My Feminist Awakening

my feminist awakening
Men are rarely taught a healthy way to relate to womyn as we grow up.
In general the message we receive is that womyn are a collection of body parts for our personal use.
We are not taught that girls and womyn are actual people that deserve respect.

This may be shocking to you.
I assure you it is true.

As a teenager I remember this feeling very clearly. I was so focused on the body parts. It was such a loss really because I couldn’t have real relationships with womyn. There was always this body part haze around everything. I know not many men talk about this. It’s quite dangerous to reveal this!

I deeply wish somebody had told me that females are not creatures for my amusement; they are people with feelings, hearts and minds.

I honestly didn’t know that. It seems quite unbelievable, but when I was 13 and the hormones were raging through my body, all I could think about were butts and boobs.

That was the message I received from the media, video games, my peers, the entertainment industry including cartoons, my home life and the adults in my environment – womyn were only flesh for my use.

Over 24 years ago I had what I call my feminist awakening. Which really just means that I realized that I was not seeing womyn as humans and not treating them with respect. It took 25 years of life before I even started to realize there was another way.

From that day on I have engaged in a process of undoing and rebuilding my perception and relationship with womyn.

The misogyny is still in me.
I can feel it.
It haunts my every thought.
It affects every interaction I have with womyn.
And I have to fight it every day,
because the seeds of patriarchy were sown deep.

This is a hard thing to admit because I really want to believe that I’m a good man.
How can I feel like a progressive, feminist ally if I admit to having such feelings and thoughts about womyn?

In my opinion, I can’t do a good job in trying to change that attitude in society if I ignore its existence in myself.

I think my life would have been much different if someone had just told me when I was a young boy in a loving, non-judgemental, clear way:

• That womyn were people deserving of equal respect and consideration.

• That the sexual feelings in me were natural, but didn’t have to control my thoughts or actions.

That the messages I received from society were NOT the truth.

• And that I could CHOOSE my own thoughts and actions.

Yes I would have turned out very different from the very beginning.
I believe that I would have been able to integrate it and see womyn differently.

Can we share this message with our young boys and men?
I think it would do the world a world of good.

Creation vs Construction

creation vs construction
There is a difference between Creation and Construction.

True divine creation comes from no-thing and is limited by no conditions. Construction has only a fixed set of materials and a fixed set of plans. Living a Divine and purposeful life requires living beyond the normal and predictable expectations of things. I must find the power within to create a Divine life.

My past limits me
Limits my choices

Yet I can live an unlimited life!
The infinite potential is inside me.
IS me.

Realize Your True Nature

I have only to realize it and I can free myself from the limitations that hold me back.
Haha, I say “only to realize it” as if it’s no big deal. Okay it’s not that easy a thing to accomplish.
But honestly, what else am I going to do with my time?

I have many dreams and perhaps some I have not dreamt yet!
How can I open my heart to the grand visions while trapped in the past?

Desire From the Core of Your Being

As I work at realizing my true nature
I gradually open to the beauty and power of the present.
The more I do that the more I’m able to desire from the core of my being,
Rather than the periphery.

I want my heart to dictate my visions
Not my past, my fear nor my conditioning.
When I’m living this way I am creating, not constructing.
Then I’m making my life and fresh in every moment
Instead of replaying the past over and over.

This is freedom.

Working With a Stubborn Child

working with a stubborn child
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to help a number of parents find different approaches to working with their kids. When they are stressed out or at the end of their rope, it’s so fulfilling to see them turn things around. Using some simple (but not always easy) ideas that I share with them, they are usually able to make a significant difference in their families.

In this letter I had a parent asking for help with their very young child.
The little one was arguing over brushing their teeth and changing their diapers.
It was becoming a daily drama.

Mom was getting frustrated and trying very hard not to spank and yell.
Not always being successful, but really trying.

She asked for any help to bring more peace to their home.
She saw that if she’s already yelling and so stressed this often
The trend would likely continue if she didn’t do something.

This is how I responded:


My dear friend I feel your pain
I applaud your restraint
and I admire your determination to be a peaceful parent.

Clearly your desire is to be a peaceful parent and
I would like to offer you some suggestions that might help in this regard.

The things I will suggest may seem quite radical to you,
but I encourage you to think about them and maybe even give them a try.

