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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.
The Power of Reaching
As I continue through my practice with brain rewiring, I recognize the power of reaching higher. As humans, however, reality includes life that isn’t always at a higher place, doesn’t it. It occurred to me this morning, as I sat down to write, that I am often reaching away from as much as I’m reaching towards. It had me wondering, am I canceling out my efforts?
This wasn’t the direction in writing that I intended as I sat down to type this morning, but this is the direction that made sense to me as my fingers started clicking away on the keys. Let’s see where this goes.
Our focus, and where we choose to spend time with that focus, changes our brains. I’m learning this. Focusing on a headache doesn’t relieve it. It intensifies it. Pain isn’t easy to ignore, but practicing change in focus can be powerful. I recognize that the more I find and focus on things that bring me joy, the more light that enters the cracks of my being. The more I focus on things I’m grateful for, the brighter my moments become.
What we see and what we transfix on is what we bring more of into our lives. Being cognizant of this fact brings more effort into this practice. And the more I practice, the less effort it will become. The goal is to make the focus of gratitude and joy routine.
Focusing on eliminating the darkness isn’t what brings more light into our lives. Light and the focus on it simply and naturally eliminates the darkness.
Reaching Towards Through Gratitude
As I said above, gratitude just naturally brightens our lives. It’s common sense–although, this wasn’t a big part of my common sense life. Yes, I have always had many things I’ve been grateful for—MANY things. But consciously being aware of–and consciously expressing gratitude for the countless things that abound in life has not been something I’ve routinely done in a conscious way. Until recently, anyway.
We always, always, always, have choice in our direction of focus. That choice isn’t always simple. But there is always choice. Choice can be met with resistance. But there is always choice.
My favorite (most very favorite) place to write is at my kitchen table in front of my bay window, overlooking my backyard with a view of my favorite tree. The leaves that emerge in the spring give me the sense of eternal life. As I continue to watch through summer, I admire the shade those leaves provide. When those green leaves of summer transition to gold in the fall, their sunshine yellow fills me with joy and peace. Daily transformations have me looking forward to waking up each morning in order to observe those changes. And the beautiful golden blanket that results on the ground brings me the simple pleasure that raking leaves has brought me since childhood.
This tree even brings me joy in the winter as I giggle at the dozen leaves that always cling to the bottom branches, hanging on tightly through wind and snow. The bare and bold branches also give me peace in the assurance that this tree is simply resting for the energy it will require in the spring to continue the cycle.
Choices. My choice is to focus on that tree and the joy it brings me. When other thoughts or situations emerge I can always depend on my tree, no matter the season. While I’ve enjoyed that tree through each season of the six or seven years that I’ve lived in this house, it wasn’t until this past year that I’ve consciously thought, I am grateful for you.
Recognizing, stating, and more than anything—FEELING that gratitude is brain changing behavior.
Stop a moment before you continue reading. Look around. Now state out loud something you are currently grateful for. See it. Say it. Feel it.
The very thing that finally brought me to brain retraining is something I spent twenty years reaching away from–fragrance sensitivity. This is also what brought me to creating my Facebook page, Fragrance Free Respect.
I now recognize, however, that this page and this effort has required my energy to be put into reaching away from. Reaching away has us putting focus on something less than positive, however, doesn’t it. And my effort to bring healing requires me to reach towards. Up. Higher.
This concept of reaching higher wasn’t my conscious thought when I created my page, Be Free Respect, but this is truly what this particular page is about–reaching towards.
Both pages have their efforts. Both efforts have their very individual distinct paths (in my mind, anyway). But I can clearly see now that the page I started in August of 2021 (Fragrance Free Respect) is about reaching away and the one I created at the start of 2023 (Be Free Respect) is about reaching towards.
Redirecting Thoughts and Efforts
That page, Fragrance Free Respect, has far too much importance. It isn’t going anywhere. It has too much of a need. But with my current realization, I am choosing to shift my direction of thought in regards to its focus. By consciously shifting my thoughts I can transition it in my mind from reaching away from to reaching towards.
Reaching towards awareness.
Reaching towards understanding.
Reaching towards cleaner air.
Reaching towards cleaner water.
Reaching towards inclusion.
By viewing the higher, more positive goal, just with a shift in thought, increased light just naturally occurs.
Bring Focus to the Joy
While my limbic system impairment that resulted in fragrance sensitivity was due to a variety of life circumstances, my goal is to reach towards my higher self (rather than away from those particular life factors).
Being cognizant of reaching away from requires being cognizant of what we are reaching away from. And it keeps those memories and circumstances present. Focus on reaching towards just naturally puts all the focus on healthier thoughts.
We all have those life factors. We can’t just ignore the fact they occurred. It has been my personal habit, however, to dwell on them. Life circumstances. Trauma. Pain. Loss. We all have these experiences. And they deserve respect. But what good does keeping the past in the present do? Until recently, I didn’t realize the impact that retelling and reliving emotionally painful stories has had on my brain.
As I sit in my favorite writing chair, after typing that last paragraph, realizing that that alone sparks thoughts that have me reaching in the wrong direction, I look out the window and gaze with great admiration at my tree. And I realize what a gift that tree is. As I transition my thoughts to admire its beauty, its strength, its vibrant green leaves, and the simple joy that it brings me, light abounds. And brain rewiring occurs.