We put so much effort into toxin free living, why would we then inject it into our faces? Let’s embrace these badges of experience and wisdom instead of trying to diminish, mask or erase them.
The topic of Botox, facelifts and aging has come up a lot recently in my circle of women. I’m almost 49, and my circle of friends includes thirty, forty and fifty something women. Like most anyone, I had encountered or knew women who had had cosmetic surgery or botox injections done, but I’ve only recently become aware of how widespread a practice it has become. And I’m quite shocked.
I’ve apparently been completely out of the loop, but I had been under the impression that the plastic surgery trend had peaked in the US in the 80s/90s and was on the decline. And while I was aware of the practice of injecting something into one’s face to reduce lines and wrinkles, I had the impression it was primarily employed by Hollywood actresses and occasional Ladies who Lunch.
Botox has become an increasingly common procedure even offered at beauty salons and spas, and women of all walks and ages seem to be jumping on the bandwagon. I recently learned that women I know in their thirties have been getting routine Botox treatments. And I hear it’s now recommended that women even in their twenties get started on this procedure, ostensibly to prevent wrinkles from even developing in the first place in the normal course of a lifetime of smiling or furrowing one’s brow.
I had no idea what Botox actually was. I wasn’t even aware there was any difference between that and collagen injections. There is. Botox is what actually causes BOTULISM! It’s the toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria which causes the flaccid paralysis which leads to the respiratory failure associated with botulism food poisoning fatalities. People now pay to have this poison injected into their faces to paralyze the facial muscles in order that they don’t move and cause wrinkles.
I can’t really even believe that I’m typing that as if it’s a normal thing. Isn’t this insane? Isn’t this another huge warning sign that our culture is heading in the wrong direction? And even more bizarre, many women who engage in this practice are the same women who advocate for organic, non-GMO food, and who strive to live as toxin-free lives as possible––for themselves and for their families.
How can we resolve this disconnect?
I understand I haven’t walked in everyone’s shoes. I also understand I’ve been blessed with an appearance I’m content with. I’m a pretty healthy, active, and fairly fit 48 year old woman. My parents raised me with an emphasis on physical exercise and health, and I’m sure that’s served me well as I’ve gotten older. And I live in Northern California, where it’s conducive to be outdoors a lot, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the healthy sunshine. All good ingredients toward physical health.
However, I’m still trying to get my head around this idea of trying to look younger than we are. Especially for a married woman who has already had her children. Why would I want to look younger than 48? I am 48!
I know this isn’t the norm, but in my 20s and 30s, I looked forward to reaching my 40s. My younger self felt that by 40, I would have reached an age of legitimacy. An age by which I had gained enough life experience that I would have enough of a clue to be able to own my space here on Earth. That I would legitimately have a say about how things are done. That I would finally touch what it must feel like to be the respected elder in the society.
“Female Empowerment” is a popular slogan these days. A forty something year old woman paying someone to inject paralyzing poison into her facial muscles in an attempt to look younger than her maturely wizened self seems anything but empowered. It suggests she does not want to be who or where she is in life. It suggests she regrets her life’s experience. It suggests she wishes she were younger.
I enjoyed my youth, and I enjoyed my twenties and thirties. But I think most women would agree that there is a unique pleasure in reaching one’s forties. I think we kind of catch up to ourselves as we shed the maiden self in need of approval, protection, acceptance. Women in their forties stop caring as much about what others think or want them to do or be, and they begin to inhabit themselves more fully. Women in their forties take their life’s experience and apply it to new endeavors, new careers, new companies, new directions. In my and many of my peers’ experience, the forties can be a lot of fun. We’ve taken enough turns around the sun to know what life’s about, and we start really enjoying and understanding this human female experience.
I don’t want to return to the naivety of my youth, when life was more overwhelming, and decisions more fraught with worry or anxiety. The future is now, and I embrace all that’s led me here. I regard my gray hair with reverence and respect. I consider it powerful. It represents my wisdom and experience. My smile lines and crow’s feet indicate a life fully experienced, felt and lived. My forehead lines indicate years of expression and contemplation. This is what I bring to the table. This is what demonstrates my authority. My age. My experience. My wisdom.
I am not the virgin maiden anymore. I am a mother and a wife, a homeowner and a business owner. I gave birth to two kids and breastfed them, and it shows. My tummy is not as taut or flat as it was before motherhood. My hips are wider. My breasts are saggier. My body has done the beautiful job it was blessed to do. Why would I want it to look as if it hadn’t been through that blessed experience and rite of womanhood passage?
This life is a process of growth and stages and development. I perceive the three distinct stages of a woman’s life––if she’s fortunate to live long enough––as the archetypal maiden, mother, crone. The fertile maiden brings a supple body and a fresh and hopeful naivety to the table. We need her. The mature mother brings a capable body of experience and honed purpose to the table. We need her. The crone brings the wisdom of the years of maidenhood, motherhood, grandparenthood and beyond to the table. We need her.
But if all we’ve got sitting around the table are maidens, mothers trying to be maidens, and crones trying to be maidens, how far can we go? How powerful can we be? How can we move forward into the future, when we’re desperately clinging to some illusion of the past? If we want to be treated with reverence and respect, we must behave like grown-ups. We should allow our physical selves to reflect the experience we bring to the world, and we should embrace the power in that. And stop injecting poison into our bodies in order to look like little girls.
In a world full of pretense and artifice, we’ve been taught to look outside ourselves for answers. Let’s penetrate this false belief by reaching for the essence beyond the image.
Anne: 00:01 And we’re recording. Hi,
Thea: 00:03 Hello there.
Anne: 00:06 So we’re going to try to
make this another quickie. And what, and I’ll, I’ll lead right in to where
we’re going, I think. I was telling you before we started recording that my
son, a couple of days ago, had asked for some advice. And the advice was at, at
our homeschool park day, we have a variety of ages and, it was a new member
park day too, so we had even more new people, new kids. There were a lot of
youngers. And when I say youngers, I mean even younger than school age. So four
year olds, five year olds. And he asked me, he said that he and one of his
other homeschool buddies––they’re both about 11––were playing one-on-one
basketball. And they were playing with my son’s ball and his friend’s ball was
to the side.
Anne: 01:10 And this little girl,
this four year old came over and she wanted to play with the ball and shoot
baskets, join in with them. And they tried to I think redirect her, which
didn’t work too well, and it sounds like in the end she grabbed the ball and
was shooting hoops, trying to shoot hoops right in the midst of them playing.
Right? So what to do, how to manage that. And I said, well, if your friend is
okay with her playing with his ball, the thing to do is to say “If you
bring your mom or dad, whomever’s there with you at the park over to supervise
you, you can then go play at the other basket with this ball. We’ll allow you
to do that. But we want someone watching you so you don’t get hurt.” And
it led to a discussion about boundaries and about the fact that what I find is
that we are often helping people, children reminding them that there are
boundaries. That we, we are helping children establish boundaries. And really,
ultimately we are helping parents be parents, I find a lot these days. Because
I explained to my son, the parent should have been there. The parent should
have been aware of where their four year old was if the four-year-old is not
capable of recognizing that there is something going on here that they need to
respect and not intrude upon. The parent needs to be there, and the parent
wasn’t there. Right?
Thea: 03:00 Right. And can I jump in
here? And then there’s that part where the 11 year old boys have that
opportunity to say, “Hey we see you want to play, but we’ve got a game
going on. So you can sit and watch for a little while, ’cause we don’t want to
knock you over ’cause we might be getting a little rough. You know. So there’s
that, that teaching moment that comes for those young children to teach a
younger and that’s how, that’s part of that village picture too. You know, if
the parent isn’t available or isn’t around, ’cause that’s what, that’s what
they would do if it was their younger sibling. Like “No, sorry you can’t
play. We’re already playing and we don’t want to have to totally alter our
experience right now.” And then there are those times where, I mean I, in
terms of those kind of social dynamics where you know, my boys ranging eight
years, you know, they would go down to the park and shoot hoops and then other
kids in the neighborhood would join in. And there is something that’s just so
beautiful about that ability to play safely with those varying degrees, which
we’ve talked about in various conversations about the youngest being the
oldest, sometimes. The oldest being the, you know, the different roles they get
Thea: 04:22 And then I can recall in
the early days of my eldest, when I had time to spend at the park at that time,
those experiences of meeting other children and parents and, and those social
things, that’s a learning sphere right there for new parents. And I remember
sensing that nobody really knows what the rules are. There aren’t any rules
here. And how do we find our way and shape and hold this for our children,
right? Because there’d be some people who would bring toys. There’d be some
people here. And so are we expecting them all to share? What works out here?
And then there is that step as a parent where one comes into, “these are
my rules and this is how we’re going to do it.” Right? And then that lets
the kids know where they are too, you know? And so other parents, as long as
people are civil and courteous with one another, everyone can know where
everyone is and can respect those spaces. But that doesn’t happen until someone
steps up and says, Hey, this really isn’t appropriate for you right now, four
year old. Dear sweet child, you can come sit over here and watch. You know, but
no one knows until someone says something.
Anne: 05:48 Right! And, and so and
what we’ve talked about, like you’re saying here and we talked about in the
past is that there is an extreme lack, I think of parents knowing to step up
and say that. And, and so what you and I have talked about throughout many of
our talks, we’ve talked about resilience, we’ve talked about autonomy. We have
talked about boundaries spacial dynamics, spacial relationships, respect
breeding, you know, begetting resilience, right? And it comes down to, what we
were talking about earlier this morning, is claiming your authority. This needs
to be worked on. People need to be empowered to reclaim or claim their
authority, their authority as grownups, their authority, as parents, their
authority, as people as empowered individuals.
Thea: 06:51 Individuals, yeah. I mean
claiming one’s authority as an individual. And we were just talking about that
a little bit in terms of the reclaiming of that authority of the individual
throughout our broader culture in society. We see that as a trend of lack of
real authority figures, you know, standing tall. I’m sorry, I kinda got a
little sidetracked, but also that’s what’s necessary for true relationship.
Right? Because that’s self responsibility. To really claim my authority in my
life, in my sphere. That comes from me being responsible for myself,
recognizing what I’m responsible for and who I’m responsible for.
Anne: 07:46 Yeah. And trusting one’s
compass, I think. And what we talked about a little bit is that, I mean, again,
I am 48 going on 49, you know, we’re both in our forties. How old are you? I
Thea: 08:04 I’ll be 43 this month.
Anne: 08:06 Right. So it has taken me
certainly to my forties, to feel very comfortable with my authority. And you
know, and I reflect on this. It’s like, I do think it’s a societal thing. I
think that it is certainly a product of our educational system. And many other
things. I think intentionally it is cultivating a culture of people who look
outside themselves to know what to do to look to experts and authorities that are
not them. Right? Whether it is, I mean, we have, we have experts in every
realm. All walks, people pay experts for everything. People won’t do things
because, until their doctor tells them to. People won’t make choices and
instinctively act in certain ways without their lawyer’s advice and, and on and
on and on. Right? So I think we all have to work through that to come out the
other side and recognize that WE are our best authority. But what I think has
really emerged from that culture is this lack of parental authority, too,
right? And lack of individual authority in relationships, in marriages. Also
people going to their shrinks. You know, spouses who have problems. They, you
know, they won’t talk about their problems without a counselor or therapist leading
them lead them through it. Right? This is not the way to go. Right? This is,
this is, this is false belief. That’s a foundation of false belief.
Thea: 09:55 Yes. Whew!
Anne: 09:56 So, you know, in brief,
we, you know, we’ve got just a few minutes, let’s discuss what steps we can
take to cultivate that for people, for ourselves, for our children. And, and
one last thing, just to give you a little something to think about is, I
honestly have learned a great deal about that from you. You’re my six years younger
sister, right? But I grew up being the people pleaser, the parent pleaser. I
was the oldest. I didn’t take my own risks that I felt worth taking until I was
much older than you did when you were taking your risks, I think. I did what I
was supposed to do, right? So it took me a lot longer. And then you had
children before I did. And so I got to look to you as a model, because I saw
what incredible kids you have. You’ve done an amazing job. If anyone knows her
kids, I mean they’re remarkable, extraordinary human beings. And with such a
sense of themselves, other people as they maneuver and navigate through the
world. So you’ve, you’ve really helped me in that way. So I kind of look to you
to impart some words of wisdom, I suppose.
Thea: 11:24 Well, that’s very
generous in that. I think that there are some things that we all have helped
each other, you know, see, for sure. And when we were talking about this a
little bit previous, I think it came out of a remark when I was reflecting on
what my work. What essentially I do for my work is really help to teach young
people what it means to respect themselves and others. That’s what we touch in
upon in relationship. So we can’t really have relationship until we learn where
one is and where the other is––until we learn how those two spaces can meet and
separate in a respectful way. And I mean that’s the work I’m continuing to do
in my own life for sure. But in terms of this sort of work and, and then that
sparked this reflection of something that happened in the playground because
these are social games that I bring to young people. And so in those social
spheres, that’s where we learn. We learn by messing up, and then we learn by
trying it again. We learn that what I said wasn’t clear. And so I have to say it
again in a more clear way. I don’t know if that’s bringing a pointed example,
but I do also feel like this is one other part to share with this. I remember
one of my parenting mentors, Misty––cause she had a daughter eight years older
than our children––and I remember her saying, “Don’t say ‘NO’ unless you
mean it, but say it when you mean it.” And I feel like I’ve seen that in
our culture––there’s a lot of resistance to using absolutes, “NOs”,
you know, “this is a boundary you cannot cross.” But then when people
do use it, they’re using it and not backing it up, without following through,
which makes “NO” mean nothing, you know.
Anne: 13:47 Because they actually
don’t know really what requires the “NO” or doesn’t. And that gets
back to, gosh, it makes me even think about the whole, that’s a whole other
discussion too, but in terms of the relationship between men and women and
“no means no.” It’s like no, it’s not just language. You know, you
have to truly know what feels right and what feels wrong. And when something
feels wrong, it’s, you know, act upon it. When something feels right, act upon
Thea: 14:26 Yeah. And it’s the
recognizing, yes, that the language is like the 10% of our communication. I
don’t know if there’s some study. But everything that’s behind it is what
people are responding to. And I think we’ve talked about that a little bit in
different things here––when we’re trying to create rules that are just material
or just arbitrary, they fail. They mean nothing. And so we now look at where we
are, and a lot of it is due to that, I think, you know.
Anne: 15:08 And I’m just sparking
right now. I’ve been sensing this and this is where I see it. It relates to
artifice and pretense. You have brought this up a couple of times recently
where, what did you say? It’s about the image as opposed to substance?
Thea: 15:28 Yeah, things get caught
up into the image rather than the essence. So much. I mean, I remember talking
about this years and years back when we talked about, you know, different
realms that I’ve lived in, you know, and where the substance, the essence seems
to be lost and people just grab onto the image. The artificial, the material
things that represent the image of the essence.
Anne: 15:55 The trappings. Yes. And
we’re going to actually wrap it up pretty soon, but basically, it makes me
think of just like, like this: I mean, you know, we’re not made up, makeup, all
that. Right? It’s like, I was telling my husband this, that like, as time has
gone on in my life, perhaps as I have lived and forged more of myself, I have a
harder and harder time indulging or engaging in anything like that. It feels so
unreal, somehow. Putting make-up on, even. Right?
Thea: 16:37 Pointless.
Anne: 16:37 Yeah. so there’s that.
Same with, I remember years and years and years ago, in my 20s, starting to
have this sense of people in my adult life––as I was encountering adults, I
would recognize that some people seemed, or a lot of people seemed like they
were pretending to be grownups. They would say things that sounded to me like
things they had heard that they think sounds grown up, but I could tell they
weren’t really grownups. Right? So it’s all wrapped up in that similar thing of
artifice, pretense, academic learning, abstract learning versus knowing this.