Look for the Cause

I would like to first start by encouraging you to be thinking about why your child acts out like they do. Usually when a child gets distressed on a regular basis they are seeking energy and attention. This isn’t a bad thing. Many people will tell you that this attention seeking is something to nip in the bud, to control, that they are trying to manipulate you and you have to put your foot down. This isn’t the case.

Children come into the world needing our love and attention and I believe that they know we’re supposed to give it to them unconditionally. When they’re not receiving unconditional love from us they can immediately feel it and they will begin to compensate for that lack by acting out in many different ways.

Fill the Lack

These actions always have their source in trying to fill a lack.
Realizing this, the solution is to fill the lack.

Any strategy that focuses on the behaviour does not address the cause, only the effect.
And while one may get a temporary change,
the cause will remain and the problem will express itself somewhere else soon enough.

There are times when we must deal with behaviours, but when things become consistently difficult it’s important to deal with the situation a bit deeper and more pro-actively.

So here are some suggestions for you:
(and I warned you that some of them may seem radical, but the non-radical hasn’t worked!!)

1) Let Her Have Her Way.

I start with this one because it is the hardest to comprehend how it will result in anything good!
It is a very yin yang concept in fact.
The idea that letting her have her way will actually result in a higher degree of cooperation
is intuitively very difficult to grasp, but I assure you it is true.

When you say it is time to brush your teeth and she says no,
instead of trying to get her to comply try saying something like this
“Well if that’s what you want I respect your decision. I know you know your body best and I also know that you want to take care of your teeth and if you feel this is what you want to do I will accept it.” and then give her a big hug and play with her favourite toy!

Positive Reinforcement isn’t about the Behaviour
It’s about the Connection

It might seem unreasonable to offer positive reinforcement for refusing to obey you.
The common thought is that this will make her think it is okay to disobey you
and she will do more of it. In fact the opposite is what happens.

Remember that she is behaving this way because she is seeking a higher level of love and attention. If she receives an abundance of positive attention at that moment two things will happen:

Give Them a Shock

The first is that she will be a bit in shock because it is different from the normal pattern she is used to. She will not know quite how to react. This shock will open her mind and heart to you. She will be more willing to receive your wisdom.

The other is that over time she will not have anything to rebel against
and the urge, the desire to be defiant will simply disappear.

Patience and Consistency

This will not happen the very first time you do this, it will require some consistency on your part. I am usually annoyed when I hear people suggest that parents must be consistent; because I know what they usually mean is be consistent with punishments and consequences, to be consistently in control.

However I do agree that a certain kind of consistency is very useful,
the consistency of love!

I encourage you to give this very difficult approach a try.
The peace and joy that comes from it will be mighty worth the effort.

2) Say an Unreasonable Yes

Or perhaps a lot of unreasonable yeses!

The unreasonable yes is a great method for increasing how much our children feel loved and understood. When we say yes to things that it seems totally reasonable to say no to, especially when our children fully expect to hear a No, it alters something in their brains! The moment of an unreasonable yes is something they do not forget.

My general principle has always been 10 yeses for every no.

Try and decrease the number of times you say no throughout the day.
The more a child hears yes the more their general level of positivity will increase.
It is amazing to witness that as it occurs.
The need for resistance and
The impulse for defiance decreases and eventually disappears!

3) Explain the reasons for things WITHOUT expecting compliance.

Kids are really smart. They are much smarter than we often give them credit for. When we take the time to explain things to them they really do understand. With repeated explanations the understanding of why we want them to do certain things gets into their head.

The problem comes when we expect them to obey because we have explained the reason to them. When we have that expectation the explanation becomes a form of manipulation rather than communication. Kids can sense this and react very differently to it than to pure communication.

When we explain without expectation we are saying “I trust that you’re smart enough to take this information and use it well.” Wow! What a wonderful message of support and belief we give our kids by doing this!

4) Employ Empathy to Connect

When my kid has difficulty with something in their lives I usually try and relate to it personally. This way she feels like I understand or at least make an attempt to understand what she is going through.

For example if I am encouraging her to do her homework and she just doesn’t feel like it, instead of pushing her to do so I will often say something like

“I know exactly how that feels kiddo. I often don’t want to do my work either and just simply want a break.”

