A Beginner's Mind to Meditation by Mandy Wintink

This is kinda of an intro... but also could be a refresher.. and could serve to deepen a practice because a funny thing about meditation is that a beginner’s mind is ultimately the goal (and the practice). So everyone wins when they come to an introduction to meditation. Same thing for yoga actually but that’s a slightly separate thread.

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How I Taught My Son To Deal With Frustration by Mandy Wintink

When I feel frustrated I get very angry. I’m sure we all do. It’s hard to put the feeling into words but what I can say is that I feel the energy raging through my entire body and it eventually consumes me and all I want is for it to be OUT OUT OUT! I can feel myself about to explode and then become helpless to it as it takes me over. Even if I do succeed in keeping it contained for a little while I know it’s going to come back and erupt, sooner rather than later. And letting it erupt doesn’t really make it feeling that much better anyway. It’s been a helpless and exhausting experience for me made that much worse upon becoming a mom, which I have hear it fairly common. 

Our terrible twos, started when he was about a year old. His body was moving fast (he was an early walker) and so was his mind. But he words were slow to catch up. There was ample opportunity for both of us to get frustrated. What became very clear was that my coping strategies were not healthy or positive. My go-to strategy has been to run away, to literally try to escape the rage inside of me. Escaping was a decent strategy for most of my life because I had never really been prevented from using it. I had developed a lot of independence in my 39 years before becoming a mom, which gave me lots of freedom to run away when I needed to rid myself of frustration and anger. But now, as a mom, I found myself both physically and emotionally unable to run away or escape. It’s hard to escape a child who is frustrating you when you are the only one of the premise and need to be with the child. It’s also really hard to escape a child who is the one frustrating you when the very act of separating yourself from them is part of what is causing the frustration (in us both). So the “put the child in a safe spot and take a breath” really didn’t work for me. It actually made things worse for both of us. So too often I found myself cornered without an escape path but still feeling like the energy was about to explode anyway and I had no way of directing it, no way of channelling it. 

And so I would lose it. I would explode.

I have thrown more things that I can count. I have kicked the gate down the stairs and chairs across the room. I have slammed doors as loud as I possibly could. I have banged my head against the wall. I have screamed and cried. I have broken a lot of stuff. I have even pushed my child away from me more forcefully than I ever should have and I have been too rough with my loving dog. I am not proud of any of this. Actually, I am quite ashamed of it all and hate to admit it. But it is the truth that I am working through and I am not ashamed to share a reality that I know others can relate to. 

And… as if there needs to be more… even more shameful was when I realized that my child had learned my terrible coping skills from me and started to display them himself. His little brain had been taking all of my reactions in so innocently and naturally like everything else he learns. And through the great power of social observation and modelling he started to do what I did. He started to hit… himself just like I would hit myself but then he would also hit me, his dad, our dog, our cat, his friends, his toys, the floor, anything in front of him… he was nonselective.  And he started to throw things… soft things, hard things, little things, big things, at people and not at people. Throwing and hitting became his go-to strategy for dealing with frustration. He skipped the run-away strategy and moved right into the worst one possible. And I was to blame. Ne never saw me run away. He only say me cornered. 

He had spent a good portion of his young life watching my frustration and rage be unleashed... after another walk that did not end in him sleeping, after too many hours of me holding his heavy toddler body, after stretches of days that lead into years of me being dangerously sleep deprived, after me being so low that I hated myself more than anything I could imagine and thought it would be better if I just gave him away so I didn’t ruin him any further. He watched all of this. 

I feel sick to my stomach now as I write this more than 2 years than a year after I first began to notice it. I hid it at first. This is by far one of my most shameful accounts of my life. But I knew I had to change this and me. But I didn’t even know where to start. I was so helpless. I pleaded with my husband to help me but he didn’t know how to fix it either. But he listened and did everything he could to reduce my frustrations. That helped a bit. I started to talk to people but was selective, worried that someone might worry about safety and call the authorities. I felt alone, ashamed, and helpless to solve a problem I knew needed to be solved.

Then I started to do what felt natural to me. I started to share with my child when I was feeling frustrated. In many ways it was just a thing to say out loud because he was already well aware of when I was frustrated. But it started the conversation and that was something. 

Then I did more. I taught my son deep breathing. I remember crying when he actually did it himself the first time. Finally, I gave him something… something that would eventually turn into a space for reflection. Then, I started to help him recognize when he too was frustrated or getting frustrated, essentially learning to label it like I had been doing for him. I simply asked “are you getting frustrated?” when I noticed it was brewing. It showed I was paying attention to him and cared about his feelings. Then, we worked on him asking for help when he was frustrated. I would see him trying to do something that his little body was not yet capable of but his mind had already decided he was going to do. I could clearly see the conflict emerging but didn’t want to thwart his efforts. I would ask “do you want some help?” He would answer yes or no but at least he knew I was there if he needed me. Again… inadvertently space for reflection was being created. Or “can I help?” Eventually he would start to say yes even after getting frustrated and having thrown things. And together we would complete what he wanted to do or at least learn why it couldn’t be done. The frustration didn’t necessary subside… but at least we were holding some space for it.

