Tools to help train your brain
One of the things that has helped me learn and grow the most is the idea that everything is a relationship. We are relational beings. What makes our existence so complex is that nothing is fixed or complete when assumed to be objective. Whether it is an intimate relationship with another, a supportive and loving relationship with friends and family, an acquaintance or stranger, or the relationship you have to your own emotions, to concepts, ideas, or systems; the depth is found in the relationship.
I don't believe there is a universal meaning to life. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we see things as black and white. I think we hold ourselves back and show lack of trust in our own powerful minds if we think there is one right way to do something or allow our emotions to lead the way. I believe we are all capable of finding a collective community of love and support while honoring our own internal guidance and structure of purpose. The beauty of life is in the quality of our relationships.
The relationship I have been most fascinated with is the one I have with myself. Around 10 years ago, I found myself in a place of deep unhappiness and a sense of not having enough control in my own life. I felt lost, confused, beaten up, angry, yet hopeful that there was a way to create the life I desired.
As I approach my 31st birthday this month and have the big upcoming moment of publishing my first book, I feel called to slow down and take stock on what it has taken to retrain my brain to develop healthy habits, heal from trauma, and find balance in my mind, body, and soul. My advocacy for mental health awareness has been a huge motivation for my internal drive. The biggest thing that has allowed me to connect with the community, create experiences and continue my studying and exploration has been the realization that we are all deeply affected my mental health struggles - if not in your own mind then in someone close to you.
I have not been hesitant to share my story because I own it, I lived it, and I see it in so many others around me. I have learned so much from who and where I have been. I am now deeply connected to my higher purpose and am happy to stumble, fall, embarrass myself, or sabotage myself, because I have the discipline to not let that get in my way. I choose to see it all as learning and practice.
I have realized that my greatest potential is birthed from self-love. When I have my mind, body and soul all aligned in one unifying direction - fueled by habits that I have chosen and not fallen into - I step into the version of myself I want to know more and more.
In this state of power, choice and opportunity in absolutely everything, I am tuned into the universal vibration of expansion and contraction, which feels like I am being held by something far greater than just me as I grow and fall more in love with life each day.
I have learned that when you love the process and engage in life with purpose and play, the journey becomes the jewel and the destination becomes less finite, as I feel whole and complete in each mindful breath.
My business - dope(a)me - and my role as spin motivator and yoga teacher, are all platforms for me to share my love for life and movement. My goal each day is to follow the paradigm I have created as my goal setter mindset, and to engage in conversations that will deepen our collective connection to our inner pilot light that celebrates others' successes while carving a path that has never been carved before. While some people might say they are special, and others may think no one is special, I choose to believe that we are all special and have the capacity to create a positive impact in the world.
The environment and conditions you are born into creates the initial foundation that is programmed into your mind and body. Your duty as your grow older is to un-become what has been fed into your system so that you can become the unique and powerful YOU that you have that privilege to be.
We all get in our own way. Our mind can be tricky and our habits dig deep. What I have experienced for myself is the awakening that sets in when you learn to calm your mind. Your mind wanders and constantly makes up stories and entertains assumptions about your reality. Your ego is seductive. It is driven by a subconscious addiction to happy chemicals and an overcompensation from a feeling of low self-worth. Your ego is the result of your over-protective system that is seeking serotonin and dopamine - which increases your feelings of worth, pleasure, and importance; a biological insurance program to improve your chances of survival. It seeks instant-gratification and grows stronger when you are tired, stressed, overworked, or lack "real" confidence. Real confidence is not a display or need to remind people of your greatness. It is internally directed and validated in results and pure contentment.
Acknowledge your ego for what it is. We all have one. It's your initial and impulsive reaction. When you develop a relationship with your ego, rather than being victim to its allure and possession, you begin to notice it and can choose to respond from your higher-purpose and directive.
