To Teach or Not to Teach

Cesar playing with shapes

When it comes down to learning and education, there are a lot of different views on what is appropriate and what is not. Children are being taught too many things too early, Children need more play and unstructured time. Children need to be taught earlier, they need more structure.

As a reaction to our overzealous educational system, many parents believe it’s better to ‘let their child be’, ‘not bother with learning to read or math’ and ‘just letting children play’. Where learning, such as reading and math are seen as arduous concepts which we should not depress our children with ‘just yet’. In an attempt to let go of the old and introduce the new – we may leave behind the old structures, but our perceptions are still with us, and taint the ‘new’.

Whenever I introduce something to Cesar which I believe or perceive to be under the banner of ‘educational’ or ‘teaching’ – he is not interested and I am met with great resistance. Say I want to show him a word (that I perceive as being a ‘difficult one’), he will quickly be distracted and want to move away. So I took a step back and asked myself what it is that I am doing different in this situation, than in other situations – where his learning or absorption ability runs smoothly and can integrate new information easily. When I introduce him to someone new and say their name – he gets it. This person, this face = that name. When I show him or introduce him, I just ‘say it as it is’.

I don’t go ‘hmm, this person has quite complex facial features and kind of also looks like that person and their name is quite unusual I wonder if he will ‘get it’’.

Whenever we perceive something as hard and difficult to comprehend, and then try and have someone else take in this information – we create our very experience, as we act out this expectation unconsciously through our choice of words, voice tonality and body language.

In showing him a ‘difficult word’ for example – my sounds would become louder, longer, repeating myself often, and have a sort of ‘belittling’ look on my face.

Cesar loves words, shapes and counting. Not because they are ‘educational’ – but because words, shapes and numbers are everywhere around us. Just like balls, dogs, people, toys,…

Recognizing and reading letters or words – is just as easy as recognizing a person and being able to say their name. It’s when we make a ‘thing’ out of it, make it more or less than what it is – a point of separation is created and we’ll be in conflict with the object, being or concept in our world.

I had to challenge myself (and still do) to drop all expectations of what is hard, easy, educational, fun, relaxing – as for Cesar – there’s no distinction. There’s just things around him, and stuff to do – whether it’s reading, playing with a toy or cleaning – it doesn’t have to change him or who he is.

The School of Ultimate Living is a great platform to explore your relationships to words, to see them for what you have made them to be, to deconstruct and redefine your relationship to words so that they form the building blocks of your life, your potential – and live the best version of yourself that you can be.

From Stress to Peace | Parenting & Emotional Turmoil

stress peace

Being a first time mother was definitely an overwhelming experience from time to time. It was something way out of my comfort zone, something I had never done before. Even when I was pregnant, just ‘thinking’ of all the things I would have to do and change would send shivers down my spine. Will I do good enough? What if I make a mistake? What if there’s not enough time?

I experienced my childhood as being somewhat traumatic. I was very fearful and anything ‘new’ or ‘out of my comfort zone’ would set me off into fear, anxiety. Overtime, this accumulated into a general experience of myself as being inadequate and a victim. When I had my son and saw all the things that needed to be done, I would stress out in anticipation that things wouldn’t go smoothly, that it’d be difficult, that I’d do a bad job, etc. In a way, this seemed normal. Like, stress is a normal experience in life and is actually a good sign because it means you’re being ‘busy’ and ‘productive’.

In the end, I’d still get to everything I wanted or needed to get to. I’d even get to a point where I was no longer stressed out. But then…this just felt ‘off’. I must be missing something? I must be doing something wrong? This absence of stress must mean I am being soft on myself and slacking!!

When I looked at all the points that triggered a stress response, I saw that I accessed a belief that I wasn’t capable and adequate to direct what needed to be done. That things were just ‘too hard’ and ‘too much’ for me. Yet living in constant and continuous stress, well – then things really get hard and too much because the body just can’t keep up.

So what to do?

Every point of stress is actually an opportunity for myself to investigate my relationship towards that which I am experiencing stress towards. I can use these moments to specify myself. If I stress out about a particular task, I gift myself the opportunity to unconditionally carry it out and do the best I can. To gift myself to check whether my belief of inadequacy actually holds truth, and if I see that there is room for improvement, to set myself up to equip myself to be able to direct it better next time around.

