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Swinging Back into Balance January 10, 2011

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 10:29 pm
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Happy new year my friends! Woooh, what a holiday season. I was looking forward to it and we had fun, but now I am soooo glad that it is over. Now we can get back to business as usual – well as usual as usual gets. For the start of 2011 I’ve got a new baby to contend with, grad school starts today and I am back to work next week, the fun never ends!

We are almost half way through January and most of us are still trying to swing the pendulum back into balance; adjusting diets, making resolutions around fitness, and redefining life and career goals. Our kids are also adjusting to our adjustments, which make for even more adjusting on our parts! Reading today’s Daily Om reminded me of this. The holidays often compel us to do extra’s, thereby setting an example of overindulgence for our children. Here is a little food for thought as you shed light on your personal motivations and work to find a place of balance for you and your little ones.

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Daily OM

Too Many Things
Spoiling Our Children

[http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2011/26696.html]

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When you spoil your children with material goods, where is that motivation coming from, your own inner child?
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One of the greatest things about children is that they have the ability to entertain themselves for long periods of time with something as simple as a cardboard box, a container, or a set of measuring spoons. It makes you wonder why we feel the need to buy them so many toys that they won’t even have time to play with them all before they grow out of them. Often, if we take the time to question our compulsion to constantly give our children new toys and clothes, and to spoil them with food that is not even good for them, we will find that we are trying to fill up the space to avoid our own difficult feelings and pain. If you feel yourself wanting to spoil your child with material possessions, take a moment and see if you can feel where your motivation is coming from.

We may be inundating our children with things they don’t need out of our own desire to create a feeling of abundance that was lacking in our own childhood, or out of a need to feel liked by our children. Both of these motives tend to be unconscious, stemming from unresolved issues from our own upbringing or even our adult life. These unresolved feelings naturally come up when we find ourselves in the role of a parent, often as our child reaches the age we were when these traumas were most pronounced. Spoiling your children will not save you or make your pain disappear, only acknowledging and working on your emotional issues can do that. What our children really need us to provide for them is both a sense of safety and a sense of freedom and love of which there can never be too much. If we are able to do this well, material possessions need not take center stage.

We all want to provide our children with a good and happy life, but most of us know deep down that material possessions play a very small role. We confuse our children when we seek to make them happy through buying them things. When we do this, they take our cue that happiness comes in the form of toys and treats, rather than in the joy of being alive, surrounded by love, and free to explore the world.



 

¿Que que, por qué? November 8, 2010

Filed under: Culture — theculturedseed @ 2:50 am
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Over the last month Arya has really excelled in her ability to express herself. She is “fake reading” books using her own made-up storyline, she can clearly articulate concerns and preferences using full sentences, and embarrassingly enough she remembers the lyrics to almost any song she hears on the radio – even if it is only her first time hearing it. (Darn that Drake!) Clearly her brilliant little brain is clicking away faster everyday, especially when it comes to language development.

Based on my own language background, exposing my children to multiple languages from an early age would be a given. Yet, despite my attempts speak with Arya in Spanish, Italian and French at home I find that as she progresses with her own English language development I simply forget to do it! Even though her first few words included “leche” and “agua” she now looks at me with that quizzical little look when I throw in a sentence or two in another language – like “Oh, funny Mommy with those funny words.” I know I have to find a better way to integrate this into her daily life if I really want her to be proficient in another language.

I come from a bilingual household and have experienced dual language learning in various stages of my education. Thus, I have always been an advocate for this type of exposure and can personally attest to the benefits. As I look at the issue with my new-parent goggles on, it is disconcerting for me to see the lack of regard shown for bilingual education across the nation; not to mention the shambles that have been left of it in our local school district here in Los Angeles. When I think about the educational systems in Europe, Asia and even Latin America, which have mandatory requirements for proficiency in multiple languages, I cringe to think that our children in the US are not being equipped to face the world with the same tools.

