The Wonder of An Imbalanced Life

I’m giving a speech in a few months entitled The Wonder of an Imbalanced Life.

Surely, that’s a typo.

Ellen DeGeneres knows the value of a balanced life: “…life is about balance. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. The pina and the colada.”

Ha. The ultimate goal we all want is to live a balanced life, right?

I don’t think so. Not anymore anyway. The deeper I study of the life of Jesus Christ, the more I realize He was an extremist. He overwhelmingly tipped the scales in favor of love. Other extremists I admire include: Mahatma Gandhi, Socrates, Maria Klawe, Father Abraham, Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, Buddha, Michelangelo, Nelson Mandela, and my friend Lisa, at least when it comes to her kids. I mean, injure one of hers and she’ll rip your head off your shoulders. I’m in awe of that kind of extreme devotion!

This past little while my tiniest g-baby has been in the hospital very, very sick. In order for the nurses or doctors to keep poking and testing the babe, they have to pry her from her mother’s arms. Literally. Taylor Lee won’t let go, not for a single second. She doesn’t leave that baby’s bedside. In those harrowing hours there is no balance in any of our lives. Every ounce of faith and every good wish we can muster goes to that child’s healing.

Does that mean someone or something else has to be neglected?

Maybe. Probably. Yes. Indeed. (Never fear…little Miss Adelaide is safe and spoiled with Grandma Sandy and Grandpa Bob).

Imbalance is part of life. I’ve got six kids and I tend to run to the one who is bleeding. I think that lets the others know I’d do the same for them. Anyway, it’s the best I can do in that moment, and I’m weary from piling guilt on my shoulders and carrying it around because I can’t be everything to everyone all at the same time.

So I’ve got a new take when it comes the theory of a balanced life—do it all, but not all at the same time. I mean love everyone you can. Travel everywhere you can. Learn everything you can. Be all you can be. But for heaven’s sake, from time to time pick something to go overboard about. Something or someone that makes you teeter to the edge and feel desperately alive!

My friend Sharlee has set our community on fire lately with her impassioned call for ethical government. She’s got people clawing to get on her life raft, sailing out into the high seas, rescuing refugees and causing mighty waves all the way to Washington D.C.

I live among a community of good souls who called, “Enough!” when they realized that over 60 percent of the gay kids here have attempted suicide. Now there’s a place for those kids to gather and feel safe and loved. All because someone went to an extreme.

I’m blessed with friends who taught me that going to an extreme in the wrong direction can be deadly. They’ve got me waking up before dawn to work out and to love the taste of kale and quinoa. That tells me how much we need each other to keep the balance.

Radical change requires radical action.

And yes, I understand the basics of balance. The majority of life is doing the mundane and working to pay bills and tending to the same chores again and again. Rote is a form of balance. Remember though, while everything and everyone has to be tended to, you can’t do it everything at once.

I also understand that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. I know that a butterfly with just one wing never gets off the ground. I also know that everything is in perpetual motion. That means you’re always moving and changing. The foundational theory of quantum physics allows for particles to be in two states at the same time.  Guess what? You and I are made of particles. We are only beginning to glimpse our own existence, but we do know that we’re always in motion, even when we think we’re still. That means we’re always doing a balancing act.

I believe it’s how life was intended.

I met a woman named Gerda who is a high wire performer. She calls this balancing act rotational inertia. It means the wire beneath her feet is rotating all the time and only changes from the torque she applies to it as she moves forward.

Forward, friends. That’s our only direction.

If there are days you have to fall back, that’s okay too. Every good warrior knows when to advance and when to retreat. If someone has to be neglected while you tend to someone in need, that’s okay. If everyone has to set aside so you can tend to YOU, that’s more than okay. It’s only for a season. I know because the wisest mortal who ever lived, Solomon, said so: To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Please, friends, if you’re feeling stressed and overloaded, know you’re living through a season. It’s only a season. If it’s a good one, savor every second. If people are upset with you because you’re unable to give them all they demand, let it go. You’re walking a tight rope. You’re balancing all that you can. Drop something if you have to. But keep moving forward when you can. I love you. I believe in you. And I think you should celebrate every step.

Thanks for letting me rant. Right now I’m in a season of recuperation and reflection. My next season might be high adventure. Who knows? But while I’m trying my best, and you’re trying your best, let’s let our personal balancing acts be one step at a time, doing our best to do it all—eventually—but knowing we’ll fall, and that’s okay, because we know Who is holding the safety net to catch us so we can climb back up and start all over.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned

The photo is of my little Adelaide “wondering” what it would be like to jump into the Gulf of Mexico. I told her not to get wet, but she’s three and raging with curiosity. So I just stood in awe and took photos.

