinge upon the enslavement of another.

We all are a part of this Earth.

We are all born, live, and die here.

To deny anyone the right to true freedom is to deny them the right to exist.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers.

I have many ideas, but none of them is ultimately “right” or “wrong”.

What I do know is that whichever solutions we collectively enact, they must be accessible to all.

No human has the right to deny another human true freedom.

This Earth, and everything in it, cannot belong to one or two or ten or a million humans.

This Earth belongs to us all.

All we have to do is let go of the fear that drives us.

Those humans who want us to perpetuate their lies, they rely on our fear to control us.

It is our own fear that imprisons us.

Without that fear, nothing can claim power over us.

Releasing your fear is the first step to achieving true freedom.

You deserve to live a life free from fear.

You deserve to live.

Sometimes I feel the fear of the uncertainty stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear take the wheel and steer

It’s driven me before, and it seems to have a vague
Haunting mass appeal
Lately I’m beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there, I’ll be there

So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive, oh oh
It’s driven me before, and it seems to be the way
That everyone else gets around
Lately, I’m beginning to find that when I drive myself, my light is found

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there, I’ll be there

Would you choose water over wine… hold the wheel and drive?

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there, I’ll be there

Incubus, “Drive”

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Depression: A symptom of an unhealthy society.

Depression is a global epidemic. It is the main driver behind suicide, which now claims more than a million lives per year worldwide. One in four Americans will suffer from clinical depression within their lifetimes, and the rate is increasing with every generation….

But depression is not a natural disease. It is not an inevitable part of being human. [Stephen] Ildari argues, like many diseases, depression is a disease of civilization. It’s a disease caused by a high-stress, industrialized, modern lifestyle that is incompatible with our genetic evolution.

Depression is the result of a prolonged stress-response, Ildari said. The brain’s “runaway stress response” – as he calls it – is similar to the fight or flight response, which evolved to help our ancestors when they faced predators or other physical dangers. The runaway stress response required intense physical activity for a few seconds, a few minutes, or – in extreme cases – a few hours.

“The problem is for many people throughout the Western world, the stress response goes on for weeks, months and even years at a time, and when it does that, it’s incredibly toxic,” Ildari said.

Living under continually stressful conditions – as many modern humans do – is disruptive to neuro-chemicals like dopamine and seratonin, which can lead to sleep disturbance, brain damage, immune dysregulation and inflammation, Ildari says….

In a study of 2000 Kaluli aborigines from Papua New Guinea, only one marginal case of clinical depression was found. Why? Because the Kaluli lifestyle is very similar to our hunter-gatherer ancestors’ lifestyle that lasted for nearly 2 million years before agriculture, Ildari said.

“99.9 percent of the human experience was lived in a hunter-gatherer context,” he added. “Most of the selection pressures that have sculpted and shaped our genomes are really well adapted for that environment and that lifestyle.”…

“There’s a profound mismatch between the genes we carry, the bodies and brains that they are building, and the world that we find ourselves in,” he said. “We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, socially isolated, fast-food-laden, sleep-deprived frenzied pace of modern life.”…

Ildari says the results of exercise on depression are so powerful that if they could be reduced into a pill, it would be the most expensive pill on earth. The problem is 60 percent of American adults get no regular physical activity. Ildari says it’s not their fault. Between long days at work and household and family responsibilities to attend to, who has the time or energy to hit the gym?

The dirty little secret about exercise, Ildari says, is “it is not natural.” We are designed to be physically active “in the service of adapted goals,” not to exercise on a hamster wheel.

Hunter gatherers get four or more hours of vigorous physical activity every day, but if you ask them they will tell you they don’t exercise, Ildari says. “They don’t work out. Working out would be crazy to them. They live.”…

Walking for 30 minutes, three times a week, has better effects on depression than Zoloft, he said….

Another huge factor in modern depression is the lack of social connection in our modern nuclear-family bubbles. “Face-time with our loved ones puts the breaks on our stress response,” Ildari says.

The problem is we’ve replaced face-time with screen-time. “Our hunter gatherer ancestors spent all day every day in the company of their loved ones.”…

What Ildari didn’t mention in his Ted Talk is how difficult his cure is for most modern humans to attain. Sure, we’d all like more fresh air, sunlight, exercise, a better diet, better sleep, less monotonous work, and more interaction with loved ones, but who has time for all that?

