Introducing the Heartseed Sisters and Me

Published by: Darcia Narvaez on 01-29-2017

Welcome to Heartseeds Sisters Podcast 1



NOTE: Heartseeds serves as a fountainhead for transforming communities, supplying a wealth of ideas and resources for heart-minded reconstruction of living on the earth.

Heartseeds Sisters are part of this venture. I’ll explain them in a moment.

Who am I and why am I doing this?

My name is Darcia and I’m crazy. That means I think outside the usual boxes. I see connections other people don’t. I see lost people. Lost children. Lost adults. Lost children who become lost adults. And I care about them.

I’m also delusional. I’d like to save the planet. I’d like to save society, save the human species. I somehow think that telling people what I notice might help. Maybe it will. Who knows?

In this podcast library, I’m actually going to be three crazy persons: Primal Protector, Virtue Venturer, and Worry Wench.

1. Primal Protector talks of the needs of babies and children. Primal Protector is a rabid advocate for children’s rights and for their tender care. Primal Protector believes and knows that mothering matters. Nurturing matters. Babies need tenderness to grow rightly.
And that society needs to pay attention to these early seeds of their citizens so that the society itself flourishes.
I don’t have children, I always wanted a few dozen, but it did not work out for me. I realized now that it is a good thing because it gives me the objectivity, no personal interest in defending my choices as a parent, to discuss the research, the scholarship on what helps children thrive.

2. My second persona is Virtue Venturer. She talks about virtues and moral development. Virtue Venturer is trying to learn the ways of virtue, which really is a life long endeavor. I will be attempting to do this in various lifescapes. I will start with humility, which seems to be a core virtue for many religious and philosophical traditions, including what is called the indigenous perspective. Humility is the starting point.

And I must say I do have much to learn. Even though I’ve tried all my life to be a good girl, though I always give in to chocolate and cake. My self got twisted in knots from stress in childhood and I’m still trying to untie those. And we are all encouraged to center our lives around fear, so virtue requires learning to release oneself from that conditioning.

3. The third persona is Worry Wench. She discusses big picture things, like what is happening to society, what’s happening to the earth, what’s happening to our wellbeing.

And she thinks nothing much else is going to matter unless we turn around on our current path, metanoia, turn around. Repent. If humanity is going to thrive, we need to do that. Right now we’ve lost our way. We are living wasteful, selfish lives, as if people are machines and soulless, as if the earth is an endless supermarket of objects to take and toss,

Of course these worries go back to Primal Protector’s concerns. How we raise our children, how we raise those brains of our children. Humans are very malleable in early months and years of life. They are meant to be shaped by the early nest, that means tenderness at birth, soothing birth experience, lots of affectionate cuddling, breastfeeding 2-5 years--should be around 4 or 5 years, immune system has all needed for the immune system. And then multiple adult responsive caregivers, so that mother is responsive to the needs of the child, keeping that baby from getting distressed, so is dad, grandma, auntie, uncle.

Another feature of the evolved nest is wanting the child to be there, a positive climate, the baby having positive impact on others, making them smile, for example.
Another feature of the evolved nest is having free play outdoors, with multiple age playmates running around, playing tag, wrestling. That’s what children should be doing most their childhoods if they are going to build their full capacities.

So that’s part of what I study in my lab work, as a psychology professor, the evolved nest.

I will podcast from these three personas. Primal Protector focuses a lot on the evolved nest. Virtue Venturer is trying to get to living virtuously as an adult. If you are raised well as a child, virtue comes naturally to you, from how you are treated with respect and care, from watching wise elders not oriented to themselves but to the community.Worry Wench, is part of the anxious view of where we are going, paying attention to data, how we are going over the cliff at the moment.

These three sisters turn to a fourth sister for leadership.

4. That fourth sister, a fourth persona, is a bright-light creative. She talks about human restoration, human vitalization. I call her Darshana, another version of my name, Darcia. In this way, I try to live up to the name my parents bestowed on me, though they did not know what it meant at the time. Darsha means “to see, to perceive, to have vision" in Hindi and Sanskrit. Interestingly, my father was arguing for a different name for me. My mother wanted Darcia. My father wanted Delma. they did not know what either name meant. But Delma means “Noble protector” in German. So in a way I’m trying to live up to both names. My middle name is Fe, as in Santa Fe, meaning faith. So I take up that mantle too as I move forward on a path unknown with this podcast.

Darshana is a lifted visionary, a visionary lifted by love, by faith, by the strength of wise ancestors and by a wise natural world. Darshana points to hope, points to wisdom.

I think of Henry David Thoreau here, who wrote: “To set about living a true life is to go [on] a journey to a distant country, gradually to find ourselves surrounded by new scenes and [people].”

