Monthly Archives: February 2017


What does nurture mean to you?

Is it the care and protection of those you love or is it the nourishment of your own body and soul?

Pondering the nurture versus nature debate, it is interesting to consider whether our genetic inheritance contributes more than environmental concerns. We can nurture our bodies with adequate clean water and fresh, wholesome food. Likewise, we can nurture our souls with taking time out to appreciate nature – literally stopping to smell the roses!

With ongoing studies in epigenetics showing that our genes can adapt as they interact with environmental factors, the nurture versus nature conversation becomes more complex.  Behavioural epigenetics studies have shown that it is possible that behaviours can be imprinted into genes and these imprinted genes are handed down through several generations. Studies done on identical twins, who have the same genes can exhibit very different behaviours even when brought up the same way.  Social and emotional conditioning as well as environmental factors may well be part of the nurture versus nature conundrum.

I find it interesting to reflect on what I may have inherited from my forebears.  Apart from the likelihood that I may have a genetic predisposition to the diseases that my ancestors suffered from, I have the opportunity to make changes by ensuring that strong environmental factors, such as diet and lifestyle choices offer the opportunity to imprint on my genetic makeup.

Other factors to consider, especially in recent times, are the effects of trauma on the brain. Repeated trauma will change the brain, affecting how we learn and process new information.

From an educational viewpoint, a stressed student is one that is likely to have some difficulty in retaining information.  It is unfortunate that negative experiences are far stronger than pleasant ones and it can be expected that sustained or prolonged traumatic experiences are likely to be retained in both our brain circuits and as a genetic change. I’m sure my teaching colleagues will attest to this, an anxious parent is most likely to produce an anxious child. Nurturing then becomes something to consider within our educational system.

Creating as many enjoyable experiences such as regular meditation will help to overcome the negative experiences and imprint a more positive attitude or behaviour both in our brains and our genes.


Can change happen in an instant?

I believe so, but what about transformation?

I see transformation as a more gradual process; the sum of many small but not insignificant changes.

We can create and plan for change, yet whilst these changes can contribute, they are not necessarily the catalyst for transformation. Just as the caterpillar or dragonfly, both spiritual symbols of transformation, go through a series of changes or metamorphosis we too can apply this metaphor to stages in our lives.

It is unfortunate that some people may choose the certainty of staying in the same stage of development rather than take a leap of faith into the unknown and never know the riches to be found in the next stage. Imagine how it might feel to have allowed yourself the flexibility of body and mind, at the same time nurturing your soul as you begin a new journey revitalized and free from a rigid past.


“This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man                                                                                                                 Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!”

These lines from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet have come down through the ages as advice to live a balanced life.

But what is the self?

If you believe and trust in your Self,  then you can be guided by your pure heart and soul. If you can risk being yourself, trusting in yourself will allow you to be open to more possibilities.

You may have heard of the saying “Let go and let live”….  by letting go and trusting in the knowledge that night will follow day, you can surrender your conscious self to be guided by your heart and soul to a wonderful life.

Let go and let the answers to your questions come…..