Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Brain plasticity - learning new tricks

Photograph from Hans van der Boom

I dream of Willy Wonka's Fizzy Lifting Drink while making my ponderous, gravity-captured way, feeling as though I'm wearing lead boots from an old diving suit. With the belt weights, a fast trip to the bottom.  Not all the time, not even most of it.  Often enough to know the difference between soaring and sinking.

In the movement, which I have to stop thinking of as New Age and assign a different name, perhaps consciousness, much is made about being in, of and about light.  All, they say, is about energy, about vibration, about ascending from what is old and dense into higher realms. Being stuck in fear, worry, resentment and lack feels like being tied to an anchor.  Love, trust, humor and optimism throw open the doors and windows and make room for more options.  There are specific steps one can take, not just wishing ourselves light as jellyfish, bright as glow-sticks.

This morning while searching for material on brain plasticity not yet found, I came upon a TED talk by Shawn Achor who offered a 21-day program to greater happiness by getting out of our brain ruts, creating new neuropathways (if that is the correct word.)  He suggested, for 21 days, writing down three NEW gratitudes each day, journaling about one positive experience each day, moving one's body in some form of exercise, practicing a form of meditation that removes us from the dreaded and counter-productive multi-tasking (ugh, much-loathed phrase) and focuses us on one thing in the moment, and practicing what he calls Random Acts of Kindness, an example of which is to send, first thing each day, an encouraging or complimentary email to someone.  I think snail mail would count, too.

All of this is in aid of  finally, maybe permanently, unlacing our lead boots, lifting away from the sense of discouraged plodding that can overtake us.  We are more than capable of existing as beings of light, sources of hope and affirmation for each other and ourselves.   We can learn to use our brains differently, to take action that improves our quality of life.  In a podcast yesterday, I heard a speaker, Judith Dack, tell how making small, slow, focused changes in how we move our bodies,  varying our patterns, can produce extraordinary results.  Her talk is available through midnight on Wednesday, Aug. 1, here.  Scroll down to the replay.  Her information gave me hope.

I know as well as I know anything that we are not intended to drag, mope and grouse through our days.  One of the TED talks I heard this morning referred to the very small portion of individual happiness that is affected by externals, compared with the powerful internal influence we have over our moods and even destinies.  Experiments worth trying.  What is there to lose? 


Penelope said...

Nice one, Marylinn. I look forward to watching the TED talk — meanwhile you've made me think about maybe getting out of my chair sideways, eating these plums with my left hand ... As you say, it's worth trying for a little levity.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Penelope - Thank you...I love the TED talks. They remind me that we share the planet with smart people. I cannot claim change but I did try, and will try again now that I'm awake, navigating my hall with one eye closed. And thinking about my back as a source of strength, not scolding my legs for being feeble. xo

Laoch of Chicago said...

Seems like a good idea.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Laoch - It does to me. There remains so much for us to learn about using our brains and I am happily open to trying new approaches, especially when they will do no harm and may bring about beneficial change. Let's face it, I have so much to learn about so many things. :)