Changing Skin

It’s been two years since we ditched the bus to roam around the globe to learn, listen and encourage. We’ve been to nine countries in that time and written story after story about that season.

We detoured back the US in November of 2016 and when we left Australia in November, we arrived minus one Holland. Our daughter, Graciana, stayed back in Australia to navigating the world of “adulting.” We have watched from afar as she has learned some hard lessons. Good Night! What a paradox to go from being so engaged in the development of your child, catching them when they fall, to then having virtually no ability to reach out and soften the blows. And yet, she has rallied and it has been a joy to watch her begin to fly!

For the past six-month we’ve been in Phoenix, AZ. (our longest stop in six years!) and have been just soaking in good family time. While here we have been journeying alongside my parents as they both went through a sort of metamorphosis, getting their new skin as I like to call it. They have both been working through their difficult cancer diagnosis. My father, battling an aggressive Prostate cancer and my mother with a slow growing non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  It has been an absolute joy to participate in daily community with them, lending a helping hand and watching them both overcome the obstacles set before them.

I have always loved my parents but I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that this intense time with them has allowed me to fall in love with both of them in a new and fresh way. They are each so unique and fantastic in their own right and together they are team Price!

I have loved just sitting and listening to them reminisce and share stories of their lives. Some of them stories I have never heard before. If I could have kept a recorder going the whole six months, I would have. For now, those precious memories have been captured in my mind’s eye.

Over the months, we watched them go from about a three to an eight and as they continue to exercise, sharpen their minds and use food as a source of healing, they continue to excel. My dad has had a rebirth of creativity and over the time we’ve been with them, he has designed websites, written books for 2BRealMen and written curriculum for an online class for his Twisted Thinking Transformed material. It’s been a blast to watch him soar! Then, this past week we all pitched in and moved my parents into their awesome new apartment. They are happy and healthy, ready for a new adventure! And, as we leave them, we are expectant that it will be the richest chapter of their lives.

The season of backpacking/global travel, releasing our daughter into the big wide world, dovetailed by our current stop over with my parents, has been the most difficult and most engaging two years of our journey thus far. We have experienced a refining in ways that are still manifesting and will most likely be for the years to come. We have discovered that like the honey bee, we are built to pollinate. We launch, refueled and ready to ignite love, truth, and life…to any we meet along the way.

We’ll kick start our six-month journey in Phoenix, AZ and route north to CO then jog east to MI, loop back west through UT, then north to Calgary, Canada! Then west to Vancouver and south to LA, finally back to PHX!! That will take us approximately 8000 miles. Our hope then is to fly back to Australia for another trek around the globe. More info on our actually routing HERE…

Lastly, it’s been brought to my attention that I need to ask more often for help/support. So, if you feel led to give monthly, so as to spur us on practically but also build up our faith, you can do so at MODERNDAY.

Thanks for caring for us with your faithful prayers and encouraging words this past season. We look joyward to continuing to share the love and stories along the way.

 

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The Collective Mother Bear

Drawing by Matthew Klaas de Witte

Even as a child, I had a natural bent towards the warrior role of “mother”. I find strength in compassion and I know I’m not the only one. In fact, when I began to dig into the folklore around mother figures, I found some fascinating stories, especially those revolving around the idea of the “Mother Bear”. Archaeological findings dating back to ancient times, suggest that in particular the Lion, the Bear and the Elk tend to be the symbols of “mother”.

Stories of the Great Bear Mother have been traced from the earliest times throughout the colder northern hemisphere, from Finland to Siberia to North America. She even has a constellation in the northern sky called Ursa Major. Moscow’s coat of arms also includes a She bear who carries a double axe. In Britain, based on this early veneration of the Great She Bear, we find the mythic hero-king Arthur, named from the Welsh Arth Vawr – Heavenly Bear. He was believed to be the spouse of the Celtic goddess, Artio – the Great She Bear. The Ainu of Japan, who are descendants of early Siberian migrations, still retain their veneration of the Bear in both legend and ritual. We see her roar fiercely in the ancient writings of Hosea and for Native Americans the Bear is one of the guardians of the Four Directions.

