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Not Broken Don't Bond It
by Michael Mendizza
Editor's Note from Sylvia Poareo: I thoroughly appreciate this article in which Michael Mendizza points us to the primal bonding that children naturally need to feel complete and secure. This statement says so much to me, "the question "why the addiction?" is the wrong question. "Why the pain, the unfillable feeling?" He outlines many ways that our current lifestyle does not support this natural attachment and security, and reminds us that many answers are found in following nature's plan for the beginning of life.
The point is maintaining relationship – not connecting something that is broken.
The terms bonding and attachment imply separation, to bond, connect, glue together separate parts. Life is relationship. We are never separate, except in our minds.
We are the light, the air, the water, the nutrients, the heat, the vibration, gravity, ever-changing movement and much more. The human body and brain is defined by the environment. Each mirrors the other. But we forget. The deeper reality and challenge is to prevent this ongoing, dynamic and reciprocal connection from being broken.
Joseph Chilton Pearce and I were exploring the root cause of our social and political calamity. Joe lamented that nature’s agenda during pregnancy, birth and the sensitive postnatal period – doesn’t happen. What could be fails to unfold. ‘Houston, we have a problem.’ See: http://ttfuture.org/files/2/members/esa_jcp_biology_culture.pdfIn the closing chapters of his latest book David B. Chamberlain, PhD, author of The Mind of Your Newborn Baby and Babies Remember Birth, questions if the failure of mothers and babies to share the deep biological experiences we generally call bonding, in mass, all over the world, is altering the basic foundation that we call human. See: http://ttfuture.org/authors/dbc
James W. Prescott, PhD, cultural anthropologist and neuroscientist, based on lifelong studies of sensory deprivation associated with mother-infant separation describes two brains, one associative, bonded, the other dissociative, unbounded, separate, isolated. The first, so called ‘bonded’ brain, produces a self-world view based on contact, trust, wonder, play and pleasure. The unbounded, dissociative brain produces a very different self-world view based on lack of trust, anxiety, unsafe touch and intimacy.
The social-cultural self-image or egos that emerges from each of these brains are different. To the associative, play, wonder and pleasure brain the world is safe, inviting, and full of pleasurable sensations. The more engaged and connected the better. The isolated, touch, play and pleasure deprived self-image interprets the world as threatening, something to be defended against, may be hyper-sensitive to touch, often sad, depressed, agitated, addictive, aggressive, even violent. See: http://ttfuture.org/bonding/front
In his latest book, the Functions of the Orgasm, physician, surgeon, founder of water-birth, and primal health researcher Michel Odent, MD, describes how the natural opiate oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, biological bonding agent, reaches peak levels, many times higher than sexual orgasm, during natural, non-drugged, non-technical birth. Nature, by design, floods the mother and the baby with ecstasy, sealing the nine month relationship with the highest-high human beings share. Ecstasy is pleasure. Pleasure is addictive. It bonds naturally. Pitocin, a synthetic counterfeit of oxytocin routinely administered in high-tech hospital births to induce labor because the environment is so scary, so filled with intellectually induced stress that normal, nature’s design shuts down, fails to function. Pitocin does not produce the ecstasy of oxytocin. Mother and baby are flooded instead with stress hormones, physical pain and all too often find themselves on the operating table prepped for a C section.
Having missed the natural hormonal high, the ecstasy, the deep whole-body euphoria, each - Joe, Jim, David and Michel, along with thousands of midwives and ecstatic mothers, wonder how all of this is affecting what it means to be human? Recent research suggests that C section mothers are less responsive, less empathic to their newborn infants. There is a strong implication that child abuse and neglect increases when natural bonding decreases, but of course, this is extremely sensitive territory.
These infants are often placed in non-familial stranger-care institutions as early as six months, something many ecstatic natural birth mothers find too painful to consider. Very early, during this most sensitive ‘primal’ period the body’s regulatory markers are set, and set for a lifetime. Being played with, touched, breast fed by a pleasure-hormone full adoring mother sets these markers differently than an infant picked up when necessary, bottle fed by strangers in a care center for six to eight hours each day. These regulators - touch is safe, pleasurable, nurturing, or touch is scary, unfamiliar, to be avoided, and defended against, are the filters that sculpt who we think we are, our self-world view for a lifetime.
Not so very long ago, just a blink in biological time the tribal-village-extended-family was replaced by the isolated, often single parent struggling to make ends meet. TV and technology, computer games and smart phones with cute little apps replaced intimate storytelling, wandering though backyard fields, collecting tadpoles, building forts and digging tunnels to China, bonding with nature. The developing brain adapts to what is normal, but in today’s world normal isn’t natural or healthy. Entire continents and cultures are influences by these deep changes in the building blocks of human life. Is bonding today anything like what it was a thousand or even a hundred years ago?
Referring to addiction, Canadian physician Gabor Mate notes: the question why the addiction is the wrong question. Why the pain, the unfillable feeling? See: http://ttfuture.org/authors/mate.
Virtually every film, every pop song, most television programs and novels pine and wine: ‘she loves me, she loves me not.’ The deep need to belong, to be seen and appreciated for who we actually are, not our score or grade point average, how tall we are or the car we drive – this authentic, deep connection is not there, never has been for increasing numbers of people.
Feeling connected, a part of life - that is what we are. The question is; how do we prevent this natural state from being broken? We must begin at the beginning, with our body, listening to it, allowing it to point the way. See: Creative Fertility with Jeannine Parvati Baker http://ttfuture.org/authors/j_p_baker
What we call bonding is really like surfing. Every moment the wave is changing, moving, increasing or losing energy and we the adult must be extremely sensitive, watching, listening, adapting, improvising our we will miss the ride. When that happens we, our children and all human life suffers a loss.
The moment we give this attention and act on what we see and feel – everyone is uplifted. Life rejoices wrapped in pleasure and play.
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About the Author
Michael Mendizza is an author, educator, documentary filmmaker and founder of Touch the Future, a nonprofit learning design center. His book, Magical Parent-Magical Child, co-authored with Joseph Chilton Pearce, applies research on optimum states to parenting and to education. Inspiration for this work emerged from personal relationships with Joseph Chilton Pearce, physicist David Bohm, philosopher J. Krishnamurti, and over one hundred scientists, authors and educators. Michael writes and speaks internationally on the Next Frontier in Education, The Intelligence of Play, Transcendent Mentoring, Media and the Brain, Corporate Exploitation of Children, Un-Schooling and Home-Schooling, Raising Children in a Sport-Crazed Culture, and other topics.