And the hitting… well, we’re still working on that one but yesterday I had a tearfully proud moment when he called out to me crying in frustration that someone was trying to take a toy from him. He often gets his toy snatched out of his hands (like many kids do) and for him this is really hard. Some kids are fine with it. He is not. He sees the injustice in it quite clearly. And so in attempts to retain it he will start to hit them. I can appreciate his reaction as an attempt at retaining what’s fair but I know (if not in practice, at least in theory) that it's not adaptive. I can’t say for sure I wouldn’t hit, actually. So I told him that if he wasn’t able to get someone to listen (and back off) using his words that he could come tell me and I would help him communicate. What got me in tears was later realizing that he actually circumvented a hitting episode… he actually used the space to reflect amidst his deep frustration and came to me instead of hitting. HUGE success.

He’s already doing what I have yet to be able to master: He’s finding space and asking for help when encountering frustration. I don’t know why I never found this strategy before. Or maybe I had and then somewhere along the way I adopted different strategies: the run-away escape strategy and then when that didn’t work the lash-out strategy. I guess they served me… until they didn't, until I passed them along, shamefully.

So here I am… on the one hand completely ashamed of how I taught my son to deal with frustration and then on the other hand now proud of how I am teaching my son (and myself) to deal with frustration. 

And for what it’s worth… I’m open to other ideas… cuz hey… I need help with this one.

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Click here if you want to listen to an voice memo I recorded well over a year ago when I was still in the low of the ashamed phase.

Evolution of Mandyland by Mandy Wintink

This podcast was launched in September, 2017 with a pretty simple goal: record some of my interesting conversations and post them to a podcast platform. I had struggled for years with starting a podcast because I didn’t know if my focus should be on neuroscience, motherhood, life coaching, or something totally different. Then I realized that I could string them all together under the term I had already been stringing my life together: Mandyland. In my world — in Mandyland — all of these ideas do connect. I can see how neuroscience is related to meditation and how feminism is related to business and how neuroscience is related to business and feminism. All of these important elements of my life intersect and I end up in — what I deem as — interesting conversations, conversations that I think deserve attention. 

At the start of Season One, this is what I thought Mandyland was going to be about, according to the blurb on the homepage:

"In any given week I end up talking about neuroscience, motherhood, education, feminist and a variety of other social justice issues, gender and LGTBQ2S+, mental health and wellness, community, and yoga and mindfulness. I also think about death, feel like a terrible mom, and still wonder about some mysteries of the universe. I love Alanis Morissette, Margaret Atwood, and other women who can articulate human experiences the way they can. So any of this might show up in this podcast and often each conversation is an eclectic mix of many such topics.”

I got some of those right.

When I started the podcast, I wanted to make it easy for myself to produce, so I focused on the content itself rather than on the sound quality, editing, or a specific focus. So the first season is very raw, and I’m totally ok with that. It was a necessary part of the journey. Here is what we covered:

I talked with Dawn about her experiences with Depression and Anxiety:

 

I talked A LOT about Education and Parenting with Jenn, Greer, and Kandace:

 

I talked about Identity with Lindsey, Mike, Bronwyn:

 

I philosophized with Mike about Mindfulness, Meditation, and Enlightenment Stuff:

and made a little bird chirping mindfulness meditation 

 

I had some Neuroscience conversations with Greer and Coach Quinn

 

I discussed Privilege with Jenn and Lindsey, Bronwyn, and Mike:

 

I talked a lot about Career, Work, and Process stuff from a few different angles:

I talked about Death & Dying and am excited to deepen this conversation in Season Two

 

Mmmm…. Intuition etc.

 

Then in July, 2018, I realized I wanted to end Season One, get some closure, and reflect on what had happened in season one. So I ended it with this:

 

 

And the result of this reflecting is that I am proud of it all. No it isn’t perfect but my process isn’t about being perfect. My process is about doing and producing. My process is about planting seeds and seeing what gets nurtured, either by myself or by others listening and following.

Now, moving into Season Two, I’m happy to say that I will invest a bit more time (not a lot) into some minor editing and a greater focus on sound quality, while still keeping the spirit of real conversations alive with all the unexpectedness with it, which might include sounds at a coffee shop or my dog barking. It’s still going to be all real!

I expect this season to dive deeper into topics like Cancer, Death and Dying, Mental Health, Motherhood and Parenting, Education, Neuroscience, Meditation, MeToo, and Privilege. I also have some conversations lined up about Trauma, Co-Living, The Block Chain, and Business. 

We’ll see how it all pans out.

I'm still waiting for more voice memos. I got some but I would love to hear more of YOUR insights. We don't have to publish them but I do want to hear from you. So if you have something to say, share it with me as a voice memo. Find your voice memo app on your phone and just record away. Then his share and send to me. You can send it via email (awintink@canc.ca) or text (416.998.1104). 

Thanks for listening, reading, and thinking!

