E14 - The Evolved Nest: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Parenting and a Connected Society with Darcia Narvaez
🗓️ Recorded March 29th, 2023. 📍Bagnolo-Cantagallo, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy
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About this episode
What if the key to raising well-adjusted, connected children lies in the practices of our ancestors?
Join us as we explore the evolved nest with Darcia Narvaez, diving into the fascinating world of natural birth, mothering, and the importance of soothing perinatal experiences. Through stories of our own births and parenting experiences, we'll uncover the consequences of our modern, medicalized birth systems and the need for a supportive, nurturing environment.
Darcia Narvaez is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. She is a leading expert in the study of the development of moral cognition and the influence of evolutionary and cultural factors on human behavior.
In this conversation, we'll discuss the benefits of breastfeeding and the role of fathers in the nurturing process. We'll also examine the societal impact and persuasive tactics of formula companies, as well as the importance of touch in helping children and adults feel secure and calm. Discover how skin-to-skin contact and positive touch can be linked to our body's major systems, helping us learn to breathe properly and connect with one another.
Darcia Narvaez is particularly known for her work on the concept of the "Evolved Nest," which is a set of evolved caregiving practices that were present in ancestral environments and are necessary for optimal human development. Her research highlights the importance of nurturing children in a supportive and emotionally responsive environment that incorporates naturalistic experiences and promotes positive relationships with caregivers, peers, and the natural world.
As we delve into the world of responsive relationships and Allo parenting, we'll explore ancient cultures and how we can incorporate their wisdom into our lives today. We'll discuss the importance of community and nature immersion and how building connections in diverse settings can enrich our moral development.
Through her work, Narvaez aims to promote a more holistic and sustainable approach to human development that aligns with our evolutionary history and fosters individual and collective well-being. Her insights have important implications for parents, educators, policymakers, and anyone interested in improving the well-being of children and promoting a more harmonious relationship with the natural world.
By understanding the evolved nest, we can create a supportive environment for our children to thrive and foster a more connected, empathetic society. Don't miss this eye-opening episode!
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Transcript of Episode 14 of The Podcast Self Directed. Hosted by Cecilie and Jesper Conrad.
E14 - The Relevance of Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Parenting with Darcia Narvaez
Please note: This transcript is autogenerated by AI voice recognition - so there will probably be some transcription errors along the way 🙂
Cecilie Conrad: You open this always.
Jesper Conrad: I will open this always, okay. So today we have Darcia Narvaez together with us And the reason is that we did an interview with Jeremy Lent who was like have you read Darcy's work? And we were like no. And he said you must, and what you're talking about and the way you live reminded him a lot about the whole evolved nest line of thinking and the kinship line of thinking. So that's why we invited you, because it is interesting for me. The work you do is so close to how we as an on-schooling, world-schooling family lives to see the connections there.
Darcia Narvaez: Well, it's a pleasure to be with you and such a wonderful family you are and living. I want to hear more about what you do and maybe how it's related to the work that I have been putting together for some time. So the evolved nest represents the way that our ancestors raised children and actually lived throughout their adulthoods, through the lifespan, and it's a way of living that supports our optimal functioning, our optimal development when we're young and maintains our cooperative human nature. So we have nine components we've identified and there could be more we identify, but there are nine that we have studied in my lab in various ways. So the first is soothing perinatal experiences. So that means the mother is supported during pregnancy, socially supportive, feels welcomed in, and the child is welcomed And so she has a calm biochemistry for the growth of the child. Very important for that child to be in a positive biochemistry, otherwise things don't grow properly. Stressful environment shuts down growth And then at birth it's triggered by the signals of the baby ready to come out.
Darcia Narvaez: Babies stay in the womb. They vary by about 55 days, so due dates are just guesses by doctors because we don't know how fast or slow that baby's been growing, and so on. And then mother and baby have a soothing birth. It happens without interference, ideally, of course, when there's emergency you want to interfere and help, and then there's no separation of the baby from the mother because that first hour after birth especially is geared up. Both their reward systems are all ready to magnetically connect and bond and it leads to successful breastfeeding on average and just the lifelong bondedness that you can't explain In our medicalized birth systems. Now that the United States especially has exported to the world are undermining all these things and giving formula and sugar water to newborn babies to keep them quiet all sorts of crazy things and painful procedures. Circumcision and all this stuff shouldn't be happening because that's going to shift the trajectory of the child's development. Do you want me to keep talking or you want to?
Cecilie Conrad: I think maybe you will not be comfortable with just listing them all up.
Jesper Conrad: No, no, no.
Darcia Narvaez: Oh, i'm an academic, i could keep talking and talking.
Cecilie Conrad: Then keep talking, i'm interested.
Jesper Conrad: Then we will reflect on some of them.
Cecilie Conrad: So respond like now we're up to here. The child is born.
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah.
Cecilie Conrad: So the funny thing is I had we have four children together. One of them I had on my own. The story goes that he was tall and blonde and not there when I woke up and I was very young. So I had one child on my own and then later on I met Jesper and he adopted my first daughter. So my first child I had all on my own. And it's funny you mentioned this with this supportive environment, because I just wrote about it this morning. Yeah, actually, how unsupportive the environment was when I was pregnant the first time.
Cecilie Conrad: I am from Denmark, scandinavia, allegedly the most happy country in the world. The most happy country in the world, we have the welfare for everyone. But deciding to become a single mother when you are a young almost what is it called Like? I almost had my first academic education, but I hadn't done it yet. I was 23 and alone and I decided to have my child. It felt right, didn't matter much with the father figure, i was just, i was pregnant and I was happy.
Cecilie Conrad: But when I said, hey, guess what, i'm pregnant, everybody would say, oh, are you having the child, are you going to keep it? It was, it was no congratulations, no big hugs, no, like oh, how amazing, what a miracle, whatever. I was so excited about having a child, but only my grandmother was just happy. Everyone else had this hesitation thing going on and it was not nice. It didn't feel nice. Of course it changed once I told people would you please shut up and be happy with me? But it was not the first response I had. So yeah, so that was not very nice. And then I, when you say these things, i totally of course obviously agree with the natural birth and having the child, the second it's born and all these things. And I fought for it with all of my four children, but three of them came with C-section. The first one was I can't even say in English, how was it done?
Cecilie Conrad: But, the problem with this, because I really had a problem not anymore It's been many years since I had my fourth child, but it did hurt my feelings, my female identity, that we have this idea of the natural birth and the natural mothering and the breastfeeding and all these things And my body actually couldn't do it, maybe because I didn't have the supportive environment. but the reality is that I would not have survived the second child's birth and neither would my son. So I'm very happy for the hospitals And I think when we share this reality because on an academic level I totally agree with you that we're ruining everything with how we're doing it now, but still I'm also grateful for Western medicine. I think it's very important we find a balance so that those who actually need help get the help and not die. Absolutely yes, we also have to help the women who maybe they can't breastfeed or they don't learn it fast enough or something goes wrong. They don't have to feel like they didn't succeed as a woman.
Jesper Conrad: But maybe that's a development that's needed in the hospitals, because I remember for me, but I think for now it's like a polarization.
