Weighing In


For more than a year, I have been taking a very deep, at times painful and at times empowering, journey into my own unconscious. Specifically, being with old, long-standing beliefs around who I feel I need to be for others. It has been eye-opening and humbling. And it has been sad. Deeply sad. It has been downright grief-filled in a way that bypasses any thoughts or stories I might have about what is going on, and instead, expresses itself throughout my entire body in a way that feels like every single cell in my being is relentlessly sobbing.

I have come to know this experience as a state of mourning. A state that I now know intimately, having grown accustomed to its presence such that when it shows up I no longer fight it. Instead, I let it wash through me when I can. I cry it out when I need to. And I give myself lots of TLC in between. Sometimes it stays for days. My last go around was for more than a week. It feels like someone I love has died, but that now I must go on. Some days are better than others. But always, either near or far, it is running in the background.

What has brought me to the place of such heart-break? Witnessing within myself, while watching it unfold in the world, a belief system that says, “Do everything you can to make sure you are never wrong in the mind of another.”

I will never be able to explain here all of the nuances, all of the devastation, all of the ways I have distorted who I am to make sure no one thinks I am doing anything wrong. Suffice to say, it goes deep, and it is pervasive. It is soul-crushing and it is life-wasting. It is maddening and it is deadening. And it is something we are doing now to each other en mass.

I suppose I should not be surprised. For years, we have been being primed for this. For years we have been creating a model of weighing in on each others “wrongness” and “rightness” across social media platforms. We have made it desirable, acceptable, and even required, that we weigh in on each others lives. That we rate one another. That we desperately put ourselves out there looking for others to tell us how we are doing. Begging for the answer to Am I right or am I wrong in your eyes? Do you approve or disapprove of me?

Please, please weigh in on how I am doing, and I will change myself accordingly.

Likely there has always, or at least for a very long time (probably when we acquired language), been opinions offered up by other people about us. Been fears inside each of us around being accused of wrong doing by another. Judgment, gossip and criticism used to mold and manipulate us to conform. Ways that we have been overtly and covertly coerced and shamed into doing things according to someone else’s agenda. Or else. But up until this time period in history, there was always a limitation to the scope, reach, power, pervasiveness and level of pressure that could be applied against us.

No more. There is virtually no end now in terms of how we can make each other wrong. How we can use the technologies to bend people to our will. Sadly, we have been going willingly. As a matter of fact, even though social media leaves us depressed, lonely, disconnected and suicidal, we can’t seem to get enough of looking outside of ourselves to determine who we are, and whether or not we are okay. Whether or not we get to be here. Whether or not we are an asset or a liability to the world.

Enter 2020. A year that not only sacred us all to death-but one that has both accelerated and birthed the narrative that says, “I have the right to weigh in on what you do. And if you do not subscribe to my version, you are less than, wrong, a danger.” Having grown accustomed, expectant even, of having our lives weighed in on by another through the platforms of social media, we are primed now to believe that we owe it to one another to be told what to do and how to feel.

This is a dark and troubling road to walk down. One that traps us in a never-ending hell where we believe that it is only by the approval of another that we are valuable, and “allowed” to safely be here. I will you from first hand experience, if you walk down this road unaware, you will not only waste your life by agreeing to all of the wrongs things, you will have created the path to the most wrong you will ever go on to create in our world.

Watch your mind. Listen closely to the explanations you are giving about yourself and your behavior. You may notice this in real conversations or in the imagined ones you have in your own mind when you are defending yourself. Listen to, and feel for, the narrative you have about your own wrongness. Watch the way you shift yourself in conversations when you sense, or imagine, another’s disapproval.

We are wired to herd together. To belong to one another. This sets us up to bond over what others expect of us. But that should never, ever, come at the expense of your healthy expression or your innate, felt sense of your own goodness and value. Nor should you ever acquiesce to a demand that comes from a sick herd. This is a tricky one and can only be ascertained by experiencing yourself beyond the demands of the group. This one place alone may be the hardest thing you will ever do. But in so doing, you will live and experience joy in who you are, instead of mourning what you have allowed yourself to become.

The Real. The Imagined. The Distorted.


