Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday, Special Needs Children: An elusive obvious: Don't try to get the child to do what the child can't do

A tragedy of much change work, whether therapist with special needs children,
or people with their mate,
is that of trying to "get the person to do what they can't do."

"Just be happy," to an unhappy mate,
is the same as,
"Come on, let's get you crawling," to a child who can barely roll over.

As Anat says so well in her book and in her lectures:
If they could, they would.

It's as if someone came up to you and said:
Start telling me about your day in Chinese (assuming you don't know the language.)

And if you said you couldn't, they just demanded you "try harder."

If you could you would.

So what's the alternative.

It's so obvious: do little things,
that the child can do.

Small movements, done slowly and gently, that link up one area of movement to another.
But little.
And important.
Just the connection between an elbow and a wrist. Or an elbow and the back, can make
all the difference in the world.

This can lead to being part of crawling.
This can feel good to a child as they learn it.
This can fill in for them their picture of who they really are.
This can soothe their nervous system.
This can create learning and wiring in the brain.
This can get them in the habit of knowing what they are doing.
This can get them in the mode of succeeding in small things, that can lead to bigger and bigger

So, ti seems pretty useful, doesn't it?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Now, Nature and Love

We look at a river, a creek, an ocean, a meadow, a redwood, and oak,
even an elm.

Easy to enjoy.
East to just look, take it in, feel content, happy, at ease.

Nature reflecting back to us
the wonder of creation.

Telling us really, how grand we
how grand is life.

These are sweet messages:
the sky is just there
and as it is:
perfect, wonderful,
and we can love it

almost any time
we slow down
and come into the

the right now

and let the sky be what we
without even the word

without even the word "blue"

but that color
ah, without a name
and with all that bouncing around in
our retina
and in our brain
and in our heart
and in our whole Selves:

what sweetness

and the sweetness
which is who we really are
makes us remember
who we really are:


we are love
and we blame the sky,
which we feel we love

or the river or the creek or the meadow
or the rose
or the cat or the mouse or the mockingbird dove quail
horse squirrel deer moose pigeon

and now
and love

they kind of all swirl together

and when we are "in love"
it is as if we are seeing the beloved
the way we see a rose
or the ocean
or the robin

nature is just fine
we don't want it to gain weight loose weight
appreciate us more
talk more talk less
say just the right thing

in fact
loud ocean
silent leaf shimmer
nature has a non verbal glory
that is
one of the hallmarks
of the now;

just what is

without the blah, blah
explaining it

even this blah, blah,
which might,
like good blah blah
inspire you to shut down the computer
and go stroll a bit
in the now
in the nature

in love
people around you

the whole


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Heartbreak and Slowing down

 If you are in "heartbreak" land.
If your world has crumbled.

 [ A huge amount of suffering comes from the friction and “resistance” caused by trying to instantly “get rid” of it]

 Give yourself 40 days.
Not to wallow.
Not necessarily to feel awful.

But if you feel awful, give yourself some time to “go there,” as they say. “

Go there” can mean the prior two lessons. There will be lots more offered.

 And here’s the idea: LET CURIOSITY AND NOW-CENTERED AWARENESS be the bedrock.

As, oh, I thought such and such and now I feel this and that.

Or, this feeling bad is mainly in my throat. I wonder where specifically it is in my throat. What do I want to say?

Today, my feeling bad is keeping me from getting this done…. I wonder what would happen if I did my tasks anyway.

 (We’ll have several lessons on all the above).

The point is: treat it like a child that needs patience and curiosity: what’s going on with you? What is it like to be you? And leave time out of it. Give yourself 40 days. After all the goal is to get very close to enlightenment in this time, and that seems worth at least 40 days, don’t you think?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Communication: from pow to wow by coming to now

Let's say this is happening:
You are talking with someone.

They are disgruntled with you.
You are disgruntled with them.

This happens, you know.

And what's a "waking up" kind of person,
an "on the way to enlightenment" person to do?


