Protecting Mothers' Climate Consciousness with Dr. Stephanie MinesJan 17, 2022
Dr. Stephanie Mines, neuropsychologist and climate activist, shares how grand/mothering sparked a transformation in her climate consciousness and how we might protect this vital psychoecological development as part of maternal health and wellness.
Dr. Stephanie Mines is a neuropsychologist whose unique understanding comes from her academic research as well as her extensive work in the field. Her stories of personal transformation have led many listeners to become deeply committed to the healing journey. Dr. Mines understands shock from every conceivable perspective. She has investigated it as a survivor, a professional, a healthcare provider, and as a trainer of staffs of institutions and agencies.
Her blend of Western and Eastern modalities offers the best of both paradigms. She is devoted to ending the lineage of shock and trauma for individuals and the world. To this end she has developed the TARA Approach for the Resolution of Shock and Trauma which is taught internationally and is a clinically tested comprehensive treatment design.
The TARA Approach is also a non-profit organization dedicated to providing alternative health options for a broad spectrum of populations. Dr. Mines, as Director, is responsible for disseminating information to communities in need, especially people suffering from illness that results from shock and trauma, survivors of domestic violence, families and children, and people living with neurodiversity including autism and other sensory integration challenges.
Dr. Mines also developed Climate Change & Consciousness (www.cccearth.org). She convened a global gathering in Northern Scotland in April 2019 with keynote leaders like Bill McKibben, Vandana Shiva and others who inspired the intergenerational community there to take direct action that is now sustained by a movement serving throughout the world. Climate Change & Consciousness cultivates grounded climate action and serves a vibrant assembly of visionary activists.
Dr. Mines’ books represent a compilation of the diverse aspects of her mission to build grassroots empowerment based sustainable healthcare. These include: We Are All in Shock; New Frontiers in Sensory Integration and most recently They Were Families: How War Comes Home.
- How her transition into motherhood changed her relationship to herself and inspired Parenting Decolonized
- What was missing from other parenting approaches she researched in her earliest mothering
- Why parenting is largely about approaching our growth potential holistically as parents
- Ways anti-black oppression shapes parenting in the US of North America and how she focuses on potential while historicizing and contextualizing parenting
- How white culture cuts settler mothers off from community and belonging and paths towards connective alternatives
- How we can support this growth in ourselves and other mothers and connnect individual to the collective change
Dr. Mine's work at the TARA Approach website : www.parentingdecolonized.com
Dr. Mine's work at the Climate Change Consciousness : www.cccearth.org
Please excuse typos. Created with AI.
Right now, the world that we're living in, is a world in which the fate of humanity is actually in question. And that awareness has to inform the mother and the baby. had every moment it I'm not saying it has to as must. I'm saying well, because it's in our cellular awareness
Welcome to Mother Praxis a podcast for mothers challenging norms and reenvisioning motherhood for ourselves, our families and our planet. I'm Dr. Allison Davis, a counselor, educator and researcher of perinatal and maternal mental health and a mother walking this path with you. Today I'm excited to share my conversation with Dr. Stephanie Mines. Stephanie is the author of five books that reflect over three decades of research as a neuroscientist. She has investigated shock and trauma as a survivor, a professional, a clinical researcher and healthcare provider. Her nonprofit, the Terra approach, is instrumental in the systemic change she promotes as a sustainable health paradigm. Dr. Minds also developed climate change in consciousness to facilitate inner transformation for grounded climate action. Climate change in consciousness serves as an international and intergenerational community of visionary activists. Our conversation this week weaves together Stephanie's mothering grandmother's experiences, and her work in the world on healing trauma and shifting consciousness to help us support ourselves and others in reclaiming or maintaining our birthright of being connected with the living world. Well, Stephanie, I want to thank you for being here. Today, I'm really excited to talk to you about a little bit about all that you're doing.
It's a joy to be here, Allison, thank you for inviting me.