Right? So there’s, there’s so much of that that we have to explore in another
Thea: 17:26 We will, and I have to
say one more thing before we close it, because there’s something here. I’m
gonna try to be really brief, but there’s something in the image. Because I
think when you’re talking like that––of people that you would see that would be
acting like they were grownups, right? Imitation. And so that, that draws me to
the young child. They learn through imitation. We learn through imitation, but
it has to then translate. It has to evolve into the being. It has to evolve
into the beingness of the essence. But what we’re seeing in our culture so much
is that it, it circles and circles and circles around in the image. Into the
image imitation rather than it dropping into the essence and then the
evolution. There’s something there for us to go more with next time. But that
has something to do with the inability to step into true authority. Because if
you are functioning in this artifice, this image, and you’re only in the
imitation––which is a process! Part of that is necessary. Right? I mean, I
think of, when I’ve learned to teach, who do I sound like? My teacher. Until I
digest it and it’s become myself and then I’m me. So it’s a process.
Anne: 18:54 Right. We model, we model
and then learn, right? We model and try things out. Until we embrace or discard
what doesn’t work for us. Right? But we seem to be caught in this cycle of
imitation and pretense and fear.
Thea: 19:10 And the appearance.
Anne: 19:10 The appearance. Where the
appearance is so important, as opposed to the truth. Truth! And substance.
Thea: 19:19 Substance and truth.
Anne: 19:21 Which is messy too. So.
Thea: 19:22 Oh, and but, but so
clean. The substance and the truth is clean because everything else falls off
of it. But let’s stop there.
Anne: 19:35 Yeah. I get it. Yeah.
This one’s a teaser, it’s a teaser, so, all right. Well, we’ll go from that and
talk a little bit about this before we go to our next deeper one following on
this. Okay. Thank you.
Sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason impart the secret men seem to have trouble grasping these days: A fulfilling sex life can be maintained throughout all stages of marriage if husbands empower their wives to fully inhabit their sacred role as mothers––and have faith in their wives’ mother wisdom above their own fears. Sex is like love––you have to give in order to get.
Anne: 00:01 Hey, Thea.
Thea: 00:02 Hey, Anne.
Anne: 00:03 All right, so we want to make this one a true quickie. We were a bit too meandering. We just recorded, and we’re going to just kind of recap what we were talking about and get to the heart of it and make it short. We talked, we were following on the conversations we’ve been having about men and women, relationships, the dynamic between men and women in microcosm as well as macrocosm in the larger, broader culture. And we identified the fact that one of the issues is expectations and, and managing expectations.
Thea: 00:47 And misunderstood
expectations and, sort of, uneducated expectations.
Anne: 00:56 And, you know, I had
opened it up by observing, sharing my observation about a couple we both know
who got married young but who were both brought up in the Catholic faith––and
were counseled. You know, I think the prerequisite to being married in the
church must be, I don’t know to go through counseling sessions with their
priest to talk some things out and establish some expectations and foundation
before they enter into it. And what I observed, what I’ve observed over the
years is that they have weathered some remarkable storms together and are still
healthy and happy. And it makes me lament the fact that we were not given that
kind of guidance before entering into relationships many failed relationships
in our past. And and, and it wasn’t just because we weren’t brought up in a
traditionally religious household, but I think it was a combination of that as
well as this, this culture of this feminist culture that we’ve been brought up
in where the differences between men and women are not emphasized. They’re not
brought to our awareness and consciousness so that we approach relationships
with that basic understanding. And I would say my, my younger earlier
relationships certainly went––I would attribute some of their failure to the
fact that really, I had no understanding of that. And my expectations were just
Thea: 03:01 Yeah.
Anne: 03:02 So it brought us to the
discussion about sex. And go ahead.
Thea: 03:10 And what’s and what’s
required or needed to flow between in a, within a relationship, in order for
sex to be able to be a constant through the many different stages of a family’s
life. Right? So go ahead and step in. I feel like I’m still forming what I,
what I have.
Anne: 03:35 Well you had said
something in that last conversation. It was, it was just basically, you know,
we, we both quite honestly want to have sex!
Thea: 03:45 Right. It may makes
everyone feel better and do everything better.
Anne: 03:50 Yes! There is so much to
gain from a healthy sex sexual relationship with, which requires real true
openness to be existing between two people. Right. Because it’s so when
there’s, when there was the free flowing channel that is not riddled with
resentment because my man is not functioning like my girlfriend would or
whatever. Then if it’s free and flowing then it can be great and more satisfying
and more frequent. Exactly. And just to not get too deeply into this, but we
talked a little bit about priorities, right? Prioritizing, putting priorities
in place in approaching the relationship. And we discussed what we’re really
talking about mainly is unions with children involved. Families. And once you
have entered into the contract of having children together, it becomes a
different beast, a different thing. Right? And really it seems to me that the
relationship itself has to be the top priority. That does not discount the
needs of the individuals in the relationship, but if the relationship is made
the priority, that gives one I think an ability to be a bit more objective, not
personalize things so much. Also very helpful to understand that we have very
different needs, very different ways of understanding each other, different
forms of communication. And more. And so if we can prioritize the relationship
and say, Hey, something’s not working here. Why is it not working? It’s not
working because I feel I’m not getting this or I need this or such and such and
such. Well, we can then establish whether or not the other person can help that
person get that or not. And obviously honesty in that is helpful.
Thea: 06:13 Which is, you know, self
knowing is a prerequisite for that too. And, you know, having compassion for
the different stages of life, we know as much as we know at different times. I
mean, so––struggle. That’s part of the learning. All of it.
Anne: 06:28 Absolutely. Obviously.
And, and even the, again, compassion for someone who’s very different than you.
Right. Right. And without even having to understand it, but just compassion for
it and respect for it. Right? And it brought us to the conversation that we
started having about couples that, that we know, I mean, relationships we’ve
been in, couples that we know, and more. But there seems to be a tendency, a
pattern I’ve noticed. So, I know many couples where the husband ahead of time
before they even have kids or maybe early on is very intent on…
Thea: 07:26 Securing couple time.
Anne: 07:31 Securing couple time. Making sure that they don’t lose what it was they had before the kids came. And that sometimes takes the form of getting an au pair when the baby is an infant or other forms of, of child care, pushing the kids into preschool very early. I live in a county, as I think you do where attachment parenting is a big thing and attachment parenting often, what goes along with that, is co-sleeping. I know so many couples where the husband has really insisted that the kids go sleep in their own bed before the kids, as you point out even, or the mother is really ready for that, where they don’t feel that’s time. And what that ends up creating––or, like date nights, right? Date nights. One couple I knew, the man, the husband would, insist on childcare for the woman who was not working to have three days a week where she went and had her “me time” away from the kids so that she was fresh and ready for him. Right? That obviously achieves the opposite. At least it’s obvious to us. I don’t know why it’s not obvious to the men. Because what that ends up doing is, it’s contriving a situation where the man is getting involved in affairs he knows not of. Which is mothering. And he is not also acknowledging the fact that the woman is in that mother, mothering phase. That is a stage, a phase of their lives that IS.
Thea: 09:22 And just to like spell it
plainly, if a man can recognize that and honor it with true respect and
reverence of the stages that the woman goes through in becoming a mother, then
that is going to be the thread that makes that woman want that man all the
Anne: 09:45 Blossom. It’s going to
also make that woman, help that woman blossom. Right? If he, if he can embrace
all that she is in those, in that phase as well.
Thea: 09:55 Rather than sort of what
I’m seeing is––that idea of creating a forced structure is a contracting force
which makes the channel of communication and love shrink and get smaller.
Anne: 10:13 And trust. Right?
Thea: 10:16 And trust. And yeah.
Yeah. So it’s, it’s, it also, I mean, can really be synthesized, I think into,
is it a true meeting? Because when that true capacity for meeting what is
happening in the moment, when that capacity is shut off by more structure than
is needed––I mean, we have work, we have all these other things that give us a
rhythm or structure in life, but when you have your love lovingness become
structured, there’s a plane going by. When that becomes so structured, it, it
limits and cuts off that the meeting that, that spark that happens in the real
addressing and fulfilling what’s coming up in the moments, what’s needed. That
woman will love you all the more if you as a man can say, “Oh, I see you
just, you know, you need me to do this laundry, maybe so that, you know, you
can go put the baby down for a nap.” Or whatever. Instead of it being,
“I want, I want, I want.”
Anne: 11:33 Yes, exactly. Exactly.
it’s, it’s still important for the man to express, to very clearly express what
his needs are, his physical needs or whatever. But it’s very important for him
to have some realistic expectation of the space she’s going to be in for
several years, really. And you know, if, if, if I could only like share, impart
the secret to men, for them to realize that if they would just really honor and
respect and support the woman in the way that you were talking about, which
is––look, traditional gender roles are here for a reason. Men as provider,
especially in the early years when the children need their mother there most of
the time if not all the time. Right? So that she doesn’t have to go off to work
and you know, that that is critical. And she’s going to devote her time and
help this child, you know, establish this strong foundation, right? From which
to launch. The more she’s allowed to do that, the more independent the child
becomes as they grow, as they should, and the more freedom that couple has to
start exploring another phase of their marriage and relationship. At the same
time, we discussed that the importance of the woman being willing and open and
communicative about the fact that, “Hey babe, I’m nursing. I’ve got, I’ve
got a kid on my boob all the time. I’m sleeping with them. I don’t have a whole
lot of inner drive to share more of myself physically, but I will because
that’s part of our contract actually here too. And if you’re good with
quickies, we can do a whole lot of ’em. You know, let’s, let’s, let’s take a
few minutes here. Let’s take a few minutes there.”
Anne: 13:40 But I’m seeing a
tendency, with women who have tried that with their men in those early years,
for the men to be so disappointed that the woman is not fully present or
Thea: 13:56 Which then creates the
opposite habit or pattern between that channel of connection. It creates
resentment, it creates, well, what’s the point then? I’m not even going to try
to open up that much, because that’s not enough.
Anne: 14:11 Exactly! If she’s going
to disappoint him every time, why should she even try? Right? And so then it
just, it’s this snowballing effect, right? And then he pushes more and she
resists more, and…
Thea: 14:24 Then it’s 20 years later
and they get divorced.
Anne: 14:27 Yep. Yep. Right.
Thea: 14:29 So quickies are good.
Everyone’s happier if you’re having those connections. If, if people can set
down an idea, a rigid idea of an expectation and meet what is so that what can
be born of that can be nourishing and satisfying to both people.
Anne: 14:51 Exactly! Yes. So let’s
manage expectations. Let’s go back to the meeting table. And, and lay it out.
Right? And then see how best, given the capacity of both people involved, how
best we can keep this union going through each phase, healthily and happily.
Thea: 15:19 And change with it. Happy
and healthy. Totally.
Anne: 15:22 And flow, flow with it,
right? Flow with it and have faith that it will move through one phase into the
next. Right? And it’s all part of the process of relationship. Right? Growing
Thea: 15:41 There it is. Thanks Anne.
Take care. Bye.
Sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason continue their discussion about men, women and relationships, male and female archetypes, and sex as a relationship indicator signal––asking the question: Has feminism made us happier?
Anne: 00:06 So we’re both outside
today for a variety of reasons and houses, houses full of kids and people. So
we, we talked about wanting to just start exploring–– I kind of like the way
you put it. I’d almost like you to open this up.
Thea: 00:27 Sure. we were sort of
going off of our last conversation where we were speaking about men and women
and the dynamics and roles. And I was just remarking that, you know, I wanted
to acknowledge that everything that we’re saying and all that we’re bringing to
this comes from our own experiences of life, our reflections and us waking up
and piercing through the, the veil of false beliefs that we had digested and
consumed from our culture, from society about what it is to be a woman what it
is to be in relationship with a man. And I think that goes where we’re going,
Anne: 01:13 Yes, yes, yes. And it was
important for me when you highlighted that, that we talk about that because
it’s, it’s just a process and a journey. I mean, not to get cliche, but this is
just all a process of discovery and examination. And that’s part of what this
dialogue is, right?
Thea: 01:41 Looking towards, you
know, understanding ourselves our life up to this point, our life from this
point forward to be able to move forward with more mindfulness, with real
clarity about our choices and the ways in which we choose to act and the roles
that we wish to inhabit. You know, with the real clarity of mind about it.
Anne: 02:07 Yes. as well as
identifying some things that help us, help guide us, help, help guide us in
teaching our children and helping our children understand the world and
understand relationships and understand each other.
Thea: 02:28 Yeah. I think if I can
just jump in with that, you know, I, it’s been extremely heightened for me
because I have three sons to raise into the world, and I think that has woken
me up to so many of the imbalances and false ideas that I was raised with. Uin
terms of looking ahead for my sons and what kind of world that they’re stepping
into, what kind of world they’re looking for a mate in and what kind of mate
they would be looking for.
Anne: 03:04 As well as, if I can
interrupt, based on another conversation we’ve had off-camera, as well as our
responsibility in shaping the world that they’re coming into. Right? And our
responsibility as women to help direct that. Right? And part of what sparked
this idea for this conversation was something I had shared to you, which I had
also posted in a comments, maybe about our last conversation about men and
women. And the title of that one–– “Let men shine.” Right? And much
of the crux of it, I felt was allowing men to be men, women to be women, not
expecting them to be other than they are. And to recognize and acknowledge the
strength in that, the beauty and strength in that rather than the lacking––that
the man doesn’t have enough of the woman in him or the woman doesn’t have
enough of the man. And I had reflected on, it’s funny what, whatever that blue
jay, is it a blue jay? A crow?
Thea: 04:30 Yeah, there’s crows.
There’s a bit of a battle with the parrots up in the tree up here.
Anne: 04:33 With the parrots, right.
Yeah. Tough life here in California. I was reflecting on the fact that I now
realize that when I was a kid and growing up as the young woman, just even in
listening to, reading stories, learning about days of old when men and women
were it was much more accepted, I suppose for want of a better word for women
and men to inhabit traditional roles and to approach an understanding of each
other through an acknowledgement of those traditional roles that we each
Anne: 05:26 And I remember kind of
feeling as if––and I, and I think because of the culture I was growing up in
and the way I was being taught by a feminist, feminist parents really––was
that, to kind of throw that out, to disregard that, that that was kind of an
archaic way of looking at things, a limited, archaic way of looking at things
almost. You know, stories where a woman is being taught the art of being a
woman by her mother. Being taught that men are like this and men need this and
this is how you can help the man come to understand this, etc. Etc. Without
directness kind of, you know a kind of subtle way of guiding.
Thea: 06:23 I would say, maybe, not,
not using the word “without directness,” but with an appreciation for
that which the man is and that which the man provides and for the acceptance of
it. So it’s able to be subtle without it being sticky, right?
Anne: 06:45 Yes. Or Yes. Heavy
handed. Because, so that we can still dance with each other, acknowledging
these differences, but not throwing it in each other’s faces because that kind
of ruins the mystery of it. Right?
Thea: 07:02 Mmhm. So, I was just
thinking that this is sort of the, what we had touched upon when we were
discussing this beforehand that it’s like we’re in a world where nobody’s happy
in the role that they’re allowed to be in. And there’s this sort of constant,
seeming battle in, in the broader culture of the way women feel men are or
should be or aren’t, or the way that they’re not allowing a woman to be
recognized or given due credit for. Or, you know, I’m being a little bit too
vague, but, but because, because of this, what, what, what the impulse of
feminism, like there was a need for women to be able to step out of being
locked into a particular role for sure.
Anne: 08:02 Or being suppressed,
right. You know, supressed.
Thea: 08:05 Not acknowledge or, you
know, not glorified, not being recognized. You know, and appreciated properly.
