Dr. Darcia Narvaez on Restoring Connective Tissue

Dr. Darcia Narvaez on Restoring Connective Tissue

Professor Darcia Narvaez and co-founder Tom VandeStadt have a wide-ranging discussion on the importance of "Nesting", "Kinship" to our social/psychological-identity development, cognitive abilities, and overall happiness.
Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology Emerita at the University of Notre Dame and a research pioneer integrating work on child flourishing, human moral development, healthy psyche, and Indigenous Peoples' worldview. Professor Narvaez talks here about her breakthrough works, the meaning of "The Evolved Nest," and her new book, "Restoring the Kinship Worldview." She also shares principles and strategies for restoring feelings of connectedness, calm and security to your own life and to couples, families, and communities.

About Darcia
In addition to being Professor Emerita of Psychology Emerita at Notre Dame, Darcia is a fellow at the American Psychological Association, and at the American Educational Research Association. She has written, co-authored and edited more than 20 books. Her book, Neurobiology and The Development of Human Morality won the William James Book Award. Her newest book, Restoring the Kinship Worldview, is co-authored with Indigenous worldview scholar, Four Arrows.


0.00 Welcome & Intro

2:50 What is a “worldview”? 
4:30 What is a “Kinship” worldview?
6:58 Contrast the Indigenous worldview of connection with the Western worldview of disconnectedness 

9:35 What are the characteristics of an “evolved nest”? 
11:35 Components of the Evolved Nest:
>>  11:45 Soothing perinatal experiences
>>   13:00 Breast feeding
>>   14:25 Lots of affectionate touch, no negative touch
>>   15:20 A welcoming social climate
>>   16:25 Alloparents who are responsive 
>>   16:55 Self-directed play with multiple-age playmates
>>   17:55 Nature connection 
>>   19:14 Routine healing experiences 
22:20 On being an animal 

24:55 Talking about the book -- What are you trying to convey with the precepts? 
30:18 Darcia: To understand our Nature as a Human species is to understand what Thriving looks like
>>   happy, calm, quiet minds, gleeful, childlike
>>   sense of humor that’s not hostile
>>   holding hands, sitting together, enjoying being together… 
>>   try to make the other person laugh and feel safe
>>   there’s no big ego, it’s “us”.
32:00 The Honorable Harvest, Darcia shares favorite quotes, including: “Sustain the ones who sustain you and the Earth will live forever.”
34:50 What healing medicine feels like; Tom shares a quote
37:05 Darcia: We have a lot of unhealed grief and trauma we pass on, instead of taking time to heal
37:30 What is the relationship between the Sacred Feminine and The Maternal Gift Economy? 
40:25 Communion, holy union, co-creation, and our interconnectedness 
41:10 Darcia on Nature connection and her “Ecological Attachment”, experiment
42:30 Rooted and connected: “Our roots extend out from our skin and our other body cavities.” 
43:20 The microbiome; "We are communities"
44:00 Where does your passion for restoring kinship come from? How are you teaching this? 

48:10 What should we be doing to restore The Nest?
>>   Make sure you yourself are centered; Nature connection is one of the best ways to heal. 
>>   Learn to get back to social joy. 
>>   Learn to guide the conscious mind into connection; build the communal imagination. 
52:12 What is sustaining your spirit right now?
>>   I sing to the 6 directions
>>   I sing on my land
>>   Lying on the Earth, leaning against a tree, huggling with spouse
>>   Try to make my husband laugh, sing and dance together.
>>   Keep aware: "I am and always will be part of the Earth."

54:30 Final thoughts
>>   The first precept: the recognition of spiritual energy in Nature; find that guardian spirit... 
57:00 Tom reads a final quote, on Community Welfare (Dona Enriqueta Contreras)
57:56 End

Everything the baby experiences engraves the brain for life. So you want to make sure you don’t distress the baby because then you’re shifting the trajectory away from wellness towards illness or ill-being or adversity.

(In a) welcoming social climate, the mother feels supported, the baby is wanted, the community is delighted with having the baby around, and the baby feels like they belong, that they can make a difference, make other people smile and laugh as they are made to smile and laugh…

The mother is there to be affectively attuned to the baby’s emotional systems to keep maintaining them in the best bio-chemistry for growth.

You want to let children have that (self-directed play) experience when they’re young so they can build self-confidence. . . When you don’t provide the nest, in general, you’re deflating that individual…

We can get caught up in ruminations, because of this left brain, especially if we weren’t raised in a nurturing way, we’ll have OCD, worry, depression… all this stuff that goes on when you’re un-nested… So we need healing practices to get back into centeredness, into relational connection with others and the natural world, back into gratitude and into our bodies…

Our sociology relies on good biology.

If we’re raised in these nested communities, virtue is a byproduct, is the result. You would not survive in a community, dependent on others, if you were vicious. So, virtue is part of our heritage as well.

In the primal wisdom, the kinship worldview, life is relationships with everything, with All other relations, animals, plants, spirits, etc.

We’re trying to get back to connection, to understand that we are all connected, and that part of being connected properly is to be present, to honor the spider, the tree, the Earth, the computer, these are all things that people are relating to…

We are embodied creatures, we’re bio-social.

Another piece is holism. The way to be human isn’t just to be in this thinking mind, that left brain eco-consciousness. It’s actually quite distressing to be there.

The left brain thinks it knows everything.

If your survival systems are overdeveloped and you’re easily triggered, the authoritarian is going to be easy to pull you in. . . We forgot that we need to nurture, nurture the heart. And, you have to be immersed in relationships to build the empathy, the sensitivity, and the understanding, and the willingness to forgive, and be generous… All that is part of the Indigenous way, you’re immersed in that kind of  social, loving community. And this then allows you to grow your human potential. Which is another thing we’re not doing…

Generosity is part of who you are a human being. But what Capitalism (to the Gift Economy) has done is stop that flow and allowed people to hoard resources, and force others to not have any resources…

Writing “Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality” brought me to the realization that Indigenous wisdom, the kinship worldview, is our heritage. It is what comes about when we honor our physicality, our embodiedness, our species wisdom, and it’s what will save us…

The Western wisdoms tell us, "Clear your heart, clear your fear, clear your ego, and then be open to divine energies.”

Thanks for listening.
This podcast is 1 of 4 keynotes from our
Summer Solstice 2022 collection, "Restoring Connective Tissue.
It was produced and edited by Chris Searles. 
@BioIntegrity Partnerships