<3

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My New Normal by Mandy Wintink

My body is the heaviest it’s ever been, with the exception of being pregnant, and sadly I can’t say it’s because I’m loaded up with strong muscles. Nope. It’s fat, due partially to the fact that I devote much less time to working out than I used to before and WHILE I was pregnant and I’m hoping that it’s also partially due to me still breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does help a lot of women lose weight after birth. It definitely helped me. In fact, I was thinner at 8 months postpartum than I am now, again, partially due to the fact that I was still in pretty good shape from pregnancy. But… I have read (with hope) that an extra 10 lbs could stick around while nursing. 

I struggled (emotionally and physically) this spring to fit back into the clothes that I wore last summer. I’m talking last summer when I had a 2 year old, not when I was pregnant. Not only do my last year’s clothes not fit, the workouts that I did do are qualitatively (and qualitatively quite different). For one, I dye of thirst, which is not something I have ever really experienced. Even while playing ultimate in 37 degree Celsius weather I would have to force myself to drink because my body never seemed to alert me of the need. And every step of a run seems hard right now, much harder than I remember. Sure, my willpower is shot due to having a 3 year old consume it all but it feels more than that. My pace is ridiculously slow compared to my personal worst, never mind compared to my personal best! And I had very little motivation to go do much of anything. 

My ego has been very upset by this and I even went to talk about it with my naturopathic doctor, worrying that something was physically wrong with me, health wise. My thyroid I thought? Nope. We ended up discussing new ways to work out and… the dreaded topic of “you’re in your 40s now”. "NO!!" I said out loud. "Don’t go there!!!”  

And we talked about my new normal. 

I walked away from that conversation with some really good tips (see below) for working out, which I have subsequently implemented with success, with success defined as actually enjoying my workouts again. I also walked away with CoQ10 (a coenzyme) to help with the free radicals that were ramping up in my ageing body. Urgh. But I also also walked away with a bitterness about the topic of “my new normal”. It just didn’t sit well with me.

Then yesterday, the idea of a new normal came up again when referring to someone dealing with symptoms of a concussion. That phrase — the new normal — was thrown out casually by someone but it lingered with a similar bitter taste in me. 

The more I thought about the new normal, the more I didn’t like it. I don’t like the idea that we would spend lots of energy trying to accept this new normal, because that is what is implied by the phrase. I have done that this spring and it didn’t work. Frankly, I think it does very little good except to teach us how to grasp onto a new false permanence. If I accept this “new normal” then what I am doing is working really hard to come to accept that THIS now is me and then I inevitably start to believe that this new me (or my new normal) is how it WILL be going forward, as if this new normal is permanent. For me, that means that I will work hard to accept that my 5K run is 28 minutes instead of 21:50 min and that my body weighs 140 instead of 125 or that I am a size 10 instead of an 8 or a 30 instead of a 26.  I will work really hard to accept that this is me and unconsciously assume this will stay the same… and then possibly by the time I reach that acceptance, I might be a size 12... Or I might not even be able to run. Or I might pick up biking instead where I have no comparison. 

My point is that learning to accept a new normal falsely leads us to believe that this new normal is static. But it’s not. We and our bodies are changing all the time. So there is no new normal. There is no normal. There just is a moment in time when we are something that is different from other moments and sometimes the same. 

All of my yoga and meditation training did not teach me to accept a new normal. They both teach me to observe the ever changing nature of ourselves. So instead of reaching for a new normal, my efforts would be better spent observing the beauty of nature recapitulated in my own very biology as it waxes and wanes and lives and dies and flourishes and withers moment by moment.

Because there is no normal so there can never be a new normal. 

My body is different than yesterday, than last year, and than 10 years ago. Some parts of it feels stronger. Some weaker. Some more lively, some dying. Practicing to observe this so that instead of accepting a new normal, I learn to accept whatever is present in any given moment will serve me much better than anything else I could do. 

 

*This is what I did for my new/old workout:

The tips I got was to do high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is what I used to do and love to do but I never knew it had a name! I do 1 minute of high intensity something, which could include sprints about 10 feet apart alternating with side steps, karaoke, and some cutting to cones and back... basically shuttle running.  I also do some squat jumps and variation of lunge jumps in 1 minute intervals and also some core strengthening stuff. Basically everything is 1 minute intervals with about 15 second rest in between. I do this for about 30 - 45 min and then finish with some yoga. I like this because every workout is different. I don't plan. I just show up somewhere with cones (or use pieces of garbage I find) and start doing something. I can easily think of stuff on the fly, so it also keeps my mind occupied with a task rather than thinking about how much I hate something. And pretty much anything can be done for 1 min much easier than say a 30 min run!

 

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Rethinking intelligence: It's not all or none by Mandy Wintink

I want to talk about intelligence… and the diversity that exists within it… and how understanding the many ways in which kids are intelligent is important for fostering their unique brains. 