Remember that the story: "This is supposed to be going
better is just a story."

To the present.
To curiosity.
To honesty.

Try the truth,
From the present: I'm feeling uncomfortable with how this is going,
in my chest, and in my breathing and in my story that "you should be different"

Try curiosity:
I wonder what the secret war we are up to is.
Or, I wonder how we're into I'm right , you're wrong land.
Or, I wonder if we could do this differently.

Try honesty:
Part of me just wants to win this argument,
another part wants to have peace and love.

I'm not sure what to do, but I suspect we need to do something different.

Try connecting:
What do you think is missing?
What would you like that you think you aren't getting?

Something like that.

That's the start.

There's more.

Come to my workshop, if you are in Austin,
May 3, 6-8 PM
Reduced rates today, April 25 and tomorrow. and Friday, April 27
$30 first person in relationship, business, group,
$20 second.

Price at door: $50/ $35.

The aim of the workshop:
Double income
Double relationship happiness
Double "enlightenment"

See page at Awareness Equals Freedom for the
pay pal thingies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Heartbreak and Enlightenment, a start

This is a big enough subject for a small book.

Fifty, sixty pages, no more.

I'm going to start it tomorrow.

This is just me thinking aloud, in the famous

Heartbreak means: it's over.

Enlightenment means: it's over.

In one, "love" is supposedly over, but it's not,
you can love the woozie doozie out of someone who left you,
or with whom you've had to part for the best interests
of your life.

Love goes on.

The dream story of togetherness, or happy ever after has gone,
and guess what: you can be happy ever after,
not with that person, though, same room, same bed,
same marriage, whatever broke to make heart break.

Oh, well.

The dream has ended and the heart, wanted the fullness,
wanting the love that was there,
or the hint of love that ALMOST made it,
or the moments of Real Love in between
the bickering bullshit,
whatever the dream was:

Oh, well.

In enlightenment, too, the dream is over,
except it's the big, "I'm the one that's all important" dream.

Gad, that's a big one.

And the blowout is gentle, or severe, but
what's left is a very happy

Not like a broken heart.

Like a full heart, with no one owning the contents.



Yeah, very.

Appreciation as food for others and our Soul: the Monday post for Special Needs Parents, and more

In Anat Baniel's new book,
Kid's Beyond Limits,
ENTHUSIASM is the seventh essential.

Here in Austin, it's a beautiful day, and a well of appreciation for the
weather surged up in me. ( Having 3 months straight of over 100 degrees
last summer pumps up the appreciation glands, to be sure).

This feeling of appreciation reminded me of an exercise in a "get a better/ wonderful
relationship" book,
to the point of spending 10 seconds
an hour in deep appreciation for something about our lives.

And with the children,
the parallel is obvious:
if they can "do" a little bit,

If they can do a little bit more than a little bit,

If they are just there,
not into the action mode,
just being alive,
and looking at you,
(or even not looking at you)
and you remember this glorious fact:

you and your child are alive
in this moment,

go ahead, you guessed it:

This seems like simple-minded advice,
but it could be the key to changing many
many things in our lives,
just pausing,
slowing down,
going into the appreciation and gratitude
and enthusiasm mode..

Enjoy your enjoyment.

Enthusiasm, of course,
has a root like theo, like theology,
like God.

The joy of the Gods,
or something like that.

The big wonder juice of being alive.

We all have it.

Sometimes we forget.

Around our children, of course,
it is like sunshine to their being and to their improvement
and to their satisfaction with themselves.

And don't try too hard.
Try just the easy and honest and totally present way
for just about anything to

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Deepening the Present, in two person communication

 [ Without slow, life is a rat race.]

 Sit across from your partner. Breathe. Follow your breathing. Then follow their breathing.

By no arrangement, but slowly coming to this: one person will begin to speak. Speak slowly.

Have the idea of speaking one sentence as a time. Limit yourself to between three and five sentences.

Stop. Breathe. The listener make sure they take at least two complete breaths before they start.

