Friday, April 26, 2019

Child-raising, Gentle Discipline

When I was younger, one of the things I was interested in studying when I grew up was psychology.

(Just a side-note about that: I remember my father laughing one time and saying that only people with psychological issues study psychology. Or maybe it was someone else who said that and he just chuckled along. I felt so angry with the irony of my father being the cause of much of my psychological turmoil. His unawareness, hypocrisy and unfairness bothers me deeply until today, and I relentlessly seek justice in everything at least partially as a result of the injustice I felt.)

I didn't go on to study psychology in university, but after putting down a library book on "Gentle Discipline" on the coffee table one evening two weeks ago, after having read more pages at once than I normally do in any one book, I realized that I did in fact go on to immerse myself in psychology and psychoanalysis and specifically that regarding child education, by reading books, articles, my own memories and parents who communicate with their children in affirmative and educational ways. Of course working with kids on a more-or-less regular basis for the past ten years has also given me insight, and allowed/allows me to implement in practice the positive, affirmative ideas I collect.

It is so important to me, not just on an intellectual-cognitive level, but on a deep emotional forefront of necessity and moral obligation, that people turn to positive, respectful, pro-child, pro-development, nonviolent measures in raising or caring for children. It's deep in my stomach to care about this.

Generations upon generations of people have grown up through the helpless circumstances of punishment and shaming. (Only God knows how D.T. - the human who was elected president - was raised, and what kind of punishments he got that made him be how he is.) We can see around us how toxic discipline (and may I say Patriarchal ideas) have had a negative effect on our society as a whole. I'm so glad our generation is being mindful about learning from all these mistakes. (When we are not cognizant of the toxic conventions in which we ourselves were raised, we may play out the same detrimental story for our kids. We should be mindful parents/caregivers by first of all noticing our own difficulties and predispositions, in order to end the cycle of violence and care better for the children who depend on us.)

Things like listening to children, not ignoring them when they need you, staying calm, not being violent (and setting a good example in general), not dis-valuing their emotions, and explaining things to them (in an age-appropriate way) are just some of the crucial behaviors adults should maintain when communicating with children.

Not punishing is one of those things. Punishing a child (like sending them off to be in confinement) only deepens their sense of inadequacy and their lack of self-esteem, and causes fear and helplessness, with no positive (long-term) outcome. (I feel sometimes it is the parent who should go to their room or have a time-out, not the child.) Likewise, there is no reason to grab or scream at a child if there is no immediate danger. A child should be given space (mental and physical) to explore, play, learn and make some of their own decisions.

I have seen some very inspiring parenting skills by parents whose kids I cared for or by parents in public places (and I've seen so many un-inspiring ones out there too). Two of the most positive skills I've seen (which I've adopted, and is always evolving) are the ability to respond to a child in a mindful way instead of pulling a response out of a pocket, and explaining things to kids with the assumption that they are smart - and not talking in a baby voice.

All children are small and vulnerable and confined to the family they were given, so it is my innermost wish that each and every one of these small beings in the world will be granted parents who care for them and support their growth and development in affirmative and nonviolent ways, to allow them independence and joy. If every child will be listened to, and will learn to take deep breaths and to express themselves calmly, our world will be a whole lot better. Amen.

Monday, April 22, 2019


I wonder what part of me is the part that is scared, clueless and absent-minded (and the part that ponders more than does, that loses words more than creates them), and when in my development they took hold. I see people like Mogli, the beautiful wanderer-musician. She tells that from a young age her two mothers encouraged her to travel and be independent. I get very inspired from watching her videos (and we watched her documentary "Expedition Happiness" last year, about her van-conversion and -life), and in a sense, I feel very similar to her, although I am 29, not 24, and don't create anything nearly as beautiful or inspiring, even though I could, and I wonder why not. It is in me for sure, but something never really developed out of its little cocoon, I am still just as tiny as I was when I was 14. How can I become greater? 

Photo from 2008

For starters, I should download a sound-editing program to actually start making music. Then I should get a better camera and take my video-making more seriously. I should write more, and I should also work on my book. Not just writing an idea a day, because then they may never come together as a book, but to really write the parts of the book, like start with the first page, and continue on from there.