So I'm just going to jump in with a really huge question, or a long one, and ask you how has becoming a mother and a grandmother transformed you? And how have those experience influenced your work right now? Or your your history of work healing, traumatic repetition and helping people develop eco consciousness that can help us move into grounded climate action?
It is a big question, and one that I want to answer by opening sequential portals. The first one is to tell you and the listeners that I am the mother of two daughters who I had 17 years apart. And that I think, is important in terms of the overall environment into which I birthed my children. And the second portal that I'd like to open initially here alongside the other one is that I came into motherhood and grandmotherhood and all of my work as a survivor of sexual abuse and intense family dysfunction. So that shaped everything. And in particular, I would say that being a survivor of sexual abuse, played and continues to play a very strong role in my motherhood, my birthing and my parenting. So those two portals are now open. And I would like to say that in terms of the first one that I had my children 17 years apart means that I brought them into the world, they came through my body, at very different times in the evolution of humanity. So my first daughter, who I delivered at home, I delivered both of my children at home, but for my first daughter, that practice of having your children at home, had very little popularity and was considered alarming to many people. And I actually wrote a book about it called to births. That was in 1972. And that was before I had my doctorate before I had any real consciousness of trauma. But the sexual abuse history and the family dysfunction history lived in the cells of my body. And as all mothers know, I believe, being pregnant and delivering and nursing our children is so intimate, so sexual, so sensual, that it will evoke those memories, whether consciously or unconsciously, so I engaged with that without guidance, without having trauma informed consultation. Fortunately, I had the most loving midwives and to physicians who attended the birth of my child at home. While they weren't trauma informed, I don't think people really even use that term at that time. They were so kind. And so mother baby centered, that they created an incredibly safe environment for me. My second daughter was born after I had earned my doctorate. And so the consciousness that I had, and the change in the environment, I would say that when I delivered my first daughter, at home, I was at the entryway, you might say to a threshold of bringing homebirth forward against Suzanne arms was one of my colleagues at that time, and someone who was, without us being in personal contact was doing something very similar at around that same time of bringing forward the awareness of the crucial centrality of the mother baby bond. And I would say, the delivery of my second daughter in an environment that was more conscious of that allowed me to be more empowered in the pregnancy itself, and the birthing process, also at home. And at that point, I was able to actually instruct my midwives in the importance of understanding the role of sexual abuse for a pregnant woman and its delivering mother and to be aware of that entire trauma informed perspective, throughout that intimate journey. My grandchildren, I have two granddaughters, I seem fit, have this females in twos pattern here. My granddaughters are born into a world where climate consciousness shapes the evolution of their brains. And as a neuroscientist, I understand that and so I have engaged with them actively as much as possible, considering their developmental sequences, to bring connection to the natural world, into their lives, actively and continuously. So I think that gives you an overview of how being a mother being a grandmother has shaped virtually every aspect of my evolution.
Yeah, I just want to I think I want to sit with the you know how that embodied memory comes up through reconnection. Because it's often celebrated and mothering and, you know, having babies and going through the birth experience that, you know, your body becomes alive in new ways, but that can feel really dangerous to a trauma survivor, and also to people living in a time of climate emergency, you know, feeling those feelings in a new way and becoming connected with intergenerational traumas of being ripped from from the land from nature. What do you think about that?
I think that's such an important trajectory, such an important weaving that you've just articulated, Allison, and it really brings everything I said full circle. And what I want to say is, how being a mother and being a grandmother, the deeply somatic experience, the embodied experience of pregnancy and birth, is so evocative of our cellular consciousness, how it will bring it forward and as chaotic and unwieldly as that is. It is as much of a birth for the mother as it is for the child. And that's challenging in itself. Caring for Our Children is so consuming. And simultaneous with that caring, we, the parent, the mother, we are also evolving exponentially. I was, and will always be grateful for the magnitude of transformation brought to me through the rites of passage of delivering my children. And right now, the world that we're living in, is a world in which the fate of humanity is actually in question. And that awareness has to inform the mother and the baby. At every moment, it I'm not saying it has to do as must I'm saying, well, because it's in our cellular awareness. Yeah, so that's, that's, that's a big consciousness to bring into the decision, the experience of having children?