Cecilie Conrad: It's like either you want to go have all the drugs in the C-sections and the formula and all the drugs in the C-sections and the formula and you just believe in all these things, or you want to go do like wild birthing and I would like us to find some balance where we can believe in the home birth and the wild birth Free birth is the right word But also believe that sometimes we should be grateful that we can get the help we need when we need it.
Darcia Narvaez: That's right, yeah, and not be polarized, and not either or. Each situation is different.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah, and what I would really miss is that the hospital learns from what we have known for millennia about how we give birth after I mean, what is it that the most children are born inside five o'clock, so they don't need to do it on a night shift Before five o'clock in the PM in the evening, because otherwise it's more difficult. So they would rather start a birth than having the woman give birth in the night time And that you are lying down because it's easier for the doctors back. I mean, there is, there's something wrong that could be relearned, and that is, as I see it, some of what you're doing with your work trying to move this out. So let's move on with the list.
Darcia Narvaez: Let me just say most doctors now have never seen a natural birth. They only know interference. There's a book by a journalist called Pushed. She talks about how she was in a hospital labor area and the power went out from a hurricane. This is on the east coast of the United States and all the doctors and nurses were worried Oh no, we can't hook up a fetal monitor and hook up the woman. And the next day they said we've never seen so many happy mothers and babies. There's just this orientation to interfering. That is a shifted baseline. I call it or move towards a new normalcy that you interfere all the time, otherwise people can't make it on their own, which is craziness.
Jesper Conrad: I about the supportive nature of having people around you when you give birth, which, i can understand on your word, was the natural way of doing it. We are actually right now together with Cecilia's little sister, who is maybe what 12 years younger than her, and when she got her first child they moved in together with us for a week and it was so giving for us and for them. But during my adulthood, being a normal man, with all the stupidity we have and also the uneducation on what it is to be a woman, what it is to nurture a child, i can see the lack of knowledge out there. For example, cecilia when I met her, she had our now oldest daughter, the girl I adopted. She's 23 and lives in Copenhagen, and for Cecilia it was natural to sleep together with her child, and I came from a world where, hey, student children have their own bedroom and now we co-sleep. But I believe some of it is a lack of knowledge and not just male stupidity.
Cecilie Conrad: Also the polarization. It's very important we work against the polarization because then it becomes this reality oh, we free birth and co-sleep and people from like another perspective think it's all craziness and we have to move towards each other, rather than I mean we are quite radical people, we live a quite different lifestyle, but I find it really important that we can like still, my sister is living with us now for a few weeks and she's living a more mainstream lifestyle and I don't judge her or I mean we have to be able to talk to each other. I think that is very important yeah, more important than you know.
Jesper Conrad: But I would love to get back to the, the main principle.
Darcia Narvaez: So we are talking about it And I agree it's a lack of experience and knowledge and practice. People just don't know how to do the evolved nests anymore. So not everybody that you know when I give talks, it's the, nor the, the Europeans and the North Americans who go ah, i don't want to have to touch my child, i don't, you know, you know, complain, breastfeeding, and then the rest of the globe is all. They're all nodding their head. Of course, of course, this is what you provide, that's how you do it, yeah, yeah. So the second one is breastfeeding, and that's human milk for several years. So this doesn't. If the mother doesn't, is not able to provide breastfeeding, then a wet nurse, a milk sharing, there are other people that can provide it.
Darcia Narvaez: Now, our ancestral context it's usually two to six years of provision, on average four years of milk, human milk provision, and that means you know you're still doing it, at night, for example. So night milk is really great because it not only relaxes the child but it builds the brain. It's got the tryptophan, which is a precursor of serotonin, which is related to intelligence and not getting depressed and all sorts of things. So and it should be, the child signals when they need something. They need the milk. Newborn every 20 minutes on average. They need to suckle and even in our ancestral context, anybody around there's a infant in distress, they will suckle the child, even the father, because there's a nipple there, right, because that comforts child and they need to feel like they're safe, secure all the time and babyhood for the brain to grow well.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah yeah, this is also an interesting thing, how it has become like just so extreme to breastfeed someone else's child Like would you ever do that? It's like in the Western world it's. Of course I did it with my sister's children, but you know, i hardly ever talk about it because-.
Jesper Conrad: It's a stigma.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, it's a stigma And I didn't do it a lot for that exact reason. Because, oh no, but the first few days when there is no milk, and with the first, not a lot of milk, and the firstborn where it's just in our family we have this. My grandmother had it, my mother had it, i had it, i'm a sister, and we all had problems with the first. It was like really hard to get this system to work And of course we just needed help, but there was no help to get, because our culture has just torn the female community to get away from each other. We don't have this kind of connectedness and we don't live together, which is like if I'm not there I can't help.
Darcia Narvaez: So That's our heritage is to live together. Women helping one another, father, grandfather, grandmother, they're all helping with that baby. So the mom doesn't feel so oppressed and so, you know, overworked.
Jesper Conrad: And I mean even from inside the marriage. I'm not putting a glory on myself at all, no, i shouldn't. No. But I am here today, after many years as a father, and I can look back and say, oh, i wished I would have knew that back then. And one of the goals for us to for me to talk with you, is also to be able to say to all the fathers out there listening hey, it is totally natural, don't stop your wife.
Jesper Conrad: She actually often knows and feels what is right. But she is stopped by society, family and also her spouse. With our first child I was like shoot, your breastfeed so long, it's weird. And what was in me was, to be honest, it was the instilled version of what was right from the society, plus anxiety on my behalf of how would my family react if my wife breastfeed it longer than one year. But I mean, cecilia, she told me back then about hey, you know, the baby gets all a lot of help for its immune system with true me towards the first year. And then I was like, okay, i can accept one year because that is Well, we did negotiate it up to two.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah, yeah.
Cecilie Conrad: But that was as far as I could push it which was really annoying. I had thought this was the first time when we had our second child, my second child, our second child, but you know he was not around when I had the first one. So with my second child I had to share the responsibility with someone and I actually had to be somewhat, you know, Flexible, Democratic, yeah. So I couldn't just say I'll do whatever I want.
Jesper Conrad: No, but what is terrifying for me.
Darcia Narvaez: You gave me two years, Yeah, yeah.
Jesper Conrad: And what is terrifying for me to look back on is why didn't I know? Why has this knowledge got obliterated?
Cecilie Conrad: It's just to your wife.
Jesper Conrad: I could have listened to more to my wife, yeah.
Cecilie Conrad: But anyway, now we will try to get the message out there.
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah.
Cecilie Conrad: It's not that crazy.
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah, people don't understand that breast milk is just this magic elixir really. It's tailored to the needs of the child in the moment. So the saliva of the baby is communicating with the breast of the mother And then the mother was producing antibodies if they're needed, or more fat, or whatever it is if the baby's going through a growth spurt, for example. So and it tailors to whether it's a boy or a girl, and it's just unbelievable. And formula is the same all the time. It's not human ingredients, it's not safely produced, it's, but the formula companies, the marketers, have just convinced the world that it's just almost as good as breast milk.
Darcia Narvaez: And it's so. Far from it. Breast milk is 80% alive And it's got all the building blocks, for the immune system Formula doesn't have any of that.
