Celebrating the Shift to Conscious Choice: Highlights of the 2010 Freedom for Family Wellness Summit - Page 2

Author // Lisa Reagan

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Celebrating the Shift to Conscious Choice: Highlights of the 2010 Freedom for Family Wellness Summit
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Emboldened by Einstein’s admonition that “if at first the idea is not absurd, there’s no hope for it,” Axness proposed an alternative to the Cartesian notion that size equals significance, and suggested, according to chaos theory’s principle of “sensitive dependence on initial conditions,” that a small shift in how we look at conception would have big results. “Wouldn’t it make sense that the influence of a very positive, or very negative, environmental message would be relatively much more powerful upon a very small system, at the very beginning, when each cell division will replicate that cell’s knowledge again and again?” she asked. “What would happen if we conceived our babies with the same mindful intentionality we bring to so many other projects that we do deeply believe in? Might we spontaneously unfold a whole new unimagined realm of evolutionary potential for our global human family?”

On Friday afternoon, practicing physicians Joseph Mercola, D.O., Jonathan Breeding, Ph.D., Larry Palevsky, M.D., and Lauren Feder, M.D., presented their experiences assisting families in making informed choices and creating a wellness lifestyle. Mercola, a leading educator of natural health, offered essentials for longevity. Breeding introduced the concept of freeing ADD/ADHD children from the confining rails of the current system, introducing his perspective that the wildest colts make the best horses. Palevsky, of the Holistic Pediatric Association, connected the dots between the hallmark of the industrial paradigm, whose values include conformism and compliance, to the confusion parents feel when caught between paradigms: One rewards their compliance with social acceptance, and the other rewards them with true health. Both Palevsky and Feder shared their practice protocols of working within a wholistic team and employing a variety of wholistic modalities, including homeopathy, chiropractic and energy work.

Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, addressed the “number one public health controversy” in America today—the right of parents to make informed choices for childhood vaccinations. “Does the state have the right to force vaccines on individuals against their will?” she asked. Fisher pointed out how vaccine policy impacts the lives of families and healthcare professionals when it conflicts with conscience and the right to exercise voluntary, informed consent. The NVIC’s new Advocacy Portal helps practitioners and parents become active in preserving and expanding their right to choose in their states by alerting them to pending legislation and policy changes. (You can sign up for the Advocacy Portal at

To help summit participants understand the personal challenge of shifting from one paradigm to another, Michael Mendizza, author of Magical Parent, Magical Child, took the stage in big-nosed and bushyeyebrowed Groucho Marx glasses, and asked us to consider an unusual possibility: “You are not who you think you are,” he said. Mendizza pointed out that the most basic human instinct is “bonding, belonging, fitting in, acceptance and approval. This is true for children and adults. Survival depends on it. As children, we discover what is acceptable or not by looking in the mirror of relationship. We create an ‘image-of-self’ based on what we see. What we see is not our true, authentic nature. What we see is the other’s approval or disapproval, and that became our image. The key insight is that our true, authentic nature needs no image to express.” Mendizza encouraged the practitioners in the audience to reconsider the need to be accepted by a mainstream medical paradigm whose foundation is now known to be obsolete, and instead, to embrace their full potential through a shift in awareness.

For two days, the summit exposed the limitations of old science and its institutions (like the mainstream medical models of care of babies, children and families), and urged us to leave behind us a “cultural image” that might trap us into wanting approval from those still operating unconsciously inside the old worldview. On the third day, the summit asked the next obvious question: How do we explore this new realm of science? What are the tools for tapping into its possibilities…and what will it look like when we do?

Neil Z. Miller, author and educator, opened this session by addressing pseudo-science, and the ability to discern which studies could be trusted and which are designed to manipulate public opinion— especially studies conducted by the vaccine industry. Christopher Kent, J.D., D.C., founder of the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation, outlined current research protocols that support wholistic care and the practitioners who are participating in the research. He commended the direction of Practice-Based Research Networks, the avenue which the ICPA has used to publish significant research for family wellness.

Cassandra Vieten, Ph.D., has been the research director at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, IONS, since 2001. IONS was created by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Ph.D., for the sole purpose of answering questions about the emerging wholistic paradigm. In addition to being a research scientist, Vieten is also an author of family wellness books, including Mindful Motherhood: Practical Tools for Staying Sane During Pregnancy and Your Child’s First Year, making a unique contribution to the family’s exploration of the shift to conscious choice. Vieten presented the current and forthcoming protocols that serve as a model for the future of vitalistic research, but warned the audience that human brains did not like change and would resist it, no matter the evidence or reasoning offered. She listed the known impetuses for a person to change his or her mind: direct experience (difficult to come by in a culture that demands conformity); pain; the influence of a relative or friend; repeated experience; and a safe environment where people can go to repeat the experiences. The above presenters on new science research were joined in a panel discussion by ICPA research director Joel Alcantara, D.C., and Matthew McCoy, D.C., editor of the Journal of Maternal and Pediatric Health: Chiropractic. Led by ICPA president Stephen Marini, D.C., Ph.D., this panel opened possibilities and directions for much-needed research in vitalism.

Following the panel discussion, the new ICPA Diplomate graduates and research contributors and ICPA staff were recognized and honored. The ICPA Diplomates participate in the profession’s most comprehensive and successful pediatric diplomate program. Graduation signifies the practitioner’s desire to offer the best possible care for pregnant women and children; graduates are awarded the initials DACCP.

And then, something magical happened. A play professional turned more than 600 people into springing tigers, dueling cowboys, and back to people talking in gibberish to strangers. Howard Moody, a veteran leader of adult “play groups,” led a variety of creative play exercises to shift the energies of the audience into a highly focused and alert place just in time for the venerable consciousness pioneer and author of Magical Child and The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, to share with us his life experiences of witnessing the possibilities of the full human potential. The audience members, who moments before had been running from one part of the massive hall to another and growling to their play partners, settled into their seats, and for the next hour, there was a breathless stillness as Joseph Chilton Pearce told his personal story of awakening.