While I won’t allow this to be the reality for my kids, not everyone knows a second language or can afford private language education for their children. Thus, they must rely on the public school system or community programs to provide some options. However, there are still too many parents that are uninformed about the benefits, making bilingualism a non-priority and furthering ethnocentric perspectives that create inter-cultural discord. This limits the opportunities to enrich our own lives and our communities.  Ultimately, the monolingual culture that is prevalent across the US will put our children at a global disadvantage unless we raise awareness and demand better options for multilingual and multicultural exploration.

Years of research have shown the cognitive and overall life benefits of bilingualism. These include an increased ability to problem solve, to think creatively and be cognitively flexible, higher self-esteem, and enhanced socio-cultural sensitivity. In addition it opens many doors in terms of the variety of employment options available.

I was excited to read a recently published article in Education Week regarding the advancements being made around neurological research tied to bilingual education. Using new techniques and technologies in neuroscience, researchers are finding that some of the long-held beliefs about learning another language are proving to be untrue. For instance, it was believed that the window for learning a new language shrinks rapidly after age 7, and closes almost entirely after puberty. Interdisciplinary research now suggests that the time frame may be more flexible than first thought and students who learn additional languages become more adaptable in other types of learning as well.

Further, in brain mapping studies conducted with infants born to native-English-speaking parents, researchers found that those who were presented with live interactive exposure to another language via a language tutor, progressed more rapidly in recognizing dual language sounds. This live interaction was notably more effective than simply exposing the babies to video or audio recordings. Patricia K. Kuhl, a co-director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, has been intimately involved in this research and states that “Babies start out as citizens of the world; they can discriminate the sounds of any language.” If you look at language acquisition at the basic level it makes total sense. I would add that as parents, we just have to expose them. So why wouldn’t we give them this gift of multilingualism as early as possible then and sustain it for a lifetime? Just think about how much richer our worlds would be.

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For the full article on multilingualism visit Edweek.org:

Science Grows on Acquiring New Language

October 22, 2010  by Sarah D. Sparks

An emerging body of research dispels old myths about language learning and makes a case for multilingualism.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/10/22/09window_ep.h30.html?tkn=WWNFeYw0xiUKcWaZfauTKfRVtmSPFAniB5l3&intc=es

 

Lady Entrepreneurs That You Will Adore October 6, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 10:44 pm
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What does any good athlete do if they want to win – they get a coach and they train, right?! So that is what I have been doing. In embarking on this new mission with The Cultured Seed I have made a point to find a couple of organizations to help build my knowledge base and expand my sphere of influence. Let me say that I have some very cool people in my world already, but I have felt pretty darn impressed by some of the women that I have met in the last few months.

This week I want to tell you all about a few women that I absolutely love. Part of what The Cultured Seed is about is sharing great information, but it is also about community and supporting each other. For obvious reasons I have a soft spot for lady entrepreneurs, especially mom-preneurs so I want to do my part to return the love and support I have gotten over the past few months. Here are five ladies that all of you should know about:

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Jan McCarthy – Ladies Who Launch

All of you lady entrepreneurs-in-the-making are going to want or need a Jan. I sure am glad to have one! I have never met someone who is more invested in helping women find support, inspiration, resources and knowledge as they embark on the launch of their dream or the growth of their business. Jan is the Market Director/Franchise Owner for Ladies Who Launch in Los Angeles & Orange County, CA. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators, including a great, great grandmother that was the first woman doctor in Georgia. In addition to LWL, Jan has partnered with her sister to create a company of her own, Back 2 Our Roots, a consulting firm that incorporates business fundamentals with ongoing innovations in Marketing, Sales and Business practices. They offer coaching, webinars, e-books and workshops. Between you and me, I hope that I can grow up to be a Jan some day. I am especially looking forward to living a dual lifestyle – Jan commutes between her urban loft in downtown LA and her ranch in Boulder, CO. So here is my future invitation, when I am not in LA y’all can come visit me at my Rancho in Costa Rica.  You might even recognize the featured lady of the month on www.ladieswholaunch.com (yours truly!) http://www.ladieswholaunch.com/losangeles/featured_lady/521526067.

