Looking back and thinking forward

Month: June, 2012

Healing compilation

Quote of the day:

"It's okay to let the world be big and painful. It's all happening at once. In the middle of it you, are searching for your salvation – don't you think there's some of that in your urge to write? Grace can't be found outside the truth of suffering … Name your blindness and give it light." (Natalie Goldberg, "Old Friend from Far Away," Page 193)

Included in the songs that I listen to on my morning walk are a few from Olivia Newton John's CD: Grace and Gratitude. Friends of mine gave it to me for Christmas, or just a little after the holiday because they had ordered it but it did not arrive in time. However, the CD arrived just in time for me, somehow. The songs touched me at a soulful level, and have been accompanying me for the past months almost daily. 

One, in particular seems to envelop and support me. A strange sensation to be sure. Mostly it makes me weep, but not of sadness – more like relief. I think that most likely Newton John is singing about God, or perhaps someone she loves, although in one of the lines she asks for help "believing in" something she cannot see.

This morning, as she sang me up a rather steep incline, I sensed that, in a way, the song feels like a message from me to my therapist. For, he relentlessly pushes me, ever so gently, to become aware of, and thus validate my emotions – and the more I am able to accept them, the more I seem am able to forgive myself, and let go of all that rubbish I learned to believe about me for so many years.

And, yes. There is intense healing taking place – probably for the first time in my life.

The song is: Help me to Heal.

Here follows its lyrics. 

If I reach out my hand
Will you hold me
Will you help me to stand if I fall
If I can't say my name
Will you know me
Oh will I still be me
If I lose it at all

Help me to heal
Help me to feel
All I know is what I see
So won't you help me to believe
Help me to heal

If I'm not all I was
Will you love me
I'm afraid if I change you might go
As I face the unknown
Are you with me
Cause you know I can't do this alone


I know I'll find the strength to fight
If I can trust I'm gonna be alright
So walk me through my darkest fears tonight


Here, I add links to the past six posts I have written on some of the processes of healing I am experiencing through therapy. I notice that I wrote Part IV on two separate entries. The second one is more like "Part V" and so the last one should really read "VI." Well, never mind … perhaps more will come to me as the months continue, in which case I will start with "Part VII."

Healing dimensions

Healing dimensions: Part II

Healing dimensions: Part III

Healing dimensions: Part IV

Healing dimensions: Part IV

Healing dimensions: Part V

Healing dimensions: Part VI

Healing dimensions: Part V

In the final chapter of my book: Don't Get So Upset: Help Young Children Manage Their Feelings by Understanding Your Own, I write about how we can all change our emotional scripts. Lately I realize that understanding my emotional script has been instrumental in helping me change it, even though at times it is very painful and requires constant courage and hard work. After all, I learned those feelings about myself from patterned, repetitive behaviors and interactions from the most significant adults in my early childhood.

In a way it is a little like living in a self-made prison, believing that the way I was treated was because I deserved it – a common way of thinking that many young children develop in circumstances similar to mine. The more I understand that most of what happened had nothing to do with who I was, and so much more to do with what was going on in those adults lives at the time, I am then able to break out of the made up myths and misconceptions, and thus change the script. 

By writing my books, I guided myself towards the exit of the self-made, emotional prison, that in some ways helped me survive some excruciating double binds and scapegoating. But now, I can start to break free. I am an adult myself, feeling safer, and can shed the shame that binds, as I head into my next writing project. 

For one reason or another lately, I have been pondering about what contribution I might have made to the profession, and have even been asking colleagues and friends how they see my contribution to the early childhood field. I must say that people have been most generous in their responses, for which I am always grateful and humbled.

More and more I am coming to the conclusion that one of the ways is through both my books for teachers, where by modeling my internal ethnography, they are able to learn how to do the same type of self-reflection for themselves. Consequently they are able to make theirs and young children’s lives better. At one level, sharing my feelings and life experiences has not been easy, but on the other hand, it has quite often helped others share theirs too. I believe that we commit a kind of violence to children we care for and educate, if we are not willing to become aware of how and why we tick. Because then we act unconsciously, and often unintentionally take out on small children many of our own emotional biases and personal issues. As professionals we owe it to young children in our care to know who we are!

Thus, the healing continues in spite of myself. For once I set out on this path towards freedom and light, there is no turning back.

Healing dimensions: Part IV

Has it been a busy month, or is it avoidance? I must say that writing has become more of a challenge of late.

But, this morning I think I understand why.

For me, writer's block sometimes comes after I feel shamed by critical, external forces. And, this past week I rediscovered some unresolved emotions from events going back about three and a half years ago. They sneaked up on me! A real surprise. Springing out of one, flippant comment from a family member. But that is how these things happen … bringing up old pains, and pressing creaky, old buttons that tap into emotional memories in my brain.

Tap, tap, tap.

For a few days there, I raged and broiled within, wrote in my journal, and wept often. And then … presto! I realized that there were still unresolved feelings lying low and were simmering quietly beneath my consciousness. 

  • It was painful. 
  • Unpleasant. 
  • Uncomfortable. 
  • Pushed me right up against a wall.
  • It made me re-uncover my vulnerabilities - 
  • my old childish need for acknowledgment and validation. 

Ah – regression.

Or, is it that I really do not like that part about myself: being angry?

For it makes me feel ugly and weak.

And yet, cognitively, rationally, I know that anger is just one of the many emotions all human beings feel. After all, if someone stands on my toes, it is necessary to tell them: "I don't like it when you do that! Ow! It hurts!" I teach and present this stuff constantly for early childhood professionals everywhere. I lecture and write about how we must accept children's anger – validate them to feel their feeling safely with us caring adults, and guide children to express it in ways that are not self-destructive, or that would hurt others. For anger is a necessary emotion which is also productive.

For, surely, without anger as the original force, we would never be able to change the world and claim our civil rights. 

I understand all that so clearly for everyone else … just not for me. 

Pushing past that wall means letting go of my need for validation and acknowledgment from people who are unable to give it to me, and realizing who I am and how I came to be me for my self. 

None of that is possible, until I learn to feel deserving enough for me to allow myself - to validate, acknowledge, and accept my anger, not as something ugly or weak, but just part of who I am as a human being. And then I might be able to choose how or if to express it in ways that are productive and useful to me …

… perhaps, through writing, writing, writing … 

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Once a blogger


My Vita can be found here: