Be On Your Own Side

I surpassed my two cup limit of coffee today, intentionally.

Three, the desired number, filled my last cup with hot espresso and Italian Cream. I felt the need to provide a sense of comfort to my frayed nerves.

Before my third cup, I began struggling with a migraine, nausea included. Took the prescribed medication, and went upstairs, to create dinner for my family.

In the process of cutting the potatoes, the sharp knife slipped in my right hand (my thumb is slowly losing the battle of arthritis) and it jabbed my left, inner palm, creating a stinging pain and a rapid jerking of my left arm, and namely, my left shoulder screamed out in pain. I dropped to the ground, and then landed rather heavily on my behind.

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The tears rolled down my cheeks, more from the realization of the thumb joint’s decrease in stability than the pain from the shoulder. I was not on my own side at the moment the tears ran down. I was in full collusion of my past nerve pain and surgeries and the neuron paths wired during the time of the trauma.

Be on your own side.

I practice mindfulness often, and lately, the feeling increases with the desire to pursue the activity more fully. It begins with the realization we are not alone, we have control over our selves, and we can change the circuitry of the brain. Mind over matter, they say, and I say, shift the mind, strengthen the ability to choose, find the healthy brain matter, and increase positive paths.

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Mindfulness feels like the warm cup of coffee in your hand on a cool night. It blankets your brain and directs the thinking patterns. You renew the control of your mind and the masks of life fall to the side.

You don’t need masks when you enter into the places of your mind. It is there, in the innermost part of your soul, where quiet contemplation reigns, you find a kind of solace, peace, and intuitive nature, which directs your steps.

Peeling off the mask we wear from daily toil, we find inside of us a place where we retreat and regroup.

Be on your own side.

Recognizing the pain pattern, and at first, dogging the tears as weakness, I wallowed in the dark spaces. Once I regained myself, I realized, the neuronal zones which all sprang to life as if they had not ceased or reduced in any way during the past year of my recovery. It helped me see my growth, not weakness, in owning my feelings. The realization arises:

I am on my own side.

Providing my body with a sense of comfort and compassion to recovery means I stop pushing myself and allow myself to ‘be’ instead of performing. Picking up the mask of strength and carrying on like I am a superhero, rather than a mere human on the path of awareness.

I remind myself, I am on my own side.

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Like ripple effects in the water, from a single drop, life sends out waves of energy.

You sense it from the inner soul, by gut sensations and ah-ha moments.

Capturing these moments means spending some time in thought, meditation, contemplation.

The sensations of pain, resulting in the swinging back of my arm, jerking my shoulder all happening in a three-second episode, continued with hours of lingering thought. How does one moment spend hours taking over the thinking processes?

For me, I suppose, it came as a gift: I can write about the neurons, the trauma, the connections, and bring awareness to the ever changing brain and mind connection.

I put on my Calm app and began listening to the soft, water drops and gentle music intertwined with birds chirping and singing. The more I listened the more my mind settled, the more my brain relaxed.

I am on my own side.

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I am no longer stuck in the cycle I found myself previously. My mind is calmer, my thinking clearer, and my grace returned. Quiet time and reflection go together.

I realize, gratefully, I am on my own side.

Small changes in our thinking move us from feeling stuck to freedom of choice. Life is hard. It takes its toll on each of us, resulting in multiple moments of sorrow all across the world. One area I like to focus on includes overcoming my moments of sorrow and fear. It means I regulate my emotions rather than letting them control me.

The cup of coffee I enjoyed became a part of the process of decompression. It helps to know yourself and the little shifts you use to bring your mind back to focus. Avenues of neurons, ready to fire, spring into action the moment a trigger strikes. A backup plan practiced and established over time creates the space to regulate.

In addition the coffee, the Calm App, and the quietness, I have my two doggies piled upon the blanket, covering my lap in fleecy warmth. Both of my girls know when life strikes me and they seek me out.

Alan Alda shares the insight, “At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”

The attempt to regain control over my thinking strengthens my resolve to continue discovering myself. The gift of discovery builds faith in the choices we make every day.