I’m stuck here staring at my screen typing about it in an effort to make a living for myself, and many of you don’t even have time to read this article because you have 50+ hours-a-week jobs of your own. Meanwhile, immediate-return hunter-gatherers work an average of 17 hours a week. In this world, we certainly can’t just quit our jobs to be less stressed, when the financial stress would create more stress.

In my opinion, the answer lies in baby steps. Baby steps away from dependence on civilization, and toward nature, earth skills, and self-sustaining communal living….


I couldn’t agree more with all of this. Depression, like addiction, is merely a symptom of our disconnected, unnatural society.

The amazing technologies we’ve integrated into our society at breakneck speed have thrust us into living in a way that is incompatible with the structure of our brains. And the faster we integrate new technology, the more we can see the symptoms of this incompatibility manifest themselves all around us.

There is a good reason that concepts such as off-grid living, tiny houses, working from home, unschooling, living and traveling in an RV, etc. are so popular. We humans instinctively know that this society we’ve constructed is toxic to us. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. We crave human connection, time in nature, sleeping in on weekends, early retirement, simplicity, “the good old days”.

For awhile, we were so enamored with the novelty of our inventions that we were blinded to the greater harm being done by them. But we are waking up. We have this nagging feeling that something is just “not right”. Most of us can’t quite put our finger on it, but it’s there, nagging at you, calling to you, willing you to listen.


- Morpheus, The Matrix

So what can we do? Like the article says, baby steps. We can’t just unplug everyone from our current social construct one day, there would be chaos. It must be done gradually. Community centers, community gardens, kindness toward our neighbors, exchanging goods and services with one another, caring for the sick, visiting the elderly, baking cookies for your mail carrier, stopping and chatting with someone on the street. We don’t have to accept this ill-fated society. We have the power the be the change we wish to see in this world (- Gandhi).

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“Mind your manners!”

As a peaceful parent, is it OK to expect my kids to say “please” or “thank you” or anything else, for that matter? I believe that the answer is no.

I don’t force my kids to say anything to anyone. I would rather teach them values, rather than “rules”… societal or otherwise. Teaching kids rules says “this is what we do, period”, peacefully teaching kids values says “this is why I do this, this is how other people do it, this is the line of thinking behind it, etc”. Rules are arbitrary, and usually followed by a condition: “you must say thank you or else…”. Values are meaningful, but should be presented as an option: “I like to say thank you when I receive something because…”. I believe that forcing a child (or anyone) to do something that you value is wrong, because force is wrong. I don’t expect my kids to automatically accept all my values, because they are individuals. Their reality is not mine. I’m here to pass on the knowledge, wisdom, and experience I’ve accumulated in my time here on Earth. What they do with that information is up to them.

When we place our expectations on our kids, there is a chance those expectations won’t be met. So what happens when our kids fail to live up to our expectations? In this case, what happens if your kids refuse to say the words you expect them to say? Even if you don’t overtly punish your children for this failure to meet your expectations, you will still be disappointed. If you are using your disappointment as a coercive tool to convince your children to meet your expectations, you are using force; albeit in a more subtle way, but it is force nonetheless. Not only is force the opposite of peacefulness, but it typically doesn’t produce the desired results in the long-term, because force is extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation fails because once the external source is removed, if there has been no intrinsic motivation instilled, there will be no reason to continue the behavior that has been forced upon the child. 
This is a rather lengthy article that talks about character education in schools, but it is relevant to this topic, because parents often attempt to modify their children’s behavior in much the same way.

Here is an excerpt:

The techniques of character education may succeed in temporarily buying a particular behavior. But they are unlikely to leave children with a commitment to that behavior, a reason to continue acting that way in the future. You can turn out automatons who utter the desired words or maybe even “emit” (to use the curious verb favored by behaviorists) the desired actions. But the words and actions are unlikely to continue — much less transfer to new situations — because the child has not been invited to integrate them into his or her value structure. As Dewey observed, “The required beliefs cannot be hammered in; the needed attitudes cannot be plastered on.”[44] Yet watch a character education lesson in any part of the country and you will almost surely be observing a strenuous exercise in hammering and plastering.