Allow Empathy to Exist On Its Own

I don’t follow it up with a lesson on why she should do it anyway;
I just allow the empathy to exist on its own.
This moment of connected feeling has a profound effect upon our little ones.
They feel supported and heard.

These are such basic emotional needs.
They truly feel like they’ve been given a gift
when they receive non-judgemental empathy,
empathy without a hidden agenda.

Try a Different Approach

So when your kid doesn’t want their diapers to be changed and they want to draw, it might be a different approach to say something like

“I often don’t want to get changed either. Sometimes I’d rather play instead of getting changed too. Why don’t we go draw TOGETHER instead?”

And leave the dirty diaper on and go draw.

Sounds gross perhaps, but the emotional payoff is huge
and will bring many positive returns.

5) Choose Your Timing Carefully

The time for a lesson on the importance of brushing teeth isn’t while the conflict over brushing is in full swing.
It’s better to talk about it in a fun and totally unrelated moment.

At the moment of the struggle, that is when to connect with your little one.
To hold them and love them and make them feel special.

When we pick good, relaxed moments to talk things over the message is much easier to absorb.

Sometimes I’ll wait a week or two before mentioning an event to my daughter so that the emotional vibration has some time to calm down.
Hers and Mine!

There is no rule about when to talk about what.
We must investigate the timing that seems to give our kids the most positive experience.
The key is to investigate how THEY feel and to work our timing around that.

Choose your timing carefully and the messages are easier to digest.


Well I could go on, but I’ll leave it there for now.
I admire any parent for wanting to parent consciously and peacefully
even though (or perhaps because) they were not raised that way.

We all have deeply set programs and wounds inside of us
that we have to fight daily in order to do things differently.
But isn’t that how evolution occurs?

If we don’t raise our kids differently progress will come to a halt.
We will repeat the errors of our predecessors and really the world will be doomed!!

I feel inspired by courageous people who are making a difference in their parenting
Making this effort our kids will reach heights we could only dream of!!

Take care,

Simple Conscious Parenting Advice

simple conscious parenting advice
A parent was asking me about how to do peaceful parenting of a teen.
They are having a lot of conflicts with their kid and they have realized
that traditional parenting methods just aren’t working for them

The following are my suggestions:

My daughter is almost 18 years old.

The day she was born I looked into those pure sweet eyes and thought “one day you’ll be a teen and if I let the normal course of events play out you’ll hate me!!” So I set a plan from that day to create a relationship and a home environment where that wouldn’t happen!!

It was a conscious effort, day by day, to do this, but it’s always been worth it.
She knows that her father is the safest place in the world for her.
We’re best friends and very open with each other. I feel very blessed.

Yes she wanted to rebel and talk back as she grew, but never with me.
I was always her partner in all of her growing, not her obstacle.
I supported her rebellion; I encouraged her to find her own voice
And to express it fearlessly!

Here are a couple brief ideas that may help on your own journey to build a powerful relationship with your teenager.

1) Put your relationship with your kids first, before just about everything else!

Before any practical concern,
before any societal convention,
before any judgement of family and friends,
before discipline and order and
especially before obedience –
Put your relationship first!

When you start to think of life that way every decision changes.

2) Don’t demand (or even expect) obedience.
Yes I’m repeating this one!
Instead teach and encourage your kids to think and decide for things by themselves.

Be there to guide them as they learn to make decisions.
Teach them about pros and cons, about cost and reward, about risk and gain.
Teach them to balance their head and their heart,
but as much as possible let them make their own decisions.

And stand by them when they do, regardless of what decision they make.

3) Practice PROFOUND acceptance.

Let your kids always feel that you accept them no matter what they do or say.
This is a fundamental and very deep need in kids (and in us too I would say!)

The more they feel we accept them for who they are,
the more they will be their honest and authentic selves.
They won’t have to create a false self in order to try and get us to accept them.

This feeling of acceptance will make your kids feel deep trust and comfort with you.
When this happens the need for conflict doesn’t arise.

4) Be Patient

Be patient with your kid and yourself as you learn and grow
into the parent you want to be, and don’t give up.
Keep striving towards an ideal, be gentle with yourself, but never be satisfied.
Always try and be better today than you were yesterday and you’ll get there step by step.

What Does it Mean to be a Strong Parent?

What Does it Mean to be a Strong Parent
What Does it Mean to be a Strong Parent?