The stories go on and on as she continues to make her appearance with different names throughout history. The ultimate theme in all of these stories is that the Great She Bear, advocate and protector, whose animal fur, skins and body gave warmth and food was revered as an awesome Ancestor Mother of human beings.

Everyone has a mother, love them or hate them. Some have been abandoned by their mothers and some scorned. For those downtrodden baby bears, the Great She Bear roars. You know her, she’s the neighbor, the teacher, the grandmother, aunt, coach or older sister that stands in the gap, raising the standard and setting the example. It’s a beautiful gift. For many of us this instinctual compassion is a tender response to a broken world.

However, there is a very real temptation for all of us who feel this natural tendency towards Mother Bear, to take this very precious gift and distort it into something wholly unnatural and damaging. Where instead of understanding this role as a ‘collective’ we decide that our will is more important than that of any other Mother Bear. Believing that we are “THEE” Mother Bear, we manipulate and interject our will upon a baby bear irregardless of whether that child already has nurturing from their own mother.

In Twisted Thinking Transformed, Author Jerry Price, calls this an ownership attitude; where one person believes they have the right to take ownership of another person, place or thing that does not belong to them because they believe they deserve it. This sort of thinking creates endless examples of double standards and confusion. It’s the same attitude seen in the Hebrew story in which King Solomon of Israel ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a particular child.

The story recounts that the two mothers were living in the same house, each the mother of an infant son. One of the babies died. Each adamantly claimed the remaining boy as her own. In order to settle the dispute they went before the King. The King called for a sword and declared his judgment: the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half. One mother thought the ruling fair, but the other begged Solomon, “Give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!” The king declared the second woman the true mother, as the true mother would surely give up her baby if that was necessary to save its life.

We don’t know all of the back story as the scene really focuses in on the Kings ruling. However, we do see that these two women lived with each other, so they were in some sort of relationship, maybe even friends or relatives. The woman who had an ownership attitude was so distorted in her thirst to be “THEE” Mother Bear that she was even willing to sacrifice the child so that the other woman could not take her rightful place.

How many times have we seen this story replayed, where a mother bear who is actively trying to nurture her baby bear encounters another mother bear and finds out that the person she deemed an ally, someone who could support and uplift, was betraying that trust, maybe even with good intentions.

It is so important for each of us to honestly recognize the temptation to tether with another’s baby bear and God help us if we ever overstep our position in another child’s life and thus cast a shadow on that mother/child relationship! It’s true, many of us have been the victim of this sort of betrayal but it also true that many of us have been the betrayer. It is crucial to the collective whole that we all be bona-fide about our own missteps and seek a better way. It will take humility, a healthy active ability to really listen to one another and a promise to be for one another.

And so, from one Mama Bear to another, I propose a treaty.

This is a promise to all the She Bears out their nurturing their baby bears. It is written in first person perspective in hopes that you, as a reader, will identify yourself as the Mother Bear and make the pledge also. If you agree with this treaty, please sign in the comments. If you find that there is a heart-felt promise that you’d like to add to the treaty please feel free to add it in the comments.

Artio, Celtic Goddess of Wild Life, Transformation and Abundance by Judith Shaw

THE MOTHER BEAR TREATY

To all fellow Mother Bears, from every tongue, tribe and nation. I promise that I will be for you and not against you.

I promise that if I encounter opportunities to come alongside your baby bear that I will understand that position as supplemental, not primary.

I promise that, as a fellow mother bear, I will work to engage with you without judgement and will look for ways to encourage you in your primary role.

If I have no baby bear of my own, but resonate with the collective Mother Bear, I promise that any encounters I might have to come alongside your baby bear will be seen as supplemental, not primary.