How does this bring me to peace?

Well, in every factor of stress, there is something to learn about myself. That I can direct myself, that I can move myself to direct my world and reality effectively. And so piece by piece, I piece myself back together. And it that wholeness is peace – within bringing all the pieces that were missing – back together.

Together yet Alone

selfie movies cinema parenting mother leilazamoramoreno

This is me at the movies for the first time in about three years, Gian’s treat. Becoming a mother definitely turned my life upside down, Gian’s assisting in reminding me to not take motherhood too serious, to remind myself that it’s okay to relax and let go. With babies/young toddlers who require a lot of care and attention – you are initially forced to give up much of your individual self, and stand as a humble servant to another. But as time goes by and they grow up and develop their independence, so can you grow in your individuality once more.

#motherhood #relax #movies #cinema #parentingjourney #babies #toddlers

Community Time

community farmlife moringa toddler leilazamoramoreno

Every day we spend half an hour together in the afternoon doing whatever tending is required around the farm. We all have busy schedules, many projects running, and it’s easy to forget to take a moment to get down to earth and connect with the people around you. Here we are weeding by the Moringa trees, soon to be mulched for winter.

@destenifarm #farmlife #Moringas #weeding #gardening #community #communication #earth

Utter Dependence & Access to Life | Part 1

father son newborn leilazamoramoreno

Here’s a picture of Cesar, just three days old on his first day home, at the farm.

He needed a little bit of sunshine to help filter out some excess bilirubin.

From being in the womb where his needs are constantly cared for as being a part of my body, he was now an individual being. One of the first things that struck me was the frequency of these needs, which were basically present pretty much *all the time* for about three months. In a way, looking at where he came from – it does make sense. In the womb, he had constant supply of nourishment, constant supply of physical contact (and the ease of peeing in the womb whenever it pleases him!).

The first three months of his life consisted of constant feeding, sleeping and nappy changes.

At first, I was doing everything ‘by the book’. Having him sleep in a crib, trying to keep his feeds apart, only nursing for x amount of time.

It was absolutely horrible.

He would nurse forever, literally hours on end, Once he dropped from my breast – I had to change his nappy because he’d usually excrete right after each feed. By the time the nappy was changed, he wanted to nurse again. Maybe now he didn’t poo or pee and I had an opening to put him in the crib. The moment his body touches the crib and my hands let go = he cries. The moment he is in my arms, he is satisfied, and looks to nurse some more.

During the day I was living in my rocking chair, during the night, not laying in my bed for more than 20 minutes at a time between long nursing periods.

I was exhausted, my body – my body burn out.

The paediatrician suggested I limit his feeds to 20 minutes only, make sure there is an hour in between.

I timed his feeds, I would struggle getting him to unlatch, I put him in his crib.

He cries, he cries and he cries.

My chest hurts.

It reminds me of when I was in the hospital, where they brought Cesar to me for a short moment to check if he had his sucking reflex before they quickly rushed him back to the nursery to keep an eye on his blood sugar levels.

When they gave him to me, and I embraced him and brought him to my breast. There was such an intense moment of calmness, wholeness, completeness, tranquillity inside the both of us. Alas, it only lasted for a split second – as the moment he latched on, they ripped him off to take him away. As they picked him up and took him away – right after that moment that our bodies stopped touching – he open his eyes and LOOKED straight at me, into me. His body, his eyes – everything was saying NO! – WHY?

I listened as I hear his screams fade as they take him away.

My chest hurts like all hell.

 

Anyway – back to the main story.

Suffice to say that the scheduled feeding did not last for very long.

Each time we’d follow the schedule – we’d wait 15 minutes: he’s still screaming his heart out.

30 minutes: he is still screaming his heart out.

45 minutes: he is still screaming his heart out.

1 hour: he is still screaming his heart out.

Now he gets his next feed.

We thought, well maybe it’s just these few times, we have to keep trying.

He would do it over, and over and over again.

Sure – he wasn’t feeding all the time, but I wasn’t getting any rest exactly either. My chest, my body would hurt so much hearing him want physical contact, closeness, nourishment.