Yeah, I don't think I shared this with you. But I'm pregnant right now. And my first trimester. And
so much, yeah, hearing your I know, one of your children is also in the room. And now I know that too.
Yeah, so I'm just wondering, do you know, it's a big part of the work I do right now, I've been doing since becoming a mother is trying to help mothers through these transformations. So they might have less growing pains with that growth. Because I think part of the suffering is that shift in consciousness and the fact that it's not supported by our dominant culture. So I was wondering what you feel, you know, we need as mothers are, how we need to support mothers for these transformations to maybe happen with less disorientation and pain. And so they'll have a positive effect on our, our culture and our world. Cuz I mean, we're having so many, we're having a significant rise of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. And I feel like this is at least part of the route.
Well, my answer to that really, is to encourage every woman to answer that question, really, for herself. And I feel that my role at this point in my life, as someone who is starting to claim, that beautiful mantle of elderhood, and crone hood is to offer resources that empower women to find alignment and find centrality to find their own midlines. Even as the babies that are being evolved within them find their midlines I feel responsible and responsive to the need to provide women with tools for finding their own sensuality, in this very chaotic and crisis ridden world. And I completely believe that every single woman, every single person can find that so the tools that I make available are the tools that allowed me to find my own alignment out of those origins that were so troubled. And those are energy medicine tools that I have fused with my understanding of neuroscience that I practice daily, and that I teach and that I offer, and have developed specific applications for pregnancy and the primal period, that crucial postnatal time that allow each individual to find their own core, their own orientation, their own answer to your very important question.
So in alkalizing, that energy medicine in neuroscience and providing women with these tools I feel like really just reflecting back that's the role of the new elder because maybe in the past, it was a little bit more prescriptive of this is what we do throughout the 40 days after pregnancy. And now it's, this is what you can do This is what might be helpful. And so I'm wondering if you can share some of those with us. And then also where, you know, people could connect with you to learn more, study more and to find their own sensuality, like you said,
Yeah, I would love to do that. And it's a little challenging to do it and a non visual format. Because these are hands on applications that evolved out of a system that I learned from a woman who is now my ancestor, woman named Mary, you know, Burmeister, brought an art from Japan. That is a hands on subtle energy medicine practice. For alignment, she wouldn't probably have described it that way. But that's how I have translated it with her approval before she died. As a system that allows the nervous system to find its own symmetry, its own alignment. And this system, I discovered, as I myself began to dive into it, even after she died, is a system that is based on what are called the extraordinary meridians. So the ordinary meridian system error is what its people are familiar with in occupants here. But the extraordinary meridians form prenatally. So it's actually supportive of development. And so those hands on practices are the ones that I've included with my understanding of both embryology and neuro development to create some very simple practices. So one that I can describe is finding a site on the chest. That is called the mother, it seems the right one to share with you. And this site is found I'm going to just guide people with verbal instruction hear, First, bring your fingertips to your collarbone immediately, so more, the knob of the collarbone that's closest to the throat. So if you place your fingertips there, that itself is a site but it's not the one we're going to reference here. That site actually right under the collarbone is called contentment. So it's a lovely one as well. But if you slide off of that area, right under the collarbone, you'll find a thin rib. And if you slide off of that thin rib, you'll come into a kind of spongy tissue area. And then keep sliding down the front of your chest, another rib. And then as you continue another spongy area, and then another rib, and then between that third rib and the fourth rib and the spongy area there, rest your fingertips. And as you're listening and doing this on your own body. Let's just rest here, with fingertips, any fingertips and No pressure, just resting your fingertips. For me right now I actually have three fingertips, the ring finger, middle finger and index finger tips are resting right there in that spongy area between the third and the fourth diaphragmatic rib. So let's just breeze together and tune in to the communication between our fingertips and this area.