Say one sentence of praise, thanks or delight about what the other person said. Include no evaluation in this ( “I’m so happy you aren’t as messed up as you were last week.” BE careful: no evaluation even if they said, ‘I’m finally feeling better.’ Only say, if it is true: “I’m delighted to hear about your happiness.”)

Then spend two to four sentences talking about some related topic, but the emphasis is staying in your own business and leaving them alone.

Do not talk in such a way to give them an example of what they could do.

 If you stray from their topic, that’s fine. Just make it important to you.

And be present to your body and your voice and your words.

 And be present to them.

And stop soon.

And they breathe at least two cycles before it’s their turn again.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Brains love to learn, any child, any adult: Monday's "Special Needs Children" posting

When we are born, our brain is one fifth its final size.

Squeezing out is at the maximum for what a mother can hold,
but life and evolution have a lot more in store for all children.

As the brain develops, the first and primary way of learning is

Movement that feels like this, and the brain notices.
Movement that gets that result, and the brain notices.
Movement that connects this to that and the brain notices.

If you wan to have so fun, lie down on the floor or grass or a bed and see how slowly
you can roll from your back to your belly.

And then see how many different ways you can do this.

This will surely bring more relaxation than almost anything you have done

And you will have a better wired brain, as you pay close and pleasurable
attention to the difference in starting with a leg, or the hips, or the ribs or the head.

What is the difference between arms at your sides and arms overhead on the floor?

How about different shapes of the legs as you roll?

The brain loves to learn.
Movement is the original food of the brain.

We have no crawling program in the brain, no rolling over program.

Wait: a new born doesn't. We have the program we developed, by learning,
by experience, by so-called "mistakes."

Learning is the discovery of and perception of differences that make a difference.

dddddd  bbbbbb

that was a difference that drove a lot of children crazy.

Then they "got" it, and baba  and dada could be read as separate words.

Think of this: in reading, we are interpreting the shapes left over when the black is taken away from the white.

The black ink does not send light to us. The white between the letters does.
We put those shapes into letters.

How did we learn to do that?

See Anat's book for a lesson on a straight line and a squiggle and a curve.

The brain is amazing.

Think of any "problem" you have in your life.
Consider that finding more "differentiation," more differences that make a difference,
is the main thing that is keeping you stuck.

Play around with variations, just for the play of it.
See what you discover.

And your children?
And our wonderful "special needs children?"

Their brains are as eager and happy and delighted to learn as everyone's brain is.

This is good news.

Please buy and read and reread Anat's book.

Consider bringing an Anat Baniel Method practitioner into your child's life
on a regular,
at least monthly,

Bring your happiness and your learning to the child's life
of a regular,
at least daily,

Little doses at a time. One or two minutes.
Sharpen mindfulness in yourself and your child.
This is the most powerful tool in the universe.

It will be so much fun for both of you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Seek until you find: Gospel of Thomas on all and everything


Whoever discovers what these sayings mean
Will not taste death

Seek and do not stop seeking until you find.
When you find, you will be troubled.
When you are troubled,
You will marvel and rule over all.

If your leaders tell you, "Look the kingdom is in heaven,"
then the birds of heaven will precede you.
If they tell you, "It is in the sea,"
Then fish will beat you there.

But the kingdom of heaven is in you and outside of you.
When you know yourselves, you will be known.
And will understand that you are children of the living father.
If you don't know yourselves,
You will dwell in poverty and be poverty.

You who are old in days will not hesitate
to ask a child of seven days old about
The place of Life, and you will live.
Many who are first will be last and be solitary.

Know what is in front of your face
And what is hidden from you will be disclosed.
There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.

From the Restored New Testament,
Willis Barnstone,

an amazing book, that clues one way into the strangeness of the traditional
new testament's anti-Semitism,
and reveals all sorts of information that isn't commonly known
(letters of Paul before the Mathew, Mark, Luke, John ones written)

Monday, April 09, 2012

Essential Three: Variation, examples with special needs children, And this is food from Freedom for all us adults

Variation on what to do with the left hand. Notice how attentive Harper is.