For traditional moralists, the constructivist approach is a waste of time. If values and traditions and the stories that embody them already exist, then surely “we don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” remarks Bennett.[45] Likewise an exasperated Wynne: “Must each generation try to completely reinvent society?”[46] The answer is no – and yes. It is not as though everything that now exists must be discarded and entirely new values fashioned from scratch. But the process of learning does indeed require that meaning, ethical or otherwise, be actively invented and reinvented, from the inside out. It requires that children be given the opportunity to make sense of such concepts as fairness or courage, regardless of how long the concepts themselves have been around. Children must be invited to reflect on complex issues, to recast them in light of their own experiences and questions, to figure out for themselves — and with one another — what kind of person one ought to be, which traditions are worth keeping, and how to proceed when two basic values seem to be in conflict.[47]

In this sense, reinvention is necessary if we want to help children become moral people, as opposed to people who merely do what they are told — or reflexively rebel against what they are told. In fact, as Rheta DeVries and Betty Zan add (in a recent book that offers a useful antidote to traditional character education), “If we want children to resist [peer pressure] and not be victims of others’ ideas, we have to educate children to think for themselves about all ideas, including those of adults.”[48]…

To say that students must construct meaning around moral concepts is not to deny that adults have a crucial role to play. The romantic view that children can basically educate themselves so long as grownups don’t interfere is not taken seriously by any constructivists I know of – certainly not by Dewey, Piaget, Kohlberg, or their followers. Rather, like Values Clarification, this view seems to exist principally as a straw man in the arguments of conservatives. Let there be no question, then: educators, parents, and other adults are desperately needed to offer guidance, to act as models (we hope), to pose challenges that promote moral growth, and to help children understand the effects of their actions on other people, thereby tapping and nurturing a concern for others that is present in children from a very young age.[53]

Forcing a child to say certain words, through whatever coercion we use (even our “disappointment”), might result in the child parroting the desired words, but those words are unlikely to have genuine empathy behind them. Here is an example:

If we want our child to express an honest apology, we must be patient and not push. ‘Hi’, ‘goodbye’, ‘share!’ and ‘thank you’ are all loaded words for toddlers when parents demand them, but ‘I’m sorry’ takes the cake when it comes to parental expectations. Since our goal is for our child to make amends for his misdeeds because he genuinely regrets them, we must trust him to find the words in time.

We are powerful examples for our children of all that is human. We teach “I’m sorry” best by modeling it. Children need to hear us apologize to others, and also to them. They need to know that human beings are not perfect. When we say to our child, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake,” we give the child permission to make mistakes too.


Here is a further explanation of how forcing a child to apologize actually creates dishonesty and impedes the development of empathy:

Why does empathy matter when it comes to saying “sorry”? Because it implies that the child feels bad for what they have done, and in order to feel bad they have to understand how they have made another feel. For instance, if a toddler hits or bites another toddler at a playgroup, saying “sorry” would imply that they understood that the other child is in pain. Secondly it implies that they regret hurting the other child and wish to make them feel better. If they have poor empathy skills (as is normal for this age) they will not have such a train of thought. In fact, if they bit or hit another child in order to get hold of a toy that they wanted they may in fact believe that the injured child feels happy, as they themselves are happy now that they have the toy. Forcing the child to apologise in this instance doesn’t make the child sorry, in fact all it does is force them to lie.

You may ask “so what? They have to learn”, but do you really want your child to learn to lie? How do you feel about teaching your child to lie because they know if they say “sorry” (when they are not) that they get out of trouble? In the toddler and preschooler years you may not see the implications of this, but visit any school playground and you will hear an echo of “sorry” around the playground. The chances are most of these are empty and hollow. The children aren’t genuinely sorry, they have learnt that saying it gets them out of trouble. Most apologies in this instance sound incredibly insincere, that’s because they are. A child fights with another in the school playground. The midday assistant steps in and tells the attacker to “say sorry”, the child parrot fashions “sorry” and they are let off. The chances of the child actually being sorry are quite low, they have learnt that lying gets them out of trouble. Would you prefer your child to act in the same manner (to lie to get out of trouble) or actually say “sorry” when they really meant it?

So, if you don’t make your child say “sorry”, does that mean that you are totally permissive and let the little darling ‘get away with everything’? Surely that will raise an even less empathic child? Absolutely! The alternative isn’t to just ignore everything, but to approach it from a position that raises empathy without lying. For instance if you are at a playgroup and your child shoves another and makes them cry, the first thing you would do as a parent is to apologise to the child and the child’s parent, because the chances are you are genuinely sorry. This is a great role model to your own child. Next, it’s time to speak to your own child in a quiet area where you explain, simply, that the other child was crying because it hurt when they were shoved. This is a great way to help develop your child’s empathy skills. You can reiterate that they “shouldn’t shove but use their voice”  if they are upset next time. The chances are they will still shove the next time though, because that’s what two and three year olds do, but if you keep repeating this process each time you have a much greater chance of raising a truly empathic child, who sincerely means it when they say “sorry” when they are older. Isn’t that what all parents would really prefer?