So I'm going to recommend three breaths with the exhalation twice as long as the inhalation
and notice what happens As you contact this site that is called the mother. So this site harmonizes everything about the mother, the physiology, the hormonal Elderkin functions of motherhood and keyword for me spaciousness. Involved in motherhood, it invites that spaciousness in the body, so that we actually widen in harmony with everything that motherhood calls us to. So this site number 13, on the map of the body is the key site for everything associated with conception, fertility. All the stages of pregnancy, birth, nursing, and that gorgeous, challenging, primal period.
Well, thank you for that. And feeling, one of the things that I was just noticing is how much life there is an even a very still body. And it did feel very spacious. And that that was, you know, going into my, my full self beyond just my limited body boundaries, if that makes sense.
It does. And this palpation, this presence with ourselves nourishes your baby to Allison, of course, the babies love it when mothers feel spacious and aligned with themselves. So these resources are available on my website. But I would love to invite people also to reach out to me directly at through through that website, which is Tara hyphen. approach.org.
Yeah, and I'll include that and your climate change consciousness in the in the show notes. And maybe we can, you know, I can even grab a video of that somewhere and put it down there too, if that's available.
Absolutely, yes. And the material that is specifically related to energy medicine during pre and Perinatal life, that isn't has not been so dramatically emphasized recently because of my climate activism. But it is there. And as I said, I personally would be happy to make myself available, and to offer opportunities for anyone who wants to go more deeply into that material.
Well, so this brings up a question about what do you think overall, about a maternal eco consciousness rooted in radical relatedness? Because I see you weaving these together. And it just feels so important to me that this be a part of our Well, I think of it as primary prevention of perinatal depression and anxiety but just a part of our perinatal health discussion overall.
Hi, this is Alison. As a new mother, I often found myself disoriented by the rapid transformations of the perinatal period, wondering why I wasn't adjusting like everyone else, or so I assumed. After struggling to fit like myself in the mother role, I decided it was time for a developmental perspective, one that supported me in stepping into the person I was meant to become and motherhood. A developmental perspective can help you to by holding your growing pains within your overall resilient growth in the transition into motherhood and motherhood. Again, showing you your unique path through the meaningful challenge of your becoming. Visit my private practice southwest perinatal counseling for counseling courses and community groups supporting you and unlocking the potential of this transformational period of motherhood. Visit SPC at www southwest perinatal counseling.com. Now back to our conversation
I think it's essential to incorporate that our son, and I just want to hug you really to tell you the truth and just really want to hug you and your babies. For what you're saying, and for what you're proposing, I think it's, it's, it's what we must do it this radical relatedness encompasses not just the mother baby relatedness, but the relatedness to the natural world, that we incorporate that the treasuring the honoring, and the communication with the natural world, that is the birthright of every child
see more about that communication with the natural world that I think we both, you know, witness that children come into the world with, and then we get, it gets civilized out of us. But I think a lot of mothers are, like, come into that kind of like a wave crashing on the shore. And it creates a feeling of destabilization, you know, whether it's a spiritual awakening, or you want to think of it as something else, that causes a lot of concern in mothers.
So the radical relatedness that is incorporated into the rite of passage, that is pregnancy, might be scary, might be confusing for most people who that kind of expanded consciousness has been colonized out of us. So I'm a great champion of decolonizing, our minds decolonizing our bodies, and doing really the opposite, which is claiming the indigeneity that is innate to babies. And I can't tell you how many adults who I have served in the resolution of their own personal traumas, who go through a process of reclaiming that communication that they always had, with the natural world, with plants, with the invisible world that frightened the adults around them, because the adults around them had been so thoroughly colonized. So encouraging, validating, that I think, is beginning in utero. I'm a great proponent, as I bet you are Ellison of deep prenatal communication with our babies really getting to know our babies, while they are in utero, and validating the expanded consciousness that they bring with them, and bring into the world for us to learn from.