Once, when working with a boy who seemed to have a habit of getting
into a funk
and whining and clinging to his mother,
I stopped trying to work on anything else,
stopped hoping or attempting to distract him to
"more important" learning, and focused in on the whining.

I asked him to raise his pitch, giving him an example.

I asked him to lower the pitch of the whining, giving another example.

I asked for the whining to come in burst of two, and in patterns of three.

I asked for louder.

I asked for softer.

He was game for all of this, and the whining became a game to him.

When I mentioned this latter to Anat, she commented that until we'd brought
variation into the picture, he may well have had no idea that the whining was his action.

Once we made a game of it, and gave his action lots of variations he could control,
his distress went away,
his pleasure in life went up,
and his brain got back on the track of being a learning organism.

He could tell the differences.
He could make the differences.
He made a difference from his awareness and his choosing different actions.

In another case I'll always remember, Anat was supervising about 6 different student practitioners, who had taken 10 basic segments of training, and now where on their first Special Needs Children segment.

On one of the tables, an autistic boy was busy throwing this and throwing that, clearly just working out .....? Who knows what.

Anat came by the table and asked him to make choices: did he want to throw the toy dog, or the ball off the table? Did he want to throw the book or the truck?

And so on.

This satisfied and calmed the young man, and after that, Anat advised the student practitioner to work slowly, and verbalize each action she was doing: "Now I am moving your arm, holding your elbow." "Now I am moving your leg, holding your foot. I am rotating it this way and that way."

That was all for the rest of the thirty minutes.

The child went home and apparently verbalized in ways that he never had before.


In Anat Baniel's new book: Kids Beyond Limits

Anat very clearly not only explains:

One: research with rats and with humans (learning the game of Go), that supports Variation as the key to improving the brain and improving the learning.

Two: gives an inspiring example of a small boy who came to her essentially trapped in his conditioning after many months in a full body cast.

Three: gives examples of playing / learning games parents can use with their children to increase the enjoyment of their interaction, and the quality of their child's brain (and the movement, too, as the by product)

Clues us in to some valuable concepts we can use in our own lives, as we as helping the children:

Such as: (And these are in bold in the book, too)

Think of your child's mistakes as a wonderfully rich source of Variation
(And therefore, never correct mistakes. Use them as jumping boards for more and easier and more fun learning.)

Without light the eyes cannot see. Without Variation the brain cannot learn or organize action very well. 


In Anat's article for Massage Therapy magazine,
called New Possibilities: A revolutionary approach to special needs children

Anat says this about variation:

"The more new variations the child experiences, the better and faster his brain can differentiate and form new solutions. The child learns how to learn. Without variation, we starve the brain of the new information it craves, no matter how hard the practitioner and child try, the outcomes will be very limited until you provide these variations. If the child is unable to do what the practitioner is trying to have him do, then something new needs to be introduced. If the child can already do what you are offering, it is time to move the child forward into his next level of functioning"

The chapter in her book says plenty more, but I can't copy it off the Internet so at $10.88 from Amazon, I'd recommend getting three copies, one for one and the other two for grandparents, or OT, PT, caregivers, anyone who comes to your child and would love to know how to be far more helpful, and how to stop unintentional strategies that are actually hindering your child's learning.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Yesterday is gone, one more healing game


[One of the great glories of the past: It is over.]

Think of an argument or a disagreement you have about something your partner, even your imaginary partner, did in the past.
Look at them, or imagine them in the present.
Feel, breathe, sense, aware your world in the present.
Then go back to the “story” about how the past “should have been different.”
Then come back to the present.

Look at them.
Say this: “I can go into the past and make myself….(sad, unhappy, angry, etc, you fill in the blank) with this story {{{ gibberish, gibberish, gibberish}}}. Or I can be present and notice this…..(fill in the blank with the present).”

