Showing posts with label the Brain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the Brain. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

It's Our Turn


What do you do with discouragement?


Don't read all those symptoms that something is wrong with you. Don't think you should take this something to calm your nerves or that something heal your ills. (Maybe a pizza. When pizza's were really good, I used to say that I was like Trigger from Winnie the Pooh--he couldn't be unpleased with a balloon. I couldn't be unpleased with a pizza.) Look at it this way: Nothing is wrong with you. You have stinkin' thinking to quote Zig Zigler.


Me too. I got discouraged and wondered if my blog had jumped the shark.


I didn't know what "Jump the shark" meant until my daughter explained it. It came from "Happy Days," where The Fonze was water skiing and jumped a shark. Since then, it means the show ought to quit. It has overstayed its welcome.

Perhaps I ought to say something meaningful.


I have been distracted with my Real Estate studies and let you guys down. I was distracted by what I saw "out there" regarding world conditions and felt helpless to modify, help, or change it. I apologize. 


We have a sea of choices, including for you to read this. We have so many options we don't know what to believe. And the headlines distract me from the work I ought to be doing. It's called procrastination, or as Steven Pressfield says in The War of Work, Resistance.


So, guys, it's up to us.


I listened to Garrison Keeler's tape the other day, where he said God made some mistakes. (Even him, huh?) He should have told Adam and Eve Not to eat the snake.


"To change the quality of the day is the highest of the arts," to quote me quoting Henry David Thoreau. I think of that often, for throughout life, we have those moments where we can choose what goes into our brains. Sometimes, I admit the unwanted sneaks in. We're human. So, let's cut ourselves some slack.


Think of  it this way to quote another sage, "When we forget how to laugh, we forget how to think." Who said that? I'd tell you if I could remember or find it.

While I love motivational speakers and hold dear wise words from people more learned than me, I know that most people do not have an Instagram life. So all of our pictures aren't rosy, and all of our experiences aren't grand. 


We see so many photo-shopped images it's hard to tell the untouched from the touched. Most of us don't have the bodies, faces, skin, or hair of those beautiful people we see presented on media sites. (Don't read fashion magazines, it will just make you feel ugly--unless you are the enlightened soul l think you are and can see behind the makeup,) 


When Lucy Hone spoke on Ted Talk about "Resilient People," she asked her audience questions such as, "Have you ever had your heart broken?" "Have you ever been in an accident, had surgery, broken a bone, know someone who had cancer, or watched a loved one die?" Soon the entire audience was standing. 

While some people walk on hot coals to prove they can, almost everyone has walked through the fire of life.


Therefore, our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to learn some mastery skills.


"And what would you do," the Master said unto the multitude. If God spoke directly to your face and said, 'I COMMAND THAT YOU BE HAPPY IN THE WORLD AS LONG AS YOU LIVE,' What would you do then?" 


And the multitude was silent, not a voice, not a sound was heard upon the hillsides, across the valleys where they stood."

–Richard Bach Illusions


As we begin to mend ourselves, we will find that, like throwing a stone in a pond, the rings widen until they touch the far shores, and so will our mending spread to include the whole of the earth.


Think big.


However, notice the little things—how the sun shines, the birdies sing, and the flowers align to the light. (They are smarter than we are.) My little dog does her happy dance when asked if she wants to go for a walk, and my chickens thank me when I bring their favorite treat--raw oatmeal. 


Right now, we can be advocates for our own happiness. We have a big thinking brain; we can learn and grow RIGHT NOW.


According to Rick Henson, a neuropsychologist, the brain is the hardware. It sees the red, yellow, and green of the traffic light.


The Mind processes the information. "Oh, green means to go."


We can use our minds to change our brains, for thought patterns leave behind lasting traces. "Neurons that fire together, wire together," says Donald Hebb, a Canadian neuropsychologist, 


"Pat, the lizard, feed the mouse and hug the monkey," says Rick Henson.


Lizard = the Reptilian Brain, that primitive brain whose purpose is to see that we survive. (Fight, run, freeze. The way much of the world is operating right now.)


Mouse = the mammalian brain. It is called the limbic system and is the center of emotion and learning.


Monkey = the neocortex, the higher brain.


The amygdala in the mammalian (Monkey) brain is the filtering system—the security checkpoint of airports. It scans for threats or danger and then authorizes admittance into the higher brain, the neocortex.


The amygdala has no concept of time. Therefore, past, present, and futures are all together, all the same.


