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Taming Your Brain

A bit of a heady mindset topic for this week. Stick with me on this brief journey into your brain and how we work on trying to change your neural pathways to form some fascinating changes in your work and life…

Curious? Ready?

Let’s go…

For the past 20 years, I’ve been taking classes, studying, reading, and practicing meditation and mindfulness.

From what I’ve learned – Here’s an example of how the mind works – You’re speaking with someone, and suddenly, something they said hits you weird, and you start to get mad or upset – some feelings start coming up.

Do you stop at the moment and notice the emotion bubbling up?

Or do you just start to shut down, say something snarky, or leave the conversation upset?

This moment is where my journey began. (And where yours can too.)

Why was I having the same type of disagreements over and over again with my spouse, family, and work colleagues?

What was really going on?

That’s what prompted me all those years ago to pick up Michael Singer’s first Book – The Untethered Soul.

The book summation for me was – let’s take all my harmful, critical voices out of my head and put them on the couch next to me. Then turn them into a person.

Next, I ask myself – “Do I want to be friends with that person on the couch?”

Obviously, my answer was NO, of course not. Yet, why in the world am I LISTENING to that VOICE?!

Hmmmm… Greater study and much meditation needed to happen.

The premise – we meditate to become aware and present in our daily lives, which helps to start rewiring our neural networks in the brain. (Also, there are many other benefits of meditation!)

Once you begin to have more awareness and presence – you can pay more attention to your thoughts and then decide what to do next…It’s a gradual process, starting with noticing… (Or being the observer of your thoughts.)

A key tool I use that’s really helpful with this is R.A.I.N., and Tara Brach created a neat infographic about it – the link is further below.

When you have thoughts coming up, especially in conversations with people – they can lead to emotions, and when you’re not aware, they can take you on what I call the “emotional train to crazy town.”

If you’re a meditator or have a spiritual practice, this can help you rewire your brain.

Why would you want to rewire your brain in the first place?

Well, let me tell you a story…

When fire season started in July, where I live in Northern California, I often noticed that I’d wake up with this feeling of fear in my gut.

And it was odd because when we first moved into our home, I’d wake up feeling amazing with our incredible view of the outdoors.

So I was a bit flummoxed about where this fear came from. And it was starting to show up in my work in the form of over-controlling things.

It wasn’t until I started to pay attention to it by using the R.A.I.N. method I mentioned earlier (You can discover more about it here from Tara Brach. ) that I could figure out the origin of my fear. See Tara’s infographic below for more.
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And after much work with meditation and speaking to some experts, my fear is shifting.

What also helped was reading Michael Singer’s new book – Living Untethered: Beyond The Human Predicament. (I’d highly recommend it.) It took me on a deeper journey of the mind.

So what’s all this have to do with meditation, your brain, and neural networks?

The big aha moment is that when you calm your mind and slow down your thoughts to get present moment awareness, whether with meditation, walking, or something else, you’re changing the wiring of your brain.

The more you do it, the easier it gets to focus, slow down and be present.

If I hadn’t been a meditator, it would have been harder for me to be present and notice my thoughts. You know the ones that pop into your head at a moment’s notice.  Then the next step is to discern and realize they’re just thoughts, and you can let them go.

And, You don’t have to act on them. You can change your thoughts and choose others to focus on or just be in the moment and not think.

Slowing down your mind, focusing on your thoughts, and knowing you have a choice about what you want to think about (or not think at all) will change your brain.

Being able to slow down my mind, focus on my thoughts, and know I have a choice about what I want to think about (or not think at all) changes my brain.

It also opens up a new world that I think is worth exploring that will help you in your work and your life. I’d highly encourage it.

It’s time to let go of those fears of success or that the world doesn’t need another coach, or book, course, or product on… (insert name here.)

Well, you’re wrong. You have a gift only you can share with the world because of your unique experiences and mind. The world needs your point of view.

It’s time to tame your mind – you got this!

And if you’re interested in more resources on this topic or want to go into more depth about R.A.I.N. and how I use it – connect with me here.

Happy to share.
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