At home in the heart: adoption, early attachment rupture, identity

Talks and meditations from two daylong gatherings in 2019 and 2020 at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, offered for adoptees, refugees, fostered, and other folks with early family system rupture.

Both days were co-offered with Lev White, but Lev was unable to teach the 2020 one at the last minute, so I taught it alone. This meant that the day skews to my perspective, and I missed Lev’s wisdom and approach that day.

The 2019 daylong, co-taught by the two of us, focused on self-compassion, acceptance, and the Dharma as a home. In the 2020 talks I unpacked the Buddha’s story in relation to his own family system rupture, losing his mother in infancy and being raised by a step-mother. Throughout the emphasis is on understanding the fundamental aspects of identity and clarity of being in the world that are strengthened in intact family structures and wounded when those structures are wounded.

The insight of the Dharma is that liberation stitches together these ruptures by expanding identity beyond conceivable bounds. The practice that leads in this direction must be a kindness-oriented liberation practice, growing compassion for ourselves and our particular story, and along with it the strength to walk the path accompanied by spiritual friends and community, often all the more important when birth family is unavailable.

At home in our hearts, Nov 2019 — Lev White & Sean Oakes

Lev White, intro

Lev White, opening: home

Sean Oakes: two arrows

Lev White: trauma

Sean Oakes: heartwork

Sean Oakes: restitching

Lev White: body scan

Loving the Whole Self, Nov 2020 — Sean Oakes

Meditation: orientation

Talk: The Buddha & early family rupture

Talk: Refuge

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