Cecilie Conrad: How does it look in the States these days? Do people breastfeed?
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah, they initiate it.
Darcia Narvaez: I think maybe there's 35, maybe 78% or so are initiating it, trying it out, and then you have issues with lip ties and tongue ties in the baby that have to be noticed and identified And then the mom needs help knowing how to do it right. She doesn't know. Maybe friendly hospitals that's the WHO's list of things that are breastfeeding friendly essentially help with this. But in the States I think maybe at six months there's maybe 35% of moms still breastfeeding at all, but then it really drops off. So nobody maybe 15%, 12% at one year are doing it at all. So it's pretty bad And the research shows that it's the United States and United Kingdom where there's the worst understanding of it and that there's so much discouragement and so much marketing that makes formula be the go-to All right.
Jesper Conrad: So number three Yeah, okay, yes, please, we will get through this.
Cecilie Conrad: Maybe it'll be two talks. Yeah, it'll be two talks, okay, okay.
Darcia Narvaez: Number three is a welcoming social climate. So this is a welcome of the baby. So the baby is part of the community and the child. So the first two let me just say soon the perinatal experience of breastfeeding are really for the very young. Every other aspect of the nest is for all of us throughout life. So this next one is the welcoming social climate. Feel like we belong and we matter to a group of people, not just one person, right? It's not just mom again, right, poor mom. These are community provided components, the evolved nest, not just a mother or father alone.
Darcia Narvaez: And a welcoming climate, then, is one where you feel like you can be yourself, you grow yourself, you're nurtured, your uniqueness, you unfold, your beauty as a unique creature of the earth and you're able then to feel calm most of the time. So for babies it's very calming relationships that respond to the needs, and quickly, while that brain is growing so quickly. Right, thousands of synapses are growing. A second And so welcoming starts with a conception, even before that, right, because the grandparents need to have been in a welcoming environment for the egg and the sperm that become the parents are in the proper, healthy state when they join together at conception. So welcomeness is just part of our intergenerational inheritance. It should be Yeah, number four. Then yeah, go ahead.
Cecilie Conrad: No, just how do we create that Like in the real life of here and now Western world? I just There's so many problems I can hardly open my eyes. I know.
Darcia Narvaez: I know It's like you have to laugh about it because it's against you.
Cecilie Conrad: Well, i mean, maybe we could come up with like just one good idea. I mean I would just say homeschooling for one thing, but Oh yeah, maybe we could say something else, because it's too obvious when it's me talking Like what can we do to make each other feel more welcome?
Darcia Narvaez: And The rest of the components are part of that. They actually contribute to that feeling.
Cecilie Conrad: So we can, so we continue the list. Yeah, let's maybe continue, let's do it, let's do it.
Darcia Narvaez: So number four is touch. So positive touch, that's affectionate touch. Babies need pretty much 24, seven touch. They need to not be put down, they're just in someone's arms or on backs, carried around all the time And that's gonna grow. Then the vagus nerve properly, that's the 10th cranial nerve that's linked to all the major systems of the body And when it gets, when it's not properly developed, you can have seizures or irritable bowel or respiration problems or heart problems that you don't realize where it came from.
Darcia Narvaez: Right Comes because these things show up later And the baby then is learning to breathe outside the womb and they need a lot of breastfeeding helps especially with that because they have to learn to breathe through nose, mouth and then caring, firm caring, helps breathing grow properly. They need to learn how to breathe deeply So that and to shift between mouth and nose breathing. When they get congested they have to breathe in their mouths. But if they haven't learned that, they could die when they're alone in a crib and can't breathe. So anyway. So positive touch is really important for all of us. That calms us all down. It's linked to lower cortisol levels, higher octetosis and the color hormone.
Jesper Conrad: That goes into the deco-sleeping which I today now find so natural. I love sleeping next to my children and you can feel if they sometimes a leg comes in.
Cecilie Conrad: I mean just like What comes in a leg.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah, a leg, like in between your legs, i need it. It's just like during the night I need a little comfort or a foot, but the value of being able to touch and feel each other's skin. And then again we have a society now where people are almost afraid to touch their own children or sleep in their pajamas next to their mind, their underwear, like skin to skin People. If you tell people, hey, i can sleep, i get that with my 70-year-old boy. We lie next to each other in the bed. They would think it's so weird where it's actually natural, that's right.
Cecilie Conrad: I remember when I first met the word co-sleeping.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah.
Cecilie Conrad: So we just slept. I mean, we had a lot of small children and we were really tired at night, so we fell asleep and then we slept. Then in the morning we woke up and we got up and moved on with our day, didn't have a name, but obviously we slept in one big pile, because that's how you sleep, especially for me, having a lot of children. It was like, okay, now we lie down, mommy's really tired, let's put out the light. And then we slept. So there was no plan to it or academic thought behind it. I had won the war at this point with my husband about where we slept Not exactly.
Cecilie Conrad: Okay, most of it, at least. We did not own a bed child-sized. All beds in our home were like king-sized beds, because when you try to make a child go to sleep, you fall asleep, and I don't want to sleep on the floor. So if we had a bed, it was big enough.
Jesper Conrad: Again, to be honest, in the start I came from a reality where a child has its own room, it has its own set of toys which is also just stupid and a child sleeps alone in the dark in their own room. Today I am sad that I tried to win that war and I'm very happy that Cecilia won it.
Cecilie Conrad: That one you didn't get.
Jesper Conrad: No, i didn't get it, but we started out after me falling asleep on the floor next to a baby-sized bed. It was like you were so broken in the body Then we bought bigger beds And then in the end the babies have always slept next to Cecilia. In my mind it was like when you were bigger And I remember my thoughts in the start, when Cecilia was like breastfeeding in my mind My idea was, what was imprinted on me was that a woman goes into a room and, next to the bedroom, sit in a chair and give the child milk during the night.
Cecilie Conrad: And I said, okay, forget it. There's no way I'm getting out of bed. You go to the next room and sleep in a chair.
Jesper Conrad: But a lot of women still do this. They go out of the bed and take the child up, crying out of a cradle and sit in a chair and put them to sleep. And then you wonder why there are so many divorces. I mean, you must be broken with sleep deprivation as a woman.
Cecilie Conrad: The funny thing was when someone entered our home and saw our huge bed and said oh, you're cold sleeping, and I was like what's that? It sounds complicated.
Jesper Conrad: Now that is where you naturally have filled a lot of these things And I actually believe mothers, if they are allowed to listen to themselves, actually knows a lot of these things.
Cecilie Conrad: But then again we need that supportive environment.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah.
Cecilie Conrad: Maybe next on the list.
Darcia Narvaez: Well yeah, I think again, if we just go back to our instincts that are not complicated by culture and all these belief systems, then we're going to end up with the evolved nest. That's the way it is. And so when the whole mega machine of the world collapses, right, capitalism and all that, and then we're going to have to go back to the world. The world collapses, right, capitalism and all. Hopefully that's what I'm hoping for People will know the evolved nest. Oh yeah, we can do that.
Cecilie Conrad: Maybe they will not even call it the evolved.
Darcia Narvaez: No, they don't need a name for sleeping, just go live.
