Author(s): Bethany Saltman
A full-scale investigation of the controversial and often misunderstood science of attachment theory, inspired by the author’s own experience as a parent and daughter. When award-winning editor, writer, researcher, and longtime Zen student Bethany Saltman gave birth to her daughter, Azalea, she felt like there was something ‘off’ about her experience. She knew she loved her daughter, but would oftentimes be angry, short on patience, even unkind. She went in search of the reasons why, and how to better understand herself, her daughter, and their relationship. Saltman launched a broad inquiry into the science of attachment, a field of developmental psychology that answers the question of why — from an evolutionary point of view — love exists between parents and children. Specifically, she focused on the data from a famous laboratory procedure, the ‘Strange Situation’, used around the world by scientists as the gold standard for measuring attachment security. What Saltman found by studying the Strange Situation is that love is unbreakable. Each and every one of us — including her — is built for it. In this intimate, rigorous, and deeply personal rendering, Saltman discovers that while our behaviour as parents is important, what matters most is the way we think about our attachments, transmitted mind to mind from generation to generation. This is excellent news. After all, as Saltman’s decades of Zen practice tell her and her readers, the one thing completely within our power to change is our minds.