Let’s start with a brief overview of intelligence from a psychology perspective. As I progressed through my formal education in psychology (from 1992 - 2005), I was not privy to the idea that there may be multiple ways in which we are intelligent. I learned about "general intelligence", denoted as the "g factor” and measured with a few different tests, giving us the Intelligence Quotient (IQ). There was an inkling that intelligence might be more than just one thing. For example, a difference between fluid intelligence (the ability to reason and solve problems) and crystallized intelligence (general knowledge and vocabulary-type things) existed. During the 1990s a 3-layer hierarchy theory of intelligence was put forth by Cattell, Horn, and Carroll, which further included comprehension-knowledge, quantitative knowledge, reading & writing, short-term memory, long-term storage and retrieval, visual processing, auditory processing, processing speed, and decision/reaction time/speed (see below for definitions). These intelligences were also subdivided into narrow (i.e., specific) intelligences within each of those categories (also listed below). Cattell, Horn, and Carrol’s narrow intelligence is a great example of how neuroscience and cognitive psychology merge to better understand human intelligence, as a result of the neuroscience boom of the 1990s.

I’m particularly fond of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence because I think it has the most practical value for parents/teachers/caregivers reflecting on a child’s strengths or their own. They aren’t mutually exclusive with Cattell, Horn, and Carrol’s theory per se but Gardner’s intelligences are easier to conceptualize as a non-scientist. For example, the idea of being musically intelligent and how we understand rhythm (musical-rhythmic intelligence) or visually and how we understand the space around us (visuo-spatial intelligence). We could also be intelligent with our body (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence) or how we interact with others (interpersonal, social, or emotional intelligence) or how we understand ourselves (intrapersonal and self-awareness intelligence). We could also be intelligent about the natural world (naturalistic intelligence) or about how we exist in the universe (existential or spiritual intelligence) or through our understanding of morality (moral intelligence). Or course, the theory also included some of the traditional intelligences like mathematical-logical intelligence and verbal-linguistic intelligence. See below for specific descriptions. Together, these intelligences can form a unique picture of intelligence for any given person, with each of showing more or less of each. 

This idea that intelligence is diverse jives well with me as a neuroscientist who appreciates the different brain capacities that exist too. And this theoretical understanding of intelligence was reinforced as I began to apply it to some real people in my life. I remember one good friend I played hockey with, whom I often referred to as an “athletic genius”. If she’s reading right now, she knows who she is! I also remember a long-term boyfriend who I watched struggle in the traditional school setting while also demonstrating business savyness and entrepreneurship early in his youth. He later went on to become a very successful business executive combining his superior interpersonal/social intelligence and his verbal-storytelling intelligence. I also remember those kids in school who were always drawing stuff and were really good at it. Like ridiculously good. Artistically brilliant in some cases, which demonstrated strong visuospatial intelligence.     

I learned about multiple intelligence as a life coach, offering the theory to clients as an opportunity to consider their own often undervalued intelligence, like the designer who is visual-spatially brilliant — he can remember snapshots of a scene or image with almost photographic memory — but also struggles with a learning disability and has trouble reading. This intelligence of his was not fostered in the traditional academic environment and he spent too long thinking he was not smart. But give him the same information in picture form and he shines brilliantly and has grown into his natural role as a furniture designer. Or the person who is devastated by the injustices of the world and hasn’t yet recognized that this type of deep social understanding is a reflection of their moral intelligence and interpersonal intelligence. Or the person who can’t help but understand the cause-and-effect of a situation, giving them incredible insight into scenarios that unfold around them often frustrated with why others can’t see what they see. I have also spent a significant amount of time self-reflecting on my own intelligence and in the process put into perspective how I felt like a dumb kid in school before going to university yet went on to excel in psychology and neuroscience at the post-secondary level because the school system before then didn’t cater to me. The popular TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson is another way of explaining all of this.

Sir Ken Robison’s Famous TED Talk on How Schools Kill Creativity: https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity

As a parent, considering multiple intelligence has also been useful as a way of both understanding and nurturing a child’s brain and being. As a result, I can confidently say that my child IS very intelligent and not because I am bragging or because I think my child is better. With multiple intelligences as a lens to look at our children or our self we should all be able claim some kind of intelligence proudly. 

I began to notice my child’s bodily-kinesthetic and visuospatial intelligences almost from the day he was born. He was a very busy baby!!! Actually, the technician during one of his ultra-sounds mentioned his busyness, come to think of it! As a baby (and still) he rarely slept. His eyes were often VERY open. We would joke that he never blinked and if he did it was so fast we didn’t notice. People would comment on his odd “altertness” from a very early age. It was constant reinforcement for the fact that we were exhausted by his perpetual awakeness! His body was also always moving. He had strength in his neck early and at 2.5 months I had to put him in the jolly jumper to give myself a break from his exhaustive-to-me energy. He would never settle in any of those things that didn’t allow him to move. Eventually, by 2.5 months, I could get him into a jolly jumper and it was a life saver. He was overjoyed at being able to stand and have greater agency in his world. I would hang things all around him so he could learn how to move his body to get to them. 