We have becomes addicted to, and obsessed with, bad news. The scarier and the more alarming, the better. We are hooked on the adrenaline rush; unable to pull away from the charge that revs us up. The over-stimulation that makes us feel so frenetically and uncomfortably alive. Without which we feel bored, numb, out of the loop and disinterested. Obsessed with the erroneous assumption and false belief that if we have anything less than every last detail, in every moment, in real time, somehow, somehow, we will be unsafe.

In the meantime, we miss that in any given moment, we are not in imminent danger. Death is not in the air. Peril is not contained in the person who stands before us. Because our perceptions have become so distorted, we miss that the body does not know the difference between the real, the imagined, and the distorted. That our survival system will get turned on and stay on based on an image, a story, a repeated piece of information. Ironically enough, the very thing we believe will help to keep us safe (the news, more numbers and maps), becoming the very problem itself. Why? Because a chronically hyper-aroused nervous system becomes the culprit of poor health, death, and lack of well-being and safety in a far more widespread and detrimental way than not knowing what is on the news ever will.

This is within our control. This is a choice we can make each and every time we decide what to turn to. It is a commitment to knowing what works in our lives, and what it is that makes us sick.

One way to begin to understand ourselves better is to become aware that as human beings, we are hard-wired with something many refer to as “the negativity bias.” A proclivity, if you will, of our species to favor paying attention to what is not working. To where the danger is coming from. This is a real asset when assuming for the worst kind of winter when focusing on how much food to store in times when there were no grocery stores. A survival essential when overestimating the likelihood of an attack from a warring neighbor. A must-have when speeding away from wild fires covering the ground quicker than you can run.

But, an absolute disaster in a world being run on fear-based messaging 24/7 in the form of “news” and “entertainment.” Marketing strategies, PR firms, and persuasively designed devices are all intimately aware of, and making use of, our deepest needs. Wants. And fears. Our own biological, personal and social “triggers” being used against us to keep us watching; knowingly and intentionally stimulating and manipulating the wrong things in us for profit.

What is a person to do?

Begin by deciding that you deserve better than to walk around terrified all the time. Create space in your life where you absolutely refuse to be yanked around by external messages that frighten and depress you. Turn away from using the screens in ways that leave you overrun with other people’s thoughts and beliefs to the exclusion of your own. Begin to contemplate some thought-provoking questions. “Is this choice making my life better or worse? Is the sheer volume and repetition of information distorting and exaggerating an issue beyond what is real and true?”

You might even try a thought experiment. “What if there were no screens?” How would that change how things play out? Would we have a different level of understanding, fear, or hope without the constant input of something outside of us?

While some minds may go to the place that says we need all this information to stay informed and safe, is that actually true? And even if it were, when does the “cure” becomes worse than the disease?

Be The Cream


When I first started really paying attention to how my mind worked, including the beliefs I held, I read “The Only Dance There Is” by the spiritual teacher Ram Dass. A funky little book that gathered together some transcripts from a number of talks he had given at the time. While I remember the overall feeling and gist of these teachings, what continues to stay with me was the passage where he spoke about being open to what life had to bring. He said what we want to aim for is allowing everything in. Without resisting anything. That the Truth would rise to the surface like cream rising to the top, and that everything else would naturally get spewed out.

He also said it would be a very scary thing to do. No kidding. It is. And yet, it is exactly what we need more of in the world today. An ability to be with things without closing down, denying, excommunicating, or mandating.

Interestingly enough, we have literally never had more access to enormous and seemingly endless amounts of information through the technologies we possess. Simultaneously, dare I say, we have never been so closed off to anything that does not fit with the existing buckets of information we have amassed and come to call our own. Deeply identifying who we are with the information we have accumulated, while becoming increasingly intolerant of anything outside of the boxes of our own making. That intolerance is alarmingly being verbalized in ever-aggressive ways. And it is not, what many of us feel assured in believing, outside of us. It is not someone else. It is not someone else’s doing. It is happening in and with each and every one of us.

Are our viewpoints so absolute and brittle in nature that they cannot tolerate a dissenting opinion? Do we have so little faith in our own beliefs that we have to legislate them in another? I know this place personally. The place where if someone felt differently than I did about me, what I was doing, or believing in, it felt emotionally and psychically dangerous. It felt like an attack on me. Or that, even if the other person was off base, that what they were saying or feeling had to be true. This left me exerting a lot of energy trying to get others to see things as I saw them.