Cecilie Conrad: Like go live, do what feels right And do what's maybe easy. I mean this whole project with getting kids to sleep somewhere else and breastfeed at the right second of the day, all these things I mean I just chill.
Jesper Conrad: One quick thing more about the sleeping. A colleague of mine yesterday told me that he was getting a baby young guy and absolutely no support system. You know, around He has mothers and parents, of course, but there's no dads who have told him before. I said, you know, a baby can actually shuffle on the breast and get its milk sleeping, it can crawl up to the breast, it can smell it and drink What. And there is, there is, a lot of knowledge that needs to be relearned, which is why I'm happy that we have you on as a guest today and let's go to the next list Yes.
Darcia Narvaez: We have a book my colleague and I gave Brad shot, coming out in August, called the evolved nest nature's way of raising children and creating connected communities, and it's. Each chapter is about a different animal and different aspect of the nest and then integrating the human information and neuroscience. So it's a popular trade book. Hopefully people will get inspired. Sounds like a good one. The other aspect of touch is no negative touch. So that means no spanking, no pinching, no slapping, because that's going to shift the trajectory of that child to be more self centered and worried and insecure. That you know someone's going to hit me and makes them more aggressive. We have longitudinal studies showing that if you get spanked it's like child abuse, it's physical abuse and it has the same effects long term of making you death, less connected, more aggressive and more self centered.
Cecilie Conrad: We were actually we had just had a conversation recently with a wonderful woman from New York and we had this spanking talk. Because I was at that point. I was shocked because it's been illegal for a long time in our country. So for me it's like are we discussing this? Yeah, is this a thing to people?
Jesper Conrad: actually might get on purpose to jail jail.
Cecilie Conrad: Where I come from. It's illegal, hardcore, legal. You can't spank anyone, i can't hit him, he can't hit me and we can't hit our children. It's just illegal. So yeah, but that one is. I can't believe that people are still doing it in the modern world. It's, it's good. I just can't believe I'm. I refuse to believe it.
Darcia Narvaez: It's great with the Protestant puritanical temperaments that you know you have to punish children to be good And just that's this part of this. It's in the states, just so rooted and spread out.
Cecilie Conrad: So weird. I didn't see that one coming from the states, but we. I've never been to the states. I have a lot to learn.
Darcia Narvaez: You don't need to come here to learn.
Cecilie Conrad: You know so much already right, well, yeah, i was not happy to learn this detail.
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah, okay, the next one, please, it's long from this banking, i know we know it's too distressing.
Darcia Narvaez: Self directed play with others, multiple h mates and self directed play means you know, you run around and you climb a tree and you play chase or tag and you wrestle on the ground and you invent things and explore the environment.
Darcia Narvaez: This is wonderful for brain development and it helps brain development at any age. So one of the things that the lack of the evolved nest does it undermines the growth of the right hemisphere because that's scheduled to grow more rapidly in the first years of life, where you know and it's the non verbal essentially that are understanding how to get along with others. So there's just millions of little things about how to start a conversation, how to indicate with your face that you don't like something or whatever. All sorts of little things are learned before language starts and babyhood. But if you're leaving the baby alone, leaving them to cry, leaving them in isolated in the crib or playpen, these things aren't going to grow in their normal species, normal way. So what you tell adults is if you were under cared for lack of the nest and early life especially then go find a young child and play with them. They will insist on you. You know running around or playing and you have to be in the present moment with that person.
Darcia Narvaez: You have to be in the right hemisphere, right to be in the present moment. You have to. You can think about the future and worry about this or that. You're here now and you have to react, and that's that helping you grow your empathy, your sense of beingness, your ability to be in higher consciousness all sorts of good things, and may I add, even if you were not under what was your word Under care, under care for?
Cecilie Conrad: go do it anyway, because it's just amazing.
Darcia Narvaez: Yes, yes.
Cecilie Conrad: And for kids.
Darcia Narvaez: It helps, helps you learn how to not be aggressive because your playmate you can't be too aggressive with your playmate or they'll stop playing with you. And so you have learned you build your executive functions. We call that right stopping and starting action and paying attention to unexpected events because you don't know what your playmates going to do. So it really is great for building a personality And I think it's very important to really underline that adults should join this playing.
Cecilie Conrad: I think in our modern world we have made this social construct that plays children And it's like an irrelevant kind of waste of time ish thing that you can go do after you did your chores or plays for everyone. We just just came from playing board games and card games with the children and yesterday we actually had a lot of fun on a lawn with some ball games in the in the age age group, which complicated age group kind of. So the youngest child is five and the oldest is 17 and I'm 47. And my sister is in her 30s and so we were like all ages and it was a lot of fun. But it was also a great learning journey for everyone.
Cecilie Conrad: Like, okay, on Sicily can't get up that fast anymore and she falls, so you have to cut her a break. And maybe the five year old when we play football you have to make sure she gets the ball sometimes and otherwise she'll be. It's not fun. It's no more fun than you know. The youngest is having fun or the oldest is having fun. It's it's even when you're like 17 or 35. There is something to learn and something like to adjust just a little bit from the playing.
Jesper Conrad: So we take we take play seriously we take it seriously.
Darcia Narvaez: That's great. Good illustration, good explanation.
Jesper Conrad: But one thing about play, which Peter Gray, which whom we also have had on the podcast. he mentions that now play has been misunderstood as adult led outdoor activities. for many people It's not playing, so it's not playing. sending your child to a football game where everybody is a secret gated and it's controlled by an adult. It has nothing to do with play. So yeah, it's does. if anybody is like, oh, my child is playing, is he?
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah, it's better than nothing, better than sitting at home in front of a computer or something.
Cecilie Conrad: It's complicated because we did play games yesterday. The story I just shared was about games with rules. We did play football and we did play another ball game with rules. But, it was not like it was not like serious, let's continue.
Darcia Narvaez: Let's take our ancestral context work and play. I mean, they didn't labor for wages or whatever, but they did what needed to be done to live life, and all that was mixed with play. You know, it's just enjoyment of being together with others, right? so you don't have to separate it from separate activity. All right. Then there's responsive relationships. We've sort of talked about that.
Darcia Narvaez: So in babyhood that means your caregivers are keeping you calm so they carry you around, and and if you start to make a face as a baby, that means something's not feeling right and so they'll move in and pat you or rock you or something. And waiting for a baby to cry, that's a late signal. That's actually harmful, right, and if it, especially that goes on very long because it melts the connections that are happening in the brain at high levels the cortisol, that's the stress hormone. So you want to keep that baby calm and pay attention to the signals. Skin to skin caring is really vital for that to learn how to pay attention to your baby.
Darcia Narvaez: Six signals And we need to have these relationships throughout our lives. We need mentors, we need someone who shows us how to do things and then we can pitch in, learn from observation and then pitch in, and we, you know we need support at every age, except, i suppose, when you're 100 years old. There's nobody left up there, but otherwise we all need to feel like we're supported and people are again guiding us through living a good life.