Maybe. I’m not sure, but it seems like everything got thrown out instead of
finding––how can I be then appreciated and loved and cherished, I mean
cherished. How can we cherish one another for the work that we do because we do
different work, and we can’t do the same because what’s happening right is, is
in this world where we’re, it’s like everything’s about trying to do the same
work. For a man to show “I can mother just as well as a mother” or a
mother to be just as much of a father and no one’s really pleased, it seems. Is
anyone more happy with this sort of throwing out the archetypes? You know? I
guess what I would try to say is it seems to be, we need to be able to
recognize it’s an archetype. That it’s not something you’re limited by. We’re not
only that. But that is one in which as a woman I can inhabit when I’m with the
man. When I’m not with the man, I don’t get to only be that archetype, I have
to do this, this, this and this and vice versa. But it’s, so it’s like, instead
of throwing out the archetype entirely, let’s just recognize we don’t have to
be stuck in one. Yes. But we can be in one and it can be beautiful and freeing
and make us all happier if we’re meeting each other in that archetypal way.
Anne: 09:46 Yes. We all in different
capacities throughout our lives inhabit different roles. Just even from the
more basic perspective of looking at children. We’ve talked a lot about this
and, and the different pedagogies and and, and why it’s important for children
to spend time with youngers and olders so that they can inhabit more than one
role. Right? They can be the older and the teacher. They can also be the
younger and the not knowing and the learner and that humbles them a bit.
Thea: 10:21 And makes them secure,
also being able to be secure when you’re able to be in different roles and be
held by those in the other roles.
Anne: 10:31 Yes. Right, right. And,
and so by the same token, if we can make it more okay to inhabit the archetype
of man and woman while we are in that relationship, that keeps things, um to me
it seems like it’s…I mean, we’ve worked through this for thousands and
thousands and thousands of years. Like let’s not throw the baby out with the
bath water, right? We’ve established some wonderful dynamics and a dance and a
rhythm that works pretty well. A distribution of labor, if you will, you know,
in the world. And that does not mean that when we are not inhabiting, that does
not mean that when we’re not in that dynamic that we can’t also take on, step
in, step in for each other. Right? And experience that, exercise, that and add
another string to our bow. Right? So yeah, that’s where I see the issue and,
and where, where are we on time?
Thea: 12:01 We’re good. We’ve got
another 10 minutes. So I’m not sure what we’ve said yet all the way. We’ve kind
of laid a broad groundwork. But I guess the question that comes out of this,
this dialogue really that I, I’ve been thinking about is, are we happier? Are
people happier? Are marriages better? Are relationships better? Are, you know,
are families healthier and happier? Are kids healthier and happier with this,
with this movement that we have been in the last 40 years, you know, 50? What
year is it? Um you know, what’s the outcome? Where have we gotten to? And from
my limited perspective, which I grant is limited, I see that often,
relationships fail. Often, there’s this, this struggle that isn’t able to be
resolved and worked with. And then, you know, when looking at marriages, it
takes a whole lot of courage and commitment for people to really make something
continually work and grow and change with the continuous growth and change of
each individual. Most often what I’m witnessing is a bitterness after 20 years.
Anne: 13:30 A resentment I’m seeing
that we witnessed in our parent’s marriage. Right? as far more resentment than
gratitude. And you and I have had the experience really throughout you know, we
both, we lost our parents quite some time ago. And so that’s given us an
opportunity to have perspective and reflect in a way that one doesn’t have,
when the parents are still around and still in that dynamic. And we recognize
really what an amazing we had. And yet their marriage was so riddled with
strife and resentment. There was a lot of resentment on Mom’s part toward Dad.
And, and so we’ve talked a little bit about this and so many friends I know
and, and past relationships I’ve had too, right? I mean, I’m almost 50 years
old, right? It’s taken me this long to even be able to articulate what we’ve
just talked about, about: Wait a minute! Traditional roles, men and women’s
traditional roles, there’s some merit to this and, and a relationship, I don’t
care how you cut it, does not work with blame and resentments at the heart of
it. And it takes two, absolutely two, and and they, they do need to support
each other, respect each other, support each other. And want the best for each
other. Right? because without that, I know Jordan Peterson has articulated this
and many others, but it’s so obvious! Without both people being lifted up, the
whole union falls apart and it gets no one anywhere.
Thea: 15:33 And it may fall apart
really slowly ,like a slow demise. And the thing that I think I mean just on
that, and then I have this other thought I want to go back to is, you know, and
if there are children in that relationship, that are out of that union and the
demise is slow and steady and unspoken, that for me, I feel like––of course
from my own experience as a child in our family and then my own situation for
my children––that’s what they’re ingesting, of how relationship is. And you
know, if we want to free our children to, to cultivate something more positive
and true, we have to have the courage to name our problems, to name our
responsibility within those problems.
Thea: 16:38 And that just leads me
to––in a marriage, in a relationship, if you’re not having sex, then there’s a
problem. And that is like a major signal, right? And it doesn’t mean if you’re
having sex, everything’s good either. But if you’re not having sex, then there
is a big channel of communication that is not happening, which is what makes
you be in a relationship as with a mate, you know? And if that’s not there, it
takes courage and honesty to go there and discover why is it? You know, when I
think about our dad, as great as he was, there was obviously something missing
in the way he was seeing our mom and the way she was able to see him so they
could reflect back to each other what was beautiful, which would make them want
to be in union. Right? Because we want to be, you know, we want to be getting
Anne: 17:36 Yes, yes. I think that is
Thea: 17:40 Get it? It’s a key.
Anne: 17:46 Well, no, I mean, and,
and so, and now what are we, I still, because my eyes are so bad, I can’t see
how much more time?
Thea: 17:52 We have five more
Anne: 17:52 Okay. So just, just to
start with this will––this will be continued later. But yes. It’s a big issue.
It’s a big issue. We, we, you know, so many friends, so many, so many couples
in really miserable situations and the sex, making love, that physical
connection, it does reflect on the health of the relationship. It’s also the
biggest signal to say stop, take a look at each other and have a very open and
honest conversation. Because you cannot keep going on like that and allowing
this chasm to get wider and wider. It’s not gonna move toward anything healthy
that I can imagine in a marriage. And so you have to figure out why that is.
You have to ask for what you need, I suppose, but you have to also equally, if
not more, respect what it is that other person is also able and willing in that
moment to give. And figure out then how to make it work between those two.
Thea: 19:34 And how to really truly
appreciate that which is given, right? That, which is offered and that––but
this is such a huge conversation and subject matter really. But in thinking of
families and parents, my goodness, you know, when, when children are young,
it’s like near impossible to, to have as a, as a mother, you don’t have much force
for being sexual when they’re young, right? You’re, you’re kind of maxed out.
Anne: 20:06 You don’t have a lot of
extra. It’s true. And so you may not be able to be as present as, as you might
have been earlier or later.
Thea: 20:18 Or later. And the thing I
guess I wanted to say with that is, you know, that’s a part where it makes me
think that so much of what we’re, we’ve been fed through media in various forms
has altered people’s real ability to meet what is before them. You know, life
is not a 30 minute sitcom.
Anne: 20:42 Nor is it a a porn flick.
Thea: 20:47 Right. And so it’s like,
it’s not going to be neatly wrapped up in one, one idea or another. And if we
can in relationship be true enough with ourselves to meet the person in front
of us, which means we cannot be caught in our own ideas of what reality is
supposed to be. Right? So if we can meet what’s really there, then real
relationship can happen. And real relating can happen. I like the term and I
know it’s not one, but “relationing.” Like it’s a little bit outside
of relating and it’s not relationship, but it is the practice of being in
relationship to the relationship itself.
Anne: 21:34 Being in relationship to
the relationship itself. Yes. But I think I also get from it: Relationing.
Really, it is relating. Yes. But it is meeting each other, seeing each other as
clearly as we can. I mean, yeah, we’ve got lots of filters that we have to work
through, but as clearly as we can and accept––after we establish that each
person actually wants to be there––to then accept what it is each one is able
to bring to it and be grateful for that. Yeah. And work together to figure out how
it then can form the relate the, the, the relationing, right? So yeah, I mean I
think we can end it there right. For now. And, and keep working with this,
because men and women both need to work on that. Right? yeah. We need to work
on getting through those oftentimes where we’re, we’re not quite in the same…
Thea: 23:01 Groove?
Anne: 23:01 Same groove. But both
parties are willing to still meet there despite how they’re feeling or that one
doesn’t feel that they’re getting as much from the other as they want, but
they’re still willing to do it because they care so much about the relationship
and each other. Then the focus on being grateful for what that is rather than
focusing on what it is not, will eventually get us to those glorious moments
when we meet perfectly and synchronously and harmoniously. And I think that the
more we do that and establish trust with each other, the more frequent those
moments occur. Yeah. Because it is true relationing then.
Thea: 23:55 Truly beautiful. I know.
There’s so much more to say, but this was wonderful for a quick one, touch-in.
Anne: 24:03 Yeah. Another, another
quick one. Okay. All right. What’d you say?
Thea: 24:08 A quickie if you will.
Anne: 24:14 A quickie. There are many
kinds of quickies, and here is hopefully one of them. Hang on a sec and I’ll
My sister Thea Mason and I discuss the inherent and glorious differences between men and women, and how reverence for each other’s strengths and ways of being allows each one of us to reach our fullest potential––individually and as part of the whole.
Anne: 00:00 Record to the cloud. Hi
Thea: 00:02 Hello, Anne. Good to see
Anne: 00:06 And you. So, well, let’s
be real here. We’ve had a lot going on in our lives. We both have. And are a
bit distracted and there’s just, there’s a lot swirling and swimming, and we
weren’t sure what we were gonna talk about here. There’s a lot we could get
into. And we chatted some before we started recording and got to our fav, one
of our favorite subjects, which is men, right? Which is men. And decided to
just start to touch on this. We’ll try to make this one quite a short one and
just, just get a taste right now and see where this leads us. But we talked, we
talked, first of all about a comment thread that we were having on online where
somebody, a friend of ours, was mentioning something about the length of these
podcasts. And I made reference to how kind of windy we get in our conversations
as women do, versus men who might be a bit more linear in the conversation. And
I made some mention about, you know, that’s, that’s what we need men for to
kind of, as you put it, bring it to the point. Right?
Anne: 01:38 And, and so we started
talking about that, that the, the balance between men and women, the, the fact
that women and men need each other to be, and to become, in the way––as my
husband had articulated it recently––you can’t, did he say, “You can’t see
the moon without the sun.” Right?
Thea: 02:15 Right. Precisely. Well,
I’ll take it for a second. If that’s all right? It just sparked just that
comment sparked a little bit for me. Being a pretty strong willed, strong and
forceful woman myself in the world. You know, there’s, there’s something I
think in our culture that I, I hear, you know, I see things, women posting,
things about, you know, it’s not about finding your…the right knight or be
your own knight or be, which is of course, true. Be your own best self. Become
your own most fierce, compassionate, beautiful being you can be.
Thea: 03:08 But I still want to find
that most beautiful and compassionate manly mirror to myself. And it doesn’t,
that does not negate me becoming my best self, to find and look for that noble
man who can stand strong and shine his bright sunshine into my moonshine.
Anne: 03:33 Yes! And to, to add to
what you were saying like, okay, right. The spirit, we get the spirit of like,
yeah, “Be your own knight.” Right? But what I think it’s meaning is
find your own strength, right? To operate from. Don’t use someone else’s
strength to fill that which you can develop in yourself. But…
Thea: 04:01 And that goes for men and
women both because…no one’s happy that way.
Anne: 04:05 It goes for people,
right? Right. Then that’s not balanced. But men and women are inherently
different. The Sun is not the Moon.
Thea: 04:19 And the sun is constantly
whole and bright. No matter if we see it or not.
Anne: 04:27 And the moon goes through
her stages and the moon retreats to her inner world, she shows only parts of
herself, right? At times. And then there are times, and as you pointed out
there, there is a rhythm there. It is cyclical. She comes around and shows her
full self, right? And meets him fully in that way. But the only way she can
meet him fully is to be allowed to go inside, and go down her own paths of
doing and being, which is not the sun’s way. But at the same time, the sun,
like you pointed out, yes, he goes behind the clouds sometimes. Right? But he
needs those, you know, he does it in a different way. I mean, it’s, that’s an
external retreat rather than internal retreat. He’s still, he’s still there,
that bright sun all the time and he can’t be expected to travel, to travel, to traverse
those realms with her.
Anne: 05:53 She can’t expect that of
him. She can’t expect him to…
Thea: 05:58 Be different than he is?
Anne: 06:00 Yeah! And! She must––in
the way he must allow her to do her thing and travel her path, and also to
cherish that path that she travels and regard it and honor it––she must do the
same for him. While he shines bright and strong no matter what’s going on. That
is, that is beautiful. And that is something to revere and give him credit for
or whatever. Right? Go ahead.
Thea: 06:43 Well, and it’s something,
it’s something that can be counted upon. You know, in saying, you know, we
can’t expect the sun to, to act differently than the nature of the sun. And we
can’t ask the moon to really behave differently than the nature of the moon.
And when we do that, ask that, so being clear as man and woman, when we’re asking
man and woman to behave differently than they inherently are given the rhythm
of behaving, something becomes really distorted and lost and out of orbit in
terms of the way they get to support one another and meet one another and all
that they hold between their two spheres. You know, all of this world of
reality that functions between the dynamic of man and woman or sun and moon,
you know, that becomes distorted if these dynamics are distorted as well. And
one of the thoughts I’ve had in thinking of the sun, you know, shining
bright––on some days, it’s so piercingly bright and hot that you have to find
shade. You need to take cover and adjust how you meet it, how, what, what of
the sun can you take in today? You know? And some days you can take all of the
sun and bask in it, you know, and bathe in it in all of its glory.
Thea: 08:12 And sometimes you can’t! And sometimes you need to create your own shade blanket because it’s too fierce or it’s, you know not soft enough. And that doesn’t mean that the sun doesn’t know how to go behind the clouds. Sometimes, you know, sometimes to give a little cover from its intensity or its piercing one-pointedness. Sometimes it has to become a little diffused, but that’s not constant. You know, it has to be able to move. I’m getting a little bit sideways, except I think it’s really just how can we as women, how can we honor that space of the sun? How can we honor that space of the man so that, that sun and that man can honor the space of the moon and the woman? That’s where it has to come from.
Anne: 09:07 Absolutely. And we’ll,
we’ll probably decide to have a longer, more material conversation about that.
But thoughts occurred to me like, you know, w we can’t we can’t expect them
to––I mean, there’s the comics, the standup comics make all the jokes about
this and everything––but we can’t expect them to be women. We can’t expect to
have the same conversations that we have with our women friends. We can’t
expect them to read us the way our female friends read us. We can’t expect them
to speak our language. We can expect them to try to read it and decipher it
best they can. But, you know, and I think of it like, you know, just, you know,
the way we, we women process things the way we need to understand the world. I
think we, you know, at least my own experience is, as I’ve gotten older, of
course I’ve always had my, my great female girlfriends, but as I’ve gotten
older, I’ve been able to recognize the depth and strength of and sacredness of
those relationships separate than my male relationships. Equally significant.
Right? but I’ve been able to, as I’ve gotten older, and maybe it’s, it’s kind
of as one becomes more whole and is looking less to other people in the world
to fulfill something in them. We’re able to regard, I’m sorry, let me just
pause this for one moment. Okay. so, I sure think it’s, it’s important to
recognize that those relationships are very different. They are just as
important, but neither is more important. And they each have their time and
Thea: 11:34 Absolutely.
Anne: 11:36 And I had made a joke. Well, I, I’d responded to that comment where I’d said, you know, I think women, women need to get rid of the attitude and get back to gratitude a little bit in terms of the men bashing because the comment, yeah, the comment was “Wow. Women who like men?” Have I even talked about this in our recording? But like talking about “Women, women who like men? Wow. Can you believe that?” And I was saying that, you know, I’m, I’m in all seriousness, I’m a little sick of the men bashing. It’s just, you know, I have a son!
Thea: 12:15 I have three! Yeah.
Anne: 12:18 Exactly. And I don’t want
to hear this right? We can hold people accountable without tearing them down.