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Alli Seigel – Project Goodness

This gal is definitely on her way to being a non-profit mover and shaker. Alli was first inspired to give back by dedicating 2009 to 365 Days of Goodness. Since then, she has developed a program to bring goodness projects into elementary schools, teaching children, our leaders of tomorrow, how to activate their innate goodness. Through Alli’s programs, children learn the value of selflessness, the power of acts of kindness, and the fact that they truly can make a difference, because “every little bit counts.” Project Goodness is also the recent recipient of a $25,000 grant in the Pepsi Refresh campaign. Goodness, so simple and so needed. They are currently taking request from schools interested in starting a Goodness program in the Winter and Spring semesters. For more information check out the new Project Goodness website at  www.startgoodness.com or be their friends on Facebook (you can link up through The Cultured Seed Page).

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Melissa Lanz – The Fresh 20

Melissa is making my life easier already. No more drawing a blank about what to cook for dinner and defaulting to the frozen chicken nuggets bag. The Fresh 20 is a meal planning service that is dedicated to bringing fresh food back to the family dinner table. Their meal plans help you to create simple, healthy and well balanced homemade dinners using just 20 fresh, seasonal ingredients per week. They are also carefully designed to utilize everything on the list so you can stop throwing money down the drain. Thank goodness someone else has thought this through; my pocketbook is thanking Melissa already! To sign up visit www.thefresh20.com.

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Catherine Fages – Cat Walks Dog

Eric and I are going to pick out an English Bull dog just so that we can have Cat train it and love it and scrub it down with her yummy smelling Woof! Woof! doggy shampoo. This woman is like a dog whisperer. I instantly fell in love with her, so it is no wonder the effect she has on even the most rambunctious pup. Cat Walks Dogs offers dog walking, training and socialization as well as a line of doggie care products. Her shampoos and conditioners contain organic products and are 100% biodegradable and cruelty free. She is also an advocate for animal rights and works closely with organizations that support animal rescue, such as Pilots & Paws, an organization of Pilots dedicated to flying abandoned dogs to safe shelters across the country. Website coming soon, in the mean time you can connect with Cat on Facebook www.facebook.com/catwalksdog.

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Nicole Carson – Snap-n-Step

Nicole Carson is the Chief Snapologist of Snap-n-Step, a new product that will forever do away with global childhood tripping-ness. Thanks to this nifty little snap your kids’ laces will stay tied all day long! (This woman is going to save me from some meltdowns in the future, I am sure of it.) As a mother of three very active and fashion conscious kids, she is just doing her part to help other mothers to keep from falling over the edge – especially when it comes to tying those shoelaces for the ten-thousandth time. Not to mention that a percentate of all Snap-n-Step sales go to support soccer organizations and promote healthy habits for kids. We really like that. www.snapnstep.com

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If you know of a woman owned business that deserves a notable mention we would like to hear about it and share with the rest of the community. Email me at Rebecca@theculturedseed.com.

 

Ta Ta Twenties! Hello 30! September 23, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 6:38 am
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Growing older is a funny thing. I vividly remember waiting for 16; ohhhh the freedom that comes with a drivers license! Then 18, because I would be “legal”. 21 meant that I could drink (well officially in public) and 25 was the best – lower car insurance! But the joke was that from there it was all down hill. There wouldn’t be any more socially-imposed milestones to make any of the future numbers as attractive! Peccato (pitty). I hit my 30th year in the next week and it makes me chuckle to think that I once believed that there would be nothing to look forward to. For all I have experienced in the last 10 years, my 20s can’t end quick enough! But they don’t actually prepare you for the real, do they?

I recall an article my BF Taneya wrote back in our mid twenties on the “quarter life crisis”. It really was a “crisis” too! There we were coming off of those carefree and raucous college days, only to be thrust into life; the responsibility of career, bills, children, marriage and a myriad of other life changing experiences. Things were so clear before – you go to school, you get good grades, you twitter off to your part time job, then you party like a rock star (well at least we did here in LA!) Then someone pulled the plug and all of that went spinning down the drain leaving us scrambling for what to do next; grad school, have a baby, get married, hit that 9-5? All of those logistics are just the tip of the iceberg, because the real clincher is figuring out who the hell you really are so you can find your place in this world. Phew. Friggin’ hard work.