Jesper Conrad: About the seeing baby's needs. Then it took me the first two babies we had together to with deferred. I said yes to the fabric diapers because, again, i was normally against stuff, like a thing a lot of men are, or maybe I hope it's not just me. I remember when we changed to them, how quickly our child got to know his, his body, compared to the others, and how quickly we became aware of, okay, this sound is I need to be, this sound is I need to do number two, and there was never any mistakes, you know, and it was. There's so much we have removed after learning. We should have and that should be given together from, like you say, the close support from families and and yeah, so I hope many more will go down the fabric diver and watch your baby and listen to them.
Cecilie Conrad: Actually we did the fabric, or recyclable, or whatever it's called, but we also just did no diver.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah.
Cecilie Conrad: With number four, so it took me some time to convince him.
Jesper Conrad: But I did not the final get there.
Cecilie Conrad: And yeah, that was, it really was a game changer. Just let go of all that and trust the child to be able to figure it out, and that is our ancestral way of doing it right, you didn't have diapers in the back.
Darcia Narvaez: It just recognizes signal.
Cecilie Conrad: and then you held the baby, yeah, wherever it was, and if something goes wrong, then you just wash the clothes, which you do anyway. Clean it up and move on.
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah, Yeah, so then another one is aloe parents or aloe mothers or other caregivers, right. So this is really important as part of the responsive relationships, but you need more than mom, more than mom and dad. You need to have at least at least research shows at least three people in love with you as a young child, three people who are there to be present, to meet your needs, and so on. And so aloe parenting, again, is this mentoring that we need throughout life, just emphasizing that it's more than just mother, which otherwise, you know, in some primates is just mom taking care of the offspring, and they don't trust other people because the baby could be killed by anybody else. So the mothers hang on to their babies.
Darcia Narvaez: But that's not our how we evolved. We evolved to raise children together And that means that we have learned. Our species trusts others to care for that baby and you pass the baby around right and, and so it's again that communal way of raising our human nature, of being cooperative, connected in mind reading and perspective taking and empathy. All comes from having aloe parents or aloe mothers.
Cecilie Conrad: Where do we go find them?
Jesper Conrad: Unfortunately it's two people alone.
Darcia Narvaez: Well, when you have a larger family, then you're all. The older siblings become part of the aloe parents.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, yeah, young, but it does work, also in our lives. I just think that this is part of the community lifestyle that is harder to come around these days To find someone with whom you will share your life and you will, with whom you will trust throughout your whole life to take care of your children. I find this one really hard to establish In our life. We talked about this a lot because we live this extremely different life And because once you take your children out of school, the problem is that all of the other children are in the school, so there are not many playmates to find. It's not that we're not social, it's because they're not there. They're trapped inside the schools.
Cecilie Conrad: And finding someone who we can share our lives with and we trust, and who we like and who we share values and interests with and you know has been hard work. I will say I think we did succeed, but it is the hard part. This is where we really have to work as homeschoolers in Europe. I think it's different in the States, but here it's a more rare phenomena.
Jesper Conrad: But what I'm searching for Darcy is the bridge between people living in small hunter gatherer communities. And well, the reason. I know Jeremy Lendis. I was interim CEO of Gaia Education for a period and it's a wonderful organization, but the education is more or less. It's very simplified. Now, hey, go and build an equal village. This is how you do it. It's, of course, a lot broader than that, but a lot of the people attracted by the education was people who wanted to live in close community and more in nature, which I think is a wonderful idea, but it is less than one percentage of the world that want to live like that today. So what have you been thinking about? how to bring these principles out to the world? Because I think there's a long way for getting people to live in intentional communities, equal villages and hunter gatherer communities. People love their flats and living in the cities, so I don't know how we go there.
Darcia Narvaez: I think some communities have drop-in centers for families and children in cities so that you can go there and play with others and talk to other parents and things like that. So I think that's one way of getting supports. Another is to go to parks. I was born in Minneapolis, minnesota, and every six blocks nobody's further from a park than six blocks. The city was designed that way And so that's another way that unfortunately, we have laws now where you can't leave your child unsupervised in a park to play. You get arrested or you know it's crazy, but anyway you should be able to leave your child to go play in the park and run around. We grew up that way myself, so there are little pockets of things to help. I think people have to. I mean, they're so untrusting in the States now, in part because the nest hasn't been provided right.
Darcia Narvaez: So you don't learn to trust people. You're in the embracing mode against others and always suspicious, because your biology, neurobiology, just didn't get set up for all the flexible attunement that all these things of the nest provide and support. So you've got people with distrust and they'd rather be in their homes and they'd rather be on a screen because that's what they know And they don't have all those skills of getting along And I think COVID kind of undermined development in some ways for that face-to-face flexibility and joy, social joy of being with one another. In my classroom I was teaching my college students how to play folk song games. So they have to build their calmness right. So a lot of them are very anxious and depressed. So we learned belly breathing so they can have a tool to help themselves calm down and pay attention to how you're feeling.
Darcia Narvaez: Is your jaw getting tight? Okay, take a deep breath. But that's not enough to get back to our human normality. We would play folk song games to build their ability for social joy. So folk song games hunting me will go, hunting me will catch a little fox and put him in a box and then we'll let him go and you have this big circle and you're holding each other's hands and you're singing, you're looking at each other, your vaguest nerve is getting stimulated, your right brain's growing and it's so much fun you're laughing. And then we would go teach those to kindergartners, teach the games, and then they would be there with the young children jumping up for joy because they can't you know, they don't restrict themselves, and the students then have a sense of joy and being with one another. And wow, i can do this. I'm sitting in front of my computer with my phone and my phaser in. So I think we have to get back to finding little ways to connect, right, yeah, I think also, when you say this is with did you call it a lo?
Cecilie Conrad: parents, or Yes, yeah, at least if we pay attention to this need, that we actually need to find someone we trust and someone we will hold on to, and if it doesn't work out, we'll go look for someone else so that we don't become too self contained, which is really could be a trap for a family like ours, because we live in a van and we move around and you know we now we are extremely social, so it's not like a trap we will fall into, but it could have been that it becomes enough within our own circle And I think it's very important to have others who are almost equally important, like having really close friends or siblings or extended family members or mentors or just people that we find inspiring and important.
Cecilie Conrad: And in reality we can't all, will not all live in small, intentional communities, but we can pay attention to the need for more people in our lives and in our children's lives, and to learn to trust these other people, to look after our children not complete strangers, like you know, leaving them in a kindergarten, but someone that I know to and who my trust and who I like and to take these people into our lives and and let them play a part. I think that is possible. Yeah, more than you know, hoping for everyone to move into communities. There is something to do before the apocalypse, before capitalism falls. Yeah, we can work with this tomorrow. Think about a best friend and you know, yeah, we can't put it all off.
Darcia Narvaez: Right, mm. That brings me to the next one, because our parents can also be in the natural world. So the next one is nature immersion and nature connection. So we have to well, part of what we well, part of the nest is to feel connected to the landscape where you grow up and to feel like, well, awareness of the sentience of the trees, of the animals, of the plants around you, and you have a sense of community with the natural world. So you're not alone ever, because you know there's always a spider around you. Could, you know, talk to the spider, even a rock? in Native American communities, rocks have spirit right And they move on their own to places and you know they're there as teachers and trees are. They're all teachers of us. We're the younger species on the planet.
Cecilie Conrad: All these other entities have been here for millions of years.
