One of the things I focus on with clients – a lot – is to stay present. To accept where they are at this very point in time. But most clients come to me to address changes in their future. So, what’s the deal? How do we change our future while we focus on the present?
Many years ago, His Holiness the Dalai Lama convinced a group of neuroscientists in California to research whether our thoughts could actually change the structure of the brain. Until that point, it seemed pretty clear that what we thought defined our mind. But the request was: Can the mind shape brain matter? Can thinking and feeling something then create your reality?
The research progressed and, long story short, our thoughts and feelings really DO change the composition of our brain. When we practice deep, slow breathing, relax our muscles, and think positive thoughts, we are actually rewiring the brain. Yes, we are rewiring our brains.
So even though our brain has the capacity to remember the negative stuff more than the positive, and for longer periods of time, we can consciously change that. We can smooth the pathways within our brains so that our neurons travel more fluidly toward positive thinking.
Wait, what !? We all hold the capacity to train our brains to positivity? Very simply, yes. Creating a positive state is a skill that can be trained. So many findings since have clearly indicated that we can change the function of our conscious brain in an enduring way.
When Julie came to me questioning her continued devotion to doing just about everything for her family, she was depressed and depleted! Julie told herself it was “her job” to run the household, even though it made her exhausted and angry. She wanted to turn it around, but truly believed the idea that she was not doing right by her family until they were happy with her services. She needed to change that – fast!!
Her change had little to do with the actions she took daily, and everything to do with her own thoughts and feelings. We created a morning practice that began with positive thinking, followed by a brief writing period about she felt. The whole process took only 15 minutes. Well, I already knew that studies had proven this would change Julie as long as she kept practicing, but she hadn’t quite gotten it…
Until the day she found herself on the phone planning her husband’s Sunday football day with his friends. At that very second, as she was packing for a girls get-away, she had that “ah-ha!” moment and realized that as long as she enabled her family to sit back and wait for her to provide for them, nothing would change. In that second, the world shifted.
Julie hung up quickly and backed away from doing the things they ought to be doing. She stepped into her daily practice more often. Her family was completely capable of doing anything she could do, and they actually wanted to take their own action anyway! Julie’s time and energy began to open up for activities that she loved.
The fastest way to catalyze change is to completely accept where you are at this moment in time. The final answer: the future then changes itself when we deal with staying present. The future unfolds in our honor when we honor ourselves.