Meditation does not have to be a nasty word where you are bored out of your mind. The capability to control the freedom to allow thoughts to move in and out of your mind during a reflective state gives your brain control.

We tend to speed through life, not caring about our health or feelings; pushing them aside to attend to the many tasks waiting for us. Where are they waiting for us? In our mind.

We create lists of jobs to do, things to create, activities to move through and become disappointed when we fall short of the list. When something out of our control happens, like the knife in the palm, we react with all the neuronal sparking of a war. The game is on and our mind, brimming with all of the feelings and fears rushes to the forefront.

Am I on my own side?

Can you imagine how, when calmly we move through life’s experiences everything changes once we are bombarded? We react instantly. The emotions surge, the feelings embedded deep in our circuitry awaken, the neurons fire faster and the cognitive functions seem to shout, “Oh yeah, the danger is here. Been there, done that. We act like this…boom” the whole thing processes in seconds.

Without knowing how the mind works, we are like victims, unknowingly waiting for a surprise attack. We need to be ready to check ourselves on a regular basis. We are on our own side, when we do the work to know our minds.
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Most of us would rather watch T.V., sit on our phones, and squabble the time away, instead of reading material, which engages the brain and develops awareness. There are plenty of podcasts which pour out information. There are magazines online people read. There are unlimited YouTube videos to watch on self-motivation.

All of the materials have positives and negatives. You are listening to regurgitated materials. Go to the source and begin reading for yourself. Even my writing here, based on experience, is filled with idea gathered from sources like Dan Seigal, M.D., John Ratey, M.D., and others who have studied neuroscience and the brain.

The work I do to increase my awareness means I spend much of my free time reading and writing. I write to live, to express, to share, and to learn. I write to air my thoughts and gather wisdom from the storehouse of my mind. When I begin to write, it is as if a door opens and my mind finds hidden files, stored from years of study.

I am on my own side. Are you on your side?

The time I spend on the articles I write, sometimes a few minutes and other times, like the current one I am writing, take a few hours since I stop and redirect my thoughts.

Somewhat rambling, yet returning to the point, time and again: your brain can grow, heal, change, and strengthen with effort, time and focus. Recognizing your limitations, then slowly shifting yourself into a stronger mindset, increases the potential to be on your own side. It is awe-inspiring, to say the least.

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Thich Nhat Hanh shares ideas which move the brain into the present. He shares how valuable it is to think in the present instead of focusing on forgetting. People fixate on forgetting events.

Then, in their sleep, the events return, bringing with them agony and pain. The present becomes intertwined with the past and uneasiness reigns. The riggers in life do affect us in different ways.

You might see something, or hear a song, or smell a scent and in your sleep, your memory replays, in vivid color at times, the scenes, scrambled with here and now. You awaken, scared, sweaty, and breathing heavily. “Where did the dream come from?” you ask as you sit on the edge of your bed.

Grounding yourself, daily, helps. Thich goes on to share how the earth is our constant. We can stand on the ground, feel the grass, touch the snow, breathe in the air the wind sends by us, and move about mindfully engaging in the experience. The technique helps us reduce the negative energy, emitted by so many individuals in our path.

Take the time to mindfully consider your thought patterns. Are your thoughts based on here and now or filled with the past: Regret, anxiousness, fear, loss, pain, anger? Walking in the present means letting the feelings come and go in an easy manner. Not fighting them, finding meaning in them, or debating them; it means you let them move through you so you have emotional control.

To complete the thought of the writing here one realizes the door is open to further investigation on how our mind works and what the memory provides for us as we venture into knowing who’s side we are on. As you go through the experiences of your day, remember to find the spaces between the thoughts, where you can rest, rejuvenate, and revive your spirit.

Today, while writing the last bits of ideas, I am enjoying my hot cup of coffee. I begin by moving into the day with my mind strengthened by the hope of sharing something here, which will lift up another person on the journey of awareness.

Life does not have to gang up on you. Your ability to check the flow of thoughts, accept them, and then allow them to move on helps you gain power over your emotions. Give it a try and see if you find yourself gaining emotional stamina.

Life shows us, if we let it, however, small the first steps are:

We are on our own side. Daily.

~Just a thought by Pamela