More than anything else I have come to see it was a survival strategy. It was my attempt to keep from feeling annihilated by another and their opinions. As if my very existence depended on the viewpoint another held of me or what I valued. Instead of realizing what needed tending to was me and my own sense of self, I spent my energy focused on another’s beliefs. It was only when I began to recognize that my sense of self was separate from outside opinions that I was able to feel more tolerant of what others chose to think and believe.

And that is the key. Not only is your sense of self an inside job, it is by far the very best thing you will ever do to increase the level of tolerance and respectful discourse you are able to engage in, and therefore offer the world. We will always have it wrong when we believe it is about getting the other side to see it the way we do. The only real game here is, can you see yourself clearly enough to be able to hold space for how another shows up in front of you?

We are at so many crossroads right now. While it can feel daunting to know this, I think a large part of that overwhelm comes from believing we must get others to line up with our version for us to be OK. The Truth is, it is only you that you need to address. It is only your enduring sense of who you are. It is only your beliefs that say you cannot be safe or valued or included if others believe differently than you, that need looking at.

If we cannot begin to get a handle on this one, not only will we miss out on the Truth of who we are, we will most certainly be ineffectual in coming to a greater good for all of us; choosing instead to demand a kind of totalitarian allegiance to agendas not in keeping with the rich and necessary wrestling with dissenting, alternative, out-of-the-box ideas that are needed in this moment, and that have always been what has called us forward. By one another and for one another.

Helping Or Hurting?


I was recently facilitating a webinar on taking care of yourself in the digital age when a question came in around how much news you should be watching. Beyond any answer to this, the question itself reveals a lot about not just what we are up against with 24 hour news cycles, but also lots and lots of essential awarenesses to be had around what we feel we need to watch. Or perhaps, more to the point, endure, in order to be part of the world. In order to be informed. In order to know what is going on.

In order to belong.

The question asked speaks volumes about where we go to find our answers. In other words, how often we look outside of ourselves to tell us not only what we should know, but also how we should feel about what is going on. More to the point, whether or not we actually have a choice. But the truth is, to live well in the world we currently inhabit is to cultivate a sense of sovereignty over our own life when it comes to where, when, and how much information is in our best interest to take in.

This requires a deep sense of self-trust. One that gives you the permission, the fortitude and the strength to opt out of what is not working for you. Believe it or not, this can be simple. This can be something you determine without an expert or some culturally accepted metric. And it is nothing more, or less, than posing one simple question to yourself:

“Is this helping or hurting?”

Sound naive? Maybe. Sound like an out-of-touch-with-your-head-in-the sand approach? Perhaps. But what if deciding what you take in and what you do not graduates you to the position of someone who has taken full responsibility for how they feel. Someone who has recognized that to be on constant overwhelm is to harm both themselves and those around them. And that to decide your own mind, what it is that you will put into it and what it is that you will not, is to make you a trustworthy source in the world.

Think about it. We believe we need to watch the news to know what is going on. But in the process we often lose touch with, or override the reality of, what is going on within ourselves. And when we are lost and disconnected from ourselves, how can we possibly believe we are in any position to make wise and discerning use of what is coming at us from across a screen? As a matter of fact, from this place all we can do is to spread the contagion of overwhelm and fear.

Just how many times do you need to see images of places burning and out of control to know what is happening for others? Just how many times a day do you need to watch the maps and follow the numbers to be aware of what we are up against in terms of world health?

Watch yourself. Feel yourself. Trust yourself.

Are you more or less empathic after the umpteenth image or news report? Does what you watch leave you paralyzed in your own life? Are you left afraid to be alive?

These are your answers.

Puzzle this out for yourself. Do not look to anyone else. And when in doubt? Get truly single-celled amoeba intelligent as in move towards, move away. Move towards what is life-affirming. Move away from what is toxic or depleting. It is that simple.

P.S. And when the rational mind comes in to tell you why you must do something that feels harmful to you, I will leave you with what someone once said to me; “Two drowning people are not better than one.”

Save yourself and you are now in a real position to help others.

Who (or What) Is Your Oracle?