Thea: 12:32 And if we don’t hold
people accountable in a respectful way, we’re not going to get anything we
Anne: 12:40 And that’s the other thing I pointed out, which is how really just nonsensical and impractical it is. It’s like a relationship between a man and a woman, or really a relationship between anyone. Right? Unless you are planning to leave the relationship, then coming at it with blame and accusation gets us nowhere. The only thing that does get us somewhere is to find more and more effective ways of communicating our needs, our dissatisfactions, whatever it is, but also in a bolstering, supportive way and manner that allows that other person to see that you can see their best selves, so that they can rise to their best selves. And you know, one of the critical components to that is to allow that which they are to be strong and work with that. So.
Thea: 13:44 Because we can’t, because
we can’t, I mean in my observations of my life and through friends, if we don’t
ask for what we’re looking for or what we need and find ways towards building
that, there’s, there’s no one to blame but ourselves. But we can, but we can
guide those things. I mean, when you have a relationship that’s growing
together, you know, you have to know when you have to put your oar in and you
have to redirect something because it’s important.
Thea: 14:25 And if it’s not important, don’t keep going along, building resentment about it quietly until you explode and burn the whole thing to the ground. You know, if we’re not each from each side, man and woman, if you’re not investing in one another towards building a house together, that is one of both liking it, you know, then it’s like then you get angry and that’s what it seems like our culture is so much in, it’s like, how do we build the house together. It’s a, it’s been this building, building, building of quiet anger that’s now coming out with, you know, a fierce, irrational lashing. And burning it all to the ground when the reality is, and I think this hearkens back to our first conversation we recorded, women are the stewards of humankind, of, of humanity. And we are raising these boys to become men. Whose job is it? It’s ours as well as the fathers, but just simply out of biology, the fathers aren’t always around. And so if the woman is the one who’s in charge of that, if my young men grow up and they are not good men, that’s on me.
Anne: 15:45 Absolutely! I, can I,
there’s something in this to flesh out later, but something that I’ve said long
Thea: 16:04 Sorry, I’ll turn my timer
off again. So sorry.
Anne: 16:06 Okay. It’s your bread timer. Okay. Hold on. Like the typical woman you are. Let me pause the recording…Okay. So Thea is folding her dough right now while she, while she podcasts here. Someone I, I used to know who is no longer with us, but used to say you can get anything done in this world as long as you don’t take credit for it. Right? And that has stuck with me. And I have said since then that I feel that part of the problem between men and women is this newer need for women to get credit for the work they do. And which maybe is why there’s this pursuit of recognition in the field of men, in the realm of men. Because men are more out here, external, the work they do.
Thea: 17:09 Look at the sun!
Anne: 17:11 Exactly. The work they do
is more measurable and quantifiable. Whereas the work we do, again like the
moon, the inner work, but the inner work on, on the level of family, of
children, of parenting, of being a wife to a husband, to being a woman, a
supportive woman to a man and helping him navigate and maneuver in the world.
We sometimes do that quietly behind the scenes. We are just as responsible for,
for the result of it. Right? But we don’t, I feel it’s important that women
remember that we don’t we don’t actually need the, the worldly recognition to
that degree ’cause we know it. So anyway that’s so that’s all for another
conversation. Let’s try to keep these a little shorter. This is food for
thought for everyone. You know, I’d love it if people would chime in and, and
bounce these ideas.
Thea: 18:13 Share their thoughts and
Anne: 18:13 ‘Cause There’s something,
there’s something to this. So once again, thanks, Thea. We’ll do this again
soon and have fun with the bread.
Thea: 18:23 Thanks very much.
Anne: 18:23 And hang on, let me just,
let me end the recording and we’ll talk for a sec. Stop.
My sister Thea Mason and I discuss material examples of Benign Neglect––both in parenting and in relationships, with others and with oneself––which demonstrate respect and cultivate resilience. Which leads to empowerment.
Anne: 00:01 Okay. Hi, Thea.
Thea: 00:03 Hi there, Anne. Good to
Anne: 00:06 Good to see you too. So
starting this again. So this conversation we’re gonna talk, going to follow on
last week’s conversation, which was about Benign Neglect as an approach to
parenting, as an approach to all of our relationships, in order to encourage
everyone to be resilient, right,? To, to help cultivate resilience, to help us
grow our resilience. So, and so we want to talk about some material examples of
that, both in parenting and in relationships. And I’m going to let you start
Thea: 00:52 So last conversation we
had touched on a very early stage of development physically for a young child,
being that they pushed up onto their hands and knees in the pursuit of movement
and crawling and independence. And we were discussing a little…
Anne: 01:12 Wait, wait. Can I just
interrupt? And, and that most parents know instinctively to not assist that,
because it’s so critical in them exercising those muscles in order to be able
to do that. Because if we do it for them, they won’t exercise those muscles.
Thea: 01:32 Right. I mean, and you
have pictures of that in all of nature, right? I mean, one most everyone is
familiar with is the caterpillar pushing, struggling out of the Chrysalis or it
a chick hatching out. So if you, if you disturb that process, they are weakened
and therefore cannot actually survive. So that’s a little, you know, picture.
And as human beings, we have so many more varied and complex stages of these
opportunities of the possibility to build resilience or to be hindered and
crippled, essentially, for the way we meet the world. And so we were talking
about, you know, some, some natural things that occur when children are young.
And some of the things we were discussing, and from my experience and I’m sure
yours in parenting, you know, as children start to develop freedom and then
they want to climb the tree and they want to get to that branch. And sometimes
as parents we want to support them and be there to help assist them into those
places. And I think through learning we find that if you are to assist past a
point where someone is ready to carry themselves, you’re actually putting them
in danger because a child will only climb to that which they can climb down
from and get down from. Right? because they know they made it up, they can make
it down. And if you’ve put someone there without their own striving and faith
in their own ability, then there’s a fear lock. Right? And then they cannot
quite do it. So that was one other example. I don’t know if you want to speak
to that or…
Anne: 03:21 No, I mean I think that’s
a perfect example. And, and the word that came to mind was, if we put people
somewhere prematurely, right? They, they really have to get there themselves in
order to then be able to jump to the next, and the next, and the next, I
think.To build the foundation. Right?
Thea: 03:43 Absolutely. And another
place that I see that in a really practical way out of the work I do and, and
my history with my children is, is a swing. Moving on a swing takes its own
impulse and will, or rhythmic movement of pushing and pulling oneself where
they want to go. So those were just two very tangible, in terms of the
development of the human being in pursuit of freedom and fun.
Anne: 04:18 And, you know, and, and,
and another one that just occurred to me I remember when we’d go to the beach
together when our kids were younger and I would be like, oh, I forgot the
shovel, or I forgot the buckets and shovels. And you said, here are their
shovels, right? And I adopted that approach more across the board. Less props,
less props, less toys, less things. And out of that, I would see wonderful
projects being conceived and dams being built and holes being dug and in, in,
in, in wonderful ways. Right? And, and doing that more and more reinforces that
with our kids.
Thea: 05:06 And builds, and also
builds a space of more ease as a parent. You know, I mean, that’s the other
part that it doesn’t have to be so busy or fraught with details. And can be a
little bit more pleasant.
Anne: 05:25 Well, and you’re, you’re
much more fluid when you are living and approaching everything a bit more
simply. You don’t need so much. Right?
Thea: 05:34 Very true. And and I will
take that just into another stage of development when it moves from the
physical with our children to, you know, as from my experience as my children
have gone into adolescence and the different emotional states that are coming
up, and the discomfort that comes up. And I had a very clear experience, and I
can recall the memory moments very clearly where my, my child was
uncomfortable, struggling in some pain emotionally about something that was
emerging for himself. And I can very clearly see the tactic he was working to
employ was to bait me to create a situation of conflict, a drama in some sort
to bait me into that, to engage with him, to give him a channel to release his
frustration inappropriately. To release it towards me so he could be distracted
from actually stepping through his own work. And I remember seeing it so
clearly and instead of taking the bait, which I’m sure I have at times, but in
that moment really clearly, distinctly saying, “oh, you’re having a hard
time, huh?” So that stopped it.
Anne: 07:12 But, but it’s also, it’s
also acknowledging it, right? It’s not ignoring it. So it is being, it’s being
supportive, and it is seeing, regarding.
Thea: 07:22 And it gives a window.
So, “You’re having a hard time” and he then could have the window to
say, “Yeah, I am.” And I could say, “Do you want to talk about
it?” So it’s really about learning how to have a healthy relationship with
the things that come up, a relationship with oneself to be able to name and
identify when something is presenting itself for us to look at.
Anne: 07:52 Yes. When something is
troubling us. Um I had mentioned to you previously about something with my,
with one of my kids. She, she has a tendency to come into the room when she’s
upset. Again, she’s coming to an age where it’s beyond the physical, it’s
emotional, it’s settling into this, this world and some of its challenges,
right? Of being. ‘Cause They’re not just in this oneness of childhood all the
time. Right? And Hmmph!” You know a poutiness, throwing oneself on the
couch maybe and turning her head away from me. Right? And sometimes I will
actually say nothing. If it goes on, I will do what you had mentioned, which is
“What’s going on?” So acknowledging that I see that there’s something
going on, but refraining from, “Oh, what’s wrong? Are you upset?”
Because I feel that indulging that leads to what I see among peers. And I would
say women more than men for one reason or another.
Thea: 09:16 Or at least from your
Anne: 09:17 Okay. From my
perspective, I have noticed, and maybe it’s because I have more female friends.
Right? But, but I’ve noticed a tendency for people to feel slighted, hurt,
something, by me. And rather than come to me and talk to me about it or express
that––to wait for me to figure that out, whether it’s through their behavior or
their silence. And I think when I was younger, I might have, I feel like it’s,
“taken the bait” on that. These days I’m much less inclined to want
to get drawn into that at all. Where I feel I’m, I’m asking you, I’m respecting
you enough to let me know if there’s something bothering you. If there is, I will
do everything in my power to address it. If you can’t even take the
responsibility to, to let me know, then I’m not going to be your parent and
draw it out of you. Right?
Thea: 10:29 Right. And there, there
are so many layers within that. Yeah. And, and it is, it’s, it’s an interesting
thing. We’ve spoken about that, you know, finding that balance of being, being
sensitive and compassionate to people in a struggle. And also not, not
continuing their stuck dynamic by engaging into that. Right? Because, because
that’s what we all have, these ways of being that have worked for us out of some
difficult situation in our past, our becoming an adult. And if those ways of
functioning that may truly be limiting to how we relate with ourselves and the
world, if they have still gotten what we want, we’re not going to change. I
mean, and that’s, and I have a very good friend, I remember talking about his
struggles with parenting. And I remember saying that, well, if there’s, if your
children are still getting what they want through their behavior, they’re not
going to change. We’re pretty simple creatures. Right? If we’re still getting
our basic comfort met our basic needs met, we’re not going to change. You know,
so that ties in with that in terms of that dynamic with friends, you know, if
we’re still getting the response we need, we’re still getting that sort of
feeding of attention and energy, which I think gets, can get really distorted.
Anne: 12:13 Absolutely. It’s, it, it
can become codependent. It can just perpetuate a dysfunctionality. Forever and
ever and ever really. And when we had talked about this earlier too, you used
the word enabling. We don’t want to enable patterns and ways of being in our
children or our friends or our partners or ourselves, which keep us limited.
Right? And, and not as empowered. Because how empowering is it to feel free and
confident enough to, when something that someone has done that you care to remain
in a relationship with, bothers you enough to impact you, to be able to then
say, “Hey, you pissed me off. You upset me. You hurt me.”
Thea: 13:16 Or I was really hurt when
you did this. You know, that’s that language again.
Anne: 13:24 Totally. I hate that I
even said that ’cause I, I’m so, I’m, I’m usually very clear about the fact
that largely it’s, it’s our choice to feel hurt or not or you know…
Thea: 13:42 Often it is. And I think
something we’ve talked about before, when I have had a, an experience of being
hurt by something someone has done, if I address it and speak to them, it is
often the case that they just hadn’t even realized it. Right? That it wasn’t a
true intention to hurt. It was my feeling of being hurt, you know? So what
happens, this going along with that, that picture that we give each other
opportunities to grow and expand our, our purview of, of perceiving, if that
makes sense. When people give us feedback I have a friend right now who, you
know, I’m trying to find my way. They’re in, they’re in a difficult time and
I’m trying to find the way to be supportive and compassionate in a way that
feels really true and sincere for me. And they have expressed to me, “You
know, I felt sort of hurt by this.” So I know that by them giving me that
information, and now I get to work with playing with––What’s the right dynamic
to be a supportive friend here, because I don’t want to take it on, but I also
want to make sure they do know I’m here for them.
Anne: 15:12 Right. Again, you want to
help draw them out of patterns that they may be also stuck in as we all get in.
Um but at the same time, supportive. It’s a balance. Uh just to hit another
couple material examples before we have to end. We talked about one one of mine
was oh well, well one was when the kids say “I’m bored,” right? They
go through these developmental stages where that is, is a, a running theme, you
know. They’ve come to awareness and consciousness that they are not just, again
in the oneness as much and able to just move from one thing to another
seamlessly. They actually now are having to think about what it is I want to
do. I am…
Thea: 16:10 They’re separate a little
Anne: 16:12 Yeah. And so the, we both
I think have a similar approach with that, which is “How lucky for
Thea: 16:20 “How fortunate you
are to be bored right now.”
Anne: 16:23 “I don’t have the
luxury of being bored. So work with that and see what comes of that.”
Right? And invariably something wonderful will. Or not.
Thea: 16:34 Or not. You know, I think
there’s something that’s really to be said for just a question in those moments
rather than a gesture of wanting to, to fix. ‘Cause Of course we want to see
our kids happy. Of course we want to see them thriving. But this goes to the
being comfortable in the discomfort. But when, when a child says “I’m
bored,” you could simply say, “Tell me about it. What’s that
like?” I mean age appropriate, let’s say, or “Oh, how so?” And
you know, it gives them a moment to bring forth, what’s their mind’s state. And
then they realize, “Oh, I’m actually not bored,” or “Telling you
about it would be really boring, so I’m outta here.”
Anne: 17:22 More likely. Right? Or,
or you know, of course another tactic is, “You’re bored, there’s some
clothes to fold over there. The kitchen needs cleaning,” and zoom, they
are out the door. Right? Figure out something. But not to keep harping on this
one, but, there’s a recent thing that happened. It was a few days ago, I think,
you know, my son is a voracious reader and he gets lost in his books and and if
he’s on one series or another, it can just be constant. And he had not picked
up the book from the library that he had reserved. He had finished the other
book and just, he’s all, you know, cranky and, and said something like,
“I’m bored,” you know, “There’s nothing to do,” you know,
and, and yeah, same tactic,”Oh, well,” you know. And out of that,
that day, I remember, came two poems. He, he, he found his journal and he wrote
a poem and a haiku. Right? That really stuck with me like, “Good. You have
to be bored.”
Thea: 18:24 Yeah. To create. Out of
suffering is born creation. Really. Sometimes at least. And was there another
point we were going to make?
Anne: 18:38 Well, well if you have
another one and I’m looking at a time, we’re trying to keep this nice and
short. One was about you know, I’d, I had said to you, I said, “I don’t
give handouts.” Right? I don’t mean, I don’t mean when I say that honestly
I have given money. I used to give money all the time in the street. I’m not
even talking about that. I do that much less. Occasionally I do when I’m
struck. Right? But more friends and family members, right? Who I will see a
pattern with, of asking for, for money, you know, material support. Repeatedly.