This all relates to forcing manners in a very similar way:

If telling a child to say “thank you” (and other manner words and actions) does not teach her/him to authentically feel and express gratitude – what does it teach?

A few possible things:

1) The child learns that telling others what to say or do is “good manners”. The content of the “talk” is practically lost, as the child is mostly aware of the fact that someone is telling her what to do.

2) A less obvious message is the one: “I cannot trust myself to know what to say or do; I should rely on adults (authority) and obey instruction” (dependency, being a follower).

3) Linked to the previous one is “I cannot know on my own what to say or do, therefore I am not good enough” (low self-esteem and feeling inadequate and incapable).

4) A similar feeling of inadequacy can spring out of self-doubt: “Why don’t I feel like saying ‘thank you’? Something must be wrong with me”.

5) A child learns to be phony and even simply to lie: “I don’t really feel like saying anything, (sharing, helping…), I guess I am supposed to lie, pretend, or put on a show that does not reflect my real inner experience”.

6) The child learns to hate sharing or saying “please” and “thank you”, as his formative memory of doing so is that of resentment, being controlled, and being unreal. In doing something while not wanting to do it, he is learning to hate the expression of being grateful (sharing etc.) and the natural authentic development of his manners can be delayed….

As a mother I have discovered that my child’s manners are not about me impressing anyone. My child deserves my full respect to be at the stage of awareness, confidence, and of acquisition of manners that he is. It is not easy to feel comfortable when our child doesn’t fit society’s expectations – but knowing that these very expectations don’t fit the child, helps me remember whose well-being I stand for. Maybe we are still dependent on the approval of others as we were in our childhood, when we were told to say “thank you” and did so just to please our parents. We need to build our own self-esteem, so we are less dependent on approval of our children’s ways of being for enhancing our feelings of self-worth.

Making a good impression on friends, relatives, or strangers, becomes clearly unimportant next to the welfare of my child. Yet, I can still impress these friends and relatives. What I will impress them with, is not my compliance to their standards of behavior with children. Instead I will demonstrate to them my respect to my child, and my strength in following my own heart and my child’s needs.

How then will they learn manners?

How then will a child learn social manners? Can we trust the child to develop and mature in her own time, the way we trusted her to learn to walk and to talk? Why are we in a rush to have children behave like adults before they are adults?

When lovingly and respectfully treated, children will learn manners on their own simply because they want to live happily in this society. We can ensure this development by the following three approaches:

1) To “teach” a child to be grateful, express your gratitude for her contribution to your life: “It is such a joy to spend the afternoon with you”. It is how you treat your child that teaches her how to be. Telling a child what to say is not respectful. It is not the kind of manners you want her to learn. Thanking her for her help and being kind and generous toward her are really at the heart of your teaching tools.

2) We can provide examples in our interactions with others by expressing gratitude, sharing generously, and treating others kindly. Our children will assimilate what they see, hear and experience around them.

3) For your child to learn manners with pleasure, and enjoy behaving in pleasing ways, she needs to see you enjoying yourself through these expressions. She needs to see you being real, authentic, and fully present when you express gratitude and treat people kindly.

4) We can provide ample freedom and opportunity to express painful feelings. Children, like adults, can best experience kind and giving feelings when they are not preoccupied with upsetting experiences. When a child tells me “I hate my sister”, I validate his feelings and accept his emotional outburst – only then he can be free to love his sister. If hurtful and angry feelings are numbed, the loving and kind ones fall asleep with them. It’s a package deal.


I think that this whole discussion could be reduced to one simple question: “Is it OK to force a fellow adult to say or do things that I think are desirable?” I believe the answer to that question should always be “no”. Force is not peace. Force undermines freedom to individuality. (That’s not to say that you shouldn’t protect yourself from harm, but I think that’s another discussion entirely.) And I believe that children are deserving of the same rights as adults. Human rights shouldn’t be conditional. They shouldn’t be based upon gender, beliefs, color of skin, age, or any other factor. Human rights belong to all humans.



Whom do you trust?