Yeah, I just My mind is kind of going to where the words, right words are their number one written word, even in the kind of in the white settler worldview is really championed. And yet there's all these other forms of communication that when they happen, you know, can get you a referral for psychosis hearing, you know, hearing voices, even though you're feeling a maybe in your gut, or all these other places, and that's something babies, you know, really teach, teach us that there's many forms of communication. So how do you encourage that? And how do you think we need to support a baby's indigeneity?
Well, I reflect on how my mom bless her heart, my mom is 100 years old now, and going strong and doing well, right. My mom describes me as a very quiet child. And anybody who knows me, would never use the word quiet in describing me now. And I became a quiet child, because the people around me needed me to be quiet. And what I know now is that precious being who has grown up to be me, was in deep communication with the unseen world and even as I'm saying this to you now I am just close to tears, and my body is just tingling head to toe. This is an awareness that keeps increasing for me as my own communication with the natural world has been accelerating as a result of my work with climate activism. You know, I was born in the Bronx, New York, I was born in a tenement, I was born in an environment in which the natural world was shut out. So I have come into relationship with the natural world, as I have matured, but as a little one, it's quite clear to me in reviewing those early times, which I have done diligently, that I was deeply engaged with natural forces, even in that Bronx environment. And it was clear to me that my family, my parents could not tolerate that. And so I became a quiet child. So I would encourage parents to be very tuned into their children not projecting onto them some powers that they think they might have, but actually attuning I use the word attunement, a lot, kind of like an orchestra conductor, you know, finding your way into the unique world that your child inhabits. I've done service to neurodiverse children, I've written one book called New Frontiers in sensory integration. And that book revolves largely around a primary case study of a young woman I worked with for many years, who is nonverbal. And her nonverbal state required such attunement, that she became my teacher in that art, how to really tap into the internal world of a being who doesn't have language, and to be open and supportive of that to not project onto that being, but to create attunement, to create alliances, and to be an anchor for the real experience of that individual and, and draw forth through that attunement, their expression. And I think that's, that's the way to support the magnificent powers of consciousness that our little ones have.
Yeah, I'd like that you said, or kind of reference, this idea of child his guide, both in how to support them, but also, potentially, so in, you know, part of the group that I do with new mothers, we speak a little bit about the maybe fundamental attachment wound or what I think of as the foundational mother wound that, that ripping a child from nature whenever that may happen. And all our experiences are kind of different about that. And yours seems to be a silencing. But yeah, I mean, what are your thoughts about this, because we always talk about the mother wound is how our individual human mothers failed us. But this idea of this larger foundational mother wound this broken attachment, that a lot of times mothers are also responsible for kind of perpetuating.
So that this is another aspect of my work and, and the work of all of us really, as we come across this threshold of creating the more beautiful world our hearts know as possible that we have to be, or I have to be realistic about the magnitude of this genetic and epigenetic wounding that is absolutely intergenerational. And I would say, probably my entire life in this body is devoted to discovering compassion for the incredible wounding of my own life, and the wounding of the lives of my mother and father and my entire culture that led to this chasm of ignorance and disconnection that we're trying to mend right now. And, and I am so inspired by people like you, Allison just every word you say I just have to tell you, I just, I just love you. I'm I'm this is our first real conversation, but you are so insightful and so connected and so collective in the way that you're being a mother, that you give me incredible hope that we're going to make it. That through, stepping into even conceiving of radical relatedness of our capacity to be in relationship with our children, and with the natural world, as we build a world in which our little ones, your little one that's in your belly right now, and the little one playing near you can thrive in. That's, that's where everything that I've experienced, has landed. That's why I'm now I never thought I'd ever be climate activist. That was never on my list. But it is out really of my mothering out of that, that there is no other choice, but to be an advocate for a world in which our children and the children of the future can thrive. And that requires that radical relatedness. That is the key, I believe, my husband's an environmental attorney and works with policy and legislation. So he thinks the key is that we simply have to lower carbon. And of course, he's right, we must go to zero net zero, we must. And he's absolutely right. I partner that and actually precede that with consciousness, that what will get us to net zero? Is consciousness. And that is what I believe we're talking about.
