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Resource: Breaking the Cycle film and discussion events

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 17 February 2022

Breaking the Cycle is 6-minute film created by Darcia Narvaez, PhD, of Evolved Nest in partnership with Lisa Reagan of Kindred Media.

Both are champions of #normalizenurturing: Darcia, Professor Emerita of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame and the celebrated author of the book Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality, serves on the Board of Directors for Lisa very generously gifted us the domain name,, for this campaign.

Their film is extraordinary. 

"...we are living in a culture that goes against everything it means to be human. Our culture emphasizes toughness over tenderness, isolation instead of togetherness, even for babies. As a result, we are depressed, anxious, chronically ill, and at the bottom of every international indicator for health.  

We are stuck in a Cycle of Competitive Detachment where we feel disconnected from others and even ourselves, while at the same time feeling we have to compete for anything worthwhile. There is a way, not only to break this cycle, but to create a new cycle, one that reclaims our humanity and helps us heal ourselves and our culture. ..."

Breaking the Cycle is a call to humanity to pause and consider. The film illustrates where we have been through much of our history on earth, where we are now and where we're heading, and how else our future could look. Do we choose a cycle of cooperative companionship or a cycle of competitive detachment? What is at stake?

Watch the video to learn more. Click here to watch the video for free in English; click here to watch the video for free in Spanish. The English version can also be watched on YouTube with subtitles in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin), Croatian, Dutch, English, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish.

What did you think of the film?

If you feel like exploring the basis of this film more with Darcia and Lisa and others, you are welcome to join in a live, online discussion. The next event is March 3 at 3 pm Eastern. These discussions are free, but pre-registration is required. Sign up here.

I attended a Breaking the Cycle film discussion in January and met wonderful people from around the world including the film's co-creators. It was especially interesting to hear the perspectives of a psychologist in Australia, which has experienced the same sort of impact on families from Westernized culture as in the U.S. At times, I have wondered if American struggles are only American or if other "colonized" nations have the same struggles. I gathered from this discussion that the latter is true. 

My key take-away from the film/discussion is that humanity is losing its ability to deeply connect with others. Deep connections were part of our indigenous way of community, but Westernized lifestyle is basically "breeding" it out of us. However, not all hope is lost! We can course-correct, and there are signs that this is starting to happen in our young adult generations where the focus has shifted from work-centered lifestyles to work that fits around our chosen non-work lifestyles. 

Individually, we have to experience a crack in our worldview (which could be, for some or many, this film). Then, because most of us are carrying around trauma from our lives as well as the generations before us, we have to find ways to begin healing these traumas. Once we are well on the way to healing, we are then open to relearn how to deeply connect with one another...which we learn through engagement with others who still have this ability.

This ability to deeply connect is directly tied to our ability to nurture. How we relate to one another, including our children who are learning from us how to relate to others in a nurturing way, creates a ripple effect. We are always "paying it forward" in our interactions with others, either promoting or discouraging healthy relationship skills. We can change the world, one relationship at a time.


We can break the cycle