Darcia Narvaez: Mosses 400 million years, right, so, yeah, Yeah. So nature immersion is really important in childhood. I talk about receptive intelligence. You know you want your baby to be able to just sit there and watch the birds and feel the winds and touch the earth, and without you saying oh no, don't touch that, that's dirty.
Darcia Narvaez: Oh, no, don't do that, you might fall. No, none of that right. Let them be themselves and play in the natural world. They're smart like other animals. They have to develop that animal mind, the animal senses, and then young children need to be able to run around. And children need to be unsupervised out there in the natural world so they can grow their risk-taking abilities and understand. You know that they can do it.
Darcia Narvaez: You know we undermine their self-confidence in so many ways when you leave out the nest components and children and adults then sit there and they don't feel like they know anything or can do anything because we haven't let them at the sensitive periods of time when they're ready to learn. So you have to follow what those interests of the child are and support them. So, even like learning how to fold the laundry or wash dishes, toddlers are ready to help. They're not very good at it, they'll make a mess of it, but that's I mean. They learn. But that's a sensitive period to learn how to be a community member, a cooperator in getting whatever the family's work done or the community's work done. So in the States most children are set in front of a TV or a screen of some sort And the mom does all the work, or the dad right. And then the teenage years. The parents say come on, help take out the garbage. The child doesn't want to help. Then The sensitive period passed, so it's a power issue.
Cecilie Conrad: Then Do you think it can be fixed? Do you think it's worth it to be like 45? No, no, no, I'm thinking on a personal level. I'm thinking, okay, if you think you grew up in an apartment and in the kindergarten and with no nature and no free play, do you think it's worth it to just go crazy when you're an adult, take off your shoes and go out on a lawn and do a crazy dance and pick some flowers, yes, do it.
Cecilie Conrad: Do you think so? Yes, and I wrote it. I agree with you. I think it's really worth it to just go do it now. It's never too late to have a good childhood, that's right.
Darcia Narvaez: You can always grow. Yeah, you may not be able to fix everything in your body, your brain, but you can do a lot. It will improve. Yeah, john Young just wrote an essay about what he recommends.
Darcia Narvaez: He's a nature connection guy who wrote the coyotes guide in nature connection.
Darcia Narvaez: He's done work with groups all over the world and he's been collecting all the wisdom from our ancestral context, mostly the San Bushmen of Botswana and what they do.
Darcia Narvaez: And they spend a lot of time connecting, greeting each other and looking into each other's eyes, speaking a language you don't know and you talk at the same time in your language, and they're right there and they have to greet everybody in the group.
Darcia Narvaez: And then you feel bonded and you express gratitude for something in the moment, you shake off the dust of where you just came from and now you can be present and be with the others instead of preoccupied with whatever you just came from or whatever. And then this is applied to nature connection as well. So you go and find a sit spot in the natural world and you go there regularly in the same place and you work on opening your senses to pay attention And the animals will get used to you coming if you come at the same time especially, and you're just sitting there and then they'll start to appear. They'll start you'll notice this and that and it's just back to being a member of the earth community. We kind of forgot that, right, when you live in a city where walls, you know, or you sit there all the time.
Darcia Narvaez: You forget. This is an earth community and we're all here together. Yeah, yeah, There's one more.
Jesper Conrad: Yes.
Darcia Narvaez: Give it to us One more is routine or regular healing practices. So the San Bushman, three or four times a week, have grieving ceremonies. Grieving is what we all need to do now, because we've lost so much and we've, you know, our own pain that we suppressed, you know, or lack of support, that kind of shut our hearts down and made us, you know, afraid to really be ourselves. We have to release a lot of that right, and the somatic therapy really helps the body therapy. Grieving ceremonies, grieving ceremonies or other kinds of ceremonies are routine, then, where you allow yourself to express emotion, there's usually a healer around who just puts their hands on you and helps you release that.
Darcia Narvaez: All of us can do this in the Bushman or the sun people's way. Everyone learns to be an expert in nature connection, in connecting to others, and we sort of forgot that too. But we all have these capacities in us and we have to then learn to develop them Again with the mentoring that we need. But mentoring comes through dreams too, so dreams, and even a stranger can say something to us that will go oh, yeah, right, and help and shifts our path in some way towards a greater expression of our uniqueness.
Cecilie Conrad: So the mental healing process as a routine thing might, for the Western world, people Just begin with accepting that we cannot always be happy, that the grieving and the vulnerable emotions and the sadness and sometimes you're like just really tired, it's all okay, it's all right, it's all part of human life. And I think we have this fear of negative emotion, fear of not performing, of not being at our best and our most excited and peaking. It's always peaking. So whenever this kind of emotion shows up, as you said, we suppress it. That's how. So also how children are very often brought up Like if they have something within them, we try to make it go away rather than sit with it for a while.
Cecilie Conrad: It's such an easy practice. I'm a trained psychologist so I could just make a lot of money on people's emotions. But I'm not going to because it's not that hard. It's very They just sit with it. Advice If there is a negative emotion, just sit with it for a while, give it some space.
Cecilie Conrad: It's so efficient. It's something we're not used to doing and we're not very often not allowing children to be angry or sad or frustrated or scared. We're trying to keep them in the happy state So they don't learn that it's okay to be all these negative things, and it's also emotions we all have to cope with somehow. So I think it's just a very good place to start. Maybe, if it sounds To me it's not crazy, let's go sit in a circle and have grieving sessions twice a week, but for a lot of people it would be too crazy. So maybe, just to start with acknowledging all of the negative emotion, just allow the sadness when you're sad and allow the anger when you're angry and the fear when you're afraid. That that would be really a game changer. I think, yeah, just sit with one.
Darcia Narvaez: You can put on music that draws it out right, that makes you sad and cry, and you can feel it then. Or your angry music right, dance around angry.
Cecilie Conrad: When I was in my 20s I had. When I was in my 20s I had a big pile of plates like really cheap ones from the secondhand shop. When I was really angry I would take one, smash it, and my roommate was nice, she would go pick it up and clean out for me. So It really worked.
Darcia Narvaez: It did work I used to throw exercise shoes, tennis shoes. I like the sound of The shaggy cracking.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, it really worked. Just get it out. But we have another good advice. With negative emotion We use a lot. We say give it 20 minutes Because you can dive too deep into it and get lost. So give it 20 minutes. When it's had 20 minutes, get up, do something else. That's what I usually say to people.
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah, you can otherwise start to ruminate and just go around and run.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, that's not a good thing. It's not a good thing.
Jesper Conrad: Why did you end up working with the evolved nest? What is it that is so powerful in this for you that you have written several books around the same subject and are dedicating so much time? What is it?
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah, i've had multiple careers, but my PhD was in moral development and that area at the time was it still is focused on reasoning, moral reasoning, you know, just make the right decision and then you can make your will, make it happen. You know, take the right action. And it didn't make sense for me because I grew up where if I felt threatened, my brain would just freeze and I couldn't talk. And, yeah, i might want to do the right thing or reason, but I couldn't do it in that state. Right, so what's wrong? That didn't make sense. I wanted to be a moral person and be good. You know, i grew up as a good girl, you know, and so it was a puzzle for me and I started to read widely about things and at the same time the Iraq war occurred and I had been one of the millions protesting the war mongering that was happening in the United States administration and but we went to war even though the evidence was so flimsy. You know, there's nothing there and I couldn't understand how.