So we are setting out on a journey, we four sisters. We want to live a true life together, with all our different voices. We want to find not only that distant country but our own country, who we are here and now, who we are in the universe.

Sometimes these four sisters may argue or debate, but we always expect that Darshana will coax the others to join their energies for the greater good.

What is my background?

Who am I? That is a question that has haunted me all my life. I moved between cultures as a child—between the lovely communalism of Latin culture and the subdued, controlled detachment of a Minnesota childhood. Four of the first five years of my life were spent in Puerto Rico, where my father was born. There was a complex quilt of indigenous, Spanish, African cultures. And they are very buoyant and give you the freedom to be emotional and present. When I was six, we moved permanently to Minnesota, the home of my mother’s farming girlhood. The St. Paul WASP neighborhood and the schools where we lived were less organic, more mechanistic and emotionally detached in how they approached life. So, it was quite a culture shift. I never felt like I fit in.

Every third year when I was growing up, we escaped to the Hispanic world: Guadalajara, Mexico, at age 7; Bogota, Colombia at 10; Pamplona, Spain at 13; Mexico City at 16. Each of these visits was at least a partial plunge back into a world of lively engagement with others and relational connection. Followed by returning to Minnesota for two years, where I had to code shift, shift my cultural sensitivities, back to a more Scandinavian, hands-offish way of living.

A second question that has haunted me from childhood is “What is moral?” When living abroad, I was shocked from a young age to see ragged children my age selling gum on the street corner, begging for money, looking eager but gaunt. They were raising money for their family’s dinner. Returning home to the States I was equally shocked with the excesses of material goods—each aisle of the grocery store with hundreds of different options, seemingly endless choices. Like all USA kids at the time, I was taught that European culture and its offspring instituted in the USA were the pinnacle of human moral progress: ‘Look at what we have’--as a sign of manifest blessing. But my travels abroad made me too aware of what was missing in the materialistic, self-aggrandizing, really, society. Shyness kept me from expressing my growing doubts about it, but I continued to wonder because of the injustices around the world about the dominant narrative.

I’ve been in several careers, I’m in seventh career now as a professor of psychology. Throughout these careers I’ve been looking for truth. Truth here, truth there. Finding nuggets here and there. Hoping in the end that science would save us. Now realizing that science is limited in what it can do and what it can understand and we need an interdisciplinary approach to living life well.

In my adolescence and early adulthood, my questions of “who am I?” turned into “what’s wrong with me?” I had brain “paralysis” regularly under social stress regularly. If a teacher asked me to say something in class I would just freeze up. I remember one time in 9th grade, I was 15, had to give an impromptu speech. We had to pick a slip of paper with a topic and give a speech. My topic was the mop. I wasn’t very flexible or creative, speaking in front of people. I stood up there and said one sentence and then stood there turning colors for five minutes. The teacher did not help me. As a professor I try not to let students suffer like that, and give students mini skill practice.

This brain paralysis took years of therapy to repair. Only recently, I discovered the world of neuroscience what happened. which helped me understand what was going on. Somehow I was stressed early on in significant sensitive periods. My stress system overreact in a way that stopped higher order thinking under stress.

My area of study is moral development. In graduate school we didn’t talk about this kind of thing, neurobiological functioning and emotional hijacking. We didn’t talk about this kind of thing at all. It didn’t matter how you felt, how your body was acting. What mattered was how you reasoned. Reasoning is how you make moral decisions. It is about thinking the right way and action on those good reasons. But I knew from my experience that reasoning was not enough. I might know the right thing to do. But If I’m paralyzed, emotionally handicapped, then I’m not going to be a moral person. I could hardly function socially, let alone morally. So I’ve been exploring all the different aspects of morality finding nuggets of wisdom from all sorts of disciplines. And the answers are not provided only by psychology or science.

My explorations here in the podcast will also be interdisciplinary, looking widely for the answers of the person. How to reach the answers that PP is looking for, vv is looking, that ww is concerned about and that Darshana integrates to light the way forward.

I have come full circle. The question of who am I has turned into who are we as human beings? My concerns about what’s moral has expanded to what is moral has expanded to what is a virtuous life? And the clash between societies with different ideas of what is virtuous, different ideas of morality, has brought me to the question, what is wrong with us (the dominant culture), that we are so destructive ecologically—we are the only species destroying its habitat. Why are we so materialistic and oppressive of emotional development and true spiritual development? And ultimately, finally, how do we repair ourselves?

That’s the focus of the podcast, these multiple goals. Thanks for listening and hope to be with you again soon.

Keywords: About me, introduction, virtue, Virtue Venturer, Primal Protector, Worry Wench, evolved nest, Darcia Narvaez, Darshana

Sister sites