That explains how traumatized individuals are stuck in the past. For them, their trauma is happening right now. The amygdala was never designed to store long-term.


Hanson's instructor told him to go ahead and repeat his bad experiences as long as he wanted. But ten times is enough.


Sometimes the amygdala is called the joyful amygdala, which has a beautiful characteristic.




Oh, you know how grand it feels to see something as an opportunity instead of a stumbling block. You light up and are rearing to go.


We can train your amygdala away from trauma. The more we know ourselves, the more resilient we are.


Find an opportunity to be happy. Stay with it. Remember, "Neurons that fire together wire together." (The hardware.)


Find an opportunity to be joyful.


Be grateful.


Hug the Monkey.


The monkey yearns for connection. The monkey, aka the mammalian brain, needs social interaction. Hanson says that LOVE is a multivitamin.


Humans are good at having experiences. Humans are one animal, along with other primates, that continue to play into adulthood, and with play comes higher learning.


People who play often stretch themselves. Toddlers will move the jump farther away from the couch to make it more challenging. Adults put themselves into all sorts of trials to learn new things. They climb higher mountains, they perfect their game, be it an athletic event or an artistic endeavor. All this is under the guise of doing what they want. 




It's our turn.







Tuesday, April 26, 2022

From Woods to Home to Placebos


I'm home from my cabin in the woods, and the irony is I moved out.


Not out out, as in leaving home, but I moved my office from the living room (where I had my desk) to the Wayback. The Wayback is an auxiliary building that's beyond our backyard lawn. Once, it was a dance studio with mirrors on the walls. For us, it was a shop and a storage unit. It now holds my office. 


First came the junk-be-done phase. Then the fixing up phase.


I put down a rug, bought fabric for panels, and curtained off an area. I have been preoccupied for the past week with fixing up my little hole. And now, I have a desk by a window, and a curtained bubble to hold in heat.


 The irony is that at 7 a.m. this morning, the sun hit me smack-dab in the eyes and wiped out my view of the screen. And my coffee didn't stay hot past two sips.


Most projects take some fine-tuning.



It appears that my excursion into the woods kicked me into action.  


"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."— Henry David Thoreau. 


So, what is living deliberately?


For me, it's stepping out of the footprints I walked in yesterday. It is consciously deciding rather than reacting. It is living rather than enduring. 


If that sounds lofty, remember I went to the woods for only two days, Thoreau went for I don't know how long. Maybe I dare not stay longer—I might move to another country.


While at the cabin, I read Joe Dispenza's book You are Your Own Placebo. As I have mentioned in other blogs, I am interested in how the brain works and how we change beliefs. The Placebo effect is further evidence of the power of the mind.


An off sung phrase is, "If you don't take command of your own through processes, someone will do it for you." And, in clearing out files, I found a quote by Terry Cole-Whittaker: "Misery is a business plan."


First, you give a person a problem, then offer a solution. It works.


Yes, and a woman needs to have a new outfit for every occasion. 


Buy more clothes. 


And here I wanted to talk about Placebos, which intrigue me, for it's another window into the workings of the mind. 


Some say the Placebo effect is all in your mind, thus trivializing its miracle. "It happens," doctors say, "cancer goes into remission." They have discounted the mind-change the person went through to change their physiology. 


When a doctor tells a patient they have three months to live, they are usually dead in three months.   


One night Joseph McClendon III came home around midnight after a seminar. As he fiddled with his keys trying to get into the house, he heard his answering machine come on. 


His sister's hysterical voice came over the answering machine, "Momma's in the hospital."


He ran to the phone and called her back, but she had already left, so he got in the car and drove the 180 miles to the LA hospital.


When he got there, his sister was holding her baby and crying.

Mother was in surgery.


When the doctor came in, he was solemn. He informed them that McClendon’s mother had cancer. They took out part of a tumor but left the other part in for to remove it would kill her. The doctor told Joseph she had "Two months to live."


Joseph remembered what #Deepak Chopra had said. "If a doctor tells a patient they have two months to live, they will be dead within those two months."


Joseph told the doctor. "Don't tell her."


"But I have to."


"No, you don't. You can tell my mother she has cancer, but do not tell her she has two months to live."


"I must."


"No, you don't."


Back and forth, they went with the sister and her baby crying. Finally, Joseph grabbed the doctor's shirt and said, "Don't tell her!"


"I'll call security."


Joseph knew about L.A. police pat-down, and here he was, a black man. He released his hold.