I should also do something with all the tens of thousands of photos I have taken over the years. It is a large body of work that came to be without specific intention, just by having a camera in hand all the time since my teenage years. I should choose favorites and make collections out of them, reflect on the memories and see what comes up, add poetry to them, display them in virtual or real art galleries.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Spontaneous Combustion of Touch

So it's true, I want to write about those four friends
The four friends I now send a spontaneous poem to every Saturday night,
looking for reflection to my queer landscaped spurts of words
(Words that are just the swathed edges of a coherent sensation)
It all comes back to
Words infinitely reactivated by defiant hearts
Yearning hearts

I sit and want to write, configurations of air and matter radiate on my sides as my thought-streams try to coincide through them and reach me directly. All is strewn out upon layers of colors and hues
In shapes of time and space ago
Things touch
Like my hands to my laptop's keyboard
Like a breath of air to my lungs to my stomach, in and out
Like my crossed legs touch the floor
My sock-covered feet rest beneath me
Things touch each other
I want more connection
I want touch to be the epitome of understanding.
I want my thoughts to be clear like the crease of a sheet and my brainwaves as explicit as a stream of water.
I want more touch. I want the fusion of matter and air to touch a linear comprehension of time, to touch a lucid understanding of what is, to touch a plateaued spur toward language, to touch language, to find the words through the ocean of possibility.
I want touch to be the epitome: When I touch experience, I want to touch time, when I touch passion, I want to touch creativity, when I touch air, I want to touch clarity.
When I touch a field of thought, I want to touch a story.
I want the story in my head to touch a nerve
That's longer and stronger than two sentences
That lasts for a whole book
That has in it the kind of quirky beginnings, intricate but simple middles, and solemn, spiky, friendly, awesome, inspiring ends. I swear I can see it in my mind.
I want touch.
I want to touch people
Embrace people,
Be embraced
Not live in a solitary body or soul
Be with others,
Be me in others,
Be others in me.
Be a living story, oh, so unique, so fascinating, but also so mundane and so simple!
Let passion run loose. No. Tame it. Tame is to be running loose and arriving somewhere where it can then sprawl itself out onto paper and morph into a book.

And then be a book,
And then sigh.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Things only dogs are allowed to do

I visited my good friend's home today; we had a Hebrew kirtan jamming session, she, me, and another friend. As I entered her house, her dog, Leggy, came rushing over to me as she usually does, squealing with excitement, jumping up and down, and licking my chin when I knelt down to stroke her. She so unabashedly expressed her excitement. My friend laughed and stated that Leggy is just so happy to see me. I said I wish I was like that too: able to approach people and freely and exuberantly express my intense and eager desire to just hug them and kiss them and be ever-so close to them.

Thursday, April 11, 2019


I've always been one to feel strong emotions of inspiration. But I don't usually envision experiencing spiritual inspiration for days or weeks at a time (partly because it's hard to stay revelated for so long and partly because it can be overwhelming to feel so intensely free) and yet here it has been, and it's such a tremendous gift and blessing which I am so grateful for. And to think that it could happen simultaneously with turmoil in my personal life, fascinates me and reflects to me that my heart is a wonderful home~

It's the music. The music has gotten me so enlightened, so joyful with the sense of self-realization and of fulfilling spiritual missions in the world.

Pondering - Laziness or True Inquiry?

SO, I really want to write. This time, I'm speaking the words as I write them. I mean, out loud. I'm saying them, and there are three sounds happening simultaneously: The keyboard being tapped, my voice speaking these words, and the coffee dripping through the coffee machine, because I want something to wake me up, and even though it's decaf, it still wakes me up - or gives me jitters - which isn't fun, but I deny that and pretend it helps me wake up. I didn't sleep well last night. My mind was a broken record. It happens sometimes. It's not always bad though. Sometimes the broken record is a hopeful one, sometimes - lately - I've been filling with anticipation and inspiration for things inside of me and things I feel will be actualized in the world in the coming years. Oh, the coffee has finished - well, I made so little of it, I always do because I drink about 1/3 cup of coffee and not more than that, in the mug that Odelia made for me while she was studying ceramics at Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem. Anyway, now, with the silence of the coffee machine, I hear Nemo's breaths, too. She is resting on the couch, elderly, tired, but surrounded by my love always.

Anyway, I wanted to write about unconventional/nonconventional living. I tend to surround myself with unconventional (unique, freethinking) people, but it happens now and then that I am faced with a different reality, as I rendezvous with people from a more traditional mindset, and that mindset often includes being skeptical or judgmental of those unconventionalists among us.

Before I get into that, I want to remind the public that I have a problem retrieving words from my brain. The place that restores and retrieves words is somewhat blurry and not focused for me, in the peripheral vision of my brain, and I often cannot think of the words I want, even though I know they must be in my brain somewhere. (My therapist says that reading more books can be helpful, so I borrowed ten books from the nonfiction section of the library yesterday, to improve my vocabulary while also learning some things about childcare, Islam and feminism.) Sometimes I can't even remember how to spell words that I really should - or used to (I'm not sure) know how to spell. And my typos have been seemingly more frequent, although I'm not sure if this is truly the case. My fingers on my phone always seem to be making typos, especially when I type eagerly and quickly, which is quite often the case, because when I have an idea I spew it out like a rocket.