Oracles can seem like something right out of a Percy Jackson novel. Something fanastical, mythological, and therefore, not born of reality. Not helpful in the day to day. Not something a grown person would do. And yet, when we view an oracle as a “wise and authoritative answer,” or as a “revelation,” it all begins to take on a very different feel. For the truth is, who among us could not use a little more unerring, and dare I say, otherworldly knowledge or guidance.

This week, I heard a teacher say that as humans, when we are struggling, we go to the material world. We go to our computers, our statistics, our medications, and our distractions. We go to our fears, our insecurities, our habit patterns and our assumptions. We go to other people, and we go to the statistics. In a nutshell, we go outside of ourselves for the fix. Nowadays, that “fix” is virtually endless.

I am witnessing that right now in my own life as I all too often find myself at my inbox looking for how I get to feel about the work I have to offer the world. As if the great and mighty oracle of Hotmail will tell me whether or not I am heading in the right direction around my life’s work, around my most sacred callings, yearnings and devotions. It is all so very painful. So very, very unfulfilling, confusing, maddening and distracting. That is because I am in the wrong place.

In fact, it is actually destructively easy, “convenient,” and far too accessible for our own good to be able to push a button, get an answer and wind up in the wrong place. Interestingly enough, too often, it is not even close to the answer, as in the one we most need or is most accurate, but instead, is an answer; that whether valid or not, stands in the place of what we are seeking. Only… Have we paused to consider that what is so quick, so decisive, so seemingly real and authoritative is in fact distancing us from ourselves? Making us “instinct-injured?”* Separating us from our truest nature and with that the treasure trove of instinct, intuition and connection? Have we considered that distanced from the guidance, well-being, sovereignty, and yes, natural sacredness that is our birthright, we are in fact destroying ourselves?

It is so hard to not know. To be uncertain. To feel small and out of control. And yet. And yet. Contained in all of that is a map. A map for living right up close and personal with the Truth of who we are, and how things actually work. But it only becomes available when we are willing to see it as such. Only available when we become the strict guardians of who and what we use as our Oracle. As our ultimate Source.

Several years ago I had a student who came up with the most elegant and profound gatekeeping strategy I have ever encountered around how we use the technologies. She taped a sticky note to the back of her phone with the question, “Why am I here?”


Drink that in deeply for some perspective. Are you here to be guided by what comes out of a machine? Or by Something Greater? Are you here merely to latch onto information being pushed on you, only to spew it back out again? Or do you have something of your own to say? Are you here to ping-pong back and forth between fear and false external assurances? Or are you here to discover what to put your faith in?

The questions are deep, and they are so very profound. The ones worth asking always are.  And, the ones worth asking cannot be answered by another. Or by an inbox.

*Clarissa Pinkola-Estes

In Vogue


Recently, I spoke with a man who told me, “I have been practicing “social distancing” forever. Finally, it’s in vogue.”

Where to begin with this one? Where to begin on where we, as social creatures, now find ourselves. Where to begin around what is accurate and necessary here given the times, and when it is that what we are choosing is serving to justify and solidify exactly the wrong perspectives and practices. Ones that in the end will leave us diminished in health and happiness and even, interestingly enough, less safe.

We mean so much to one another. So much, in fact, that it is what can hurt us the most. It is what can render us suspicious of intimacy in our relationships, and generate fears around strangers and those different from us; leaving us to believe that it is far easier, and safer, to opt out of being in social connection.

Our underlying and unrecognized fears around being hurt and unsafe, and of hurting one another are surfacing now with great intensity through the accelerated experience we are all going through with the virus. It can be so difficult to sort fact from fiction. To sort healthy precautions from choices that emanate from old wounds and distorted childhood survival programming, along with culturally condoned and made-up fears.

It is interesting, disturbing and ironic that out of all the words that we could have chosen to describe an approach to slow the spread of the virus between us, that we have somehow chosen “social distancing” to describe something we already do quite well now. It is as if it was just there waiting to be named. Waiting to justify the social disconnections increasing at an alarming rate through the distancing ways we use the screen technologies and our overly busy and distracted lives.