So, enough about me and my current understanding and practice in life. It's time for you to put pen to paper and play with ways of implementing new healthy habits into your life! When you know how your mind works and see more opportunity to question what you think rather than assume you have it right, it becomes a lot easier to formulate a plan, learn and collaborate with others, and be efficient in your development.
Here are FIVE keys to get started in retraining your brain to become the person you desire to be!
1. What you resist, persist:
Rather than resisting your current habits, choose to focus on building new ones. You can't erase habits, but you can slowly stop feeding them energy until they grow over and lose grip on your subconscious. Use the power of a morning routine while you have fresh energy. Bring in new thoughts, ideas, goals, movement, mantras, etc. Eventually, conscious doing becomes subconscious being. Although it can feel awkward and backwards at first, your compulsions need love and compassion if they are ever going to be released.
Another way to bring in the fresh energy and healthy habits you desire is to spend time with someone who has the habit you want. We have mirror neurons in our brain that fire when we observe someone else. Our brain lights up in the same manner as the person doing the activity we are witnessing. Hire a coach, go to workshops, spend time in environments with healthy and inspiring people. Your brain will begin to build the pathway so you can mirror the behavior you want more of in your life. By the same token, you can begin to create new pathways through visualization. When you take the time to fully step into a feeling, a possibility, or a desired outcome, our brain prepares for that reality and it becomes more real in our mind's eye. Just be mindful to keep the distinction between a motivating imagined future-state and the expectation that reality will be just as you visualize it to be. Intimacy without attachment. We can drain our own energy when we fall in love with our expectation and find reality to be not as sweet.
Get curious about the habits you already have and find ways to add in some new happy circuits onto the roots already in place. You will create new habits with ease when you find ways to tweak or add to the habits already in rotation. Bonus: Focus on what feels good and what is fun in this process and your habit will stick even quicker.
3. Conserve and Create:
You need energy to create new habits. Take time to fuel yourself with self-care practices, meditation, nourishing food, rest, sweat, play, novelty, and gratitude. Nourishment is not strictly what you ingest. It is your spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental well-being. So often our compulsions are triggered when we feel lack, and we look to food - or other quick hits of pleasure - for comfort or discipline. Your health and wellness is holistic and involves many facets. Perhaps your sense of lack is a signal that your mind, body and soul are craving an experience or breakthrough.
Be mindful of where you expend a lot of energy already and practice ways to calm your mind and conserve some of that precious fuel for when you really need it. Some things are simply not worth spending energy on. Discern when to be in inquiry, when to just tell yourself what you need to hear, and when to simply be and embrace the moment for what it is.
4. Compound Effect:
When you have big goals and changes in mind, your subconscious can be spooked into feeling like this task is too big to take on, and self-sabotage or exhaustion will set in. Do yourself a favor and break down your big tasks or goals into small steps, and make sure to celebrate along the way. Your ego needs to be fed in healthy and conscious ways if you don't want it to take over.
Learn to embrace the space between where you are now and where you desire to. This moment is your life. It is worth practicing being in love with each moment so that you don't build a habit of only being focused on more or the idea that happiness awaits at a future destination. Once you have a rhythm and structure of learning and growth in place, it becomes that much easier to fall in love with the process and practice your trust and improvisation. Every moment is practice for the next moment.
I hope you find some inspiration and tangible tools to play with from this post. I would love to engage with you if you have any questions or are ready to take on your personal development with my guidance and support.
I want to leave you with this message I came across last night on instagram. This is from the @wildwomansisterhoodofficial account. A beautiful image of an older woman with so much peace and love in her tanned and wrinkled face. Her words speak to my hope and my practice of being guided with purpose while completely grounded and in love with the moment as it is. I saw myself in her and was drawn in to her amazing energy. Enjoy ;)
"I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.
I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is Sacred.
I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; it's just not their task.
I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.
I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; it already did, and I survived.
I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.
I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.
I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.
I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.
I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.
I am no longer waiting to be recognized; I know I dance in a holy circle.
I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness. I believe. I Believe."
by Mary Anne Perrone