Darcia Narvaez: And then the popular support of the war. I couldn't understand how a population could support this so easily and so blindly and mindlessly. And so that got me looking at the neurobiology. I've just stumbled into various authors Alan Shore, yacopanxept, james Prescott, and we started. And then the book Hunter Gatherer Childhoods, or Melvin Connor says well, this is the Hunter Gatherer childhood model. It's been around for millions of years. I wonder, maybe it matters.
Darcia Narvaez: It works yeah, so that's where all this came together and the evolved nest.
Darcia Narvaez: And then I related it to moral development. So when your neurobiology is not fully developed, you're enhancing through babies being left alone, left to cry, being punished, spanked. You're enhancing the old parts of the brain and survival systems that are there to keep you alive, and then you don't grow the stuff that has to grow after birth, from experience, which is the social skills, the sociality and the compassionate morality which comes then when that integrates with your executive functions, which finally finish themselves supposedly by age 30. So all that gets undermined and you end up with this very bracing against the world orientation. And then you go to school and you learn the right answers and, yeah, you can take a test and get high scores on moral reasoning, but when you act you know you're not acting from your heart, because you have no heart, you didn't develop your heart, you're not acting in a virtuous way, and so all this is all coordinated and related to me. So it's a big like juggling elephants putting all this information together.
Cecilie Conrad: Well, it's interesting because I was actually reflecting with someone recently about I can't remember the context, but anyway, our children grow up unschooled and obviously not age segregated and not judged by their age either. So what we do is we spend a lot of time with a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures, having a lot of conversation. we talk all the time And I thought about this moral, ethical discussion. It was the train situation. We had a train situation with a lot of tourists who needed to get on a train, and they obviously came from everywhere, because this was a big tourist attraction and we were waiting in line or in the big group and it was a horrifying experience of people just not paying attention to each other's needs. and our oldest son he was in shock for like 24 hours.
Cecilie Conrad: He couldn't stop talking about it, because he had seen a young man push an elderly woman back into the train As she was trying to get out. he just wanted on because there was obviously like I don't know eight times the amount of people who could actually get on. the train was waiting And he couldn't even wait for her to get out, let alone give her a hand.
Jesper Conrad: He was even first in line.
Cecilie Conrad: He was first in line, he would obviously get on. He just had to wait for people to get off first and he couldn't do that and she was like too slow for him So he pushed her back in. And my son, who was not first in line, so he couldn't help, he couldn't without pushing people over. He just could see it like we were like three or four rows behind. And so this sparked a lot of conversation about moral, about ethics, about cultural differences with the line what do you call it? Waiting in line systems are different everywhere. We've experienced a lot of different systems for this and they come with. The rest of the culture is actually quite fun when you look at it. When it's not this horrifying experience And I just thought about how a moral system, an ethical system, also comes from living your life in real life, not like having a test with a theoretical question, but you actually experience something and you have this oh sorry, you have this emotion.
Cecilie Conrad: You really feel this was wrong. Someone is pushing an elderly woman over. This is not you know. You feel it in your stomach, not in your reasoning mind. You get to talk to a lot of people about it because this is a story he now needs to share with his friends and with my sister, who just arrived, and so you know what happened. And this is just the natural development of moral, which I find a very, very important part of growing up and of growing throughout your whole life, that you keep reflecting on what's okay and what's not okay And how can I contribute, how can I act in an ethical way, which I think this is lost, completely lost in the age, segregated lifestyle that most children have up until their mid-20s even.
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah, Okay, did that make sense? Yeah, it makes sense. And think of that young man who pushed the elderly woman. What kind of upbringing did he have? What was going on? Well, we could say that he's thinking only of himself, right? So he's in a dysregulated, self-centered way, and that's what happens when you don't have the nest around you.
Cecilie Conrad: He was afraid to not get on the train, which for him must have been a disaster. He couldn't even see the big picture of might be another train coming. You know, it's not like the end of the world if I'm not getting on that train, maybe. So yeah, we discussed his state of mind and his where does he come from and what happened to him when he ends up being the kind of guy who would push an elderly woman.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah Well, one of the things we see when we meet other unschoolers and homeschoolers and children brought up I would call it more natural is it's quite easy to see on an outside group. Sometimes we are meeting with people in the park and you can see the other unschoolers of figure out who they are, because the children are more respectful around each other and more polite and more chill.
Jesper Conrad: And more chill And we experience sometimes when we go to museums how we call it ageism what we sometimes experience when we go talk to a person on the museum and they talk to the adults, not to the children, but they are a product of the world where they have only experienced children who are annoying when they're in museums.
Jesper Conrad: So when we come with our children and they actually stand there and ask questions for half an hour, you see these people light up and just be happy. But yeah, i'm just talking about. my main point is. my point is that I think that when I look at what you tell about the evolved nest and on all these principles, it fits so well into the theories about unschooling and the way the parenting is in unschooling and the trust there is in the human, but where I also can see that people who are going down the road with unschooling should look at the principles you have mentioned, which why I'm super happy that we invited you, because there are, otherwise people sometimes tend to live too enclosed in their own world if they don't look at the whole nest, as you're calling it.
Cecilie Conrad: I think the most interesting question I've asked it a few times, or we've touched on it together a few times during this conversation is how do we start? We can't wait for the apocalypse. How do we start now? What's the most important thing we can do? Let's imagine we're over the beginning. Most people are not exactly pregnant right now. Maybe they have a five year old or a 10 year old or a two year old. So we didn't get on the right track from the beginning. But we're right here in the middle of life and somehow we got to listen to this podcast or read your book. How can we just improve just a little bit?
Darcia Narvaez: Sure, well, i would recommend slowing down for, you know, five minutes, ten minutes, and connecting with your child or your spouse or family members and playing and doing something silly. Have a pillow fight, you know, and have a running around tag game and let yourself be a child again. The adults have to learn how to do that again because they've been all told to. You know, adult up, I suppose. And so, getting back to that playful way of being, if we look at the, i think it also helps to understand what thriving looks like in our ancestral context and have a sense of, oh, this, it's okay to be this way, or something to aim for, right.
Darcia Narvaez: So these people have quiet minds. They're able to just be chill, right. They have a gleeful childlike happiness. They're vital and energetic. They have autonomy. They make their own decisions. They don't succumb to authoritarianism, for example. Right, they're honest with their feelings, with their emotions. But they're also sensitive, so they're very empathic. They have a sense of humor. So get that sense of humor going. They're able to get along in the landscape. So get to know your landscape, the animals and plants around you and make connections with them.