By 5.5 months, he was walking with our assistance. He would grab our fingers and lead us away letting himself move his feet and walk his body where he wanted to go. We were helpless to stop it even if we wanted to. By the time he was 8.5 months old, he had taken his first steps unassisted. He was running before he was a year old. I was convinced he did all this because he watched us and could match what our walking bodies were doing. He never crawled and I think it was because he never saw us crawling so had no ability to mimic us. There are many examples that made it clear that he was good and learning to use his body with great skill.

Now in his toddlerhood, we see these intelligences emerge in new ways. His body always seems to know the direction that we go in. He asks to know where we are going and if we deviate in anyway on our route he knows and promptly tells us so, getting agitated if we don’t align his body with what we said we were doing. This is problematic when we are driving or strollering him around simply because we are trying to get him to fall asleep (which, coincidently he does very easily when moving!). The other day, we were in the bus heading North. As we neared the subway station that we were getting off at, the bus turned East and the announcer announced the next stop. Just then he opened up his arms for me to pick him up knowing that we would be getting off soon. He couldn’t see out the windows so I was a bit surprised that he knew we were approaching our stop and so I said to him "do you know that we are getting off soon because you heard them say it or because you feel it in your body?". He replied, “I feel it in body". I was shocked at first but then realized that he probably DID feel it in his body because this is his intelligence. When I quiz him on his sense of direction as we are moving around, most of the time he is right. Similarly, we had recently rearranged his bedroom room leaving his bed now aligned East-West, instead of North-South, which it has been for almost 2 years. For the first 3 nights in this re-arranged room, he slept perpendicular on the bed, which meant that he was laying in the same North-South direction as he had been laying in before. I was convinced that this was because his body naturally aligned itself with what had become his norm for sleeping. 

Knowing where we are in space is a very specific brain skill mediated by the parietal cortex’s sense of body awareness and combined with place cells in the hippocampus and the occipital cortex’s visual skills. It is very clearly represents intelligent brain skills. But my point is not to focus on bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. My point is to engage others with the idea that intelligence is not one single entity but rather, there are multiple intelligences that exists, which are reflected through our unique brain skills.

Thinking about intelligence in a different way can be empowering. The more we know about how our or our little one’s brain thinks, the more we can cater to particular learning styles. For example, I’m so glad that I taught him sign language because he picked it up so easily and continues to use his hands and gestures to explain fairly elaborate concepts. Being able to facilitate the use of his bodily-kinesthetic intelligence to communicate was a gift that I didn’t even know I was giving him at the time. Or maybe my keen interpersonal and self-reflective intelligence did. 😉 

So how do you know what gifts your child possess? Howard Gardner himself claims that there is no one single way to measure these intelligences, although he does refer readers to one website that he thinks is doing a particularly good job (listed below). I like the Index of Learning Styles, listed below, which I use with my university students. I also recently found a good one that combined a personality inventory with cognitive testing. The questions alone I found informative. Like when it asked if I was sensitive to the smoothness and roughness of objects. It made me think about my child and maybe a dark side to his bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence is an over sensitivity to the fabrics he wears. We also recently switched his mattress and he began sleeping through the night for the first time in 2 and a half years. Can’t help but wonder…

Gardner also suggests that self-reflection is a possible way of understanding one’s own intelligence profile and/or combining that with what a teacher/parent/caregiver would say. The inability to properly measure these intelligences is one of the major criticisms of Gardner’s work. But as a scientist myself, I can also appreciate how difficult it is to measure these constructs and how all science begins with simple observation. 

I’ve been working on this problem of how to capture different kinds of intelligences and learning styles in our children with a good friend of mine, Jennifer Chan. You can hear about us discussing the issue on an episode of my Mandyland podcast. 

Process Learning Take 1: http://www.mandyland.ca/the-podcast/2018/1/1/process-learning-take-1-with-jenn
Alternative Schools and Learning Styles: http://www.mandyland.ca/the-podcast/2018/2/13/alternative-elementary-schools-learning-styles-with-jenn

The issue we are trying to solve is helping parents capture the HOW of learning, recognizing that the WHAT is often the focus. Knowing what someone has learned certainly has value but knowing how someone learns is like teaching someone to fish. It’s about skill development and supporting life long learning skills. Our goal in trying to help parents capture the how is so that parents can be more informed about their child’s learning style and ultimately helping them cater to that learning style and intelligence. This is a strength-based focus on skill development, which has become a popular way of nurturing individual life and learning skills.

For me, capturing idiosyncratic learning comes naturally through deep self- and other-reflection, discussing it, and writing about it… likely because I exhibit signs of interpersonal, intrapersonal, and linguistic intelligence. Jenn, on the other hand wants to visually capture the learning, probably because she is visuospatially intelligent. As we continue to pilot and iterate and test and reflect and document in attempts to capture learning and intelligence, we welcome other people to share their experiences and attempts at this too. If you are equally intrigued by this and want to help us make a tool, please, send us your reflections, documentations, interpretations, photos, videos, etc. of you capturing how your child is learning and what intelligence you are detecting in them.

With that end… please peruse some of these resources if you are intrigued as much as I am with multiple intelligence.