Only now, we have safety reasons to bring this into vogue. For who could possibly argue with keeping our distance now? Who could possibly argue with the sentiments that are sure to continue on long after this is over that is is far safer to “connect” via a screen, at a “safe” distance, than in person, because after all, who knows what will happen between us?

Whatever it is that we believe here or feel called to do at this time, let us never forget that caring touch heals. Let us never forget that close proximity, where we literally sense the breath and heart rate resonance of another, regulates our nervous system; insulating us against stress while supporting our immune functioning. Let us never forget that the research on social connections reveals that social isolation and alienation are as dangerous to our health as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Let us never forget that those with the closest and most satisfying social bonds stay the healthiest, live the longest, and recover the fastest when ill.

Fears of being harmed. Fears of harming another. This is the dance we are all engaged in with one another, and at this moment in time, as our safety fears around others are being brought to the surface, we all have a choice. The virus has simply highlighted some things that have always been there. But the Truth is, we cannot afford to create any more distance between ourselves and others. We cannot afford more fear, mistrust or alienation. And we certainly cannot afford turning our relationships over to the machines, believing that that is what will keep us safe now.

What we do here matters. And not just over the spread of a virus. But over what it is that we will allow to take hold between us. What it is that we will allow to infect our minds about being in the presence of others. How we talk about this, the words we give it, all matter. A lot. Likely more than we know. Or maybe, are able to recognize given the fears we carry within.

Sense Care


I am in an Ayurvedic training where I am learning about the the ancient system of Indian health and healing. Right now I am steeped in an area Ayurveda calls “sense care.” This includes a paradigm, practices, and ways of being that recognize the essential role that our five senses play in physical health and psychological well-being. It is an understanding and a deep respect for the powerful impressions that get made on us based on what we take in from our environments through our senses.

Think about it like food for the mind and the body that comes in through the five doorways of hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell. With the information that comes in possessing the power to either nourish or starve. Uplift or degrade. Bring balance or chaos. Calm or unrest. Healing or disease.

With this as a recent and welcomed back drop to how I am experiencing the world, I cannot stop thinking about the children. The ones who are coming up now in The Age of Technology. The ones whose senses, particularly sight and hearing, are literally being assaulted, obliterated, violated and distorted. Innocence stolen. Minds overrun with harmful images and messages. Insidious impressions weaseling their way into our children’s minds and bodies. With all of what they are taking in setting the standard for what it means to be fed.

Maybe you think I am overdoing it?

Well, how about the statistic that recently made its way to me that says that two thirds of our 7 year-olds have already seen porn? Need I say more? Once a child has taken in that level of sense impression, and at such a young and tender age, where does it go? What does it do to them? How does that not foul a once open, curious and pristine mind? How does that one ever get undone?

I’ll tell you how. It doesn’t. It does not get undone.

One has to begin to wonder what this is doing to their vision. And I mean this in the broadest sense; as in what their life and the life of the world looks like to them looking through the images they are receiving across a screen. And what of their precious hearing? What is all of this training them to listen to? And for. Could this be part of the reason that the generations coming up now are so riddled with so much anxiety? For the truth is, the words and images that our children take in matter. A lot. Far more than is currently being recognized and addressed.

And while I am rolling out the big guns here with the porn, there are countless and daily examples of how our children’s senses are being overwhelmed. Examples large and small, seen and unseen, idiotic and damaging. Don’t take my word for it. Just pick up your own head and look around.

When a human being is young, the predominant brain wave states that they are in are highly suggestible. Makes sense, right? We want the young of our species to be moved by, informed by and molded by the environment that they find themselves in. We want them to learn based on what they are ingesting via the experiences of the world around them.

And for a very long time this made sense. It made perfect sense when we were being shaped by a natural world. But now that the predominant experience of our young is coming more and more from something man-made, and by something that is far too often a very disturbed representation of what man can make, our children are in trouble. For they do not yet possess the essential defense mechanisms, cognitive maturity, nor coping skills to sort through and make sense of what is coming in. Instead, it all just goes in.

Can you imagine it? Can you imagine all of the images and the words that our little ones are ingesting now that have absolutely nothing to do with health or beauty or truth or love? Everything, literally everything, that they take in is shaping and forming them. What if we really, really knew this? And what if we acted on their behalf as the gatekeepers who kept  out what is not fit for the innocent eyes and open ears of a child?