Many people think being a strong parent means to be in control.
Or it means that your kids listen and obey you because they know your word is law.
It means that when you say no it is final.
…and the list goes on.

The way I look at things, the strength of my parenting is determined by its effects.
What is my daughter learning?
How is our relationship developing?
What attitudes is she acquiring?
How happy is she?
How much does she love and trust herself
And me?
… and the list goes on!

If You Play With Fire You’re Gonna Get Burned… Or Are You?

When my daughter wanted to play with matches and experiment with lighting fires, I didn’t say no.
I took it as an opportunity to teach her about fire safety
and the responsibility of handling dangerous situations.

We made a game of burning things together.
It was full of fun, learning and bonding.

So as she grew up she never felt the need to hide her desire to burn something from me and we always did it together, because she knew I was a safe place to express herself. This comfort carries over into other areas of our relationship. She is open with me about most aspects of her life because she knows that whatever she shares with me she won’t be judged or corrected.

An Opportunity to Develop Skills

Through playing and learning with fire she also now has developed the skill of evaluating the danger of a situation or desire and responding appropriately. This is a much better outcome than if I had been a traditional “strong parent” and just said no.

In fact that is not actually strong parenting!! It does not teach or guide, it only controls. I might do that to a dog who is chewing up my newspaper, but not to a human whose growth and development I’m responsible for!

When I was growing up my parents told me it was wrong to play with fire and wouldn’t let me. This didn’t stop me; it just made me find ways to do what I wanted without them knowing!! (did your parents saying “no” stop you from doing something you really wanted to do?)

Communicating is Always Better Than Controlling

When kids are controlled they do not learn to reason and understand,
they only learn to obey, and usually not even that.

It’s not hard to imagine that a young person who is told no for something they want to do will find a way to do it. The goal then becomes how to not get caught.

Granted there is some critical and creative thinking involved in trying to escape detection from your parents and not get in trouble, but is that really the relationship we want with our kids?

They certainly and quickly learn that there are some things that they should not share with their parents if they want to continue to receive our approval. So they learn to be false with us. They actually create a fake personality that they know will fit in with our expectations.

No thanks, I want my kid to be honest with me, to be real with me and to know that it is safe.

Friendship Based Parenting is Not Weak

That is why I choose to be my kid’s best friend.
We treat our friends with the kind of respect
that is rarely seen between parents and kids.

The idea that we can’t be our kid’s best friend,
that we have to be a “strong parent”
that we have to be in control
is an ancient and outmoded idea that just doesn’t work.

We Can Evolve

I know my parents did their best with what they had, but I want more.
I want to parent my daughter on a deeper level than I was parented.
This isn’t putting my parents down, it’s evolving.
In fact I’m giving them deep respect and honour by evolving beyond what they did.

I am never satisfied with the past for it’s always possible to improve.
It is only when we are courageous enough to evolve our understanding
To alter ourselves and our patterns
that our families, our relationships, our communities and the world will change.

You are the Power Source

cart before the horse
Our Present is a Reflection of Our Past

What we have done, what we have thought, what we have been. Our inner nature, our continuous thought world, our vision of our beingness; all this has shaped our present.

If we do not change our selves we can look forward to more of the same!

We put our past on repeat, like a CD, and play it over and over again in our heads.
That is why life can be so slow to change. We re-create our miseries in supreme detail.

Your life is a Circle, You are the Centre

Change the centre and the circumference will change.
Your centre is your being, your self, the circumference is your circumstances!
When your being changes, your circumstances change.

When we wait for our circumstances to change we put the cart before the horse. The horse is supposed to pull the cart, this makes the whole thing go, it is the power source. When you put the power source behind the thing it is supposed to pull the system comes to a stop.

The cart cannot pull the horse!!
What a ridiculous picture.

Let’s put things in their proper order.

You are the power source, the primary cause of everything in your life.
Your circumstances are the reflection of who you are.
If you want to change your circumstances
Change your inner world.

Every day I remind myself;
Don’t wait for your circumstances to change,
you have to change.
Take control
Take command
Depend on your Consciousness
You will be victorious!

Respect Yo!

respect yo
Respect Yo!

I don’t believe children need to earn our respect.
We brought them into this world without asking them.
They come in open, pure and full of love.
I think that therefore they deserve our respect just for showing up here.

