In a recent article entitled, “Your Brain Has a Delete Button—Here’s How to Use It”, the authors, Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane, talk about research that’s been done on the presence and function of the brain’s “microglial” cells that are the “gardeners of the brain”. These cells prune and remove synapses while we sleep. Most importantly, they remove those synapses we don’t use very much. In fact, the brain marks the unused synapses with a protein that signals the microglial cells to go ahead and prune them.
Because all self-talk is self-hypnosis, and because where we focus our thinking activates the synapses related to these thoughts, it behooves us to be mindful about where we’re spending our internal self-talk time. One example in the article is this:
“If you’re in a fight with someone at work and devote your time to thinking about how to get even with them, and not about that big project, you’re going to wind up a synaptic superstar at revenge plots but a poor innovator.”
They go on to say:
“To take advantage of your brain’s natural gardening system, simply think about the things that are important to you. Your gardeners will strengthen those connections and prune the ones that you care about less. It’s how you help the garden of your brain flower.”Read More “768th Week: More Reasons Why Tracking Your Self-Talk is So Important”
I feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to go to Central Park on some days to get exercise and to plop myself down on a bench where I have spent so much time over the years in meditation and contemplation with my tree friends. One of the things that I’ve noticed each time I’m in the park these days is how many people are jogging and walking without wearing masks. This got me to thinking about our participation as members of a community and how we have an ongoing opportunity to take responsibility for our part in supporting everyone around us.
As I pondered the question of why people aren’t wearing masks as they exercise and walk around Central Park, I could only imagine that they haven’t quite registered that we are wearing masks to protect one another. They aren’t really to protect ourselves, since most of us don’t have the kind of mask that will filter out viruses. The reason we are wearing them is because we could unknowingly be carriers of the virus and we are protecting everyone around us.
For this week’s practice, I invite all of us to be aware of our place within our communities. Wherever we live, we are part of a collective and we are responsible for our contributions to our community, however that might be arranged and however small or large those contributions. What I’d like to ask all of us to consider is how are we caring for our community? What practices do we bring to help support and protect those around us? In the building where I live in New York City we have active cases of the Covid virus, so all of us are asked to be sure to wear masks and gloves when interacting with the doormen and concierges in the lobby of this very large building and in the laundry room as a way to protect the people who work here, as well as to protect each other.Read More “784th Week: Being Part of a Community”
A while back, I listened to a book by Merlin Sheldrake, called “Entangled Life”. Sheldrake is a specialist in fungi and the book is an inspiring journey through all things fungal. He shares stories about how fungi participate in the “wood-wide web”, creating mycelial networks in collaboration with tree roots to support communication and access to nourishment under forest floors. He also describes the creative and truly inspiring research and development that are happening that use fungi to generate building materials and countless other products used by humans.
Listening to the book reminded me how important it is to find sources of inspiration that support an awareness that there is a much bigger picture unfolding than the one our daily lives encompasses. Given our current range of local and global crises, it can be challenging to access inspiration, possibility, and an awareness of potential creative solutions to so many problems we humans have generated and now must solve.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to take a bit of time each day to orient your awareness to something that moves, enlivens, inspires, or fills you up in a positive way that I don’t know how to put into words for you. It may be something as simple as looking out the window and seeing a bird on a tree branch, as I just did. I’m on vacation out of the city and it was inspiring to see this bird standing on a branch in a beam of sunlight. It may be that you are reading a book that touches your heart and that reading just a few lines is a way to begin a new day with a sense of possibility, or with the feeling of a deeper connection in a way that nourishes you.Read More “838th Week: Finding Inspiration in Troubling Times”