The etymology of the word wonder means of ultimate unknown origin. It also means to magnify or to be astonished. Have you ever wondered why your life has not gone as planned? I mean no one gets married planning to get divorced. No one drives to work planning to be broadsided by a semi. No one pencils “get cancer” into their weekly schedule.

Last week I heard a story about the Children of Israel’s plight when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and took Jews captive. What business did “God’s people” have living in a land surrounded by idols? What business did they have living so far away from their beloved temple? The Babylonian king’s strategy was brilliant…let the foreign captives live among his own, and in time they were bound to adapt the Babylonian way of living and thinking, especially the younger malleable generation. The stunned and indignant Jews just knew that God would not leave them in Babylon for any length of time. So, they prayed and planned for their imminent deliverance.

I’ve read the Old Testament a couple of times yet I never realized that these good and faithful people wanted exactly what I want out of life—to live it according to plan. MY plan. The Jews prayed that God would vindicate them and return them to their rightful land. That was their plan, but God had a different plan. He told them to be patient, that their captivity would last up to seventy years, so they should settle in, build houses, plant gardens and eat what they grew. The people, especially the older ones, knew this meant they would never return home. Imagine how they felt. (Jeremiah 29)

For a lot of us, we don’t have to imagine too strenuously. We know how it feels to have our plans come undone. We live with ongoing disappointment. Well, after Sunday’s sermon I realized that faith in our Highest Power means having faith in divine unflawed love, a force that wants us to be happy and successful. Try telling that to the woman who desperately wanted a husband and children, but remains single. Tell that to the spouse who was faithful to an unfaithful partner. Tell that to my friend whose baby, the one they waited thirteen years to have, the son they hinged all their dreams on, was born with trisomy 21, an extra copy of chromosome 21.

My own life has known a lot more dead ends than long stretches of open road. I’ve learned that it’s better to be alone than in a toxic relationship. My friend who was initially devastated to learn that her son had Down Syndrome, now celebrates the fact that the kid manufactures pure joy. He’s taken his family on a wondrous detour they never would have chosen to journey. In the process, they’ve all evolved in a way their original plan could not have facilitated.

It’s fitting that a rabbi said: Man plans and God laughs. It’s time for me to stop complaining and start trusting that when I hit a brick wall there’s an unseen reason. Maybe it’s to make God laugh, the way a parent does when a toddler tumbles, only to spring back up to cheers. He knows that every time I get back up, I’m transformed. Maybe the wall is to stop me from making a mistake, or turn me in a different direction or protect me. No matter. I’m going to rewire my brain’s rutted circuitry and see it as a plot twist in the story that’s my life. What would a story be without an unforeseen plot twist? It’d be boring and predictable. I can hardly wait to turn the next page because the Author and Finisher I’ve come to know does not do boring and predictable. He does wonder.

Making Life Simpler

It’s happening. Every day I get closer to living my ultimate dream of what I call spiritual simplicity. What it really means is I’m getting rid of “stuff” and focusing on what really matters to me…people, service, experiences and learning.

Did you realize that U.S. consumers are parents to only 3 percent of the world’s children, but we blessed American dads and moms purchase forty percent of the world’s toys? That statistic boggled my brain. What toys do kids need these days to experience a happy, creative, rewarding childhood? We took baby Nellie to the park this past weekend and all she needed was the great outdoors. She played with a stick. She found joy in the swing set, the ducks, and a dog that happened by. When the malamute attempted to steal her stick, Nellie was having none of it. She became the dog and stuck it in her mouth and dared us to wrestle it from her. Nature and her imagination. You can’t buy those two things at any toy store.

       That got me to thinking how joyous life is when we keep it simple. The happiest people I know are people who pull the car over to look at a sunset, or weep at the budding of a flower, or roll up their pants to run into the ocean waves. People who aren’t too rushed to pay attention to other people. They have time to stop and “chat” with a neighbor. People who are curious. People who bend down to speak on a child’s level. People who sing along to the radio. People who dance when the music starts. People who create. People who take God at His word.

       I’ve been reading a lot about Thoreau and his quest to “live deliberately.” We mistakenly believe he went deep into the woods to get away from the din of society. Not true. Emerson’s little piece of property where Thoreau took refuge sat on the outskirts of town.

