Sigh, so much new material in my head…….I went to a conference last week and heard some amazing presenters. Regardless of who spoke, the message was repeated over and over and over. Different speakers, all voicing the same message, regardless of their training, professional function or theoretical philosophy: OUR BRAINS CAN CHANGE AT THE CELLULAR LEVEL THROUGH OUR ACTIONS, PRACTICES AND HABITS.
And, if that isn’t enough to make you stand and think, consider this: NEW CONNECTIONS CAN BE MADE AND THE ACTIVITY OF THE BRAIN CAN BE ALTERED THROUGH PRACTICING NEW BEHAVIORS AND ATTITUDES. We know that even two minutes of paced, slowed focused breathing can change blood pressure, brain activity and pulse. It changes the biochemistry in the brain, and moves the individual from the flight-fight-fear-freeze mode, to being calmer, more focused, alert and aware. YOU my friend are capable of it, but you have to be willing to tolerate going against your inclination to stay the course and repeat over and over the behavior that keeps the brain (and you) stuck.
These dramatic changes can occur at a cellular level, when we change our thoughts, practices and attitudes. Joyce Hawkes is someone who has researched extensively in this area, and practices healing through changing the brain, through practice of meditation, breathwork and movement. Dr. Hawkes discusses brain changes that can occur as a result of practicing meditation and relaxation as part of daily life, habit and practice. I know, the stuff we struggle to implement. Sorry, but this kind of true change can not generally occur through one trial learning for us, but through repeated practice and incorporation into our lives. Hey, you can’t protect your teeth from cavities by brusing just once, it is a more than one time practice DAILY, across the years that creates health in that area right?
(See also Joyce Hawkes, Ph.D. just amazing stuff on Cellular Resonance http://www.celllevelhealing.com/index.html).
Ok, to reiterate:
1. OUR BRAINS CAN CHANGE AT THE CELLULAR LEVEL THROUGH OUR ACTIONS, PRACTICES AND HABITS.
2. NEW CONNECTIONS CAN BE MADE AND THE ACTIVITY OF THE BRAIN CAN BE ALTERED THROUGH PRACTICING NEW BEHAVIORS AND ATTITUDES.
The last significant point, related to our brain chemistry, is this (BIG BREATH!): we often are driven by our brain (urges) to pursue what is not good for us, BECAUSE IT “FEELS” GOOD. The other pattern we can easily get stuck in is AVOIDANCE of things we consider too painful or risky. So we have this system that is primed (PRIMED!!!!) to seek more of what FEELS GOOD, and when we attempt to change course, the brains wiring wants more of what “FEELS GOOD” regardless of the consequences, regardless of conscious thought – UNTIL WE CHANGE THE WIRING TO OVERWRITE THAT PUSHES US TO FEED THE DESIRE OF WANT TO NEED,WE WILL BE COMPELLED TO REPEAT THE ACTIONS REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES. PERMANENT BRAIN CHANGE CAN ONLY OCCUR THROUGH REPEATED PRACTICE, ATTITUDE CHANGE, AND MORE PRACTICE! See points 1 & 2 above.
The speaker in this case, Joel Robertson, PharmD, discussed how we as humans tend to fall into two categories (I’m going to spare you all the talk on dopamine, and all its buddiesserotonin and all those brain things), where the brain is “GAS ON” or “BREAK ON” in its general make up, and how it constantly sends messages to keep on this course of full speed ahead or shut down. It does what, in essence, “FEELS GOOD” when in fact, it isn’t “GOOD” for us AT ALL!!! And it does this automatically when we lose focus of our NEEDS, our goals, and our conscious choices.
So what is the take away here for you readers and experiencers of “GAS ON” or “BREAK ON”? Here it is, in order to create a different course of action, you must be willing (my words, not his) to:
1. Recognize that what “FEELS GOOD” is actually a cue to pay attention to data, and think your way through through the urge to clarify and keep focused on WHAT YOU NEED.
2. Know what it is you are trying to create for yourself, center your mind on it, know what it is you are doing and be willing to tolerate the difficulty you will face in that battle of WANT VERSUS NEED.
3. Have a plan for what MANAGING your urges will look like. In the way we’ve talked in other posts, the metaphor is to know how you will SIT THROUGH THE SUCK, and stay focused on safety and focused on creating peace, health and hope in your life.