The debate on whether or not vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary is really a debate about trust. Their safety is touted by governments, scientists, doctors, and, most of all, the companies that manufacture them. On the other hand, more and more doctors and scientists are speaking out against their safety, efficacy, and necessity. So whom do you trust? While those who speak out against vaccines have little or nothing to gain from that stance, those on the other side have much to profit from. Here are some important questions that I feel should be answered by individuals before deciding whether or not to inject themselves and/or their children with these chemical cocktails:

1) Do you trust a company like Merck, when lawyers prove in court that they sold a painkiller for years, knowing full well that their own researchers had concerns regarding it’s safety?

Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market in September 2004, after a clinical trial proved that it increased the risks of heart attacks and strokes. But internal company documents showed that Merck’s scientists were concerned about the risks of Vioxx several years earlier. And a large clinical trial that ended in 2000 also showed that Vioxx was much riskier than naproxen, an older painkiller sold under the name Aleve.


2) Do you trust this company, knowing that they’ve spent $1.2 billion defending the drug they knew had potentially lethal side effects?

3) Do you trust this company, knowing that they spent $5.17 billion last year to advertise the safety and efficacy of their products?

Direct to consumer ad expenditure for US prescription pharmaceuticals came close to record levels in 2015, according to estimates from Nielsen, reported by industry blog DTC Perspectives. Total spend reached $5.17bn last year, capping three years of gains since 2012’s low of $3.4bn.


4) Do you trust this company, knowing that they manufacture (and advertise and safety and efficacy of) this list of vaccines?:

– COMVAX® [Haemophilus b Conjugate (Meningococcal Protein Conjugate) and Hepatitis B (Recombinant) Vaccine]

– GARDASIL®9 (Human Papillomavirus 9-valent Vaccine, Recombinant)

– GARDASIL® [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16, and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant]

– M-M-R®II (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine Live)

– PedvaxHIB® [Haemophilus b Conjugate Vaccine (Meningococcal Protein Conjugate)]

– PNEUMOVAX®23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent)

– ProQuad® (Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella Virus
Vaccine Live)

– RECOMBIVAX HB® [Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant)]

– RotaTeq® (Rotavirus Vaccine, Live, Oral, Pentavalent)VAQTA® (Hepatitis A Vaccine, Inactivated)

– VARIVAX® (Varicella Virus Vaccine Live)

– ZOSTAVAX® (Zoster Vaccine Live)


5) Do you trust the company that manufacturers and promotes a vaccine that causes such widespread and serious side effects that it has been removed from other countries’ vaccination recommendations due to concerns of it’s safety?

Around 2,000 reported side effects after using Gardasil cervical cancer vaccine have determined Japanese government officials to withdraw Gardasil from the market in 2013, despite the vaccine being highly promoted in the United States and now approved by the European Union.

“Japanese health officials have recorded nearly 2,000 adverse reactions – hundreds of them serious,” reported Judicial Watch, the Washington-based corruption watchdog that has been monitoring the effects – and health costs – of the drug’s use in the United States for years.

“The alarming reports have led Japan’s government to take action, suspending recommendation for the controversial vaccine which is billed as a miracle shot that can prevent certain strains of cervical cancer caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV).”

“The U.S. government has taken the opposite approach amid equally alarming cases of serious side effects. Not only does the Obama administration continue recommending the vaccine (Gardasil), it spends large sums of taxpayer dollars promoting it and works hard to keep details involving its dangers secret.”

The side effects of using Gardasil include seizures, brain damage, blindness, paralysis, speech problems, pancreatitis and short-term memory loss, while other patients have died after taking the vaccine.


6) Do you trust this same company that released a “hit list” of doctors who criticized the drug (Vioxx) which they knew had serious side effects, in order to discredit them?

Merck made a “hit list” of doctors who criticized Vioxx, according to testimony in a Vioxx class action case in Australia. The list, emailed between Merck employees, contained doctors’ names with the labels “neutralise,” “neutralised” or “discredit” next to them.

According to The Australian, Merck emails from 1999 showed company execs complaining about doctors who disliked using Vioxx. One email said:
“We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live …”

The plaintiffs’ lawyer gave this assessment:
“It gives you the dark side of the use of key opinion leaders and thought leaders … if (they) say things you don’t like to hear, you have to neutralise them … It does suggest a certain culture within the organisation about how to deal with your opponents and those who disagree with you.”


7) Do you really think this company would do any different for doctors or scientists who dare to speak out against the safety, efficacy, or necessity of the long list of vaccinations they profit from?

