|Author Barbara Rivera and her three children.|
In this blog post "Of Lies and Wisdom" from Ending the Patriarchy, Bob Hartman says, "I didn’t know it at the time, but the pressure to conform drove me to unconsciously sever links with logic, my body’s sensory wisdom, and the earth."
These words from Bob jar me deeply and brings tears to my eyes. As children, we lose ourselves- a thousand little deaths as we cut ourselves off from what we really want in order to endure life as it is laid out to us by others. It is really no mystery to me that people are called to drugs and alcohol to find relief from the pressure of holding our true selves back. Life on a hamster wheel of debt, fear and consumerism is not ultimately fulfilling.
I believe that there is something to be lost if we obediently force our children into their own hamster wheel expecting that something better will happen to them then has happened to us. The human products of this current paradigm seem to be children who are stressed, depressed, medicated and sick. The next step for our children once they graduate childhood seems to be illness, addiction, consumerism and debt (for most of them).
If we accept the current conditioning of the schools, media and government, we surrender our children to others and sacrifice our power to do our children and society right.
In order to break free of negative forms of social influence, we need to understand our own human nature. Phillip Zimbardo of the Heroic Imagination Project (also best known for the horrifying Stanford Prison Experiments) has mapped out some human drives which keep us passive such as conformity, obedience, and the bystander effect. Spiritual teacher Byron Katie also has some powerful, free tools for people who want to break free of social conditioning and discover "inner knowing."
As a mother, I am interested in teaching my children tools to keep them from the mindless "rat race," and preserve their own inner knowing. I ask myself these questions daily to keep me on track:
How do I raise my children so they are connected to their own feelings and intuitions and inner guidance system?
How to I ensure that my children have the strength to be themselves in a world which is grabbing at full force to pull them in?
How can I protect my children's natural passion and excitement for life and their love of new experiences and learning?
How do I nurture human beings who have a natural love and desire to protect each other, their community and the Earth?
I am working on it with my three children. I know I don't have to be perfect, nor do I have to know everything all at once. I can only "go right," one step at a time, checking in often to see if that light they were born with is still shining.
It is a grand project!