Go back and forth on this for ten to twenty minutes.
Feel the calming wonderful peace of the now.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Time is for beginners, breath is for finishers

In addition to writing mystical mumbo jumbo, and working with couples and teenage/parent pairs who want to double their communication and love happiness,
I work with special needs children,
using the miraculous Anat Baniel Method.
Anat's new book is out and can be read about at
Kids Beyond Limits.

You can hurry through reading this post,
because what's for real is imagined to be a little later,
after this now,
just a bit down the road
and if we clear away all the hurried items
we can chill

maybe even turn off the computer and

or at the very least look up and away
and see some sky or trees,

and if it's night,
where is the nature we could be using to nourish us
to slow
and remember the big news

the main thing:
we are alive now,
(we are alive now,
repeat, without words:

this is the miracle

we move our eyes over the words and our spine holds
up our head and the ribs are attached to the spine and they
rise and fall according to our breathing

and we could notice our breathing

right now

as a doorway to returning to the now,
following and noticing our breathing is
a recommended route for many years, millenia
as it where

Buddha said to back away from all the dreams
of the mind
and come back to reality

Jesus said to hitch your star to the giving away
of all the possessions,
as in "My idea...," "My country....,"My political important opinions..."

Give them up, and what is left?

The breath is left if we are still alive.
And some part of us can watch the breath if we are aware.

And some part of us can giggle at the enormity of it:
us, the living thing, being, spirit, whatever we are,
(that we don't have to verbalize if we take Buddha's vacation
from concepts),
we are alive and have awareness of being alive.

And does that take much time to do?

more like taking a little time away from time,
consulting our inner happiness and asking it:
hey, what's up with this happiness and being alive

And it will answer:

Therefore: stopwatch, watch the time, watch the phone's which are the new watches:
be on time, time yourself, hurry up, get too much done, all
that is for beginners.

And a nice game to be able to play
when YOU choose to play it.

And then there is the real game:
the I am alive,
Right Now,

That's a pretty good one, too,
not to be talked about,
and even written about too much,

just to be lived,
en joyed
and the gratitude,

how can that not be the flooding
out feeling underneath it all

the gift we have been given:
I am alive,
you, too


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

the importance of love, 33

We wake up
one day
or part of one day
Right Now

and realize:
I am
I am alive, whatever that "alive" is

and it feels so good
we want to share it
with someone
hug someone
laugh with smile with joke with dance with prance with
hop skip and jump
just walk

or even better: lolligag
with another, backs on the grass,
or butts on the stream bank
watching the water
watching the clouds

glad to be alive

and there are problems to be solved
money to be made
conflicts to be resolved
pains to be understand and transformed

there is a world to be healed
and waters to be restored
and oceans and indigenous plants and people to
be "saved"

and still
you and a loved one
walk dance hug loving
talking the truth,
but the slow real truth about you,
not the "you need to fix this" pseudo-truth about them

just you and the friend
in love

that's a nice part
of a nice

wishing these for you,
many parts
many days

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Love is Easy, except it often feels like "losing"

You are having this argument
you and your sweetie are,

and it's the damndest thing:
they think they are right and you are wrong,
and you think you are right and they are wrong

Sometimes, one of you will cave in,
or be argued under,
or start to cry,
and then maybe the battle will cease,

who was the one in you that wanted to be Right?

This is an enlightenment question.

What part of you was so sure that you had been "wronged,"
or that the other person was "wrong,"
or that you were the Victim,
or that whatever went down SHOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED

 Which is to say,
what part of you wants to be the one
that says how
reality should be?

Which is to say,
who runs this show, anyway?

You may be following me.

You may not.

Don't worry.
Think back to a time when you were SURE the other person
was wrong.

Find the part of you that is so sure.

Where does this part live?

What is it made up of?

What does it live for?

What is it all about?

And then think about/ and remember the miracle:
you are alive.


And experience that,
without any part to describe it,
or catalog it,
or talk about it,
or explain it.

Just experience your aliveness
in this moment.

That's you.