Common sense around the senses would dictate that we would never want to expose our children to what is harsh, frightening, overwhelming, or just overall beyond their ability to digest. To come back to our food connection, would we give a steak, alcohol, cocaine or soda to a newborn? We would not because we understand that it is beyond their capacity to handle, and with certain inputs, even dangerous. That any of these things would only harm them, even if they were not inherently problematic to a more mature being. But too often, we are assuming that something is fine for our children based on looking at it through the eyes of an adult with a developed brain. But this has got nothing to do with what children actually need.

Look through their eyes. Listen through their ears. Sense through the heart. Then decide.



Taking & Leaving


“Take what works for you, and leave the rest.” I find myself saying this to my college class as we begin to cover some more weighty and challenging topics. Just saying this goes a long way to bringing a sense of relief into the room. And permission. Permission to choose on behalf of what works. Permission to choose differently than what is currently being offered.

Have you noticed that despite all of the choices, and all of the information available to us, we often live as if we do not have the right to opt out? To choose to say “No?” To give ourselves the permission to say this is all that I can do? All that I want. All that I can handle. Leaving us far too often suffering under the weight that we need to be doing it all. Need to know it all. Need to be up to date on it all. And always, and in all ways, needing to be doing more. Ever-more.

In a time where we are consuming more information and content than we can healthfully make use of, can you imagine what your life would be like if you only took what you really needed or wanted, and left the rest? Can you imagine deciding for yourself when you had had enough?

It puts me in mind of an old Saturday Night Live skit where the scene opens invitingly to diners enjoying themselves at an “all you can eat” buffet. People are laughing, chatting and happily eating what they have chosen for food. The opening scene ends as the people naturally and easily let the wait staff know when they have had enough, and would like the check.

The next scene is cast in semi-darkness, where diners are bound to chairs while the wait staff forces enormous and unworkable amounts of food into their mouths. People are screaming, crying and trying to get away from the force feeding. But to no avail. Between the bondage, the screaming, and the mess being created, it presents as a kind of modern day hell made complete by the booming and ominous voice saying, “Not all you want to eat, all you can eat.”

I find parallels in this dark humor to what we are up against in The Age of Technology. That being, a kind of boundary-less imposition of something that in the right quantities, and under the right set of circumstances, would nourish. But that under the current conditions, creates suffering and overwhelm.

What would your life look like to take what you need, and leave the rest when it came to the use of the screen technologies, or anything else for that matter? What if your criteria became, “I will ingest only that which feeds and nourishes my mind, body and soul?” Only that which offers contentment and fulfillment. What then, would change around how you use what these times have to offer, if you actually started with how you felt and what you needed, in any given moment?

The “Urgent Care” Of Our Lives

I am driving down the road when I notice a new billboard. Taking up a whole half of the advertisement is an image of a happy kid hanging on a tree limb. Covering the other half are the big, bold words: Urgent Care Now Open.

How have we gotten to the place where we now advertise, using fear-based tactics, the health support and healing we all need? How have we allowed marketers to use powerful and emotional imagery to sell us something that should have nothing whatsoever to do with how slick the ad campaign is to get us in the door? How have we allowed the use of terrifying young parents about the potential, and often unlikely, harms that can happen to their child, twisting that fear into a vehicle to sell them health care? And how have we taken the sacred trust between healer and patient and turned it into the sacrilege of a commodity sold based on generating fear?

It cannot be overstated how both egregious and sadly representative of our world that this one message depicts. I believe the injustice of it all is hitting me particularly hard because I have just finished reading over 40 self-reflection papers from my college students where the most dominant theme or sub-theme is their level of fear, anxiety, stress and insecurity. And while I recognize that there are lots and lots of factors into why this is so for the generations now, one salient contributing factor, that cannot be denied, is all of the cultural messages they have received over their lives around how dangerous life is.

This is represented so “exquisitely” in the use of an image of an innocent, unsuspecting kid having fun, while right next to it alluding to the tragedy that is just around the corner. This is powerfully depicted with how the billboard is set up; giving the message that even in the most seemingly care-free moments of childhood, something bad could happen. At any moment. Oh, but don’t worry, because now there is a new urgent care location just around the corner.