       We don’t have to go far. We don’t have to spend much. We don’t have to cave to advertisers telling us what will make us happy. We’ve got an inner voice that speaks the truth and guides us to true happiness. The problem is we’ve also got a crowd of other voices and they all speak louder. They all have opinions about how we should live.

       Silly us.

       We’re responsible for the quality of our lives. We’re responsible for our own happiness. Tomorrow I’ll make another bag of “stuff” and donate it. That makes me happier than going to the store and bringing another bag of “stuff” into our home.

       Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s something else. Maybe the kids should take me seriously when I tell them to pick up their “stuff.” Whatever is going on, I’m glad life is getting simpler.

          

 

  

 

 

Think Like Tesla

The more I learn about the human brain the more convinced I am that “thoughts” are how human beings are connected not only to each other, but to the Source of Everything. When we learn to tune ourselves to this Source, there is nothing we cannot understand. This past year I developed a bit of an obsession with Nikola Tesla, one of the most eccentric and mystical minds—maybe ever. This is the guy who developed AC (alternating current). He earned more than 700 patents and pioneered wireless communication, x-rays, lasers, artificial lightning, electric engines, radar and robotics.

You can study his biography. It’s beyond fascinating. But today I just want to share with you a few of the techniques Tesla used to tune his own brain so he could receive inspiration and insight. Then I want you to try opening your own brain to the same Source and see what happens.

Intended Meditation

            I always thought meditating was sitting still and letting inspiration find you. For me, the sitting still part is torture, especially when I’m meditating with a group. Everybody else goes limp and quiet. I squirm. I always have to fight back a sneeze, a cough, or an itch that’s going to disrupt the harmony of the group. So I do most of my meditating alone. Tesla taught me that meditating is more and being silent and aware of your breath. It’s opening up your mind to a blank screen, then creating with your brain, not just in a flat dimension, but in multi-dimensions. It’s untethering your imagination and letting it roam out “there” where there are no limits. This remote viewing or inner eye meditation allows you to see what doesn’t yet exist.

In his autobiography Tesla describes his ability to “see” an apparatus in detail. He could start a motor in his mind and leave it running until he took it apart and put it back together, all before it ever existed in reality.

Try it. Take a problem or an invention and create a solution or an answer in your mind first. The trick is not to force it or to rely on your own abilities. Open yourself to the Source of all creation and don’t be hesitate to work out the minutest details.

Brainstorming

There’s a pun in here because in 1856 Tesla was born during a violent lightning storm in what is now Croatia. Did that contribute to his lifelong obsession with lightning? That’s the consensus. Did “light” enter him and somehow reshape his brain? Some people think so. What we do know is that Tesla was apt at brainstorming, even though he preferred to invent alone; he liked to brainstorm with his associates.

Brainstorm is a term we used to hear a lot more frequently. It means to gather others with the intention of pooling ideas to create or problem solve.

Tesla had some brilliant minds he could draw from: George Westinghouse, J. P. Morgan, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, and of course, his rival Thomas Edison. He had brainstorming discussions with them all.

We tend to think we have to solve our problems on our own, especially if we feel we caused them. (That’s rubbish thinking and a topic for another day.)

There’s a freedom and a power in brainstorming. If you aren’t comfortable going to friends or colleagues to brainstorm, how about approaching your Highest Power to ask the Creator of the universe if there’s time to spare for a little brainstorming session with you? The answer will always be yes.

Fail to Succeed

These past few weeks have been painful for me as a mom. Elijah ran for a studentbody office and lost. Then he applied for a leadership scholarship and lost. He bounced right back and joined the track team. He’s that resilient. I’m not. I sting and smart and nurse my bruises for a bit, especially the ones my children experience. Oh well…that’s life and life is how we learn.

Nikola Tesla was arguably the foremost genius of the 20th century. He’s the reason you can flip a switch and have electricity in your home, he’s the reason you put on a lead apron before having an x-ray taken, he’s the reason that little Smartphone in your hand exists.

He was a tremendous success which means he was also a tremendous failure. Overcoming obstacles was how to learned and grew. He was born into poverty and war. His teachers failed to grasp his genius and accused him of cheating. He almost died of cholera. His lost his college scholarship and became addicted to gambling, at one point his shame led him to cut ties with his family, letting them believe he was dead. He even suffered a nervous breakdown before he overcame the doubts that swarmed his brain. When he arrived at Ellis Island he was 28-years-old with only a thin volume of poetry, a handwritten letter, and four cents in American currency.