Darcia Narvaez: So there's a lot of different ways to go and to learn how to connect to the spirit, the unmanifest, to the things that really matter in life, and let yourself connect to those and not just get stuck in your intellect, which is what we in the Western world have learned to do. That that's the best thing Most religions of the world say. That's a dangerous place to me, because that's that left brain, ego, consciousness, the things that knows, everything doesn't, is unable to pay attention to the dynamism of life and relationships, which are the key, is only able to look at objects, static categorizations of things. You have to not be in that mode very much. It's useful for problem solving, but you should be in the more open, relational, attuned, flexible way of being with others And you can practice that. It takes practice, and so, anyway, a few ideas.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, and I think if it's too far away from your comfort zone to go out and play tag or pillow fight or that's like, you even have to engage the whole body in doing something. it's not useful. It can be too much. you know small, but let's be realistic. it can be really confronting And I think the playing games actually can be very liberating. Find some card games or board games or dice games or whatever games not computer games to begin with And sit down around the table, make some tea and be just. waste your time doing this, get invested, find a game you like. You know maybe you have to buy 10 different games before you find one that literally works for the family, but it's just. it can be really hilarious to go through all of the emotion and all of the thinking and all of the silliness that gaming provides, and then you don't have to engage the whole body. That can be like step two.
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah, yeah. The step two then could be put on some music and dance.
Jesper Conrad: Oh, yes, go crazy.
Darcia Narvaez: The whole body again.
Cecilie Conrad: Oh no, Or go find some live music, even better.
Darcia Narvaez: And dance And group Yeah, and people will be dancing. You can look down here, yeah. Inhibitions.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, let loose and let go of the tick boxes.
Darcia Narvaez: Yeah, yeah. Another thing you could do just sitting is to express gratitude. Yeah, what are you grateful for in this moment or today? And that shifts your mindset away from your self-centeredness right And getting things and wanting to control things to, ah, receptiveness, oh yes, look what they did for me. That takes practice too.
Cecilie Conrad: We have a general rule in our family Whenever we cross a bridge, we express gratitude. Huh, it can be really hard when Italy, at the moment, everything is just either a tunnel or, what's it in English, be a duck.
Jesper Conrad: Yeah, like a bridge you're driving off By a duck.
Cecilie Conrad: By a duck. It's just all the time It's like tunnel by a duck. I'm grateful for my toothbrush. I'm grateful. It's really hilarious, but it's really a lovely thing to do. We made when we walked the Camino like silly rules. So a tunnel would allow you to be angry for something, and a bridge, you had to be grateful. Yeah, okay, but the grateful one stuck. The other things faded out. But it's just. If you want to work with gratefulness I think you see this general advice very often sit down in the evening and write three pages in your gratefulness journal.
Cecilie Conrad: But you know, maybe you won't get that done. So I think this just find a thing if you see a red car, or whatever happens, Every time you open Facebook. Instead of opening Facebook. Yeah, no, but something that will happen like at least three or four times a week. Have that as a general rule for a gratefulness and then we say it out loud together, so everyone has to say something and we can make jokes. It's okay to say you're grateful for your toothbrush if you're like it's strach.
Darcia Narvaez: Native American groups have gratitude ceremonies all day long, right? They're grateful for the water, grateful for this food, these berries, or this meat from this animal that's given them permission to eat them, right? So you ask permission, you don't just impose your will on all these sentient world entities.
Jesper Conrad: One of the things we have, the things we have been talking about, makes me reflect on some of the changes that has happened in our life. I was the go to work dad when we on school and homeschooled our kids in Copenhagen, and Cecilia was the stay at home mom. So I was entrapped in normal life for 22 years, in an office kind of. But these last five years traveling, one of the things I see that we do and makes me it made me think about it, talking with you about is that, as we have a van, we drive around with a guest house, so we move in together with friends and family, we stay next to friends for a week or two or until they say now it's time.
Cecilie Conrad: Several months.
Jesper Conrad: Sometimes months, but this gives us the opportunity now to live together with other people and that is by far besides. Number one is to be able to be together with my wife and my children all day, 24 hours a day. That's wonderful. But to live together with all the people, it gives so much. And also in the reflecting when we move on, we're like okay, they live in some ways like this where we are like here And you see the differences is how you parent, and often we come away inspired to okay, let's take a little of this family with us, and that is just the greatest gift to live together with other people, and our culture today is one family in one apartment or one house.
Cecilie Conrad: Yeah, and social life is this construct where it's like okay, let's have dinner, and then you arrive, and then there's the hello, that's all for dinner. And then you go home. But when you move in with people and spend time with them like that, then within the first 24 hours you've been like naked and brush your teeth and done the dishes and shouted at someone and you smell.
Cecilie Conrad: You're just human And it happens like this. And then friendships grow very fast And the reality of social life emerges. And I can't do these dinner dates anymore. I don't enjoy it very much. No, well, sometimes I do, but I prefer the other kind of social life, where it's just the free flow of life. Also, i don't have to sit down and be social. If I want to call my sister or knit something or start the laundry, i can do that, because it's like a flow state, that life goes on in a flow state with other people. It's much nicer.
Jesper Conrad: But, as we try to keep our podcast episodes not more than one and a half hour. It is a round time to round up.
Cecilie Conrad: It's wrap up. We have been speaking a lot of Danish. This week.
Jesper Conrad: So we need to re-emerge ourselves. But if people want to go and understand more of your work, where should they start And if you can tell a little about the different books you've written and how they could involve themselves into work.
Darcia Narvaez: Well, the website to go to is evolvednest.org, and there'll be a lot of information there about the Evolved Nests, including a checklist for parents who send their children to daycare or early care centers how to examine how nested they are, how much nest they provide, for example. And then books. The new book coming out in August is the Evolved Nests Nature's Way of Raising Children and Creating Connected Communities. A book that came out last year is Restoring the Kinship Worldview And this was done with four arrows. It's a dialogue book. We quote 28 precepts of the Kinship Worldview and then talk about them. So the quotes are from mostly Native Americans, but other natives. And then the more academic but it's written for everybody book which has all the pieces put together is Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality, evolution, culture and Wisdom. So this is mine. It's won several awards. So if they want to go deep, that's the one to go to, and otherwise there's a lot of information also at kindredmedia.org a lot of essays, as well as the podcasts and videos that you can find at EvolvedNestorg.
Cecilie Conrad: So we put it in the show notes And I want to ask are your books available for e-readers or do I need to buy the physical books?
Darcia Narvaez: The recent ones are So. Restoring is an e-book.
Cecilie Conrad: Not a deep one. Neurobiology is not, It's well, maybe it is.
Darcia Narvaez: I'll check it out. I read the other one with the S-word, and the new one is audio. We'll be audio and e-book.
Cecilie Conrad: Okay, thank you very much.
Darcia Narvaez: Thank you, it's so marvellous.
Cecilie Conrad: We talk forever, but we have to stop somewhere.
Darcia Narvaez: All the best in what you're doing. It's really your role models. for the rest of us, it's just marvellous, thank you.
Cecilie Conrad: Thank you, i'm trying to do something different.
WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS EPISODE
Have you read the latest articles by Cecilie Conrad?
Here you can find my latest writing - It is a mix of my blogposts and 2023 journaling. I hope you will enjoy it :)
Have you heard the latest podcast episodes?
🎙️New episode out every Thursday 🎙️
E19 - The Power of Connection in Parenting - A dialogue with Naomi Aldort
E18 - Ask Us Anything: Embracing Radical Parenting & Unschooling: A Journey of Trust & Empowerment
E17 - The Adventure Is the People: An Interview with the caricature artist Samuel KingDavis
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