Right? It’s something that I am not inclined to do unless there is a very good
reason for me to believe that this is actually going to help them on their way,
and it’s not going to be a crutch to keep them stuck in their stuckness. And
you had made a point you had said, well…
Thea: 19:51 I had said, you know, I
find you to be quite generous with your time and your resources in terms of
just wanting to put them into good use and movement. And I think what it drew
forth in our conversation was there is, you know, there is a time for straight
generosity. I mean, just out of the goodness of one’s being to see someone who
has no comfort, to give comfort, right? That that is, that’s a reasonable
thing. And then when you have people that you’re in relationship with that,
that necessitates a different holding of how we share our resources of time,
energy, money, whatever you want to say. And I think what we identified was,
when there is striving, and an energy of movement and growth within someone who
is in a hard place. When that striping is there. I mean, we could talk about
that, as they’re already building a momentum around themselves by the effort
itself, whatever that is. That is where it is much simpler to give support
because it’s taken up, and it is in movement already. A.
Anne: 21:07 And it is utilized. We
talked about, I put it as if someone is able to receive the gift productively,
I want to give and give and give as much as I can. And am grateful to
participate in that person’s…
Thea: 21:30 Development, freedom,
Anne: 21:31 Absolutely. But I am but,
but on the contrary when someone repeatedly is…Sorry I, I don’t want to get
too much into it right now, but…
Thea: 21:50 Well, I think what that
is, is there’s a difference in when it goes into something and it starts to––I,
I can see it in my mind––it moves and then there is something that has a
stuckness. So this is a little bit of a distinguishing between the practices of
parenting and what we’re trying to do with our children with Benign Neglect. To
build resilience means when you are in a stuck place, you have the capacity to
take whatever you can get your hands on to help you build that resilience
towards something better, you know, to get out of your own suffering. And when
you don’t have that faith in yourself, you don’t have that practice of taking a
situation that’s difficult, even with the generosity of others, you don’t have
your feet to stand on, to step to another level of being in yourself.
Anne: 22:54 Yes. Yes. And that wraps,
let’s wrap it up because that ties all the way back to the beginning, which is
why it is critical with our children that we allow them to develop that faith
in themselves, because if they don’t, every step we take in our lives moves us
in one direction or another, each step. Right? And so if they don’t have that
faith from the beginning or you know, and of course we can get it and learn it
and be challenged with very trying situations. But if it keeps being reinforced
that they get rescued out of whatever situation it is and don’t ever develop
that muscle and really that faith in themselves, then gosh, at 50 years old, at
60 years old, they still will not be able to use that, those generous gifts
from others to really make it on their own because they will never found that
faith in themselves.
Thea: 23:57 And I would, you know,
make it on their own. Yes. But I would even say, I mean, what are each of us
here for? You know, what I hold, anyway, is that for each of us to uncover what
it is that we have within our being’s destiny, to bring to the world, to work
with in the world and to leave into the world. And if I as a person am robbed
of my own struggle to discover what it is I’m here to bring to the world, then
it’s a disservice to myself and to humanity, all of life, you know, on that
light note. But that’s, that’s how I see it, you know, because yes, we can go
forth even when we’re handicapped and we can find the tools and build the
muscle with right opportunity. I mean I think each of us has found the same
sort of challenges come our way until we find a new way to meet them. And so it
does come, there is a wisdom in all of creation to bring it to us.
Anne: 25:12 Yes! We don’t miss our,
yeah, the opportunities continue to circle around to us throughout our lives,
right? But we need to be able to find that faith in ourselves one way or
another and find our path.
Thea: 25:33 Yes. And as parents, you
know, if we can hold that task with reverence and sincerity and meaning, like,
and real respect for how powerful this work is, you know, to know how important
that work is. To go forth into it. So, you know, all of that for all of us in
these relationships with our children, with each other to be able to build more
freedom for each other through–don’t want to say mindful, but it is
mindful–through really holding respect for one another. I think that’s
ultimately what it comes down to in a way.
Anne: 26:22 I think you are right,
because having true respect for someone–again, we’ve touched on this–does
also follow that we have the confidence in them, in their capacity, in their
largeness and capacity. So every time we hold back from fixing or lifting them
before they’re ready, we are, we are demonstrating a deep respect for our
children, for our partners, for our friends.
My sister Thea Mason and I discuss the concept of benign neglect in parenting, as well as in all our relationships, to help everyone build the necessary resilience to face life’s challenges.
Anne: 00:02 Hi Thea!
Thea: 00:03 Hi, Anne!
Anne: 00:03 So today we’re going to
talk about resilience. And we come to this, I come to this partly because I
have been seeing an overemphasis I think on people’s victimization in this
culture, in this society, in, throughout our history on too much emphasis in my
opinion on victim hood and identifying with our victimhood rather than
identifying with our strengths and our empowerment. And we won’t get too into
this, but the last conversation we had was…we talked about empowerment. What
is empowerment? And you pointed out that this word has been, it’s thrown around
a lot and it’s used a lot, but I think we need to get clear about what is
empowerment and what is, what is resilience? How do we become resilient? How do
we remain resilient to face the challenges that inevitably we face throughout
Thea: 01:31 And one of the colorings
I think that we had spoken about in regards to the dynamic of victimhood is
this the functioning of victim mindset to look to the world, to change, to make
the victim feel better. To ask for that, which is outside to alter. And one of
the dynamics we’ve spoken about is really this is a relationship, right? So you
have the individual in its victim state or non victim state relating to the
world. And both of them have to be inter interacting and connecting together.
Impressing upon one another to, sorry, helicopter to enact change and
development as a, as a species, as a culture and so on. And so when the victim
hood is getting stuck in this one direction dynamic to the outside world, we’re
really not going anywhere good. So that’s one part. And then we were talking
about what is it that, what is it that can cultivate resilience and speaking as
parents, as mothers, we’re looking at, okay, what is, what does that mean for parenting?
Thea: 02:55 You know, there’s
numerous parenting books and styles, everything. Well, what is the, the
function of the parent to be able to bring forth, can we pause? Sorry, my
timer’s going off. I forgot.
Anne: 03:11 So just to come back
after that interruption, you were talking about parenting what kind of
parenting? The type of parenting that really helps children become the type of
adult that can weather the storm as opposed to being demolished by it and
demanding that the world change or stop or alter to accommodate their inability
to handle that. Right? So that, that’s my take on it. Right?
Thea: 03:54 Right. And, and within
that take, I mean, we did, we talked about there’s a difference between the
demanding gesture and the commanding gesture. And within that, I feel like it’s
important just to have those moments to distinguish, I think recognizing the
difference of just, “Hey, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and you just
do it.” And that’s true. And when there are true things that need altering
in a culture, that is that, that’s that picture of that pressing. We have to
change one another in that relationship to evolve.
Anne: 04:31 Exactly. We, right. And,
and in the last conversation, in another conversation that we had had, I said,
you know, the extreme version is that idea of throwing a kid into the water
before they know how to swim and, “sink or swim.” Right? And that
people may have learned to swim that way back back when. Okay. But that’s not
ideal either because that’s traumatizing as well.
Thea: 04:55 And then probably they
don’t like to swim. Right? So, so and so talking about the distinguishing, what
is that characteristic or style of parenting and through many conversations
over the years, I had coined it as benign neglect, ah, as a parenting style or
as a parenting tool. And so here we get to talk about how that that dynamic can
be utilized as a parent with a child. It can also be utilized as a friend to a
friend or a partner to a partner in whatever dynamic. And essentially it is
when the child or friend or whomever is in a problem, in a struggle of sorts,
whatever that is, that, that you as the, or me as the support, the friend, the
parent, the guide is clear about where they are with their problem and where I
reside with myself. Therefore I’m not getting into their problem with them and
taking it over and trying to fix it, but I can be a supportive tool or a guide
to help them find their way to their own solution.
Anne: 06:24 Yes. So it’s, because in,
in another conversation that we had talked about, you know, it’s, it’s not
helicopter parenting, right? It’s also not “Cry it out.” Right?
Thea: 06:45 Right.
Anne: 06:45 It’s, it is allowing the
child the space to struggle and prove something to him or herself really is
what it is. And you had identified this in another conversation. It’s also
letting that child or partner or friend know that you’ve got the utmost faith
in them to be able to do it. And so much faith that you don’t have to fix it
for them or do it for them or make it easier. And one of the examples we had
touched on was in a very basic way that most parents understand, and I think
this is, it’s interesting when we were talking about the knowingness, before? I
don’t know that any parent, I’ve never seen any parent interfere with the, the,
the, the baby who is struggling desperately to get up on their hands and knees
Anne: 07:55 We instinctively know
somewhere deep inside of us that the only way that baby is going to move
forward is if we allow them to do it themselves. No matter how much their
crying and frustrated and you can see it in their face, right? We all allow our
kids to do that. The key I think is to continue doing that throughout their
lives and to do that with anyone else. But it, it doesn’t mean, I mean if you
know, if danger is coming and the kid’s right in the midst of learning how to
crawl, we’re not going to just let them do that and come to harm, right? So
there’s a balance.
Thea: 08:40 There’s a balance and
that muscle has to be exercised so that we can tune into what that is, that
dynamic of healthy struggle as opposed to endangering pain. So for ourselves as
parents to our children and for ourselves as individuals experiencing pain, I
mean it’s such a, such a, such a layered web of becoming an identifying reality
as such, you know, in terms of what happens in that moment if we, if I as a
parent take my child out of that moment of struggle when it was good, healthy
struggle, I have robbed them of their own experience of proving something to
themselves. I have also robbed myself as the parent of allowing that growth
that occurs for our children to become more individual, separate from the
parent. If I take take that child up before it’s time. I didn’t quite hit that
Anne: 09:56 I know, I know what you
were getting at just to because the, the parent, it’s an, you know, we’re doing
a, we’re dancing with our kids, especially those first 18 or so years. And if
we don’t allow them to do that in front of us, then we’re also robbing
ourselves of that knowledge that our kids are actually going to be okay.
Thea: 10:25 Right. And I mean, and
then you know, that can I kind of lost where I was going, but it kind of, it
can get so hijacked for so many reasons. And, and sometimes you’ll see this
with parents who, you know, I can’t remember. It’s some syndrome of some sort
or some complex that it’s called when a parent needs a child to be sick? So
there’s, so that’s like an extreme distorted dynamic of it, to be needed. Yeah.
there is, and then as you’re talking about a child learning how to press up
into hands and knees I don’t know what’s on the market these days, but I do
know that there are things provided for babies to sit up before they’re ready
to sit up, there are things provided for babies to stand before they’re ready
Anne: 11:13 Or to walk. Walkers,
Thea: 11:14 Or to walk. So we have
these things that are in our broad culture that are, are pushing us away from
the intrinsic instinctual and intuitive parenting that we have with our
Thea: 11:38 And so again, so what
those things are doing and we can map that back to pregnancy, I mean to, you
know, it’s like everywhere that it’s, it’s pulling us away from exercising that
muscle of instinct and the other side of that, intuition. Those two sides of
knowing beyond the factual seeing.
Anne: 12:00 Beyond the parenting book
that tells you, “In this situation, allow your child to learn to climb the
tree but don’t make the, make sure the tree isn’t so high” or something
like that. We have to get past that. We have to instinctively know. And, and
that, that comes from the beginning and practicing this from the beginning when
the risks are very low.
Anne: 12:23 Right? So when it’s just
learning to rollover learning to grasp it’s to allow the child, the, the full
capacity and range to go through their struggle and overcome that step by step
Thea: 12:42 Yes. That muscle grows
Anne: 12:47 You can, and you know,
this would be another conversation, but I didn’t even think, you know, fever.
Right? Or all of the other things that our body does, right? It’s like, or
pain. The pain relievers. Our obsession with pain relief on every level. Our
obsession with not allowing people to be depressed for very normal reasons.
Like grief. I remember when our folks died, you know, and you know, people
offering to prescribe medication to minimize our grief. Right? No! We have to
grieve and move through that in order to come out the other side. Anyway.
Thea: 13:28 Well, one more thing I
think, I mean it’s, I know it’s so fun and exciting to explore the ideas and
see all the avenues where they’re connected. But one of the other parts was in
that experience of struggle and frustration and discomfort, you know, as
parents, we are, it’s such a huge responsibility in terms of identifying and
naming things for our children. So, so rather than that struggle, that hard
work that makes their muscles tired rather than that being pain, that’s
frustration and strengthening. But if it has been named as pain, I mean, I’m
using this, pushing up on my hands and knees, but it can be so many other
things. You know, as, I’ve worked with kids who, oh, they have sore muscles and
it feels like pain because they don’t yet know how to name that as, “my
muscles are sore because I use them in a new way.” So just the importance
of that identifying and naming of something. And if we don’t allow that healthy
struggle, when we, when that resistance comes at us in a, in an uncomfortable
way, a child who has not had the experience of going through that resistance,
feeling that resistance and coming out the other end may think, whoa, that’s
Anne: 14:57 Or there’s something
wrong here, which relates to something we’ve talked about before, which is what
you’d said, being okay with being uncomfortable, being comfortable with being
Thea: 15:10 Yes. Getting comfortable
in the discomfort. And that is parents, I mean, that’s like one of our first
jobs, getting comfortable with that discomfort of everything that’s going to be
coming our way, raising children into the world. And if we can get comfortable
there, our kids can get comfortable there and find their own way with it and
Anne: 15:41 Avoid it. Not avoid it.
Thea: 15:43 Yeah. Yeah.
Anne: 15:44 Um you know, which also
reminds me of other things we’ve talked about. A conversation we had had about
just, you know, even in a household, I mean, I’ve talked to other friends of
mine about this, but you know, my husband and I fight, right? We don’t take it
behind closed doors and then come out after it’s all resolved. The kids see us
fight, the kids see us resolve it. Right? And I, you know, some might think
might say we’re, we’re a little too, you know, just, it’s all, it’s all out
here, right? There’s but hold on one sec.
Anne: 16:33 Okay. So anyway, so yeah,
just, just, just in, in regards life’s problems, right? Obviously everything
has to be developmentally appropriate. I’m not going to introduce my kids to
worldly problems that are not impacting them right now, that they’re not ready,
I feel to handle yet, but bit by bit, I think that we can, you know, we need to
find a flow in which we’re not contriving the world. You know, the, the, there
is a struggle. The human experience is, is, and can be a struggle. It’s, there
is beauty in the struggle, right? And, and we overcome. And we triumph. And so,
so how do, how do we, how do we guide our children to learn that and know that
Thea: 17:34 Well one of the things
you had said in our conversation another time was really the task of the parent
is to allow for the safe creation of a practice world for the child. And I
would tie that even into our, our last conversation we shared about games.
That’s what games do, right? There our practice world for meeting challenges
and all these different dynamics, social dynamics and such. And as parents, if
we can allow for that practice world, the struggle can happen. The conflicts
can happen. And when there’s need for intervention, we’re there. But the need
is so much, so much less frequent than we think.
Anne: 18:24 And let me interrupt
something cause it, it makes me realize something that’s worth saying. I think
the reason that we have gone this whole other direction is because our
generation, maybe even the generation before came from more authoritarian, an
extremeness the other way, that we’ve been trying to, we’re reacting to that.
And people may be, perhaps are going overboard in, in sparing children, any
pain, any pain, any struggle, right?
Anne: 19:02 Which also goes into this
whole idea of giving your kids boundaries and guidelines too, right?
Thea: 19:11 Yes. It’s not a free for
Anne: 19:13 Exactly. We both live in
areas where a lot of people read a lot of books about parenting. And I think
there’s sometimes a tendency to, in order to allow the child to freely express
themselves they’re not giving the child enough enough boundary to push against.
Thea: 19:40 Right. And so what that
also sparks for me in that is, you know, really when I was thinking about this
benign neglect, it was sort of like how to raise the child that you’ll like as
an adult. That you’ll like to be around as an adult.
Anne: 19:57 Okay. We’re back.
Thea: 19:58 So I believe I was talking
about this idea of how do you raise a kid you’re going to like as an adult and
ideally, hey, that you mostly like when they’re a kid as well. There’s going to
be periods where you don’t, you know. That’s, that’s appropriate. And we were
talking a little bit earlier about how allowing for or giving the space of a
benign neglect practice of parenting allows for a young person or anyone to
develop their own relationship with, with what is good and true to build a
muscle with those activities and ways of relating to the world. And if those
ways are practiced and that relationship with what is good and true and
beautiful is strengthened, then they’re able to come into the world and touch
in with those qualities and know when they’re in line with those qualities and
when they’re not.
