Is there a Miracle Cure?
Well, at least I haven’t found it yet. There is, however, the possibility of a miracle. It’s called “neuroplasticity.”
What we practice carves out a path inside us.
It’s sort of like the Grand Canyon. Have you ever seen it or any other arroryo/canyon in the southwest? Incredible how a river moving on the surface of the earth will over time carve out these incredibly deep and beautiful canyons right into the earth. (The picture above isn’t of the Grand Canyon but a canyon in western New Mexico)
This came to mind in a different way as I sat next to a premier athlete on a flight one day. Sometimes, on a plane, you get lucky and sit next to someone you want to talk to, where there’s so much interesting territory to explore. Such was the case with this high performance athlete I recently had the good fortune to sit next to.
We had hours sitting there to talk about all sorts of things. I had always been intrigued with peak performance training which is when athletes practice visualizing small, tiny details for every fragment of time as they prepare for an event. This athlete spoke of the training that happens, so much of it more than just physical.
“Much of the preparatory work leading up to an event is what happens in the imagination, in the mind, as you take yourself through moment by moment experience of how the event will play out.”
“What does this have to do with healing?” you murmur as you read this. Well, it actually dovetails with the research being done on neuroplasticity.
Each triggered episode lays down or reinforces a deep groove into a neurological pattern inside us.
The first time something happens to us it lays down an impression which can be repaired, shifted, changed depending on the context, the people, the awareness of everyone involved.
The second time that groove gets cut a bit thicker, pulling in memories, associations, and the charge of previous moments. Again, with sensitivity, kindness, awareness those kinds of moments can be repaired.
Yet the more these grooves get cut into our being the more difficult it is to shift them.
That doesn’t mean it can’t change, though.
If we stay with the analogy of a canyon or arroyo we can build a dam to harness the water, to pool it. Once we have harnessed the water we can re-direct it. The pool of water doesn’t flow in the same direction we now can move the water flow on a new path, carving out a different course.
That’s what’s possible in our nervous system, in our minds, in our hearts.
Nothing is carved in stone inside us.
Richard Davidson wrote a new book with Sharon Begley on The Emotional Life of your Brain: How its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live – and How You Can Change Them.
In the book they explore how the research behind emotional styles born out of patterns of activity in the brain. They not only suggest, but promote the possibility that rather than being stuck in fear based responses from the amygdala we can learn to retrain our brains to be more resilient, less negative and more hopeful.
Obviously this is important information for anyone who has had a painful history.
It’s why I gently (I hope!) reiterate, over and over again, the need to practice new patterns of interaction. It’s so much easier to do what our bodies, minds, hearts are already programmed to do. We don’t have to think about it, we don’t have to put any effort into what we already know. We can just do it.
Problem is we just keep perpetuating the same old pattern.
Then we bemoan our fate, feel stuck and look for that great and wondrous and elusive “Magical Cure.” What we can do instead is practice the humility that is utterly necessary on the healing journey.
We can practice surrendering and letting go our patterned way of responding and opening into meeting our true nature which is without question something more magnificent than anything we could have forecast or programmed for ourselves.
When we live in the flow of who we are, we are relaxed, easy, gracious, happier, less defended (and at the same time more protected,) and more content.
I marvel at this process in my own life.
If I had had my druthers so many years ago I would have planned a much different life for myself. There were so many times when I was upset that I couldn’t make my mind, my life, to work in certain ways. I wanted to be more academic, “smarter”, intellectual, thinner, prettier, thoughtful… you name it. I didn’t respect my own heart and soul and expression.
As I practiced the many different practices that I bring into the ezine and the courses, as I let go and allowed life to guide me, I’ve actually softened and become more of who am. I’ve been able to serve you from a place of love and trust instead of fear.
Probably the best part of my life has been learning to trust each and every moment, allowing life to guide me through the immense caverns that come, to emerge in ways I never thought were possible.
This is what I want for you.
To know yourself as all you are and be loved as you are.
To be present to the gift of your heart that lurks behind the pain and suffering and traumas that you’ve gone through.
To be able to trust that as you move into and through the pain and joys of your particular life you are being brought into communion with your own heart and soul.
As that happens – and I’ve seen it happen to many people – your defenses will relax, the intrusions of the past will diminish, and your heart will expand to hold all without worry or fear. Out of this peace will bloom and love will shimmer.
This is my prayer for all of us.
I’d love to hear what you have to say, to hear what you’re thinking. Drop a note below. Your voice in this conversation is important to all of us.