    RESOURCES:

     

    Fun examples of Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence, IMO:

    Cattell, Horn, and Carrol Broad Intelligences

    1. Comprehension-Knowledge (Gc): includes the breadth and depth of a person's acquired knowledge, the ability to communicate one's knowledge, and the ability to reason using previously learned experiences or procedures.
    2. Fluid reasoning (Gf): includes the broad ability to reason, form concepts, and solve problems using unfamiliar information or novel procedures.
    3. Quantitative knowledge (Gq): is the ability to comprehend quantitative concepts and relationships and to manipulate numerical symbols.
    4. Reading & Writing Ability (Grw): includes basic reading and writing skills.
    5. Short-Term Memory (Gsm): is the ability to apprehend and hold information in immediate awareness and then use it within a few seconds.
    6. Long-Term Storage and Retrieval (Glr): is the ability to store information and fluently retrieve it later in the process of thinking.
    7. Visual Processing (Gv): is the ability to perceive, analyze, synthesize, and think with visual patterns, including the ability to store and recall visual representations.
    8. Auditory Processing (Ga): is the ability to analyze, synthesize, and discriminate auditory stimuli, including the ability to process and discriminate speech sounds that may be presented under distorted conditions.
    9. Processing Speed (Gs): is the ability to perform automatic cognitive tasks, particularly when measured under pressure to maintain focused attention.
    10. Decision/Reaction Time/Speed (Gt): reflects the immediacy with which an individual can react to stimuli or a task (typically measured in seconds or fractions of seconds; not to be confused with Gs, which typically is measured in intervals of 2–3 minutes).

    Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences:

    1. musical-rhythmic - sensitive to sounds, rhythms, patterns, tonnes. Think dancers, composers, choreographers, 
    2. visual-spatial - ability to visualize, remember pictures, judge distances, hold and manipulate images in the mind, navigate through environment, sense of direction.
    3. verbal-linguistic - words, languages, reading, writing, telling stories, poetry, memorizing text and dates, understand written text
    4. logical-mathematical - reasoning, numbers, critical thinking, judgment, abstraction, logic, cause-and-effect
    5. bodily-kinesthetic - ability to control one’s body, know one’s body, know where one’s body is in space, fine more control, gross motor control, ability to handle objects well, makers, athletes, dancers, acting. 
    6. interpersonal - empathy, sensitivity to others, feelings, motivation, cooperation, emotional and social intelligence.
    7. intrapersonal - adept at introspection and self awareness, reflective, understanding of self including strengths and weaknesses, ability to predict self’s actions.
    8. naturalistic - ability to understand the natural world and to work with it, ecological intelligence, understanding humans role within the ecosphere, laws of nature, understanding change and systems. 
    9. existential/spiritual - this one is less clear as Gardner did not include it in his original set of MI. Possibly: deep understanding of energetic and physical laws that govern despite our conventional thinking?
    10. moral - apparently he suggested this one too… but I can’t find much information on it.
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    My Midlife Crisis by Mandy Wintink

    It occurred to me recently that I’m having a midlife crisis. For a while I thought it was just residual postpartum depression but I see that the feelings and thoughts that are emerging seem to relate more to my 40s than motherhood per se. So I’m working through this crisis as it comes up… here is the first thought-draft on what’s coming up for me. 

    TLDR: I now feel old. 

    I knew I was going to get old — I mean technically and biologically speaking — but I really had no sense of it until recently.  I remember one time a few years ago (in my mid-late 30s) I posted something on facebook about feeling really young and attributing it to not having kids. A few mom friends of mine took offense and assured me that kids kept them young. I was skeptical, at least with whether that would be the case for me. I had been living a life of autonomy, independence, selfishness, freedom… it was better than Freedom 55 because I wasn’t even 40 yet! 

    Now I’m 42 and the first 2 years of my 40s were consumed with being a new mom. I didn’t feel old soon after having a baby. Actually, much of me felt great soon after the birth. My body bounced “back" really quickly, likely because I was so good of shape WHILE pregnant… I still had time then to work out. Sure, after having a baby I wasn’t as fit as I was before being pregnant and not nearly as strong in my lower body (mind you my arms got really strong from carrying a child ALL THE TIME) and I’m not as fast in ultimate now. But that was to be expected. I wasn’t training like I had been before. But… I wasn’t totally out of shape. Just not as fit.  And then… time went on… next thing I knew, it had been 2 years since I had a baby. I was long past being able to use the I-just-had-a-baby excuse for my body. And then I started to REALLY notice things were changing… my triceps started sagging over my elbows… my thighs started sagging over my kneecaps … the skin under my chin sags... and not like a second chin per se but like old skin that can no longer defy gravity. I actually noticed this in Anne and Kate too in the first episode of season 2 of Workin Moms. I hadn’t really thought of it as a defining feature of aging… I remember not really understanding the advice “don’t forget about the neck when moisturizing.” And my butt… and hips… let’s just say that some of my yoga tights don’t fit… tights that I wore throughout my ENTIRE PREGNANCY no longer fit my post-postpartum body! The worst was when I ordered “small” shorts in ultimate last year not yet realizing how my body had changed. Everyone was so excited about our new uniforms (as it typically the case). I was divvying them all up and then finally went to put mine on. Got the shirt on… not too bad… started to pull the shorts up and began realizing that we had a problem. I didn’t even wait to get confirmation about how tight my supposed-to-be-baggy shorts were before ripping them right off my legs and stuffing them in my bag. Thank GOD I brought another pair just in case!