Anyway, back to the topic of nonconventional living. I wonder if my satisfaction with the way things are are a laziness or a true understanding that I am doing what is right for me. I don't mean to say that I don't want to push myself farther in certain fields, but I just mean that sometimes I have this belief that just being kind to people is good enough some days and is a gift that I have that is worthy, not less than having a career, and I wonder if that belief is just settling for mediocrity, because I could be (according to the Western dogma) doing things like studying for a master's degree in something, or running a business, or AT LEAST working at a full-time job making some good $$$!

The idea is, I love moving to a fro, being a nomad of ideas and places, being able to sit in my own skin, feeling enlightened through music, smiling at people and saying "thank you," working on healing from terrible godawful things like sexual shame, painting a painting over the span of months, reading fragments of books, writing fragments of ideas, petting and hugging and kissing and talking to Nemo and believing that my love for her is keeping her health strong even at age 13, taking hot showers, drinking coffee (sometimes), being vegan, thinking about the prospects of peace and nonviolence in this world, trying to work on being kind and nurturing even to people who I am angry at (there are very few of those, but they do exist), working on nonviolent communication, fantasizing about the life I want to live, staying up at night with ideas and excitement, moving states, rolling through places on wheels, being part of a community, being active in the community, working with kids, teaching people things that I have been gifted to know, getting to read books to kids and listen to kids and have meaningful interactions with them, singing the "Good Morning Earth" song with my KG+1st Graders at the Sunday School, teaching kids how to weave, singing to them and taking them outdoors and hopefully showing them the wonders of song and music and nature. There are so many wonderful things going on in my life!

True, I do not have a degree in anything. (I went to art school, but that was for a diploma, not a degree.) I do not make a lot of money. (I am fine with that. There are more important things to have a lot of. Like integrity, authenticity, curiosity, openness.) I don't have one single "home" (I have many). I keep moving. I've had three different partners since the age of twenty. (Each one unique and amazing and I care about them all.) I wear the same clothes and the same shoes over and over again, and I so seldom brush my hair (and I wear the same socks that Bob bought me for the PCT four years ago because they are still good).

I don't know why I am writing this post. I don't need to convince anyone. Most people around me are unconventional and freethinking already anyway. Maybe I just want to pose the question of whether in today's day and age, the ability to sit back and observe (the luxury to do so) is Laziness, or True Inquiry!

Ah. Who will know?

I mean, I know that the time I need is *important* to me, but 100 years ago people didn't spend all this time pondering, and did they get more done, or less? Did they find a certain asset, through hard work, that I cannot find today, because I do not dedicate myself to that amount of consistent routine effort? Or on the contrary - did they not fulfill their talents the way we can today?

(And you know what the hardest part of this is? That I so hate peeling myself away from home and going out to work, even though I love my jobs. Like now. I want to stay and keep writing.)

Sunday, April 07, 2019


Being fully truthful and sincere 
is the only path 
to finding peace, solace and truth, 
even when there is pain along the way. 
There is no virtue in being closed or inauthentic.


I was suddenly thinking about the different emotions that people have that are the collective baseline of intense emotions, the ones that recur, that feel strongest, the ones that draw the shoreline, the outline of one's essence. I asked Tal what those emotions have been for him lately, what are those really monumental emotions, and as I was asking it, in bed feeling tired enough that thoughts flowed fluidly, I was thinking about the ones that were true for me.

Well, for me there are mainly three I think, at least now: shame; regret or a sense of abandonment, which seem to be the same for me; and inspiration or the sense of being in love with individuals in the world or with the world as a whole entity of many sentient heartful beings, and wanting to connect very very deeply.

Oh, sometimes that inspiration is so terribly overflowing that I really don't know what to do with it, how to tame it, how to express it, how to let the love flow, take root, grow; how to turn this white light back into its elemental colors! It fills me with joy, with giddiness. That sense of wanting to be planted inside a world-wide earthy warm hug, in which I can rest and rock, comes and cuddles me into the present moment.

Suddenly it happens; inspiration to express this all. I must grasp this moment; I even think to myself that I must seize these moments of enlightenment to write my whole book! Write write write, do it right now before you go back into literary dullness, I implore in myself.

What is it I wanted to say? What do I want to wrap myself in?

Oh, but it comes and goes all too soon.