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Brain Retraining: Layers of the Onion

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Brain Retraining: Layers of the Onion, on the Be Free Respect Podcast 

Disclaimer: I am not a brain or brain rewiring expert. I am simply sharing my personal journey and my personal understanding as it makes sense to me.

Trigger Warning for Brain Retrainers

Giving Myself Grace

Positive Shifts

I intend to share more about this in another post, at another time, but one thing that has been super beneficial for me through these past few months has been meeting with another brain retraining friend two to three times a month. Oh the beauty of Zoom!

We share our wins and positive shifts, and lots of smiles, engaging those mirror neurons. We set up and share weekly individual intentions for ourselves at the end of our meets. This has been absolutely lovely and so beneficial to my healing journey. Setting intentions (regarding personal focus and practice) with someone else who understands this process has been motivating and has helped me to maintain momentum. 

Between these (almost) weekly meetings, along with a 12-week coach-led group that I joined, daily tapping (or EFT), and then simply allowing myself to focus on regular life beyond my daily practice, I have noticed some encouraging shifts.

The holiday season, that has traditionally been triggering for me, has been noticeably less reactive this year. My fragrance sensitivity (the reason I started DNRS to begin with) and my emotions have been noticeably improved. 

I joined a weekly Bible study group in January. I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant at first. But I used my tools and decided to go. There are thirty or so women gathered in one room—and yet, my reactions have been minimal. 

Getting on with life. Life is to be enjoyed. We aren’t intended to have to live in isolation.

I have been noticing an increasingly more defined clarity and an increasingly brighter light at the end of this tunnel that I had found myself in. And I thank God for this journey that has led me to learning how to retrain my brain and to understand myself with increasing clarity. Such a blessing.

Am I An Onion?

Something I’ve heard often through this past two years of brain retraining is that its like “Peeling the layers of an Onion.” As you recover, the removal of one layer can expose another. We just keep learning more about ourselves.

But I never felt this personally.

My focus has always been on diminishing my fragrance sensitivity. That’s all I’ve wanted. That’s all I thought I needed to improve my life. —even though I recognized other things about myself—other human realities that could certainly be less intense and more joyful. 

I’ve always had a difficult time understanding this process of ‘peeling the layers of the onion’. Until recently. 

As I started feeling that I was becoming less confined by a fragrance chemical sensitivity, another layer has recently become more obvious. 

The Anxiety Layer

Anxiety Layer of the Onion continued

A New Layer of the Onion Exposed

Why Share?

Training, Rest, Support

If someone is training for a marathon, and they twist an ankle, they don’t keep on running. Ouch. But they don’t stop taking care of their body, either. They continue eating well and they continue looking at their body as a whole. While a strong ankle is needed for running, all aspects of health are important to make it to that finish line. 

Through this exposure of a layer I’ve been avoiding looking at, I realized that my personal brain retraining was declining. And I started to allow myself to feel less than good about it. Less than good about myself. As I’m coming through the fog, however, I realize that that break was OK. We need to give ourselves love and compassion through the entire process. It’s easy to do when we feel well. But it’s just as important, if not MORE important, through those other times too. 

But I also struggled with knowing how. And I wanted to avoid going down the rabbit hole of trying to figure it out myself. Yes, brain retraining is a self-directed process, but it isn’t necessarily a process to do alone. I already have enough of a foundation to understand that what is going on is limbic system related. But what next? And how?

So I listened to my gut and I followed through by making an appointment with a brain retraining coach that I had previous experience with. 

Continued Tools

While many of us may have the same or similar conditions or issues that we train for healing from, we are each individual and unique in our circumstances. While this has only been the second time that I have used individual coaching, I am so very grateful for the availability. 

It is comforting to share my personal experience with someone who is trained in understanding and in supporting that maladapted response. Our conversation, and the tools she gave me, are specific to my personal reactions and my personal circumstances. What they are isn’t important here. What is important is to know that there is support available and that there are tools to help us through our brains’ over-reacting needs to protect us. 

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