What Tesla lacked outwardly, he more than made up for inwardly. That handwritten letter? It was addressed to a fellow named Thomas Edison who soon became Tesla’s employer and later his rival.

Over the next sixty years Tesla would fail again and again. He would lose fortunes. He would lose respect and support. In the end, he lost his brilliance and died alone in a New York City hotel room.

Don’t shoot me for giving away such a tragic ending. It wasn’t tragic at all. Nikola Tesla lived his dream. His passion was to improve the world and to improve the lives of the impoverished. He never forgot his upbringing and developed a love for the Earth that led him to seek clean, renewable energy sources.

Against the odds, his life was blindingly successful.

And so is yours.

You might not have his scientific gifts, no one does, but you have your own gifts. Are you tapping into them? Are you opening yourself to true inspiration? Are you pooling your resources, especially the One that has all your answers? Are you willing to risk failure to succeed?

Me? I’ve got a lot of work to do. A lot. But every time I come across someone or something that inspires me, I want to take a moment and jot it down to share with you. I’m so grateful to each of you who read what I write, who go to the trouble to tell me what you think and how you feel about the variegated subjects I throw out there. With that, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Tesla quotes: “All that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed — only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle.”

A Fearless Life? No, Thanks.

Change your thoughts. Change your life. It’s something we hear all the time because it’s true. If we change our thought lives, we change our real lives. But HOW we do change a thought we’ve held and kept as true for so long?

Let’s start with fear. All my life I’ve been told that fear is the opposite of faith. I’ve been taught that faith and fear cannot co-exist. I now know that my thinking has been skewed.

First of all, fear is not your enemy. It might be your frenemy. But fear of itself is a biological blessing. Anxiety, on the other hand, is your enemy. And what is anxiety? Prolonged fear.

Cup your hand and place it on the back base part of your skull. That’s where your most primitive brain is housed. It’s the stem from your spinal cord to your brain. It’s where your limbic system lives and operates to store memories, and to process information for your survival.

At the end of last summer I decided to hike Timp. By myself. It takes fit people at least 12 hours to make the up and back trek. It took me longer. A lot longer. By the time I hobbled down to base I was exhausted in a way I’d never felt. I was within earshot of the parking lot when I came across a rattlesnake curled up in the last patch of the day’s sunshine. In that moment fear put every system in my body on high alert. My cardio system sped up my heartbeat. My integumentary system made my skin tingle and sweat. My respiratory and circulation systems changed my breathing and blood flow.

I eased around the snake and began to release the effects of fear when I heard the sound of children laughing. Around the corner raced a troop of young boys.

A new bout of fear ricocheted through me.

“Look!” one of them shouted. “A sleepy snake!”

The adults with the boys were still out of sight, so I ran back and found a new use for my hiking pole. I worked to push the snake off the trail, down into the bush and away from the boys who showed absolutely no fear at all. They wanted to tease the snake, to play with it.

Fear, I realized from that experience, is a biological blessing.

While ongoing research turns up new information almost daily, we do know that our emotional lives are housed primarily in our limbic systems. This has to do with the memories processed and stored in our brains.             I had memories about the dangers of snakes.

Those boys apparently did not.

Now that I understand fear is designed as part of my biology, I’ve changed my thinking about the emotion, and I have an appreciation for fear that I never supposed was possible. Fear is to be acknowledged, accepted and used to propel me in the right direction.

I know that when I feel fear, Cortisol, adrenalin and other neurotransmitters flood my brain. This is so I can become something more than I was. This is so that my body amps to high alert to keep me safe and ready.

When I honor my fear, it passes through me and leads the way for me to follow. When I challenge fear or run from it, the road before me is blocked.

I suspect we’re all afraid of many things. Me? Hurting someone tops my list of fears. Failure is also up there. I’ve failed so many times at so many attempts—the memories are etched deeply and resiliently. I’m afraid of snakes, mice, rats, spiders, and the vacuum cleaner. Oh, and flies. I am terrified of flies.

What are you afraid of? Every one of your fears is associated with a memory, conscience or not.

Now imagine a fearless life. Sounds easy. No fears to conquer. But let’s take a closer look. First, it would bring new levels of peril. If our ancient brains didn’t kick in, we wouldn’t know when to feel fear. We’d live within striking distance of snakes and die in droves.

Second, there would be no reward. There’d be no growth or strength gained from facing non-existent fears.

Third, in reality, a fearless life would be a boring, if not a meaningless existence. Thrills and chills give us the sensation of being alive. Without some danger, we’d all exist along a flatline.

