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.
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.
IT SEES OPPORTUNITY.
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.
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.