I said fuck it – this scheduling is not working for me.

The tiredness, the physical exhaustion and pain – they were going to be there, there’s no point for him to suffer needlessly.

(The first three weeks, nursing was also incredibly painful, like no pain I ever experienced before. My nipples were completely destroyed, bleeding, crusty – then regenerated themselves being more pliable and soft at which point the nursing became painless – this pain factor also played a big role in trying to make the ‘scheduled feeding’ work).

So now I was back to nursing him pretty much 24/7.

Sleep was still an issue. He slept terrible in his cot. He only ever slept peacefully in my arms. I started reading up on co sleeping in the books I had. The issue was very controversial – constantly pressing on the danger of killing your child in your sleep. I looked only – again, most articles geared towards scaring death into you.

I found some material of mothers cosleeping. They did not experience any of the issues all those articles by professionals put forward. But how can I trust them? The scary, professional input seems so much more credible. But it wasn’t working, we weren’t getting any sleep.

So little by little, I would start nursing him in the bed at night and leave him to sleep with me. I made a firm decision within myself – to not move or do ANYTHING while sleeping. If I move, I must be awake. If he moves, I wake. If Gian moves, I wake.

Slowly but surely, the frequencies increased, slowly but surely, he was now always nursing and sleeping with us.

My God

What a relief.

How different things would have been if we had done this from the beginning.

In the womb, his needs were being met instantly, continuously without cessation. How could I expect him to behave any differently once outside of it? This was all he’d ever known.

Even now – when he is 2 years old – there is no ‘thought process’ involved in between his need and the expression of this need.

There is a need I experience inside my body – I express this need.

As a baby, he was utterly, frail and dependent. His only connection to life, the only thing keeping him alive, was the breast and warmth. This was his lifeline. When he has a need to nurse, he feels it, he experiences it in his body and he expresses it – who am I to say: No, you can’t have access to your life-line right now. That’s what happened that moment in the hospital. He had a need, he needed his connection to life – represented by the breast and the milk that flows from it. Milk freely produced by the body, milk which is always available, a breast which never runs empty.
And instead, he was taken away. And that’s when he looked at me with BIG EYES – eyes asking a question: WHY?

When we come into this world, our parents are our guides. Our parents are our examples from who we learn about the world around his and from whom we learn how to navigate in this world.
You trust they know best, they brought you into this world, you are a part of them.

So when we as a parent – advertently or inadvertently say NO to a child, say that ‘they cannot have access to Life’ – what does a child do with that information? Well the parents know best, there must be a reason why I am not deserving of life, there must be something wrong with me… And that is how we are all Born in Sin.

While nursing young Cesar, I was still busy studying economics. The resemblances and similarities in how we have set up and structured the world and how we set ourselves up and structured our approach to our children = it was flabbergasting.

We have a system where Money is one’s lifeline, one’s access to life. Yet – we do not give it unconditionally. The Earth, the Universe – everything is perfectly in place to provide abundance to all. Yet we withhold, yet we place conditions. Now we live in a world where everyone believes they are inherently dysfunctional. That it is normal to have to ‘fight for life’ – just as a baby kept screaming and crying for food and physical contact eventually gives up and gives in within the acceptance that struggle is an inherent part of life. Our inherent sin and dysfunction driving our every decision, our every move we make in life in a futile attempt to ‘redeem’ ourselves.

We believe it is normal to fight through another day, to demean ourselves and degrade ourselves just to get a job and have little bit of money to get by.

It is the Way of Heaven to diminish superabundance, and to
supplement deficiency. It is not so with the way of man. He takes
away from those who have not enough to add to his own superabundance.

Who can take his own superabundance and therewith serve all under
heaven? Only he who is in possession of the Tao! “ Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching

To change the world, we have to start with ourselves. To recognize the Life Force within us, to recognize that Life is all around us and that we all Equally deserve access to Life.
It starts with a baby, soft, frail, weak – utterly dependent on its parents for its Life connection, and making sure that this connection is met and fulfilled. To be available to your child, always – as a statement that Life is available to you, through me. You are welcome and deserving, you are whole and complete.