So, Joseph wondered what to do—get to momma before the doctor. Then remembering what # Norman Cousins did to heal himself, Joseph ran out, bought a VCR and a pile of funny movies.


He ran to the room where momma was still unconscious and discovered she had a roommate. "Things will be happening around here," he told the woman, "you can either stay or move to another room."


Timidly she said, “I’ll stay.”


For two weeks in the hospital, Joseph and his mother laughed at funny movies. "Oh, stop," she would say, laughing. When the doctor came in, Joseph took up his arms-folded glaring stance.


The doctor never told her.


She lived for another 11 years.


I wonder how her roommate faired.


During WWII, morphine was often scarce or absent in MASH units. Dr. Henry Beecher, an American surgeon faced the problem of no morphine and a severely injured soldier. As he stood deliberating on what to do, and afraid the soldier would go into cardiovascular shock without a painkiller, a nurse walked into the room, and gave the soldier a shot. The doctor did the surgery with little discomfort to the soldier. Later, Dr. Beecher found that the nurse had given the man saline water. 


This experience led the doctor to study the effects of a Placebo. 


One take from Despenzia's book that astounded me is that it isn't just mind over matter. The body has a pharmacy and can produce the chemicals it needs to recover. 


Antidepressants are an excellent example of this phenomenon. Doctors have found that a sugar pill works as well or better than an antidepressant pill.


The trick is, how do you fool yourself? You know you have some ailment. You know you are taking a sugar pill. Do you believe it will heal you?


Just two days ago, a friend told me that her little girl was born with asthma. They tried everything the doctor prescribed or suggested. Nothing worked. Enter a new friend who was going to a naturopath. They decided to take the little girl to the naturopath. Her asthma disappeared.


The doctors concluded that she grew out of it. 


"Science is the language of mysticism," says Dr. Joe Despenzia.


The moment we begin talking in the language of religion or culture or metaphysics, we lose half of our audience. 


Science demystifies the mystical. 


Now we have the science of epigenetics, which says that genes can turn on and off. We have  neuroplasticity which says that environmental forces can alter the brain's ability to form new synapses, and that changes our DNA. On top of it all is the brain, our master controller.


How do we jump into the fray and control our own destiny?


It boggles my mind.


More on this later…



Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Heart-Brain Connection

                     Bless the firefighters--this is so cool.

 Heart-Brain Connection


I have to know more about this.


How long have we believed that the body is controlled by the brain? 


Everybody knows that, right?


What if we’re wrong?


What if we are controlled by the heart, and our poor brain just can’t get the message?


What if the heart is trying to make us happy while the poor brain tries to keep us alive?


 “Happy? Smappy,” the brain says. “You don’t need to be happy. You need to stay alive as long as you can and reproduce as many offspring as possible. That’s biology. That’s what life is.”


But, dear brain, humankind has longed for happiness since it first stepped foot on the planet. Why is there such a yearning for a happy life? Why is there such a search for meaning, for the divine, for transcendental experiences?


“Danged if I know,” says the brain.


The brain appears intent on suffering. More precisely, it loves the known. And, not only does it want to stay there, it wants our consciousness to stay there as well.


 Why do we spend 95% of our waking hours in unconscious reminiscing?


Okay, you decide to break the cycle and sit down to meditate.


But as you begin to transcend into the unknown, your brain senses a disruption in the force. It ramps up suffering to bring you back down. Suddenly you’re flooded with anxious thoughts: all those bills to pay, you revisit that horrid picture of an animal suffering you saw yesterday, you remember that unkind thing you said. This is normal. Anxiety is a primary human function. Meditation is a way of making peace with your anxiety, and the brain wants nothing to do with it.


Dr. Joe Dispenzia calls the brain an artifact of the past, but really the whole body is. It’s a history book written in our cells. And history has seldom been kind, so there we are left with debris in our cells.


I have heard the phrase, “Follow your heart,” many times, but I’ve never heard anyone tell me to follow my brain.  


Dispenzia says that the heart is mainly magnetic, while the brain is electrical. The poor dears don’t know how to talk to each other. But we’re learning, aren’t we?




Now, dear ones who read my blogs on vision training and were kind enough to ask for more. I wrote the following small book (8,000 words) for you. Some of the material will be familiar to you, some will be new. All will be sent with many thanks for sending me down this trail. 



Hello Beautiful: The Art and Science of Vision Training Using the Bates Method is available on Amazon Kindle. Free for Kindle Unlimited, $2.99 to buy.


For more description and the Introduction, please go to