I can’t say it was all bad. Arya, my best creation yet, was a product of my 20s and had I not met Eric she would not exist, so I guess I will keep him too (teehee babe). I started my career in the globalization services space and earned a few corporate stripes. I also got to flit around the globe as a travel writer (and mostly not on my own dime – well, ok, mostly because I didn’t have any dimes to begin with ha!). I have also embarked on the next level of Mommy-hood as a soon to be mother of two. Most importantly, the struggle and strife of my 20s has challenged my adolescent “identity” in ways that I never thought were possible. I am more clear about who I am and the direction in which I am going, and this is no longer imposed by outside forces or others expectations. I can represent myself authentically as, or without the title of, mother, wife, friend, corporate girl, writer, art and culture enthusiast, foodie, dancer or simply put – a kick-ass panther of a woman. So as I bid them adieu, I thank the 20s for that and welcome my 30s with open arms and a sigh of relief.

Here is to 30! And many more.

 

Daily OM – The Music of Language August 23, 2010

Filed under: Cultivator's Corner — theculturedseed @ 8:00 pm
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Sometimes one good post deserves another… posting that is. I love starting my day with the Daily OM. It is usually right on target, almost to the point of being scary – OM Gods are you only writing for me? Based on the fact that I have many friends that love the OM too I know this is not the case, so sign up for their newsletter and enjoy what they have in store for you too.

http://www.dailyOM.com

Love, B

August 23, 2010, The Daily OM

The Music of Language
Words are Energy

If we are unconscious of the power of words,

we run the risk of creating a noisy disturbance.

When we speak or write, we use the vehicles of words to carry meaning, as well as energy, from ourselves to another person or group of people. We may be speaking to our baby, our boss, or to an audience of 500 people. We may be writing a love letter, a work-related memo, or an entry in our own diary. Whatever the case, each word we speak or write has a life of its own, a vibratory signature that creates waves in the same way that a note of music creates waves. And like musical notes, our words live in communities of other words and change in relation to the words that surround them. When we are conscious of the energy behind our words, we become capable of making beautiful music in the world. If we are unconscious of the power of words, we run the risk of creating a noisy disturbance.

Some of us know this instinctively, while others come to this understanding slowly. Most of us, though, speak without thinking at least some of the time, blurting out our feelings and thoughts without much regard for the words we choose to express them. When we remind ourselves that our words have an impact on the world at the level of energy, we may find within ourselves the desire to be more aware of our use of language.

A fun way to increase our sensitivity to the power of words is to simply make a list of our favorite words and notice the energy they contain. We can write them down and post them where we can see them, or we can speak them aloud, feeling them reverberate in our bodies and in the air around us. This is like learning to consciously play an instrument that we have been playing unconsciously for most of our lives, and the effect can be startling and delightful. As we grow more comfortable and confident playing the instrument of language, we will begin to compose beautiful messages, creating positive energy every time we write or speak.

 

I love LA! August 20, 2010

Filed under: Travel — theculturedseed @ 12:11 am
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There are many cities that I love to visit depending on my mood, but when I think of permanently extending my stay I realize, I couldn’t trade them for LA! There is nothing like flying back in to LAX, seeing the twinkling lights stretch for miles and miles, it looks like the city is made up of fireflies of fairies! Then you step on to the jet bridge and the smell of fuel and smog fills your nose and you think “ahhh, I am home.” Ok, that is enough of my ode to LA, let’s get real. Some people love LA and some people hate it, we are all entitled to pick-our-choose. Yet, when you stop and think about it there are very few places where you will find the diversity that LA offers, culturally, artistically and geographically.

First off, the weather, need I say more? Second, from LA you have easy access to the rest of California, which offers an array of free fun and natural beauty in its mountains, deserts and beaches. Third, this is tinsel town! There are always shows, concerts and exclusive events to attend whether you are on the A-list, B-list or no list at all. Even if you just concentrate on the activity in your local neighborhood, when you really look, there are a thousand and one things to do in any given week.