We are unnecessarily terrifying parents who go on to pass that terror onto their children; training them to be stuck regularly in a kind of warped fight-flight response. Our current ways of disproportionately focusing on what is unsafe, our worse case scenarios focus, our hyper-attention to the extremes and the unlikely outcomes, along with the self-generated fears that result, are taking their toll.

The tragic results? Our children are terrified of strangers. They believe something bad is about to happen at any moment which is why they must always have a cell phone on them. They do not sleep well. They do not let down. Unless of course, it is with the help of drugs; prescribed and otherwise. They cannot focus. And who could under these circumstances? Their poor little nervous systems have been conditioned to believe that the head must be on a swivel at all times to locate and identify all the ever-present sources of threat.

Instead of living, they ruminate. They isolate. They get sleep disorders, panic attacks and G.I. problems. They are so hopped up all the time on fear and anxiety that they need far too much alcohol, faceless sex, and far too many Netflix episodes to try and talk themselves off the ledge they live on. They have taken what they have gotten from us and gone on to up the ante by seeing danger everywhere. The level of self-generated fears they have created in their own lives is both maddening and suffocating.

Are there dangerous realities to the world? Certainly. As parents do we want to protect our children at all costs? Definitely. But what has been conjured up, whipped up, and force fed to both us and our children is not keeping us safe, it is making us sick and unhappy. What if for their sake we all worked together to get a handle around what is true and untrue when it comes to the fears we hold? Want a place to start? Do a news fast for a week. Stop entertaining yourself on violence or subjecting your kids to content and conversations that are beyond their level of maturity to handle. Quit violent gaming. Stop watching the same horrific news story over and over again. Isn’t once enough?



I recently read that imitation is the basis of all social intelligence. That we are wired, right from the very beginning of life, to mimic the human beings around us. Particularly our primary caregivers; those we spend the most amount of time with. Those that we depend upon for our very survival and well-being. Those that we want to be like more than anyone else in the world.

I remember it so well with my son Jack when he was young. For a time we dubbed him “The Worker,” not only because he loved to use brooms and hammers but because this was what he told someone he wanted to be when he grew up. He was emulating my husband, his father. He took great pride and joy using his hands and busying himself with building, cleaning and fixing things. I could make the argument here that being “a worker” was less about any role or job, and much more about him trying to be just like someone he loved and looked up to.

If we take this simple example and extrapolate it out into the world at large, it calls for us, as the the adults, to be clear about what we are modeling. This is not limited to just your children, or even whether or not you have children. What matters only is what we are offering to the younger generations by way of what we are showing them is possible, necessary and desirable.

Nowhere is our lack of understanding around being a role model more in evidence then with the way we use the technologies. What it is that we are demonstrating and offering up as something to be imitated. And while many of us have marveled, or been distressed by, how quickly the children take to the screens, or how absorbed they are by it to the exclusion of other more important things, is there anywhere else to look but at ourselves? This is not easy to do. As a matter of fact, it is far easier to shake our heads in either awe or distress at what the younger generations are doing, than it is to take a hard look at what we are doing.

When we characterize our children’s preoccupation with all things screen as some new extraordinary, or scary, adaptation to the species, something only the younger generations possess, is it not folly to miss the most salient point of all? That being, that it is we who have showed them the way. We who have demonstrated to them how important the devices are. We who have acted as a model for what to want and how to be with all of this.

Because we do not have a lot of time with this one as far too many children are missing out on something worthy of their precious life to imitate, I ask you now, “Are you proud of what you are showing the children around the role that the technologies play in your life?” And while it may sting in the moment to stand in the presence of such a pointed question, this is what our children need. Now. Right now. Grown-ups who are proud of how they handle the devices. Grown-ups who recognize the central and powerful position they hold in the life of a child, and who carry that charge with respect and vision.

If we are going to elevate anything in life to the exclusive and lofty position that the technologies have achieved in such a short amount of time, should it not be of the highest caliber? Should it not be worthy of the very best in our children? For the truth is, the children are watching us. All of the time. They want to be like us. They want what we want. If this makes any sense to you whatsoever, then the only question is, “How and where can I do right by the children, and where is it that I am letting them down?”