I’m not suggesting that we live in fear. I’m not telling anyone to take unwise risks. I am suggesting that we live with fear and let it work its magic in our lives.

Doubt, not fear, is the opposite of faith. Fear and faith must co-exist if one is to strong-arm the other.

Fear, I’ve learned, stimulates, motivates, and teaches. It challenges our faith and when our faith is challenged it grows. It guides us to greater opportunities. Wise Eleanor Roosevelt admonished, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

What scares you, my friends?

What fears have you overcome?

How have your lives been transformed through those experiences?

When we realize that we can change our thoughts about something as fundamental as fear, we realize we can change our thoughts period.

That’s powerful And nothing to fear.

Use Your Brain To Make Your Dreams Come True

There’s a lot of fear and anger and divisiveness in the world right now. I understand why, but I’m not putting my faith in an office or an elected individual. I’m not listening to mortally bankrupt celebrities call the kettle black. Like you, I’m choosing to carry on in hope and faith. In my country. In my Highest Power. In myself. Just writing those words makes me grimace. Easier said than done. I’ve always had faith in God, but not so much in myself. Now I’m realizing that to have faith in a higher power, we’ve got to have faith in ourselves. God works not only through others, but through us to answer our own prayers.

Let’s see if I can make sense out of this. I’m not a crafty person. I once got sent home from a homemaking meeting because I suggested: “If we make the stitches bigger, we’ll finish this quilt a lot faster.” Then there was the time I bought a hot glue gun and glued the tablecloth to the table. Or the time I gave Eli and the dog the same haircut with the same clippers. You get the idea. Anyway, because I’m not crafty, I never dared to attempt a vision board, something I always wanted to create.

A vision board is a collection of images depicting your ideal life. It’s a way to put your goals right in front of your face. It’s a means to manifest your dreams— meant to create energy and stimulate motivation.

To be honest, I’ve screwed up my life a lot worse than most people ever will. Any dreams I wanted to come true, I felt undeserving of having come true. Seriously. Couple that with the fact that I’m not crafty, and you can see why I never dared to create a vision board.

Then I began to study the human brain. I learned that the subconscious uses pictures, symbols and images to understand and communicate. It does not use words. Whoa. Words are what I use to understand and communicate. Here’s the problem with words—if I say the word “house” your mind pictures a house that is very different from the house that my mind conjures. Even if I say, “white house” you are going to come up with a different image than I do. But if we both see the same picture of a white house then we’ll both see the same details.

That’s why a vision board about “vision.” It stimulates your occipital lobes, providing a clear memo to your subconscious of your desires and intentions to manifest your goals. Every time you see a certain image your brain goes to work, releasing specific neruopeptides to decide your emotional attachment to that goal. The repetition of this visual experience creates neurological pathways to help you determine the steps you need to take to reach your goal. This happens 24/7 in your subconscious. Your brain is always working for your survival, success and happiness.

I read the book The Secret. I watched the movie. Still, I was skeptical about the law of attraction, so I only put one picture up: the image attached to his post. It’s of a bioluminescent beach somewhere in the Caribbean. It’s one of the coolest things imaginable…phytoplankton producing light through a series of chemical reactions. It’s nothing short of glowing blue wonder.

I’d glance at the image every once in awhile, but didn’t dare allow myself to dream I’d ever actually get there. I figured it would stay on my bucket list so my kids could read all the things I never did at my wake. Guess what? Last year I was presented with an (almost free) opportunity to do some service in a certain part of the world where there just happens to be a bioluminescent beach. (It’s important to note that there were LOTS of steps I had to take to create this opportunity—every dream requires work.) I took Eli with me and the adventure we had far surpassed anything I had dared to hope for. The night was dark but the sky twinkled with a trillion little Christmas lights—so did the water. Our guide didn’t speak English, which made the adventure that much more exciting! Oh, and there were sharks in the water all around our canoes. You could see their fins when our guide cast his spotlight out onto the lulling waves. But off we paddled through a mile of tangled mangrove swamp, out into the open ocean where we drug our hands like ores, holding blue magic in our palms, letting it drip through our fingers. Indeed, it was a dream come true.

My point is, friends, I want you to dare to dream. Dream big and bold and brazen no matter what mistakes you’ve made or limits life seems to have imposed on you. You matter. Your desires count. Dead ends are just turn around points. We’ve come to earth to experience ALL we can. To learn ALL we can. To become ALL we can. And we’re here to walk each other home.