Yeah, I mean, there's that you said, there's no other. There's no other choice. Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I feel so inspired by you. And, I mean, you've just really lit up my, my day and my work. Because sometimes it does seem like it's a daunting Hill were climbing. But I believe that you've got your finger on the pulse of a Crucial Contribution. And it's it is an area that actually I believed in for quite some time that I I've even refrained from talking about too much, because it's it's an area that people don't seem to be quite ready for. You know, I think Pete There's a concern that people have that if we link climate consciousness with motherhood and parenting and having children, that there will be a sense that we shouldn't be having children. And so there's a there's efforts to silence that conversation for that reason, which clearly as a mistake, but it's the consciousness, it's always been the consciousness with which we have children that matters. So we're, we're actually restoring the preciousness of consciousness and the invitation that children send out, you know, before they're conceived. It's the attunement to that, that solves that debate of whether or not talking about climate and the reality of our situation is an instruction not to have children. No, it's an instruction to restore the consciousness in our choice to have children.
Yeah, this is really powerful. And I've never heard some of these terms, so they just kind of landing on me and I'm like, Oh, well, no, crap. A baby's into indigeneity you know how that connects with the mother line and the role of the mother and healing that in herself is going backwards and forwards to I hadn't really thought of it that way.
I support mothers so thoroughly, and experiencing healing during the process of pregnancy and childbirth as it was, I couldn't do anything else. And I believe that it is a healing process to bring our children into the world.
So is there any last words you want to share with mothers undergoing this rapid transition now and transformation now,
these are daunting times. And I believe in humanity, I believe in the power of consciousness. And I believe that women are the primary leaders during this time. So I have an incredible trust in women's ability to heal and evolve in terms of their decision to parent and their actual motherhood. But these are daunting times, and anxiety and depression are rife in the world, and we have to be realistic about that. And the word that has been coming up in the last couple of days, in areas where I'm working is the word protection, to find a way to protect ourselves and our children from the toxic negativity that's circulating strongly. And, again, I have to refer back to the energy medicine that I teach. Because that is one of the main ways that I can mentor people in the direction of protection, I think we have to protect ourselves in so many ways, from the magnitude of toxicity. in all regards, I'm talking about toxicity in our food chain, I'm talking about toxicity in the air that we breathe and toxicity in the energies that are really loud, and creating ways of protecting the integrity of our innocence and the integrity of our genius. And I use energy medicine a lot for that. And I am absolutely delighted and eager, endlessly enthusiastic to share that with people. I have programs in which I do that I have one coming up just shortly starting on July 15. But it's it's an ongoing outreach from my heart to the world. And I would say I always mentioned the power of transmitting these tools to parents and parents to be
Yeah, seems like really putting your shoulder to the wheel of the great turning. That's a good way to do it. And it has exponential ripple effects. So I just really want to thank you for having this conversation today and sharing yourself your story and and your work and how that's all interconnected. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Alison. And I hope this isn't the last time we connect.
Thank you so much for listening. Season Two of Mother Praxis explores mother Praxis that nurtures personal and planetary wellness. I'd love to support you in your psycho ecological development possibly reframing any eco anxiety or eco grief you've come into as a mother. Visit mother praxis.com for a free download of my eBook motherhood as an ecological awakening. Again, that's mother praxis.com and scroll down to get what I call a primer, a week of resources exploring the ecological initiations of your transition into motherhood. And please remember to follow rate and share these episodes to help amplify this perspective. So it could reach other mothers too.
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