And see,
does that you,
want to be right?

This isn't theory.
This is practice.

Love is enlightenment when the tests
come up.
When the hurdles arise.

Leap over.,

See who is leaping,
and what you are like,
when free that way.

And it's not a long way off.

It is, of course, right here now.



This is inspired by watching my friend,
George Altgelt,
owner and proprietor of GeoGrowers soil making company
near Austin/Fredricksburg,Texas
talk about how important feeding our soil is.

The VIDEO interview with him is here:

The point is that if you feed the soil, then your vegetables, and trees
and flowers will be so much happier.


Feed your spinach organic soil and it will have 83 times more iron than
inorganic spinach.

Feed the meat you eat grass and they will be an omega-3 shot for brain and protein blast for your body.

Feed them the normal feedlot, stress life and GMO food and they will be a cancer bomb.

PS: These statements have not been validated by the FDA, but the 83 times iron is from published research of which George, above mentioned, actually knows the specific source.  

So, what is this blog posting about?


Monday, April 02, 2012

Special Needs Children, Monday Post: milestone vs learning

(Even with her hand "fixed" in her mouth: 
the difference between hand and elbow,
and between elbow not bearing weight vs elbow bearing weight 
is HUGE in this moment for Harper)

Here's the Normal Doidge quote again, bold and all:

"Following in the footsteps of the revolutionary scientist-clinician Moshe Feldenkrais,

 the greatest thinker about how to improve movement in the twentieth century, 
[Anat] Baniel show why our mainstream approach to these children is often wrong, and at times damaging, 
because they train the children 
to 'ape' developmental milestone they are not developmentally ready to meet. 

The approach here, 
far wiser, far more subtle, 
truly holistic, far more ingenious, 
far more in accord with how brain development occurs, 
show ways to access the child's OWN brain plasticity, 
and yields far greater results, so that the children can spontaneous grow from within."

I broke it down into pieces,
and maybe it's easier to read that way.

If so, that itself begins to illustrate the genius of the Anat Baniel Method and the Feldenkrais method:
it's about discovering the pieces to learning, not trying to
get the child to do what the child can't do.

I'll say that last part again, because I've seen PT and OT and good meaning body workers
over and over do this,
with children,
with injured adults,
with themselves.

If something doesn't work, the main goal
of the "fixers" is to
get the thing that Doesn't Work
to Work.

(Like when someone tells you: Say something funny,
and you aren't in a good mood.)

Now, with an adult, whose shoulder "used" to work,
whirling away "trying" to improve "range of motion,"
though painful and ineffective, is not necessarily harmful.

Well, actually it is harmful,  but not in the massive way
this approach is to a child.

Think about it:
A child can't sit.

The developmental milestone of their age is to sit.

So someone shoves, pushes, helps, prods, pads the child into sitting.

Since the child doesn't have the pieces and the learning of pelvis and ribs and head
and back and shoulders to sit, what does it learn?


It learns that people are trying to get it to do something
and it is going to fail over and over and over.

What is missing is not the "how to sit" program, but the brain's awareness
of all sort of small differences that make up sitting.

As Anat clarifies it in her book:
(Kids Beyond Limits)
the brain needs to/ loves to/ wants to/ is designed to
Thing One
different than 
Thing Two.

I just finished a section in the book, describing her work with an autistic boy
who could barely speak,
and could hold toys only for brief periods
and seemed unable to finish any sentences.

She helped him distinguish Thing One
and Thing Two
of back and shoulder
back and head

and one finger from another
and one hand from another

his speech and his drooling and his thinking
all rapidly improved

no work on speech or drooling or thinking
he could and wanted to live at a more complex level.
  his brain had become more clued in and excited
to be doing what a brain is meant to do:
distinguish differences.

Or better said:
Learning is distinguishing differences
that make a difference.

( If you are married, try this for a difference that makes a difference:
Thinking and saying: "Why don't you stop doing....." when there is unwanted behavior.
wondering and asking: "Is something bothering you?")