So, why does it sometimes feel like we are so limited in our options here? Do you ever find yourself twiddling your thumbs when downtime miraculously appears? Or just stuck routinely programmed into your days without room to experience all of the things that are available to us in this great city? I have often felt that way myself. Some days it feels as if my only options are to watch a movie or cook dinner. I tend to go to the same places and see the same people – sometimes with barely enough time to even do that! But why? And how? When I know there is much more fun to be had.

Then I think back to my times in other great cities where people move and interact in different ways. For instance, my good friends in London have an amazing post-work culture. On a weekly basis, it is a common occurrence to meet your mates at the pub for a drink after the day is done. The same can be said for New York, where cocktails and great food abound. “Mi amici” in Italy totally prioritize family and schedule in a weekly visit at Mama’s house. Let’s not even talk about Madrid, that is a city that has it all figured out when it comes to sleep! Just the Spanish concept of siesta alone is genius – why don’t we have those? They party all night, work half the day, sleep and then get up and do it all again (kids or no kids, everyone joins in mind you!) My work life would be so much better if I had a daily siesta, wouldn’t yours?

Blame it on the traffic and dramatic distances we have to drive to do anything in this town, blame it on the city culture, or lack of time. Bottom line is I’m not buying it. If they can do it, so can we and we have got options here people. As I adjust to family life and scheduling for me plus 2 (soon to be 3!) I realize that you prioritize what is important to you and room can be made for those things that really tickle your fancy. Routine is cool and necessary, especially when coordinating the schedule of a family, but I am ready to spice up my weeks a little bit. I do a whole lot – don’t get me wrong – but is it really what I would prefer to be doing? Am I making the best of what this city has to offer? Are you?

Take our Poll “LA – Love it or Hate it?” and leave a comment to tell us why.

 

Regenerating the Soul June 23, 2010

Filed under: Culture — theculturedseed @ 12:18 am
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A Page from My Diary – Belize, June 21 2010

 

As I step off of the plane I am instantly hit with a heat that I know only too well. This reminds me of “my country”, Costa Rica, just a few skips to the  south. In our little transport we pass houses typical of the Caribbean – brick and wooden buildings painted over in candy colored hues. Only here would teal, electric orange and lime green houses be coveted. We pass stretches of greenery and I think to myself, “hmm, this place looks like Guanacaste”. Shortly thereafter we pass the Guanacaste National Park and I chuckle. I would know those trees anywhere, you see, because they are “my trees”.

I briefly remember back to the anxiety that I felt on the plane; a mixture of guilt for having left behind my family and job and excitement for the journey that lies ahead. I realize that this is only a memory and the anxiety has vanished, melted away like the remnants of my makeup which is fighting a loosing battle to the heat. Just then, I remember why I am here – to hear myself again. To listen to that part of me that gets drowned out by all of the beliefs, paradigms, constraints, expectations and day to day demands. The ones that I have held for so long and no longer serve me. I am here to unlearn what I have learned and still take the 30 years of knowledge that I have gained and drop it into a bucket called wisdom, while detaching from expectation and past conditioning in order to truly move forward.

I am here to be reborn. Sometimes it is possible to make small adjustments and sometimes you have to burn it all to the ground in order to rise like the Phoenix. Hey, sometimes it “be’s” like that. I guess I learned a thing or two from the Scorpio’s in my life. I find it ironic that I would be carrying my second child right now (also a Scorpio) in the midst of my own rebirth. I almost feel forced into catharsis, despite my rational self, it’s like I have no choice. Arya has already taught me so much about myself, about who I want to be for her and for me. Pretty naïve of me to think that Edan wouldn’t do the same. These are some powerfully catalytic kids. I can’t wait to see the global change that they will bring.

For me, right now, it is clear – change or lay down and die. It sounds dire and in a way it is. So I choose life. My life, by my design. I choose me, for me and for us, and in the midst of this natural splendor I feel grateful for being in the drivers seat again.