Whether I agree with your parenting style or not I promise that I will not manipulate your baby bear with jabs that threaten the foundation of your relationship. Rather, I will try to find ways to build your relationship up.

If your baby bear comes to me with a complaint that involves you, I promise that I will listen without bias and will encourage your baby bear to make every effort to reconcile with you.

I promise that if my good intentions towards your baby bear falls short and you take offense, that I will be open to hearing your heart and to owning the pain I may have caused, making every effort to reconcile with you.

Likewise, if you, with good intentions towards my baby bear, fall short, I promise to communicate the impact of that pain openly and allow room for you to make amends. If you make amends, I promise to not harbor any bitterness.

If my baby bear hurts your baby bear I promise that I will hold my baby bear accountable and do everything within my power to bring my baby bear to a place of remorse and guide him/her towards reconciliation with your baby bear.

If your baby bear hurts my baby bear, I promise that I will hold your baby bear accountable and will make every effort to communicate the damage to you. If your baby bear approaches with humility to apologize, I promise I will also listen with an open mind and move our babies towards forgiveness.

It may be that we or our baby bears are just not going to get along, in that case, we will walk away graciously and hold no grudge.

I promise that I will not use my words to condemn or shame you. I promise that I will not speak about you to other Mother Bears with any sort of mallace or ill intent.

In conclusion,

I promise to uphold this treaty, to protect the sanctity of the collective Mother Bear, and once again, to be for you, not against you.

Signatures:

Jana Holland, just one Mama Bear in the collective whole.

Thoughts on Simon Sinek Explaination of the Millennial Paradox

maxresdefaultRecently, a video clip of Tom Bilyeu interviewing motivational speaker, Simon Sinek on his show Inside Quest was circulating around Facebook Land. I noticed it because it was titled  “Simon Sinek Explains the Millennial Paradox” I didn’t know who Tom Bilyeu or Simon Sinek were but I love millennials, so I clicked the play button and for 15 minutes I was educated about the Millennial plight. 

As I watched I was particular drawn to Simon’s genuine nature. He seemed passionate about what he was talking about and believable. Simon began by defining how millennials have been described by leadership in corporations as entitled, narcissistic, unfocused, and lazy. 

Then Simon went on to explain that millennials are the way they are because of poor parenting strategies, citing parents that gave their children what they wanted when they wanted it, creating an instant gratification generation and other parents that didn’t allow their child to fail, thus devaluing their achievements. Add to that poor coping mechanisms to deal with stress that Sinek attributed to addiction (to social media and cell phone) and finally he concludes that millennials have lower self-esteem than previous generation, through no fault of their own, that they were “dealt a bad hand.”

In his final admonishment he speaks to corporations, stating that “It’s a total lack of good leadership in our world today that is making them feel the way they do. They were dealt a bad hand. I hate to say it but it’s the companies responsibility, sucks to be you, like we have no choice, right? This is what we got, and I wish their parents and society would have done a better job. They didn’t, so we’re getting them in our companies and we now have to pick up the slack. We have to work extra hard to figure out the ways to build their confidence. We have to work extra hard to find ways to teach them the social skills they are missing out on.” 

I took serious his rebuke of poor parenting and the effects of technology. I thought, yes, my children have been bombarded with screen toxins and we, as parents, sensed it was dangerous but the cultural undertow drowned any efforts we might have made to try to protect our children.

Then his pinnacle conclusion that the reason millennials are the way they are is because they were “dealt a bad hand” and that their best case scenario, “as an entire generation, was growing up and going through life and never really finding joy. They’ll just waft through life but never find joy” just broke my heart. As a parent, I thought Oh no! I’ve failed them! The more I meditated on his talk the more l lamented.

My father, Jerry Price, author, counselor, consultant and one of the wisest souls I know, also watched the video and we had a lively discussion about it all. It is a discussion that we ended up moving over to email in order to capture our thoughts in writing so as to participate in the greater conversation. 

