Trust and safety

What’s IN this year and what’s OUT:

In, is the term “Social Engagement”

Out, is “I got this myself”

In, is “Trust”

Out, is No pacifier for babies

You are probably wondering what the heck does sucking on a pacifier have to do with anything. In these past several days I have had the pleasure and joy of vacationing on a beautiful beach with palm trees to one side and stunning turquoise water on the other. As you might know no sand gathers under my feet. I find myself walking from one cabana to another talking with everyone and as my husband says, “anyone.” While that might not be totally accurate, I have to say I am always in awe of the amazing people who come back to this beautiful location each and every year to swim, sail and play. But mostly because we all love seeing each other and sharing who we are and what we’ve been doing. 

I have the opportunity every time to talk and listen to many amazing psychotherapists who all have slightly different specialties. No matter who we are, some Docs, some educators, and others therapists, what we all desire to do is help people find the better parts of themselves to live their avowed and unavowed dreams and lives.

What’s “In,” we all agree is trust that is part of what is now being called  “social engagement.” Out, is left to try to figure it all out by yourself. While, of course there is always a perfect blend of both, what we are realizing in the health world is that we are all here on this great planet to live together. We see that when we live alone too long or create too deep of divides we do not fare as well than when we work together to create a better good.

One of the things we saw last year in pediatrics was one who decided it was good for all babies to stop using pacifiers early on. What we, in the development world know is that one of the many ways babies learn self-comfort and soothing and to help their developing brain is through their very old ancient sucking actions. 

So much of the brain and its neuro-circuitry wires around safety and overall health in this very simple action. Excuse my tongue and cheek statement here because it is far, far from being a simple thing. But for now let us call it so.

Sucking in a baby evokes nourishment. It’s the first thing a baby does after it breathes after birth. If a baby cannot suck they will be in great need of medical attention and show neurological health issues. Nature has devised a very clever multi-

pronged system. Suck, nourishment, and thrive. Thrive as the brain goes wild growing and developing this baby to make meaningful eye contact, bond, and care. Sucking actually helps create a mensch, a person who cares about others. If this is not important, I don’t know what is.

Returning to our beautiful vacation island, part of adult play at night time is music, dancing, and festivities. But what is so wonderful is that as the evening begins there are a few up on small stages singing and dancing. Last night they passed out colorful balloons to everyone on the dance floor. It was fascinating to see how something so simple could bring out the joy and play in a hundred people packed on the floor jumping up and down together, ne’er to let their sky-high balloons down. The group atmosphere really began there.

Later they enticed one person to climb the stage, face their back to the fully organized crowd and fall back into safe and carrying arms all the way across the floor to the other side. It was so amazing to watch one person after the next. It was an organized group taking care of each person to be caught and carried with safety. What joy and total relaxation on each falling person’s face and body. Everyone felt so safe. 

While, I love watching and one day might even give myself to fall backward, what I saw was very special and what trust can mean in all its ways, shapes and forms.

This morning a few of us talked about it. Some said they would never fall back and risk injury, and others had regret they didn’t partake. I still leave it open as a possibility in my future. Oh what fun it might be!

So, off to the beach for us to make our own, lined up to the left and right and me behind her head to catch and insure safety.

But here’s the thing, we all depended on each other, creating a group of trust and safety. No one could do this alone. We organized clearly together, we practiced, then fell and caught. We laughed and then repeated, again and again.

It was what I like to call, the “weeee factor.”

Let your babies suck, grow their brain circuits, make some eye contact, and create safety with the world around them. 

While you don’t need to suck like a baby anymore, you do need safety within yourself and with others. With this maybe you can challenge yourself to be the best you can be.

Here is to the more independent you while you create an amazing and socially engaged world around you.

Happy New Year,

~Elinor Silverstein 

Trust and Safety

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