    I have two sections of my closet… one from my old body and one from my current body. My last hope is that when I finally stop breastfeeding my body will shed these extra unwanted fat layers. Although many people gain weight after they stop nursing because their metabolism slows down, I have heard that some lose weight… their body stops holding on to the fat that it needed to nourish the baby (or toddler in my case). Fingers crossed! 

     

    So there’s that… my body. My belly is also hard to look at. I used to have nice abs. But that’s gone. And I could go on about other things like how my hands look old and wrinkly now and they never did before. I try to drink enough water and it doesn’t make a difference anymore. 

     

    I’m sad about all of these changes indeed. And it feels weird, like I’m in someone else’s body. It’s like a version of the neuropsychological disorder, hemineglect, where you lose the awareness of the half of your body opposite to the damage in the parietal cortex, only I feel like an almost total neglect. Whose body is this that I’m in?

     

    I feel myself indulging into a nostalgia of my past body, sometimes going so far as to hope that that old (ETR: young) body will return. But that’s not helpful. I'm not young anymore. I’m not going to have that body that I did when I was in my 20s… actually, my 30s body was my best but I won’t have that back either. 

     

    I am a 42-year-old woman and I have a body that is not young. 

     

    And I don’t want that to be a bad thing. And maybe that’s what this midlife crisis is… a yearning to accept that this IS me now, letting go of the delusion that I will stay young forever as I come closer to old age and dying. 

     

    And then I am reminded of the one theme that keeps coming up over and over again since becoming a mom: Letting go. 

     

    I have let go of so much in my postpartum state. I let go of big huge chunks of my freedom, my independence, my schedule, the ability to work endlessly on anything I wanted without interruption… I have let go of uninterrupted conversations with my husband and friends… I even let go of owning my own boobs. 

     

    Letting go is hard. It’s work. 

     

    I have spent many years living in a body that I relied on to be fast and fit and strong and capable and to look a certain way. Now… I’m facing the reality that my body is getting old, along with me. That’s scary. Really scary. What am I without my body? 

     

    Right now, I’m a midlife crisis… in search of the soul. When your body changes like this it really is (or can be) an opportunity to see what is beyond the vessel. 

     

    And other things pop into my head too. Like the grey hairs. It’s not that I don’t want to go grey per se. I actually think grey looks amazing on many people. It’s stunning. I do have this little silver streak that I’m partially in love with and I thought about accentuating this streak and keeping the rest dark… but that’s a lot of work. I know this because in my 20s I had blue streaks (actually “chunks”) in my hair and it took a lot of work… lots of selective bleaching and blue touch-ups every couple of days to avoid it going green. I don’t have that kind of time anymore. I’m lucky if I shower on any given day… I’m lucky when I wash my hair more than once a week. 

     

    But I’m not ready to give up my dark hair. I have ALWAYS loved my dark hair and for most of my life worked for even darker hair. Yes, I dye my hair now but I have been dying my hair since I was in grade 8 when I started spending my weekly allowance on hair products and feeling a sense of agency that I could do what I wanted with my hair. I remember my aunts saying to me “why are you dying your hair now? Save it for when you go grey and have to dye your hair.” But that obviously didn’t concern me then. I liked colouring my hair and playing with it in that way. But I don’t want to HAVE to dye my hair but at the same time, I’m not ready to give up its darkness.  Yet… I can’t have dark hair for the rest of my life. That thought — not having dark hair — had never occurred to me before recently. Literally. My dark hair defines me. What am I without my dark hair? A midlife crisis…

    I do have an appointment with my hair stylist to start to go lighter to blend in my grey. I told her I wasn’t ready though. I had planned to shave my head when I was 50… as a transcendence exercise. I have lots of work to do to get there because that too would be giving up my dark hair. 

    How my body is changing is a HUGE part of my midlife crisis. It’s not about my career or accomplishments… I have all that under control. I’m happy with what I have already done and know I will continue to do great things. For now, I have faith in my mind’s ability to stick with me during my aging process. That may fail me too, certainly but if genetics has anything to do with it, I’ll be in good hands. But the body part of my identity is hard… and I think it’s hard because appearance is so valued and I have been a victim of this…

    Also, do you know about Instagram girls? They are social media models. Some of them make a lot of money basically taking selfies. The other day I realized that I will never be an Instagram girl because I’m too old. Bahahahahahahaha!!! Seriously, that thought crossed my mind… AND I ENGAGED WITH IT! Eventually, I realized that I would never have been an Instagram girl anyway. I don’t have that kind of look. But at least if I was 20 I would still feel like I could aspire to become an Instagram girl like many young girls wish to be “found” as a model. I could yearn endlessly for a dream that would never be, not because I was too old but because I wasn’t attractive enough anyway… not that kind of attractiveness. And who cares? The only reason I care right now is because it’s another perceived lost opportunity by virtue of getting old. I don’t want to be an instagram girl. I don’t. 