Jerry: My first thought as I watched this guy, Simon, give his ‘expert’ opinion, his ‘diagnosis’ on the problem was that he offered no hope. Where is the hope?

Jana: You’re right dad. Although I felt hopeful when I initially started watching his talk, I realized that what I actually felt was his excitement as he set a tone of confidence regarding his knowledge of the topic. In the end, there was no hope in his message. It was dire diagnosis and all Simon could prescribe ultimately, was for corporations to bear the load and try to repair this generation the best they can. 

Jerry: It’s interesting how perspective can expose issues. Much of what Simon said was funny and seemed to resonate an image of a millennial. Simon was very persuasive about identifying millennials but as I was listening my question was “Who is defining this?” 

Coming from an understanding of Marketing and Counseling (Twisted Thinking) combined, I know that anyone who is the definer of a problem gets to control the process. 

Jana: Yes, he seemed knowledgeable and I agree with much of what Simon said about screen addiction. I agree that millennials, as a whole, were even dealt a bad hand. However, if I’m playing poker and I’m dealt a bad hand, am I not still responsible for how I play it? 

Jerry: True, when he started to emphasize that a millennial is a millennial because they were dealt a bad hand, through no fault of their own, my ears perked up. Whether he meant to or not, he just promoted what I call Martyred Thinking. 

Out of Martyred Thinking develops a prearranged tactic that avoids responsibility so the person claiming they’ve been dealt a bad hand (whether its true or not) can go do what they want to do. It becomes a platform of pursuing anything that is forbidden.

How do I know this? I’ve been working with Criminal and Twisted Thinkers for years in clinical settings where individuals have perpetrated unconscionable acts on others as a result of taking this closed stance on being a victim. 

There is no hope for integrity, dignity, and living responsibly with people who insist they have been dealt a bad hand and use that belief to support why they become addicts of one sort or another. The blame game isn’t a new thing. It’s been repeated politically, religiously and socially throughout history.

The drug of choice or addiction of choice, at that point, is what I call the excitement of what is forbidden. This phenomenon leads to inflated views of self and not low self-esteem as Simon suggested in the video. It leads to a stubbornness, recklessness, impatience at not being instantly gratified and the result is that others will experience the brunt of it.

Jana: I was hoping Simon would give us something deeper, some of his optimism he’s famous for. I was hoping he would talk about the heart issue and empower the millennial to “play their hand well” but he seemed to make any hope for the Millennial everyone elses problem, thus paralyzing them. 

Jerry:  It’s definitely a heart or character issue. 

Much of what Simon taught was old hat. Baby Boomers (Eighty Million of us) weren’t using I Phones, I Pads, or technology to produce the chemical reactions we wanted to feel “okay” or superior physically/emotionally/spiritually.

In my day it was all out drugs and sex. Just think Woodstock and you’ll remember. People then weren’t good at relationships either. They tuned out, zoned out and dropped out in droves.

Experts or the definers of the process want to say it’s not the kids fault, that it’s a matter of parenting but the truth is that experts are scared of not being in control and the go to is that the “you were dealt a bad hand”, so billions of dollars can be spent on reorganizing the chaos or lethargy at hand.

There is no hope for those who would rather blame their environment or station in life by using Martyred Thinking to go and do whatever feels good and is forbidden. The arrogance that exudes from Martyred Thinking isn’t about low self-esteem but about being or thinking a person is entitled and if anyone gets in the way of their entitlement, a prearranged tactic to avoid accountability and responsibility is launched. 

As I watched the video I saw many faces that did not look hopeful but rather had a look in their eyes that said “how can I use what Simon is saying for my benefit.” 

Twisted thinking is very exciting and useful for people who default to “I’ve been dealt a bad hand” and that’s why a person who is practicing twisted thinking would have a core belief that says, “I’m self loathing or am having an identity crises thus I flounder and NEED technology to satisfy my thirst for well-being and want. Then I can BE and not have to worry about relationships which don’t work well. Give me my Xbox or Snap Chat and that’s living!”