We Must Be Worthy of Respect

Our job is entirely to be worthy of their respect.
By endeavouring to earn their respect
we will automatically teach them how to respect others.

Respect is not automatic.
It cannot be achieved through pain.

Can I Force You to Respect Me?

How can someone get you, to respect them?

Let’s say they take away your computer if they don’t feel respected by you,
will you then respect them?

If they come over to your house and lock you in your room,
will you then respect them?

If they yell at you if you don’t give them respect,
will you then respect them?

What about if they hit you when you are disrespectful?

What negative behaviour on their part will earn your respect?

Perhaps if the consequence that this person forces upon you is intense enough you might alter how you behave around them, but you will not actually respect them. In fact I’m willing to bet you’ll end up resenting them.

This is what punishment and consequence do.
They build resentment and create mistrust and distance.

Real Respect is Earned, Not Forced.
There is simply no way around that.

The question is, do we want to raise our children so that they ACT respectful or so that they FEEL respectful? When we teach respect do we want to affect their authentic being or just to control and modify their behaviour?

This question is an important one and can be the guide for how we treat our kids.

Granted the authentic approach is much harder, more time consuming and requires CONSTANT change and growth on the part of the parent. This is why it’s often looked down upon and dismissed.

Let us stop thinking that we deserve respect because we’re parents or adults. Let us focus on what we can do to be deserving of that respect.

This means we will have to transform how we talk to our kids, what we expect from them and how we respond to them in good moments and difficult moments.

Deep Respect Can Bring About Global Change

I believe that raising children with this deeper vision of respect is a necessary ingredient in global transformation. It’s a simple thing to look around the world and see if the traditional parenting method did us good.

We have had people who were raised with punishment and control to be polite and respectful run the earth, the economic system, the justice system, the social system and look how that has turned out.

We need a change and it has to start with the kids.
Going back to more strictness isn’t progress.
Going forward with more compassion, understanding and Love is.

Now let us hear some words on respect from the master philosopher
Ali G.

Love Affects the Core

punishment affects the surface

The Less They Deserve It, the More They Need It

One of the hardest and most important things to do for children is to offer them an experience
of love and acceptance when they act badly towards us (or at least what we consider bad).

I am aware that this may run opposite to traditional thinking of how to respond to these types of situations.

I believe that rude, disrespectful, disobedient behaviours…
All these are cries for love and opportunities for us to give deeper love.

Heal Our Own Pain

And yet we have to overcome so much of our own internal programming in order to not react and demand respect or obedience. Especially since we were rarely, if ever given the respect we deserved as children. The conditioning to give love when our kids are disrespectful isn’t in us naturally so we have to overcome our past and choose a new reaction.

It really is our own pain and our own trauma that makes it so difficult. When we get angry, defensive and commanding we are reacting to an inner wound being activated.

So when we engage in the process of healing ourselves, we are making ourselves more able to offer our kids the unconditional love they so deserve.

Try a Different Approach

If your kid says “No I won’t do it, you can’t make me and I hate you!”
Instead of saying “don’t talk to me that way, and you will do it because I said so.”
“I am not going to try and make you do it. I love you more than anything in the world. I can see that you’re upset and I want to make you feel better. What can I do to help you?”
Perhaps accompanied by an unrelenting hug?

Love Affects the Core

What a difference this type of response makes.
To be confronted with such presence and love when one is in pain
(rudeness and disrespect always come from pain)
Is the most powerful way to break through the barrier and touch the heart.

The times we can offer love and acceptance, rather than criticism and punishment, will stay in their hearts forever. It will transform them at the deepest level.

Punishment (often called consequences) can only ever affect the surface.

Love affects the core.

Throw Out Yesterday’s Flowers, Make Room for Today’s

This morning brings new opportunities

like a bouquet of fresh flowers presented to you at your door.
But yesterday’s flowers are still around.
They are everywhere, on the counter, on the bed, on the floor.

Where can you put such fresh beauty when the old clutter is everywhere ?
How will you even notice their colour, their scent?
Ah, some of the old flowers are even rotting
and that smell of decay assaults your nostrils, tainting the perfume in the air.

So clear out your house!
Let go of the old flowers!
Trash the decay!

It is good to remember the beauty of yesterday’s flowers
But you don’t have to keep the smelly carcasses around.
Make room for today’s delivery!

