Becoming Real – (Kindred’s April 2022 Issue, Letter from the Editor)
“Once you are real, you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
– The Velveteen Rabbit
Kindred’s April 2022 Issue – Letter from the Editor
Dear Seekers, Trance-Breakers, Wayfinders, Earth Stewards, and Nurturers,
Did you miss us? We’re slowing production of the newsletter while we prepare to bring to print a long list of books through our Kindred World Publishing House. Kindred World builds initiatives that are needed and an independent publishing house is a necessity for our nonprofit work as censorship of science continues to intensify. (See Darcia’s Narvaez’s current breastfeeding science post here for an example of what Psychology Today refuses to share with you on her Moral Landscapes blog there.)
We will keep posting our podcasts, features, and videos on social media, but you may want to consider joining our dedicated Mighty Networks platform, at www.KindredCommunity.org, where you can meet screened, like-minded seekers who are also interested in authoring our New Story of Childhood, Parenthood, and the Human Family. You can also support our nonprofit work and fund a newsletter editor’s salary here.
Tomorrow is Earth Day, and here in the Northern Hemisphere rebirth, resurrection, and transformation are natural, ubiquitous, early spring themes. One of my very favorite stories of transformation, featuring an ancient herald of rebirth, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The Velveteen Rabbit, written by English-American author, Margery Williams Bianco was inspired by Bianco’s experience of witnessing her young children’s innocence at play during the brutal aftermath of the First World War. At the core of the book is the question, what does it mean to be real?
Bianco’s toy rabbit journeys from pondering “how to become real” while envying the fancier toys in the nursery, finding love and connection through his role as a comforter and playmate, facing his own rejection and annihilation when he is declared contaminated by scarlet fever germs by a doctor (after the boy recovers). When he is near his death, and a bonfire of other doomed nursery toys, the Velveteen Rabbit cries a single real tear that touches the earth and transforms into a fairy who shows him the way to his heart’s dream of becoming real… and where to find the other “real” rabbits dancing in the forest. One hundred years later, as some are anticipating the start of yet another world war, many of us are asking, is this who we really are? Is this what it means to be human? Are we really this violent, damaged, incapable of stewarding and embodying life?
The answer is, “No, this is not who we are.” As the award-winning science of Darcia Narvaez’s work reveals in the six-minute short film, Breaking the Cycle, this moment in time is atypical of 95% of our species long history. Kindred’s live, monthly discussions over the past year have revealed the many ways “real” people are working together to create new parallel structures capable of creating a Wisdom-based, Wellness-Informed Society, which has been our goal at Kindred World for over a quarter century. (Register for May’s live discussion below and here.)
What happens when, after questioning what is real, seeking and experiencing love and connection, we discard our false selves and weep with relief? This pivotal insight is unveiled at the end of the Velveteen Rabbit’s journey. He is a toy. A creation of a toy company sold to parents to entertain children. But the Velveteen’s Rabbit’s original form, not the manufactured, sawdust-stuffed, legless (and therefore powerless) knock-off form, but the original life-infused form… that form is real. And through his experience of connection, his heart remembers.
Every day, through every media platform pounding our attention spans into sawdust and holding us legless captives, our culture creates false images, sells them to us as better than our true forms, demands our compliance with life-denying narratives, and divides us into warring factions to compete for scarce crumbs of connection, now in the form of LIKE buttons. Darcia names this crazy-making our Cycle of Competitive Detachment.
Look closely at the moment of transformation in the Velveteen Rabbit: the toy, who is based on Real Life, cries a real tear, creating a nature bridge, a fairy, to guide him back to his original, true form. Bianco’s postwar-inspired, fairytale wisdom reveals: If we’re going to become real, we’re going to need to grieve the lie, and everything this false narrative spawns in its concocted, frantic busyness to make us look the other way.
As Suzanne Zeedyk shares in her post, Taking Attachment Science to the Public, “It is one thing to know this stuff. It is another thing to feel what it is like to know this stuff.”
How do we know, or feel in our hearts, where we are in the space between stories – the story we’re sold of who we are and the story of who we really are? If worldviews create worlds, what worldview can help us create a more peaceful, sustainable world?
In his scholarly work identifying precepts of our Dominant Culture and contrasting (not binary) Kinship Worldview, Four Arrows’ Worldview Chart helps us shift into our capacity for meta-cognition, or Big Picture awareness. (Download the free poster.)
Darcia Narvaez shares, “We take a quote related to the precept from a First Nation person and then discuss what it means and how to take up the precept. Here are a few of the precepts we discuss:
- Recognition of Spiritual Energies in Nature, with quote from Mourning Dove (Okinagan and Sinixt)
- Emphasis on Community Welfare, with quote from Doña Enriqueta Contreras (Zapotecan)
- High Respect for the Sacred Feminine, with quote from Paula Allen Gunn (Laguna Pueblo)
- Respect for Gender Role Fluidity, with quote from Laura Hall (Haudenosaunee)
- All Earth Entities are Sentient, with quote from Robin Wall Kimmerer (Potowatomi)
- Humor as Essential, with quote from Charlie Hill (Oneida)
- Conflict Resolution as Return to Community, with quote from Wanda D. McCasin (Metiz)
- Laws of Nature as Highest Rules for Living, with quote from Winona LaDuke (Ojibwe)
- Becoming Fully Human, with quote from Greg Cajete (Tewa, Santa Clara Pueblo)
- An Emphasis on Heart Wisdom, with quote from Ilarion Larry Merculieff (Unangan)”
“Taking up the Indigenous Worldview may be a critical aspect of reversing the destructive pathway we are on. But it is not enough. We need to honor and maintain the longstanding wisdom of First Nation Peoples in caring for local landscapes upon which human life depends.” Listen to Kindred’s podcast interview with Darcia and Four Arrows, and find a selection of videos below to discover how deep into the territory of reclaiming our own humanity Restoring Our Kinship Worldview can take us.
The process of throwing off our Dominant Culture’s saw-dust stuffed narrative of who we are and reclaiming our capacity for thriving through a Kinship Worldview has many names these days: decolonization, rewilding, Indigenization. But I like to think of our transformation as one of Becoming Real. (Bianco’s lesser known subtitle of The Velveteen Rabbit is How Toys Become Real.)
Kindred’s resources to help us on our journey are many and include the Evolved Nest’s Self-Directed Learning Center (how to reset shifted baselines for wellness); the Eco-Attachment Dance (nature connection in 28 days); the Breaking the Cycle short film; and the Kindred Fellowship Program (how we’re supporting a new generation of New Cycle Makers and passing the torch at Kindred). Just to name a few.
If you’re ever stuck, wondering how to participate in this new vision for our Earth family, just give us a shout out. We’ll joyfully whisper where the bunnies are holding hands and dancing in the woods, where the celebrations of life and our brief time of stewardship are taking place, and welcome you to your Kindred family. As the Velveteen Rabbit story promises, our journey through fear, grief, and rebirth are worth our efforts, because, “Once you’re real, you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
Happy Earth Day,
Kindred Media, Editor
Kindred World, Co-Founder
This issue of Kindred is dedicated to the loving memory and gentle spirit of Jared Andrew Shaner, June 16, 2000 – January 27, 2022, who left his friends and family unexpectedly this winter. The Reagan family, and the Kindred family, are grateful for the impact of Jared’s brief bright light on our lives, on our dedication to serve, and the lives of those he touched. You are deeply loved and missed, and will not be forgotten, Jared.