I remember learning a few years ago that we generate something like 10,000 new brain cells every day. That information struck me as pertinent knowledge – as though it changes everything I had been brought up to believe. If the very nature of our brain is changing then it’s a matter of where we put these new cells and how we get them to connect with others.
We have a choice – either to put them in all the same places and same ways of being or behaving as we have before or to start to discover and find new connections.
When I was growing up it was taught that there was no choice. You got what you were given and you continued down a path no matter what it was. Whether it was “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong” or if you were “trouble” or an “angel”. If you killed your brain cells, that was it – you were doomed. The brain wasn’t given a chance to shift.
Of course this is a huge simplification of the process.
What is striking me now is that there is always the possibility of new growth.
You can see it when a child is learning. It’s almost as if you can see the brain working to take in new information. To reject it or take it in. Is it something already known or not? Where does it get stuck and stored? What beliefs are formed because of the feelings that came up when learning this new information?
I see a pattern in myself that I get focused on letting go. Focused on clearing out and releasing old energy. I tend to forget that this process also allows new energy to come in. New brain cells to be used in new ways.
Instead of seeing the world and myself as I always have, I can start to make new connections. I can start to see what serves this new version of myself and what doesn’t.
New doesn’t mean better or improved in this case. It would be totally fine if I never stepped onto this path of Self-awareness and healing. I simply chose at some point to start listening to different parts of myself. The parts that I had tucked away and ignored. The parts that were filled with the “I can’ts” or “I have tos”. The “shoulds”. The parts of pain that have been realized and surfaced. The emotions denied shifted through to repressed and (hopefully, one day soon) expressed.
It’s okay to be anywhere in this process and still be completely whole.
This is not a self-improvement exercise as there’s nothing to “fix”. For me, it’s a path of exploration, learning, and learning how to listen.
Learning how to hear what my dreams are. Learning how to put those dreams into action. Learning how to feel new energy coming in and know when I keep putting it in those same old places and knowing when there’s something new. Accepting both.
The thing is, that from this internal process, the external is starting to shift. I’ve been feeling quite stuck and as though “nothing is changing” for many years. And, in many ways, it isn’t – I’m still me and there’s no escaping that – merely accepting that. Turns out, the more I accept of myself, the more peaceful I am. The less stressed. The more I am able to make decisions based on me and what I want and envision instead of what I think others want of me.
The more secure I start to feel through this process of knowing more about myself, the more I’m able to take risks and step into the unknown because I “know” it feels right. My intuition and heart can start guiding me to make decisions. Instead of (in my case) being ignored.
Ignoring them didn’t mean they went away – it meant they screamed at me. They screamed and I spent huge amounts of energy and brain power to keep them locked down. The more safe I feel in being who I am, the less energy it takes to be someone else. That freed up energy can then be directed in new ways! Without as many limitations.
I feel as though I’m on a turning point and am starting to listen more quickly to what actions need to be taken. I know what I need to give up (and have taken action in giving up my regular classes at the studio I’ve always taught at) and what I’m not sure of yet is what new energy will come in or where it will take me. I do, however, trust in knowing when it’s time to change. Listening to myself to even start this yoga teacher and healer path was the first step, letting go of my corporate job and committing to an apprenticeship in Ireland was another, leaving my apartment, letting go again and again and every time – it’s been the exact right step for me. It’s taken me into the unknown and has kept me fully engaged along the way. Allowing new parts of my brain and Self to connect, rearrange and align.
It helps me to realize that when we step onto the mat and find alignment in the postures – alignment in the physical body allowing energy to flow more freely – we take that step towards aligning our lives. Aligning ourselves and a deep knowing of what is in alignment or not as old energy leaves and new energy arises.