Jana: This is familiar and as I look back on my teens and 20’s I know that I was a well-practiced Martyred thinker, blaming you and mom for not protecting me from abuse and from the pain of betrayal. 

It worked for me for a while. I felt a sense of freedom and lived a reckless and exciting life.  I did the drugs, redefined my sexuality and tried to distance myself from your religion. Think Footloose, The Breakfast Club and Trainspotting. I believed that I was dealt a bad hand and I spent a lot years playing that hand by operating in victim-stance, manipulating and lying to get my way. However, when I fell pregnant with my daughter my perspective was rocked to the core and for the first time I was able to see myself clearly in the mirror. What I saw was hopelessness, isolation and a great chasm between myself and others. It was then that I remember really having to work through a false belief that you and mom did not do all you could to give me a leg up. I knew it wasn’t the truth but it was very hard to let go of that belief for it had become so much apart of my identity. I was afraid of losing “myself” or more likely losing my sense of control. 

I believe that my plight was an indicator, a symptom, of the deep depravity of the human condition that we are ALL subject to. When I finally really looked at my hand and realized that the only good play was to fold, I found hope. 

I asked for a new hand and I found new life, real freedom and a deep reconnection with self, with you and mom, with my Creator and with others.

Jana: So is there any merit to what Simon is saying?  

Jerry: Simon really did have some sound things to say but in defining the problem like he did, he put himself in control of the process. What process?

The process that leaves the listener left empty unless they can agree that “Yeah, he’s right. Parenting is why I’m the way I am. Yeah, somebody is going to have to pay for this. I have a right to continue to live as a person who has learned helplessness and get away with it.” 

I’m not saying there aren’t environments that foster or influence this Martyred Thinking mindset for decision-making. But what I am saying, is like in a test tube, unless it’s proven right every time in the laboratory, it’s not really true science. Conscious or unconsciously, Simon just threw so many millennials out there into his beaker of Martyred Thinking who aren’t martyred thinkers. They don’t buy into what Simon has said because they’re out there creating, building, engaging and valuing relationships. 

Jana: Yes, I know many of them. They’re innovative, passionate and responsible but what about the others, where is the hope for the those listening to Simon’s talk and identify with his findings, those who believe they were dealt a bad hand and are functioning in the belief that it isn’t their fault. Where is the hope for them?  

Jerry: For me, hope for change would have been to have this expert call out their* responsibility for their laziness and to own how it hurts others.

Hope for change would have been for this expert to call out how their sense of entitlement hurts others deeply because others are treated as property that have no choice but to endure their selfishness. 

(by the way, *their represents us all, whether we’re talking about Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers or whoever) 

People who activate any Martyred Thinking have no empathy and where there is no empathy an individual is capable of doing unconscionable harm. That doesn’t look like HOPE to me.

Hope encourages self-respect and the respect of others.

The thought that Simon gave about the need to value and develop relationship was right on, but this need transcends to us all. Pointing the finger at parenting or other places of society as those who are the problem, those who dealt the bad hand, actually breaks down the relational concept he is promoting. 

As you have shown in your own story Jana, something happens that’s good on the inside of a person who has come to terms with their responsibility and accountability for who they decide to be.

Yes, it’s true we can be and are shaped by our personal history but we are not defined by it. There’s HOPE in that.

HOPE that pursues life! 

Unwittingly, that was what was missed in the talk this expert gave. 

millennials

“Since we’ve all compiled this long and sorry record of afflictions and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives Abba wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” Romans 3

The heart that has been broken and mended in one breath is a heart that understands the power of forgiveness.

Jerry Price (jerryprice.net) Tom bilyeu (Facebook.com/tombilyeu) Inside Quest (Facebook.com/insidequest) Simon Sinek (Facebook.com/simonsinek).