I’m not asking you to turn a blind eye to the reasons we have to be afraid. I’m asking you to do just the opposite. Take a stand. Use your voice. Make the changes that need to be made. I guess what I’m asking you to do is to participate in your own life.

The more I study the brain, the more I am convinced that Divine Design wires us for success and happiness. We’re capable of so much more than we realize. And we don’t have to travel far away to seek adventure. We don’t have to look for someone else to make our dreams come true. The power and wisdom lies within us.

Who cares if I’m not crafty? This year I’m daring to create a real vision board. I’m going after long tucked away dreams. This isn’t just about travel or acquiring material things; it’s about seeing my life so that I can live it more fully. I want to be happier, healthier, kinder and more giving. I’m going to reunite with old friends. I’m going to make new friends. I’m going to find ways to forgive myself and to move forward in spite of the pain and the fear. Please, oh please do the same. If you have a vision board, share how it worked for you. If you don’t have one, get together with friends and tear out magazine pictures. Or do it in the solitude of your room. Pull pictures from the internet and make a special file that you review every single day. Draw your own pictures. I don’t care how you do it. Just do it. Awaken forgotten dreams by closing your eyes and “seeing” with true vision—your God-given imagination. Look at it often. Change it up as you change. Let your conscious and subconscious work to make your dreams come true.

Life is a miracle. A gift. An hourglass that’s dropping sand faster and faster.

Now back to that magical night and all those hovering sharks…they were nursing sharks, the kind that “hardly ever attack humans.” So no one lost anything, but we all sure gained an experience to remember, and to testify that the God who created this planet is indeed in the details.

Remember This One Thing And You’ll Change Your Brain and Change Your Life

So you know I’m crazy about the human brain. But all the little things I learn are insignificant if they don’t apply to real life. But they do. That’s what’s so exciting and so powerful. I have an invaluable friend who was forgetting everyday things. Like whether she took her medication. Where she parked the car. Whether or not she fed the dog.

I was really worried about her because she was scared. She feared she was losing her memory. Can you imagine losing anything more important? We’re all made of memories. Think not? Look around your environment. See that patched old quilt. The baseball you keep on a shelf. The photograph of your family on vacation. The chair that belonged to your grandparent. The serving dish that belonged to your mother. Your “things” have meanings because they are attached to memories. And how about the faces that surround you? Your relationships with them are made of memories.

Now imagine if slowly those memories began to fade. The quilt just looked old and ragged and ready to be discarded. The baseball no longer reminded you of your son’s first homerun, but was now just an old baseball. And the faces? Imagine if they faded too, and you could not remember to whom they belonged to or why they mattered. They were no longer loved ones…just faces.

I can’t imagine a more terrifying scenario.

That’s why I’m going to give you a little brain exercise and ask you to try it. I want you to pause for a moment when something is important to you, and put that into your brain twice. As you’re going into the mall, stop and look back, register where you parked the car…TWICE. When you take your morning meds, stop TWICE and tell yourself that you’ve taken them. When something is important to you, take a few seconds to remind yourself where, when, why it’s important. Do this TWICE. Walk though your home and remind yourself why certain items are valuable to you. RE-LIVE those memories. Do it frequently. Focus on faces and give your fusiform gyri some exercise and some new data to send to your long-term memory banks.

This is how your brain is going to change: First of all your sensory memory is going to last more than a split second. You’re going to fully engage it when you FEEL the texture of your vitamins in your palm. SEE the colors. SMELL them. LISTEN to the running water or the gulp in your throat as you wash them down. TASTE the pills.   Be aware of the sensory information you’re experiencing.

Next, register that you took your meds in your short-term memory. TELL yourself that yes; you took your meds for the day. Then do something else for a few seconds and tell yourself AGAIN that you took your meds.

The more times you REMEMBER you will not FORGET. You’ll extend your short-term memory, and if something is really important, you’ll be able to plug it into your long-term memory. This is your capacity to store and recall unlimited bits of information. This is how you begin to actually rewire your own brain!

There’s a truckload of science behind how this all works, but for now, just practice repeating information into your sensory memory and your short term memory and get back to me on how well it works. I’m not making any claims about staving off Alzheimer’s or dementia, but I know it works “when I work it.”

It took my friend about two months to get into a practice. That’s because we’ve spent a lifetime trying to live off the flashes of information we ask our brains to store and recall. But by feeding her brain a fuller diet of information, my friend found that her life changed. Her ability to recall accurately is amazing. She’s no longer fearful and doubtful. And that, my friends, is wonderful.

 

Image Credit: http://www.teachmag.com