Anne: 20:59 Without someone else
Thea: 21:04 Right. So that goes to
this idea of approval, external approvals or not. So you also made a comment
about Orson Scott Card saying that, an author, saying you’re not really truly
an adult until…
Anne: 21:18 Until you stop worrying
about what other people think of you. And I, and I qualified this when we
talked about it before that of course it makes sense to regard and check in
with those you love and respect, or those you respect really, because we all
need to be checked sometimes. And we all need the feedback from the outside
world to really, to have some perspective on ourselves, some objective
perspective. But, you know, and this is a conversation for another time, but I
think even our educational system is geared toward training people from very
early ages to seek approval, to seek authoritarian approval, really authority’s
approval or seek someone’s approval uh in order to move forward. And I think
the key is to raise people who have a, the word you’ve used is compass, who,
who have a compass, a keen compass. That over time allows them to sense when
they are behaving badly, basically.
Anne: 22:40 Right? Or going down the
wrong path. Because it’s not about behaving badly. It’s also about behaving
purposefully. There are some great figures in history, many who have gone
forward because they, their compass told them and directed them so, and much of
the world thought they were crazy, but they ended up being the movers.
Thea: 23:10 Well, and, and I feel
like, I just want to fill that in a little bit because I think developmentally,
you know, there is an appropriate time to look to your teacher, your guide,
your parents for approval. That is a healthy, appropriate thing. But the task
is then for that dynamic to evolve. So when that teacher, parent you know, is
doing a good job, they get to where they don’t, that the student isn’t looking
for the approval anymore because the approval is in the doing or the, the act
itself. And so that’s just, that’s a dynamic of teaching that gets distorted,
Anne: 23:55 Right, right. And
parenting, teaching and parenting, right? Because if, if the teacher or the
parent is not mindful enough of their own stuff to, to do their best to regard
that other being that other person as a separate.
Thea: 24:17 Free being.
Anne: 24:19 Yeah. As a separate free
being, having their own growth, their own challenges, their own struggles that
don’t reflect on us. One way or the other, right? If they can do that, they’ll
go a long way toward healthily giving their approval or disapproval when the
child needs it.
Thea: 24:43 Yeah. Right. And knowing
when those moments are which is so key and that really, so…Two things out of
that, if I can keep it. One was, you know, touching on traumas before I go into
that. The other part I wanted to accent is, so in terms of that, that trauma
that, that we can get caught up in, which doesn’t allow that person to go
through their own struggle of their own that isn’t ours.
Anne: 25:15 Let, let, let me clarify
that…what we had talked about in another conversation was that it is often
our own traumas as parents that influence us to not want to let the child
struggle through their necessary struggle. Right? We want to spare them the
traumas that we had, which is why it’s so important to become conscious of our traumas,
identify them and work through them in whatever healthy way we can. Not get
stuck in them and project them onto our children as well. So we had talked
about that which…Traumas probably needs to be its own conversation, and I’ve
seen our time. We’re pretty long.
Thea: 26:09 So really it’s, it’s the
notion if we’re just to pull these things together, the notion, oh I got it.
Really the work is individually as parents, individually as a a partner or
friend, is that work of clarifying our own ah, work, our own habits that either
take us into good things or bad things or, and good healthy relationship
Thea: 26:37 And the more we do that
individually, the more that simply translates into how we are going allow
another human being to develop freely. If we are working on freeing ourselves
from whatever is externally pressing in upon us in terms of teachers’ approval
Anne: 27:01 Pain. Headaches, body
aches emotional aches. If we can face those, step by step every day and move
through them and prove to ourselves that we’re all okay, we’re all going to be
okay. Just keep moving forward. Right? We are powerful beings. We can handle a
lot. If we can do that, and be mindful of it for ourselves, that helps us to be
more mindful of it for our children. It helps us to be more mindful of it for
our friends, for our partners and for all the members of society around us,
right? To be compassionate. And respectful. But to have such faith in each
other, that, that we are capable of overcoming. And become resilient, right?
Thea: 28:00 Absolultely. Becoming
Anne: 28:05 And so maybe, maybe in
another one we may flesh out more material examples of that, you know, with,
you know, beyond the, the crawling.
Thea: 28:13 Right. Taking it into
stages of development, even relationship dynamics or struggles that can come
up. That would be really good fun.
Anne: 28:27 Yes. Good work for all of
Thea: 28:29 Good work for everybody.
All right. Thank you Anne.
Anne: 28:32 Thank you, Thee. All
right. See you next time. Bye.
My sister Thea Mason and I discuss the significance of playing games and partner dancing in the development of healthy boundaries and relationship skills.
Okay. Hi Thea.
Hi Anne. It’s good to see you.
And you. So, to introduce this conversation, we had a longer broader
conversation about the societal fabric, women and men, feminism, children,
parenting. In the last one, and we touched on a lot of different sub topics
that I think we can flesh out a bit more, and this is one of them and, I’ll
take my notes away so I’m not thinking about that. Um, so basically we were
talking about this, we’re talking about the fact that the fabric, um, has
broken down in relation to the dynamic between men and women in, in this
society. And that’s a problem for many reasons. Um, not the least of which is
the fact that the, the relationship and that balance between men and women is
the foundation for the family, which is the foundation for the future.
And in, in discussing this, you said something to me, which really hit me. Uh,
I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about it so much before, but when you were
talking about your work with Spatial Dynamics, um, you, you said flirting is
play, that banter is play and that part of the problem here is that people
don’t know how to play anymore. Right? And that really hit me and I thought, my
God, that’s, that is it. So I want to discuss flirting as play and hand it over
to you to––if you could say again more articulately than I can. You were
talking about playing games, how critical that is and why. So.
Okay. So, um, yeah, I have the privilege to do this work in a Waldorf School of
teaching games and movement and sport and such things. And one of the different
things that we do in a Waldorf school is we do not bring adultified sport to a
first grader. We don’t bring, um, sports in such a way that it, uh, until it
meets the development of the human being, which is generally, you know, we’re
coming into it at fifth grade, really sixth grade when we come into black and
white rules in a certain way and the way we need to form ourselves. And that’s
what sports are. There’s black and white rules. So you win or you lose, you’re
in or you’re out. It was good or it was bad. Um, and games are the opposite of
that. And what we see in the broader culture is more and more and more, over––since
we were children certainly––a stronger and stronger push towards earlier
participation in sport, people, putting their children in organized sports. Um,
and when I say that I want to qualify, that doesn’t mean there aren’t times
where there’s an amazing parent or coach who runs a sport program for young
children and does it artfully, healthily and well. That happens.
But in general, when a young child comes into that sort of situation, it
doesn’t really make sense to them, because what we want to do as children is
play. We want to engage, we want to keep moving. We want to keep exploring. Um,
the way we relate to the world, the way the world relates to us and the way we
relate to one another. So that’s broad. And so what I see in the work I do with
children is playing these games, which are tag games. These are old games that
we played as kids. I have the most fond memories of playing ditch, uh, in the
backfield behind her house with the few neighborhood kids that were there,
which is a hide and seek tag game. And it was the best. We play it at dusk, you
know, so there was a little bit of, um, danger, a little bit of fear,
excitement, and, uh, and I, I can still feel that in myself today. Um, and to
tie it in with our conversation today in flirting, I remember this boy in our
neighborhood, you know. Being caught? Oooh! Boy. Was that fun.
In a safe environment, but I was caught, you know, um, and how exhilarating
that was. And so when our culture, our school culture, um, and our afterschool
culture is not, um, allowing that space for those sorts of explorations to
occur, we have these children that don’t know how to move in those spaces, um,
respectfully with themselves and towards others. Now that’s a lot and it’s a
big overview. So jump in wherever something isn’t quite clicking.
Well, no, it’s all clicking to me, and I was there in your childhood. So, um,
but if you could put into language, you had said something to me that really
clicked, which was that playing games like that teaches children how to work
and move dynamically within a group and be a part of the group, but at the same
time maintaining their separateness. So…
Okay. So yeah, so that’s, I think what I said was, playing games is the
practice of making connections and remaining separate.
And those words come from my teacher Jaimen McMillan, who founded Spacial
Dynamics. And his work is vast and broad, but it is essentially about making
connections. And what relationships are from my experience thus far is making
connections. And where the really challenging part is, is remaining separate.
Maintaining one’s individuality while merging with another. Right? So, you
know, if that’s what games give us the capacity and the, the experience of
developing that muscle, of being able to come in, fully engage, and still be
oneself, that’s a pretty good map for how we engage with the world in relationship,
really in all things. And that’s what I’m, you know, I’m continuing to work to
figure out and do, but in games, that’s that experience. It also gives the
experience of um, which I’m going to––Jaimen has also said this––that you know,
what you see in today’s sport culture on TV, televised sports are a lot of
people who never learned how to play. So when people don’t make it, they get
really angry. Um, they throw a fit, they throw a tantrum, sort of like one
would as a child throw a tantrum when they don’t get what they want or
whatever. So it’s sort of like developmentally, these people, and maybe that’s
even to go into, you know, uh, when, when someone is pursuing someone of the
opposite sex and, or same sex or whatever sex, um, and they aren’t getting what
they want, that there’s this tantrum and that’s where violence can occur.
Right? ‘Cause hat’s, that’s, that’s a tantrum, that’s a fit. So, you know, not
to simplify it totally, but there is, if one learns that you can play a game,
you can get caught or not get caught, make the catch or not make the catch and
you’re still okay. Then, if we learn that, we can carry that into every other
And I would also then say, ’cause this is a lot of what I’ve been thinking
about this, again, flirting is play, flirting as play. You had said something
like, you know, that banter, that flirtation, that’s what’s so fun, right? Now
that is, uh, that’s being lost, right? For, for a variety of reasons. Not, not,
you know, one of them is simply that men are afraid, uh, of being accused of
something inappropriate at this point, right? I was, I was at Costco and, uh,
and, and a man that was, uh, checking the receipt, um, you know, just, just,
just playfully flirted with me in just a very lovely, benign way. And I
thought, thank goodness! That doesn’t happen so much anymore between strangers,
right? Maybe with people who know each other and feel safe, but just with
strangers, it’s like, that’s just, that brings a smile to everyone’s face.
Right? So, so I was thinking also, uh, as I had mentioned to you, oh, along the
lines of, um, what play does as you’re explaining when you have to…I mean,
there’s so much going on in a game and even even with a sport as well, right?
Um, but, but it’s even more organic when it’s, when it’s kids of their own
volition organizing casually a game together and being only subject to each
other’s roles rather than some arbiter’s rules. Right? So if the kids, if one
kid gets a little too pushy, or one kid oversteps their boundaries, those other
kids are going to hold them to it and let them know, right? There’s no way
around that. And so, doing that kind of thing over and over develops a, a keen
sense of unspoken language, you know, unspoken communication, um, boundaries,
very much boundaries, right? Because if you can’t be in the game, like in the
old days, like when you were talking about when we were kids, and we were left
to our own devices playing out in the creek for hours with the neighborhood
kids, uh, there were no parents to go and complain to if one kid didn’t do this
right or wrong. So they had to figure it out. And that seems to me what is
That’s one of the things that’s lost, you know, I would say, and I think that
comes down to––so hopefully I can catch everything, what you said, you know,
the, the invaluable experience of forming the meaningful rules within the group
as to the particular game, which can vary depending on location, right? Like
things are going to shift because of location and environment. You’re going to
have different rules, different boundaries, different whatever. So there’s so
much varied learning in that, there’s so much cooperative working in that. So
even though it’s casual in that it’s not coming from an external force to give
the rules and the form, it’s not taken lightly. Right? It’s SERIOUS business
and um, you know, uh, and the other thing that I wanted to say was what, what
comes of that, when they’re holding each other to these agreed upon rules of
some sort––knowing when, so here’s the other part, what kids will know and do
this really well, is, they’ll make these rules, but you know, if there’s one
child that can’t run so well or has some hardship of sorts, it might even be
that they’re very emotional or they, whatever that could be. The group knows
that. So they might adjust those rules in the way they work with that child
without it even being spoken. Right? They’re not going to expect the same of
this person today or whatever it is. There’s, there’s much more intelligent
sensitivity to what’s going on and it’s not arbitrary. So it’s not this general
rule from the outside, which is going to be applied to everybody, but it’s
okay. So that’s part of it too. Like the nuance, the subtlety and the nuance.
And I took it a little further out, but the other part was what they learn is
WHEN is it important to step up and hold someone accountable to it? Cause it’s
not going to be the same for each participant. Right? So that was the other part
that I feel like is really key because with, even then if we take that into a
flirtatious banter, it’s going to be different with different people, right?
Or, or with the same person, different days, different environments, different
moods. And so it’s critical for both parties. But I’m thinking, of course for
the man in this situation, to know when to really sense when he can push it a
little bit and when he shouldn’t. Because as, as we’ve discussed, I don’t want
a man to ask me if he can kiss me. I mean come on. I want a man kiss to me when
the time when that time is right. And I want man who can take the risk of
rejection as well. But a man who is in possession enough of himself and
connected enough to me to read me. So that speaks to what you’re saying. Like it’s
like when to, cause there are times,, there is a time for everything and there
is a time to, to push it a little bit as well so that it drives things forward.
And if we are governed by arbitrary rules coming in from all sides, whether it
be a child’s game, which adults are facilitating and leading. Or a society, uh,
governed by, you know, either regulations that have been put in place
officially or unofficial regulations based on a trend in society for people to
accuse people of being inappropriate, whatever it is, right? Then that just
kills it, kills the light, kills the development moving forward. And what’s the
point? Kind of. It’s no fun anymore. It’s no fun if you have to do that. And as
we both know, uh, and me probably more because I have always, you know, came at
it headier, right? And I was the, I had kids after you, so I had to learn my
own lesson, but you know, making the rules right? And one of my kids is very
into rules, and justice. And fairness, right? And so, okay, this situation,
okay, this came up. What’s the rule now going forward, this situation, what’s
real going forward? Well, you keep adding these rules together and it just, you
get lost up your own… Right? To the point that I am like, you know what? Forget
it. No more rules. The only rule in this house is common courtesy, so figure it
out. You know? So, so, okay. So in order to keep this short, and I’m now
realizing we didn’t set an alarm and we had started our meeting before we
started recording. I’m not sure where we’re at with it, but let’s…
10 minutes maybe.
Okay. That’s what I’m thinking. So, uh, let’s relate it to what I also realized
’cause you’ve just recently had some experience with this too, in observing
this, but. DANCE.
Dance. Right. Dance is play. Dance is play, also for the grownups, right? I mean,
thinking back to, you know, generations before us, dance was such a part of
every social event between men and women. The dance, the dance, because it is
A mating dance.
It is the mating dance, right? So we don’t have that kind of…I mean, it, it’s
here, it exists, but it’s not, it’s not such a, uh, a given anymore. You have
to really seek that out. And now realizing how critical it is for young people
to uh be formally taught together to dance as a couple. Because, gosh, you
know, yes, the, the man leads, right? The man learns to lead…
In most dances. Right?
Okay. There you go. In most dances. But also to have, even in leading, to have
this equal exchange of energy between these two people, but also function as
one organism moving through space, right? It’s beautiful. And so, yeah. So,
okay. Do you want to say something?
So, well, I was going to say, and with dance, what’s so beautiful about that is
it’s taken the informal play of childhood, and it’s given it a structure so
that each person gets to step into an organized, already established structure,
which allows them the freedom to meet that person. And you know, I’ve done only
a little dance and I don’t go out too much with my life. But when I do, what I
am always struck with is the real sincere joy it is to dance with different
partners, to be able to step into those spaces with them and have that, that
spark. Or not. Of appreciation for the other. And then to leave and go dance
with someone else. And then it’s, it’s, I mean, and that’s what social dances
give and provide. Right? So, especially in so many social dances, you are
changing partners throughout the dance and you may come back to your original
partner, or you may not, but you have the freedom to just touch in with others.