8) Finally, do you trust the government officials who are responsible for the list of mandated vaccinations, who also financially profit from the very companies who manufacture those vaccines?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group of individuals hand-picked by members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends which vaccines are administered to American children. Working mainly in secret, ACIP members frequently have financial links to vaccine manufacturers. Dependent on federal CDC funding, administrators of state vaccination programs follow CDC directives by influencing state legislators to mandate new vaccines. Federal vaccine funds can be denied to states that do not “vigorously enforce” mandatory vaccination laws.
Conversely, the CDC offers financial bounties to state departments of health for each “fully vaccinated” child. In a recent year, the Ohio Department of Health received $1 million in such CDC bonus payments.
At CDC national immunization conferences, Merck and other vaccine manufacturers wine and dine thousands of attendees who make their living promoting and administering vaccines.

Are physicians beholden?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a major supporter of mandatory chicken pox and other vaccine mandates across the country, shares incestuous financial ties with Merck. When constructing its new headquarters in suburban Chicago, the AAP solicited funds from Merck, and received $100,000 for its building campaign.
Vaccines represent an economic boon for pediatricians. Profitable well-baby visits are timed to coincide with vaccination schedules established by the AAP and the CDC.


I think that these are valid questions that deserve consideration, before we allow our government to take away our right to choose whom to trust.


Who am I?

I am…

I am a mother…but what was I before the conception of my first child?

I am a wife…but who was I before I said “I do”?

I am a rebel…but what am I rebelling against?

I am wise…enough to know that I am ever-learning.

I am strong…enough to admit when I am weak.

I am an artist…a musician, a crafter, a creator.

I am wild abandon…a dancer, a poet, a “Hippie”.

I am a sensual being…I howl at the moon with delight.

I am an adventurer…I am not afraid of new experiences.

I am not my inhibitions…

I am not my fears…

I am not the programming that my parents and society have attempted to squash my spirit with…

I am uniquely me…I am the universe incarnate.

I am love…

I am light…

I am truth…

I am ME.


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I’m sorry…

When life gets messy…

When my body hurts…

When my surroundings aren’t as I want them to be…

When the knowledge of what I need to do to bring peace back into my surroundings feels like an insurmountable task…

When my expectations of help aren’t met…

When I feel like if everyone would just do what I tell them needs to be done, the goal wouldn’t seem so out of reach…

When I feel like simply hiding in bed and sleeping the day away, but there are people who rely on me…

When I feel like nothing is going my way and everything is spiraling out of control…

…that’s when I lose it. Whatever “it” is. I yell, I scream, I rage at whoever is in closest proximity. I channel all my frustrations, my pain, my anger at people who aren’t really the source of those feelings. Their actions or inaction merely spark the cascade of emotion that has built up inside me.

The worst part is, I can’t take it back. I can’t undo what has happened. The best I can do is apologize, let them know it isn’t their fault, explain my feelings, and then try again next time to release the building pressure in a healthy way instead of hurting the innocent bystanders that I love the most…my children.


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Imagine Peace


Morality doesn’t need to be legislated. Humans don’t need other humans to tell them to do good things. Contrary to popular belief (which is based largely upon religious texts), humans are inherently good. Children aren’t evil little sinners who need to be tamed through authoritarian means. And in fact, authoritarianism is what leads to self-centered children and adults!

This is a wonderful thing for those with all the power in this world…get people to believe in a religion that teaches the inherent evil of humans, which leads to authoritarian parenting, which leads to self-centered adults, which keeps the focus on what’s good for *me* right now and never what’s good for anyone else, and which ultimately leads to adherence to a government that promises to act on *your* best interests but really just keeps you under their control.

But the people are waking up. Many are realizing, through science, experience, and history, that authoritarian parenting works the opposite of how we’re told it will. People are realizing that obedience shouldn’t be a goal of parenting. And once they realize this, I believe it’s only a matter of time before they realize that all governments are merely authoritarian parents on steroids. Ruling others simply isn’t healthy for humanity and doesn’t work anyway.

But just as everything within an anarchist society must be done voluntarily, anarchism itself must be voluntary. It must be peaceful. Because only peace can beget peace. The revolution cannot be violent, the revolution must be one of ideas and of actions that represent the peaceful society we wish to have. Humans have the ability to create what they imagine. So to achieve peace, we must imagine peace…

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

– John Lennon, “Imagine”

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