Have Faith that the new flowers will come. Trust the process.
That will make it easier to throw the old ones out.

Then you’ll always be surrounded with the freshness and life of the new day.

Saying “No” (or even “No, because”) vs “Yes, and…”

Saying no vs Yes 2As you may know if you’ve been reading my parenting posts,
I’m not a big fan of saying No to kids.
I think it inhibits independence
and creates a separation
(an unnecessary separation) between parent and child.

I also know that this point of view bugs a lot of people!!


I Don’t Understand the Question

Recently I was talking to a friend about how my daughter wants to get a tattoo.
I was saying that she wants one going down her arm
and that she has asked me to design it for her.

My friend asked me
“Did her asking you to design it make it easier for you to say Yes?”

Say yes to what? I was wondering.
At first I honestly didn’t understand the question.
I was genuinely confused.

Then suddenly I realized that they meant
was it easier to say yes to her getting a tattoo!!

I laughed and said
“I would never say no to her. I just don’t do that!”

Then it was my friend’s turn to be a bit confused.
“I just don’t get that.” they said.

Well the story of my daughter’s tattoo
illustrates the point perfectly so I shall share it with you.

You Want to do WHAT to Your Body?

My kiddo is now 17.
when she was 15 she asked me if she could get a tattoo.
(now that in itself should be interesting to note.
Why would a kid that always gets told yes think of asking for permission?)

I told her Of Course she could get a tattoo.
It is her body and she has the right to decide what is done with it.
No one else has that right.
(isn’t that a good message for a young womyn? I think so!)

Saying “YES…and” teaches a lesson, “NO” closes down thinking

Though it wasn’t a permissive and uninvolved yes.
I said Yes… and here’s something to think about when making the decision.
At 15 you’re still evolving.
Right now you’re a young womyn
and growing into such an amazing person.

Sometimes from the ages of 15 – 18 we change a lot of things about ourselves,
our tastes in music, art and other preferences, our friends and lots of other things.

If you choose a tattoo now and you change you won’t be terribly happy.
If you wait till your 18 then you’ll have a few more years under your belt
and you’ll feel more sure about your choice.

Think about that and whatever you decide I’ll stand behind you.

She thought about it for a few days. She did her own processing
After some time she decided not to get the tattoo.

YES Encourages Self-Awareness and Self-Knowledge

Shortly after she turned 17 she came to me and asked
“Dad, Do I you think I have to wait till I’m 18 to get a tattoo?
I’m 17 and I know myself pretty well.
I want to get a happy face and I know I’ll always like happy faces.”
(again, she knows I’m going to say yes… why does she ask me?)

I said, of course you can!
You know yourself best
and if that’s what you want then let’s do it.

She responded saying that she also wants
a longer one on her arm and a band on the other arm,
but she feels like it’ll be a good idea to wait till she’s 18 to make those decisions.
(The long one on the arm is the one she wants me to design!)

Clearly she had been thinking about the suggestion I offered  2 years ago.
She has been self-evaluating and assessing
the situation intelligently and independently.

YES Gives Kids Ownership Over Their Thinking and Their Lives

If I had told her “No” or even “No, because…” instead of “Yes, and…”
she would not have done the same level of self-evaluation.
She would not have made the decision her own.

She would not have felt the same level of
ownership and autonomy over her body.
And I am quite sure she would not have
involved me in the process to the extent she has.

Instead of being a source of guidance and wisdom in her processing
I would have been an obstacle in her achieving her desires.

NO closes doors while “YES and” opens them,
it allows for more possibilities!

The other benefit of this approach is that
I know she will apply this decision making model
to other areas of her life. It is now hers.
It is her wisdom, her understanding and her self-knowledge.

The model will evolve and adapt as she grows.
Developing this kind of capacity is
far more important to me as a parent than “laying down the law.”

YES Helps Kids to Feel Safe With You

This uncommon level of acceptance that I offer her
has made her know that I am a safe place for her to express herself.
That she can count on me to validate her no matter what.

Because of this she actually seeks my guidance,
even when she doesn’t have to.
This is why she asks me when she already knows
the answer is yes,
because she knows that if I have anything important for her to consider
I will share it with her and support her decision once she does.

To me this is so wonderful.
This is why I’m such a fan of “Yes”!