So that’s the exercise and connecting and remaining separate too. So I mean,
dance. And all I was going to say in the leading that has been a journey for me
and this experience of stepping into dancing with people is, I can follow
really well if I am being led well.
Exactly! Otherwise you end up leading, right? Me too!
Otherwise I end up leading. Or there’s the confusion of who is leading, and so
that’s an art form in itself. And something, um, just talking with my son who’s
now at school and they––fortunate, to all things––being able to be at a school
where they’re actually using these ideas and putting it into place in terms of
building a social community on the campus. And so in the dance that they’re
doing, they were doing swing dance. And swing is so fun because there is the
exchange of who leads who, even the way they’re holding hands, it’s, you know,
it, it moves, it changes. It has so much fluidity to it and there’s a real, um,
exchange of communication, you know, of how, who is leading right now. Who
isn’t. Who’s following. So being able to exercise both of those and know what
you’re doing when you’re doing it. I mean, that’s pretty exciting too, so.
Absolutely. Yeah. Um, so, and what strikes me, sorry, I got distracted looking
at the time because now all of a sudden it seems like… I have no idea how much
time it’s been. We’ll kind of bring it to a close. Um, it strikes me that in
that environment of the dance, a space that has been designated that evening or
whatever it is that day for a dance to happen with this group of men and group
of women to come together, first off you talked about, uh, trying out different
partners in a way that. Number one, that takes the pressure off of any one
person to be everything to each one. So it kind of keeps it a little lighter.
Number two, it is a safe space to practice this mating ritual, right? You are
touching. There is romance too. There’s music. But it’s um, again it’s, it’s
out in the open.
Objective. It has an objectivity to it I think.
Yes, yes it does. And so if, if kids, young men and young women, and now I
guess I’m coming to my suggestion as, as a solution, right? If adults can
practice that more than we do already in that objective, in that safe space,
they will be better equipped to manage situations that come up in the
subjective or more private space and more intimate space between men and women.
‘Cause can I, that just sparks a quick thought in that. Because what, what is
what we’re challenged with right now, it seems like, is people having unclear
sense of their own boundaries. Because if we, I mean, this word boundaries is
used a lot, but, but in terms of what’s my space and what’s your space, and so
if I’m clear about where mine is and when, where yours begins, I can know if
something’s really coming into that space and if it’s not receiving my push
out. Does that make sense? Yeah. So if people are not clear about where their
space is and everything’s coming all the way in, then boy, I’m going to feel
A lot. Right. So, so that’s that, that exercise that, you know, we all have is
to find––what is our space that we live in and where do we want to choose to
engage with others in that. And that’s what games teach us. Can teach.
There you go. Um, I think I’m going to wrap it up because I think I’ve got some
people coming through the door.
Um, so thank you, Thea. That was great. And we’ll let, we’ll do this again
All right. We’ll play again.
We’ll, we’ll play again.
I felt like Mom (laugh).
And, and discover, hang on just a sec. Okay?
Following on an article I wrote a while back calledFeminism Got it Wrong, my sister Thea Mason and I examine and discuss the roles of women and men, parenting, children, Feminism’s impact on the fabric of society––and family camping and playing games as prescriptions for necessary healing.
Thea and I, my sister Thea and I, Anne, are going to start an experiment and
start recording our conversations that we would otherwise have anyway. We find
that we have been seeking some understanding as we examine what’s going on in
the culture. Thea is a teacher in the Waldorf school in, in, in the Wa, in the
private Waldorf schools. And I’m a homeschooling. Uh. Waldorf inspired
homeschooling mother. Uh, we both had different experiences in our lives, which
have led us to this point and we come at things differently, but find a lot of
common, uh, perceptions about, I think the problem…
State of things that we see.
Yeah. The state of things.
Fellow women in families… In what we observe in our little windows into the
culture in the world.
Yeah. And into…and the children. Right. Who are coming up to, you know, take
And very challenging times that they’re coming into.
Yeah! And the challenging times, uh, includes, uh, w w well, the, the, my own
issues, my own lament is, is seeing children all around me…
Suffering, and, and, and parents flailing.
Parents are suffering, too.
And, and parents…Thea…Let’s establish this right now. I think Thea is more
compassionate in the lens she brings to this and I, I am not, probably just as
a person in general.
Well you’re the eldest and I’m the third of four daughters. So there are
different roles. We’ve played our whole lives that we continue to work with. I
Exactly. Exactly. So it’s nice that we have each other to balance it out.
It sure is.
And, and so, you know, just just to, to bring it down to kind of more
practical, material, uh, language. You know, children are medicated, uh, to
high heaven. Parents are medicated. Children are addicted to video games.
Social media. Children are diagnosed with every disorder under the sun.
And diseases. And women and men, mothers and fathers seem to be at a loss. I
see… I live in..I live in a pretty wealthy county as, as do you in, in
California. And I see people spending a load of money and giving that money to
experts to help them figure out what’s going on with their kid and to help them
get their kids back on track.
I would say also in here, just in terms of that picture of parents
struggling…suffering…there is a sense that they are disempowered to be the masters
of their family, to be the shepherds of their children. And um, I think one of
the things that we synthesized out of our last discussion that we shared––which
we wanted to share but was so vast and varied that we’re working to bring it a
little bit more to the point––is, you know, we hear a lot of this notion
through the feminist movement and really through, I would say all movements of
people right now, is this idea of being empowered. Empowered to choose your
life, to choose your path, for your children to choose their path. And…I don’t
know if I’m jumping the gun here, but this idea of: what does that mean? What
does it mean to be empowered? Because what you’re laying out is this picture of
a lot of people who are not empowered, a lot of people who are at the whim of
the current science, at the whim of the current trends and disorders. And how
do you function with your children or yourself when you’re not really in
charge? I don’t know.
Absolutely. And to kind of circle back to even how we got to this. You know, I
wrote an article a couple of years ago or whatever, or a year ago, whatever,
where I said feminism got it wrong. Because I had begun becoming very
disenchanted with, uh, with, with this movement that is…It was around the time
of the, the pussy hats and the march and, and I felt like it was misguided. I
felt that it was, uh, yeah, I felt it was misguided. And, and I started, you
know, thinking a lot about, and, uh, reading a lot about…reflecting on my own
experience in, in college, in, in taking women’s studies courses, learning
about feminism and, you know, reflecting on the fact that I, I think that it’s,
there’s an overemphasis on women outside the home, women as individuals where
I, as I had identified in that article, I had identified that, you know, first
and foremost, I think women’s role is to be mothers. I mean, otherwise humanity
doesn’t keep going. Right? That’s, that’s our main, that’s the main thing. It
doesn’t mean that needs to be a mother. Right? And not everyone will be. And we
all bring in a different aspect of mothering, uh, and, and the female to
mothering society, whether or not we are actually giving birth to children. But
by and large, that is our role. And, and, and I to had also, uh, articulated
that I believe women, women are the stewards of humanity. Since we are the
mothers and we are the primary guides, uh––not to take away from the critical
and equal significance of the father––but we are the nurturers. We bring in,
uh, or, or rather, let’s just say together we bring in the life, we bring in
the children and, but, but we deliver them into the world. And from the early,
their early ages, we prepare them, we care for them. We, we transition them
into the earth, into this earthly realm.
Earthly existence…and what do we do here with them, and how do they become? And
how do they harness the power to meet the tasks? Of life. Right?
Something you said, what did it just trigger? Darn it. Women…
Well, well, I, had also said, you know, pointed out that, you know, of, of
equal incredible, monumental significance is the role of the father.
And we as mothers have experienced, uh, what becomes obvious to parents, which
is that the early years that the child requires that nurture. As the child gets
older, it requires much more of the father’s kind of, you know,.
role. And dynamic.
You know, the father brings the worldly in, right? And brings the worldly
regard for that child as the child starts to be…to separate from the mother and
to find his own, his or her own individuality. So, all right. So I’ll, I’ll
stop there and return to what you were talking about, which is…
So let me, let me interrupt real quick. So in talking about, you did mention
what you had written a few years ago about feminism got It wrong. And I think
one of the main points that you had made in that well-written article was that
there’s been a devaluing of the work of the mother and that, that I think is
where, if I’m not incorrect, that’s like the point, the main point of how
feminism got it wrong. Because that, and I’ve spoken about this with you in
terms of me as a mother and the provider, it’s like how did that, what did I gain?
What did I gain by being able to do all of that, you know, and, and having to
spread myself so thin because I would love to be the homemaker, the mother, to
work in the domain… I like that work. And I know not everyone does. So it’s, so
that’s in terms of what did feminism get wrong? What did we really gain? You
know, that now we’re expected to, even in two parent homes, you’ve got fathers
and mothers both working outside the home. And you know, anyone that knows
about cooking real food, that’s like a full time job just to maintain feeding a
family. I mean, that takes thinking, planning, prepping. So it’s like we’ve
been robbed of all these faces to process and nurture because of time, right?
So, so then, so then through that devaluing of motherhood and fatherhood
essentially, I mean, they’re both, you know, they both are. And now they’re
really mixed up and there’s a lack of clarity and, uh, help me out here because
from that, that devaluing, we are less empowered to be who we are and to do the
work we’re here to do. Is what I’ve been sitting with and thinking about.
Yes, yes, yes. Uh, so in a way it’s like, so if the feminist movement,
originally was born out of an impulse to shine light on the the value of the
woman to society, what, what seems to have happened instead is it has discarded
a critical core spirit of what a woman is and what a woman can bring to the
And what a woman does differently than a man, and what a man does differently
than a woman. And feminism has been all about, “women can do what men do.” I
personally don’t care to do that. Right? Like there are moments that women take
the lead or are in charge. And both of us are pretty strong willed, fiery
women, but I don’t see the world in the way a man does. I don’t look at things
in the same way. So why are women trying to function like men?
Right. Right. Um, I mean, I, I think I, I articulated this in the article too,
but just you know, I, uh, that occurred to me a long, long time ago that this,
this, you know, this striving to, uh, compete in a man’s world just by its very
nature implies that the woman’s world is…
Less important. Right So that first part is what I feel got got screwed up. Um,
I also, I had mentioned this before, but I had seen Ann Coulter’s, an interview
with Ann Coulter where she, she said something that kind of startled me into an
awareness that the suffragette movement may not have even gotten it right.
Again, I understand. Because, because possibilities for women, were limited for
one reason or another. I don’t know. I don’t know why that happened. Um,
because let’s, let’s, let’s be real here. I mean, women have sex, right? I
mean, and men want to have sex, right? So I don’t understand. You know, there
is a power in that. And speaking of…pause for one second, hold on. Yeah,
exactly right. Well, all right, I guess I may not even go there.
Right. That’s okay.
But basically, you know, women and men need each other, right? Men have certain
needs and women have certain needs, and there is an arrangement there. Marriage
is the arrangement that is made. Women give men what they need, which is sex,
um, nurturing love. Uh, they can, they can keep the home, they can, uh, advise
Okay, so are you, we’ll wait until it’s not. You there? Oh, it says Theodora
Mason, by the way.
It does. It was frozen for a minute.
I know. I stopped. I just stopped. So you were too. Okay. So, yes. So I don’t
understand how it went wrong. I don’t understand how men, uh, abused their…
Yeah. And so because they did, women had to do something, uh, to right it. And
it doesn’t feel as if it has gotten righted because it feels as if they’ve
thrown the baby out with the bath water.
I would agree. And it seems, though, what we did also touch in on a little bit
is that there is sometimes when, when there’s an impulse, it’s needed. To
stretch the fabric, a little bit, of how we function and, and are in the world.
And without the stretching and walking out the door and looking around at the
world, the view stays so small if it’s locked in. So in terms of how… It’s like
it had an impulse and it’s now gone astray. It’s sort of lost, its, uh, its
place of being. And, and now it’s about how can it take what it’s learned
through this journey and bring more intelligence and true empowerment to the
roles in which women inhabit, whatever those are––you know, main ones being
mothering, motherhood, family and caring for our young. Because we can see in
our country at least there is a deep issue and imbalance in the way young
people are growing up. So how do we take that learning and what do we do with
Well, let’s, can we, can we, uh, touch on briefly––what is the learning, what
is the learning been? What have we gained through this experiment of feminism
and what have we gained from, uh, giving women, uh, ample opportunity to step
outside their traditional roles in the home and get out into the world, the workforce
and the world, politics, government. All that. What have they, what have they
gained? You know, I might, I’ll, um, echo what I have talked to other women
about in the past. Um, we as, as homeschoolers, we have, you know, we have a
homeschool community and there are some very young women in this community as
well. There’s also a lot of us older ones who are, I’m almost 49 years old.
Right. I guess I understand what happens often, these days is that women wait.
They go get educated, they go have a career of some sort and then when the, the
clock starts ticking, they have children. That’s what I did. So a lot of us are
older and we have had the experience in the world in various professions. Some
of these younger women are being brought up. Uh, I, I’m thinking of one in
particular, uh, who went to law school to be a lawyer. Um, but she and her
husband started, uh, while she was in law school––they were both in law
school––to have children. And I see her trying to do it all. She’s not working
as a lawyer, but she’s, she’s using her degree in a number of very valuable
ways in the world. But I also see that it’s a lot, right? And I say to her and
I say to many, and I think I’ve said even to you like, you know what? The most
valuable, the most by far the most rewarding work I have ever done is
parenting, is homeschooling my kids. Is getting even back back in touch with I
think something that maybe we never even had. Us growing up with the two
working parent family, um, having order in my home, my home is not chaotic and
filthy––sometimes it gets messy––like you said, cooking, uh, uh, doing hand
work, ah, having a rhythm of a, a not a hectic pace. All of these things have
been, have felt so healthy. And parenting and homeschooling is beyond language
in terms of how fulfilling that is. Right? So, I bring this up to suggest that
the one, the main thing I think I’ve learned is that I am so grateful for this
opportunity to be a mother, to bring these children into the world, to be a
part of their experience and to understand my own experience simply by
witnessing their unfolding. And beyond and beyond and beyond. Right? But at the
same time, maybe because of my experience and my career before that perhaps I
have that confidence, to, uh, uh, to inhabit whatever realm I find myself in. I
think. Perhaps I have the experience––I mean, as you know, I’ve, I got involved
in, uh, a lot in, in Sacramento and basically fighting a lot of legislation.
Year after year. Perhaps my experience, my career, has, uh, assisted me in doing
that ’cause I’m going there and advocating on behalf of our, of the families
and the children. Right? So! I mean, how about you and, and let’s talk about
how you’ve done it differently.
Yeah, right. I came at it, at the opposite angle. Um, I think uh, I mean, help
me articulate it. I, you know, I, I came into adulthood becoming a parent. So
I’ve been a parent for almost 20 years, you know, basically 20 years now. Um,
and, and so that’s informed every part of me becoming a real adult. Um, and I,
and I didn’t do a career. I didn’t go through the same cycle in that way. So
I’ve found my voice in a different way though, in our reflection and sharing
too. It’s like my voice was always there, uh, in a sense. And I always sort of,
had a gut instinct that I’ve listened to, certainly regarding my children. Um,
and, and so, you know, I know I’m not…
No, no, let me jump in. Let me, because for anybody listening to this, it’s
like, so Thea had her first child at 23. Right? You were 23, weren’t you? And I
actually, I’m six years older than Thea, but I, I used…You were my model
actually, thank God. Right? And, and it took, you know, I was, uh, not going as
much with my instincts, I think in general as you did, you knew inherently to
do. I kind of, I wonder if it’s because it got educated out of me, it or it
got, you know, even through or through the experience of just being out there
in the, in the world and having to play that game. Right.