    Also… I don’t know where to shop any more…  H&M? Is that ok at my age? I don’t actually know and I never had to think about it before. But seriously… where do 40-year old women shop? I remember my friend’s mom when we were in junior high, she shopped at GAP. I thought it was so cool that they both could shop at the same store. She must have been 40 then right? I don’t know. My mom was only 32 at that point. But GAP is classic right? I hope so… cuz I just placed an online order to fill up my current-body closet.

    I realize this all sounds so ridiculous and superficial… and that it IS ridiculous and superficial but that’s mostly why I am writing about it. I’m not trying to pretend that I have all my shit together. This is hard and it’s kind of fucking crazy that this is the shit that goes through my head… instead of solving major world problems like social injustices… but I bet I’m not entirely alone with these thoughts. 

    And like many other things… not enough people are talking about it. Women my age ARE having midlife crises but until recently, I didn’t know it was a thing. Did you? 

    There are some good things about aging. Like this: 

    And I can confidently say “woman” for the first decade in my life. 

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    Has MeToo Gone Too Far? by Mandy Wintink

    People are tired of #MeToo and feel it’s gone too far. The movement has enabled women to share experiences but it’s just too much. People don’t want to hear about this any more. Some experiences are not even considered that bad. A bad date is not the same as sexual assault. And a comment about what a women looks like is not the same as showing someone your penis or patting her ass. And why can’t women just say no or walk away or close their legs anyway? It seems as though women have taken it upon themselves to call out men, in the process public shaming them and ruining their careers and reputations, instead of leaving it up to the courts. Powerful men are falling from their towers and we can barely keep up with ever new accusation. Surely this is an exaggeration and it’s all too much. Women seem to be taking advantage of this newfound power of social media without regard to the consequences of their actions. People are now worried about their past actions and whether they will come back to haunt them. One women of 2 small boys spoke on CBC about being worried that her boys could do something as teenagers and then be punished later as adults for something they did when acceptable behaviour was different. 

    Clearly MeToo has gone far.

    But this is hardly far enough… and it’s only the beginning so we ALL better get used to this new standard. 

    Let’s summarize some of what women have experienced simply because we are women as a way of understanding the motivation to keep MeToo alive:

    • Women get paid less
    • Women have less ability to move up in the corporate world or academia
    • Women have fewer opportunities for sports careers
    • Women experience WAY more sexual harassment in the workplace than men
    • Women and girls are raped more than men
    • Girls are molested more than boys
    • Women experience more domestic violence than men
    • Women’s bodies are exploited in the media more than men’s
    • Women and girls are trafficked for sex more than men
    • Women who are public figures get death threats and rape threats more than men
    • Women are more afraid to walk home alone OR get into a cab with a male driver than men
    • Women make more safety plans when going out on a blind date or needing to have a service call into their homes
    • Women are more cautious alone in the elevators with a man
    • Women’s qualities on a resume are less impressive than the same qualities listed on a resume for men
    • Different words are used to describe women in reference letters than men
    • Different words are used to describe girl infants than boy infants
    • People talk differently to babies they think are girls compared to boys
    • Women who are assertive as less liked than men who are assertive
    • Women are judged for their clothes more than men
    • Pre-pubescent girls’ clothes have less fabric than boys' clothes
    • Women are still excluded with language like “he”

    Should I go on? I could… but that’s not the point. This is an example of SOME of what it is like to be a woman in North America in this century. So to say that #MeToo has gone too far absolutely does not capture the distance we have yet to go. So I warn those who think it’s gone to far or those who have had enough of MeToo to sit back, get uncomfortable, and prepare for the new future that is before us. This is what’s happening…

    We are strong… stronger than you think. Imagine what we women have endured in our own lifetime and by virtue of the lifetimes of women living in our DNA. Just imagine the skills we have built during this time to still be on this earth having sat pretty waiting for this time. 

    We are a collective… now more than ever before we have a technology in all the social media platforms that exist to enable us to share our experiences with each other, with the unaware, and with those who have wronged us, and in the process validating, through the power of numbers, for the first time ever, these experiences at a grand scale. 

    We are healers… we have deep abilities to feel pain (our brains and bodies are wired for childbirth) and heal right after that. In an instant we go from pain to love. 

    We are lovers… we aren’t doing this to hurt anyone… actually the complete opposite. We want equality and justice for all. We have love in our DNA that goes back as long as we have existed. We love even when love isn’t reciprocated.  

    So others can be worried or can discount this movement but we will still move on. Change is happening as we move toward the equality and justice that we deserve, which is long overdue. And in the process we will be strong, together, heal, and love and be the example the world needs right now as we shift into this new state of being. 

    Welcome to the future.