4. Know that what you are doing is CREATING something you not only need, but want. Or, want and absolutely need. Know that it is worthwhile and important.
When you know your focus, you can move in that direction. When you are taking in data that is not emotion based, you can change course and correct minor slips off course. What these amazing speakers where addressing what that behavioral change, which we all know sucks and is tough, over time and time and time, repeatedly practiced actually changes brain waves and creates new connections. Healing at the cellular level, changing the brain, the body, the emotional center of the brain, so that the pain is lessened, healing is occuring. And, the brain chemistry is altered. Seriously, the brain can rewire itself through your conscious efforts and actions. How great to have a different experience, creating a new present?
If you’ve read these posts you’ve probably noticed the repeated encouragement of changing behavior, being aware of the present (so as not to merge the past and present), and being aware of your thinking and action patterns. Ok, nagging is a fair word too! But, the point I’ve been trying to help you become aware of is that YOU can change your experience, your thinking, and your choices, which ultimately, over time, practice and diligent practice CHANGES YOUR BRAIN WIRING.
You heal yourself, building new connections in the brain!
Therapy can guide you to change your perspective, offer you insights to change your thinking, monitor your behaviors, help hold yourself accountable for your choices and behaviors. It can help offer you new experiences and perspectives. BUT IT IS ALL YOURS. You and you alone change your perceptions, which changes your reality. It also offers you an opportunity to CHANGE YOUR BIOLOGY!!!
OKAY. Does that make some sense? Deep breathe, because this week I’m offering you a foundation of change to consider, but you must be willing to practice this throughout the WEEK. If you struggle, that is okay, because it might be new. If you forget, that is okay, do it when you remember. If you mess up, that is ok, you are human, start again once you refocus. It is your life, your choice, your course, your path to be walked. Be present in the moment, breathe deep and start again. Create peace, stop the judgmental, harsh and punative war you wage with your mind and body in the moment.
As one of the wisest sages in the world offer us in terms of our words and wisdom as a focus:
Be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi
A ‘NO’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘YES’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble. Mahatma Gandhi
Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning. Mahatma Gandhi
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. Mahatma Gandhi
ON A DAILY BASIS for the next week, AT LEAST 2X-4X a day:
1. Breathe deeply, evenly and gently, 4 counts in, imaging a cool wave gently washing over you,
2. Be present in your body, hold the full breathe for a moment
3. Exhale, 4 counts out, imaging the wave, now warm, gently rolling back, taking whatever stress (or tension, or pain, or anger…..) with it. Let it go, and hold empty, just floating gently
4. As you breathe in, Breathe deeply, evenly and gently, 4 counts in, imaging a cool wave gently washing over you, filling you with calmness and peace, and the resources you need
5. Be present in your body, hold the full breathe for a moment
6. Exhale, 4 counts out, imaging the wave, now warm, gently rolling back, taking whatever stress (or tension, or pain, or anger…..) with it. Let it go, and hold empty, just floating gently
7. As you breathe in, Breathe deeply, evenly and gently, 4 counts in, imaging a cool wave gently washing over you, filling you with calmness and peace, and the resources you need
8. Be present in your body, hold the full breathe for a moment
9. Exhale, 4 counts out, imaging the wave, now warm, gently rolling back, taking whatever stress (or tension, or pain, or anger…..) with it. Let it go, and hold empty, just floating gently
10. As you breathe in, Breathe deeply, evenly and gently, 4 counts in, imaging a cool wave gently washing over you, filling you with calmness and peace, and the resources you need
You can do this with your eyes closed, laying in your bed at night, upon wakening, in the shower, in line at a store, in a meeting……anywhere you may be. Focus, breathe, move the energy around your body. Change your breathing patterns, watch your thoughts, feed and nourish your body and soul. Create peace. Over time your brain activity will alter to this change in your patterns.
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
So in closing, here is a thought:
I offer you peace. I offer you love.
I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need.
I feel your feelings.
My wisdom flows from the Highest Source.
I salute that Source in you.
Let us work together for unity and love.
Create focus and peace. Be willing to change your patterns, it is all within your hands (and your brain!) to create the life you want. k