So I would suggest, and we’ve talked about this before, but like you just
articulated, I mean, I don’t really think you grow up. I mean, you can grow up
without having children, but it is a, um, baptism by fire into the world of
adulthood. Right? At least if you’re doing it, even semi-consciously. So you
have always been an adult. I don’t think I really was an adult, uh, until I
went through the first few years of the trials and challenges and decisions and
responsibility of parenting. Right? So, you know.
Well, it’s curious that what it sparks in me, just even that reflection on your
becoming a mother. My becoming a mother makes me think of our mother and our
parents. Both. I would’ve called them feminists, you know, growing up. And I
would say our mother was a different person in a large degree when she had me
and brought me into the world than she was when she had you. She was much more
empowered into herself, to a large degree. Through, you know, to, to, to in
many regards. Um, and was beginning to trust her instinct a bit more. And I
don’t know what those early years were like for our parents, you know, thinking
people, but still very mainstream American people in a lot of regards in terms
of family life. And, and um, through their trials and uh, struggles. They
became something more unique in that time through dealing with our sister who
was ill. So, so just in that, what that brings me to is just that when we’re
talking about the role of the mother, it’s who you are, that that sets up your
children for whatever their cycle, their ways of being, their ways of
interacting and understanding themselves in the world. Um, and that’s a huge
responsibility for parents, for women, for men. And we’re specifically speaking
about women ’cause that’s what we are, you know. Um, so it’s kind of like,
“Have courage, Women, for, for listening to your own self and discovering what
that is and what that’s speaking because who knows better for our children than
the parents, than the mothers? Than the people that have shepherded them into
the world?” And when we look at the issues that we’re facing, I keep coming to
our word “empowered” for today. It’s like, if each person truly were empowered
to listen to themselves and to listen to their child and to listen to the rhythm
of their life, that’s where change can happen.
Yes, I’d agree. And what I keep having going through my head is…and I just
realized, you mainly, your first many, many years of parenting chose work that
you could, that worked around your children.
Yes. Well that was the thing I knew and though my child’s father and I don’t
see eye to eye on a lot of things, we didn’t want to um, out…farm out at my
kids. I, it made, you know, we were, we were not wealthy and it never really
made sense to put my child in childcare. Who’s going to care for my child
better than me? I mean, and that was just like a basic.
And that I feel like that’s, that’s somewhat at the crux of this whole thing
here too. I mean that is a basic! No one is going to care for your child like
you. Right? So..
Especially let’s, I want to be specific about my own thinking there too.
Especially the infant. You know, if I had grandma, grandpa, Auntie, uncle, I
didn’t have that as a, as a young mother at all. I built community of people. I
could depend on what I needed, but in those early, very, very early years, I
can’t imagine. I can’t, I mean, and, and I, we made sacrifices that I didn’t
consider really sacrifices to not put my kid in some system like that. Um, but
as they get older, I mean, there’s that picture of the village, you know, it
takes a village because you being an Auntie and, and good friends that are
aunties and uncles to my kids, my kids need more than just me as an archetype.
And just their father as an archetype, they need other people so they can round
themselves out, you know, I think, and so however we build that community, and
that’s sort of what I think that’s the natural impulse of what school would be.
But our schools don’t work like that. Right. They don’t become part of the
village. That’s its separate entity for the most part. Waldorf schools, a small
Waldorf school does. It does take on this sense of a village. Um, yeah. It can
ideally, um, depending on how it’s held. So I know I’m…
No, it’s good! No, it’s all ’cause, this is important to…It’s all very
important to recognize and, okay. So let’s recap. We see that there are some
systemic problems. Uh, in the fabric of our society. School shootings have become
a regular thing.
Medication, mental health medication for young children, teenagers, adults.
That’s the norm.
Yes. That, that alone is a problem. Right? Um, so, so we need to fix it. I
don’t think that this third, third wave feminism, I do not think that it’s,
it’s serving us. What I see is, uh, is us moving away from the problems and the
wholeness and the unity and becoming more and more segmented and shrill and
divided and hateful. And we, we have and, and we, we can, we can flesh this out
in another conversation, but we’ve, you identified the fact that, you know, for
the woman to aspire to the archetype of woman, in, in, the archetypes full
glory, she needs the man to be aspiring to the archetype of the man in his full
glory. And feminism has been trying to do something in isolation, for some time
and now almost in a combatant manner.
Right. I find this Me Too movement, um, whacked.
It does not in any way suggest that, um, that, you know, abuse of one’s role or
abuse of power is in any way, something I would condone. But I, I think that we
are…movements like Me Too. And, and now…I frankly think the pussy hat march and
this, what I find a kooky railing against president Trump, by virtue of him
being a white man, it’s, it’s, it’s just driving us further away from what our
strengths are, and our roles are. And it is…
And what is…would bring health and happiness. And that’s, that there is a
togetherness that breeds happiness and health.
And we’re not victims. We are participants.
So here’s where I want to go from the Me Too. When this whole thing, which you
know, you’ve already qualified. It’s, “I AM” and “WE ARE” instead of Me Too to
Yes. I want to, I want to just put some clarity on it for anybody listening
’cause no one else has been involved in our conversations. But Thea came up
with this brilliant idea to, you know, when we were seeing what was happening
with this Me Too movement and the witch hunting that it started to become, and
also in fact, you know, I won’t, I won’t go into it too deeply, but to a start,
uh, accusing men, uh, of…Instead of dealing with what I think were substantial
situations in cases of men in power abusing their power and really
disrespecting themselves and women, I think it started turning into, uh, it,
um, it diminished the severity of the real situations where, and now men are
afraid to even have interviews. Interview a woman alone in an office, always
has to have a witness so that she doesn’t…
Accuse him of sexual harassment or something else. I mean, I know so many good
men who have, who have been a victim of this.
Yes, me too.
And it’s, you know, it devalues the moments where it really is a truly
abhorrent situation. Because learning, I mean, part of what I think we also
discussed in that is like, learning how to navigate in the world as a woman, as
a man is learning how to uh, deal with unwanted, uh, advances. I mean, that’s
part of learning how to be in the world.
That is absolutely part of learning how to be a woman. And to put, put even a
kind of a broader language on it. It is the responsibility, equal
responsibility of the woman, and the man to, uh, to keep the balance of power
And we’ve never had, uh, more, more physical strength than men. Right? But
throughout times in history, women have managed somehow to exert their
authority in this dynamic, very successfully. So we need to help women come
back to that, both with their men. And then also with their children.
And stop acting like children and victims. Right?
Victims. Yeah. Because we are then, you know, if a woman is only going to carry
that victim role, which it’s like, I want to qualify once more. That doesn’t
mean there aren’t situations where a woman is not a victim or a man is not a
victim, you know, there are real moments where it is atrocious. And that is
not, that is not what it is to be human, to have the, the beautiful
transformative power of sex be distorted in such a way that it becomes harmful.
That’s not being, that’s not humanity. That’s not true humanity. Right?
Exactly. Because that, that beautiful union between a man and a woman should be
empowering and glorious, not debasing and degrading right. That’s accepted as a
And when that goes wrong, that is wrong and should be addressed. When there is
the playful space. I mean, I could take all of this really back to what my…I’m
so fortunate to have this work of learning about play and games and work with
children and learning how to teach play because that’s something that has, you
know, slowly become less available to young children in the world. Due to so
many things. Um, but play, learning how to play.
That’s really what this comes down to, too. People that haven’t
learned how to play, which Jaiman McMillan, when we talk about––who’s my
teacher, Spacial Dynamics, great stuff. He, um, play is making connections and
knowing how to remain separate, making connections and remaining separate. And
when that play experience doesn’t happen, then when you have come into this
budding sexuality, if you don’t know how to interact and then separate how to
interact and read, “oh, that’s not what the situation calls for now.” When you
aren’t listening, that’s when violence happens. Right? When those, those
feelers that sense and perceive the situation, if they’re not working, if they
haven’t been trained to work properly, that’s when we screw up. And you know, I
mean obviously there’s, because I think what happens…I have a lot of compassion
for the young man. It’s a scary world to come into having these feelings for a
woman. How do you put yourself out there? How do you not be too forceful but
not be too cowardly? That’s a fine balance to come into and it’s play. That’s
what flirtation is. That’s what that banter is. That’s what’s so fun. When it’s
engaged in properly. And so that’s part of the work of being a mother too, is
to not be a victim. To have clear boundaries with your children and to be able
to engage and let them feel where they are and how they relate to you as the
archetype of woman for them. I’m talking about sons and daughters, you know.
Exactly. Let me, hold on one sec. So let’s, let’s conclude with touching on
some prescription toward healing this right toward, and we’ll, we’ll get into
it in further conversations about, about more of this. We’ll flesh it all out,
but I, I love what you identified, which is in a way, let’s get first back in
touch with that, that unspoken, a lot of the unspoken understandings between
men and women, maybe? Because you, you can’t reduce it all down to language.
And I think that’s part of what we’ve been trying to do. And so how do we begin
to heal this, this divide between men and women? Because let’s face it, our,
the survival of our humanity depends on that union, that healthy union, my door
has just opened….So how do we simultaneously, um, fulfill each other’s needs,
That is the thing. There it is.
So, yeah. So how do we, so, so we need to focus on healing that. Perhaps a
conversation needs to begin between men and women, right? A new conversation.
That fosters renewed respect for each other’s strengths and what they bring to
the party. Right? Once we do that, we can start focusing on our roles as
parents to these new human beings coming in who are going to take our place
and, uh, keep steering this ship. And I guess this is not any great epiphany or
great answers to it all. But in our last conversation, I had mentioned that,
uh, you know, someone, a friend of ours had been talking about, you know, maybe
like a, a woman’s conference to kind of to heal, to heal the traumas. Right? We
haven’t even touched on to traumas that, and we’ll do that in another one. And
my reaction was resistant because I feel as if it may draw, uh, the type of
person who wants to have more me time, be coddled, uh, and try to do this work
in isolation, which can’t be done. Right? And then you said, you pointed out,
well, let’s bring the men, too. Right?
It’d be more fun!
And, and, and then, and I was saying, well, and the children, right? Let’s
bring the children. And so let’s make it a family conference. Right? And you
said, “It’s called camping!” And there’s something to that because when you’re
camping, you’re out there. You’re together. And unless you’re gonna go run away
into the wilderness, you’re stuck together and you gotta make it work.
And you gotta make it work and it, and it simplifies. I mean, why do we all
like to go? I mean, those that like to go camping? It simplifies our, what we
do, eat, sleep, clean up, leisure time. And that’s about it, right?
Yes. And, and spending all that time together without distractions of
And, and phones, and everything else that is so accessible and prevalent
Yes. Forces us to respectfully figure out how to inhabit our space together.
And so, and, and, and to have conflict that you then can learn how to create
your own boundaries and respect other’s boundaries for solutions.
Gosh, that’s so true. Even without lots of rooms in a house or you know, uh, a
job to go off to. Right? So…
Because you’re in it.
Yes. Cause you’re in it and you and you, you can’t go anywhere. So we’re going
to hold that thought for our next conversation.
Let’s go camping.
That, you know, maybe what the world needs, the Western world needs is families
Families going camping!
And they may be able to work it all out,.
It’s true though! Because then your, your problems present. Your issues present
when you cannot isolate in the way that the world is becoming more and more
accustomed to. So…
Yes, yes! And you don’t have your shrink there to go talk about it with either.
And you don’t have anyone to complain to. I mean, honestly, families going
camping is like step one, you know, your own nuclear family. Step two is do it
with another family. Step three, add another family. And then it’s like that’s
how you build culture. Because then you’re going to have conflicts. You and I,
even when I, when I come up with my kids and the things that come up for our
kids, how they have a different family culture that they have to interact with
and work through and meet and find a dynamic together. So that’s our, our
remedy. Play games, interact in real ways. Do real things.
Yes. And let’s start talking about putting it into language that what we’re trying
to do is heal the dynamic between men and women. Not, and that is the
empowerment. That is empowering. To, to continue dividing and uh, vilifying…
Right. Blaming will get us nowhere. So let’s, let’s shift these movements.
Let’s figure out some new movements for the next conversation.
As you’ve been reading the news these days, have you noticed a new angle on the “anti-vaccine movement?” The same old rhetoric is being employed, but a bit more subtly. It’s couched in the context of pseudoscientific inquiry into the “phenomenon and psychology” of anyone critical of the vaccine program. Conveniently, media coverage focused on the “state of being vaccine hesitant” draws the conversation away from the actual concerns of the “vaccine hesitant”––such as vaccine injury, zero liability for vaccine manufacturers, an ever-increasing vaccine schedule (72 doses by age 18!) and no double-blind placebo safety testing for any childhood vaccine on the schedule.
All these pieces depict the “vaccine hesitant” as if they are a singularly minded subgroup characterized by a shared “affliction” which requires intervention. This is a clever pretense, but one that many well intended people have been led to believe is actually in earnest, as suggested by articles such as this piece in the Atlantic.
Or this NBC News piece, underscored by the cartoon image of the “vaccine hesitant” family running fearfully from the dripping syringe.
And if you haven’t heard, WHO has even listed “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the top ten threats to global health in 2019! Yes, folks, humanity has finally reached the point at which asking questions threatens its very existence! Did you think you’d live to see the day?
But the most blatant tactic in creating a divide between folks on this issue––and ensuring that reasonable questions about vaccines won’t even be heard––is this 17 minute “How to Defeat the Anti-Vax Movement” video by YouTuber David Pakman.
In this presentation, Pakman repeats
CDC and WHO talking points about the safety of vaccines, but never
once cites any studies about vaccines themselves. Instead, he spends
much of the presentation detailing “sociological and psychological
surveys” of the “vaccine hesitant.” If you buy into this
narrative, you’ll assume those with concerns about vaccines are
simply rebellious conspiracy theorists who are squeamish about
needles, “don’t value science” or “don’t even understand how
This video, like the print articles, advises that employing facts and data to dissuade the “vaccine hesitant” won’t work, and that more “subtle” strategies should be employed. This includes appealing to emotion, using comedy––and targeting children through video games. Packman quotes this article in Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics:
‘We believe that public health efforts to address issues of vaccine hesitancy should increase their focus on childhood education. An opportunity exists to create positive, accurate vaccine attitudes through fun and interactive approaches early in life. Leveraging digital technologies may provide a way to deliver these messages to children in a way that complements immune system and immunization education in school curricula. We recommend that public health officials explore and identify the most effective ways to deliver positive digital messages to children in hopes of “inoculating” the next generation against vaccine hesitancy.’
Pakman covers this strategy and more in his video. Folks whose children play video games may be interested to know that pharma titan GlaxoSmithKline is collaborating with one of the video game companies in such efforts. Check out the video.
Actual censorship is being liberally and openly practiced now in the US, and there is certainly a great deal of effort, study, funding and strategy being employed to counter the anti-vaccine movement. But none of it will work.
I know what will. And I’m willing to
share this information with everyone concerned about “vaccine
hesitancy.” I’m going to share this from the perspective of an
actual “vaccine hesitant.” Wait for it. Wait for it…Ready?
Finally, how can we reconcile CDC’s vaccine schedule and increasing vaccine mandates with the hundreds of peer-reviewed, published articles implicating vaccines in the rise of the childhood epidemics we are currently experiencing in the U.S. and other industrialized nations?
It is troubling for any of us to suspect that our regulatory agencies––the very agencies which were put in place on our behalf––may not be doing their jobs. It is disconcerting, to say the least, to conclude that we cannot trust everything they have told us. It is disheartening to realize that conflicts of interest and industry money may have corrupted our regulatory agencies and our legislatures.
But silencing questions, avoiding the
discussion and pretending that such concerns are invalid will not
solve the problem. Focusing on the psychology and sociological
demographic of those asking the questions will only temporarily
distract us from the real problem. We must hold our regulatory
agencies accountable. We must demand transparency. And we must
uncover the truth.
We, the “vaccine hesitant,” are
willing to do the work it takes to get these agencies back on track.
We will do the research. We will ask the tough questions. And we will
take them to task and make them work for you again.